Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain services?

Students with disabilities should contact Learning Support Services (LSS) once they have been accepted as a student at Villanova University. In order to obtain reasonable academic accommodations, a student must register with LSS by submitting current documentation. Your documentation is confidential and will be kept in LSS. Students should make an appointment to review details of services and make plans for the upcoming semester.

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What documentation is needed from a student?

Documentation should include a comprehensive evaluation that includes a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement and information processing, reporting of standard scores and percentiles, and a clinical summary. The report should include specific recommendations for accommodations and an explanation as to why they are necessary. Check documentation guidelines.

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Who should complete the evaluation?

A qualified evaluator should perform testing. For example, clinical or educational psychologists, school psychologists, psychiatrists, and other professionals that are trained in the assessment of specific disabilities in adolescents and adults would be qualified evaluators. It is not considered appropriate for professionals to evaluate family members.

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Does Villanova have a program or services for students with documented disabilities?

The University provides services to students with disabilities. Assistance is provided, but much of the responsibility for follow through is up to the student. Students who anticipate needing a great deal of structure and support should seriously consider a college with a comprehensive program.

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What "reasonable academic accommodations" are available for students?

Reasonable academic accommodations are individual and based on the nature of the disability and the academic environment. Some of the more common accommodations are extended time for tests, recording lectures, notetakers, scribe for testing, preferential classroom seating, and use of recorded books. Reasonable accommodations in a postsecondary environment may differ from those available to the student in secondary school. Depending on the nature of the disability and the accommodations requested, the amount of advance notice provided may impact the University's ability to provide accommodations.

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What is your policy on waivers for foreign language and mathematics?

Foreign language is a requirement for Arts & Sciences only.  The University policy is not to provide waivers, however students with a significant language disability may petition the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Students for possible modification of the requirement.  Documentation of a language based disability will need to be on file in LSS.

Students who have struggled with language learning will often find their greatest chance of success when taking a language in isolation, such as in the summer term.  If a student has not been recently taking a language in high school, it may be appropriate to postpone fulfilling the requirement during the first year.

The Mathematics requirement varies with the college and major of the student.  Many students will have only 1 course to take, and therefore have more flexibility in the type of course to fulfill the requirement.  In some majors there are very specific courses required, and almost all of these courses are essential requirements for the particular program and therefore modifications are very rare.

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Is tutoring provided specifically for students with disabilities?

There are several tutoring resources available to all Villanova students; some are free of charge.  LSS staff can provide a list of tutoring resources available on campus.

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What are the most important factors for a student with a disability succeeding in college?

  • Select a college that is a comfortable size and has appropriate majors and support.
  • College is difficult, and it can be even more challenging for a student with a disability. Since you will be spending more time on class work than many of your peers, it is important that you choose a major that you like. This will allow you to have greater focus on your work.
  • Planning is essential to your success. If possible, take a reduced load of courses your first year. This may help you make the transition to the competitive college environment.
  • Many students view college as a fresh start and a time to do things on their own. Due to differences in requirements in high school and college, the strategies that worked in the past may not work now. Seek help early. It is best to be overly prepared in the beginning.
  • Get comfortable with your computer. Consider looking at software that might help you with your work, such as:

Inspiration - This is software that allows you to map your ideas. Great if you are a visual learner.

Dragon Naturally Speaking - This software allows you to dictate instead of typing on a keyboard.  It does take several hours to train the software to recognize your voice. 

Scan and Read Programs, such as Kurzweil 3000ReadPlease, or Read & Write Gold.

Books on tape are available through a national non-profit organization, Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic), which lends recorded academic and professional books to people with disabilities. Information about individual memberships is available by calling 800-221-4792, or on their website

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What are your grievance procedures?

If you are dissatisfied with the academic accommodations recommended by the Learning Support Services (LSS) Office, you should discuss your concerns with the Director for LSS.  If you are not able to resolve a problem at this level, you should request an appointment with the Vice President of Academic Affairs (610-519-4521).

The University would like to address any problem situations internally; however, you may file formal charges with outside government agencies at any time, if you desire.  The United States Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education is the agency responsible for addressing complaints related to discrimination on the basis of disability.   Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination.  Since OCR's policies and procedures may change over time, you should contact the regional office directly and immediately if you wish to file a complaint of discrimination on the basis of disability.  You may contact OCR at:  1-800-421-3481.

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