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Disability Resources & Educational Services

Student Policy and Procedures

Thank you for registering with DRES! We are happy to be working with you. Included in this document are many of the topics you spoke with your access specialist about at your recent orientation session. In this handout, you will see some of the most important topics.

Services for all DRES registered students

  1. DRES registered students receive priority registration. Next time you receive a time ticket to register for classes you may notice your registration time will be on an earlier date.
  2. DRES students have the option to take an academic underload. You should contact your access specialist if you feel you need to utilize this service. An academic underload is when you drop below the required 12 credit hours per semester, but remain a full-time student. Please note this could affect financial aid or the timeline of completing your degree.
  3. Sometimes we need to send all DRES students important messages (about class registration or registering to take your finals at the Testing Accommodations Center). You will be added to the DRES list-serve to receive a weekly newsletter with important messages. Sometimes there are even paid research opportunities we want you to know about! Please read the newsletter each week, at least the first few items (the most urgent ones are always at the top).

Letter of Accommodation (LOA)

When you met your access specialist at the orientation session, she may have discussed writing you a letter detailing what kinds of accommodations you will receive in your courses. Keep in mind these points about the LOA:

  • You must give your letter to each instructor as soon as possible. Sometimes students delay talking with their instructors about the letter, but you cannot receive your accommodations without doing so. When you hand in your letter or email your professor a scanned copy, you will have a short conversation with your instructor about how the accommodations will be implemented. For example, you will figure out whether you will take your exams at DRES, or if the instructor will provide testing accommodations.
  • If you would like help in talking with your instructor about your letter, your access specialist can help.
  • Plan on discussing your letter with each instructor and T.A., even if you aren’t sure that you need accommodations in each class. That way, your instructors are aware that you are registered with DRES in case it turns out that you want to use the accommodations.

Academic Support Services

  • Academic Coaching: You would meet once a week with a coach to work on things like planning, time management, organization, etc.
  • Academic Lab: Academic Lab is held in Room 121. This is a drop-in style of academic coaching. No appointments needed!
  • Counseling: Weekly individual therapy appointments without session limits at no cost to the student.

Other Support Services

  • We also offer career transition supports and group therapy.

When you have an appointment with one of our staff members, please be sure to come to your appointment on time. If you need to cancel, please let our staff members know ahead of time, that way they can spend their time helping another student.

Testing Accommodations Center In order to receive their testing accommodations, many students will use the Testing Accommodations Center (TAC) at DRES. Here are some reminders when using the TAC:

  • You must schedule your tests at least one week in advance, and there is a deadline for registering for finals that will be posted on the TAC page of the DRES website. You can even schedule all of your tests and quizzes at the beginning of the semester, that way you don’t have to worry about doing it later!
  • If you need to change the date or time on a test that you have already scheduled, please email the Testing Center at dres-testing@illinois.edu. If you simply schedule it again, it is difficult for us to know when you will be taking the test.
  • We would like you to arrive a few minutes before your testing time begins, that way, you can use the entire time allotted to you.
  • You may not take food or personal items (including electronic devices and laptops) into the test rooms. You can lock your personal items in a locker at your own risk.
  • You are responsible for keeping track of your own time in the TAC, watches and small clocks are allowed.
  • You must bring your I-Card as a form of picture ID to the Testing Accommodation Center.

General Tips and Reminders

  • Students who communicate with their access specialist get the most out of their accommodations and services! Don’t wait until a problem becomes too big to handle.  Let us know as soon as possible, we’re here to help!
  • We are here to help students advocate for their needs. If you ever feel like your accommodations are not being implemented appropriately, please let your access specialist know as soon as possible and we will help you get it figured out.
  • Any information you provide to DRES is confidential. We do not release any disability-related information about you to anyone outside of DRES without your permission. There is no record on your transcript that you are registered with DRES.
  • If you drive to DRES, please park in the designated areas and receive a parking permit from the front desk.
  • DRES has a long and successful history of helping students with disabilities, and we hope you are proud to join our ranks of students!

Student Responsibilities

I understand that as a student with a disability, registered with Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES), I have the following responsibilities:

  1. To read and follow DRES policy and procedures found on the DRES website.
  2. To provide my professor and/or appropriate TA’s with my Letter of Accommodation in a timely manner and to discuss with them the accommodations necessary for each course and the most effective way to implement them.
  3. If I take exams with accommodations at DRES, to schedule my exams appropriately and follow the listed rules and regulations per Testing Services Policy and Procedures.
  4. If I use text conversion services, to abide by the Accessible Media Services policy and procedures.
  5. If I have concerns regarding my performance in courses secondary to my disability, I will contact my access specialist at DRES as soon as possible.
  6. If I have concerns regarding my accommodations not being implemented appropriately in my courses, I will contact my access specialist at DRES as soon as possible.


