Maricopa Community Colleges

Maricopa Governance

Online Policy Manual

2.8 Students with Disabilities

2.8.1 Eligibility for Accommodations & Required Disability Documentation
2.8.2 Eligibility of Students Taking Reduced Course Loads


2.8.1 Eligibility for Accommodations & Required Disability Documentation

Purpose

To specify the disability documentation requirements that will qualify (i.e., support current and essential needs) Maricopa County Community College District students for reasonable and appropriate academic adjustments through each college's Disability Resources and Services (DRS) office or designated professional.

General Eligibility Requirements

DRS applicants must be admitted or enrolled as an MCCCD student, and must provide the Disability Resources and Services (DRS) office with qualifying disability documentation, verifying the nature and extent of the disability prior to requesting or receiving any academic adjustment.

Who Is Eligible for Services?
To be eligible for DRS support services, a student must have a disability as it defined by federal law (section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act OF 1990 (ADA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)).

Definitions

**Documentation can be transferred within MCCCD for current consideration for eligibility.
**Determination made by another institution or organization does not guarantee eligibility.

Special Considerations
Any employee who receives a request for academic adjustment must refer the student to the DRS Office. The DRS Office alone is responsible for evaluating documentation and determining eligibility and academic adjustments. All situations shall be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis, and all requests for academic adjustments from qualified students with a disability shall be considered by DRS. DRS may exercise its right to require additional documentation.

Academic adjustments are determined by the DRS Office Academic adjustments are determined by the DRS Office through an interactive exchange with the eligible student. The DRS Office will give priority to the request of the student, but will also consider the instructor’s perspective when it is offered. The interactive exchange may continue during the course of the year, and the DRS may make reasonable alterations in approved academic adjustments based on input from the student and the faculty member.  Academic adjustment determined by the DRS Office are required except when the institution subsequently determines that an adjustment would alter an academic requirements that is essential to the instruction being pursued by the student, or to a directly related licensing requirement. MCCCD is not required to provide “best” or “most desired” accommodations but rather a reasonable accommodation sufficient to meet accessibility needs.

In the event the instructor believes the modification determined by DRS would alter an academic requirement that is essential to the instruction being pursued by the student, or to a directly related licensing requirement, the instructor will first meet with the director of the DRS office within three working days of receipt of the determination and attempt to resolve the issue informally. If the faculty member’s concern remains unresolved, within three days of the above meeting he or she may submit a written request to the college’s chief academic officer (or a comparably qualified administrator designated by the college president) for his or her academic judgment on the question.

Any change in the DRS Office’s initial recommendation resulting from the above meeting or the Chief Academic Officer’s decision will be communicated to the student by the DRS Office. The interactive exchange with the student will continue in an effort to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome.

If a student is not satisfied with the academic adjustment provided, he or she may file a complaint under the Discrimination Complaint Procedures for Students. In such cases, the Vice President for Student Affairs will assign an investigator whose qualifications and experience include curriculum development and educational accommodations for students with disabilities.

In all cases in which academic adjustments are in controversy, whether as a student discrimination complaint or a faculty member’s appeal to the Chief Academic Officer, the ultimate decision will be informed by consultation with the duly appointed faculty representatives who serve in  the development of the curriculum for the institution and the program. The committee will study the requested academic adjustment and alternatives, their feasibility, cost and effect on the academic program, and come to a rationally justifiable conclusion as to whether the available alternatives would result either in lowering academic standards or requiring substantial program alteration. This conclusion will be submitted in writing to the Chief Academic Officer, who will consult with the Vice Chancellor and the Office of General Counsel before making the final determination. 

Nothing in this policy prohibits a faculty member from making minor, commonsense alterations in the manner in which a course is presented. A student who asks the instructor to change the color of chalk used because he is colorblind may be so accommodated without registering with DSO. However, the faculty member must report making such accommodations to DSO. 

