In order for a student to receive accommodations through the office of Disability Support Services (DSS), they must first initiate a registration with the DSS office. A student should complete an initial Accessibility Request with the DSS office if they are seeking formalized accommodations for any of the following:
  • Academic Accommodations
  • Housing Accommodations
  • Dining Accommodations
Students may submit a request at any time while attending the University. DSS encourages students to initiate a request such that accommodations and support can be established in a timely manner given that accommodations are not retroactive.

To start an initial Accessibility Request, complete the following steps:

Step 1: Accessibility Request Form

To complete the Accessibility Request Form, students will use their student credentials to log into CUA's Accommodate Portal. The request form seeks information about the following: details of any diagnosis/diagnoses, the impact of the student's diagnosed disability/condition(s) (including academic impact), educational history, and requested accommodations.

We encourage students to gather the below information before starting the Accessibility Request Form.  The form must be completed in one sitting, and cannot be saved to complete at a later time.

Information Needed for Accessibility Request Form

  • What diagnosed disability/condition(s) are you requesting accommodations for?
  • When did you receive your diagnosis? (Month/Year)
  • What accommodations have you previously received in school? (High School and/or Higher Ed)
  • What impacts do you currently experience with your diagnosed disability/condition(s)?
  • What barriers are you concerned about managing at The Catholic University of America?
  • What supports have you tried in the past?
  • What supports have been helpful?
  • What care/treatment plan(s) have you utilized to manage your diagnosed disability/condition(s)?
  • What accommodations would you like considered? Please include any academic, housing, and/or dining accommodations you would like to discuss.

Once you have gathered together the information needed to answer the above questions, click here to log into Accommodate.  Once logged in, use the left navigation bar and select Accommodation, and then select Accessibility Request to complete the Accessibility Request Form.

Step 2: Documentation

The documentation that a student submits must be from a qualified provider who can verify the diagnosis/diagnoses and provide sufficient details on its impact to one or more major life activities (including learning).

Our office does have a Clinical Care Provider Form that students can have their providers complete to use as supportive documentation.  Documentation can be provided to our office in the following three ways:

  1. Uploaded directly into the student's Accommodate profile.
  2. Sent to our office via email at
  3. Sent to our office via fax at 202-319-5126.

Upon review by DSS staff, a student may be asked to submit additional documentation related to the current impact of functional limitations on academic and other life activities.


While DSS prefers that students present their documentation in a timely manner, compiling comprehensive documentation should not be a barrier to a student seeking support and meeting with DSS staff. In cases where more documentation is needed, DSS will work with the student to inform them of the additional documentation needed, and provide interim support if appropriate.

Click here to learn more about Documentation Guidelines for Accessibility Requests.

 Step 3: Interactive Process Meeting

After submitting the Accessibility Request and supporting documentation, the student will be contacted to schedule a meeting with a DSS staff member for an Interactive Process Meeting. This meeting  usually lasts 45 minutes, sometimes longer when multiple accommodations are being requested.

During the meeting, the student and a DSS staff member will discuss specific accommodations based on the student's needs and lived experiences. Each accommodation plan is individualized, and accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.  There must be a direct connection between the disability or condition and the accommodation being provided. The purpose of accommodations is to remove access barriers caused by the condition or disability.


Requesting a Change to an Accommodation Plan

DSS recognizes that a student's condition may change, may require consideration of additional accommodations, and that a student may not immediately recognize all the barriers that exist in a college learning and living environment.  An Accommodation Letter may be updated at any time.  To request a change to an Accommodation Letter, the student needs to submit an Accommodation Change Request in their Accommodate portal, provide sufficient documentation or lived-experience rationale  for the change, and meet with a DSS staff member to discuss the requested change. 


Renewing Accommodations

Once a student has been approved for accommodations, they will need to regularly renew those accommodations in order to utilize them.  Renewal periods differ between accommodation types.

Academic Accommodation Renewals

Academic Accommodations must be renewed for each semester a student wishes to utilize their approved accommodations.  To renew Academic Accommodations, students must submit a Semester Request in Accommodate for the desired term.  Accommodations are not retroactive, and begin only after a student has provided their instructor with a current Academic Accommodation Letter.

Housing Accommodation Renewals

Housing Accommodations must be renewed each year.  A student will be contacted by our office in January asking if the student would like to renew their previously approved Housing Accommodations for the upcoming academic year.  Students should follow the instruction provided in the email received to renew, cancel, or request different Housing Accommodations.

Dining Accommodations Renewals

Dining Accommodations must be renewed each year.  A student will be contacted by our office in July asking if the student would like to renew their previously approved Dining Accommodations for the upcoming academic year.  Students should follow the instruction provided in the email received to renew, cancel, or request different Dining Accommodations.

Updated June 2024.