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Types of college accommodations and services

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos

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All colleges are required by law to provide certain supports and services to students with learning disabilities . But some provide more than the bare minimum. Refer to this list as you compare the accommodations and services at different schools.

Commonly available accommodations

  • Extended time on exams (not the same as “untimed” tests, which are not typically available)

  • Use of laptops for tests and exams

  • Use of calculators for tests and exams

  • Permission to make audio recordings of classes (some schools may loan out smart pens for this purpose)

  • Reduced course load — but financial aid may be reduced as a result

  • Priority registration for courses

  • Copies of notes from a classmate

  • Access to audiobooks

  • Access to voice recognition software

  • Access to text-to-speech programs

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Accommodations that may be more difficult to get

  • Extended time on papers and projects (typically not given on an ongoing basis but rather as situations arise — such as for students with acute medical or psychological episodes)

  • Course waivers and substitutions (colleges may choose to give these but are not required to)

  • Alternative exam formats, such as oral rather than written exams (colleges typically do not grant this)

Other services that may be available

  • Training in adaptive technology

  • Help with study skills and time management

  • Learning specialists (may cost extra)

  • Mentoring programs

  • Student support groups

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School supports

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