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Future Students

Our Mission

OAS is dedicated to enhancing the educational opportunities for students with temporary or permanent disabilities at West Virginia University and all of its campuses.

To ensure equal access to University programs, specialists and service providers work individually with students, faculty, staff, and administration to assist in the implementation of accommodations that lead to academic and personal achievement.

Admission to West Virginia University

Please note that admission to West Virginia University and its individual programs/colleges/majors is based upon the applicant meeting the published admission criteria of the University with no preference provided on the basis of Disability.

Requirements for entrance to, participation in, and completion of the majors/schools/colleges/programs are available on their respective website and in the Undergraduate/Graduate catalog.

The published Learning Objectives and/or Technical Standards of a specific course and/or program of study cannot be waived on the basis of Disability. However, reasonable academic accommodations can be provided, as long as they are appropriate, given the nature of the course.

IDEA and ADA/Section 504

During K-12, disability services are provided automatically in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The provisions of this act expire once a student with a Disability graduates from high school. In college, disability accommodations are provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act , and students are expected to apply for these services. The following chart offers a comparison of these three acts. It can help prospective students better understand their responsibilities and what to expect as they transition into the higher education environment.

Law Comparison:
Comparison criteria IDEA (K-12) Section 504 (K-12 and College) ADA (College)
Requirements of the Law Provides free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment Requires any agency, school, or institution receiving federal financial assistance to provide persons with Disabilities, to the greatest extent possible, an opportunity to be fully integrated into the mainstream Provides opportunity for accommodations in places of employment, public and private education institutions, transportation providers, and telecommunications, regardless of the presence of any federal funding
Who is Covered Covers students with educational Disabilities that require special educational services until graduation from high school Protects all persons with a Disability from discrimination in educational settings, based solely on Disability Protects all persons with a Disability from discrimination in educational settings, based solely on Disability
Services Provided Offers educational services that are remedial, in addition to services available to all mainstream students (e.g., PE, Art, field trips, etc.) Eliminates barriers that would prevent a student from full participation in programs/services offered to the general school population Eliminates barriers that would prevent a student from full participation in programs/services offered to the general school population
Evaluation and Documentation School district is responsible for identifying and evaluating students with Disabilities. Evaluations are the responsibility of the school and are performed at no expense to the student/parent. Parents must consent to evaluations and placement decisions In K-12, parents must consent to evaluations and placement decisions College students must self-identify as having a disability and must provide adequate documentation of disability; if evaluation is needed, the expense is the student's responsibility. The student is responsible for advocating on their own behalf and requesting accommodations
IEP/Accommodations An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed with parents, teachers, and other specialists involved A 504 Plan is developed with parents, teachers, and school personnel involved with the student An Accommodation Plan is developed with college students and Accessibility Specialists on campus
Classroom Placement For elementary and secondary students, placement must be in the least restrictive environment; may be special classrooms, resource areas, or the regular classroom For elementary, secondary, and college students, placement is in the regular classroom with support services in place to eliminate barriers to the educational experience All courses are mainstreamed with accommodations provided to students who qualify under ADA
Personal Devices (e.g. wheelchairs, hearing aids, person attendant, etc.) Provided by the school district if determined to be necessary (and included in IEP) Section 504 does not provide funding for personal devices Colleges are not required to provide personal devices or personal services
Role of Parents Parents must be included in decision making In K-12, parents must be included in decision making Postsecondary students are considered adults; by law, university staff cannot speak to parents without written student authorization

Accommodations at WVU

Accommodations are effective modifications or adjustments to the tasks or the classroom environment that enable students with Disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in academic programs at WVU.

Once a student is admitted to the University, it is the student's responsibility to make their need for disability-related accommodations known and to provide documentation that meets the Office of Accessibility Services' documentation standards.

Accommodations are authorized by Accessibility Specialists who work individually with students with Disabilities to help ensure accessibility in their classes and programs. Appropriate accommodations are determined by the Accessibility Specialist and the student based on the interactive process, disability and current functional limitations of the student, current documentation, and previous effective accommodations.

All documentation submitted to OAS is kept separate from student academic records and is considered private and confidential.

For more information, please see our FAQ pages or contact our office.