Access and Accommodations

Welcome to The Office of Access and Accommodations. Our mission is to promote an inclusive education experience and to provide equal access to students with disabilities while maintaining the integrity of the University’s academic standards. We are dedicated to assessing the disability-related needs of students and providing reasonable accommodations so that they may achieve their educational potential and fully benefit from all aspects of the college experience.

What is the Purpose of Accommodations?
Academic accommodations are designed to reduce or eliminate barriers in the learning environment to ensure students with disabilities have equal access and opportunity to learn and fully participate in all educational programs at Fort Valley State University. Accommodations are not meant to compromise academic standards and should not alter the essential requirements of a program. Course objectives should remain unchanged.

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Fort Valley State University prohibits discrimination based on disability and provides reasonable accommodations to eligible students unless doing so will impose an undue hardship on the University.

Examples of Reasonable Academic Accommodations:

Students with disabilities have different needs and may not require the same accommodations. They are assessed on an individual basis and on the student’s current level of functioning. Requests for accommodations must include documentation to substantiate the need. Accommodating students with disabilities does not mean setting different standards or providing an unfair advantage. Providing reasonable accommodations may mean creating a more accessible learning environment or allowing the use of adaptive equipment. 

There is not one list of reasonable academic accommodations that will serve the needs of all students with disabilities. The following are some basic examples: Priority seating, extended time on examinations, allowing students to take exams in a distraction-reduced setting, and assistive technology.

Although it is the duty of the University to provide reasonable accommodations, it is the responsibility of the student with the need to request the accommodation.

How to Request Academic Accommodations:

All students requesting accommodations at FVSU must submit documentation of a disability to the Office of Access and Accommodations (OAA). Documentation must be from a licensed professional and will be reviewed after you have been fully admitted to the University. Please share the documentation guidelines with your doctor which can be found here: Disability Documentation Guidelines. A K-12 school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan does not alone serve as documentation of disability. However, it is welcomed as supporting material to compliment medical documentation and may be included in a student’s overall assessment as helpful and relevant background information.

Once you have all of your documentation, including a letter from your physician or healthcare provider, medical records, psychological evaluation, IPE/504 plan, and confirmation of any accommodations on the SAT/ACT, please click here to complete the Academic Accommodations Request Form. Your supporting documentation can be attached to this form or sent to

It is important for students to understand to receive reasonable accommodations, eligibility is determined by the documentation received which must provide appropriate evidence of limitations resulting from a disability. Once a review is completed, you will be contacted by the Office of Access and Accommodations about the status of your request and/or to schedule a meeting.


Responsibilities During Accommodation Process:   

Ensuring accessibility is a group effort between the student, instructor, and the Office of Access and Accommodations. Each member of the group has rights and responsibilities during the accommodation process which leads to a better working relationship and clear communication. The responsibilities related to determining, providing, and receiving reasonable accommodations are as follows:

Students are responsible for:

  • Contacting The Office of Access and Accommodations and following the process to request accommodations.
  • Meeting with the OAA for an intake appointment to discuss the impact of their disability and the reasonable accommodations they require.
  • Initiating communication with their instructors about the accommodations documented in the Accommodation Letter once approved. 
  • Requesting the Accommodation Letter for every semester that they need to use their accommodations.
  • Submitting updated disability documentation to support any newly requested accommodations not previously approved.

Faculty members are responsible for:

  • Referring students to the Office of Access and Accommodations if they receive a request for a disability-related accommodation directly from a student.
  • Meeting with students who provide an approved Accommodation Letter from The Office of Access and Accommodations. 
  • Providing the academic accommodations listed in the official Accommodation Letter.
  • Maintaining confidentiality of students who disclose their disability or need for accommodation.
  • Contacting the Office of Access and Accommodations if there are questions or concerns about an approved accommodation.

The Office of Access and Accommodations is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the University meets its obligation to provide access to students with disabilities while also protecting the integrity of academic program and services.
  • Meeting with students confidentially to discuss their disability-related needs and accommodation requests.
  • Determining reasonable accommodations as supported by the submitted disability documentation. 
  • Collaborating with faculty and other campus entities to implement accommodations.
  • Serving as an advocate for students with disabilities while also ensuring they are abiding by university policies and procedures.

