Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College


I recently enrolled at BCC (or am thinking about enrolling at BCC)

Q. I have a disability; do I still have to take the New Student Assessment?
A. Yes, you will still need to take the New Student Assessment, however, with appropriate documentation you may qualify for accommodations for the assessment.

Q. How do I know if I qualify for accommodations for the New Student Assessment?
A. Your first step is to contact Disability Services to let the office know that you will be a BCC student and that you have a disability You can contact Disability Services.

Disability Services will then contact you for an appointment. During the first appointment, you will be interviewed and your documentation will be reviewed to determine what accommodations you are eligible to receive.

In some cases, Disability Services may ask you to bring in or fax your documentation so that we may determine appropriate accommodations for the New Student Assessment in a timely fashion.

Q. I am receiving services through Mass. Rehab, do I qualify for services?
A. Generally, yes, you will be qualified to receive services through Disability Services. We still require appropriate documentation of your disability. For more information on documenting your disability contact the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

I think I might have a disability

Q. I have always had trouble learning/concentrating/passing classes. Do I have a disability?
A. Disability Services does not conduct testing for disabilities. If you suspect you have a disability, you should contact your doctor regarding psychoeducational testing. If you do not have a regular doctor or if your doctor cannot refer you to someone who does this type of testing, click on the following link to download the Disability Services testing referral list or, you can stop by Disability Services (B104) to pick up a copy.

Q. I have heard this type of testing is very costly, and I do not have any insurance. What are my options if I do not have insurance coverage and cannot afford to be tested for a disability?
A. Testing may be available even if you don't have insurance. Many community agencies such as the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission assist in paying for this kind of testing. In addition, some testing is offered on a sliding scale, based on your income.

If you are unable to secure testing, and have exhausted your options, contact Disability Services for further information on being tested for a disability.

Disability Laws

As a person with a disability, you are protected by federal civil rights laws. The purpose of the disability rights laws is ensure that you are treated equally and to ensure that you are afforded the same opportunities to pursue an education, jobs, etc., as persons without disabilities.

Q. What laws apply to students with disabilities?
A. The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Q. What is the ADA?
A. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a federal law written to protect persons with disabilities from discrimination. The ADA defines disability as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as (but not limited to): caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or.working.

Q. What is Section 504?
A. Section 504 is a portion of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that protects people with disabilities. Section 504 States:
-No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States... shall, solely by reason of... disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.?

Q. What is the difference between the ADA and Section 504?
A. The primary difference is that while Section 504 applies only to organizations that receive Federal funding, the ADA applies to a much broader universe. Section 504 established a "level playing field" and prevent discrimination based on a Disability Specialist; the ADA: Strengthened Section 504 and extended coverage to employment, private institutions and other previously unnamed agencies and organizations.

Q. I know I have a disability. How do I access the accommodations for my courses when I become a college student?
A. Your first step is to contact Disability Services to let the office know you will be a BCC student and you have a disability

Disability Services will then contact you for an appointment. During the first appointment, you will be interviewed and your documentation will be reviewed to determine what accommodations you are eligible to receive.

Q. I received services for my disability while I was in high school. What is the difference between having a disability in high school and having a disability in college?
A. Now that you are in college, there is more responsibility on you to identify yourself to BCC's Office of Disability Services and provide Disability Services with appropriate documentation of your disability.

Q. Will I receive the same accommodations I received in high school?
A. Accommodations for college are determined differently than accommodations for college; Your IEP will be reviewed for general information but your BCC accommodations will be based on the information contained in your most recent psychoeducational evaluation (Note: your documentation must be dated within the last 3 years.) It is also important to note that, because tutoring is offered free to all students, tutoring is not considered an accommodation. Visit the Tutoring and Academic Support Center for more information.

Following is a more detailed outline of the differences between being a high school student with a disability and a college student with a disability:

High School versus College (for a student with a disability)

High School:
High School is governed by IDEA (IndividuaLearning Specialist with Disabilities Education Act), and 504/ADA ( Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 , and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992)

In high school, students with disabilities are sought out and identified.
School districts are responsible for providing trained personnel to assess eligibility, plan and implement educational services.

IDEA (IndividuaLearning Specialist with Disabilities Education Act) provides specially designed instruction (Special Education) and related services to eligible students with disabilities (birth-21 years).

504 and ADA ensures accommodations necessary to access education for any student with a disability.

Colleges are governed by 504 (particularly subpart E, which focuses on postsecondary campuses), and the ADA.

