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.
For information on how to register, please review our Register with Disability Services page.
I have had a documented disability for years, but did not register with Disability Services. Last semester my grades suffered due to my disability. If I register with Disability Services, can my past grades be changed?
I have a disability that sometimes affects my attendance. If I am registered as a student with a disability through Disability Services, will I be granted an accommodation that allows for extra absences from class?
I have a disability that sometimes affects my schedule and completion of assignments, papers, and test preparation. If I am registered as a student with a disability through Disability Services, will I be granted an accommodation that allows me extensions for assignments, papers, and test preparation?
I have a disability. My SAT score/GRE score/GPA does not meet USC Aiken requirements for admission. Can I meet with someone in Disability Services to get assistance with my admissions application/assistance getting admitted to the university?
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.
Establish eligibility for disability services.
Students should complete this form if they decide to take their exams in the classroom.
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.
If you have testing accommodations that cannot be handled within your classroom, exams can be proctored by Disability Services staff.
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.
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:
The approved ESA accommodation request form for your therapist/medical service provider is located below:
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.
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:
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.