Disability-Related Extensions of Time and Disability-Related Absence Guidelines

Students may have disabilities that are episodic in nature (ex. Chronic health, anxiety, depression, etc.) and these conditions may cause unpredictable exacerbations of symptoms. An unpredictable exacerbation of a disability-related condition may occasionally impact the student’s ability to attend class and complete exams or assignments at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance/assignments may be considered an appropriate accommodation.

Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) has created guidelines for DRES-registered students & faculty to help navigate these accommodations.



Students are expected and encouraged to attend classes on a regular basis. Faculty have the right to establish attendance policies. The number of allowable absences depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on department, college or accrediting agency rules. Therefore, attendance policies are set by faculty at the college or departmental level.

Students are expected and encouraged to meet all deadlines for assignments, quizzes, and exams. Faculty have the right to establish late work policies.

WHAT DOES DISability-related extensions of time / disability-related absences mean?

Students who may occasionally miss an assignment deadline or exam due to an unpredictable or cyclical acute episodes caused by a disability may seek an accommodation. Flexibility in attendance/assignments is not applied to every week, every assignment, or every exam. The DRES approved agreement between the student and faculty should help clarify expectations should an unexpected flare up occur during the term.

The process for requesting this accommodation occurs through DRES. All requests are considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.

The DRES Access Specialist may contact faculty regarding Disability-related extensions of time and /or Disability-related absence accommodations if there are questions or concerns, to gain an understanding in the role attendance plays in the design of the course, as well as a basic understanding of the impact or role timing of assignments and exams play in the interactive or participatory nature of the course.

Specifically, DRES may explore:

  • What is the course attendance policy? What does the course description and syllabus say?
  • What method is used to calculate the final grade? (attendance, assignments, exams, etc.)
  • Are the attendance policy and late work or missed exams policy applied consistently? Are there exceptions to the policy made for extenuating circumstances, such as athletic travel or religious observation?
  • How much interaction is there between the instructor and students and among students’ peers?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the design of the course rely on student participation as a significant method for learning (either in attendance and/or their assignment (project) contributions?
  • Is there content only offered in class?
  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend class or complete an assignment on time compromise the educational experience of other students in the class?


  1. If DRES determines that the accommodation is reasonable, we explain to students that this does not mean that they can miss as many classes as they want and that attendance is a requirement for courses here on the University of Illinois campus. Also, the student is responsible for completing all coursework.
  2. After the interactive process with the student of determining reasonable accommodations, the DRES Access Specialist writes a Letter of Accommodations detailing the reasonable accommodations that the student is granted under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA). If the student wants to utilize accommodations in a course, it is the student’s responsibility to provide their letter to their instructor and engage with the DRES Access Specialist in a discussion with their instructor regarding the following:
  • How and when the student should inform faculty that they will miss a class.
  • How the student will make up missed assignments and/or exams.
  • The number of absences (beyond what any student is allowed) that would be reasonable.
  • If it is reasonable for online discussion expectations to be modified due to disability-related reasons and under what conditions.
  • If it is reasonable to extend the window for completing online exams or assignments.

It is recommended that arrangements regarding absence and extension accommodations be made in consultation with the instructor, student, and DRES Access Specialist and be placed in writing.


  • This accommodation is not a blanket reason to miss class, miss a quiz/exam, or miss assignment due dates.
  • Some students register late in the term or wait to request this accommodation until late in the term.  In these cases, faculty are not expected to provide retroactive accommodations. However, it may still be helpful to have this information, even at a late point in the term.
  • At no time is the student required to present the faculty member with medical documentation verifying his/her disability related absence for this accommodation.
  • If the absences meet or exceed those agreed upon by the instructor and student, the DRES Access Specialist should be informed. This will allow the DRES Access Specialist to be of assistance in answering questions about the accommodations from both the student and the faculty member.
  • Absences that are not related to the effects of a disability are not included in this accommodation (i.e. absences due to a common illness, busy schedule, work schedule, childcare issues, car trouble, etc.) and should be addressed according to the stated syllabus attendance/absence policy. The student is responsible for following the faculty member’s syllabus regarding absences due to non-disability related issues.
  • Faculty are not obligated to re-teach material missed due to a student not attending class. Students are responsible for material missed in class due to a disability-related absence.
  • It cannot be assumed that an extension can be provided for each and every course component. If there are questions about whether an extension is possible for an assignment, the student should notify the DRES Access Specialist so they can work collaboratively with the course instructor as needed to best accommodate the student.
  • DRES registered students have the responsibility for completing all course work and should be held to the same standard as all other students.
  • Instructors should contact the DRES Access Specialist who has signed the student’s Letter of Accommodations.  That information is on the bottom of each Letter of Accommodations.
  • If a student is requesting an academic accommodation but is not registered with DRES, the instructor is not required to provide it and can refer the student to the DRES website to apply for services.