Accessibility Compliance Center & Education Support Services

ACCESS (Disability Services)

New Accommodate System

The Oakland Community College ACCESS Offices have implemented a new accommodation management platform called Accommodate.  All enrolled students requesting ACCESS Services must create an Accommodate account:

If you're a new user to Accomodate you can request access by filling out this form

Students who already have an Accommodate account and wish to request accommodations for another semester:

Returning Accomodate users can request accommodations for another semester by logging in here

If needed, you can follow these step-by-step instructions.

Note:  Students who are currently receiving accommodations through an OCC ACCESS Office do not need to re-submit documentation of their disability.  New students must submit documentation before receiving accommodation services.


The Accessibility Compliance Center & Education Support Services (ACCESS) program is designed to provide accommodations and services to students with a documented disability diagnosed by a qualified, licensed professional as required by the postsecondary students with disabilities component of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

ACCESS Resources

Prospective Students

Students who are not yet admitted, still in high school, or have questions before formally connecting with our office can schedule an appointment at which they can learn more about ACCESS’ process, explore accommodations in higher education, and Disability-related documentation needs. 

Temporary Accommodations 

Students with temporary injuries (such as a broken limb, concussion, or surgery recovery) can receive services through ACCESS on a temporary basis. Coordinators will discuss any documentation needs. In some situations, provisional accommodations may be appropriate and are typically approved for 1 semester, and may later be approved on a permanent basis as necessary. 

Online Reading Resources

Students interested in exploring free text-to-speech applications for online class materials may want to try Natural Reader and those who are blind or low-vision interested in exploring screen-reading software may want to try NVDAMicrosoft Office 365 is available free of charge to current students and contains the Read Aloud text-to-speech feature.   

Hearing Impaired

For the hearing impaired, use Michigan Relay at 800.649.3777

Online Courses 

Students enrolled in online courses who are unable to come to campus may confidentially exchange information with the ACCESS Office through an OCC email account or by phone. 

Students who enroll in online courses are responsible for obtaining technology that will allow them to access the online learning management system and resources.   The ACCESS Offices do not loan technology for online learning and do not offer technical support for online learning technology. 

D2L, the online learning management system used by OCC, has a number of built-in accommodations for timed tests, assignments, and online forums.

Contact the ACCESS office for information about electronic and audio versions of textbooks and supplementary materials.  
Students with disabilities enrolled in online courses interested in online ACCESS tutoring should contact the ACCESS Office.

Student Rights & Responsibilities - Classroom Accommodations

The College provides reasonable academic accommodations for students who have followed the procedure for disclosing and appropriately documenting their disability, in compliance with State and Federal regulations.

In order to receive classroom accommodations at Oakland Community College, students must:

  • Provide current documentation that cites an active diagnosis and functional limitations for classroom and academic work.
  • Request accommodations through ACCESS each semester after registering for classes. Disability accommodations are not retroactive. They are provided from the date they are approved and communicated by ACCESS to faculty through the Notification of Accommodations process.
  • Alert the ACCESS Office if a schedule change occurs after enacting that semester’s accommodations.
  • Fulfill the objectives and requirements for each class, including attendance, note taking (if possible), abiding by due dates and adhering to the OCC Student Code of Conduct.
  • Discuss approved accommodation arrangements with instructors. Schedule testing accommodation appointments with ACCESS at least two (2) business days in advance of each exam. If using a reader or scribe, schedule testing appointments at least one (1) week before the exam.
  • Inform the ACCESS Office if approved accommodations are not being met in the classroom.


  • The College may request additional or updated documentation in order to provide accommodations or services.
  • The College honors the confidentiality of student records, including disability documentation, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • The College is committed to timely delivery of approved accommodations notification to faculty.
  • Only disability accommodations approved by the Oakland Community College ACCESS office will be provided in OCC classes.
  • The College will not discriminate against any student regardless of disability, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin as required by state and federal laws.
  • Accommodations are assigned on a case-by-case basis. 

While we can strategize with all potentially-eligible students for academic success and provide internal and external referrals as appropriate, Limited English Proficiency does not constitute a disability. 

OCC does not provide personal assistants.

