Community College of Rhode Island

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Academic success is more likely if ALL accommodations and services are in place within the first two weeks of the semester. . . Please Plan Ahead!

Academic Calendar

Frequently Asked Questions

Types of Accommodations

As noted earlier in this handbook, accommodations are highly individualized and are granted on a case-by-case basis only after discussion with a DSS Coordinator. Listed on the following pages are examples of accommodations typically used by CCRI students.

Classroom and Course Accommodations

Accessible Classrooms/Room Changes

Most of the classrooms at CCRI are fully accessible. However, students who find that a classroom is inaccessible should contact DSS as soon as possible. With the help of the Office of Enrollment Services, DSS can determine the accessibility of classrooms and request a room change if necessary.

Permission to Tape Lectures

Based on current documentation, students may be eligible to tape record their classes to supplement their written notes. Students are encouraged to provide their own tape recorders. However, in cases where this is a financial hardship, Disability Services for Students will provide tape recorders for classroom use to eligible students. Students are responsible for supplying their own cassette tapes. All tape recorders are primarily for campus use. Some instructors will require students to sign an agreement to ensure that the taped lecture material is not disseminated. The student is responsible for discussing the accommodation with the professor.
Students who wish to borrow tape recorders will be asked to sign for the use of this equipment. Equipment will be loaned to the student upon request and will be returned at the end of the semester unless otherwise specified. If the equipment is not returned as specified, the College may regard the equipment as stolen property. Such misconduct is subject to disciplinary action and will be handled through the Dean of Students’ Office and/or College Police.


Note Taker Requests

Based on current documentation, students may be eligible for note taking assistance. At the beginning of the semester the student should make the instructor aware of the need for a note taker via the Request for Accommodations letter. The instructor will be asked to make an anonymous announcement to the class to inquire if anyone is willing to share notes with another student and that any volunteers should meet with the instructor after class. DSS will provide note taking paper free of charge. If the student decides to identify themselves to the note taker, they can meet after class to obtain the notes. If the student does not want to be identified, the note taker can drop off copies of the notes in the DSS Office. Copies of notes can be made in the DSS Office at no charge.


Excused (verified) Absences

In rare cases, a student’s documented disability may support the need for excused absences upon verification. This does not mean unlimited absences. In such cases, professors are asked not to penalize students due to an inability to attend class. The student remains responsible for all material presented during his/her absence, and the student must comply with all course requirements. The student must not disrupt the class activity if it becomes necessary to leave. The student is responsible for providing DSS with appropriate documentation supporting the need for attendance flexibility.


Regular Meetings with Professor

In rare cases, a student's documentation will demonstrate his/her need to regularly review progress with the professor. The student and professor are asked to arrange a mutually acceptable meeting schedule; weekly or biweekly meetings during professor's scheduled office hours are recommended. The student is responsible for attending all previously scheduled meetings and for notifying the professor in advance when a conflict arises.


Reader/Audio Taping Services

Reasonable accommodations in course materials are available to eligible students whose documented disability requires auditory presentation of text material. These services are provided as a supplement to existing adaptive equipment such as the Kurzweil 1000 and 3000 scan and read software, and/or external electronic resources such as Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic or electronic books. Students requesting scanned texts and materials will be trained on this adaptive equipment so as to be as autonomous as possible during their studies (see section on Adaptive Equipment).

When textbooks are needed in auditory format, DSS will ask that all potential sources of obtaining the text in alternate format be exhausted before agreeing to scan the text (e.g. Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, EBooks, materials from the publisher, etc.)

When required texts are not available through other electronic sources, DSS will scan the required textbook into electronic format. Because scanning is a time-consuming process, a minimum of two weeks advance notice for scanned texts is required before taped texts can be delivered in electronic format. Students are responsible for purchasing their textbooks and providing them to DSS for scanning. Students are also responsible for providing DSS with computer disks (CDs) on which to copy scanned material.

Students are reminded that text reader software is available at various locations throughout the campus. For perusing class handouts students are asked to use adaptive equipment in the DSS accommodation labs.


Special Furniture

Students who are unable to use existing desks in the classrooms may request alternative seating arrangements. A special chair or table and chair may be provided.


Sign Language Interpreters

Students who are deaf or have hearing loss may request a sign language interpreter.

Advance requests: In order to maximize the probability of securing a sign language interpreter for needed courses, students are strongly encouraged to work closely with the sign language interpreter coordinator in developing a course schedule. In all cases, students are to required to give DSS at least two weeks notice whenever an interpreter is needed. Greater advance notice is strongly suggested!

