Accessible Education Center
Office Information:Location: Roaden University Center, 112
Phone: (931) 372-6119
Fax: (931) 372-6378
Mailing Address:Tennessee Tech University
Accessible Education Center
P.O. Box 5091
Cookeville, TN 38505-0001
Parent of a Future Student
We're Excited! From all of us in the Tennessee Tech Accessible Education Center, thank you so much
for considering Tennessee Tech as the next step in your student’s education. We get
excited any time someone considers Tech!
From all of us in the Tennessee Tech Accessible Education Center, thank you so much for considering Tennessee Tech as the next step in your student’s education. We get excited any time someone considers Tech!
The Accessible Education Center is committed to ensuring equal access for all qualifying individuals to Tennessee Tech's academic and physical environments, and further dedicated to providing quality services to students and faculty, through a variety of resources including academic adjustments, assistive technology and software, as well as other support programs that promote awareness of the law and other disability-related topics.
With that said, college services for students with disabilities and the approach to accommodations and the law are very different from the K-12 experience. All students must meet the same entrance and admission requirements, there are no special classes (we get asked that a lot) and nothing is ever disclosed on a transcript (that's another myth we've heard too). Currently, over 400 college students are registered with the office.
If you need additional information please do not hesitate to contact the Accessible Education Center by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 931-372-6119. We are here for you. Wings up!
- Who Qualifies?
Chances are, if your student qualified for services in high school, then the student will likely qualify in college. In addition, even if your student chose not to disclose their disability in high school, the student can still receive accommodations in college. Perhaps they were only recently diagnosed. That's ok too. Students with a variety of conditions and disabilities may request accommodations at any time.
Documents and forms generated by the school system (IEP, 504 plans etc.) may be used in determining accommodations but they are not used to determine whether the student qualifies for services. Typically, for that, we need copies of the testing or evaluations that were originally used to develop the IEP or the 504.
If the diagnosis is psychological or emotional we will need documentation from a clinical psychologist, if the diagnosis is medical, we will need documentation from a medical professional. The AEC team reserves the right to request documentation from a specialist if needed. The key to documentation is ensuring that it is current (within the last three years typically, but it depends on the disability). We encourage parents to discuss "current testing" with their respective school system upon entering high school, perhaps even requesting in writing that the student be re-tested before leaving high school. Alternatively, they may also get updated documentation from other providers, doctors, or psychologists etc. No matter what, give us what you've got (we have to have something) and we will even consider temporary accommodations and give you some additional time to get the documentation updated. Please review our documentation guidelines for more specific information.
- What sort of condition or disability qualifies for accommodations in college?
We get asked this question a lot. Students and parents are often surprised that certain disabilities or conditions perhaps qualify for reasonable accommodations. Please feel free to inquire. If you have a diagnosis, chances are you qualify for some sort of reasonable accommodation. Here are just a few examples: ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, Crohn's, diverticulitis, food allergies, diabetes, sleep disorders, OCD, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, emotional disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, depression, bi-polar disorder, misophobia and many more.
- When to Pursue Disability Services
Students often visit Tennessee Tech to meet with the Accessible Education Center as early as junior year in high school. We recommend visiting any time you wish, but please be assured as long as we have your student's information the summer prior to attendance we'll have plenty of time to coordinate services. Practically speaking, many people choose to wait until after they've already enrolled and are in attendance. Either way, feel free to request a visit to stop by disability services on your Tennessee Tech visit.
- Registering with the AEC is Easy
The AEC system and process for getting registered is very user friendly. Everything with the exception of the very first meeting can be done online. And in some cases, even that meeting can be over the phone, online etc. Learn more about getting registered here.
- What Happens Next?
Once the student is registered and all documents are in order, an email is sent to the student's professors. In some cases, the student may also determine accommodations are unnecessary in certain courses. The notification is strictly confidential, and the professors do not receive information about the specific diagnosis. They only receive accommodation instructions for the classroom. AEC will never disclose a student's disability. Only the student determines to whom they disclose that information.
- Academic Coaching Program
Some students benefit from having a little bit of added support, especially their first few semesters in college. We know the transition from high school to college can be stressful and overwhelming. Our office offers a unique Academic Coaching program. The Academic Coach meets with students to help keep them on track, provide resources, and just be there for additional support. While the Academic Coach does not provide tutoring, they will get the student connected with those resources. This program usually has a waiting list. For more information or to submit an interest form, check out the Academic Coaching page.
- Confidentiality Expectations
As mentioned, AEC services are strictly confidential. That includes parental disclosure of information if the student is 18 or older. The AEC team is committed to student confidentiality and privacy. Sometimes, students tell us that they felt like everyone (teachers and other students) knew their disability-related circumstances in high school. We want to ensure that the college experience is different. It is our hope that students can make their own choices about disclosure. Some students choose not to discuss disability related topics with peers or professors, and some choose to disclose that information. As adults, that is their prerogative and we wish to honor that.
Aside from submitting their documentation to the AEC when they initially register, students are never required to disclose personal disability-related information to faculty or other entities. The only information faculty members will receive once a student is approved for reasonable accommodations, is notification of those accommodations. Instructors will never know specifics about the disability, unless the student chooses to share that. In the same way, we are very limited in the information we can share with parents or family without a release.
- Follow Up
Students are only required to submit documentation one time as long as they remain enrolled, however, a semester meeting either in person or online via our website, is required each semester to ensure accommodations are still appropriate, consider any changes, etc.
- A Word about Housing Accommodations
Perhaps you haven't decided if your student will commute or live on campus yet, but we wanted to share this helpful information. Our office works closely with Residential Life to ensure that qualifying students receive reasonable accommodations related to residential life. Students should apply for housing first, and indicate their requests needs there. The student must also register with our office and go through the Housing Request process. Most of the time that involves a committee which consists of a representative from AEC, Res Life, Health Services, and Counseling. Committee meetings are typically held once every couple of weeks and decisions are communicated to the student in most cases on the same day via email notification. In the case of Release from Housing requirements, it is important for parents to know that students should never enter in to legal agreements, leases etc. with outside entities before the housing committee has met.