The Americans with Disabilities Act supports that all students meet the technical standards, or functional requirements, of their academic program.  Therefore, lab parameters that constitute essential components of the program of study, and lab parameters concerning safety, will be upheld.

How to Select an OCC ACCESS Office

Oakland Community College has an ACCESS office on each of our five campuses.  Your accommodations account will be based at just one of the campuses in order to provide continuity of care and additional security of your disability services files.  You can take classes at any of the campuses, and your chosen ACCESS office will manage your accommodations for classes throughout the college. 

Some students base their choice on the location of the campus and will choose the ACCESS office closest to where they live or work.  Others might base it at where they expect to take the majority of their classes.  

Some of OCC’s academic programs, upon officially entering the program, will require that you base your account at a particular campus; for example, students who are admitted to the Nursing program will have their file administered at the Highland Lakes ACCESS office.  You can start your ACCESS file at any campus you choose, and later, when you officially enter a program, your account can be transferred.
If you are already working with an ACCESS office, continue to work with that office.  

Accessibility Related Policies and Guidelines

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (Board Policy) 

Board Policy

Policy Type: Board
Policy Title: Disability Accommodation
Policy Number: 2.6.3
Office Responsible: Learning Resources
Related Policy: Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment

Policy Statement
A. Students
The College shall accommodate the disabilities of students so as to enable them to participate in educational programs and activities as required by law. The scope and nature of accommodations are to be address through policies and guidelines of the
ACCESS Department.

B. Employees
Under applicable law, the College must accommodate employees and job applicants with disabilities provided the accommodation is reasonable and does not cause the College an undue hardship. Employees and applicants seeking an accommodation should contact the EOC Officer as soon as the need for the accommodation becomes known. Under Michigan law, if a request for an accommodation is not made within 182 days of the need being known, the obligation to grant an accommodation under state law may be waived. 

Disability Documentation Requirements 

Requirements for Documentation of a Disability
These documentation requirements are provided to assist students in obtaining appropriate documentation from qualified professionals.  Appropriate documentation of a disability is only part of determining necessary accommodations.  Institutions will request documentation for the following reasons: 

  • To verify the existence of a disability.
  • To determine if a student’s Functional Limitation substantially limits a Major Life Activity defined by the ADA and Section 504.

Functional Limitation – A substantial impairment in the individual’s ability to function in the condition, manner or duration of a required major life activity.

Major Life Activity - i.e. walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, concentrating, thinking.

Students with Formal Diagnosed Conditions 

Medical Evaluation – The required documentation for a student is a formal evaluation from a qualified professional licensed to diagnose the student’s condition.  The evaluation should contain: 

  • A specific diagnosis and description of the disability, along with the diagnostic code. 
  • Comprehensive test results used to arrive at the diagnosis based on an adult population.
  • The name, title and licensing of the individual making the diagnosis.  Documentation reports need to be on professional letterhead, completed in English, dated and signed by the licensed professional. 
  • Statement of the degree of impact the disability has on a “Major Life Activity.” 
  • Any relevant information regarding current treatment and/or medications. 
  • Description of how the disability affects the student’s ability to participate academically.

New High School Graduates or High School Guest Students

Disability services at the college level are governed by different federal laws than those at the K-12 level, and required documentation may be very different.

Psychological Evaluations conducted during high school must have been performed within the last few years and be based on age 16 years or older.  These reports can be acquired at the student’s high school’s District Office.  Evaluations done by licensed professionals in a private setting could also be provided.

Insufficient Documentation (Not Accepted)

  • Doctor statements that only indicate suggested accommodations.
  • Hospital discharge papers.
  • Disability letters from other colleges/universities.
  • Individual Educational Plans (IEPS) without the Psychological Evaluation report.
  • 504 Plans must include medical support.
  • Prescriptions, list of medications.
  • Self-assessments.
  • College Board ACT/SAT accommodations.

Oakland Community College reserves the right to request additional documentation if needed. 

