Prospective Students and Families

Thank you for your interest in Roger Williams University and our Student Accessibility Services (SAS). We are located on the first floor of the University Library on the Bristol Campus. We welcome your visit. You and your family are welcome to contact us or visit us any time. Walk-ins are welcome, but for faster response, it is always best to call ahead for an appointment.

The college search process can be very exciting. For students with disabilities, or significant medical conditions there will also be questions about the academic, residential, social and co-curricular life you will find at a particular institution; and about the supports you will be able to expect. 

One thing that we can offer you, as prospective students, is to offer you information about the supports and opportunities that may be available to you.

We are committed to equal opportunity, inclusion, and academic success for students with disabilities.  We believe that Disability is a matter of cultural diversity and we work with units across campus to help ensure that all courses programs and services are accessible to all students. 

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) works only with eligible, qualified students;  but, we believe that when we make programs and courses accessible for students with disabilities, ALL students benefit.


College is a very new and different environment from the secondary or high-school environment that you may be used to.   This document, Differences Between High School and College, is designed to help students and parents understand and be prepared for some of the differences between college vs. high school.


Common Questions asked by Prospective Students and their Families

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Students with documented disabilities or significant medical conditions, who are registered with Student Accessibility Services, make up 10-15% of the Roger Williams University student population.

The information here is designed to help prospective students and parents understand the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities as well as the policies and procedures that have been established for this group at RWU.

What is Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at Roger Williams University?

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is a specialized sub-unit of the Center for Student Academic Success (CSAS) Program that works to enhance the academic success for all students at Roger Williams University.   The SAS program, though, works only with eligible students (with current disabilities or current, significant medical conditions) who demonstrate eligibility for SAS supports, accommodations, and services.

How does SAS provide equal access?

Student Accessibility Services works with all units of Roger Williams University to help ensure that the academic and the physical environment are accessible to students.  In other words, we work with faculty, residential life, facilities services, and other units to recommend accommodations or supports that will help ensure that our eligible students have equal access to programs and services, as compared to their peers.   We meet with our students to help problem solving, we support your ability to self advocate, and we work to help you navigate a complex college environment.  We care about your success, and we will work with you to help you achieve it!

How do students qualify to use the services of SAS?

Students provide the SAS office with documentation of a current disability or a current significant medical condition that may have significant impact on your student experience.   The staff in SAS evaluate your documentation and will work with you to update it, or provide additional information so that we may qualify you for services.   Please see the Documentation Guidelines for the types of documents and providers that we look for in qualifying you as an eligible SAS student.

How does SAS learn of students with disabilities?

Most students and their families send documentation of the disability or significant medical condition as the student begins their academic career at RWU. Other students come to SAS without having been diagnosed, and SAS can provide them with resources for obtaining diagnostic evaluations that may warrant the provision of accommodations. Members of the campus community (Counseling, Health Services, faculty members) also refer students to SAS based on their interactions.  Many students and families contact us through the website as they are exploring universities to attend.    All SAS students self-identify to us about their condition and work with us to become eligible for services.   

Without your communication to us, we will not know that you are here, so please come talk to us!

Are SAS students "flagged" for the RWU population?

A student's disability or medical status is completely confidential.   The information you provide to us stays within our office records and is not shared publicly with university officials or on the Student Record System.    We will not share your information with faculty or administrators, and only SAS staff members have direct access to the SAS records.    When you request accommodations; the faculty or administrators who will provide you with accommodations ONLY know that you are eligible for the recommended accommodations.   They will not have access to the reasons for the accommodations.

How will students with disabilities tell their professors that they are eligible to receive academic accommodations?

We are happy to meet with you to coach you on how to approach your professors.   It is important to let professors know that you will be requesting accommodations through SAS, and we can help you develop conversation points.  Also most professors have a welcome message on their syllabus that invites you to speak with them about your accommodations or other needs.   Almost all professors want their students to be successful and want you to be able to learn through your strengths.   We are all on the same team, so please let us help.

Also, when you need academic or residential accommodations there is a specific process for SAS to send requests to housing, and letters to your professors, that outline the specific accommodations that you will need.

Can faculty members approach the topic of students with disabilities at the start of a course?

Professors or administrators should never ask you specific questions about your disability or medical condition.  That is confidential.   

But professors and administrators may ask you specifics about what you need to be successful in class.   You may choose to share information if you are comfortable but you are not required to share private information.     

SAS students are responsible to meet the standards of their courses (with or without accommodations) and professors may want to approach you to discuss your performance in their class; they can discuss your accommodations and whether you have what you need.   But, your private information is private. 

What are common accommodations?

The most commonly requested accommodations are: extended time for testing, testing in a reduced distraction environment, and note taking assistance.

Extended time for testing is an accommodation that grants the student the right to spend additional time taking an exam. Time-and-a-half (or 50% extension) is the standard extension for most student; but each student's allotted time is determined on a case-by-case basis.  "Unlimited Time" is never a reasonable accommodation.   In some rarer situations a student may be eligible for double time or 100% extension.  Faculty or students may want to use the SAS Testing center for this accommodation.  

Reduced distraction environments are appropriate test-taking environments that may be smaller, with fewer students than a regular classroom.   Very rarely, a private test room may be an accommodation for eligible students.

Note taking assistance may mean using electronic recording devices to help ensure accurate notes.   Certain students may be eligible for a peer notetaker.   

If you believe you require a particular accommodation, please feel free to speak with a SAS staff member for assistance.

What types of disabilities do RWU students disclose to Student Accessibility Services?

RWU students disclose a variety of disabilities including, but not limited to: 

  • mobility/physical disabilities (e.g. Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy);
  • learning disabilities (e.g. with reading or writing or language);
  • mental health conditions (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders);
  • medical conditions (e.g. digestive conditions, diabetes, severe allergies, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome);
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
  • Vision conditions,
  • Hearing conditions,
  • Head Trauma, 
  • some temporary conditions
  • and more...