Disability Services

Policies for Students with Disabilities

In order to meet its legal responsibilities for the admission and accommodation of students with various disabilities, the UMass Lowell established the following policy:

General Statement

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is a Title I, Affirmative Action institution and complies with requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended in 2008. Applicants for admission are not required to identify themselves as having a disability at the time of application. If an applicant does voluntarily identify him/herself as a person with a disability as part of the application process, this information is not considered in evaluating the application. In order to provide properly for any required services/accommodations, the University does request timely notification of any disability.

Scope of Policy

  1. The University encourages all applicants for admission who have physical disabilities to identify themselves as such during the admission process, either with the admission application, or immediately after being accepted as a student. These applicants will be referred to the  Director of Disability Services in order to verify or provide documentation of their disability.
  2. Any admitted student who is identified as physically disabled after admission to the University and who wishes to invoke the provisions of Article III of this policy shall provide documentation of the handicap to the Director of  Disability Services.
  3. The University encourages all applicants for admission who have been diagnosed as learning disabled to identify themselves as such during the admission process, either with the admission application, or immediately after being accepted as a student. These applicants shall provide the documentation of their learning disability and any services they have received under Mass General Law Chapter 766 to the Director of Disability Services. Those Massachusetts resident students who wish their admission application to be evaluated without SAT scores, as provided for under Massachusetts law, must provide documentation of their learning disability along with their application.
  4. Any admitted student who is identified as learning disabled after admission to the University and who wishes to invoke the provisions of Article III of this policy shall provide appropriate documentation of the disability to the Director of Disability Services.
  5. The University encourages all applicants for admission who have documented neurological and/or psychiatric disabilities (e.g. head injuries, seizure disorders, psychiatric disabilities) to identify themselves as such during the admission process, either with the admission application, or immediately after being accepted as a student. These applicants shall provide documentations of their disability to the Director of Disability Services at the time of their admission application.

Administrative Processes

  1. For applicants and students identified in I A: After receipt of the appropriate documentation, the Director of Disability Services will meet with each identified person after they have been offered admission in order to determine that person’s needs and to explain the services that the University is able to provide.
  2. For applicants identified in I C: After receipt of the appropriate documentation, the Assistant Director of Admissions and the  Director of Disability Services shall meet with all such applicants after their acceptance as a student. At this meeting, the services that the University is able to provide to the applicant will be explained, and the person’s need for services will be evaluated.
  3. For students identified in I D: After receipt of the appropriate documentation, Disability Services will meet with the student to explain the services the University is able to provide, and to evaluate the person’s need for services.
  4. For students identified in I E: After receipt of the appropriate documentation and the student has been offered admission,  Disability Services and  Counseling Center will confer and determine who shall meet with the applicant or student to describe the services the University is able to provide and evaluate the need for.

Services to Identified Students

In addition to services available to all students, the following procedures shall be explicitly permitted as needed for students identified under Article I of this policy: nonstandard test administration; use of tape recorders, note-takers, interpreters, or other learning assistance in class; and permission to be enrolled in less than 12 credits each semester. These will be allowed in a way that is neither demeaning to the student nor disruptive to the classroom environment.

For physically disabled students, one or more of the following accommodations can be made, as determined by need: rescheduling of classes into disabled-accessible classrooms, preferential registration to ensure early notification of text files so these can be brailled or made into Talking Books, handicapped parking, readers/scribes, personal care attendants (PCAs), inter-campus transportation, adaptations to lab tables and preferential room assignments in Residence Halls.

Requests for any other accommodations or services will be considered on a case by case basis.

Designated Administrative Responsibilities

  1. The documentation for all students to whom this policy applies shall be maintained by Disability Services.
  2. For purposes of the administration of this policy after the completion of the admissions process, the designated administrator, after specific request from the student, shall communicate both the policy and any specific recommended accommodations for a particular student to those faculty and other administrators who are involved.
  3. For purposes of reporting the status of students covered by this policy to outside entities (e.g. insurance companies), the Registrar’s Office will designate those students with reduced course loads as registered full time on a reduced load under the regulations of the University and, if required to designate the number of credits, shall add an appropriate explanatory notation. Disability Services can provide an explanation of the nature of part time enrollment. However, the University cannot guarantee that any other entity will use the University’s categorization of the student’s status in evaluating the student’s eligibility under their own criteria.

Publication of Policy

The following statement shall be printed in materials such as promotional brochures, prepared for and distributed to prospective undergraduate and graduate students by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of Graduate Admissions, and/or on the websites of these offices.