Accessibility of Materials

Administrative Policy

Policy Type: Learning Resources 
Policy Title: Accessibility of Materials
Office Responsible: Disability Services
Related Laws: ADA (Sections 504 and 508)

Policy Statement
The College promotes collaboration between departments and disciplines to provide appropriate and reasonable accessibility to instructional material, information, and activities.

Classroom: The ACCESS Office works with academic departments and instructors to assist with accessibility compliance for audio, visual, media, and technical class materials.

Out-of-Classroom: The ACCESS Office works with Academic Technologies, Marketing & Community Relations, and academic departments to promote appropriate accessibility of material posted to the public college website, the Inside OCC site, and the educational management system.

Testing: The ACCESS Office assists with student-initiated reasonable testing accommodation arrangements.

ACCESS Tutoring: If the ACCESS Office determines that a qualified student is a good candidate for academic tutoring that goes beyond general tutoring services at the college, a 1:1 weekly tutor may be assigned as a service, pending availability.

Change Log
1--17-18 Policy created by ACCESS
02-04-19 Revision to resource section by ACCESS
04-25-19 Recommended by Academic Senate
04-25-19 Approved by Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Recording of Class Sessions

Administrative Policy

Policy Type: Student Services
Policy Title: Recording of Class Sessions and Distribution of Course Materials
Offices Responsible: Student Services and Academic Affairs
Related Policy: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99);

Policy Statement
This Policy provides basic guidance and directives regarding how to protect privacy and data while utilizing approved remote software tools for face to face or virtual modalities. This Policy describes the approval processes for and allowable uses of recorded class sessions, as well as the distribution of course materials. OCC is committed to protecting the privacy of faculty, students, and employees while working or participating in educational programs in all modes of instruction.

1. Non-Recorded Course Materials: Course-related educational materials, including but not limited to, lectures, syllabi, lecture notes, exams, problem sets, and presentations.
2. Recording(s): Audio/visual documentation of class activity or materials. Recordings can include traditional audio and video recordings and still photography of class lectures, activities, and course materials, as well as new communication technologies that provide for streaming and digital transmissions or recording of such instructional content or communications between
faculty members and students or students engaged in class activities. Recordings can be student-initiated, instructor-initiated, and college-directed recordings.

Following the interactive process with ACCESS, if a determination is made that a student is in need of a reasonable accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, such an accommodation may be granted. Reasonable accommodations could include the recording or adaptations of classroom lectures, activities and materials for personal study and research. Recording authorization, if permitted as a reasonable accommodation, does not allow the reproduction, exchange or distribution of classroom lectures, activities and materials for any other purpose.

Authorization and Disclosure Required For All Recordings
A. Students – Without an ADA accommodation, the College prohibits the recording of class sessions by students, unless the instructor grants permission, and all students in the class as well as guest speakers have been informed that recordings will occur. Instructors may revoke permission at any time. Authorizations given to a student to record a class session should only
be given when recordings will be used for the purpose of individual or group study with other students enrolled in the same class during the same term.

B. Instructors - The College prohibits the recording of live class sessions, regardless of instructional modality, unless all students and guest speakers present have been informed that recording will occur and may be stored in the course learning management system. It is recommended that a statement be added to the syllabus indicating the possibility of class recording. If a student has a privacy concern and does not wish to appear in the recording, that student should be advised to turn their video or audio off.

Recordings May Only be Used For Certain Purposes
A. Students - When authorized by the instructor, recordings may only be used for the purpose of individual or group study with other students enrolled in the same class during the same term. If a student does not wish to appear in an authorized student recording, the student should notify the Instructor who will arrange for the appropriate accommodation.
i. Students may not copy, reproduce, display or distribute non-recorded course materials or recorded class materials to other individuals without explicit written consent of the individual or instructor who created the materials. Students are not allowed to exchange or distribute non-recorded course materials for commercial purposes, for compensation, or for any other purpose, other than study by students enrolled in the class during the same term.
ii. Recordings may not be reproduced or shared without written permission from the Instructor. Additionally, recordings may not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes, for compensation or for any other purpose. Improper distribution of recordings from class activity by students disrupts the College learning environment and is therefore a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, which could subject a student to disciplinary action. At the end of the course and upon request, all recordings of class activity must be returned to the instructor.
iii. The improper distribution of non-recorded course materials and/or recordings of class activities/materials disrupts the College learning environment and is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct that could subject a student to disciplinary action.

