Eligibility for Services

Brief Definition of Disability & Purpose of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities

To be eligible for disability-related services; students must have a visibly obvious or documented disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under the ADA and Section 504, a person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, standing, seeing, speaking, hearing, learning, sitting, breathing, or or taking care of oneself.

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) is the designated office at Northwestern University that obtains and files disability-related documents, certifies eligibility for services, determines reasonable accommodations, and develops plans for the provision of such accommodations. Students with disabilities may also be eligible for auxiliary services including assistive technology, note-takers, learning strategies instruction, coaching, assessment, library and lab assistants,  psychosocial support, and mentoring.

To get a fuller idea of the documentation required to verify particular types of disabilities, please review:

Certifying Eligibility for Services

When appropriate, SSD requests disability-related documents from the appropriate licensed professional to certify a student as having a disability and to determine reasonable accommodations. Students who suspect that they have a disability and have not received a formal assessment may be referred to on-campus or off-campus resources for an evaluation. Three sites on-campus sites where students are often referred are:

Pending receipt of documentation, SSD reserves the right to deny services or accommodations.