College students must disclose (identify themselves) and provided recent documentation of a disability. ("Recent" documentation at BCC refers to documentation within the last 3 years.)

Students entering colleges are responsible for obtaining appropriate documentation from a professional who is certified to assess disabilities.

504/ADA require colleges to provide appropriate services and accommodations to those who meet that institution's entry criteria (or a particular program's entry criteria), and can provide appropriate documentation of their disability.

Disability Services is responsible for reviewing and approving -- or for determining the appropriateness of -- that documentation. They are not required by law to provide assessments if the student doesn't have appropriate documentation.

Accommodations can be provided for any eligible student, whether they are taking credit or non-credit courses or participating in another postsecondary program such as a professional / technical program, ABSE, GED, etc.

Disability Services

Q. What is Disability Services?
A. Disability Services provides support services that enable students with disabilities to fully participate in the life of the academic community.

Q. How does Disability Services Work?
A. Disability Services?

  • determines classroom accommodations needed by students with learning disabilities on an individual basis.
  • recommends strategies to capitalize on strengths and to compensate for learning weaknesses.
  • is a resource to faculty and staff who wish to know more about learning disabilities and good teaching strategies
  • Screens students referred by faculty and staff for a learning disability (formal testing is done independently, off campus)

Q. What are the Office Hours for Disability Services?
A. Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8 am to 5 pm; Tuesday, Thursday 8 am to 6 pm, and additional hours by appointment.

Q. Where is Disability Services located?
A. Disability Services is located in the L building, Room 109.

Q. What is Disability Services phone number?
A. Disability Services phone number is 508.678.2811 ext. 2955.


Q. What is a reasonable accommodation?
A. A reasonable accommodation may include:

  • modifications to rules, policies, or practices,
  • the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers,
  • provision of auxiliary aids or
  • the provision of equally effective programs, services, or activities.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations will not be provided:
  • for personal devices or services even though the individual may be a qualified individual with a disability, or
  • that result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or in undue financial or administrative burdens.
  • the elimination of an essential function of a job.

Q. What are the requirements for receiving accommodations?
A. In order to receive support services, students must register with Disability Services. Students are strongly encouraged to contact Disability Services at least 3-6 weeks before the start of the semester.

To be eligible to receive services, Disability Services requires that students provide medical and/or diagnostic documentation of their disability. Documentation should be current (within the last three years) and for students with learning disabilities, must include a psychological and/or educational testing. While your high school IEP can be helpful in determining accommodations, the IEP alone is not sufficient documentation for obtaining accommodations at BCC.

Learning Specialists

Q. What is a Learning Specialist (LS)?
A. A Learning Specialist is the person in Disability Services that will act as your advisor.

Q. What is the function of the Learning Specialist?
A. The function of your Learning Specialist is to evaluate your disability-related documentation and determine if you are eligible for accommodations. Your Learning Specialist will assist you with any disability issues that may arise through the course of your education at BCC.

Q. How do I know if I have been assigned a Learning Specialist?
A. You can phone or stop by Disability Services to find out if you have been assigned to a Learning Specialist. You can submit a question on the following form asking if you have been assigned to an advisor.

Classroom/Instructor Issues

Q. I am having trouble with my courses, what should I do?
A. There are many campus resources available to assist you with your studies. These resources include the Tutoring and Academic Support Center (TASC) and the BCC Writing Center.

If you have a disability or suspect you have a disability, contact the Disability Services to set up an appointment to discuss how to proceed using this handy online form.

Q. How will my instructor know what my accommodations are?
A. During the process of working with your Learning Specialist, you and your Learning Specialist will develop an accommodations sheet. This sheet will list the accommodations for which you are eligible. You will receive enough copies of your accommodations sheet to give one to each of your instructors.

Q. Will Disability Services automatically contact each of my instructors each semester I take classes until I graduate?
A. No, Disability Services does not automatically contact each of your instructors each semester. It is important that you meet with your Learning Specialist at the beginning of EACH semester. During this meeting, new accommodation sheets will be written. You will give these new forms to your instructors each semester.

Q. My instructor told me to contact Disability Services because I failing his/her class. What can I expect from Disability Services and what does Disability Services expect from me?
A. Upon contacting Disability Services, you will be asked to make an appointment with a Learning Specialist . You Learning Specialist will complete an intake during your appointment as a first step toward determining if you are eligible to receive accommodations base on the existence of a disability. Click here to contact Disability Services.