Key Points About Disabilities Services

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that: “no otherwise qualified handicapped individual shall, solely by reason of the handicap, be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” (29 United States Code 794) Compliance with this law requires that academic institutions receiving federal financial aid, like Cornell College, provide the opportunity for students with disabilities to achieve success in the classroom that is comparable to that provided to other students.

Qualifications for services:

A student qualifies for disability services at Cornell College when:

The student provides up-to-date documentation of the disability from a medical doctor, educational or school psychologist, or other individual licensed by the state of origin to diagnose learning or physical disabilities.

  • The documentation includes recommendations for accommodations for the disability.
  • The student requests the approved accommodation(s) from each course instructor within the first three days of each term.

Student Responsibilities:

Generally a student is responsible for:

  • Identifying him/herself to each instructor within the first three days of the term if requesting accommodation;
  • Ordering special materials for class such as taped texts, if available, or requesting assistance in locating a tutor or source of notes; and
  • Initiating contact with tutors or other resource people once they have been arranged.

You are welcome to contact the disabilities services coordinator, the  Registrar's Office, the Office of Student Affairs, or the Counseling Center at any time for information or assistance.

Special Challenges at Cornell College:

  • Unique to our one-class-at-a-time format, there is an increased pace of reading required. This makes sense when you consider a semester's worth of reading packed into 18 days.  Students are regularly expected to read 50-100 pages of course materials per night.  If reading is a challenge for someone, whether due to disability or just comfort with reading, we will advise them to start reading their textbooks during the block break before the block begins.  It may or may not be possible to do extracurricular activities during a block, due to the time constraints required to finish the readings assigned.   Accommodations with digital books CAN still be made on the block plan, so you'll still want to coordinate efforts with the disabilities service coordinator in the office of Academic Support and Advising.  Ideally you would order your books two blocks in advance of the course in question to have them ready when you will need them.
  • The one class at a time format also means that there might be a homework assignment or writing assignment due each day.  Inherent in this program is the fact that there are occasionally, but rarely, gaps in the schedule.  This means that it is critical to use time management skills to make the most of your time. 

We believe that one course at a time offers some wonderful and unique benefits to all students.  You can focus all your attention on one course, you are in class at the same time as most of your peers, you will spend 2-4 hours in class each day with the same people, getting to know them better.  The faculty member is accessible to you because you are the only set of students for that block.   It is an intense schedule--often involving 2-4 hours in the classroom or lab and 4-6 hours of homework each evening--but that intensity is rewarded by a truly special opportunity to learn about one subject at a time in an in-depth manner.  If you are up for the challenge that this rigorous academic environment provides for you, we will support you in having access to that unique classroom setting!