To receive reasonable accommodations for a disability at Vanderbilt University, students are to apply for services through the Access Center. Any student who wishes to apply for services must first be accepted for admission to Vanderbilt University.
Please keep in mind that the process below must be completed before any accommodation recommendations can be made to faculty. On average, the process takes at least two weeks to complete; however, if the student’s documentation does not meet all of the requirements listed from the documentation guidelines, the process will be delayed.
For more detailed information about our services, please see below or contact the Access Center Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at (615) 343-9727.
Reasonable Accommodation Request Process
To request reasonable accommodations, students are to make their request known to the Access Center and submit, for review, a current copy of their disability documentation. Documentation will be assessed to determine eligibility of services and, if approved, the student will be notified to contact the Access Center to arrange an orientation meeting. The meeting usually lasts about thirty minutes and introduces the student to the staff as well as service procedures for each semester. Afterwards, the student will receive an accommodation letter to provide and discuss with their instructors in order to have the accommodations administered.
Reasonable accommodation arrangements are not retroactive. For example, say a student chooses not to submit his or her accommodation letter to the instructor, then later changes his or her mind. The accommodations will not begin until the letter has been given to the instructor.
In order to register for accommodations, students will need to logon to the Commodore Access Portal using their VUNET ID and complete the New Student application (even though you may not be a new student to Vanderbilt, you will still need to complete this process). Students will also need to upload all of their documentation to the portal.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 615-343-9727.
Types of Services
A wide range of support services are provided to students with disabilities at Vanderbilt University. Services and resources are determined on an individual basis considering the students needs.
- Notetakers or access to class notes
- Readers and scribes
- Access to recorded textbooks and materials
- Exam accommodations
- Sign language interpreter
- Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)
- Priority scheduling
- Access to adaptive technology computer equipment and software
- Phonic Ear FM systems (assisted amplification device) available for loan
- Guidance, counseling, referral, and advocacy services to students
Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and must be supported by the documented functional limitations.
In general, all documentation must be submitted on the official letterhead of the diagnostician. The documentation should be dated, signed and include the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification. Students requesting accommodations for multiple disabilities must provide supporting documentation for each diagnosis. While an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan from high school may show a history of accommodations, these documents do not typically provide the needed information to establish a diagnosis and/or functional limitations.
Student Access Services has the right to request this documentation. If you have not already done so, be sure to submit a “New Student Form” along with your documentation. Once the New Student Form and the Documentation have been submitted, SAS staff will review the documentation to understand the student’s functional limitations and respond to the student's request for reasonable accommodations. If you do not hear back from SAS within 10 business days, please contact the office.
*Please note, SAS will only review documentation for students who have accepted their offer to Vanderbilt University and for those students who are already enrolled.
All applicants go through the same admissions review process and are admitted based on the quality of their academic record. As there is no separate admissions process for applicants with disabilities, students with disabilities are competitively admitted to Vanderbilt University every year.
Federal law prohibits making preadmissions inquiry about disabilities. If you believe, however, that some aspect of your academic record was affected by your disability, you may choose to share that with the Admissions Office. Information regarding disabilities, voluntarily given or inadvertently received, will not adversely affect any admission decision. Common examples of events that students choose to share include:
A disability occurring or having been diagnosed during the high school years with a subsequent and substantial improvement in academic performance once appropriate disability-related services or medical treatment were provided; or
An uneven grade pattern that results from a disability occurring during high school (e.g. traumatic brain injury or disabling illness) with grades dropping and then improving as the student recovers.
You may provide a personal statement regarding your experiences as an individual with a disability in an academic setting describing the types of services you have received, your particular strengths and/or academic interests, or other relevant information that will assist the Admissions Office in understanding your unique high school experience. However, it is not necessary that you submit this information with your application materials.
PLEASE NOTE: Students who have received disability services and accommodations throughout high school will have their academic record considered in a manner consistent with that of other applicants. While Vanderbilt University will consider extenuating circumstances that occur in any applicant's high school experience, all applicants who are admitted have met the competitive admissions requirements in place at the time of the review.
Should you be admitted to Vanderbilt University and want more information about the specific services provided by the Student Access Services office, you may contact us at (615) 322-4705 or send your complete disability documentation to us with a review request for eligibility of services.
Individuals interested in applying for admission to Vanderbilt University are encouraged to contact the Admissions Office to obtain an application and university catalog. Admission requirements and deadlines are outlined in the Vanderbilt undergraduate catalogs. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions contact information is as follows:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions Office
2305 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203-1727
By phone: (615) 322-2561 or (800) 288-0432
On the Web: www.vanderbilt.edu/admissions
Students with disabilities who are interested in studying abroad are encouraged to do so. While the laws in other countries may not mirror those of the United States, concerning the provision of accommodations to students with disabilities, the Access Center staff and International Programs offices will attempt to facilitate equivalent access in such programs. To request assistance with accommodations in the Study Abroad Program, contact the Access Center staff prior to beginning your program outside the U.S.
Temporary Medical Restrictions
Vanderbilt students who have injuries, surgeries or other conditions which will temporarily restrict them on campus can contact the Access Center staff if some type of short-term assistance may be needed. A medical statement will be required when equipment will be needed during the short period the person is recovering.