B. Instructors - Any recording(s) that visually or audibly identifies students in the class, or contains sufficient information that may result in the identification of a student, may only be copied or stored for instructional purposes with students enrolled in the same class during the same term and may only be stored on College owned, password protected sites. Recordings may
not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes or compensation. The College may have the right to use and retain copies of such recordings for accommodations provided through ACCESS for that class.

Change Log
12-02-2020 Approved by Vice Chancellor for Student Services
01-04-2021 Effective date 

Disability Accommodations Guidelines

Disability Accommodations Guidelines

How disability services are determined
Oakland Community College (OCC) is committed to removing barriers to education that may be experienced by students with disabilities by providing appropriate academic support and accommodations. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulate the provision of services and accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education. The purpose of accommodations is to provide equal access to learning.

Students with disabilities must be "otherwise qualified"
Although these federal laws protect qualified students with disabilities from being denied the opportunity of participating at the college level, no law requires colleges or universities to accept or accommodate everyone who has a disability. The ADA indicates that applicants with disabilities must:

● Be able to satisfy the standards required by the university or college for all students. For example, if all students must have a certain high school GPA to be admitted, then the student with a disability must also have that GPA.
● Be able to perform the "essential academic and technical standards of the program with (or without) reasonable accommodations." For example, if the students at OCC are required to take certain courses in order to meet the graduation requirements, then the student with a disability should be able to also meet those requirements, either without support, or with the appropriate educational supports and accommodations.
● When provided with reasonable accommodations, students with disabilities must be able to maintain college level qualifications as referenced in the OCC College Catalog.

Reasonable accommodations provide access to the college educational programs and services
Under the ADA, students do not have to disclose a disability. However, disclosure is required at OCC for students to receive accommodations. Signed comprehensive medical documentation or test evaluations that indicate the nature of the disability and functional limitations of the individual are required. Guidelines for the documentation can be obtained from the Accessibility Compliance Center and Educational Support Services (ACCESS) offices. The ACCESS Coordinators will review the documentation, determine eligibility for services, and then coordinate the accommodations, auxiliary aids, academic support, and/or referrals as deemed appropriate, necessary, and within the current resources of the College.

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines what accommodation requests are "not reasonable"
Accommodations are not required or given if they would cause the college to compromise the essential elements of the curriculum, or if they weaken the academic standards. Accommodations are also not reasonable if the accommodations create a safety hazard for the requesting student and/or other students in the class. Post-secondary education does not offer Special Education or curriculum modification.

The Americans with Disabilities Act also states that colleges need not provide accommodations if it would create an "undue burden"
OCC is committed to providing whatever accommodations are necessary and possible, given the resources of the College. However, sometimes the funds or resources might not be available if the accommodation is extremely expensive, or if the accommodation would change the fundamental nature of the program or create a problem that is considered an "undue burden."

Oakland Community College students who experience disabilities have rights
Students with disabilities have the right to equal access in all courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities, and to be treated with due respect in the college environment.

Medical and counseling information is kept confidential
The student receiving services or accommodations decides what information is to be kept confidential and what is to be released to specific individuals. A federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), regulates release of student information. Consent forms are available for students who would like to disclose specific information about their disability or needs to professors, administrators, or parents/spouse. FERPA allows the ACCESS Coordinators to communicate basic information with other college personnel on an as-needed basis. Accommodation information is provided to instructors of each class for which an accommodation is needed.

Oakland Community College students who experience disabilities also have responsibilities
Students who receive support from the ACCESS Offices have the responsibility to:

● Meet the qualifications to be admitted to the College and follow the Student Code of Conduct.
● Be proactive and self-directed when needing an accommodation.
● Demonstrate and/or document (from an appropriate professional) how the disability limits participation in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, or facilities.
● Complete all forms that are required for services.
● Maintain communication with the ACCESS Office, tutors, and other relevant OCC personnel as indicated in the student's individualized accommodation plan.
● Keep all appointments with faculty, counselors, tutors, and the ACCESS Office.

