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Disability Services

Equity, Access & Opportunity – Office for Disability Services

Tiffin University’s Commitment to Equal Access and Diversity

Tiffin University is committed in policy and practice to providing an educational experience and environment that is equally accessible for all, including those with a documented disability so that individuals with disabilities have equal access and opportunity to learn and achieve based on their innate abilities and are not inhibited by barriers created by the interaction between their disability and the institutional environment or academic requirements.

TU’s Office for Disability Services supports this institutional commitment to diversity by providing educational opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities through accessible programs and services in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended (ADAAA).  In addition, the Office serves as a resource to the University community by providing consultation and advocacy services related to compliance.

The Office for Disability Services encourages prospective students with disabilities to contact ODS during the pre-admissions process for general information about the services we have to offer. However, prospective students should wait until they have been accepted and have committed to attending TU to fill out the Disability Services Registration Form.

Eligibility for services or accommodation from the Office for Disability Services is a separate process from TU’s Admissions process. Requesting services through ODS has no impact on admissions decisions, financial aid, or eligibility to enroll in courses or for other student services.

Disclosure of a disability is voluntary. Individuals with disabilities are not required to register or identify themselves in any way unless they wish to receive services or accommodation from the University. However, individuals with qualifying disabilities who need accommodation must follow the accommodation approval process to get the accommodation approved. It is the individual with a disability’s responsibility to initiate this process as needed. It is important to note that not all accommodation requests may be fulfilled.

The steps in the accommodation approval process include the following:

    • The student registers with the Office for Disability Services;
    • The student takes part in the interactive process with ODS;
    • The student submits supporting documentation; and
    • Disability Services conducts an accommodation request analysis.

The entire accommodation approval process should be completed a minimum of 2-3 weeks before the accommodation is needed.

Although TU will accept and consider requests for reasonable accommodation at any time, the individual requesting accommodation should start the accommodation approval process far enough in advance to allow the entire process to be completed a minimum of 2-3 weeks before the accommodation is needed unless a specific timeframe is otherwise noted in the ODS Student Manual. If a request is made fewer than 60 days, or the specified timeframe otherwise noted, before the individual needs the accommodation, TU cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the requested timeframe.

The individual with a disability starts the accommodation approval process by filling out the online Disability Services Registration Form.

Absent exceptional circumstances, Disability Services will attempt to respond to the individual with a disability’s request for accommodation within thirty (30) business days of receiving their Registration Form. This response will be emailed to the individual’s Tiffin University email address.

The interactive process is an informal dialogue between the individual with a disability and the Coordinator for Disability Services to identify the precise barriers resulting from the intersection of the individual’s disability and the University’s programs, activities, and environments to determine the potential reasonable accommodations that could remove those barriers. The interactive process takes place during an Inquiry Meeting.

The response email sent to the individual with a disability upon receiving the Registration Form will contain a letter instructing the individual to schedule the mandatory Inquiry Meeting. It is the individual with a disability’s responsibility to schedule this meeting, which can take place in person, virtually, or by phone. The individual must be present during this interactive process; no one else can stand in for the individual with a disability on their behalf.

To receive reasonable accommodations for a disability, the individual with a disability must provide appropriate supporting medical documentation. The documentation can be submitted at any time during the accommodation approval process.

There are three acceptable sources or forms of documentation that can be provided to support the need for accommodations because of a disability.

  • Primary Documentation – This is the individual’s self-report. This documentation source may be sufficient in cases where the disability is visible, and its impact is apparent.
  • Secondary Documentation -This is the impressions and conclusions formed by the Coordinator for Disability Services during the interactive process with the individual or in evaluating the effectiveness of previously implemented accommodations.
  • Tertiary Documentation – This is written documentation from external or third-party sources. This documentation source is often necessary in cases where the disability is invisible or its impact is not apparent.

Tertiary Documentation Guidelines

The medical professional may choose the format they provide the third-party documentation in as long as it meets the following requirements to be sufficient (Please see the Office for Disability Services Student Manual for the complete list of Tertiary Documentation Guidelines):

  • The documentation must come from a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed medical or mental healthcare professional who has direct experience with the specific individual and their disability.
    • The documentation must include the following: The professional’s name, address, phone number, email address, title, and professional credentialing, including information about licensing and certification, specialty area, and qualifications for helping people with this specific type of disability.
  • The documentation must be recent (within the past five years) and age-appropriate, depending on the nature and type of disability, to determine the need for accommodations based on the individual’s current level of functioning.
  • The documentation must include a diagnosis of the disability indicating the current status of the disorder and its prognosis.
  • The documentation must include an explanation of the nature of the physical or mental impairment specific to this individual and how it substantially limits the condition, manner, and duration of one or more of this individual’s major life activities as it pertains to participation in TU’s academic and institutional programs, activities, and environment.
  • The documentation should state what specific academic, housing, or dietary accommodation is needed, with an explanation of why the accommodation is necessary based on the individual’s functional limitations.
  • The documentation must be typed on professional letterhead in English and sent by the healthcare professional directly to the Coordinator for Disability Services via fax, email, or USPS mail.

