Academic Accommodations

Community College of Philadelphia is committed to ensuring that qualified individuals with a disability are afforded equitable access to and participation in our programs and services. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no qualified person will be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the College because of disability. Nor will individuals with a disability be subjected to discrimination while participating in College programs or activities due to disability.

Accommodation Letters

An accommodation is an adjustment in how a task is achieved, without compromising the objective, integrity or essential nature of the course, program, or activity. The Center on Disability individually reviews accommodation requests with the goal of providing access to our educational programs and activities.

Students who have completed the registration process with the Center on Disability and have demonstrated their eligibility for accommodations will receive accommodation letters from the COD at the beginning of each academic year through their College email account. Students will then schedule a time to meet with their instructor(s) to discuss accommodation needs.

Accommodation letters typically remain in effect for one academic year, unless students demonstrate and express a need to modify their accommodations, or students fail to establish an ongoing need for accommodations through appropriate documentation.

Tips for Talking With Your Instructors

  • Send instructors an email to introduce yourself and request a few minutes of their time to discuss your accommodation letter.
  • Select a time and place to describe your accommodation needs in private and answer any questions your instructor may have about them.
  • If you are nervous about talking to your instructor, talk first to the COD staff, and practice what you will say.
  • Be prepared to talk about how you accomplish your work (rather than discussing what you cannot do).

Common Accommodations

In this section, you will find a non-exhaustive list of standard accommodations frequently associated with college-level coursework. Please keep in mind that the accommodation process is individualized and person-specific. It may require consultation with academic departments to determine if a requested accommodation is reasonable, as well as discussion with the professional(s) providing information regarding the nature of your disability.  

Alternate Format Text

Students who have difficulty accessing traditional text materials may benefit from books provided in alternate formats, including Braille, DAISY, KESI, E-Text, Audio Files, Supported Alternate Text, and large print. If you think you are eligible to receive alternate format text materials, consult the Disability Services Coordinator for assistance.

If eligible to receive textbooks in alternate format, you must submit a Book Request Form along with proof of purchase of your textbooks to the COD.  In most cases, text materials will be available fourteen business days after you submit your request and receipts. The COD will contact students if we anticipate any delay in fulfilling your request.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology refers to hardware, software, or equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. The COD introduces a menu of assistive technology from which eligible students can select to optimize access to their educational materials.

If you believe Assistive Technology will decrease the impact of disability in your educational endeavors, please schedule a meeting with the Disability Services Coordinator at 215-751-8050 to discuss your needs.

The following Assistive Technology is available to eligible students:


  • Dragon Naturally Speaking
  • Inspiration
  • JAWS
  • ZoomText
  • Kurzweil 3000
  • Free software and apps, as appropriate


  • Electronic dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Enlarged print keyboards
  • LiveScribe Smartpens
  • Talking calculators
  • Trackball mice

Note-taking Assistance

Students who experience difficulties taking notes due to disability can benefit from receiving electronic copies of presentation materials used in lecture classes, audio recording lectures, or notes from a volunteer peer note-taker.

If eligible to use volunteer peer note-takers, you should

Note: If needed, pick up carbonless paper for your note-takers from the COD

Testing Services

Students approved for a distraction-reduced testing environment or use of assistive technology for testing might benefit from using the COD’s testing services. If you or your professor requires these services to ensure your testing accommodations, please submit a completed Test Administration Form.  

Services for Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

The COD helps students with hearing loss by addressing communication access needs for classes, academic appointments and College-sponsored activities, meetings, and events. In some instances, the COD will need to work with agencies that provide sign language interpreting and CART services.

Sign Language Interpreting Services

Students who require Sign Language Interpreting services to facilitate communication access in classes and College-sponsored activities should identify themselves by following the process to register with the COD. We will work closely with you to ensure your access to qualified agency Sign Language Interpreters. For optimal service, provide us with accurate and early information regarding your class schedule and any College-sponsored appointments, meetings, or events you wish to attend. Delays in providing the COD with your request for service hamper our ability to fill your request or schedule preferred Sign Language Interpreters to facilitate your communication access.

Please notify the COD as soon as you become aware of any changes in an activity or class where we have scheduled a Sign Language Interpreter.

In instances where a student misses three consecutive meetings of a class without 24-hours notice to the COD, we reserve the right to cancel interpreter services until the student contacts the COD to establish the ongoing need for interpreting services in that class.

Computer Assisted  RealTime Translation (CART)

Students who require CART to facilitate communication access in classes and other College-sponsored activities will work closely with the COD to ensure access to qualified agency captioners. For the optimal service, provide us with accurate and early information regarding your class schedule and other events where CART will afford you communication access, as soon as possible.

  • For classes, submit a CART Request Form (MS Word Version) and a paid roster to the COD at least four weeks before the start of classes.
  • For other events, please contact the Disability Services Coordinator to discuss your needs at least one week before the event.
  • In instances where a student misses three consecutive meetings of a class without 24-hours notice to the COD, we reserve the right to cancel CART services until the student contacts the COD to establish the ongoing need for CART services in that class.

Modifications to Academic/Technical Requirements

All students are expected to fulfill the academic and technical requirements associated with their program of study.  Students with disabilities generally are not excused from the College’s academic or technical requirements including course prerequisites, GPA requirements, technical standards, or degree requirements. However, in some limited circumstances, the College may make modifications to academic or technical requirements to the extent such modifications are necessary to ensure that the academic or technical requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating on the basis of a qualified student’s disability.  The College will not make modifications to academic or technical requirements that are essential elements of the curriculum associated with the student’s program of study or any related licensing requirement, or that would fundamentally alter the nature of the student’s program of study.  Examples of modifications to academic or technical requirements include, but are not limited to, course substitutions or flexibility in the application of the attendance policy.  As with all other accommodations, requests for modifications to academic or technical requirements must be supported by appropriate documentation, and each request will be determined on an individualized, case-by-case basis.