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Accessibility Resources/Disability Services guidelines

Student Services (SS) is the department responsible for coordinating the supportive learning needs for the students of North Central. That includes all disability and special needs services. Through Student Services you can get: accommodations in your courses, assistive technology, tutoring, academic advising, and other tools to help you succeed. The fact that you have a disability does not automatically make you eligible for services at the college level. There are specific requirements that must be met to obtain these services. If you are coming right from high school, the requirements to get services are quite different from high school as different laws now apply since you are an adult. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with these differences and learn the law as it applies to you as an adult and in the college setting.

Differences between high school and college disability services

High School
Services were about your success  Services are about equal access; succeeding is up to you
Someone sought you out to provide you services You must advocate for yourself and seek out the services you need
You must provide documentation and proof of your disability You must provide documentation and proof of your disability
May have had options of working with a person or a machine                             You take which accommodation is available, even though it may not be your first choice
Teachers gave you extra chances and time until you learned the material          You get the same opportunity to learn as everyone else
Aids were available to help you You must be self-sufficient
Someone checked up on your progress Only you are in charge of your progress and keeping yourself on track
Someone kept all the important paperwork on you You are responsible for providing the correct paperwork and maintaining current records
Someone made sure you had what you needed all the time Only you make sure you have what you need and speak up or advocate to get it
Curriculum may have been modified to be more manageable You are responsible for the same amount of work and course requirements

Assistive Technology Available through Accessibility Resources

  • Digital Voice Recorder
  • Ergonomic keyboard
  • Magni-Viewer
  • Audiobooks
  • Carbonless notebooks
  • Smart Pens and Super Pens

Common Accommodations 

  • Alternative Testing Location
  • Extended Testing Time
  • Priority Seating
  • Alternative formats
  • Interpreter Service
  • Reader
  • Course Substitution
  • Note-taking
  • Scribe

At the College level, aides of personal nature are not provided. Personal needs that necessitate an attendant are the responsibility of the student. Student Services may assist the student in finding a personal aide but it will be student’s responsibility to hire and pay for the services of the aide.

Disability Law

It is the policy of North Central Michigan College to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These acts provide for equal opportunity for students with disabilities in educational activities, programs, and facilities. North Central is committed to affording equal opportunity to persons with disabilities. Staff, faculty, and students are expected to adhere to this philosophy.

A reasonable accommodation is defined as any change in an educational environment that effectively and appropriately enables an individual with a disability to have equal educational opportunities. Reasonable accommodations are intended to provide an equal access. They are not intended to provide an unfair advantage and are not a guarantee of success.

An accommodation is not reasonable when it:

• Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others OR

• Requires a substantial change to an essential element of course curriculum OR

• Requires a substantial alteration in the manner in which services are offered or provided for non-disabled students OR

• Imposes an undue financial or administrative burden OR

• Is a personal need such as a specialized tutor, a personal care attendant, individualized instruction

Dispute Resolution / Grievance Procedure

Should students encounter issues related to their disabilities or accommodations, they should first speak directly with the instructor to try to resolve the issue. If resolution is not achieved, they should contact Student Services to work with college personnel and the student to resolve any such instances.

If an acceptable resolution is not reached, then any student denied accommodations or academic adjustments may appeal the decision to the ADA Grievance Committee. This appeal must be made in writing within five working days of the denial of services, and the student and faculty/staff cited in the grievance are required to attend a meeting in person to participate in the resolution process. The ADA Grievance Committee is comprised of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the associate dean for the course in question, the ADA/504 compliance officer, and the Disability Services Coordinator. At any time a student has the right to file a complaint or formal grievance. All complaints of discrimination shall be in writing and filed by the Complainant with the office of the President of Finance and Facilities, 1515 Howard Street,Petoskey, MI 49770 in a sealed envelope marked “Confidential” or via the Complaint tab located in the students portal.

Complaints shall contain:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the person making the complaint (Complainant)
  • A concise description of the alleged discriminatory act or action
  • The date or dates of the alleged discriminatory action
  • The name of the person or persons alleged to have engaged in the discriminatory act or actions

The Complaint shall be filed within twenty-one (21) days after the Complainant becomes aware of the alleged discrimination. (See Discrimination Grievance Procedures in the North Central Student Handbook for more information.) The student has the right to file a formal grievance at any time by contacting the Office of Civil Rights (

Equipment Loan Policy

Upon borrowing equipment from Student Services, a student signs an Equipment Loan Agreement, thereby agreeing to return the equipment at the end of the semester in the same condition (other than normal wear) or else be responsible for refunding Student Services the full replacement value. All loan equipment is registered to the student’s account. If the equipment is not returned one week after the semester ends, or if it comes back damaged, a replacement fee will be charged to the student’s account. 

Process for Requesting Accommodations

The accommodations process is addressed on an individual, case-by-case basis. Each studentʼs needs are different depending on the disability and course-load. What works for one student may not work for another, and what works in one class may not work in another, so the circumstances for each individual must be assessed when services are required. The accessibility coordinator and the student will work together as a team to determine appropriate accommodations based on the disability and the needs of the student.

