Accessibility at StAAR

The StAAR Center values students with disabilities. 

We work with any student (including undergraduate, graduate, or visiting students) enrolled in one or more Tufts course at the schools of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, SMFA, or Fletcher with a documented disability to implement accommodations. We support students with a range of physical, sensory, psychological, medical, and learning disabilities, including temporary conditions such as injuries or broken bones.

Depending on the nature of the disability and the particular needs of the student, a variety of supports are available. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Classrooms accommodations (e.g., furniture, materials in alternate formats).
  • Exam accommodations (e.g., time-based exam accommodations)
  • Auxiliary aids and services (e.g., notetakers, CART services, lecture recordings).
  • Non-academic accommodations (e.g., housing, dietary, and parking).
  • Introductions and referrals to other campus resources

If you are wondering if a specific kind of accommodation is possible at Tufts, please contact us, and we can work with you on your specific situation.

Requesting Accommodations

Requesting accommodations through the StAAR Center is a straightforward process, and does involve multiple steps.

Please see our accommodation request process below:

  1. Submit an accommodation request. First submit our Accommodation Request Form. This form allows you to self-describe your disability/ies, and explain what accommodations you are interested in seeking. The form also includes a place to upload attachments, such as clinical documentation (see step 2) and/or previous accommodation plans.
  2. Submit clinical documentation. You’ll also need to provide clinical documentation to accompany your request. Please have your clinician complete our Health Disability Provider Form. This provider form allows your clinician to provide specifics around your current access barriers, and recommendations around what support you may need while at Tufts. You can also attach additional documentation to your registration form, or email or fax it to us. Lack of documentation does not preclude you from making an accommodation request.
  3. Schedule an intake appointment. Once we have received your registration form and supporting documentation, we will reach out about scheduling an intake appointment with a StAAR team member to go over your request.

If you have any questions about this process, or run into any issues, please contact us.

Accommodation Deadlines

Students are welcome to make an accommodation request at any time. However, there are a few deadlines in place for academic and housing accommodations based on the academic calendar, and Residential Life's housing process.

  • Different student types have different deadlines for requesting housing accommodations. Please see the table below for housing deadlines for the current academic year.

    Housing Deadlines by Student Type
    Student TypeHousing Accommodation Request Deadline
    Rising juniors/seniorsNovember 17th, 2023
    Rising sophomoresMarch 1st, 2024
    Incoming AS&E studentsmid-June, 2024 (exact date TBD)
    Incoming Fletcher studentsJune 14th, 2024

    After these deadlines, we will still absolutely work with you on your accommodation request. However, approved accommodations may be limited and/or subject to the housing accommodation waitlist. 

  • To receive academic accommodations for a given semester, you must complete the accommodation request process before the last day of classes for that semester.

    Please also note that to use accommodations for a given exam, faculty must be notified about the exam accommodations at least 1 week in advance of the exam. Therefore, any exam accommodations must be approved at least 1 week before the exam takes place.

FAQs

  • All StAAR Center staff are mandated reporters. This means that any disclosure of sexual misconduct (including in a request form or documentation) involving a Tufts student to a StAAR Center staff member must be reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) at Tufts. Once a student’s name has been shared with OEO, they will reach out to the student in question by email with resources that may be helpful. The student may absolutely choose to ignore their outreach.

    For confidential support, CARE at Tufts can be reached by email at care@tufts.edu or by phone at 617-627-3752. They also have an appointment scheduling feature on their website.

    In addition, any disclosure of a student being in immediate danger to themselves, or others, will be escalated to emergency channels.

    Otherwise, anything you submit to the StAAR Center, including your request, your documentation, and if you are a student with accommodations, is completely confidential.

  • Please include information about all accommodations you are interested in pursuing on the same request form.

  • Documentation can come in different forms, depending on your disability. You should have your clinician complete our Health Disability Provider Form to get started.

    If applicable, you are also encouraged to submit any additional clinical documentation (such as a neuropsychological report, a doctor’s note, or a health summary) or previous accommodation plans (such as an IEP, 504, or accommodation letter/plan from a previous institution of higher education).

  • The clinician who submits the form should be a medical professional who you have worked with in the past 6 months – 1 year, and who can both speak to your disability and provide accommodation recommendations. This does not need to be the clinician who diagnosed you.

