Access Services


Common Accommodations

The majority of work at the Office of Access Services (AS) revolves around providing reasonable accommodations to students connected to and approved by our office. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to a learning environment, course or program that allows a student with a documented disability to have equal access to the rights and services that students without disabilities have.

A common misconception of faculty, staff and students is that students with disabilities are receiving an unfair advantage over students without disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are there to allow the student with a disability an equal learning opportunity to their peers. Accommodations center on providing access, not success. The student is responsible for their academic success.

The following is a list of accommodations students may be approved for by the Office of Access Services. This list is in no way meant to encompass all accommodations offered at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.


Extended Time (50%) for Exams and Quizzes

The student is given time and a half to complete their exam either with the faculty member or through AS. If the class is given an hour (60 minutes) to take an exam, the approved student will have time (60 minutes) and a half (30 minutes) as their testing time period (90 minutes in total). 

Extended Time (100%) for Exams and Quizzes

The student is given double the time to complete their exam either with the faculty member or at the office. If the class is given an hour (60 minutes) to take an exam, the approved student will have double the class time (120 minutes). 


 This allows the student to take their test in a separate testing area from the class in order to reduce the amount of distractors in the room (number of students, sounds, etc.). Professors are able to provide a reduced distraction testing location as long as the testing environment is similar to the one given to the class and ideal. For example, some professors will allow the student approved for reduced distraction testing to take their exam at the department’s main office, monitored by an administrative assistant/staff member. When this cannot be provided, students can request to take their exam at our office. Students must submit an exam request form at least three business days in advance of the exam to allow the AS team enough time to prepare for the exam


Testing in the Student Success and First-Generation Initiative Center (SS/FGIC)

Students are responsible for communicating with their professors that they wish to take exams in the SS/FGIC.  Students are also responsible for filling out the Student Testing Form for each test they wish to take in the SS/FGIC.

  • Testing Agreement Form 
  • Student Testing Form


Students are responsible for communicating with their professors that they wish to take exams with Access Services. Students are also responsible for filling out the Student Testing Form for each test they wish to take with AS.


Extension on Assignments

What is the accommodation of Extensions on Assignments?

Course policy states that students are expected to complete and hand in assignments on the due date listed by the faculty member. At times, students may experience a severe flare-up of their symptoms that does not allow them to complete the work and submit it on time. The amount of extended time given on assignments depends primarily on what is agreed upon by the faculty member and student. In addition, this accommodation does not apply in certain situations due to either impacting other students or other assignments, such as group work, participation/discussion, peer review sessions, capstone projects and assignments that will evolve to larger scale projects.

Who is eligible for Extensions on Assignments?

Students with a documented disability that may occasionally impact the ability to complete or hand in assignments on time, might be eligible for extensions on assignments. No specific disability automatically warrants the approval of additional time on assignments and as such, the interactive process requires the student to communicate with the Office of Access Services on the impact of their disability.

Alternate Format Textbooks

This accommodation is typically abbreviated as AT and is designed to provide the approved student an alternate format of their course materials. This includes but is not limited to e-versions of their textbook (the student must provide a receipt of purchase), PowerPoints or course material with alternative text for images or properly set to be read by a screen reader, as well creating tactiles for students. A request must be submitted by the student via The Alternative Textbook Request Form every semester.

Audio Recording of Classes

In some cases, students with disabilities may record their class lectures. The student is responsible for the set up of equipment and for the recording of the lecture. Recordings cannot be shared with other students. The professor and/or Access Services may stipulate conditions for recording. All files are to be erased, deleted, or destroyed at the end of the semester.

Academic Accommodations for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI/Concussion)

This policy applies to all students who suffer a concussion during the academic year and
need classroom accommodations as a result.

The purpose of this policy is to outline the procedures that students must follow when
they have sustained a concussion and need classroom accommodations as a result of that

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Policy

Temporary Disability Verifiction for Students Form

American Sign Language Interpreter/Closed Captioning/CART Services

Students approved for this accommodation are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Please note these requests should be made at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the class or by when needed.  Do not add any videos to classes at the last minute or when the class is in session.  Also, note if you have a deaf or hard of hearing student then automatic captions do not provide equal access. A request must be submitted online by the student or faculty to request these services.

Priority Registration

Students approved for this accommodation are connected with their respective academic adviser and the registrar office  either via the specialist or director, to allow them to register for classes regardless of the total credits accumulated. Priority registration is designed for students to create a schedule that best allows them for rest between classes, spreads classes out throughout the week, preference for morning/day/evening classes, take classes in close distance of each other, etc. Students with holds on their accounts will not be able to utilize priority registration until the hold has been resolved.

Service Animal

A service animal is trained to do at least one specific task for a person with a documented disability. The service animal is allowed to accompany the owner around any area on campus. This animal will typically be a canine.

Emotional Support Animal

A support animal is permitted only in the student’s room in university’s residential housing structures and outside to relieve itself. The support animal must have all updated vaccinations. This animal will vary in species.

Accessible Parking

This accommodation is typically approved for students with mobility impairments, physical health and visual impairments. Examples of some reasons why this accommodation might be requested: needing to be near class location, or residential housing, etc. While we attempt to be proactive, students are responsible for identifying barriers and making a request every semester by submitting the Accessible Parking Form.

