Accommodation Policy for Students with Disabilities

To ensure that its programs, activities, and services are accessible to all matriculating students, Bowdoin College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Documented disabilities may include, but are not limited to, a learning disability; attention deficit disorder; a visual, hearing, or mobility impairment; food allergy; or a physical or mental illness. A reasonable accommodation is one that is consistent with the academic standards of the College and does not fundamentally alter the nature of a course or program. The College works with students directly and individually throughout the accommodations process. Final authority for determining the most reasonable and effective accommodation rests with the College and is based on the nature of the course or program and the individual student's disability-related need(s). Please note, arrangements for equipment, recorded text, interpreters, housing assignments, and other accommodations require advance notice.

When making a request for accommodations, Bowdoin requires that you submit relevant documentation. Because the laws guiding eligibility for accommodations in grades K-12 and post-secondary education differ, documentation that includes recommendations corresponding to collegiate-level demands will help to support your transition. If documentation is not current or sufficiently comprehensive, the College may require an updated evaluation, for which the student will be responsible for the cost.

The information you provide will be kept confidential in accordance with state and federal law. It will not be part of your student file, but stored separately.

Students who wish to make a request for an accommodation based on a disability must:

  1. Identify themselves to the Director of Student Accessibility and request accommodations following their acceptance of admission to Bowdoin. A student begins this process by completing the online form entitled "Self-Identification and Request for Accommodations for Students with Disabilities." New students are notified of the form in their post-admission materials. Continuing students receive notification of the policy and form availability at the beginning of each semester. They may identify themselves at any time and should do so immediately following an injury or illness with permanent or long-term implications. The form will become part of the student's personal accommodations, which is maintained by the Director of Student Accessibility.

  2. Provide, at the student's expense, current (i.e. within 1 to 5 years depending upon the nature of the disability) relevant documentation of a disability that substantially limits a major life activity or that meets one of the per se qualifying disabilities under the Maine Human Rights Act. [1] Documentation must be completed by a qualified, licensed professional. Upon receipt of required documentation, the Director of Student Accessibility will consult with the student and other appropriate individuals in determining reasonable accommodations.

Incoming students with documented disabilities who wish to seek accommodation need to register with the Director of Student Accessibility. After consultation with the student, a review of the student's documentation, and any necessary consultation with outside specialists, the Director will determine what accommodations may be appropriate and necessary. The Director will communicate in writing with the instructor of the course involved regarding specific recommended accommodations. Faculty members play an important part in ensuring suggested accommodations are appropriate in the context of their course design and evaluation. They may communicate any concerns regarding the specific accommodations to the Director. The student should meet with the instructor during the first week of classes to discuss the implementation of their accommodations. If a student is dissatisfied with an instructor’s decision or the implementation of accommodations, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Director of Student Accessibility who can intervene to attempt to address a student’s concerns.

Students may consult with the Director, their advisors, or their dean regarding other resources that may be useful to them during their time at Bowdoin.

Students who experience academic or other difficulties that impact their educational experience and suspect an underlying disability are encouraged to identify themselves to the Director of Student Accessibility. Referrals for testing by qualified individuals can be provided through Health Services and Counseling Center. Notification of a disability to anyone other than the Director of Student Accessibility is not sufficient.

Students who feel they have been discriminated based on their disability should consult the Grievance Procedure for Student Complaints regarding Sex Discrimination and Discrimination on the Basis of Physical and Mental Disability to be informed of the steps that can be taken to address these concerns.