Accommodations Process for Students

The office of Student Disability Services works 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 office, 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 accommodations are not retroactive. Students need to register with the office of Student Disability Services first and submit appropriate documentation of a disability. 

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.

Registering with Student Disability Services 

  1. Schedule a meeting with a Student Disability Services staff member to discuss your request(s). Any student is welcome to contact either Erin or Jenna, or email
  2. If 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.

  3. If you have never requested accommodations from Student Disability Services previously, please fill out the Student Accommodation Request Form [pdf]. This can either be done at a meeting with a Student Disability Services staff member or prior to meeting. 
  4. Meet with Student Disability Services staff for an intake meeting or phone conversation. At this meeting, you will discuss your experiences and how they are impacted by your condition. You may also discuss potential accommodations you may find helpful. The accommodations process is designed to be collaborative. Student Disability Services will ask you some questions regarding your experiences to better understand and support your request for accommodations. 
  5. Have a licensed professional fill out the Disability Verification Form. Submit the completed form to the office. Other formal documentation will be accepted as well. 
  6. Student Disability Services will review your request in a timely fashion and notify you when a decision has been made regarding your accommodations request. 

Steps For Arranging Accommodations Each Semester

  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. Students are encouraged to submit the Academic Accommodations Request Form to the office of Student Disability Services before the start of the semester.  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 for you to pick up from Student Disability Services. We will notify you when they are ready. 
  4. It is the students responsibility to share accommodation letters as early as possible.  Students will notify professors when they would like to use specific accommodations.
  5. If you receive testing accommodations, students should have a conversation with their professor at least 1 week before each test to discuss logistics.
  6. For Seniors: Seniors who require accommodations for Honors written and/or oral exams, must let the office of Student Disability Services know by January 31

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 the office of Student Disability Services, if requesting accommodations.  Please note, reviewing accommodation requests takes time, therefore it is recommended that students begin the process in a timely fashion. Accommodations are not retroactive  
  3. Provide the required documentation of disability.
  4. Arrange meetings with their professors to discuss accommodation letters provided by the office of Student Disability Services.
  5. Follow the procedures for requesting accommodations each 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.
  • if the request would pose an undue financial burden on the College.

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.