Disability Resources: Our Process

Requesting accommodations is a 4-step process.  You can become eligible for accommodations by following Steps 1 and 2 below.  Once eligible, you then need to schedule your accommodations each semester that you wish to receive them by following Steps 3 and 4 below.


How to qualify for accommodations


Our mission is to serve students with disabilities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and University policy, students must submit appropriate documentation to the Disability Resources (DR) office in a timely manner before they  qualify for accommodations.    All documentation is treated in a confidential manner and kept in a secure DR filing cabinet.  Documentation, prepared by a qualified evaluator, must at minimum substantiate the student’s disabling condition and verify the student’s current need for accommodations in order to have equal access to the learning environment or activities.

What accommodations are provided?  Documentation and requests for reasonable accommodations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine adherence to the University’s disability documentation guidelines.  Therefore, you should feel free to request any accommodations you feel are necessary to provide you with equal access to learning activities or environments here at WU.  The most commonly-requested accommodations in college settings often fall into one of three categories.  Here are some examples:

  • Learning accommodations (e.g., notetakers, reduced courseloads )
  • Testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, use of a computer for essay exams, reduced distraction test location)
  • Access accommodations (e.g., physically accessible classroom, physically accessible residence hall room)

We regularly work with students and/or their families to answer questions and provide guidance as students submit the appropriate documentation.  Unlike high school, however, the college environment follows legal guidelines that require the student to disclose his or her disability status and request accommodations. We welcome calls from and contact with parents but can only respond directly to students after they have advocated for themselves.  DR staff members are sensitive to the fact that self-advocacy may be a new role for many students, particularly during the transition to college.

Please open the appropriate link below to access the University’s documentation guidelines for specific types of disabilities.


Step 1. Submit documentation of your disability.

In order to receive accommodations, you must submit documentation of your disability to the Disability Resources (DR) office, along with the Intake Form.  Incoming students should submit documentation at least a month prior to their enrollment to ensure that they receive accommodations in a timely manner.  Documentation can be submitted once a student has decided to attend WU, although for fall enrollment, documentation will not be reviewed before June. 

View Documentation GuidelinesView Documentation Guidelines

To make timely accommodations for students with physical disabilities, documentation should be submitted at least two months prior to the beginning of the semester of enrollment.  Some diagnoses require annual updates from the diagnostician.  Criteria for documentation of each major type of disability are available on our website. You may also obtain the criteria via mail, fax or by visiting the DR office.

Go to Disability Resources Intake FormGo to the Disability Resources Intake Form

Once your documentation is received, the DR staff will assess it for completeness and eligibility. We will follow up with you via email or phone to inform you of the results of your documentation review.  In general, this process takes about two weeks from the time a student’s documentation is complete. If your documentation is incomplete, we will explain why and which specific points of the criteria need to be addressed with additional documentation. You will always be welcome to submit additional documentation but it is your responsibility to do so. Accommodations and services cannot be provided before your documentation has been approved.

Documentation of a student's disability is maintained in a private, locked filing cabinet in DR. This documentation is not part of the student’s academic record. All information related to a disability is treated as confidential and may be disclosed only with the student's written consent or to those with a genuine "need to know," consistent with the University's policy and federal laws.

To receive prompt accommodations and services, your documentation must be approved 2 weeks before the beginning of your first semester of enrollment. Documentation may be submitted in any of the following ways:

  • Via our secure form; see link above.
  • Fax: (314) 935-7559
  • Mail: Campus Box 1135; One Brookings Drive; St. Louis, Missouri 63130
  • Package delivery (UPS, FEDEX): Gregg Hall, Campus Box 1135; 6601 Shepley Drive; St. Louis, Missouri 63105

You may also hand deliver your documentation to Cornerstone if you are visiting Washington University.


Step 2. Discuss Results of Documentation Review


As noted, we will contact you via email or phone after reviewing your disability documentation.  This process generally takes about two weeks once we have received your documentation and the DR Intake Form.  If the review process takes place during the summer, our discussion may need to occur by phone unless you are in the Saint Louis area.  Whenever it is possible to meet with you in person to discuss the results, we welcome the chance to do so and will help you schedule an appointment.

The DR staff member who contacts you will explain the results of your documentation review and clarify your next steps.  In many cases, this entails following Steps 3 and 4 (below) to register for specific accommodations.  In some cases, it may entail submitting additional documentation if you wish to do so.  In either case, our goal is to provide you information and resources that can be of assistance to you.  We are part of Cornerstone:  The Center for Advanced Learning.  Cornerstone provides a wide range of outstanding academic services for all WU undergraduates.  We want to make sure all students who contact the DR office are aware of these and other resources at WU.

how to use your accommodations


Step 3. Schedule Your Accommodations at the Beginning of Each Semester


Students who qualify for accommodations may find that their accommodation needs vary from class to class or from one semester to the next.  This is why we ask you to schedule your accommodations each semester in which you wish to receive them. 

You do so by submitting a completed copy of the appropriate DR Registration Form:

For Law School students, please contact Dean Walsh to schedule your accommodations.

DR Registration form for all other Washington University studentsFor all other undergraduate and graduate students


Step 4. Deliver Confirmation of Your Accommodation to Your Instructors


Following completion of your registration forms, Disability Resources will prepare a Verification of Individual Student Accommodation (VISA), usually within 48 hours. This letter will confirm your registration and accommodations, but it will not reveal the nature of your disability.

This letter will be made available to you electronically via CornerstoneConnect Accommodate Cornerstone's online academic resource system, to which each student registered with Disability Resources can log in using their WUSTL Key and password.

Learn how to download your VISADownload Your VISA from CornerstoneConnect Accommodate

The final step in your registration each semester is for you to download your VISA, which you may present to the instructor(s) of each course for which you wish to use your accommodations. Do not place the letters in your professor's mailbox or give them to anyone other than your instructor. At delivery, briefly describe the contents of the letter to your professor. This will allow you to introduce yourself and to notify the professor that you are registered with DR.

If you do not deliver the VISA to each instructor, they will not know you have been approved to receive accommodations and will have no basis for providing those accommodations. Thus, if you want to receive accommodations you must deliver these letters directly to your instructors immediately. Waiting to deliver the letters until just before your first exam will jeopardize your ability to receive accommodations.

Request for Special Housing Accommodations


Students requesting housing accommodations must complete four steps: 1. Complete the Request for Special Housing Accommodations, 2. Upload documentation to this form, 3. Complete the Residential Life Online Petition through WebStac, 4. Complete the Room & Board Application through WebStac.

Request for Special Housing Accommodations

Exam Schedule


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Current exam schedule

About Disability Resources at Washington University in St. Louis

Logo Cornerstone Cornerstone: The Center for Advanced Learning
Washington University St. Louis
Campus Box 1135
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
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