The mission of the Disability Services program is to ensure that all students with self-disclosed disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities at the University of the Virgin Islands where they can participate freely and actively in all facets of University life.
Disability Services (St. Thomas Campus) and the Learning Assistance Program (LAP - Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix) program serves students with hearing, mobility, speech, and visual impairments; chronic illnesses, seizure disorders, psychological disabilities, and learning disabilities. Students with temporary disabilities may request services for the period during which they are disabled.
The name Disability Services/LAP does not imply any determination related to civil rights or other legal definitions, and does not assume that students served by Disability Services have “disabilities” as defined by any particular law. Disability Services provides assistance to students who meet the following criteria:
Services Available through Disability Services/ Learning Assistance Program
Services available through Disability Services and LAP, may include, but are not limited to:
Responsibilities of Students with Special Needs
When students request services from Disability Services or LAP, the Counselor is responsible for determining whether the students have disabilities impeding educational access. In making this determination, students present documentation regarding their special need which is consistent with educational disability practices. The assessment for services includes interviews with the student as well as documentation provided by other clinicians or agencies.
When students are determined eligible for Disability Services/LAP, the Counselor plans an individualized program of services for them known as “academic accommodations”. The Counselor provides letters of accommodations addressed to the students’ instructors which are delivered by the students in a timely way. Some students require program modifications; others need auxiliary services; while others might require modifications in instructional methods. These accommodations vary from student to student as disabilities affect individuals in diverse ways. Academic accommodations are not intended to give students an unfair advantage, but to remove barriers that prevent students with disabilities from learning’ giving them equal access to academic instruction and an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
Responsibilities of the Student
It is the students’ responsibility to request assistance from Disability Services/LAP Office located in the Counseling Office on both campuses. Students provide documentation of conditions that may warrant academic accommodations. If a student is deemed eligible for services; the student then requests services and supplies a current schedule of classes. Letters of Accommodation, addressed to their instructors describing the needed adjustments, are issued on a semester basis with renewal option by student request each semester after being enrolled for disabilities services.
Eligible individuals for Disability Services and LAP receive Letters of Accommodation no more than one week after presenting documentation/request/current schedule. It is the students’ responsibility to deliver the letters immediately after receiving them, thus permitting instructors sufficient time to make any necessary arrangements. Disability Services/LAP assistance is not retroactive; academic accommodations begin when instructors and departments (if necessary) are notified via an official letter delivered by the student.
For further information about disabilities services, please contact: