Frequently Asked Questions

What is a disability?

An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

What should I do if I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?

Please follow the steps listed in the eligibility process as soon as possible.

Eligibility Process

I want to be tested for a learning disability. How do I do that?

USF currently does not provide diagnostic testing for Learning Disabilities or AD/HD. However students call the SDS office and  request a referral list for external professionals in the area. 

How do I get disabled parking on campus?

Students and guests with disabilities must display the appropriate USF placard on their car windows to park on campus. Students with state handicap parking permits may park in any designated handicap (disabled, accessible) parking nearby campus or on campus, with the appropriate USF permit. Please contact your specialist for direct information on how to obtain the appropriate USF permit. Visitors may inquire at the parking kiosks (see campus map) for visitor-parking spaces located at designated parking spots, or call Public Safety at (415) 422-4222.

I hurt myself this past weekend. Can I receive services temporarily?

Students with specific types of temporary disabilities may be eligible for accommodations. General information about documentation criteria can be found in our Accommodations and Services section.

Accommodations and Services

I got an email saying that I need to sign up for 16 units, but due to my disability I feel that I can't handle that much. What should I do?

If this happens, please contact your disability specialist directly for advice.

How do I get extra time on my exams?

Extended time for course examinations may be a reasonable accommodation for students with specific types of disabilities. SDS reviews the documentation submitted by the student as part of the intake process and indicates extended time on a letter of accommodation when appropriate.

I’m applying to USF and have a disability. Are there any special procedures?

All applicants must meet the entrance requirements (examples: GPA, LSAT, SAT, GRE, letters of recommendation). Once you are admitted, disclosure of your disability will allow you to work with faculty, staff, and SDS to obtain reasonable accommodations. More information can be found on our prospective students page.

How do I go about getting exam accommodations?

Contact SDS as early as possible in the semester. Students are responsible for submitting proctor sheets and requesting exam accommodations at least one week in advance of exam dates. Students must notify faculty for exam proctoring arrangements.

Can I see one of the staff members in SDS right now?

If a staff member is available, they will be happy to meet with you. We recommend, however, that you make an appointment.

I want a copy of my file, can I have it?

Yes, however, please coordinate this request with Student Disability Services.

How do I explain to my professors about my accommodations?

If your professor has questions you can always suggest that they call your Disability Specialist and we will be happy to speak with them.

Tips for Disclosing your Disability

My disability needs sometimes change. Can I change around my accommodations?

Yes, the SDS staff will review your accommodations for each semester and check in with you to make sure that your accommodations are up to date.

Do I have to provide documentation each semester?

If you have a temporary disability, you may need additional documentation to extend your accommodations. If you have a permanent disability and something about your condition changes that would require different or more extensive accommodations, you may also need to provide additional documentation.

Can I appeal an SDS policy, procedure, or related decision?

SDS strives to provide equal access and reasonable, appropriate assistance and services to qualified students with disabilities. If a student is dissatisfied with SDS policies or procedures, or with related decisions, the student is encouraged to resolve the matter by communicating with their disability specialist. Equitable resolution of the matter should be sought through this interaction. If after communicating with a specialist the student is still dissatisfied, the student may initiate the appeal process by following the instructions outlined below in the "SDS Appeal Process" link.

SDS Appeal Process

I am an employee at USF, how can I receive accommodations?

Please contact Human Resources at (415) 422-6707.

Does SDS have a code of ethics?

Yes. Our office uses the AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability) Code of Ethics as our standard for practice.

View the SDS code of ethics