The College will make a good faith effort to fill interpreter requests while working within the constraints of available personnel. If an interpreter cannot be found, the student may drop the course (with refund) and DSS will attempt to find another time the course is being offered with the possibility of engaging an interpreter.

Hiring and Payment: Disability Services for Students is responsible for the hiring and payment of sign language interpreters in all College courses or course-related activities. When other college related activities are scheduled (student entertainment, administrative interviews/appointments, theater productions, invited lectures, etc.), the coordinating department or organization will be the responsible party for hiring and payment of sign language interpreters.

Cancellation: Students and interpreters are asked to exchange contact information in the event of an emergency resulting in their inability to attend class. The College has to pay the interpreter even if the student does not attend class.

Except in cases of sudden illness or accident, students must give 36 hours advance notice to Disability Services for Students (or to the responsible organization) when they are unable to attend a class or activity for which interpreter services have been requested. This will allow services (and payment for services) to be canceled in a timely manner.

After two unexcused student absences (without notification), the services will be suspended until the student meets with the sign language interpreter coordinator. The meeting will be held to review the use/misuse of the service. . A third unexcused absence will result in termination of interpreter services for that class. However, if interpreter services are terminated due to student non-compliance, alternative measures (e.g. peer note takers) will continue to ensure accessibility to the course material.


Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive listening systems (e.g Phonic Ear) are available for use by students who are registered with DSS. Most users will be hard of hearing or deaf students, however, students with auditory processing learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders may also benefit from these systems.

Students who wish to borrow Assistive Listening Systems will be asked to read and sign a loan contract form. Equipment will be loaned to the student upon formal request and must be returned by the designated date. Students may borrow equipment on a semester basis unless otherwise designated.

The student will be responsible for discussing the use of personal listening systems with the instructor. As a support to student discussion, the procedure is briefly described, as follows, in a supplement to the accommodation letter presented to the professor:

The professor is asked to wear a small clip-on lapel microphone with a radio transmitter (belt or pocket) during each lecture. When questions or comments occur in class that are not picked up by the lapel mic, the professor is asked to repeat the question or comment for the students' benefit. Small seminars may use a pass-around mic or table mic. This equipment allows the student full access to the lecture.

Assistive Listening Systems are primarily for campus use. If a student needs to use portable equipment for an off-campus college event, special permission must be obtained from Disability Services for Students.

If the equipment is not returned as specified in the contract, the College may regard the equipment as stolen property. Such misconduct is subject to disciplinary action and will be handled through the Dean of Students’ Office and/or College Police.


CART (Computer Assisted Real-Time) Reporters

Deaf and Hard of Hearing students with appropriate documentation may qualify for the services of a CART reporter by virtue of:

  • enrollment in College course or
  • participation in an academically related activity, or
  • participation in a college-related student event.

Advance requests: In order to maximize the probability of securing a CART reporter for needed courses, students are strongly encouraged to work closely with the sign language interpreter coordinator in developing a course schedule. In all cases, students are required to give DSS at least two weeks notice whenever an interpreter is needed. Greater advance notice is strongly recommended!

College personnel will make a good faith effort to CART requests while working within the constraints of available personnel. If a CART reporter cannot be found, the student may drop the course (with refund) and DSS will attempt to find another time the course is being offered with the possibility of engaging an interpreter.

Hiring and Payment: Disability Services for Students is responsible for the hiring and payment for CART reporters in all College courses or course-related activities. When other college related activities are scheduled (student entertainment, administrative interviews/appointments, theater productions, invited lectures, etc.), the coordinating department or organization will be the responsible party for hiring and payment of CART reporters.

Cancellation: Except in cases of sudden illness or accident, students must give 36 hours advance notice to Disability Services for Students (or to the responsible organization) when they are unable to attend a class or activity for which CART reporter services have been requested. This will allow services (and payment for services) to be canceled in a timely manner.

After two unexcused student absences (without notification), the services will be suspended until the student meets with the sign language interpreter coordinator. The meeting will be held to review the use/misuse of the service. . A third unexcused absence will result in termination of interpreter services for that class. However, if interpreter services are terminated due to student non-compliance, alternative measures (e.g. peer notetakers) will continue to ensure accessibility to the course material.

Testing Accommodations

Testing or exam accommodations refer to accommodations to enhance equal access to examinations, but are specifically not program accommodations or classroom/course accommodations. Assessment of student performance, including course examinations and other measures of student performance will be provided with appropriate accommodations to ensure that the assessment accurately measures the student's performance in the course, rather than reflecting the impact of the student's disability. Testing accommodations, however, cannot alter or negate the fundamental aspect of what is being tested (e.g. use of a spell checker on an examination that specifically designed to assess spelling accuracy would not be appropriate).
Faculty are encouraged to provide testing accommodations directly. In the event that a professor cannot effectively provide the needed accommodation, alternate arrangements can be made with DSS.

