Frequently Asked Questions
What qualifies as a disability according to the law?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, an individual with a disability is any person:
- with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities
- who has a record of such impairment
- who is regarded as having such an impairment
Students with a significant physical or mental impairment that substantially limits
one or more major life activity such as walking, learning, and performing manual tasks
are eligible for disability services.
KCC is required by Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008 (ADAAA) to ensure that every student has equal access to all KCC programs and activities.
Are there separate admission and/or academic standards for students with disabilities?
No. Students with disabilities must meet the same admission and academic standards as their non-disabled peers.
When should I disclose that I have a disability?
Self-disclosure of your disability is voluntary. You may choose to self-disclose your disability at any time and to anyone. However, if you choose to self-disclose to receive accommodations, you must self-disclose to AAS. You will be asked to complete an Application for Accommodations and Services (click here for Application) and to submit it to AAS with supporting documentation.
What is Access-Ability Services?
Access-Ability Services (AAS) is the office responsible for determining eligibility and appropriate reasonable accommodations for KCC students with disabilities.
Are all students with disabilities required to register with AAS?
No, students may choose whether or not to register for disability services. Please note, however, that your instructors do not have to provide accommodations to students who are not registered with AAS.
Will AAS seek me out to provide services like my counselors did in high school?
In K-12, under IDEA, it is the responsibility of the schools to seek out students with disabilities and provide services to promote their progress. IDEA does not apply in colleges or universities. Colleges/universities cannot seek out students with disabilities. It is the student's responsibility to self-disclose and request accommodations.
Am I automatically entitled to the same services that I received in high school?
No. In Kindergarten through 12th grade, students are entitled to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law does not apply to universities or colleges. Post-secondary education is governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 Subpart E of the Rehabilitation Act, and other pertinent state laws. These Civil Rights Acts require the college to ensure that a student does not encounter discrimination due to a disability, and to provide reasonable accommodations that allow the student an equal opportunity to fully participate in college’s programs and activities. To receive accommodations at KCC, you will need to follow the procedures discussed below.
How do I apply for services?
Students must self-identify to Access-Ability Services and request accommodations by submitting an Application for Accommodations and Services (click here for Application) with appropriate supporting documentation. AAS will review your application and documentation and determine if you are eligible for accommodations. If you are eligible to receive accommodations, AAS will provide you with literature about our policies and procedures and assign you to an AAS counselor.
Can my parents advocate for me?
No. Unlike high school, in post-secondary education, you are considered an adult. All requests for accommodations must come directly from you. AAS cannot honor requests from parents. While AAS is happy to discuss general concerns with your parents, AAS may not discuss or release information specific to you to your parents without your written permission.
How can I advocate for myself?
The first step is to know yourself, including your strengths, limitations, and what type of accommodations you need. You also need to know your rights and responsibilities as a person with a disability, and how to communicate your needs in an assertive but respectful manner. Also it is important to have an academic/career goal and a plan of action to obtain that goal. If you are unsure of your ability in these areas, ask for help from your AAS counselor.
What kinds of accommodations are available to students?
Reasonable accommodations are based on the nature of the disability and the impact of the disability in the academic environment. All accommodations are approved and provided on a case-by-case basis. Authorized accommodations vary by student and may vary from course to course. Reasonable accommodations at the university/college level may differ from those available to you in high school.
If I received accommodations at another college, will I automatically receive accommodations at Kingsborough Community College (KCC)?
No. You must self-identify to AAS, submit a completed application, provide appropriate supporting documentation, and be approved for accommodations before accommodations can be provided at KCC. It will be helpful if you to provide information about the accommodations that you received at your previous college.
What documents does AAS need to assess eligibility for accommodations based on a disability?
In compliance with the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, AAS is required to assess eligibility for accommodations and determine what accommodations are appropriate to a student’s disability needs based on the documentation provided by the student. Please see Documentation Guidelines for general guidelines for appropriate documentation. An IEP or 504 Plan provides a history of services received by a student in K-12; it may not always be sufficient documentation to receive reasonable accommodations at the post-secondary level.
Who is responsible for paying for documentation to verify my disability?
The student is fully responsible for any cost associated with obtaining documentation.
Does AAS do assessments to provide a diagnosis of disability?
Universities and colleges are not required to conduct or provide assessments for documentation of disability. The student is fully responsible for providing appropriate documentation. Students may obtain referral information from AAS.
Do I need to submit a new request and documentation every year?
No. Once you are approved, you are eligible for accommodations as long as you are a student at KCC. If your disability status changes and/or you feel you need additional or different accommodations, you should notify AAS. You may be asked to provide additional documentation to support your request for new accommodations.
Using Academic Accommodations
Does AAS tell my instructors that I have a disability and that I get accommodations through AAS?
AAS keeps your disability information confidential. Generally, the information in your file is not shared with anyone unless you sign a written request. AAS will generate a letter of Notification of Academic Accommodations for each student who registers with AAS. The letter identifies you as eligible to receive accommodations and lists your approved accommodations. AAS does not specify your disability in the letter. Each semester, students are responsible for requesting AAS to send the letter to the professor of each course in which they want to use their accommodations. You will need to give AAS your name, your ID number, the course number and section number, and the name of the instructor so that we know where to send your Letter of Accommodation. Students are also responsible for discussing the accommodations with their instructors. It is important to note that an instructor is not required to comply with a student’s request for accommodations if the instructor has not received a current letter of Notification of Academic Accommodations verifying that the requested accommodations are approved by AAS.
After I am approved for accommodations, can I redo tests and assignments that I did without accommodations?
Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations do not take effect until you have submitted a completed Application for Accommodations and Services with appropriate supporting documentation, been approved for accommodations, received your letter of Notification of Academic Accommodations, and submitted it to your instructors. It is in your best interest to self-identify to AAS as early as possible to provide yourself the best possible opportunity for success.
Is tutoring available as an accommodation?
AAS offers tutoring as an optional service, not an accommodation, to students with disabilities who are registered with AAS. Students request tutoring by filling out and submitting a Tutor Request Form. AAS then tries to match students’ hours of availability with those of an appropriate AAS tutor. There are also various other sources of tutoring available free of charge to all KCC students.
In high school I had a counselor I could talk to. Will I have a counselor in college?
Every student who registers with AAS is assigned to a professionally trained counselor.
How do I know who my AAS counselor is?
When your request for accommodation is approved, you will receive an acceptance letter
and other important material from AAS. The acceptance letter will name your counselor
and invite you to contact AAS at (718) 368-5175 to schedule an appointment to meet
with your counselor.
You may also contact AAS to find out the name of your counselor.
How can my counselor help me?
College is different from high school in many rewarding as well as challenging ways. The best person to assist you in your adjustment to college is your AAS counselor. AAS counselors are professionally trained to address student personal issues that impinge on academic progress; provide emotional support; assist students in choosing career fields and majors; help students choose their classes; and problem solve academic difficulties. Your AAS counselor can help you to learn about your rights and responsibilities as a student with disabilities, explore your strengths and limitations, learn self-advocacy skills, and connect to resources on and off campus.
How often should I meet with my AAS counselor?
Students are encouraged to schedule appointments with their counselors regularly. Students have different needs and some may want to meet with their counselor more often than others but we suggest that all students see their counselor at least once per semester.
How do I meet with my counselor?
You may come to room D-205 in person or telephone (718) 368-5175 to schedule an appointment.
If I register with AAS as having a disability, will it show up on my transcript?
No. Disability information is kept confidential and is not reported on a student’s transcript.
What if I have disability-related questions?
Contact Access-Ability Services at (718) 368-5175 or email us at AAS@kbcc.cuny.edu.