Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Accessibility Services

Thomas Jefferson University is committed to providing equal education opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities, in accordance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Thomas Jefferson University will provide reasonable accommodations to all qualified individuals with disabilities to allow equal access and full participation to all University sponsored activities and programs.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the term "disability" means:

a) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of [an] individual

b) a record of such an impairment; or

c) being regarded as having such an impairment

A modification or adjustment to an academic program that enables an otherwise qualified individual with a disability equal access to participation in University-sponsored programs.  “Reasonable” accommodations are those that neither impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the University nor fundamentally alter the service, program or course being offered.

Accommodation Requests

Reasonable accommodations are determined through a collaborative, individualized, and interactive process involving the Office of Student Affairs, student, and academic department.  All accommodation requests must be supported by appropriate medical documentation (see documentation standards below) [link anchor] to help the Office of Student Affairs in establishing disability, understanding how the disability may impact a student, and making informed decisions about reasonable accommodations.

Recommendations by properly credentialed professionals will be considered as part of the collaborative process toward identifying appropriate reasonable accommodations.  These recommendations may be adopted when they provide equal access to services, courses and programs and are considered to be reasonable in nature. The Office of Student Affairs may substitute another reasonable accommodation, if it is considered to be as effective as the one requested or recommended.  Documentation of a specific disability does not translate directly into a specific accommodation or set of accommodations.   Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis according to the unique experience of the student and the course and/or program.

The technical standards (see below) [link anchor] of a program or course are taken into consideration when determining reasonable accommodations.  Students entering or progressing in an academic program must be able to meet the program’s technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations. Please review the technical standards for your department.

 

How to Request an Accommodation

Step 1:
Identify the need for accommodations to a member of the Office of Student Affairs  

Step 2:
Fill out the Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) Disability Accommodations Intake Form

Step 3:
Meet with a member of the Office of Student Affairs to review the intake form and discuss    accommodation requests

Step 4:
Provide documentation of diagnosis and requested / suggested accommodations from a qualified professional (see Documentation Standards, below)  

Step 5:
Engage in a dialogue, if necessary, with Office of Student Affairs personnel and other College representatives toward identifying mutually acceptable reasonable accommodation(s)

Step 6:
Use the TJU Accommodation Letter provided by the Office of Student Affairs to communicate official approved accommodations to faculty

Step 7, if necessary:
If necessary, meet with faculty or other relevant TJU personnel to determine appropriate means of providing the accommodation

Step 8, if necessary:
 Communicate with a member of the Office of Student Affairs if any complications arise in regards to the accommodation or if accommodation needs change

 

Technical Standards

Please review the technical standards for your department.  The essential skills and characteristics required to complete a particular degree program. These requirements apply to classroom, laboratory and clinical/fieldwork environments.  Students must be able to meet a program’s Technical Standards at all times during the course of study, with or without reasonable accommodations.

 

Documentation Standards

Documentation is comprised of sources of information used for providing evidence of a disability and/or evaluating requests for accommodations A combination of the following forms of documentation will be considered in evaluating accommodation requests at Thomas Jefferson University:

  • TJU Disability Accommodations Intake Form
  • Medical records and/or the TJU Medical Intake Form
  • Psycho-educational/Neuro-psychological reports
  • College records (e.g. Individualized Education Plans)
  • Letters of accommodation from previous higher education institutions

Students who wish to request reasonable accommodations must submit supporting documentation acceptable to TJU in the form of medical records or psycho-educational/neuro-psychological reports that establish a disability, detail the current functional impact of that disability, and confirms the need for each accommodation requested. A diagnostic statement alone is not sufficient to establish eligibility for accommodations. The documentation must:

  • Be completed by a qualified, licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has appropriate training and experience. TJU reserves the right to request additional documentation, including from a specialist in the field related to the disability, if needed.
  • Include a clear diagnostic statement identifying the disability and the date of the most current diagnostic evaluation, as well as the date of the original diagnosis, as appropriate. 
  • Describe the current diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests, as well as a clinical narrative interpretation. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, performance observations and unstructured interviews.
  • Be thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the disability and functional limitations.
  • Include recommendations for reasonable accommodations and services logically related to the student's functional limitations and their specific condition.
  • Generally not be more than three years old, with the exception of a permanent, lifelong impairment.  In these instances documentation may not need to be as recent, but specific recommendations for the current academic setting should still be provided by a qualified professional.  Changes in the functional impact of a condition (e.g., result of growth, development) may warrant more frequent updates in documentation.
  • Include any medication management plan, including side effects, and/or other treatment issues that might further compromise student functioning and be relevant to the accommodation request.  Examples include medication-related impaired memory, concentration, or mobility.

In addition to this documentation students must submit the TJU Disability Intake Form, which can be obtained through the Office of Student Affairs.  Students can also submit any documentation or materials that establish a history of receiving accommodations in a previous academic setting (e.g. secondary College accommodation plans such as IEPs or letters of accommodation from previous higher education institutions).  It is the student’s responsibility to pay for any costs associated with obtaining sufficient current documentation.

 

Confidentiality

All accommodation request documentation provided by a student will be maintained in the office of the Assistant Provost for Student Affairs.  The documentation will be kept confidential, and will be distributed only to persons who are involved in evaluating the accommodation request or implementing accommodations.  Any persons who receive accommodation documentation will be instructed to maintain its confidentiality and to neither discuss nor distribute it to anyone who is not involved in evaluating or implementing the accommodations.

Timeframe

Accommodation requests should be made as soon as possible after admittance or the need for an accommodation is known.  Once appropriate documentation is provided it can take up to four weeks to finalize accommodations.

Appeal Process

In most instances, the reasonable accommodations determined by the Office of Student Affairs are acceptable to the student.  If a student disagrees with the Office of Student Affairs’ determination of eligibility for or the provision of reasonable accommodations, he/she may seek further review by meeting with the Assistant Provost for Student Affairs.  After the meeting a letter with a final decision will be sent to the student.  If a resolution is not reached, the student has five days from receipt of the letter to file a written appeal with the Provost of Thomas Jefferson University.  The Provost, or a designee appointed by the Provost, will meet with the student to attempt to mediate the situation.   The decision of the Provost or designee shall be final and binding.   

Hours
Mondays - Fridays
8am - 5pm  


Edison Building
Suite 1120
(215) 503-6335
(215) 503-2787

 

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