|Frequently Asked Questions|
How can Disability Services help me?
Each student is unique, so the answer to this question is different for each person. You, in consultation with the Coordinator, will discuss and agree on accommodations for which you appear to qualify.
Can I visit Disability Services even if I don't have documentation with me?
Yes. Disability Services encourages you to contact the Office whether or not you have documentation of a disability on hand. We recognize that third party documentation can be difficult to obtain, and we don't want to create unnecessary barriers. However, any external documentation you can provide, such as IEP/504 plans, recent evaluations, hospital reports, and letters from doctors, psychologists, the VA or Social Security, etc., can be helpful.
How can I find out if I qualify for support from Disability Services?
The best way to find out if you qualify is to visit the office. Online or distant students can begin by writing or calling. You will then be able to have a conversation with the Coordinator about your goals and about barriers you have had in school or that you expect in college. We may not need written documentation, so don't worry if at first you don't have any.
How will my professors know what accommodations I need?
Upon your request each semester, we will provide you with an Accommodation Request Form for you to use to introduce yourself to your professors. The form lists the accommodations for which you are eligible. The professor will sign the form and you will return it to Disability Services
When should I pick up my Accommodation Request Forms?
We recommend you pick up your letters at or just before the beginning of each semester so that you can talk to your professors as soon as possible. Although there is no deadline for picking up Accommodation Request Forms from Disability Services, be aware that accommodations can take time to implement and are not retroactive.
If I register with Disability Services, will my information be kept confidential?
Yes, the fact that you are registered with Disability Services is a private matter and does not appear on any official college records. However, when you talk to your professor about your accommodations, he or she will become aware that you qualify for these services. The Accommodations Request Form states that the information on it is confidential.
Can you help students with disabilities in online classes?
Yes. If you have a disability and plan to take TSC courses online or at an extension site, we encourage you to contact Disability Services. Don't worry about whether you have documentation at first. Our first priority is to get to know you. Just contact us in the way most convenient to you. If you are in the Brownsville – Harlingen area, we prefer to meet with you personally if possible.
I have a disability but don't need accommodations. Am I required to register with Disability Services?
It is entirely your choice whether to register with Disability Services. However, even if you don't need accommodations, there can be an advantage to doing so. Students with disabilities are protected from discrimination by federal laws, and they often sign up just in case they have a need for services or support in a future semester.
Is there financial aid for students with disabilities?
Financial aid programs such as Pell grants and student loans are available to students with disabilities just as they are to other students. There are no special scholarship or grant programs. However, Texas residents who are legally blind or substantially deaf and meet certain other requirements can apply for a tuition waiver. Also, some students apply for and receive help from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.
I have to miss class sometimes because of my condition. Is there an accommodation for absences?
It depends. (This accommodation is necessary because some students have chronic health problems which occasionally cause them to be absent from class, whether for doctor's appointments or because of a flare-up of symptoms.) Faculty set their own attendance policies, but Disability Services can help you request some flexibility in the policy. The amount of flexibility depends on the nature of the class and whether class participation is a factor in the final grade. Visit or call the office for more information.
I need more time on tests. How can I arrange for that?
If extended test time—usually time and a half--is one of your approved accommodations, you will first notify your instructor when you introduce yourself and ask him/her to sign your Accommodation Request Form. Once you return the signed form to Disability Services, you will be cleared to take tests with extra time that semester. In some cases you may be able to get the extra time in the classroom. In others, you will need to arrange for each test by making a reservation at Disability Services at least 48-72 hours (two-three business days) in advance. Disability Services will request the test from your professor, have it ready for you at the designated time, and return it to the professor afterwards.
Where can I take tests with extra time or in a distraction-reduced setting?
Disability Services has rooms set aside in Camille Lightner where students take tests under special conditions. You will need to make a reservation for each test by contacting us two to three business days in advance. Reservations can be made in person, online, by phone, or by e-mail.
How can I get books in alternate formats such as digital, audio, or Braille?
Eligible students can request alternate format books through Disability Services. The process can be time-consuming, so you are advised to request the books at least two weeks before you need them. In most cases, you will need a receipt showing that you purchased the book.
Can you help students who can't use regular classroom furniture?
Yes. We understand that some students cannot use or are very uncomfortable using the seating in some classrooms. Disability Services does make classroom furniture arrangements upon request for those who register with the Office. Whether you use a wheelchair, have a back condition, or simply can't fit in the standard furniture, we will do what we can to help.