Emotional Support Animals: 

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is one that is necessary to afford a person with a mental or emotional disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy university housing, pursuant to the Fair Housing Act. An ESA provides emotional support and comfort which may alleviate one or more symptoms of a mental or emotional disability. ESAs do not perform work or tasks that would qualify them as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore are not permitted in any areas on campus other than the student's assigned room within university housing. No emotional support animal may be kept in university housing at any time prior to the student receiving approval for the ESA as a reasonable accommodation. 

To evaluate the request for an ESA, students must complete the Assistive Animal in Housing Application. The Office of Access and Accommodations must also receive sufficient documentation from the qualified, licensed provider who is treating the student. Examples of a qualified provider include but are not limited to: Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, Psychiatrist, or Licensed Counselor. There must be a documented connection between the mental health disability and the assistance that the animal provides, and it cannot merely be a pet. Providers should use the ESA Documentation Guidelines for writing a letter of support on official letterhead. The letter may be sent directly to the OAA at 

Current vaccination records for the ESA must also be submitted in addition to a signed roommate agreement. All roommates must be made aware and agree to the presence of an animal in the residence hall unit. After the request form, letter of support, immunization records, and roommate agreement are received, the student will be contacted by the Office of Access of Accommodations to discuss their request and approval decision.

Service Animals:

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a dog that is trained to do work or perform a task for people with disabilities. Examples of such work include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind, alerting individuals who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving items such as medication, and providing physical support for individuals with mobility disabilities. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.  

Students who require the use of a service animal may bring them on campus without making a formal reasonable accommodations request. Service animals are allowed in FVSU facilities, including housing, except where prohibited due to environmental or safety hazards. However, it is requested that all students who will reside with a service animal in campus housing meet with the Office of Access and Accommodations to review the Animal Policy and its requirements and acknowledge receipt and understanding of the policy. The complete animal policy can be found here: FVSU Animal Policy.

Housing Accomodations:

Housing accommodations can be provided when students anticipate or encounter disability-related barriers that impact their ability to access University residence halls and fully participate in the campus housing experience. Examples of housing accommodations include but are not limited to: ADA accessible rooms or proximity to a bathroom. Personal preferences are not included or permitted in the accommodations process. 

To request accommodations for campus housing due to a documented disability, the Housing Accommodation Request form must be completed in addition to the Housing Accommodation Form for Medical Professionals. The form for medical professionals must be completed by the appropriate licensed provider and submitted to To substantiate the need for assistance, clear documentation of limitations as it relates to housing is required. Upon receipt and review of both documents, the OAA will contact the student to discuss the request and approval decision. Please note that an approved housing accommodation does not guarantee placement and is subject to availability which is determined by Residential Life.

All accommodations requests are reviewed case-by-case. Please allow up to 14 business days for review of submitted documentation. Incomplete applications, including applications submitted without the required medical documentation cannot be processed. The Office of Access and Accommodations reserves the right to request additional information, if necessary. Once approved, to continue to be considered for academic accommodations, students must request them each semester. Other accommodations requests must be made annually. 

Accommodations Appeal Process: 

All decisions regarding a request for reasonable accommodation will be communicated to the student in writing. If a request for an accommodation is denied, the student has the right to appeal that decision. A student who believes as though they have been denied a reasonable accommodation or is dissatisfied with the determination that they are not eligible as an otherwise qualified individual with a disability may appeal in writing within 5 working days of notification of the denial to the Access and Accommodations Coordinator. The appeal will be reviewed by the Accommodations Appeal Committee which will consist of appointed FVSU staff and faculty members. The Committee will render a decision and provide the student with a copy of the decision in writing within 5 working days of the conclusion of the review. The decision of the Accommodations Appeal Committee is final.

For more information about accommodations requests, please contact:

Candace Mims, M.S., CRC

Access and Accommodations Coordinator
Phone: (478) 822-1072