A previous Evaluation Team Report (ETR), Individualized Educational Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), or 504 Plan alone is generally insufficient to establish full eligibility for accommodation in higher education. However, these documents can aid in the process of determining what accommodation is appropriate. Individuals requesting accommodation may upload their most recent ETR, IEP, SOP, or 504 Plan with the Disability Services Registration Form to be considered during the accommodation approval process.

The Americans with Disabilities Act states that postsecondary institutions must provide reasonable accommodations and make appropriate modifications or adjustments to a course, program, service, policy, or facility when a student discloses a disability.  The institution must also provide auxiliary aids and services that enable students with disabilities to participate in, have access to, and benefit from all academic and institutional programs, activities, and environments provided by the educational institution.

Accommodations are based on the impact of the disability, the essential elements of the program or activity, and the interactive process with the student. TU considers all accommodation requests individually on a case-by-case basis. Accommodations provide an alternative way to accomplish the course objectives or requirements by eliminating or reducing disability-related barriers for equal access. Accommodations provide a level playing field, as opposed to an unfair advantage, and vary according to how individuals experience their disability.

Tutoring services are not considered an accommodation as they are available to all TU students regardless of ability or disability through the Office of University Academic Support located in the Murphy Academic Support Center. Additionally, the University is not required to provide personal items that are needed to accomplish daily activities both at school and elsewhere, such as a wheelchair, hearing aid, etc.

While there is no comprehensive list of accommodations and services Tiffin University offers, some of the more common types include, but are not limited to (Please see the Office for Disability Services Student Manual for more information about each accommodation and service):

  • Alternative Media
  • Assistive Technology (AT)
  • Blind and Low Vision Services
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) Services
  • Dietary Accommodations
  • Note-Taking Tools and Services
  • Temporary Accommodations
  • Testing Accommodations
  • University Housing Accommodations
    • Emotional Support Animals (ESA)(Under HUD)
  • Other Accommodations and Services
    • College Credit Plus (CCP) Accommodations
    • Service Animals (SA)


Students, faculty, and staff may submit an informal grievance via email to the Coordinator for Disability Services for cases when advocacy for access is needed.  As a part of the informal grievance and interactive process, the Coordinator will assist students, faculty, and staff in seeking a resolution for the situation. Advocacy services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Gaining access to inaccessible programs, activities, or environments;
  • Ensuring the use of approved accommodations when requested;
  • Ensuring the proper use of approved accommodation by the student; and
  • Compliance concerns.


An individual whose accommodations are not approved may appeal the final decision on the following grounds:

  • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the request (e.g., material deviation from established procedures); or
  • The Coordinator for Disability Services had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the individual requesting the accommodation.

Disagreement with the final accommodation decision is not, by itself, grounds for an appeal.

The student wishing to appeal an accommodation decision must submit the online Office for Disability Services Appeal Request Form within three (3) business days of the date listed on the letter advising the accommodations were not approved.

Internal Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Students who feel they have been discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against based on disability may file a formal internal complaint by completing Tiffin University’s Title IX and Civil Rights Online Report Form. This right is in accordance with Tiffin University’s Title IX & Civil Rights Policy. All complaints will be taken seriously and investigated promptly. If it is determined there has been a violation of University policy, appropriate disciplinary, administrative, or other actions will be taken at TU’s sole discretion.

External Complaints

Individuals may file an external complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

How to File a Discrimination Complaint With the Office for Civil Rights

Office for Civil Rights National Headquarters
U.S. Department of Education

Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg.
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: 800-421-3481
TDD: 800-877-8339
Fax: 202-453-6012

Office for Civil Rights Cleveland, Ohio Office
U.S. Department of Education

1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1812
Telephone: 216-522-4970
Fax: 216-522-2573
TDD: 800-877-8339


Guests can contact the Office for Disability Services for information and questions about access or reasonable accommodations at Tiffin University-sponsored events.

To truly stand out, we must not feel compelled to fit in.