Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations
Swarthmore College provides support services and reasonable accommodations to students with medical and/or psychiatric disabilities who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Housing Accommodations

The Student Disability Service and Office of Student Engagement are happy to work with students with documented disabilities to identify appropriate accommodations.  Reasonable accomodations refer to modifications that provide students with disabilities equal access to college programs and activities.  Academic accomodations may include the elimination of physical barriers, extended time on tests, notetakers, recording devices, captioning, sign language interpreters, calculator use, computer use, electronic books, screen-readers, voice recognition and other adaptive software or hardware for computers. Housing accomomodations may include living in a building that has an elevator, a tile floor environment, access to air conditioning, etc. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it fundamentally alters the essential elements of an academic program.

Special housing accommodations require advanced planning and documentation. Students wishing to apply for housing accommodations should be in contact with the Office of Student Enagement no later than April 1st, 2015, in order for consideration prior to the Spring Housing Lotteries. Members of the Class of 2019 are not held to this same deadline, and information will be provided in your Orientation Packet about requesting housing accommodations.

Students who would like to apply for housing accommodations should fill out this housing accommodation request form.  Please note that this form must be filled out by the student, and is only available on the Swarthmore network--you must use your Swat ID.

Students must apply for accommodations each year; depending on your request, you do not necessarily require documentation each year. Accommodations are not guaranteed to carry over from one year to the next, but we will do our best to review existing documentation before asking for additional information. You are required to be on the Swarthmore network in order to complete the request form; you must log in using your Swarthmore email address.

After receiving your request, the Office of Student Engagement will consult with Leslie Hempling, Coordinator of Student Disability Services.

If your request is approved without additional documentation, you will be contacted prior to the blocking deadline.

If additional documentation is required, you will be contacted by Rachel Head or Leslie Hempling. Your physician may be asked to complete 'Medical Documentation Request Form', and return to Leslie Hempling. Faxed and electronic documentation will be accepted, so long as the official documentation request form is completed, in-full. Doctor's notes and/or copies of prescriptions do not meet the documentation requirements.

Please note: Special Needs Housing Accommodations are intended for individuals with a physical or mental disability that substantially limits their ability to function daily in a residence hall environment. There is a difference between a Disability Housing Accommodations and a housing preference. Student preferences for certain types of housing (ground floor, dorm location, proximity to friends, etc.) cannot generally be granted, whereas reasonable accommodations can be provided to students with document disabilities. Extenuating circumstances will always be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  If you believe you have an extenuating circumstance, please contact Rachel Head in the Office of Student Engagement.


A special note about Air Conditioning Requests: Due to the generally mild climate in Swarthmore, PA, the residence halls are not air conditioned, nor are students permitted to provide air conditioners for their rooms except in rare instances of approved accommodations. As part of the standard furniture and room arrangements, many student rooms are carpeted. Students with allergies or asthma generally do well in this environment without any special arrangements. If allergies or asthma form the basis of a special housing request, medical documentation may be required by the Student Disabilities Office.

There are a very limited number of rooms with air conditioning capabilities. If you are approved for air conditioning you must select into an available room that can support air conditioning. These may include dorms that are not on center campus (PPR, Strath-Haven). A list of available rooms will be provided to students who are approved for the accommodation. Generally, this means:

Rising Sophomores = rooms with a/c capabilities in PPR, Strath-Haven, Woolman

Rising Juniors = rooms with a/c capabilities in PPR, Strath-Haven, Mertz, Parrish

Rising Seniors = rooms with a/c capabilities in Mertz, DKAP, and Parrish