Academic Accommodations

Seattle Pacific University provides a number of academic accommodations for students with disabilities.

Seattle Pacific University provides academic accommodations for students with disabilities. These accommodations may be used during regular class time and also during tests, mid-term exams, and final exams. Your professor will receive a letter from DSS informing them of the accommodations you need.

In-Class Accommodations

Permission to record lecture or lab

It is your responsibility to provide your own recording device. If you are unable to locate one, talk with DSS about options.

You will be asked to sign a recording agreement with DSS to ensure ethical use of class recordings.

In some classroom situations, such as nursing classes where specific patients may be discussed (but not identified), the need for confidentiality may supersede this accommodation. When this occurs, DSS will work with the professor to find another accommodation that gives you access to the material. If there is any concern about confidentiality, you and/or your professor can contact the Assistant Director for DSS to discuss the situation.

Assignments and handouts in alternative formats

You may need printed materials in alternative format in order to access the material. Alternative formats may include enlarged print, Braille, or a readable-text digital copy.

You should contact your professors during the first two weeks of the quarter if you will need this accommodation.

Whenever possible, the professor should provide the information into the format requested. You and your professor are welcome to use SensusAccess to translate materials into a readable format that works for you. You will need to use your SPU email address with this software. 

Lecture outline/notes

If you have this accommodation, you should talk with your professor to request this accommodation.

Whenever possible, your professor should give you lecture notes/outline prior to the beginning of each class session. If this is not available, then you should receive lecture notes/outline after class.

Not all professors use lecture notes/outlines. When these are not available, you can request a different option through DSS.

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Testing Accommodations

For testing accommodations, your professor will indicate if they would like to proctor your exam, or have you take it in the Academic Support Center's testing space.

The DSS office has limited testing space which must be reserved one week in advance, by emailing

If you are taking a test in the DSS office, personal belongings are not allowed into the testing room, except as permitted by the professor, or as otherwise permitted by DSS staff.

You are responsible for bringing your own blue book or scantron to an exam when needed.

Any other materials allowed during the exam must be identified by the professor on the Exam Accommodation Form.

Because you may not have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions of the professor, you may write a brief explanation of how you understood a question so that the professor may have a better understanding of the answer given. The Testing Manager will make every effort to contact the professor during the test to get additional clarification for you.

It is your responsibility to let your professor and the DSS office know if you have been approved to take your test at the Center for Learning so that we can schedule a time and space for you.

To reserve a testing space, students must contact DSS at least one week ahead of time to ensure space and staff are available. 

Generally, your test should be taken during the normal class time, unless that is not possible due to the length of  accommodated time or class conflicts.

If the DSS office testing location options are full, then arrangements should be made with the professor’s permission to take the test at another time.

Extra time on exams

Extra time does not mean unlimited time. For most students, extra time is usually 50% additional time to what was given in class.

Quiet location

You may need a quiet location for exams to reduce distractions.

Readers for exams

To request a reader during the exam, you must notify the DSS office at least one week in advance of your exam. Your reader will read only what is written on the exam, and not offer clarification.

Scribes for exams

To request a scribe for the exam, you must notify the DSS office at least one week in advance. Scribes are to write accurately what you dictate and are not to offer clarification.

Computer use for exams

You may need to use a computer during tests due to physical limitations. If you do not own a computer, the DSS office has computers available for testing purposes. To request the use of a computer for an exam, the student must notify the DSS office at least one week in advance.

Exams in alternative format

If your documentation states the need for an alternative testing format, you should discuss this with your professor.

Discussion of changes to alternative formats should begin as soon as possible, but no later than the second week of the quarter. These discussions should include you, your professor, and the DSS Manager. 

Please contact DSS as soon as possible if you want to request an alternate format.

Alternative formats may include oral, multiple choice, or essay exams that differ from the exam given to the rest of the class.

If your professor can demonstrate that the alternative format requested considerably changes the nature of the course, then the professor has the right to refuse to provide such an accommodation.

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Additional accommodations

Assistive listening devices

An assistive listening device works as a personal amplifier. If you need an assistive listening device, you can check one out from the DSS office for the needed amount of time. Professors or speakers will need to wear a lapel microphone that will transmit their voice to your headset. Information on how to use the assistive listening device can be obtained from the DSS office. It is your responsibility to return the assistive listening device in working condition.


Excessive absences due to a disability may not necessarily be accommodated, and requests for absences from class should be considered on an individual basis. Absences have a potentially adverse impact on learning class materials and could interfere with course completion. If a portion of the grade is dependent on classroom participation or attendance, and you have (or may have) too many absences, you should contact your professor to explore what accommodations (if any) might be possible. It is your responsibility to obtain any missed lecture notes or other information if not in class. If at all possible, you should plan ahead and communicate proactively with your professors about absences before they occur.


The University’s academic policies regarding withdrawals and incompletes should be followed.

If you have gained the major portion of the information disseminated to the class and have failed to complete a final exam, project, or paper due to mitigating circumstances, your professor can choose to give you an Incomplete.

The Assistant Director for DSS will act as liaison as needed.

If the condition is such that it may not be possible for you to complete the required coursework in one year, the Assistant Director may encourage you to petition for a withdrawal from the course so your GPA will not be penalized by an incomplete becoming an E.

Depending upon your financial aid, an Incomplete could affect your financial aid for the upcoming quarter or year. Please refer to the Satisfactory Progress Policy in the University Undergraduate Catalog for more information on financial aid.

Relocation of Classes

Because not all classrooms are wheelchair-accessible, DSS will work with the University’s room scheduler two weeks prior to a new quarter to relocate your classes if you need wheelchair accessibility or have other mobility difficulties that require a class be relocated.

Students seeking this accommodation should register for classes as early as possible to give ample time to ensure accessible locations on campus.

If you have a temporary disability (injury) that makes mobility difficult, you may also need your classes relocated. Please contact the Assistant Director for DSS to make an accommodation request.

Books in Alternative Format

It is your responsibility to notify DSS when you will need books in alternative format. Requests should be made at least four weeks before a quarter begins to give the DSS office enough time to order or convert materials.

You may also use the SensusAccess Conversion Tool to translate your own readings.  Any student with an SPU email account can access this resource for free.

Audiobooks may sometimes be needed for a student to gain access to the reading material. Whenever possible, books may be ordered through Learning Ally or other talking-book libraries. When books are not readily available through those sites, the DSS office may produce the book in house from a hard copy of the book provided by the student.

Books in Braille may either be borrowed through Braille libraries or translated into Braille through the University. This may also be a needed accommodation for classroom handouts or exams. Students should discuss these needs with your professors.

Technology Accommodations/Support

The University recognizes that having accessible computers for doing research, accessing the internet, and writing papers may be crucial to a student’s learning. Please contact DSS for support locating an accessibility tool on a SPU computer.   We have access to several accessibility tools and programs and are happy to discuss. 

Priority Registration

You may receive priority registration so the DSS office has time to arrange your accommodations (e.x. interpreters, classroom relocations, or books in alternative format).

It is your responsibility to make sure no holds are in place that would keep you from registering, and you should register as early as possible. If you do not register early, services and accommodations may be delayed.

Language Requirement Substitution

If you have a disability that impacts your language acquisition, the possibility of a language substitution may be explored. The substitution courses cannot count for another General Education category or toward your major requirements and must be taken from the approved list. The procedures for substitution course approvals are included on the Language Substitution form.

Study Abroad Programs

Not all accommodations may be provided for during study abroad programs. However, a student with a disability may still apply to participate in international programs.

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