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Eligibility for Services

The Office of Disability Services serves qualified students with disabilities to ensure equal access to the university’s programs and services.  A qualified student with a disability is a student with a disability, who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the university’s educational program and services.  As defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,  a person has a disability if he/she

  • Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, or
  • Has a record of such impairment, or
  • Is regarded as having such impairment  


In order to determine eligibility for services and fully evaluate requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids, the ODS requires documentation of the reported disability. The documentation should include an evaluation by an appropriate professional that clearly states what the impairment is, the current impact of the impairment on the student’s ability to participate in the university’s educational programs and services, (functional limitations) and the relationship between the functional limitations and the accommodation(s) requested. Once the ODS receives the documentation, it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


The general guidelines listed here are developed to assist prospective students in working with the treating/diagnosing professional(s) to prepare the information needed to evaluate the request(s). If, after reading these guidelines, there are any questions, students can call the office at 703.993.2474. These guidelines are based upon the Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) description of quality disability documentation. 


Information provided by public and private special education programs may be helpful but may not fully meet the ODS needs in terms of adequacy of documentation. Furthermore, some individuals with disabilities may not need documentation if the disability is permanent, observable, and stable. It is important to consult with ODS about the need for and appropriateness of documentation. If there are any questions about documentation guidelines, individuals can call the office at (703) 993-2474.