Documentation Guidelines
Students requesting accommodations must provide documentation of their disability. Documentation consists of an evaluation prepared by a trained and qualified professional that identifies:

Specific Eligibility Requirements

  1. Physical Disabilities
    1. Required Documentation
      The student must submit a written, current diagnostic report of any physical disabilities that are based on appropriate diagnostic evaluations administered by trained and qualified (i.e., certified and/or licensed) professionals (e.g., medical doctors, ophthalmologists, neuropsychologists, audiologists). Disability diagnosis categories include:
      1. Orthopedic Disability
      2. Blind or Visual Impairment
      3. Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
      4. Traumatic Brain Injury
      5. Other Health-Related/Systemic Disabilities
    2. Diagnostic Report
      The diagnostic report must include the following information:
      1. A clear disability diagnosis, history, and the date of diagnosis.
      2. A description of any medical and/or behavioral symptoms associated with the disability.
      3. Medications, dosage, frequency, and any adverse side effects attributable to use.
      4. A clear statement specifying functional limitations.
      5. A recommendation for accommodation(s).
  2. Specific Learning Disabilities
    1. Required Documentation
      Submit a written diagnostic report of specific learning disabilities that is based on age appropriate, comprehensive, psycho educational evaluations using adult normed instruments.

      The assessment or evaluation which leads to the diagnosis must be administered by a trained and qualified (i.e., certified and/or licensed) professional (e.g., psychologist, school psychologist, neuropsychologist, or educational diagnostician) who has had direct experience with adolescents and adults with learning disabilities.

      An appropriate Psycho Educational Evaluation must include comprehensive measures in each of the following areas:
      1. Aptitude: evaluation must contain a complete intellectual assessment, with all sub-tests and standard scores reported.

        Examples Of Measures (including but not limited to):
        1. Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-R)
        2. Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale
        3. Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery
        4. Kaufman Adolescent And Adult Intelligence Test
      2. Academic Achievement: evaluation must contain a comprehensive achievement battery with all sub-tests and standard scores reported. The test battery should include current levels of functioning in the relevant area(s).

        Examples of Achievement (including but not limited to):
        1. Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT)
        2. Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery
        3. Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
        4. Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)
      3. Information Processing: evaluation should assess specific information processing areas such as short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive function, and motor ability.

        Examples of Achievement (including but not limited to):
        1. Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT)
        2. Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery
        3. Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
        4. Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)
    2. Diagnostic Report
      The diagnostic report must include the following information:
      1. A diagnostic interview that addresses relevant historical information, past and current academic achievement, instructional foundation, past performance in areas of difficulty, age at initial diagnosis, and history of accommodations used in past educational settings and their effectiveness.
      2. A list of all instruments used in the test battery.
      3. Discussion of test behavior and specific test results.
      4. A diagnostic summary or statement with the following information:
        1. DSM-IV, including all five axes.
        2. A clear and direct statement that a learning disability does or does not exist, including a rule-out of alternative explanations for the learning problems. Terms such as "appears," "suggests," or "probable" used in the diagnostic summary statement do not support a conclusive diagnosis.
        3. A clear statement specifying the substantial limitations to one or more major life activities.
        4. A psychometric summary of scores.
        5. A recommendation for accommodations, including rationale.
      Diagnosis of specific learning disabilities that do not contain psycho-educational measures may not be sufficient for determining eligibility for academic accommodations. For example, school plans such as individualized education plans (IEP) or 504 plans may not be sufficient documentation. DRS reserves the right to request reassessment when questions regarding previous assessment or previous service provision arise.
  3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) / Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
    1. Required Documentation
      Submit a current diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)/attention deficit disorder (ADD) that is based on appropriate diagnostic evaluations.
    2. Diagnostic Report
      Acceptable documentation must include:
      1. DSM-IV diagnosis, including all five axes
      2. A summary or statement which includes the following information:
        1. A clear summary or statement specifying evidence of behavior that significantly impairs functioning, including degree of severity.
        2. A recommendation for accommodations, including rationale.
  4. Psychological/Psychiatric Disabilities
    1. Required Documentation
      1. Depression and/or bipolar disorder
      2. Generalized anxiety disorders
      3. Post traumatic stress disorder
      4. Psychotic disorders
      5. Autism spectrum disorder.
    2. Diagnostic Report
      If the diagnostic report is not current, a letter from a qualified professional that provides an update of the diagnosis may be requested

      The diagnostic report must include the following:
      1. DSM-IV diagnosis, including all five axes
      2. A diagnostic summary or statement that includes the following:
        1. A clear summary or statement that a disability does or does not exist.
        2. A clear summary or statement specifying evidence of behavior that significantly impairs functioning including degree of severity.

