Student Accessibility Services

Briar Cliff University Values Diversity

Briar Cliff University embraces its Franciscan values and the University’s mission of “service, caring, and openness to all.” The Franciscan value of Building a Caring Community highlights that, at BCU, “we value and respect the uniqueness of each person.” BCU welcomes and values diversity, including disability and the associated accessibility needs of individuals with disabilities.

Equitable Access

Briar Cliff University is dedicated to equitable higher education opportunities for all students. BCU complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, the Fair Housing Act, and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination and protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.

BCU Accessibility Services

Briar Cliff University’s Accessibility Services collaborates with students with disabilities in identifying and implementing reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids and services.

Who do we serve?

  • Students with a documented disability. Section 504 and ADA define a person with a disability as an individual with “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Disabilities may be visible or invisible, such as ADHD, autism, learning disability, physical disability, or psychological or mental disability. A student with a diagnosed disability or who thinks they may have a disability should contact BCU Accessibility Services.
  • Students who may have a temporary need, such as those due to medical conditions.

What are reasonable accommodations?

  • Accommodations are adaptations to the environment that are individually determined to address the needs of a student with a disability. They are intended to provide equal access to educational opportunities. Accommodations do not fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity, or give rise to an undue financial or administrative burden.
  • Accommodations are prospective—not retroactive. Accommodations must be requested in a timely manner and are not intended to change performance that occurred prior to the request for accommodations.
  • Types of accommodations
    • Academic accommodation: preferential seating, testing adaptations, and slides/lecture notes (There are many other possible accommodations. These are only a few examples.)
    • Service animal: a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform physical, sensory, or other tasks, such as those provided by a guide dog, sensory signal dog, etc.
    • Support animal (emotional support animal): a trained or untrained animal that works, assists, performs tasks, &/or provides therapeutic emotional support to alleviate the effects of a person’s disability (Assistance/support animals are not pets.) 

How does a student access support and accommodations?

Academic Accommodations

1. Submit a request for Accessibility Services by completing the BCU Request for Academic Accommodations form.

2. Provide recent documentation of disability to Accessibility Services. This may be delivered by the student or directly by the provider via email, US mail, or in person. 

  • Documentation needs to 1) identify the disability, 2) describe the impact of the disability for which accommodation(s) are being requested, 3) be provided by a qualified, appropriately-licensed professional, such as a medical doctor or mental health care provider, 4) include recent information (within the last two years) that is dated and provided on professional letterhead by the qualified provider.
  • An Individualized Education Program and/or related documentation from high school may be provided for consideration, especially if this documentation is recent.

3. Meet with the BCU Coordinator of Accessibility Services to determine approval and reasonable accommodations and to discuss questions, responsibilities, and supports.

4. Communicate with faculty to receive approved accommodation(s).

Service Animals

  1. Review information about service and assistance animals. Refer to the Student Handbook and the section titled, Service and Assistance Animal Policy.
  2. Complete required documentation.
  3. Contact Accessibility Services at

Support Animals

  1. Review current policy and information about emotional support animals
  2. Complete required documentation. 
  3. Contact with questions. 

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