    Some examples of clinicians who may be able to complete the form for you include:

    • Pediatrician or primary care provider
    • Therapist or psychologist
    • Psychiatrist
    • Physical therapist
    • Neurologist
    • Audiologist
    • Allergist
    • Other medical or mental health specialist
  • You can absolutely still make an accommodation request. First complete Step 1 of the Accommodation Request Process, and let us know that you don’t have access to any documentation. We will connect with you about your situation, and see what kind of resources and support may be possible.

  • During the intake appointment, you’ll meet with a StAAR team member to go over your request, and any next steps. The conversation will primarily focus on getting to know you, and how your disability/ies impact your life. You don’t need to prepare anything ahead of time, though you are encouraged to bring any questions you have.

  • There are a number of factors that can change how long it takes from submitting an initial accommodation request to having accommodations approved and implemented. One common hold-up is getting documentation from your clinician. Once you think you’d like to request accommodations, please connect with your clinician as soon as possible to get your documentation submitted.

    After we receive your request and documentation, we’ll always schedule your intake as soon as we can. However, some times of year are busier than others (such as the beginning of the semester, or during midterms), and we may have longer wait times for intake appointments. After your intake, it typically takes a few days for our office to approve and implement any accommodations.

    If your accommodation request is time sensitive, for example, if you have an exam coming up that you’d like to use accommodations on, please let us know.

  • To receive accommodations at Tufts, you’ll need to complete the regular accommodation request process. Please include your previous or current accommodation letter/plan from your previous or current institution as an attachment to your request.

  • If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, you can request dining accommodations through the StAAR Center. Before requesting your accommodations, please contact Kelly Shaw, the nutrition specialist at Tufts Dining, at Kelly.Shaw@tufts.edu to see what kind of dining accommodations will be beneficial to you.

  • Submitting the Accommodation Request Form automatically creates an account for you in our Accommodate Portal, so you cannot submit the form again. If you have submitted the form in the past, and try to submit it again, you will receive an error message. Please note that this is true even if you don't have approved accommodations.

    Instead, you will need to complete a slightly different process to request accommodations. Please see the Requesting Additional Accommodations process below.

  • If you already have accommodations, and need to request new accommodations (typically due to an update in your health or disability), you will need to follow a slightly different process. Please see the Requesting Additional Accommodations process below.

Requesting Additional Accommodations

If you already have accommodations, and need to request new accommodations (typically due to an update in your health or disability), or have previously submitted the initial Accommodation Request Form, you'll need to complete a different process to request accommodations.

Please see the process for requesting additional accommodations below:

  1. Submit a new request through Accommodate. Log into Accommodate using your Tufts UTLN. Click "Accommodation" on the left-side toolbar, and choose "Make a New Accommodation Request" from the drop down menu. Click "Add New" and complete the form that comes up. 
  2. Provide (updated) clinical documentation. Please have your clinician complete our Health Disability Provider Form. You can also attach any on-hand documentation to your request form, or email/fax it to us directly.
  3. Schedule an intake appointment. Once we have received your registration form and supporting documentation, we will reach out about scheduling an intake appointment with a StAAR team member to go over your request.

Temporary Accommodations

The StAAR Center also provides accommodations for students navigating temporary conditions, such as an injury or broken bone. Below are some common examples of how StAAR can support injured students:

  • If you are having trouble getting around campus due to an injury, you can request to use our Lyft Pass accommodation. This accommodation will allow you to use the Lyft ride-share app to request rides between campus locations, such as classroom buildings, the library, your residence hall, etc.
  • If you are unable to complete written exams due to an injury, you can request an accommodation for a scribe to assist you.

We can also connect you with your academic dean for more immediate academic support, and for communicating with your professors about your injury.

Requesting Temporary Accommodations

If you would like to request temporary accommodations due to an injury please refer to either the Requesting Accommodations process (for students who have never submitted the initial Accommodation Request Form before) or the Requesting Additional Accommodations process (for students who HAVE submitted the initial Accommodation Request Form before).

Submitting Documentation for Temporary Accommodations

The best way to provide documentation for injuries is to have your doctor (or surgeon, or physical therapist, or specialist) complete our Temporary Disability Provider Form. If you visited an ER or urgent care, we also recommend submitting any discharge papers or doctors notes from this visit as additional documentation.

Accessibility and Diversity

The Accessibility team values the role that disability plays in the broader landscape of access, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (ADEIJ). Learn more about our current projects on the DEIJ & Access page.