        3. A discussion of medications and their possible impact on academic functioning.
  5. Neurological Disorders
    1. Required Documentation
      Disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system, including but not limited to:
      1. Acquired Brain Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury
      2. Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder
      3. Stroke
    2. Diagnostic Report
      Written statement of diagnosis:
      1. Current functional limitations
      2. Information regarding current symptoms
      3. Information regarding prescribed medication(s) and possible side effect and impact on student academic performance
      4. Restrictions on activities imposed by the condition
      5. Where learning has been affected, a recent neuro-psychological evaluation is requested
  6. Temporary Disabling Conditions
    1. Required Documentation
      Temporary disabling conditions as a result of surgery, accident, or serious illness may require accommodations for a limited time. Acceptable documentation must include:
      1. Written statement of diagnosis
      2. List of current symptoms and degree of severity
      3. Information regarding functional limitations and impact within an academic environment
      4. Medications and possible side effects
      5. Duration of symptoms and estimated length of time services will be needed

 

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AMENDED through direct approval by the Chancellor, April 1, 2013

AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation Process, March 13, 2012
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, February 24, 2004
ADOPTED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, April 14, 2003

2.8.2 Eligibility of Students Taking Reduced Course Loads

Although any student may register for fewer than twelve credit hours, a student with a disability may request a reduced academic load as a reasonable and appropriate accommodation. A college Disability Resource Services (DRS) professional may certify that a student who is afforded a reduced academic load as an accommodation for a disability shall nevertheless be deemed a full-time student. Such certification shall be solely to enable the student to seek eligibility for health insurance benefits and to seek eligibility to comply with mandates of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The college DRS professional will certify that a student may be deemed a full-time student as provided under this regulation only on a semester-by-semester basis.

The appropriate college offices will receive documentation of the DRS professional’s certification from the professional or the student. An incoming student may apply for such certification upon acceptance to the college. Requests for certification must be made prior to the beginning of each semester. Every attempt will be made to accommodate these requests.

The following criteria also apply:

  1. Students taking a reduced course load must register for at least 6 credit hours (based on DRS approval) during the regular fall and spring semesters.  It is recommended that students register for at least three (3) credit hours during the summer to offset the impact of academic eligibility.
  2. Students taking a reduced course load must maintain satisfactory academic progress standards as defined by the College catalog.
  3. The reduced credit load may result in an adjusted financial aid package. There may be additional ramifications including, but not limited to, extra time to complete college, insurance coverage, Vocational Rehabilitation funding, etc.
  4. Eligibility for Federal Stafford Loans may be reduced according to the total number of credit hours taken in the full academic year.  A student, taking a reduced course load, must be at least half time in a semester (6 credits) in order to receive a Stafford Loan.
  5. The amount of Federal Financial Aid (Title IV) awarded is based on the actual number of cerdit hours taken.
  6. Requirements for continuation of funding through Vocational Rehabilitation may differ.  The student must contact his/her VR counselor to determine how a reduced course load will impact their funding.
  7. The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has published standards in regard to the designation of Certified Disabled Student-Athlete in Article V Section J of the NJCAA bylaws.  This procedure addresses the NJCAA criteria for reduced course loads.

Application Process

  1. Applications for reduced course loads must be submitted to the Disability & Services professional with supporting documentation.  Requests must be made prior to the beginning of each semester.
  2. Supporting documentation must include a diagnostic evaluation from an appropriate professional.  The documentation must meet the guidelines set forth by the Maricopa Community College District’s Documentation Policy in order to evaluate the current impact of the disability in regards to the request.  Students are required to complete an application form for this status every semester, but do not need to re-submit their documentation.  Continuation of this status is not automatic.  Each case will be re-evaluated at the end of the semester to determine if this accommodation is still appropriate.
  3. Students requesting a reduced course load should consult with their academic advisor regarding the consequences of this status for making progress toward graduation requirements and eligibility for various academic distinctions and designations.
  4. Students registered in occupational and/or academic programs that have specific block formats will not be considered for reduced course loads.
  5. Students who are approved for a reduced course load will be required to sign the Reduced Course Load Approval Form (see Appendix S-10), which includes a statement acknowledging that he or she has reviewed the consequences that go with reduced load status and accepts them.
  6. When a reduced course load status is granted by the Disability Resources & Services professional, a copy of the Reduced Course Load Approval Form will be sent to the appropriate individuals.

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AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation Process, March 13, 2012
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process on August 18, 2008
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process on November 16, 2007

ADOPTED through the Administrative Regulation approval process on April 26, 2006

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