Accessibility Services

At Simmons University, we are committed to the full participation of all students in our programs and activities. Simmons University is mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal access to facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities and employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities.

The Simmons cupola

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is a strategy-based service that supports students in their academic endeavors both on the ground and online. Students registered with OAS are expected to adhere to the same academic and behavioral standards as the rest of the University. A student’s initial connection and ongoing interaction with OAS is self-propelled.

We invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions and to contact the Office of Accessibility Services at access@simmons.edu with any questions or concerns. You are welcome to make an appointment and visit us in the Center for Student Success, on the Ground Floor of Lefavour Hall. Please refer to this Simmons Access Info Sheet. We look forward to working with you!

Returning Students

Unless a new diagnosis has occurred, you do not need to submit new or additional documents.

New Students

We would like to build your file and get to know your case prior to your arrival. You may begin to submit your documentation immediately and preferably before August 15th. While all students can register with our office at any time in the year, we recommend starting early so that your documentation can be reviewed, and you can request your accommodations in a timely manner.

In order to fully register with OAS, you must provide documentation of the disability that substantially limits a major life activity, such as learning, hearing, seeing, reading, walking, and speaking. All submitted documentation must include the name and professional credentials of the evaluator on the diagnostician’s letterhead in clear and legible writing.

Submitting your documents

A. If your documentation is current (within 4 years from the date of the diagnostic tool) then you are ready to submit your documentation.

  • Use our secure file transfer to submit your documents. Please enter your Simmons University email address in the “From” line when submitting forms to Accessibility Services.
  • Mail or hand-deliver your completed documentation form and assessment to our office: Simmons University, Office of Accessibility Services, Center for Student Success, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115
  • We cannot accept fax submissions.

B.If your documentation is not current or does not yet exist, you must request documentation from a provider or specialist.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Learning disability: Your most recent educational testing scores (e.g. Aptitude Testing, IQ & Information Processing Testing, or Academic Achievement Testing).
  • ADHD: DSM-IV or V Diagnosis and full diagnostic report.
  • Psychiatric disability: DSM-IV or V Diagnosis, impact on academic functioning, and recommended academic accommodations. This verification form can be used to supply information for a psychiatric diagnosis.
  • Physical disability: Diagnosis and assessment, impact causing substantial limitation (including history of accommodations if applicable), and recommended accommodations.
  • Supplementary verification form: This verification form can be used as a supplement when primary documentation is pending or does not exist. A copy of the most recent psycho-educational or disability-related evaluation is required to fully register with OAS. In some cases, this verification form may be a primary document for medical circumstances/diagnoses.

Your documentation will be reviewed upon receipt. If your submission is deemed insufficient, you will be reached by OAS to provide supplemental information.

Commonly Requested Academic Accommodations:

  • Extended Time on Tests and Quizzes
  • Reduced Distraction Testing Environment
  • Alternate Text Format
  • Access to Note Provision

Accommodations are applied on a prospective basis - students are not entitled to have accommodations applied on a retroactive basis.

  1. You must submit your documentation to OAS before requesting your academic accommodations. Start at “Where Do I Begin?” for instructions under the “Submitting Your Documentation” heading. Your accommodation request cannot be processed until OAS has received complete documentation.
  2. Complete and submit the accommodation request form for the full academic year through our secure file transfer link. Students will receive their accommodation authorization document 3-5 business days after submitting their request (if returning) or 3-5 business days after their meeting with OAS staff (if new).
  3. If you are new to OAS (first-years, transfers, and returning students who require an update), schedule a meeting with OAS staff.
  4. After you meet with OAS staff and your accommodation requests are reviewed, you will receive one Academic Accommodation Authorization document for all of your professors for the entire academic year. 
  5. Starting with the 2019-2020 Academic Year (September 1st to August 31st), students with approved accommodations will receive ONE Academic Accommodation Authorization document via email to distribute to their faculty.

If you intend to request special housing accommodations based on a documented diagnosis/disability for your on-campus Simmons residence, you will need to complete some additional steps which you can read about here.

