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General Information

General Information

Whether you are a current PLU student new to our services, or a prospective Lute who is interested in seeing what services PLU can provide, we invite you to look around our website and learn more about the services that interest you. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your individual needs, please drop in, call or email! We are located in the Nesvig House, first floor. Our email is dss@plu.edu

Common Questions

Q: Who can receive accommodations?
A: Students who have documentation of a learning, physical, or psychological disability from a professional diagnostician (physician, psychologist, physical therapist, audiologist, learning specialist, etc.) can receive accommodations as recommended by the assessor and as determined by the DSS Coordinator.


Q: What are some examples of accommodations?
A: The following is not meant to be an exhaustive list of accommodations, nor may these accommodations be appropriate for every disability.

  • Accessible Furniture in Classrooms
  • Accessible Instructional Materials
  • Alternative Testing Services for Students
  • Assistive Technology
  • Notetaking Services

Q: What can accommodations do?
A: Accommodations are a system of support to help ensure an equitable access to academic programs and other activities.

Accommodations cannot, however, be given if it changes the essential nature of a course or program. They cannot create an administrative or financial  hardship and they may not significantly compromise the health and safety of the student or others.

Disability Support Services works to ensure access for students with disabilities by designing and implementing accommodations. However, there are some items that are not considered accommodations in higher education; this includes, but is not limited to:

  • Individualized instruction
  • Tutoring
  • Personal care attendant
  • Modifying curriculum
  • Requiring a professor to change a teaching style

Q: Does PLU offer an exemption to the Foreign Language or Math Requirement?
A: PLU does not offer a foreign language exemption for students with hearing loss or learning disabilities; however, courses may be substituted. More information please follow this link to the PLU Catalog. For further questions, contact your academic advisor.

Common Questions about the Application Process

Q: What is my first step?
A: The Application for Services is completed online the the Accessible Learning System. A link to the online application can be found at the bottom of this page. Fill this out to the best of your ability using your PLU student ID and email address. You will then be required to submit documentation.


Q: I have completed the application for services. What happens next?
A: You may upload your documentation to our Accessible Learning system once you have completed your application. If you do not have an electronic file of your documentation, you may bring a copy into our office, or ask your provider to fax a copy to us. Our fax number is 253-535-7137.


Q: I have submitted my documentation and application. What is next?
A: Your application and documentation has been forwarded to the DSS office. After we have reviewed the documentation, we will send you an email inviting you to schedule an intake appointment with Simone Smith, the DSS Coordinator.


Q: How long will it take for me to receive accommodations?
A: Once you have completed the above steps (completed the application, submitted your documentation, and have met with DSS) we will be able to develop an accommodation plan with you. The sooner you complete this process, the sooner we provide you with accommodations.

Common Questions about Documentation

Q: Are there documentation guidelines?
A: Yes. Documentation allows Pacific Lutheran University  determine eligibility and how to best serve each individual student. Please note we do not accept any documentation from any on-campus providers.

When presenting medical documentation for accommodation purposes, the report should follow these guidelines:

  1. Be prepared by a licensed professional who is specialized in diagnosing and/or treating persons with your condition and with whom you have had a previous treatment history, e.g., psychologist, physician, rehabilitation counselor, audiologist, ophthalmologist, nurse practitioner, or mobility specialist, etc. The report should be on professional letterhead, signed, and include the licensed professional’s title, address, and phone number.
  2. Include a statement of diagnosis that is consistent with the latest diagnostic criteria from the field, and provide information regarding how the student’s education may be impacted by functional limitations as well as a suggested list of academic accommodations and level of support needed with supporting data from the assessment, which is specific to the individual assess.

Please note that we do review all documentation annually and we may ask for more supporting documentation at any time.


Q: Do I have to be retested?
A: No! The documentation requirements have changed in the latest revision of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (2009). Documentation must show you have experienced a disabling condition at some point in your life. The previous recency standard of documentation being no more than three years old has been removed. For more information, please see our Documents and Forms page and look for “Supporting Accommodation Requests: Guidance on Documentation Practices April 2012.”


Q: Does my documentation have to be current?
A: Yes, in that it reflects your current diagnoses, and supports the types of, and need for, your requested accommodations.


Q: Does DSS offer any testing?
A: No. We do not offer any testing nor do we accept documentation from on-campus resources. Documentation must come from a 3rd party source.


Q: What if I only have an IEP or 504 Plan from high school?
A: You may use these documents from the K-12 system provided they indicate a diagnosis, and they specify the accommodations you received.


Common Questions about Requesting Accommodations

Q: I have received an Eligibility Letter, what is this? Am I done?
A: No. The eligibility letter is just the first step in requesting your accommodations. This letter details the accommodations that have been authorized through your discussion with Simone. Please follow the instructions within the letter to sign in to Accessible Learning and request your accommodations for each course. This step is required; we must have your specific permission to share information with your professors to provide your chosen accommodations from those authorized.


Q: Why is this step necessary?
A: This step acts as your electronic signature giving us your consent to share your accommodation plan with the professors you designate.


Q: Do I have to use every accommodation that has been authorized in every course?
A: No. Even though all authorized accommodations and each of your courses will appear on you Accessible Learning portal, you do not have to use every accommodation in every course; only request those accommodations you feel you will need in a given course. If, during the semester, you find that your accommodations are not meeting your needs, come speak with Simone, we can discuss making changes to your accommodation plan to better support you.


Q: I have requested my accommodations for my classes. How do my professors find out?
A:Once we have received your request for accommodations, your professors will receive a Faculty Notification letter within two business days.

Submit an Application for Services

Take the first step toward getting accommodations. If you have any questions along the way, call our office, we are here to help!

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Needs Based Housing

To apply for housing accommodations, such as single rooms or companion animals, please visit the documents page with Residential Life.

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