All applicants for admission to the University who have a disability (physical, learning or psychiatric) and who may be in need of those specialized accommodations and services that the University is able to provide are requested to identify their disability in a timely manner (either at the time of their application for admission or immediately after receiving an offer of admission from the University) in order that their specific needs may be determined and that the services which can be provided by the University may be discussed with them. A copy of the University’s Policy for Students With Disabilities is available on request from the Office of Admissions or Disability Services. Prospective students who wish to discuss issues related to a disability prior to admission are encouraged to speak with Disability Services at 978-934-4574.

Resolving Disputes

The staff of  Disability Services act as liaisons between students with disability and their faculty members. If a faculty member has a concern regarding classroom or teaching accommodations, he or she is urged to discuss the concern with Disability Services staff immediately. Disability Services staff will review the concern against the mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act to determine whether and how the concern might be resolved.

For more information on the University's obligations regarding provision on reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities:

Reasonable Accommodations

Determination of Reasonable Accommodation
Definition Academic accommodations for students at UMass Lowell are services or resources that provide equal access to a post-secondary student with a disability by reducing the negative impact of the disability. Remediation is not a form of accommodation. Remediation is support or instruction in skills not acquired earlier in the educational process, and is not offered through this office. Students seeking remediation or tutoring should contact the Centers for Learning and Academic Support Services (CLASS).  
Process Overview 
Reasonable academic accommodations are determined on an individual basis. A qualified Disability Services staff member meets with a student requesting an accommodation and reviews the Information provided by diagnosing professional(s). That information should include a diagnosis, associated functional limitations, and, if possible, recommended accommodation(s). The staff member considers this information in the light of the scope and limitations listed below, consulting with faculty members when appropriate, and then determines which if any accommodations to provide. If insufficient information is provided from diagnosing professional(s), a request for accommodation may not be provided. If the Disability Services staff member does not find appropriate evidence on which to base decisions concerning accommodations for a student with a disability, the student may be referred for additional assessment (e.g. tests of intelligence, cognition/information processing, and academic achievement). 
Scope and Limitations 
  • Reasonability: If providing an accommodation would place an undue Hardship on the university such as significant difficulty or expense, the university is not required to provide the accommodation. Factors considered include cost compared to available financial resources, faculty and staff time resources, space resources, number of employees and impact upon others’ ability to work/learn. 
  • Fundamental alteration: Accommodations may not be provided which would fundamentally alter the nature or scope of learning of the student's instructional program(s), or which would circumvent any directly-related licensing requirement. 
Follow Up For Related Concerns
If you do not believe that your needs are being adequately or appropriately met, you are encouraged to meet with Disability staff will work with you on a case-by-case basis to attempt to resolve your concerns when feasible within the limits established by law for the provision of reasonable accommodations. 

If you have a concern or complaint that your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have not been met, you may contact the Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Clara I. Orlando, Director Equal Opportunity and Outreach, 978-934-3565, or the Deputy 504/ADA Coordinator, Donna Vieweg, Sr. EOO Employment Specialist, 978-934-3566. Both are located at Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Outreach, Wannalancit, 3rd Floor, 600 Suffolk Street, Lowell MA 01854. 

You have a right to file a formal complaint at any time with these agencies:

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
(800) 669-4000
TTY: (800) 669-6820

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place
Sixth Floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 994-6000
TTY: (617) 994-6196

Note-taker Accommodation Policy

  1. DS will assist in providing note-taker services for students who are eligible under Intake guidelines. Eligible students must complete a Faculty Notification Form each semester to request services. It is the student’s obligation to contact DS with any schedule changes as soon as possible.
  2. Note-taker services are meant to supplement your own notes and will only be provided if you attend class that day.
  3. If students have any problems with receiving their notes from the note-taker, or have problems reading the notes, they are responsible for bringing these issues to DS office to be resolved.
  4. The Faculty Notification letter will provide three options for the professor to provide a note-taker accommodation:
  5. The professor may provide the student with a copy of his/her own personal lecture notes.
  6. The professor may ask for a paid volunteer to take notes, without revealing the student who the accommodation is for. 
  7. A teaching assistant may be requested to take notes for the class.
  8. Professors will be provided with instructions for administering note- taking in their classes including information on how to recruit, select, and prepare students to become peer note-takers.
  9. Students with note-taker accommodations can choose to receive their class notes via the following methods:
  10. The note-taker can make copies of his/her notes in DS office and then the accommodated student will pick up his/her copies at DS office.
  11. If accommodated students identify their own note-taker, or are comfortable disclosing that they are the student identified for receiving note-taker services; then both parties have the option of making copies for free at a nearby business office, or in DS office.
  12. If faculty cannot identify a student note-taker for the class or a teaching assistant is not available, then DS should be notified by the end of the third week of class.  Student/Faculty should notify DS at the end of this period if a notetaker is still needed.
  13. DS Will then intervene by polling the class in an attempt to secure a note-taker.
For more information contact:
Disability@uml.edu or call 978-934-4574.