In accordance with applicable federal, state, and city disability laws,  Simmons University will review your request for housing accommodations.

Simmons University has established the following procedures to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to Simmons University housing resources:

Requesting Housing Accommodations

Step 1

Please read these steps carefully and review the two necessary housing forms to understand the process of requesting housing accommodations. The Office of Accessibility Services does its best to provide equal access to the residential experience. The nature of each student’s disability and its impact on living in residence is carefully reviewed case-by-case.

Step 2

Complete and submit the two housing forms: Treating Practitioner’s Verification and Student Request for Accessible Housing Accommodations. Your healthcare provider should complete the Verification form, or provide other supporting documentation.

  • Use our secure file transfer to submit your documents. Please enter your Simmons University email address in the “From” line when submitting forms to Accessibility Services.
  • If you are unable to scan the documents, we invite you to send via U.S. Mail or personally deliver to: Simmons University, Office of Accessibility Services, Center for Student Success, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.
  • We cannot accept fax submissions.

Information provided to the Simmons University Office of Accessibility Services is kept confidential.

Your request and supporting documentation will be reviewed by the Office of Accessibility Services and Office of Student Affairs.

  • Please be aware that requesting a housing accommodation is a different process from requesting an academic accommodation.
  • Housing accommodations must be requested for each academic year. Exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Your application must contain two parts in order to be reviewed: the Student Request for Accessible Housing Accommodations and the Treating Practitioner’s Verification forms. 

Housing Accommodation Application Deadlines

Academic Session Deadline for Application and Documentation
2019-2020 Academic YearNew Students: July 5, 2019
Returning Students: February 15, 2019
Summer 2019All Students: March 25, 2019

All accommodations approved after the applicable deadline will be assigned based upon availability; students are placed on a priority wait-list by the Office of Residential Life.

Please carefully read the following important information about taking your exams in the OAS Testing Center:

  • The OAS Testing Center replicates the classroom testing environment as closely as possible, with the addition of the accommodations necessary to make testing accessible to OAS-registered students for exams and quizzes.
  • Students approved for testing accommodations are responsible for making their own arrangements to take exams in the OAS Testing Center. The student always initiates the exam request process.
  • Students must fill out and submit the Exam Request Form NO LESS THAN ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE of their test to allow for adequate processing time by OAS.
    • OAS will not proctor any exams requested within 24 hours of the exam’s scheduled date and time.
  • Students must take their exams on the same date and at the same time as their classmates.
    • In cases where the student’s extended testing time would overlap with their next class, the student and OAS will review an alternate time that does not conflict with any of their classes. Students should not miss a class as OAS cannot provide an excused absence note. 
    • Your extended time for your test begins at your scheduled exam time. Therefore, it is your responsibility to arrive on time for your test. If you are late for your exam, you will have that much less time to complete your exam.
    • If you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your exam, OAS will not be able to give you your exam without re-authorization from your professor. Whether or not your professor gives their approval for you to take your exam at a later time or date is entirely at their discretion.
  • All students approved for the Extended Time on Assessments (Tests and Quizzes) accommodation will receive 2.0x, or double time, for exams and quizzes. This change reflects the best practice of universal design. 
  • Smart Watches, Fitbit, Apple Watches, cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices are prohibited in OAS testing spaces.
    • OAS staff members and office assistants will ask students to remove and stow their watches, phones, and other devices in backpacks or bags left outside of the testing area for the duration of their test.
  • Access to and use of an OAS testing space—both small-group testing environments and single-occupancy testing rooms—constitute a Reduced Distraction Environment from the classroom testing setting. 
    • OAS has access to a limited number of individual testing rooms. On high volume testing days, students cannot be guaranteed an individual testing room. If there are no individual testing rooms available at the time of your exam, you may be placed in a small-group testing environment with an exam proctor.
    • To have access to a single-occupancy testing room for all of your exams, you must request and be approved for Single-Occupancy Testing Roomas an accommodation by submitting sufficient supporting documentation to the OAS.

