Disability Law Basics

The law requires that universities have one person or office determining disability accommodations and ensuring compliance with our legal mandates. SAA is the designated office on campus that reviews documentation and student requests for disability accommodations. To qualify for accommodations at the postsecondary level, a student must be well enough to meet the academic and technical standards requisite for admission and participation in the institution’s educational programs or activities. Students are covered under disability law if they can meet the academic standards with or without accommodations. 

SAA Mission

Our mission is to remove obstacles to a liberal arts education by providing support and accommodations to otherwise qualified students with both visible and invisible disabilities while they embark on their pursuit of knowledge.

Accommodation Process

How do I request disability accommodations?

If you are new to SAA please click this link:  Register with SAA to Request Disability Accommodations, complete the online form, and upload documentation of your disability. SAA will contact you within a few days to schedule an intake meeting.

If you are currently registered with SAA: Learn How to Submit a Semester Request. A semester request is submitted by the student at the beginning of each semester to request the use of their accommodations for each class. You will receive an email when it is approved. Please follow the instructions on steps to take.

If you need assistance, or have questions or concerns, please:


What are reasonable and necessary accommodations?

Reasonable and necessary accommodations are adjustments or minor changes that remove barriers. They do not involve lowering academic standards or making alterations to a program. Some examples are:

  • Extended time for exams
  • Recording lectures
  • Accessible books
  • Readers, interpreters, and scribes
  • Accessible housing
  • Classroom adjustments

See the Potential Accommodations page for a more detailed list. 


What is the process for requesting accommodations?

The University of Puget Sound has designated the Office of Student Accessibility and Accommodation as the department that determines if a student qualifies for an accommodation.

  1. Obtain documentation from a qualified, licensed professional that includes a diagnosis, how the diagnosis was established, the functional impairments, and a rationale for requested accommodations.
  2. You will be asked to upload your documentation of disability when you complete the online Request Disability Accommodations form. When we receive both your online request and documentation, we will contact you to schedule an intake meeting.
  3. If you would like to discuss or ask questions about documentation, please email saa@pugetsound.edu to schedule a meeting. 


How long is the process for requesting accommodations?

Once SAA has received both an online request and documentation, SAA will reach out to the student to schedule their intake meeting with an Accommodation Specialist. Requesting disability accommodations involves two meetings: an intake meeting with an Accommodation Specialist to discuss potential accommodations, and a “How to Access and Use Your Accommodations” meeting. This process generally takes three weeks from when we receive documentation. 


How are accommodations determined and approved?

Accommodations will be considered when they do not fundamentally alter the nature of a program, course, or service. Fundamental alterations include substantial changes to admissions criteria or the way a course or program is delivered. Furthermore, the accommodation may not constitute services of a personal nature (such as a personal care attendant) nor can it result in posing a direct threat to the health or safety of self or others.

Potential accommodations are identified in an interactive and individualized process during your Intake meeting with an Accommodation Specialist. They are determined on a case-by-case basis relative to the student’s identified barriers to the learning environment. Identification and approval of accommodations must be supported by the educational barriers specific to the student’s disability. The student requesting accommodations must attend the Intake meeting. They can invite family members or a friend, but the student must be able to discuss their disability symptoms and participate in a collaborative process with the Accommodation Specialist, or the Director, to determine reasonable and necessary accommodations. 

After the Intake meeting, new students will have a "How to Access and Use Your Accommodations" meeting. During this meeting, you will learn about SAA's policies, procedures, and submit a Semester Request. We will also schedule any additional meetings to implement your accommodations.

A Semester Request is submitted by the student at the beginning of each semester to activate their accommodations for each class. Students will receive an email when their Semester Request has been processed. Once it is processed, your instructor will be waiting for you to contact them. It is your responsibility to email your professors to schedule a meeting to discuss the implementation of your accommodations. You cannot expect to use your class accommodations until you have had this meeting. 

After you meet with your professor, they will notify SAA electronically that you have met with them to discuss the implementation of your accommodations. Accommodations are not retroactive.

SAA does not provide items or services of a personal nature. Examples are:

  • Personal care assistance
  • Behavior management assistance
  • Supervision
  • Personal medical, adaptive, or computer equipment, (for example: wheelchairs, walkers, canes, hardware or software for personal computers, etc.)
  • Private transportation
  • Educational supplies used by all students such as pens, paper, etc.
  • Other items or services of a personal nature.
  • Personal tutor

What is SAA's role in the accommodation process?

What is the student’s role in the accommodation process?

  • Fully participate in the accommodation process by following Student Accessibility and Accommodation procedures and communicating with professors.
  • Immediately email SAA if an accommodation is not being implemented in the classroom, the SAA testing center, or if you need to review or request accommodations.
  • Abide by the integrity code of the University.

If you wish to discuss accommodations, please schedule an appointment with our office by emailing saa@pugetsound.edu.

Declaration of a disability is not automatically a request for accommodations.


Peer Mentor Program

SAA Peer Mentoring Program addresses the needs of students who:

  • Have autism or other neurodivergence
  • Have social anxiety
  • Lack social skills
  • Are concerned about connecting to campus
  • Need help finding clubs and activities that they would enjoy

The SAA Peer Mentoring Program was established in 2019 with funding by a generous donation from the Leslie Foundation. Along with providing invaluable support for Puget Sound students with disabilities, this program supports the first two goals of the Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan—to advance institutional excellence, academic distinction, and student success and to enrich our learning environment through increased diversity, inclusion, and access. (See Appendix 4 for Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan goals.)

SAA Peer Mentee Survey

All Puget Sound students have access to free tutoring, writing assistance, and consultations on learning and time management strategies in the Center for Writing & Learning.