Learning Accommodations

How We Help

Hollins University recognizes the special needs of students with disabilities. We’re committed to providing equal opportunity to all our degree-seeking students.

If an impairment is short-term…

Students should communicate directly with their instructors.

If an impairment is permanent, long-term, or substantially limits one or more major life activities…

The student should communicate with the dean of academic services. Graduate students should contact their program director.

How to Document Your Learning Disability

A student requesting accommodations must provide a diagnostic report prepared by a professional qualified to diagnose a learning disability. This can include a licensed psychiatrist, learning disability specialist, or psychologist.

The report will include the following procedures:

  • Receptive and expressive oral and written language
  • Word-attack skills and reading comprehension
  • Mathematical reasoning and computations
  • Verbal and nonverbal concept formation
  • Auditory and visual-processing abilities, including memory, sequencing speed, perception, and discrimination
  • Capacity for sustained attention

The university reserves the right to ask students to undergo reassessment if the documentation they provide is more than three years old.

  • If a student requires assessment, they’ll receive information about resources in the community.


  • Upon request, a meeting between the student and the dean or program director will review assessment and guide future procedures.
  • A student is defined as having a learning or attention disability once she/he provides a substantive report from a qualified professional. The report must provide diagnostic data and recommended accommodations.
  • The dean or program director will review documentation to ensure accommodations are supported by diagnostic data and reasonable. This means they consider the integrity of the academic program and the economic feasibility.
  • The dean or program director will write a letter specifying the approved accommodations. It’s the responsibility of the student to share this letter with professors. The letter remains in force while the student is at Hollins, unless the accommodations change.
  • We consider each student’s situation on its own merits. We recognize that a diagnosis may manifest itself differently in different students, and may need different support.

Faculty Review Panels

  • When necessary, the dean or program director will consult with a faculty review panel, the composition of which will be decided by the Academic Affairs Council.
  • The panel determines whether accommodations actually help the student’s learning and maintain our academic integrity.
  • The student is invited to meet with the panel.
  • The panel may seek professional advice.
If approved accommodations aren’t met…

Students should contact the dean of academic services or graduate program director. If the student has a grievance about an accommodation, an appeal can be made to the Academic Policy Committee, which has final authority.

For Physical Disabilities

Students with physical disabilities should provide documentation to the dean of academic success (or graduate program director) and the director of health and counseling services.

The documentation must come from a qualified health professional and must include a list of recommended accommodations. After a brief student consultation, the dean or program director will write a letter to the student’s instructors informing them of the accommodations.


“Learning differences” or “styles” alone do not justify accommodations. Diagnostic data must support the recommendations in a student’s documentation.

  • National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD), (1988). Letter to NJCLD member organizations.
  • National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), (1994). A Student Affairs Guide to the ADA & Disabilities Issues.