The Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations (ARA) serves as a central point for information and leadership to ensure equal access and full participation for students with a range of abilities in all programs and activities at Saginaw Valley State University. Approximately, 500 undergraduate and graduate students with varying abilities receive services or support through the ARA. It is our goal to work with both you and your student so that every student has a wonderful collegiate experience at SVSU!
Saginaw Valley State University views disability as an important aspect of diversity and is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. Accessibility Resources and Accommodations (ARA) is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations.
Phone: (989) 964-7000
In-person: Wickes 260B
For further information please see www.svsu.edu/access
Mental health needs:
As a student, you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning. These issues can include strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. Saginaw Valley State University’s services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the Student Counseling Center’s confidential mental health services by going to their website at svsu.edu/studentcounselingcenter.
What I can’t do for you:
Students are registered in a secure system called AIMs. In that system, the students’ documentation is stored, their accommodations are noted and letters explaining the accommodations may be printed and given to faculty at the students’ discretion. AIMs is also the place where faculty log-in to upload tests for students testing in ARA and explain to the staff what instructions to follow when testing their students.
Accommodations are determined through an interactive process between one of the professionals in the ARA office and a student. In that process, accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on appropriate documentation, the student’s history, and specific functional limitations. Students may qualify for accommodations but have the option not to them for all courses. Accommodations are noted in AIMs.
According to the U.S. Department of Education (2007), “reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the tasks, environment or to the way things are usually done that enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program or a job.”
Accommodations for students vary and are assigned on a case by case basis. This means that different students have differing levels of ability so that the accommodations are intended to:
Extended Time for Tests typically means that students have time-and-a-half (1½x) to take an exam. This rule does not apply to take-home tests. This accommodation refers to timed tests, quizzes, writing in the classroom, timed online or in another designated location. In very rare instances, students receive double time accommodation for testing (2x).
Quiet Area for Tests can be provided by the instructor or at the Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations. If provided by the instructor, the quiet area should be in a location with minimal distraction.
Reading Technology for Textbooks and Exams is software loaded onto a computer to help a student with their textbook reading or testing. Students approved for this accommodation may have to take their exams in Accessibility Resources and Accommodations to have access to the appropriate technology.
Software Testing Accommodation is available for students who may benefit from the use of assistive software during testing.
Speech to Text Technology or Digital Scribing is most likely to be approved for students with physical impairments which limit the use of their hands.
Flexible Attendance is occasionally allowed if a student experiences complications associated with a disability which might impair their ability to attend class. Flexible attendance must be discussed directly with the professor. The faculty member in consultation with their student determines how flexible attendance can be accommodated. Students should make arrangements with their faculty members to complete any assignments due or tests/quizzes given during the missed class. If an assignment was due or a test or quiz was administered on the day of an absence, the assignment or test will be due the following class period.
With flexible attendance, each instructor has the right to determine their own individual attendance policy and state this policy in her/his syllabus. Instructors who have received a Notification to Instructor Accommodation letter stating that a student with a disability has a medical condition that may affect attendance is not required, by law, to waive the attendance requirements. The statement is merely to inform the instructor that the absence(s) may be related to symptoms or treatment of the condition.
The Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations uses a system called AIMs to register students for testing and for faculty to securely upload exams. This system helps to ensure all ADA requirements are being met, to reserve space for student testing and to follow faculty testing instructions. Students are responsible for initiating testing requests with our office.
Students who are eligible for testing accommodations log into the AIMs system and request a day and time to test. The entire process is initiated by the student. Students are required to register for testing at least seven business days in advance if the test/exam is to be proctored by the Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations.
For those students who have registered in AIMs for testing, their faculty members will receive an email to complete the Testing Permit by logging into AIMs at www.svsu.edu/access. Faculty are only required to complete these instructions one time per class/per semester. We ask that the contract be completed as soon as possible to assure the student can schedule their exam in a timely manner. If the Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations is needed to proctor the student's exam, we must receive this testing contract back in advance.
The faculty member may upload the exam or test with the permit, email the exam or test to firstname.lastname@example.org, or deliver the exam or test to the Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations (ARA) at Wickes 260. Please note that ARA must receive the test at least 48 hours in advance.
Once the permit or instructions are completed online, the Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations will approve the student’s testing time and assign the student to a location either within the ARA office (Wickes 260) or at the Testing Center (Zahnow 280). Space is limited and is available on a first-come and first-serve basis.
We ask for the cooperation of all faculty members. Should a testing student have a question while testing, we will contact the student's faculty member with the question.
Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office at (989) 964-7000.
By minimizing barriers and maximizing learning for all, these resources ensure that the largest number of people possible are included in what SVSU has to offer — which improves student success.
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Director of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations
Associate Director of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations