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Disability Documentation Guidelines

It is the role of the DS office to coordinate the delivery of accommodations that are both reasonable and appropriate to eligible students with disabilities. For that reason we apply certain standards to the documentation that we accept. Please provide the following guidelines to the individual or agency that will prepare your documentation:

  • Documentation should clearly state the current, specific medical or psychological diagnosis that underlies the disability. General descriptions such as "depressed" or "anxious" are not acceptable. Use of terms such as “implies” or “suggests” in front of a diagnosis also are not definitive enough for purposes of documenting a disability.
  • The report must be typed on office letterhead stationery and the evaluator’s name, title, date, and signature must be present. A medical diagnosis written on a note pad or prescription pad, even though signed, is not adequate.
  • Test results or a thorough explanation of how the diagnosis was reached, and a clear determination that it substantially impacts academic performance or other major life activity, must be stated.
  • Documentation must be current. We do not impose a fixed expiration date for all documentation, because there are differences in changeability depending on the nature of the underlying disability and the student's age at evaluation (see note about Learning Disabilities below). 
  • A diagnosis supported by testing for a Specific Learning Disability should include a cognitive and achievement assessment that is based on adult measures (typically after the age of sixteen adult norms will have been used). The resulting report should include all subtests and standardized scores from the comprehensive assessment battery.
  • If you are expecting to rely on a high school IEP, 504, or Transition Plan to continue to qualify you for accommodations, you need to know that the plans themselves do not transfer to the college level. To be prepared for some important limitations and differences, read the section on this website titled "Transition from High School to MSU" and contact the DS office if you have any questions.
  • If you are transferring to MSU from another college, you may ask that disability services office to document the accommodations that proved effective for you there, although decisions by one institution are not binding on another.
  • Documentation qualifying you for services at MSU are not guaranteed as acceptable to qualify for accommodations on standardized tests (e.g., ACT, SAT, PRAXIS, GRE, LSAT). You are advised to inquire about the standards directly with those agencies well in advance of a planned test.
  • If the documentation you have does not meet MSU’s standards regarding provider’s credentials, date of evaluation, or diagnostic detail, you will be required to obtain a new evaluation before receiving services. While the University is not obligated to provide or pay for the evaluation, the DS office can sometimes make an affordable local referral. We want you to have the smoothest start possible to your enrollment at the University, so if you have any doubts, we recommend submitting your documentation (via mail, email, fax, or hand-delivery) as early as possible for our review.
  • Five years after the end of your enrollment at the University, your confidential records will be shredded by the Disability Services staff.