Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The information below contains excerpts from the University Handbook for Students wtih Disabilities. If you would like to view the complete University Handbook, please contact Kaitlin Shetler at

  1. What is Lipscomb's policy for assisting students with disabilities?
  2. Am I eligible for services?
  3. Does my disability affect admissions criteria?
  4. What should I do as a student to request accommodations?
  5. What disability documentation do I need to provide to Disability Services?
  6. What services are provided by Disability Services?
  7. What are my responsibilities as a student?

What is Lipscomb's policy for assisting students with disabilities?

Lipscomb University is committed to assisting students with disabilities by making reasonable accommodations to assure that all students have equal access. If you know or suspect that you have a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS). It is the policy of Lipscomb University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and State and local regulations regarding students with disabilities. Pursuant to these laws, no qualified individual shall unlawfully be denied access to or participation in any services, programs, or activities of Lipscomb University on the basis of their disability. These laws require institutions of higher learning to provide reasonable accommodations for the needs of qualified students as they pursue post-secondary education.

In carrying out this policy, we recognize that “disabilities” may be physical, psychological, and/or learning, and we will attempt to provide accommodations to individuals with qualifying disabilities, to the extent it is reasonably achievable. However, we are unable to make accommodations that are unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, course, or activity.

Am I eligible for services?

A student is considered a person with a disability, eligible for protection under the laws, if the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual.

  • “Major Life Activities”: The phrase major life activities refers to normal functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, concentrating, and working.
  • “Physical Impairment”: A physical impairment includes a physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss effecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory and speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, lymphatic, skin and endocrine.
  • “Mental Impairment”: A mental impairment includes a mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, specific learning disabilities, and ADHD.

Does my disability affect admissions criteria?

The University will make admission decisions using criteria that do not consider an individual’s disability. Thus, the University will not impose or apply admission or eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out individuals on the basis of their disability, unless such criteria is necessary for the provision of the program, service or activity being offered. The University believes that this carries out the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Students with disabilities desiring to enroll in any program, service or activity of Lipscomb University must be able to meet the minimal standards of the university, and the particular program, service, or activity to which admission is sought.

The University does not engage in any affirmative action programs for disabled students, nor does it consider a student’s disability in evaluating admission criteria. It is, of course, within the student’s discretion to inform the admissions committee of a disability if they wish. If this choice is made, the University will not discriminate against the student on the basis of the disability and will make reasonable accommodations, when necessary and when requested.

What should I do as a student to request accommodations?

Students with disabilities who require accommodations should contact Disability Services within the first two weeks of each semester in order to receive the most appropriate accommodations in a timely manner. Certain accommodations require more than two weeks notification in order to implement in a timely manner. If you have questions about when to request an accommodation, please contact Disability Services. Students who do not have proper documentation at the beginning of a semester will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

Students desiring accommodations should complete and submit a form requesting accommodations, along with the appropriate documentation, to Disability Services. The Director of Disability Services will then meet with the student to develop a suitable accommodation plan. These accommodations may include exam accommodations, readers, interpreters, note takers, private rooms, or a reduced course load without loss of institutional privileges. Reasonable accommodations will be provided depending on the nature and severity of the disability and the particular class or classes taken. An accommodation is not reasonable if it means a substantial change to an essential element of the course or curriculum, if it fundamentally alters the nature of the service, program, or activity, if participation poses a direct threat to the health or safety of oneself or others, or if it would be unduly burdensome financially, administratively or otherwise.

What disability documentation do I need to provide to Disability Services?

Please note that accommodations are based upon the documentation provided by a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, has relevant experience, and has no personal relationship with the individual being evaluated. All reports must include the professional’s name, title, license number, educational credentials, telephone number and address. Since accommodations are based upon current impact, all assessments must have been completed within a time frame that assures the information provides a current picture of the student’s functioning.

Please note than a K-12 school plan such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan generally is not sufficient documentation of a disability at the collegiate level. They may be included with the required documents, but rarely stand alone as sufficient documentation.

When proper documentation is obtained; it is the student’s responsibility to make that documentation available to Disability Services. The student is fully responsible for any costs associated with gathering proper documentation. Upon receipt of the proper documentation, the Director of Disability Services will meet with the student, review the documentation and discuss the types of services for which the student is eligible.

The elements of documentation listed below are outlined to assist you in working with your treating/diagnosing professional(s) to prepare the information useful in evaluating your request (s). As appropriate to the disability, the more pertinent information provided, the more specific Lipscomb University can be in providing appropriate accommodations. If, after reviewing this information, you have any questions, feel free to call the office at 615.966.6301.

  1. Current functional impact of the condition(s).
    The current relevant functional impacts on physical (mobility, dexterity, endurance, etc.), perceptual, cognitive (attention, distractibility, communication, etc.), and behavioral abilities should be described in a clinical narrative and/or through the provision of specific results from the diagnostic procedures/assessments.
  2. Treatments, medications, accommodations/auxiliary aids, services currently prescribed or in use.
    Provide a description of treatments, medications, accommodations/auxiliary aids and/or services currently in use and their estimated effectiveness in minimizing the impact of the condition(s). Include any significant side effects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance. If you feel that any additional accommodations and/or auxiliary aids are warranted, please list them along with a clear rationale and related functional limitations. Any accommodations/auxiliary aids recommended will be taken into consideration, but not automatically implemented.
  3. The expected progression or stability of disability over time.
    If possible, provide a description of the expected change in the functional impact of the condition(s) over time. If the condition is variable, describe the known triggers that may exacerbate the condition.
  4. A diagnostic statement identifying the disability.
    When appropriate, include International Classification of Diseases (ICD) or Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) codes, the date of the most recent evaluation, or the dates of the evaluations performed by referring professionals. If the most recent evaluation was not a full evaluation, indicate when the last full evaluation was conducted.
  5. A description of the diagnostic methodology used.
    Provide a description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results. Where appropriate to the nature of the disability, having both summary data and specific test scores (with the norming population identified) within the report is recommended.

    Diagnostic methods that are congruent with the particular disability and current professional practices in the field are recommended. Methods may include formal instruments, medical examinations, structured interview protocols, performance observations and unstructured interviews. If results from informal, non-standardized or less common methods of evaluation are reported, an explanation of their role and significance in the diagnostic process will strengthen their value in providing useful information.

What services are provided by Disability Services?

Services provided through Disability Services include arranging for individual accommodations, personal counseling, academic advising, assistance with the removal of structural barriers and referrals to appropriate campus and community agencies whose services can benefit persons with disabilities. The ODS works with the Facilities Office to insure that the campus is accessible and in compliance with ADA regulations. ODS is responsible for conducting campus wide disability awareness activities and training. Tutoring services are not offered through Disability Services. However any tutoring that is provided by the University and is available to all students (e.g. Writing Lab, tutors sponsored by various departments, etc.) must be reasonably accessible to persons with disabilities. The ODS can assist in locating a tutor for students who have their own resources to pay for personal tutoring.

What are my responsibilities as a student?

Students with disabilities are expected to adhere to the University’s honor code and code of conduct and may be subject to sanctions if those rules are violated.

Students with disabilities have rights and responsibilities in assuring the accommodation process runs smoothly. Students who do not meet those responsibilities may find their assigned accommodations curtailed until such time as they meet with the Director of Disability Services to review the proper and appropriate use of services.