Access Center / Disability Services assists students and community members to provide access to our programs, services and activities. We work with students with disabilities and Century College officials to resolve questions of "reasonable accommodation" and other issues related to the College's compliance with disability laws.
An accommodation is a support that gives a student with a disability an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from Century College. Accommodations are adjustments to how things are usually done. The purpose of effective accommodations is to increase a student's chances for success.
Requesting Interpreter Services
If you are requesting interpreter services for any event or specific class at Century College, please fill out a form requesting interpreter services (a minimum of ten days before the event or class) so Disability Services can locate an interpreter. Return the form to Melissa Traxler or fax to 651-779-5831.
Disability Services Information
An individual with a disability is any person who:
- Has a physical, mental or emotional impairment, that substantially or materially limits one or more of their major life activities
- Has a record of such an impairment
- Is regarded as having an impairment.
Reasonable accommodations can be provided in various ways. The following are brief descriptions and examples of the most common categories of accommodations that permit a qualified student with a disability to effectively participate in the educational process.
Changes to a Classroom Environment or Task (Possible Examples)
- Extended time for an exam
- The use of a dictionary or spell checker
- Materials in alternative formats such as large print, audio tape or computer disk
Removal of Architectural Barriers (Possible Examples)
- Adapting a classroom to meet the needs of a student who uses a wheelchair.
Exceptions to Policies, Practices or Procedures (Possible Examples)
- In some instances, students may have priority registration.
Provision of Auxiliary Aids and Services (Possible Examples)
- Providing a sign language interpreter
- Providing a note taker or scribe
In accordance with the law, there are some modifications that Century College does not provide as a reasonable accommodation. Examples include:
- Personal devices such as wheelchairs, or glasses.
- Personal services, such as private tutoring or personal attendants.
- Modifications that lower or change course standards or program standards.
- Modifications that would change the essence of a program, such as allowing a student in an auto mechanics program to take a written test on repairing an engine instead of actually repairing an engine or allowing a student in a public speaking class to substitute a written paper for an oral presentation.
- Services that are unduly burdensome, administratively or financially.
Requesting Reasonable Accommodation
To receive a reasonable accommodation you, the student, must first request the accommodation and provide documentation of the disability. The Access Center is the designated office to certify eligibility for disability services, determine accommodations, and maintain documentation separate from other college records. In general, Century College will not act on its own to provide an accommodation to a student unless or until one is requested.
The Access Center will generally require documentation of the disability by the appropriate licensed professional in order to evaluate a request for a reasonable accommodation. Documentation should reflect the nature of the disability and how it affects you in an academic setting. The law allows the College to request recent documentation. If the disability has changed or fluctuates in intensity, then an up-to-date evaluation of the condition may be requested to determine reasonable accommodations.
Accommodations are arranged each term and students need to communicate with the Director of the Access Center prior to, or at the beginning, of each term to arrange for academic accommodations.
What if I have a concern about my accommodations or access to programs, services, or activities?
At Century College, you are responsible for notifying the Access Center if the accommodations that have been provided do not meet your needs. If you have attempted to resolve issues related to your accommodations but you feel that Century College has failed to meet your needs, you may file a complaint. Complaints generally are about issues such as:
- accommodations provided
- timely implementation of accommodations
- access to buildings
- access to information
Complaints are treated seriously at Century College and it has processes in place to investigate and help resolve them. Complaints should be filed in a timely manner and are usually, but do not need to be, submitted in written form.
The complaint process is as follows:
- Discuss your complaint with the Director of the Access Center in an attempt to resolve the issue.
- If the complaint cannot be resolved, a grievance can be filed by following the Student Complaint and Grievance Policy and Procedure, 220.127.116.11, which begins with either of the following:
- By making an oral claim with the Dean of Student Affairs
- By providing the Dean of Student Affairs with a Concern Form, which is included in the Student Complaint and Grievance Policy and Procedure, 18.104.22.168.
Century College takes equal access seriously.
Captioning of Videos and Film
All films and videos acquired after 12/30/94 must have either open or closed captioning. Any films and videos purchased on or before 12/30/94 that are not captioned may be used, but will be captioned on request or as a requested reasonable accommodation.
Captioning may not be required when material will not be used for ongoing training and material will be shown to a specific known audience which does not require captioning for equal access.
All departments shall ensure that facilities used for meetings, training, and public events are physically accessible.