Students and faculty are encouraged to maintain on-going conversations regarding the necessary accommodations. If problems arise which cannot be resolved between the student and the faculty member, both the faculty and the student are encouraged to contact DSS for assistance. The student should contact/re-contact the professor not less than one week before each exam to remind them of requested test modifications.


Extended time on Exams

Based on proper documentation, some students may be eligible for extended time on quizzes and exams. Extended time does not mean unlimited time and the generally accepted standard is a 50% extension, that is, an extension of time and one-half. On occasion the student's documentation may warrant longer extensions and it would be so noted. The professor and student are asked to arrange a mutually acceptable starting time and length of time for the exam.

When DSS is proctoring an examination on behalf of a professor, the professor is responsible for providing the examination to DSS office in advance. In order to protect the integrity of an examination, DSS will not allow students to pick up and return their own examinations to professors. The student is expected to show up on time to take the examination and will be allotted up to the full amount of time previously agreed upon to complete it. Students who show up late to take an examination will have that amount of time deducted from their allocated time and their professors will be informed of their tardiness.


Distraction-Reduced/Separate Location

Based upon proper documentation, some students may be eligible to take their examination in an environment with reduced visual and/or auditory distractions. Please keep in mind that a separate testing location will only help to reduce distractions. A distraction-free environment is not guaranteed.


Use of Computers during Exams

In some circumstances, students may be permitted to use a computer to type an exam. The professor has the right to determine if functions other than basic word processing (i.e. spell and grammar check) will be available to the student.
Use of Calculator during Exams/Class
The use of a calculator may be allowed as an accommodation for certain documented disabilities if it does not interfere with an essential component of the course. For certain documented disabilities, calculators may be considered an appropriate accommodation. However, for some basic math courses designed to teach and test knowledge of mathematical operations (i.e. percent, division, addition) a calculator would be in conflict with the central/essential function of the course and would not be appropriate.


Alternate exam format

(i.e. essay format instead of multiple choice; or vice versa). The professor and student are asked to determine the most appropriate format taking into consideration the content of the course and the student's specific learning needs.


Exam presented in large print

A specific font size will be recommended from the student's documentation in consultation with the student. Professors are asked to make a special printing of the exam in the requested font size (this assumes use of word-processing capability). It is also appropriate to use the print enlargers, and/or adaptive computer equipment available in the DSS accommodation labs. Please contact the DSS office on your campus for more information.


Avoid use of scantron forms

In certain cases, use of scantron forms is not appropriate because of the nature of the student's disability. The student should be allowed to respond directly on the test instrument, and that student's test should be scored separately from the larger group.


Exam presented orally

When possible, the professor and/or department are asked to record and present the exam. Recording equipment is available through the DSS office. If the exam is to be presented by DSS, the office must be provided a copy of the exam NO LESS THAN 5 DAYS IN ADVANCE, with any special instructions. The exam will be scanned using scan and read software and presented to the student orally. The exam will be returned by date agreed upon with the professor.


Readers for Exams

Some students may have documentation indicating the need for auditory access to quizzes and exams. When this need cannot be accommodated though the use of assistive technology, a reader may be utilized. The reader is only allowed to read exam material and is not available to clarify questions. The professor retains the right to provide clarifications or interpretations of exam questions if necessary. The professor may directly assist the student or may appoint another qualified individual to do so. Due to the specialized nature of course content and examinations, DSS staff are not considered qualified to provide clarifications and/or interpretations of exam questions.


Scribes on Exams

Some students may be eligible for physical assistance in the writing of an exam. When this need cannot be accommodated through the use of assistive technology, a scribe may be utilized. The scribe will write only what is instructed by the student. The student is solely responsible for proper spelling and grammar.


Use of visual cues during performance exams or quizzes

In certain cases, a student's documentation may warrant use of visual cues, such as formulas, which are specifically NOT answers, during an exam. For example, a. Basic formulas only on note cards, b. Use of music during performance. The professor retains the right to review any cues used by the student and to direct how these cues should be used. Cases of academic dishonesty will be treated as a disciplinary matter (please refer to the student handbook).

