Documentation Guidelines

Students who are seeking support services from the Baylor University Office of Access and Learning Accommodation on the basis of diagnosed disability are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

This documentation needs to be recent, preferably within the last three years.

What is the purpose of documentation?

Laws that protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination and mandate the availability of accommodations to ameliorate the impact of the disability are in place in most countries. In order to determine whether an individual is entitled to these protections, post-secondary institutions typically require objective evidence (documentation) that verifies that the individual’s condition fits the locally (and for that local, legally) accepted definition of "disability".

Documentation serves two primary purposes in postsecondary education:

  • To establish protection from discrimination:

    Non-discrimination is an assurance that individuals with disabilities will not be excluded or provided lesser access to programs and activities based on assumptions rooted in stereotype or perception of ability that are not based in fact. Non-discrimination also provides freedom from harassment based on perceptions of disability.

    Documentation needed only for protection from discrimination based on disability can be quite brief. A diagnostic statement from an appropriate professional, a past history of recognition as a person with a disability or even self-identification that indicates how others might regard the individual as having a disability could suffice as the basis for protection from discrimination.


  • To determine the accommodations to which the individual may be entitled

    Reasonable accommodations include modifications to policy, procedure or practice and the provision of auxiliary aids and services that are designed to provide equal access to programs and services for qualified individuals with disabilities. Accommodations are reasonable when they do not fundamentally alter the nature of a program or service and do not represent an undue financial or administrative burden.

    Disability documentation for the purpose of providing accommodations must both establish disability and provide adequate information on the functional impact of the disability so that effective accommodations can be identified. In the context of postsecondary education, documentation should provide a decision-maker with a basic understanding of the individual’s disability and enough information to anticipate how the current impact of the disability is expected to interact with the institution’s structure of courses, testing methods, program requirements, etc.

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Please see corresponding links for information regarding specific documentation guidelines.