Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if a student requests an academic accommodation but I have not received notification of approved accommodations from ODS?

If a student requests accommodations and you did not receive an accommodation notification letter outlining approved academic accommodations, please contact ODS (258-8840) to verify eligibility for accommodations. No accommodations should be provided for a student based on a disability if you have not received verification from ODS. 

All students requesting an academic accommodation due to a disability must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS). ODS will e-mail all course instructors an alert outlining approved academic accommodations is available in the Accommodate portal. Only the identified accommodations should be provided for the student. Students are also required to communicate with their instructors at least two weeks prior to the need for  the use of accommodations in order to discuss the implementation of the accommodations. If the student does not communicate in this timeframe, reasonable efforts should be made to provide the accommodation but in some cases it may not be possible.

What are some typical accommodations that a student might receive?

Accommodating students with disabilities is an individualized process, however, there are several academic accommodations that you might frequently be asked to implement.

Extended time for timed exams or assignments: 

While the amount of extra time can vary, students are most frequently approved for time-and-one-quarter (25% extra time), time-and-one-half (50% extra time) and sometimes 100%. Instructors have the option to administer the exam in the same room with other students if the space is available for the extra time or to provide an alternate location to allow the student to take the exam for the allotted time period. If other students arriving or leaving the space would be disruptive, administrating the exam with extended time in a different space may be preferable. More than one student can take the exam in the same separate room.

Reduced distraction environment: 

This requires a separate testing location to be arranged for the student. This does not need to be an individualized room, unless indicated in the accommodation letter. Several students may be tested together and this may also include students who receive extended time. An appropriate number of students in the reduced distraction space would be approximately 25% of the total room capacity. For instance, a room with a capacity of 16 people could seat approximately 4 students.

Use of computer for writing intensive exams: 

Instructors may allow students to use their own laptops for exams or may borrow “clean laptops” (no internet access) from the Office of Disability Services. Instructors should make it clear to the student if a clean laptop is to be used and whether the department will pick up the laptop from ODS or whether the student should do so. When students will be picking up the laptop, the instructor should also convey any guidance about how long before the exam the laptop can be picked up. Please note that students need to sit near an outlet so that the power adaptor cord can be used. ODS will provide a flash drive for the student to save the exam on and turn in to the instructor to print. We appreciate having the flash drive returned to ODS through campus mail after the exam is printed.


A student may be approved for breaks most frequently for exams exceeding one hour in length. The typical break time is 10 minutes after every hour of testing. This time is not to be used as working time, but for the benefit of rest or refocusing. Breaks do not have to be taken if the student is doing well, but the extra time incurred for breaks should be considered when making arrangements for testing space.

Assignment Extensions:

When symptoms relating to their disability are acute, the student may on occasion miss class with little or no notice. To the extent it does not compromise academic standards or essential course requirements, some flexibility regarding attendance may be appropriate.  Consistent attendance, however, is essential for learning in most Princeton classes. Many courses will provide specific expectation for attendance in their syllabi.  
University policy states, "A student who is absent from the University or unable to attend classes for a substantial period of time (cumulatively, more than two weeks) may be considered no longer in good standing. They may be required to take a leave of absence from the University and to apply for reinstatement to repeat the term." (The Undergraduate Announcement).   
The student is aware that he/she/they are expected to communicate with their instructor in a timely manner concerning an absence and are expected to make up any missed classwork.
If the student’s attendance record begins to have an adverse effect on his/her/their ability to successfully complete the course, the instructor should consult with the Office of Disability Services. 

Excused Absence:

When symptoms relating to their disability are acute, the student may on occasion be unable to meet an assignment deadline. To the extent it does not compromise academic standards or essential course requirements, some flexibility regarding an assignment’s due date may be appropriate for work due during the teaching term. As further described below, these recommended short extensions are not intended for assignments that students have been given 3 or more weeks to complete, including JPs and Sr Theses.  Nor do these extensions apply to assignments/projects due on Dean’s date. The student is aware that he/she/they are expected to communicate with his/her/their instructor in a timely manner prior to the deadline if there is an issue with his/her/their ability to meet a deadline for an assignment that meets the parameters of this accommodation.
The student should be permitted a short extension of no more than  48 hours when symptoms relating to their disability are acute.  If this is not reasonable for a particular assignment or if the student requests an extension of more than 48 hours, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) immediately to discuss.  Faculty are not expected to approve any request made by a student that is not reasonable within the context of the course.  For example, an extension may not be possible when the timely completion of an assignment is necessary due to a scaffolded assignment structure with tight deadlines. However, an extension may be reasonable for an assignment that is stand-alone. ODS should be contacted when any request seems unreasonable.  
For an extension on any assignment due on Dean’s Date, the student is expected to be in communication with their residential college dean or assistant dean prior to the expiration of the deadline for the work.  Only the dean or assistant dean can authorize an extension on work due on Dean’s Date, in consultation with the instructor, and in consultation with ODS when appropriate. 
If the student’s inability to meet deadlines begins to have an adverse effect on his/her/their ability to successfully complete the course, the instructor should consult with ODS.

What should I do if I feel an accommodation approved by ODS would compromise a fundamental element of a course?

When reviewing the accommodation letter for a student, if any approved accommodation creates a concern or appears to potentially compromise a requirement or essential element of your course, please email or call (8-8840) ODS to discuss.

When ODS approves accommodations, the goal is to provide equal access for a student but will never eliminate a requirement. If any approved accommodations may alternate a course requirement in a way that would compromise the integrity of the course., ODS would welcome the opportunity to discuss an alternate accommodation that may be reasonable in the context of course requirements. In the course of discussion, ODS may need to understand the essential elements of the course.

How can I proactively inform students of the need to request accommodations through the Office of Disability Services?

Faculty interested in informing students of the need to register with ODS for academic accommodations might consider adding a statement to the course syllabus. 

Consider the following text:

Students must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) ([email protected]; 258-8840) for disability verification and determination of eligibility for reasonable academic accommodations. Requests for academic accommodations for this course need to be made at the beginning of the semester, or as soon as possible for newly approved students, and again at least two weeks in advance of any needed accommodations in order to make arrangements to implement the accommodations. Please make an appointment to meet with me in order to maintain confidentiality in addressing your needs. No accommodations will be given without authorization from ODS, or without advance notice.

Who should I contact if I have a question concerning a student’s request for accommodations or how to implement an accommodation?

For questions or concerns relating to eligibility or implementing accommodations, please contact ODS at [email protected] or 609-258-8840.