Eligibility for Services
Disability Services ensures equal access to George Mason University’s programs and services for qualified students with disabilities. A qualified student with a disability is a student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the university’s education program and services. As defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a person has a disability if he/she:
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
- has a record of such an impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
In order to determine eligibility for services and fully evaluate requests for accommodations or auxiliary aids, Disability Services may request reasonable documentation of the reported disability. Documentation should include information about functional limitations associated with any disability. Disability Services reviews and evaluates documentation on a case-by-case basis and all forms of documentation are meaningful and should be mined for pertinent information.
Documentation guidelines are based on the Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) description of quality disability documentation.
Registering with Disability Services is an interactive process that involves student self-report and a Disability Services specialist’s observation and interaction. Documentation may be requested from external sources (e.g., documentation from a healthcare provider). To begin the process, complete and submit the Disability Services intake form and submit any disability/accommodation documentation that you have and think is appropriate. In the event that you do not have documentation, contact our office to consult with a Disability Services Specialist to discuss next steps.
Documentation – Disability Services collaborates with students to provide reasonable accommodations that are individualized and based on documentation, functional limitations, and a collaborative assessment of needs. Criteria for the source, scope, and content of documentation varies with each individual situation. Helpful information may include medical records, evaluations (e.g., psychological, psychoeducational, neuropsychological), comprehensive school records, or a detailed assessment from a diagnosing/treating healthcare provider.
Documentation should include:
- Credentials of evaluator or licensed professional in the field related to specific diagnosis or impairment.
- Diagnostic information that identifies the impairment/disability, provides information about the functional impact on the student’s ability to participate in Mason’s educational programs and services, and details typical progression or prognosis of the condition.
- A description of the diagnostic methodology used (e.g., criteria, methods, procedures, clinical narrative, observation, specific results).
- A description of current and past accommodations, services, medications, auxiliary aids, assistive devices, and support services that are logically related to functional limitations.
Disability Services created The Disability Determination Form (Forms page) in an effort to make the process of securing documentation from healthcare providers more efficient. The form includes guiding questions about a disability and its impact on functional limitations. This form is not required if you have other documentation consistent with the guidelines above. Contact Disability Services with any questions about documentation.
**Other universities and companies that administer entrance/qualifying exams (e.g., ETS, GRE, LSAT) may require more extensive documentation if you are seeking accommodations similar to those you have in place at Mason. Research other universities’ and companies’ requirements well in advance of requesting accommodations.**