The process for receiving accommodations is:

  1. Student discloses disability and registers with Student Services (Accessibility Resources), completing all necessary paperwork and documenting disability
  2. Coordinator and student discuss and determine specific recommended accommodations based on documentation and eligibility.
  3. SS provides written ADA Compliance Notification for faculty via email at the start of each semester.
  4. The student will be sent a copy of the ADA Compliance Notification and is expected to contact each professor to discuss arrangements for accommodations in the classroom, agreeing to a mutual understanding, conferring with a coordinator as needed.
  5. If adjustments to accommodations are needed, students are responsible for contacting SS for assistance. Modifications to accommodations can be made through SS at any time; however, accommodations cannot be made retroactively.
  6. Each new semester if the student is enrolled in courses, ADA Compliance Notification will be sent out via email to each faculty member.

All requests for accommodations must be made to Student Services with at least two weeks lead time.


Students must provide written documentation of their disability from an appropriate licensed professional.

This documentation should:

  • Preferably be dated within the last 3 years
  • Provide a diagnosis of the disability and include diagnostic evaluations, tests, or methods used in reaching that diagnosis
  • Explain current functional limitations
  • Be written on the professionalʼs letterhead & signed by the evaluating professional

This documentation can come in many formats including letters from doctors, psychological evaluations, or diagnostic tests and is necessary to establish the need for services and the appropriateness of those services. SS will consider accommodations recommended in the documentation but does not guarantee that they will be provided.

High school IEPs that include a summary evaluation and a psychologistʼs evaluation can serve as a reference and can be helpful, but they should not be the sole form of documentation as much of what they contain does not apply at the college level. Many colleges, especially 4-year schools, do not consider these acceptable forms of documentation at all.

  • Student Services can sometimes provide professional referrals for diagnostic testing, but North Central cannot assist in obtaining a diagnosis of or do any testing for disabilities.
  • All information submitted to SS will be kept confidential and shared with college personnel on a need-to-know basis.

Rights and Responsibilities

Each student with a documented disability has the right to receive from North Central Michigan College:

  • Equal access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities offered through the College.
  • Equal opportunity to work, learn, and receive reasonable, effective, and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding their disability and to choose whom information about their disability will be disclosed, except as required by law.
  • Information readily available in accessible formats.

North Central Michigan College has the right to:

• Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, standards, and criteria for courses, programs, jobs, and activities and evaluate students based on their performance.

• Request and receive current documentation from an appropriate licensed professional source that supports requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.

• Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids or services if the documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted, the documentation presented fails to identify a specific disability, or the student fails to provide appropriate documentation in a timely manner.

• Select among equally effective and appropriate accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services in consultation with students with documented disabilities and in collaboration with faculty and staff who have contact with them.

• Refuse to make available an accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid or service that is inappropriate, ineffective, or unreasonable.

Each student with a disability has the responsibility to:

• Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, services, jobs, and activities, e.g. complete assigned work in courses taken.

• Identify themselves in a timely manner as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed, preferably prior to the start of classes. • Seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary from the Student Services staff.

• Provide documentation from an appropriate licensed professional source describing the nature of the disability and how the disability is a functional limitation.

• Follow established procedures for obtaining effective and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.

• Be fully active in the accommodation process of their education.

North Central Michigan College has the responsibility to:

• Provide information regarding policies and procedures to students with disabilities and assure that this information be provided in accessible formats upon request.

• Ensure that courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities are available and accessible in the most integrated and appropriate settings. • Evaluate students and applicants on their abilities and potential, not their disabilities.

• Provide or arrange for effective, appropriate, and reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services in courses, programs, services, jobs, and activities for students with identified disabilities.

• Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication concerning students with disabilities except where disclosure is required by the law or authorized by the student.

Six Primary Student Responsibilities

To Be Qualified

  • Meet academic and technical standards.
  • The duty to be qualified is not limited to academic programs.
  • The question of reasonable accommodation must always be answered.

To Provide Notice and Make a Specific Request

  • Notice doesnʼt have to be in writing and there are no magic words.
  • Notice or request must be made in a reasonable and timely manner.
  • A subsequent declaration of disability and request for accommodation cannot convert a lawful decision into a violation.

To Adhere to Institutional Policies and Procedures Regarding Accommodation Requests

  • Accommodation requests must be submitted to the proper office or individual.
  • Provide documentation that establishes the existence of a disability and supports the need for the accommodations requested.
  • Respond to requests for additional information in a timely manner.
  • The student cannot interfere with the institutionʼs right to have the documentation reviewed by appropriate experts.

To Fully Participate in the Accommodation Process

  • It is an interactive process.
  • Although the personal preferences of the student should be considered, the standard is to provide effective accommodations.
  • The student must exercise due diligence to make sure that the process works.
  • The students parents cannot be his/her stand-in or mouthpiece.

To Use Accommodations Appropriately

  • The studentʼs participation must be timely and reasonable.
  • Objections to accommodations offered must be supported by objective evidence.
  • Maintain a proper relationship with individuals who are providing accommodations, including SS staff.

To adhere to Institutional Standards of Conduct

  • The disability does not insulate the student from the disciplinary rules and procedures enforced with respect to the general student population.
  • The accommodation, if any, should be directed towards assisting the student in meeting the standards.