Accommodations Process for Students

Swarthmore's Student Disability Service is pleased to work with students with disabilities to identify accommodations that will allow equal access to college programs and services. The accommodations process is designed to be collaborative. Once you are registered with the Disability Service, Assistant Directors Erin Leuthold or Jenna Rose, will work with you, your course instructors and any other relevant faculty or staff to facilitate reasonable accommodations that will not fundamentally alter the academic standards of your courses.

Please be aware that we cannot offer retroactive accommodations. Students need to register with the Student Disability Service first and submit appropriate documentation of a disability. Accommodations begin once the student has a formal accommodations letter.

About Accommodations At The College Level

Different rules govern disability services in college than in K-12 programs, therefore, accommodations in college may vary from those received during high school. In college, it is the student's right and responsibility to request accommodations. Privacy laws restrict the sharing of certain types of information with others (including parents) without the student's expressed written consent. To learn more about the transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary education, see the Office for Civil Rights transition guide for students. The Student Disability Service is happy to answer any questions you have.


Swarthmore College respects the privacy of its students and adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regarding the privacy of student record information.  All information concerning student disabilities and accommodation is kept separately from student academic files. Information regarding student disabilities and requests for accommodation is available to College faculty and staff on a need-to-know basis. This information is not normally released to anyone outside the College without a student’s prior consent, unless otherwise permitted or required by law.

Steps For Arranging Accommodations Each Semester

  1. If you have not yet registered with the Student Disability Service, contact Student Disability Services staff. Any student is welcome to contact either Erin or Jenna, or email you are a student and your last name starts with letters A through M, please contact Erin. Erin can be reached by emailing, or calling 610-328-7358. 

    If you are a student and your last name starts with letters N through Z, please contact Jenna. Jenna can be reached by emailing, or calling 610-690-5538.

    If you have already registered with the Disability Service, skip to #4.

  2. In advance of your intake appointment, please submit current documentation of disability. For documentation guidelines, please see Documentation Guidelines.
  3. Meet with Leslie Hempling to discuss your needs and review your documentation. Once your disability status is confirmed, Leslie will collaborate with you and your course instructors to identify reasonable accommodations for each of your classes.
  4. Once you have registered with the Student Disability Service, please follow the accommodation request procedure each semester since courses and needs change.

Accommodation Requests

  1. Once you have selected your courses, and your schedule is set, fill out and submit the Academic Accommodations Request Form. Paper copies are available on the bulletin board outside of Parrish 113. Feel free to either fill out the Google Form or submit a paper copy to Erin or Jenna as well. 
  2. Submit the form to Student Disability Services by the first week of the semester (if possible). We strongly recommend that you turn in your form no later than one week after the Add/Drop deadline since some accommodations take time to arrange.
  3. Once you have submitted an Academic Accommodation Request form, we will draft Accommodations letters and faculty signature sheets for you to pick up from the Student Disability Service. We will notify you when they are ready. 
  4. It is your responsibility to arrange a meeting with each of your professors as soon as you receive your Accommodation letters. Please do not delay. We cannot guarantee that your accommodations (especially testing accommodations) will be implemented in time if you do not allow enough time to arrange logistics. We encourage you to meet privately with your professor outside of class so as to help ensure your privacy and to allow enough time to discuss your needs.
  5. Once you have met with your professor, have him or her sign the Faculty signature sheet. Return the signed sheet to the Student Disability Service.
  6. If you receive testing accommodations, we strongly recommend that you remind your professor at least 1 week before each test to that you can confirm the logistics.
  7. Please be aware that we cannot offer retroactive accommodations. Students must register with the Student Disability Service and submit appropriate documentation of a disability. Accommodations begin once a student has a formal accommodations letter.
  8. For Seniors: Seniors who require accommodations for Honors written and/or oral exams, must let the Student Disability Service know by January 31. We cannot guarantee that accommodations can be arranged after that date due to the complexity of proctor and exam scheduling.

Student Rights And Responsibilities

Students with disabilities have a right to:

  1. Reasonable accommodations, appropriate academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services as necessary.
  2. Privacy with regards to disability-related information, except as disclosures required or permitted by law.
  3. Equal access to programs, activities, courses and services.

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:

  1. Meet all academic requirements of the College.
  2. Disclose their disability to the Disability Services office as early as possible to ensure timely accommodation arrangements.
  3. Provide the required documentation of disability.
  4. Arrange meetings with their professors to discuss accommodation letters provided by the Student Disability Service.
  5. Follow the procedures for requesting accommodations every semester.

College Rights And Responsibilities

Rights of the College

  1. Establish and maintain requirements and standards for admission to the College, and for participation in its courses, programs, services and activities.
  2. Request current, relevant documentation that verifies a disability and the need for reasonable accommodations.
  3. Determine reasonable accommodations.
  4. Deny a request for an accommodation 
  • if the student fails to provide current relevant information verifying a disability and need for the requested accommodation,
  • if the request is for a retroactive accommodation, or
  • if the request requires a fundamental alteration of a course, program or service.

Responsibilities of the College

  1. Ensure that admissions policies and procedures are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner with regard to individuals with disabilities.
  2. Ensure that programs, services and activities when viewed in their entirety are accessible.
  3. Provide appropriate reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services in a timely manner.
  4. Maintain appropriate confidentiality of disability-related information.