All departments shall inform potential participants in the above activities of the availability of accommodations by including the following statement on bulletins, flyers, brochures, letters, PSA's, or any other material used to inform participants of the event:
All departments that develop, use and/or purchase written materials for distribution to the public will ensure that each document contains a statement indicating that alternative formats will be provided upon request.
The following statement must be included on all new materials and must be added to existing materials when they are reprinted. (Preprinted materials in use prior to preprinting shall have a label attached that contains the following):
Century College is a member of the Minnesota State. We are an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and education. This document can be available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by calling 651.779.3354 or 1.800.288.1978 x 3354.
Sign Language Interpreting (Definition)
Interpreters are professionals who facilitate communication between hearing individuals and people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The role of the interpreter is similar to that of a foreign language translator, which is to bridge the communication gap between two parties.
Students requiring sign language interpretation should request services in advance of class. The Access Center requests 2 weeks notice for interpretation of a class and five business days to arrange interpretation for a meeting.
The Access Center will attempt to schedule an interpreter when less notice is provided, but reserves the right to reschedule meetings or delay services if this is not possible.
Students are responsible for notifying the Access Center as soon as possible when the student will be absent from a class or meeting. If a student is absent for three class periods and/or meetings in a semester without notifying the Access Center, interpreting services may be discontinued. The student must meet with the Access Center to appeal suspension of services.
Information for Students
Students with disabilities who need and want services at Century College are responsible for contacting Disability Services. Prior planning is the key to insuring the proper delivery of services. On your first visit to Disability Services, the Director will meet with you to discuss the services you may need and the procedures for setting up those services. Your disability information is maintained separate from your academic record in compliance with federal and state data practices laws. You are responsible for providing the disability office with current documentation as it relates to your disability and the services you are requesting.
Self-advocacy is critical to success in higher education. Due to privacy laws, colleges and universities are restricted from seeking out students with disabilities; therefore, you are responsible for requesting the services you believe you need. The College generally does not provide accommodations unless or until you ask for services.
- Know yourself and your disability
Before you can advocate for yourself, you need to know how to talk about your disability in a way that other people will understand.
- Know your rights and responsibilities
Colleges and universities cannot close their doors to you solely because you have a disability. Century College must provide services that will allow you an equal opportunity to access and participate in school activities. Please refer to Disability Services for information about the college's legal responsibilities.
- Know where to go for help
A very important part of being successful in college is knowing when you need help and where to find it. Getting to know the staff and faculty on campus who can help you, including Disability Services staff, is a good idea.
- Take action
Develop a plan for communicating your needs. While Disability Services can assist you, developing your own communication skills may be very helpful. Consider practicing before talking with your instructors. You might practice explaining to a counselor or a trusted friend the accommodations you believe you will need.
If you are transferring to another institution, contact the Disability Services offices at your new institution for advice on how to register for services. You may be able to obtain copies of your documentation from your previous institution to provide to your new institution. Otherwise, you may be asked to sign release forms for transferring this information directly between the institutions.
High School Students
If you are currently enrolled in high school and would like to attend a college or university there are several options for you.
The Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO) is the name of a law that enables high school students who are at least juniors to take college or university courses. Sometimes these courses are offered in the high school and sometimes students attend regular college or university courses. Credits can be applied toward high school graduation and can be applied to a college or university degree. The State of Minnesota pays the tuition and most fees. To be eligible to attend, students must meet admissions requirements for PSEO students. Some schools have special programs with other names such as "transitions" or "concurrent enrollment", but they are all set up by law to "promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wider variety or options to high school pupils."
In either case, students with disabilities are responsible for seeking reasonable accommodations through Disability Services. If you have an individualized education plan (IEP) from your high school, be sure to contact the Director of the Disability Services as soon as possible.
Information for Parents
College life poses different challenges for students with disabilities. When students enroll at Century College, they are considered responsible adults by faculty and staff. The expectations are that they will assume responsibilities for meeting their class requirements.
How is college different from high school?
This added responsibility is coupled with a change in environment. High school is a teaching environment in which students acquire knowledge and skills. College is a learning environment in which students take responsibility for thinking through and applying what they have learned.
Another student responsibility is that of self-advocacy. Students must become adept at realistically assessing and understanding their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and preferences. Also, they must become experts at communicating this information to other adults including instructors and service providers. Although services will be available to students through an office specializing in services to students with disabilities, students will be responsible for seeking these services and supports. Good communication skills and knowledge about oneself become crucial to success in college.