Process for Making Exam Arrangements

  1. Fill out and submit the OAS’s Exam Request Form NO LESS THAN ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE OF YOUR EXAM.
    1. Fill out and submit one Exam Request Form for each test you intend to take through the OAS Testing Center. This includes for weekly or biweekly quizzes/ tests. 
    2. Every test you intend to take in the OAS must have a corresponding Exam Request Form filled out and submitted in a timely manner. 
    3. If your professor moves the date and/or time of an exam for which you have already submitted and Exam Request Form, email access@simmons.edu to update your exam reservation details. 
  2. You will receive a confirmation email from access@simmons.edu after we process your Exam Request Form.
  3. Arrive at the Testing Center 5-10 minutes before the beginning of your testing period.
    1. Your extended (2.0x) time begins at your scheduled exam time, whether you arrive on time to the Testing Center or not.
    2. You are responsible for bringing any approved materials with you. 
  4. Check-in with an OAS staff member or OAS office assistant to receive your testing location, end time, and exam packet. 
    1. Timers, scrap paper, pencils, and a limited number of simple calculators are available upon request.
  5. Return your exam and any borrowed materials to an OAS staff member or student worker after you complete your exam. 
    1. You must exit your testing space and turn in your exam at the end of your extended testing period. 
  6. Students may use the restroom during their test, but they MUST inform an OAS staff member or office assistant beforehand and show that they do not have anything in their pockets. 
  7. OAS returns your exam to your professor after you finish testing. 
    1. Students are never permitted to take their exam out of the Testing Center for any reason.

The following are the guidelines of the Office of Accessibility Services. Please note that any information that is not currently a hyperlink is under revision. Carefully read the following guidelines as each has been revised in Summer 2019. If you have questions related to any of the guidelines please reach access@simmons.edu.

The Office of Accessibility Services collaborates with faculty and staff across Simmons University. Our goal is to provide you with information for most frequently asked questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any other questions!

Accommodation Information:

  • Accommodations are applied on a prospective basis - students are not entitled to have accommodations applied on a retroactive basis. Therefore it is the student's responsibility to contact you in advance to review and discuss the listed accommodation(s).
  • Students are encouraged to contact the OAS immediately upon deciding to request an accommodation, as well as going forward, as appropriate.
  • You are required to provide the accommodations that have been approved for the student.
  • OAS proctors exams between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday through Friday. You will receive an e-mail prompt to send your exam to OAS. Please drop off your exams or submit your exam document(s) through OAS's secure exam transfer link
  • If you have any questions or concerns about this student's particular needs, please call the Office of Accessibility Services at 617-521-2658 or e-mail access@simmons.edu.

Peer Note Provider Announcement

You may receive a Note Provider Request form with the following announcement:

Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is requesting the assistance of a volunteer note provider to support an OAS student in this course. This is an opportunity to assist a fellow student with a specific learning/medical need to access the information in this course. If you are interested, please inquire with OAS by emailing access@simmons.edu for next steps or visit the OAS on the 1st Floor of Lefavour Hall in the Center for Student Success. Note providers will receive a $100 stipend check as a thank you for volunteering their time and notes. Please bring a sample of your notes for review by an OAS staff member. Only legible, organized notes will be considered. Electronic notes are preferred. Thank you.

Syllabus Statement

OAS must be accurately represented. Please update your course syllabus to include the following:

Students who wish to receive academic accommodations for this course must first register due to a documented diagnosis/disability with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). The most commonly requested accommodations are extended time for testing and use of the OAS Testing Center. OAS will provide eligible/registered students with an Academic Accommodations Authorization form to share with each instructor to confirm the student’s authorized accommodations. The OAS is located on the 1st floor of Lefavour Hall in the Center for Student Success and is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For more information about the services and accommodations available through the Office of Accessibility Services please, review the following link: simmons.edu/access.

Accessibility Services

Center for Student Success
  • (617) 521-2658
  • Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Ground Floor, Lefavour Hall