Program Accommodations

Reduced Courseload with Full-Time Status

Students with disabilities may be eligible for a special status that, if approved, allows them to take a reduced course load while maintaining full-time status. Students who are approved for reduced loads with full-time status are entitled to many of the rights, privileges, benefits, and responsibilities of a full-time student for various programs and services including verification of registration status for insurance purposes, academic honors (i.e. Dean's list), participation in intercollegiate athletics (pending review and approval by the NJCAA), etc. However, for financial aid and billing purposes, the reduced course load will result in an adjustment to tuition, fees and financial aid based on the actual number of credit hours for which the student is registered.

Requests for reduced course loads must be made on a semester-by-semester basis, and all requests must be submitted prior to the end of the add/drop period. Requests for reduced course loads must be submitted to the DSS Coordinator with the appropriate supporting documentation. This documentation must meet the guidelines specified in Documentation Guidelines section of this handbook and should enumerate why the reduced course load is an appropriate accommodation for the student and his/her disability.

Students applying for a reduced course load with full-time status will generally be approved for nine credit hours per semester, with no less than six credit hours per semester. The DSS Coordinator will use the above-mentioned documentation to determine the appropriate reduced load for each individual student. A student cannot drop below this level without placing their full-time status in jeopardy.

In some cases, the nature of a student’s program of study will require that courses be taken concurrently and less than full-time enrollment results in a fundamental alteration of the curriculum and/or is impossible to implement. In these circumstances, every attempt will be made to provide program flexibility while maintaining the standards established by accrediting and licensing bodies.

The Coordinator will forward recommendations for reduced course loads to Office of Enrollment Services for final approval.

Other Accommodations

All recommendations for accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. Students requesting other accommodations should meet with the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities to determine if the accommodation is reasonable and substantiated.


Assistive Technology

Students with documented disabilities may be eligible to use the Assistive Technology available in various locations on each campus. Students wanting to use assistive technology must be trained on the use of the various pieces of equipment before access is granted.
Assistive Technology includes, but is not limited to, use of the following items:

  • Specialized software (JAWS, Magic Eyes, Kurzweil 1000 & 3000 Dragon Naturally Speaking)
  • Closed circuit T.V.
  • Braille typewriter and/or printer
  • Assistive Listening Equipment

The Disability Services for Students Office must have documentation of disability on file for all users of adaptive equipment, whether consumers are registered students or public citizens.


First time equipment users:

All first-time users of adaptive equipment must participate in training to ensure proper use of the equipment. These students should notify the Disability Services for Students Office no less than two weeks before the equipment is needed. The two week time period is necessary in order to schedule training, allow the student time to become proficient in equipment use and to ensure staff availability for guidance and support during the training period. Adaptive equipment will only be available for use when the student has completed the necessary training and demonstrated competency in using the equipment.


Previous equipment users:

Students who have completed the equipment training and who have demonstrated responsibility and competency in its use must notify Disability Services for Students Office one week in advance of the need for the equipment. The request must identify the specific equipment being requested and the anticipated time, frequency and place of use.


Public citizens' use of adaptive equipment/software in the CCRI library:

Consumers as public citizens are eligible to use the CCRI Library which is considered a public library. Consumers who require use of the accessible computers in the library for on-line catalogue systems must demonstrate competence in the use of the adaptive software and equipment or participate in training for first time users as outlined above.
Equipment Failure
Students should report the non-operation of automatic doors, chair lifts, elevators, etc. to the DSS Office.


Snow Removal

Although the College will work diligently to adequately remove snow from the campus, there are times when a student may feel that the snow removal is inadequate. Students should report their concerns to the DSS Office and the office will forward the information to the appropriate department.


Accessible Parking

Students requiring accessible parking should register their vehicles with College Police and provide proof of a state handicapped parking plate. Students with temporary disabilities should provide a doctor’s letter stating the nature of the temporary disability, the need for accessible parking and the expected duration of the need. DSS will inform College Police of the students’ need. The student should then work out appropriate parking arrangements with College Police.


Evacuation Procedures for Individuals with Disabilities

Students who have a condition that may inhibit their ability to leave a campus facility easily and promptly, should self-identify with College Police. Whenever reasonably possible, and without endangering the health and safety of others or themselves, College Police officers will assist those individuals with mobility concerns in an emergency. When the intensity of the situation, i.e., fire, is such that it is not feasible for campus personnel to assist individuals with disabilities out of danger, then trained response teams can use the data provided to find and rescue anyone left behind.
Do not use the elevators in the case of fire or evacuation emergency. Individuals needing assistance should egress to the designated safe areas on their campus. If this is not possible, they should remain in the hallway outside of their classrooms unless they are in imminent danger. In those cases individuals should remain in their classrooms with the door shut. Information about safe areas and evacuation policies is readily available in the College Police offices.

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Last Updated: 9/19/12