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Tacoma Community College » Resources & Services » Access Services » Access Services Student Handbook

Access Services Student Handbook

Tacoma Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability.

For information regarding accommodations for people with disabilities, call 253.460.4438

Mission Statement

The purpose of Access Services for Students with Disabilities at Tacoma Community College is to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to all programs and activities offered at the college. The ultimate goal is to eliminate any barriers that exist on campus due to the presence of a disability. 

The staff of Access Services is charged with coordinating services and fostering student independence. TCC is committed to making sure all students with disabilities are able to perform at a level limited only by their abilities, not their disabilities. 


This handbook has been prepared as a reference guide when auxiliary aids and services are needed by students with disabilities. The suggestions presented here are not meant to substitute for interaction between students and the staff or faculty, but rather to facilitate communication and discussion.

Every student with a disability will have a different level of functioning even within the same disability category. The degree of limitation and the compensation skills of each student with a disability will vary widely. It is helpful to consider that each student with a disability comes to Tacoma Community College with an educational history and some knowledge of what educational accommodation will be most effective for him or her. The information in this handbook is a general guide on how to support students who approach learning in diverse ways. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states: 

"No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States…shall, solely by reason of handicap, be excluded from participation in; be denied the benefits of or be subjected to; discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 strengthens and clarifies the mandate for non-discrimination further and states:

"No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, privileges, advantages, or accommodations."

Despite these laws, people with disabilities report that barriers to higher education remain. One of the greatest barriers continue to be attitudes. Creating educational environments that are cooperative, knowledgeable and that provide services, equipment and support is an on-going challenge. Understanding the law and disabilities is an essential part of understanding how to eliminate barriers. 

Examples of Auxiliary Aids and Services

The process of selecting effective reasonable accommodations for each qualified student with a disability shall be made on an individual basis, and one that is appropriate to the nature and extent of the student’s disability. Accommodations are made available after assessing the needs of the student and determining those factors of the disability that might affect a student’s academic progress. Accommodation solutions are unique to the student, their verified disability, and the classes they take. Here are some examples of the ways we can help:

  • Direction to alternative text & study resources
  • Assistance with the process of properly taping lectures
  • Assistance utilizing note-takers or interpreters
  • Alternate testing arrangements when required to accommodate disability- related barriers
  • Tutors, counselors, class and career advising
  • Use of available computer adaptive equipment
  • Referral to outside agencies
  • Accessible facilities and parking permits
    and others... just ask us!

Responsibilities and Rights of Students who have a Disability  

To request an auxiliary aid or service due to a disability the student should: 

  • Contact Access Services and participate in an initial intake regarding the requested accommodations. 253.460.4438
  • Provide timely notice each quarter to Access Services of the requested accommodations. 
  • Provide documentation of the nature and extent of the disability to determine the appropriate accommodations needed. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to, medical reports, identification of tests administered, test results, description of the covered disability, and recommended educational accommodations. 
  • Follow the procedures and guidelines established by Access Services. 
  • Promptly notify Access Services of any problems encountered in receiving the agreed upon accommodations. 

A Suggested Checklist for Students who are Requesting Auxiliary Aids Due to the Presence of a Disability

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, individuals with a disability are those who have a physical, sensory, or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity, such as walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, speaking, working or learning. Such individuals cannot be excluded from activities which he/she is otherwise qualified to do. 

In order to attend Tacoma Community College, an individual must meet the financial, technical and academic requirements of the college. He/she must be intellectually capable of learning. If an individual is intellectually capable of learning and needs some form of accommodation (assistance or equipment), the following process has been established: 

  • Self identify:  Notify Access Services that you have a disability and that you need accommodations. This should be done before the quarter begins, but if experiencing difficulty at anytime during the quarter please call 253.460.3995
  • Provide documentation:  Appropriate professional testing and recommendations must be provided before auxiliary aids can be arranged. The testing must provide evidence that the requested auxiliary aids are necessary. Testing is available by social service agencies or private clinicians, not the college. 
  • Auxiliary aids:  Classroom modifications are arranged with the instructor after documentation is on file in Access Services. The modifications cannot interfere with the "essential nature of the course." The modifications must be effective. 
  • Equipment and technology:  Some adaptive equipment is available on campus for students who have vision, learning, or hearing disabilities. 
  • Services:  Many services are available for all students (tutoring, writing assistance, and counseling). Some services are only for eligible students with disabilities (test proctors, sign language interpreters, etc.). The college cannot provide personal care attendants or equipment for off campus use. 

A Temporary Disability, which may interfere with a students ability to participate in TCC programs, services, and activities for an extended period of time, will be addressed on an individual basis. The manner in which documentation is provided of the temporary disability will be the same as the documentation required of a student with a permanent disability. The information will need to be current in order to adequately support the need for an academic accommodation. 

When Services are Denied  

The student may seek a review by the 504 Compliance Officer. The petition should contain factual statements concerning the nature of the student’s disability, requested accommodation, and documentation supporting the need for the accommodation. The 504 Compliance Officer will review the student’s request, and respond within five (5) working days, or an extended period of time as mutually agreed upon. Tacoma Community College Compliance Officer is Mary Chikwinya, Vice President for Student Services. Vice President Chikwinya can be reached at 253.566.5115 or in Bldg. 7 at the Administrative Office.

If you would like copies of this document provided in an alternative format please contact Troy Peterson, Access Technology & Retention Specialist at accesstesting@tacomacc.edu

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