Preparing for a successful college experience begins early in school. Statistically, students with disabilities are less likely to enter higher education, and those who do attend are less likely to graduate than their peers without disabilities. If your son or daughter is going to beat these odds, you have to plan and support the decision that can lead to college success.
How can you help your son or daughter prepare for college?
- Recognize that your son or daughter with a disability will go through the same experiences as their non-disabled peer.
- Preparation for higher education needs to start early in your son or daughter's high school years. Ask the high school staff for information regarding appropriate postsecondary choices, such as technical college, community college, or university.
- Explore the benefits of extending the high school graduation date to take advantage of transition programs.
- Work with your son or daughter's high school teachers and support staff, and community agencies to identify transition activities that will prepare your son or daughter for college.
- Contact the admissions office of several colleges or universities. Ask to speak with the service provider for students with disabilities. Talk with the service provider about the admissions process for students with disabilities, how students must document their disability, and what services the college or university offers to students with disabilities.
- Ensure that your son or daughter will have the necessary recent testing that a college needs to document a disability. This includes but is not limited to learning disabilities. This testing can be done during the senior year of high school but schedule it early. Have these reports and copies of your son or daughter's most recent disability assessment, IEP (Individualized Education Plan), and transition plan available for college or university staff.
- Encourage your son or daughter to contact rehabilitation services to determine eligibility for services. Rehabilitation services can help with financial and equipment support for students with disabilities.
- If your son or daughter's college or university requires post admissions test results, learn the process for requesting testing accommodations. If your son or daughter needs testing accommodations, the need must be documented.
- Ensure that your son or daughter learns to use reasonable and appropriate accommodations. These accommodations are determined based on documented need and may include but are not limited to test taking, note taking, reading texts, and using adaptive technology.
- Remember your son or daughter has the responsibility to notify the college or university that she or he has a disability identifying his/her needs and provide appropriate documentation of those needs. The college has the responsibility to provide reasonable accommodation based on documentation of the disability.
How can I help my son or daughter have a successful college or university experience?
As first-year students arrive at a college or university and begin to venture forth they experience different reactions and thoughts. Some students will adjust to life with little difficulty, while others may find that the transition stretches beyond the first year. Parents can help by understanding the developmental process that their students will journey through as they enter a college or university and recognize that this process is part of the higher education learning environment.
- Upon arrival, many students enjoy a period where the newness and excitement leads to strong positive feelings about college life.
- A few weeks into the semester, students begin to realize that higher education is not all glamour and fun - there is hard work, and there can be frustration and disappointment as well. Students may receive their first low grades.
- About mid-semester, students may begin wondering if college life is better at another school. They might believe that transferring to another institution will solve the problems they are experiencing. Or they may wonder if they would be better off out in the work world.
- Students begin to learn that things at home have changed. Life has gone on without them. Alternatively, first year students learn that they have changed, and because of this, their relationships with family and high school friends may be different from what they remember.
- As students progress through the semester they refine their academic and study skills, engage in their first deep conversations with classmates and enjoy expanding their circle of friends. It is often at this time that true intellectual fulfillment begins and meaningful relationships with classmates and faculty develop.
- With the end of the semester near, students face large amounts of work. No matter how well students have been doing academically and socially, they may have anxiety about whether they will survive the papers and exams and if they will actually make it to the second semester. They may question again whether they really belong in college.
- Sometime during the second semester, students begin to view college as a total experience. They come to see the classes, casual discussions with new friends, parties, and other elements of their college life are related and part of an interrelated whole. First year students come to understand that the choices and commitment that they make have a tremendous impact on the shape of their college experience and future.
As a parent, what information is available to me from my son or daughter's educational records?
In general, under federal and state privacy laws, students at colleges or universities have the legal right to control access to information about themselves. Some information called "directory data" is public and available to anyone, even parents. Almost all other information such as grades or class schedules is private and, in most cases, a student's written authorization is required to release to a third party private information held by a college or university.
Parents are legally considered to be "third parties" and need their child's written permission to access private data about them.
Century College does have a policy,that parents would need their child's written consent to obtain private information from the College. Contact the Registrar to obtain more information on the college's data privacy policies.
Postsecondary Resource Guide
This guide was created through collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to successfully prepare students with disabilities for the postsecondary environment. Some of the contents of this guide include accommodations in college, planning for college while still in high school and the differences between high school and college.