Students walking in The Alley in Downtown Aiken


Office of Admissions

Disability Services serves students with appropriately documented disabilities significantly affecting major life functions. Students registered with our office have disabilities including; physical, blind, deaf, psychiatric, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, other health disabilities, and traumatic brain injury.
Yes. A student can only be recognized as a student with a disability at USC Aiken and receive accommodations for a disability if the student is registered with the Office of Disability Services and reasonable accommodations have been approved.
Yes. Because colleges fall under different laws than high schools, there are many differences. There are differences in areas including disclosure of disability, documentation and registration as a student with a disability, accommodations and services available, and student responsibilities in requesting and using accommodations.
A college student at USC Aiken can sign a waiver giving staff permission to share information with parents. However, you should know that even if a student signs a waiver, Disability Services staff only communicates with parents, or other parties, in the presence of the student. Also, Disability Services staff requires that the student handle any matters related to our office, including registration and accommodations. We do not work with the parent in place of the student.

We will consider any information (including, but not limited to, your description of your needs; records of past accommodations and services from high school or another college; formal psychological or medical evaluations, letters from past health, education or service providers) when evaluating requests for accommodation. This information is needed so that we can develop an understanding of how your conditions are likely to impact you.

Any documentation submitted must be completed by a qualified professional (i.e. Medical Doctor, Psychologist, Counselor) and typed on letterhead.

A Summary of Performance is not acceptable documentation. A Summary of Performance is a document prepared between the high school and the student to aide the student in transition planning.
The registration process will depend on how long it takes for you to submit the required documentation. Once all documents have been received and verified, the process usually takes from 25-30 minutes to complete.
Services are determined by a detailed review of documentation. Therefore, services for each student cannot be determined until all of the required documentation has been received and reviewed by the Disability Coordinator.

For information on how to register, please review our Register with Disability Services page.

Register with Disability Services

In general "documentation" means a letter from a doctor, or a psychoeducational evaluation from a psychologist, depending upon your disability. We do not accept medical records because we cannot interpret and evaluate medical records. A letter or psychoeducational evaluation allows the medical professional to explain the disability and significant effects on major life functions. For more details, please visit our Documentation Guidelines.
Disability Services cannot tell you exactly what should be in your documentation because we are not your medical provider. Please review the Documentation Guidelines for information. The medical provider can contact Disability Services if questions arise.
Our office does not provide tutors, but tutoring services are available for all USC Aiken students in math and writing labs on campus. Students may also contact academic departments to seek tutoring.
No. Registration as a student with a disability at USC Aiken is not retroactive. You cannot be recognized as a student with a disability during a semester in which you were not registered with Disability Services.
Students registered with Disability Services as a student with a disability fall under the syllabus and attendance policy of each individual professor for each course. If a student with a disability is having difficulty with the class attendance policy, the student should speak with the instructor.
Students registered with Disability Services as a student with a disability fall under the syllabus and course requirements of each individual professor for each course. If a student with a disability is having difficulty with class requirements, the student should speak with the instructor.
Disability Services works with students after they have been admitted to the University. Disability Services is not involved in admissions. If you have any questions regarding admissions, direct your questions to the Office of Admissions. The Office of Admissions number is: 803-641-3366

Disability is not considered in the admissions process. However, sometimes students choose to disclose various life experiences in an admissions essay. Some students, for example, may talk about completing high school while working two jobs because of the death of a parent. Other students may talk about completing high school while dealing with a disability.

Also, you should know that if you choose to send disability documentation to admissions, they WILL NOT pass it on to Disability Services. If you are admitted to USC Aiken and decide to register as a student with a disability through Disability Services, YOU MUST APPLY for services through Disability Services.

Registration for Disability Services

Student Application for Registration with Disability Services

Establish eligibility for disability services.

Accommodation Requests

Accommodations Waiver Form

Students should complete this form if they decide to take their exams in the classroom.

Alternate Format Textbook Request Form

Complete this form to request alternate media formats of your textbooks.  The process typically takes 1-3 weeks. It is best to submit your requests prior to the beginning of each semester to ensure your books are ordered and received in a timely manner. 

Exam Proctoring Form

If you have testing accommodations that cannot be handled within your classroom, exams can be proctored by Disability Services staff.

To schedule an exam, contact either Sandra Robinson by phone at 803-643-6816 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dana Cullum by phone at 803-641-3609 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • The professor must first have your Accommodation Form.  These are provided to you by the Disability Services Coordinator once you have completed the registration process and orientation appointment.
  • Coordinate accommodations with your professor, especially if you must take the exam at a different time from the class. (This can become an issue if your extended test-taking time interferes with another class or exam.)
  • Schedule exam with Disability Services staff at 803-643-6815 at least ONE (1) WEEK in advance.
  • Arrive in the office at least 10 minutes prior to your exam time. Turn off cell phones. Leave personal items outside of testing area.
  • If you arrive 15 minutes or later after your exam time, you must reschedule your exam appointment.
  • Bring the supplies allowed/required by your professor, e.g., scratch paper, Scantron, calculator, pencils, exam book. We do not supply Scantrons!
  • You are not to leave the ATC for any reason other than an emergency once you begin your exam. Remember there might be other students who are taking exams at the same time as you. Taking an exam in the ATC is just like being in your classroom; the same rules apply.
  • Arrange with your professor ahead of time the method of handling any questions you may have since they will most likely be administering the exam to the rest of the class at the same time.

