Student Disability Policy

Academic Policies on Disabilities
Sweet Briar College complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act and accepts students with documented disabilities who can successfully pursue the College’s academic program. Sweet Briar recognizes its responsibility to provide individuals with disabilities with equivalent access while maintaining the standards that are essential to the academic program.


Admission to Sweet Briar College is based on the requirements outlined in this catalog. Sweet Briar does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the admissions process. If an applicant believes that an accommodated admission review is warranted, the applicant must initiate the process (by law, the Admissions Office can not address a disability unless the applicant is self identified). The applicant must submit a written request for an accommodated admissions review to the Dean of Admissions and enclose with that request the appropriate documentation. The request will be evaluated by the Dean of Student Life, who will forward a recommendation to the Dean of Admissions for inclusion in the admissions review process.

Accommodations in Specific Courses and Support Services for Enrolled Students with Disabilities
Students with documented disabilities, identified either before or after their admission to the College, may request accommodations in the structure of a course or courses. The responsibility for initiating such requests rests with the student. Students with disabilities who seek course-based accommodations must meet with the Dean of Student Life to request accommodations. The student must submit appropriate documentation of the disability to the Dean, who will review the documentation and will then discuss with the student which accommodations and support services are appropriate.

The Dean of Student Life, with the student’s written permission, will notify the faculty members involved of the specific classroom or course-based accommodations or both that have been authorized. The student will also be referred to the Academic Resource Center to arrange need-based support services outside the classroom. All specific course-based accommodations should be established at the beginning of each academic term. It is the responsibility of the student to contact her professors to arrange for the necessary accommodations. Accommodations identified at the beginning of the term may be adjusted on an as-needed basis.

The types of legal accommodations available to students in specific courses and outside the classroom can include, but are not limited to, the following possible accommodations:

  • In Class — Tape recording of lectures, use of a note taker, seating location, extended time for assignments, use of a word processor for written work and taped texts.
  • For Examinations — Use of a reader, extended time, private room, use of a word processor, alternative formats, or adaptive equipment.
  • Outside the Classroom — Taped texts, note transcription, tutoring, learning strategies instruction, reduced course load, and use of adaptive equipment.

Students with documented disabilities may request modifications in academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate against students with disabilities, or have the effect of excluding students solely on the basis of disability. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for completion of degree requirements, reduced course loads, substitution of specific courses for degree requirements, waivers of specific requirements, or utilization of the pass/credit/no credit grading option.

Students requesting modifications must submit a written request to the Dean of Student Life complete with appropriate documentation of the disability. The College’s guidelines for reviewing all requests for modifications are:

  1. The modification must be directly related to the student’s disability.
  2. In cases involving courses required for the degree, the student must pass an authorized substitute course or requirement.
  3. In cases where students have been approved to take courses on the pass/credit/no credit basis, the office of the Dean will notify the Registrar in writing of this modification.
  4. Grades earned in courses identified as affected by a specific disability and attempted before the disability was diagnosed and confirmed by the Dean of the Faculty or the Dean of Student Life may be converted to the pass/credit/no credit grade, and the grade-point average may be adjusted at the request of the student and with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean will consult with the faculty member who recorded the original grade to verify that clear evidence exists to support the student’s claim that the disability, rather than other factors, directly interfered with the student’s ability to perform on an equal basis with other students in the course. This policy will not apply to students diagnosed with disabilities after they have completed the degree.

Other Guidelines
In order for Sweet Briar College to consider requests for accommodations or modifications or both, the student must provide documented evidence of the disability or disabilities based on an evaluation done by an appropriate professional within four years of the date the request is submitted. In cases of learning disabilities or other “hidden disabilities” the required evaluation must also include specific test results.

The Office of the Dean will submit an annual report to the Instruction Committee, including the number of students diagnosed with learning disabilities, and summarizing the nature and scope of accommodations, modifications, and support services provided to students under this policy.