Are you looking to Request a Book?

Do you need your text book in an alternative format to enahce your learning? Click below to fill out our book request form!

Documentation for Healthcare Provider

Students with a diagnosed learning, physical, medical, or mental health conditions requiring academic accommodations should complete and return this form, including the section to be completed by your healthcare provider.  

Additional Information

At times, students who are registered with Access Services are eligible for priority registration so that they can establish a class schedule that will accommodate their physical and/or academic needs. Time should be allowed between classes so that exams can be taken with extended time at the same time as the class. You must meet with your advisor prior to registering to discuss this accommodation.

Temporary conditions are conditions such as a broken leg, illness, or hospitalization. They are not disabilities and are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a student who has been recently hospitalized, had an accident, or had a family emergency, you may want to be aware of the following information.

Student Checklist for Assistance during Temporary Conditions

Temporary conditions are conditions such as a broken leg, illness, or hospitalization. They are not disabilities and are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a student who has been recently hospitalized, had an accident, or had a family emergency, you may want to be aware of the following information. You may need only a few of these resources; all are included for your convenience.

  • It may be helpful to provide campus offices with your cell phone number.
  •  Contact each of your professors to let them know of your absence as soon as possible. Clarify what you need to do while you are away from class and follow up promptly. If you cannot meet a deadline, be sure to contact your professor to ask what you need to do. Any changes in deadlines are at the professor’s discretion.
  • In addition, you may ask Student Health Services to notify your professors of your absence. This is not an excused absence, but an official SMU absence notification. (This does not take the place of #1). If the student will miss more than one day of class and/or miss a test/quiz/major project the student should make an appointment in Student Health for evaluation and verification of the health concern. If the student must return home for an extended period of time, or has documentation from a health care provider describing the nature of the student’s health condition and the length of time the student will miss classes, the student should speak with a nursing professional in Student Health Services and provide the necessary documentation. Student Health will then notify the Student Success Center that an absence is due to a health concern. The Student Success Center will send a general email to the student’s instructors.
  •  If your class notes or lectures are not on Canvas for this class, ask a classmate to take notes in each of your classes and copy or email the notes to you. Thank them.
  •  Student Health Services the Wellness Center may provide a medical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Documentation of medical treatment can also be provided. Additional support, such as assistance with food services or temporary parking is also provided through this office. 
  • Communicate with your professors by email and keep a file of your communication during your absence. This is your primary communication regarding your academic progress, so place top priority on it.
  • All Saint Mary’s students are welcome to use the resources through Learning Assistance Services in the Student Success Center, contact, 507-457-1418, Academic Adviser and Tutoring Coordinator.
  • Counseling Services in the Wellness Center provides emotional/mental health therapy and support. Contact: Dr. Ruth Mathews, 507-457-1773.
  • If you have a temporary disabling condition, contact the Student Success Center. You may be able to arrange academic accommodations for tests that are missed during your temporary condition. If the temporary condition becomes a permanent disability you will want to register with this office of Access Services through the Winona Campus via or through the Twin Cities Campus via 

Saint Mary’s University resources for students:

Counseling Services

Residence Life

Campus Safety

Student Health Services

Student Success Center

The following link reviews the new policy for animals that provide emotional support and services. It explains:

  1. Definitions
  2. Procedure to Request a Service Animal in University Housing
  3. Procedure to Request an Emotional Support Animal in University Housing
  4. Conflicting Disabilities
  5. Owner’s Responsibilities in University Housing
  6. Expectations of Faculty, Staff, Students
  7. Removal of Approved Animal
  8. Damages
  9. Roommate/Suitemate Acknowledgement

Please click on the following link to download a PDF of our current policy. 

Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy

Request Form for Emotional Support Animal

It is expected that the student will initiate a conversation with the professor regarding their needs and accommodations for their classes as soon as possible. Students are responsible for discussing the Notice of Accommodation email with their professor.

Discussing academic concerns or disability related accommodations with professors can be difficult, especially the first time. Below are steps to help you with this process.

  • Schedule your meeting as early in the semester as possible
    • Find a time during scheduled office hours, or by appointment, to meet privately with your professor. Arrange the meeting early in the semester.
  • Start in your comfort zone.
    •  If it feels overwhelming to talk to all your professors, start by meeting the ones you are most comfortable around. As you gain confidence, schedule the other meetings.
  • Organize your thoughts, or even role-play, prior to the meeting. 
    • Think about your accommodation requests or any information you may want to discuss.
  • Let the accommodations be your guide. 
    • Focus the discussion on your accommodations, not your disability. You do not need to disclose your diagnosed disability to receive accommodations.
  • Discuss testing arrangements with your professor.  
    • This would be a good time to talk about when and where you will be taking your exams. You will want to discuss testing times if your class schedule does not allow you to take your exams at the same time as the class (i.e. night classes or back-to-back classes.
  • Be open to suggestions or comments from instructors.
    •  Accommodations often require a collaborative effort and instructors are frequently able to offer creative suggestions for implementing accommodations.