Requests and Documentation for Emotional Support Animals

University of South Carolina Aiken recognizes the tremendous benefit an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) can provide. In accordance with federal and state law, when approved as a housing accommodation, ESAs may be permitted to reside in the residence halls. Students must follow the same request process as they would for any other housing accommodation. The student must complete the student application for registration and submit verification of a disability with documentation to support an ESA. Upon receipt of the required documentation, the Coordinator of Disability Services will review and make a determination as to whether there is sufficient documentation to support a request to have an ESA.

Please be aware, there is a great deal of misinformation available about what constitutes legitimate medical or otherwise supportive documentation for an ESA. Many licensed therapists across the country are willing to write letters supporting an ESA based on a single conversation either in person, over the phone, or on a tele-meeting platform (i.e., zoom). These brief conversations often do not establish an appropriate treatment relationship between a student and the provider, so the documentation may not be considered applicable. Additionally, to date, the university is not aware of any official national or state accreditation or certification for ESAs, despite there being many online organizations claiming as such. Please contact the Office of Disability Services to discuss whether or not a certain source of documentation would be deemed legitimate and valid.

Documentation Guidelines

In order for documentation to be considered, it must come from an appropriately licensed professional with whom the student has an established treatment relationship related to the accommodation being requested. The treatment provider must submit the necessary information on their professional letterhead, typed or written and clearly legible, and must date and sign the document. 

In order to determine if a particular housing accommodation is necessary, the documentation provided should include the following:

  1. Description of disability or impairment.
  2. Information about the current functional impact of the condition or disability as it relates to the housing modification or accommodation requested.
  3. Recommendation from the professional explaining the need for the accommodation as it relates to a disability/impairment.
  4. If requesting an Emotional Support Animal (EAS), information about how the ESA is part of a student’s ongoing treatment and necessary to reduce the impact of a specific set of symptoms or functional impairment should be included. 

The approved ESA accommodation request form for your therapist/medical service provider is located below:

Emotional Support Animal Request Form

Examples of chronic health conditions include cystic fibrosis, diabetes, lupus, sickle cell anemia, Crohn's disease, cancer, AIDS, and hemophilia. These conditions may require specialized treatments, hospitalization, or bed rest during acute phases. In addition, chronic health conditions can affect cognitive functions, motor function, and energy levels. Accommodations for these types of conditions vary greatly depending on specific needs.

The diagnosis should be made by a physician, surgeon, or other licensed medical professional with experience and expertise in the area of the student's medical condition. The following guidelines will assist the professional in addressing the information the DS needs to provide the student with appropriate accommodations. 

  1. Prepare documentation on professional letterhead, with the dates of assessment, signatures, and license numbers or credentials of the diagnosing professional.
  2. Provide a comprehensive diagnostic report and description of the illness or condition, including the appropriate ICD-9 code. State any functional limitations on learning or other major life activities.
  3. Recommend accommodations for a postsecondary setting and include the rationale
  4. Submit information relating to treatment and its impact on the student's ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment. Relevant information regarding any medication that may impact an individual's academic performance should also be included.
  5. Specify a relevant prognosis which may include a schedule of future treatments, procedures, hospitalizations, or likely absences.

Any temporary condition is considered to be in the medical domain and requires the expertise of a physician, including a neurologist, psychiatrist or other medical specialist with experience and expertise in the area for which accommodations are being requested.

Documentation must include:

  1. A clear statement of the medical diagnosis of the temporary condition.
  2. The results of the most recent evaluation regarding the condition. Documentation for eligibility should be current, within the last three months (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the temporary condition, the current status of the student and the student’s request for accommodations).
  3. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis, including evaluation results and standardized scores if applicable.
  4. A description of present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  5. Medical information relating to the student’s needs to include the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the postsecondary environment.
  6. The printed name, signature, title, professional credentials, address, phone number and fax number of each medical specialist involved as well as the date(s) of testing/evaluation, all on official letterhead (The following are not acceptable: physician’s note on a prescription pad, lab results, clinical file notes).

Suggestions of reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate at the postsecondary level are encouraged. These recommendations must be supported by the diagnosis and current symptoms. In the case of obvious temporary physical conditions (i.e. a broken leg or arm), provisional accommodations may be granted with the agreement that supporting documentation be submitted to our office within a reasonable time (3 to 5 days).

A visual disorder is the result of a functional loss of vision. Some of the eye disorders seen among college students include albinism, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, muscular problems, retinal degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. The terms partially sighted, low vision, legally blind, and totally blind are used in the educational context to describe students with visual impairments.

Documentation of a visual disorder should come from an individual qualified to diagnose and/or treat these disorders, such as an optometrists or ophthalmologists. The following guidelines were developed to assist the professional in providing the information necessary to support reasonable accommodations.

  1. Prepare documentation on professional letterhead, with the dates of assessment, signatures, and license numbers or credentials of the diagnosing professional.
  2. State the diagnosis, date of the assessment and date of the original diagnosis.
  3. Provide a summary of present symptoms and severity, prognosis of condition, and current level of functional limitations (i.e., visual acuity with and without corrected vision, visual field, if condition is progressive).
  4. Describe medication prescribed and their effects on academic functioning, if applicable.
  5. Recommend academic accommodations and the rationale (i.e., treatments, assistive devices, and accommodations needed for learning).


The Admissions staff at the University of South Carolina Aiken understands that the college selection process can be overwhelming. Our staff is dedicated and prepared to help you with information about the University and our admissions process.

Your enrollment counselor is your personal contact at USC Aiken. If you have a specific question, please feel free to contact him/her.

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