Students with disabilities must make regular application for admission to Western Michigan University and meet all admission standards. Like all admitted students, students with disabilities must demonstrate the ability to do college work successfully. Students with conditions impacting a major life function such as learning may need to request accommodations. No qualified person shall, by reason of disability, be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of any program or activity operated by Western Michigan University.
To request accommodations through Disability Services for Students fill out the DSS-Accommodate Public Form. Supporting documentation can be uploaded in this form, sent in by fax, or hard copies brought to initial meetings.
After the DSS-Accommodate form is filled out please make a phone or in-person appointment by calling DSS main office at (269) 387-2116 to schedule an initial appointment. Your initial meeting is very important; you will not be considered registered with the office until you have met with us.
It is important to fill out this form before your first meeting with DSS. Please note that you are not fully registered with the office until you have met with the office to finalize your registration and accommodations.
An advocate is someone who supports, defends, or pleads on behalf of someone else. A self-advocate supports, defends, or pleads for themselves. It means identifying yourself as a student with a disability. It means discussing one-on-one with professors your need for specific accommodations in a classroom. It also means being aware of how your disability impacts your ability to function and then seeking out the resources to assist you in overcoming obstacles presented by your disability.
At the postsecondary level, colleges and universities are not allowed to ask about disabilities during the admittance process. Since they cannot ask, they must rely on you to make your needs known. You will need to provide the appropriate documentation to substantiate the disability and request accommodations and/or academic adjustments in a timely manner.
The disability services office will help promote your skill as a self-advocate by explaining procedures, providing resources and services, and act on your behalf when requested. Again, the onus is on you to make your needs known.
Parents and Guardians
As a minor or person under 18 years old, your parents or guardians have been responsible for every part of your life. This changes once you turn 18 and are admitted to a college or university. As an adult, everything about you and the university is private and confidential. Your parents are only able to be involved if you give them permission. This includes every aspect of college life – tuition and fees, room and board, academics and classes, conduct, and so on.
The Family Education and Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) is an Act that provides for the release of private and confidential information to specified persons. Release forms are available at various departments on campus and at Disability Services for Students. If you expect either of your parents, other guardian or person to contact DSS to discuss you and your situation, you will need to sign the FERPA.
For other areas of the university, you may need to provide your parents or guardians with passwords and other account information. For example, if they will be “paying the bills,” you will need to allow them access to the GoWMU portal so they can get any balances due. Paper statements are not necessarily mailed. It is assumed that you, the student and adult, will take care of your financial obligations, so if you want your parents or guardians to do it, you must give access.