What are Accommodations?

One of the primary functions of SAS is to engage students in the interactive accommodation process. Accommodations are personalized supports that remove specific barriers with the goal of ensuring an individual can meet essential requirements or perform their job duties. The purpose of accommodations is not to change the standards or alter requirements, but instead provide different means of access to the individual. 

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and are the result of an individualized assessment. Accommodation requests should be considered as individual requests and investigated as such. The result of this interactive process is student accommodations. Accommodations range in type and implementation depending on the nature and impact of the student’s condition. Though there is a great deal of flexibility with the types of accommodations approved, accommodations can vary, but accommodations cannot fundamentally alter an essential requirement (Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Regulations | ADA.gov). That is not to say that modifications should not be considered, but they need to be considered within the context of essential requirements.

Learn More about the Types of Accommodations at UNH

Auxiliary Aids and Services

The ADA regulations also make a distinction between accommodations and auxiliary aids and services. The Title II regulations provide the following definition:

(1) Qualified interpreters on-site or through video remote interpreting (VRI) services; notetakers; real-time computer-aided transcription services; written materials; exchange of written notes; telephone handset amplifiers; assistive listening devices; assistive listening systems; telephones compatible with hearing aids; closed caption decoders; open and closed captioning, including real-time captioning; voice, text, and video-based telecommunications products and systems, including text telephones (TTYs), videophones, and captioned telephones, or equally effective telecommunications devices; videotext displays; accessible electronic and information technology; or other effective methods of making aurally delivered information available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing;

(2) Qualified readers; taped texts; audio recordings; Brailled materials and displays; screen reader software; magnification software; optical readers; secondary auditory programs (SAP); large print materials; accessible electronic and information technology; or other effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals who are blind or have low vision;

(3) Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; and

(4) Other similar services and actions. (Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Regulations | ADA.gov)

This distinction is important. While universities are not responsible for providing personal services, they are responsible for providing students with auxiliary aids and services. It should be noted that many of these are related to accessibility requirements. 

Housing-Only Accommodations

SAS works with students to approve housing accommodations. Housing accommodations are applicable across all residence halls and UNH housing options. Housing accommodations range in type, but most commonly relate to:

  • Placement accommodations
  • Living environment accommodations
  • Kitchen accommodations
  • Bathroom accommodations
  • Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

Specific accommodations depend on the student need and housing availability.

SAS cannot approve housing requests for off-campus students. Off-campus students must engage in the interactive process established by the landlord of the off-campus living space.

How does the Fair Housing Act Define Accommodations?

It is important to distinguish general requests from housing-only requests. Though the ADA and Section 504 still apply when considering housing, housing accommodations need to be considered within the mandates of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

The FHA calls for the provision of reasonable accommodations and modifications within housing. “A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces.” (HUD - Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act)

It should be noted that HUD also explicitly states that it can include modifications as well (Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)). Generally, when they are considering modifications, it is within the context of modifying a living space with things like chair rails or accessible furniture. As with other laws relating to accommodations, modifications do not have to be provided if they constitute an undue burden or a fundamental alteration to a program. Overall, the goal is for the individual to have “full enjoyment” of the premises, and this might indicate the need for accommodations or modifications.

Temporary Accommodations

Temporary accommodations are accommodations that are fully approved through SAS, but approved for a limited amount of time. These are accommodations that are provided to students with a temporary condition (for instance, a physical condition or a concussion). To receive temporary accommodations, students still go through all SAS processes as written. The only difference is the imposed timeframe limitation. 

Student approved for temporary accommodations may apply for permanent accommodations at any time. Please note:

  • SAS may request additional documentation to establish the condition is permanent
  • SAS may request additional meetings to discuss permanent accommodations
  • Accommodations approved temporarily are not automatically approved permanently, but instead dependent on the result of the interactive process

Provisional Supports

Provisional supports should not be confused with temporary accommodations. Provisional supports are provided at the discretion of SAS, and SAS is under no obligation to provide these supports. Provisional supports are provided to students when students have provided incomplete documentation for full approval, but the documentation is complete enough to decide that supports are likely needed. This allows the student to have access to support, but also provides them with additional time to complete the documentation requirement.