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The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) removes barriers in support of equal access
for individuals with disabilities by providing campus-wide accessibility services
and reasonable accommodations for eligible students. We recognize that students have
been admitted to the university based on their abilities to succeed, expected to meet the same academic and technical standards. The OAR supports
disability as an aspect of diversity and inclusion integral to our campus community
Students not registered with the OAR and requesting accommodations for the first time
at Western Carolina University should engage as soon as possible once they have identified
a barrier or need.
Getting Started - Requesting Accommodations
OAR Registration Form
Students submit the OAR Registration Form, and their documentation, such as evaluation
and medical report to the OAR (please see our Documentation Guidelines for more information).
Upon receiving the information, the OAR will facilitate an interactive and engaging
process to determine accommodations and support the student. Students with approved
acccommodations are provided an Accommodation Letter.
Alternate Format Book Request
Request a Kurzweil 3000 Account
- Computer services include:identifying and locating text-to-speech or speech-to-text software; identifying and
using other accessibility features (such as magnification).
- Interpretive services: Sign-language or CART services can be arranged through OAR.
- Housing:Requests for special housing considerations for students with disabilities should
be made through Residential Living.
- Accommodations for temporary disabilities: If you have a temporary disability due to an injury or illness, OAR can provide some
accommodations on a temporary or short-term basis. Please make an appointment to discuss
Register with the Office of Accessibility Resources
Accommodations are provided when deemed necessary and reasonable for a particular
student and are determined on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process
between the student and OAR. It is the student's responsibility to disclose their
disability and to request academic or physical accommodations.
Students should make their request in a timely manner to the Office of Accessibility
Resources (OAR) and every reasonable effort will be made to provide accommodations
and ensure accessibility. Requests for accommodations can be made at any time; however,
some accommodations may take time to put in place. Therefore, it is best for students
to make their request as early as possible in the semester. Accommodations are not
retroactive and cannot be made for events or exams that have happened before the request.
The process for obtaining accommodations is as follows:
- Complete an OAR Student Registration Form.
- Provide current documentation of disability (see Documentation Guidelines for more information on appropriate and acceptable documentation).
- Schedule an intake appointment with the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) to
determine necessary accommodations and support.
- OAR will write and provide Accommodation Letter to the student.
- Students are responsible for distributing their letters to instructors and discussing
accommodation needs with them.
- OAR staff will be available to meet and consult with students and faculty about issues
of accessibility and/or accommodations upon request.
- Accommodations are reviewed and new letters generated prior to the start of each academic
year in which the student is enrolled.
To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations, a student must
submit their current documentation of a disability.
Documentation must validate the presence of a disability under Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disability Act. With respect to
the individual, the definition of a person with a disability includes:
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
of such individual.
- A record of such an impairment; or
- Being regarded as having such an impairment.
Documentation helps establish if the student meets the definition of a person with
a disability and should describe functional limitations to support the need for, and
reasonableness of specific accommodations. All documentation is evaluated on a case-by-case
Documentation Should Include
- The contact information and licenses/credentials of a third-party professional who
has relevant experience and expertise in the area for which accommodations are being
- A clearly stated diagnosis or diagnostic statement that identifies the disability
with information that describes how the condition was diagnosed, notes the functional
impact, and details the typical progression or prognosis.
- Identify the session(s) of the evaluation and the length of time if the individual
has been in treatment for the specified disability.
- Contain the full name and birthdate of the person being evaluated.
- Be up to date and not exceed five years.
- Include a description of the person's current functional limitations in an academic
and/or environmental setting.
- For some disabilities, include the description of the type(s) of evaluation and diagnostic
methods as this may help the student access additional accommodations not directly
affiliated with the university.
- Present itself on a letterhead with the date, name, and signature of the licensed
professional making the diagnosis.
Other Points Concerning Documentation
- The provision of reasonable accommodations is based upon the current impact of the
disability; therefore, it is in the student’s interest to provide the best, most recent
- Keep in mind that evaluations conducted in childhood may not be sufficient for an
adult college student.
- The OAR does not pay for, nor provide testing, evaluations, and/or diagnosis.
- It is helpful when the documentation addresses the student’s ability to function in
an academic environment and may include recommendations for accommodations.
- WCU is not obligated to approve every accommodation as recommended by evaluators.
- All accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and in consideration of
that student's unique situation.
- Individualized Education Programs (IEP) or 504 Plans do not alone constitute documentation
of disability but is often helpful and may be included in a student's overall assessment.
- A physician's prescription pad note is not acceptable as documentation of disability.
- The OAR does not obtain information regarding a student's disability through the admissions
Information regarding a student's disability is not obtained through the admissions
process. Disability-related information and records are maintained separately from
academic records. Please send documentation of disability directly to OAR.
Accommodation Letters are created collaboratively with the student and OAR through
an interactive process.
Some examples of classroom accommodations include:
- alternative testing arrangements
- extended time
- reduced-distraction testing rooms
- alternative format materials (such as handouts and textbooks in PDF or Braille)
- use of a word processor
- digital recorders
- captioning of videos
- interpreters or assistive technology
Accommodation Letters inform instructors of approved modifications. It is the student's
responsibility to deliver the letters to their instructors and to initiate discussion
about accommodations. OAR staff will be available to meet with students and faculty
upon request. Accommodations are reviewed and new letters generated prior to the start
of each academic year in which the student is enrolled.
Mission & Goals
Mission and Goals
It is our mission to remove barriers and ensure equal access for all qualified students
In support of this mission, the goals of the Office of Accessibility Resources are
- Serve as advocates for accessibility for students with disabilities while promoting
student independence, self-determination, and responsibility;
- Coordinate and provide accommodations and related support services for accessibility
for students with disabilities;
- Provide training and resources for faculty, staff, and administration around accessibility
for students with disabilities;
- Provide consultation, information, and outreach to parents and prospective students
regarding accessibility and accommodations for students with disabilities;
- Foster awareness and understanding University-wide of issues of accessibility in all
aspects of campus life;
- Assist the University in supporting the civil rights of students with disabilities
as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), its amendments (ADAAA),
and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.