Resolving disagreements
Any disagreement concerning eligibility for services or specific accommodations should first be addressed with the ACCESS manager. In the event that a resolution cannot be attained, the student may request a review of the disagreement by submitting a formal appeal in writing to the Dean of Learning Resources.   

Oakland Community College is committed to equal opportunity for all students and employees.

Oakland Community College does not discriminate, and will not tolerate discrimination, on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability as those terms are defined under applicable law, in the administration of any of its education programs, activities, or with respect to admissions and employment.

High School Versus College Accommodations

Differences Between
for Students with Disabilities

Applicable Laws

I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
I.D.E.A. is about high school completion. A.D.A. is about access.

Required Documentation 

I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) and/or 504 Plan High school I.E.P. and 504 may not be sufficient.
Documentation guidelines specify information needed
for each category of disability
School provides evaluation at no cost to student. The college does not provide an evaluation. Student is
responsible for obtaining an evaluation from resources
outside of the college. 
Documentation focuses on determining whether student
is eligible for services based on specific disability
categories in I.D.E.A.
Documentation must provide information on specific
functional limitations, and demonstrate the need for
specific accommodations.


Student is identified by the school and is supported by
parents and teachers
Student must self-identify to an ACCESS Office 
Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations
belongs to the school
Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging
accommodations belongs to the student
Teachers approach you if they believe you need
Instructors are usually open and helpful, but most
expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance

 Parental Role

Parent has access to student records and can participate
in the accommodation process
Parent does not have access to student records without
student’s written consent
Parent advocates for student Student advocates for self


Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace
of assignments
Instructors do not modify curriculum design or alter
assignment deadlines.
You are expected to read short assignments that are
then discussed, and often re-taught, in class.
You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and
writing which may not be directly addressed in class
You seldom need to read anything more than once, and
sometimes listening in class is enough
You need to review class notes and text material

Grades and Tests

I.E.P. or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading.

Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay)
are generally not available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are available when supported by disability documentation.

Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material. Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.
Makeup tests are often available. Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them
Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates. Instructors expect you to read, save, and consult the course
syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected
of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded.

Study Responsibilities

Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an I.E.P. or 504 plan.

Generally, students with disabilities should use tutoring resources available to all students through the Academic
Support Centers (ASCs).

Your time and assignments are structured by others You manage your own time and complete assignments
You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation. You need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class
for each hour in class.

Guidelines for Use of Memory Cards and Calculators as Accommodations

Guidelines for Use of Memory Cards and Calculators as Accommodations

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act guidelines for testing accommodations are as follows:

Testing entities must ensure that the test scores of individuals with disabilities accurately reflect the individual’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever skill the exam or test is intended to measure. A testing entity must administer its exam so that it accurately reflects an individual’s aptitude, achievement level, or the skill that the exam purports to measure, rather
than the individual’s impairment (except where the impaired skill is one the exam purports to measure).

Memory Cards
While the use of 3 x 5 note-cards can be acceptable, information contained shall not fundamentally alter the course or what is being measured.

Student's responsibility: Please provide your completed 3 x 5 note-card to your instructor at least two days prior to the exam for review.

Instructor’s responsibility: Please review content of 3 x 5 note-card and remove information that may fundamentally alter the course or what is being measured.

If the exam is being proctored outside of the classroom (ACCESS, ASC, Testing Center), send the approved card with the exam to the proctor entity. Instructors must complete an EDU-54-W form for accommodated exams proctored outside of the classroom. The form is available on Inside OCC.

If the objective of an exam is to measure the understanding of and ability to perform math computations (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) it is not appropriate to permit a calculator as a testing accommodation.

If the object of the exam is to measure the ability to solve algebra equations, for example, and the ability to perform basic math computations is secondary to the objective of the exam, then a basic calculator may be an appropriate testing accommodation. Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Contact Information

Southfield - Room A-211
Steven P. Messina, MA, LPC
Phone: 248.233.2780

ACCESS Office Hours:
Monday-Friday: 8:30 am - 5 pm

Southfield ACCESS Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:30 am - 5 pm.