Services for Students with Disabilities

The following documentation guidelines have been established whereby sufficient documentation of a disability that is in accordance with the law can be provided. These guidelines are provided so the necessary Columbia College Chicago officials can make informed decisions in order to provide appropriate reasonable accommodations and equal access to education for students with disabilities. These guidelines exist to empower both students with disabilities and the Columbia officials that serve students with disabilities to more fully understand students’ disabilities and to be better able to advocate for them. The following guidelines apply to documentation of any type of disability. See also the specific criteria for documenting learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), psychiatric disabilities, physical disabilities, and/or chronic illnesses at Columbia College Chicago.

Documentation of a disability must be provided by a qualified professional who is unrelated to the student being evaluated. This would include, but is not limited to, a medical doctor, psychiatrist, school psychologist, clinical psychologist, counseling psychologist, neuropsychologist, or social worker.

In general, documentation should be no more than 3 years old. For individuals who have learning disabilities and/or AD/HD, it is not necessary to update documentation after age 18. It is necessary to present documentation that verifies current characteristics of the disabling condition and the functional limitations related to this condition. For some chronic medical conditions, it may not be necessary to provide documentation within this 3 year timeframe.

Documentation must state the nature of a student’s disability/diagnosis and how this disability impacts the student’s daily functioning, especially in academic areas. Reports of any testing done to document the disability should be included (a test-score summary is recommended), and areas of strengths and weakness should be indicated. The documentation must also provide recommendations for how to best address the student’s disability-related needs. A doctor’s note indicating that a student has a particular disability, is taking a particular medication, and/or needs a particular accommodation does not constitute adequate documentation of any disability.

An IEP or 504 Plan is not appropriate documentation of disability at the post-secondary level.

US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Letter for Parents
US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Letter for Colleague

A psychoeducational evaluation plan is required for conditions such as learning disabilities and AD/HD; However, other disabilities for which a formal report that satisfies the above criteria may not be available, please contact the SSD Office at 312-369-8296 or for a Verification of Disability form.

Please contact the Interpreting Services Coordinator at the number above, or at with questions regarding documentation for deafness or hard-of-hearing status.

Guidelines for specific disabilities are outlined below.  For a PDF version of these guidelines, click here.