Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Disability Services Student Manual

 Student Manual-Supportive Services For Students With Disabilities Introduction 

View a PDF version of the Student Manual-Supportive Services For Students With Disabilities.

The Office of Supportive Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSSD) Student Manual is a resource guide designed to assist new and current students enrolled at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). This manual discusses procedures for requesting services and documentation requirements.The mandate to provide reasonable accommodations comes from the federal law (Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) and is supported by the mission of CCAC to provide an educational opportunity to all of its students. CCAC is recognized for its commitment to provide academic accessibility for all qualified students.

The goal of the OSSSD is to promote student self-advocacy.Students are to provide information concerning their disability for the purpose of assuring accessibility to the programs and services offered by CCAC.

The Community College of Allegheny County has four campuses and four centers:Allegheny Campus on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, Boyce Campus in Monroeville, North Campus in McCandless and South Campus in West Mifflin. An OSSSD is located on each of the four campuses and also at the West Hills Center in Oakdale.

Allegheny Campus
808 Ridge Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Room L114 
412.237.4612 (Voice)
412.237.4552 (TTY) 


North Campus
8701 Perry Highway
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Room 1008
412.369.3649 (Voice)
412.369.4110 (TTY)


West Hills Center
1000 McKee Road
Oakdale, PA  15071
Room S-1015
412.788.7508 (Voice)
412.787.0850 (Fax)

Boyce Campus 
595 Beatty Road   
Monroeville, PA 15146 
Room B-311  
724.325.6620 (Voice)   
724.325.6733 (TTY)   
 South Campus
1750 Clairton Road
West Mifflin, PA 15122
Room N-560 
412.469.6215 (Voice)
412.469.6005 (TTY)

Table of Contents

The Law

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

ADA Amendments Act of 2008

Student Responsibilities

Student Code of Academic and Behavioral Conduct

Shared Responsibility Between Students and Faculty


Faculty Letters

Testing Accommodations

Procedures for Implementing Testing Accommodation

Academic Assistance



How to Get a Note-taker

Alternate Formats

How to Receive Materieals in Alternate Formats


Student Agreement for Interpreting Services

Advanced Notice for Request of Interpreter

Confidentiality and Release of Infromation

Medical Withdrawal Procedure

Handicapped Accessible Parking Permits

Grievance Procedures for Individuals with Disabilities

Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Student Clubs


The Law


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that: “No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Colleges are not required to lower their standards.  Section 504 does require the college to provide reasonable accommodations that afford an equal opportunity for students with disabilities.  Achieving reasonable accommodations for a student with a disability involves shared responsibility among students, faculty and staff.

Universities may not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or treatment of students.  Students who have self-identified, provided documentation of disability, and requested reasonable accommodations are entitled to receive approved modifications of programs, appropriate academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids that enable them to participate in and benefit from all educational programs and activities.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

ADA Amendments Act of 2008

The ADA gives individuals with disabilities civil rights protection under the law.  The Act guarantees equal opportunity in employment, public accommodation, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.

The ADA reaffirms the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act and may include the altering of facilities, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, provision of qualified readers and interpreters, job restructuring and adjustment of training materials, tests or policies.

Effective services are obtained by following the procedures listed in this manual. The initial contact with the OSSSD requires completion of intake forms and an interview. Students must provide appropriate documentation of eligibility. 

Student Responsibilities

  1. Self-identify, in a timely manner, disability status to the OSSSD.
  2. Provide recent documentation of disability, (preferably within the last three years).  Guidelines regarding documentation can be found at Student Documentation Requirements
  3. Request necessary accommodations.
  4. Request letters of accommodation for faculty.
  5. Fulfill the requirements of the course as listed in the syllabus.

Student Code of Academic and Behavioral Conduct

OSSSD is a professional environment that provides services and accommodations for students with disabilities. The policies and rules relating to student academic and behavioral conduct and misconduct are described in the CCAC Student Handbook. Students are expected to read and understand these rules and adhere to them.   

Shared Responsibility Between Students and Faculty

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to provide the letter of accommodation to faculty in a timely manner. Accommodations are implemented only after they are requested by the student to OSSSD. Each course outline/syllabus should state that students needing accommodations should contact both the faculty and OSSSD.

Faculty and staff will encourage the student within their specific field of study if the student is qualified, meets the admission requirements and maintains appropriate grades. 


Students requesting accommodations must provide current documentation regarding their disability.  This documentation should identify how the disability impacts the learning process.  Guidelines regarding documentation can be found at Student Documentation Requirements. 

Documentation Requirements:

Physical or sensory: Physician’s report specifying diagnosis and listing of possible ways to accommodate the disability in the college setting;

Psychiatric/Psychological: A report by the student’s psychologist, psychiatrist or other appropriate professional that specifies the diagnosis and how it impacts the student’s college performance;

Learning Disability: A current Neuropsychological Assessment that includes diagnostic sub-test scores (percentiles, not grade levels) and scaled scores of the subtests.  An IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) is acceptable for documentation if it contains an adult evaluation specific to the disability; 

Personal needs such as assistance with meals, homework, toileting, personal hygiene, etc. are the exclusive responsibility of the student. These are not included as reasonable accommodations under the law. 

Faculty Letters

Upon the student’s request, a letter of accommodation is prepared for each faculty at the beginning of each semester. The letter identifies the student as being registered with the OSSSD and lists approved accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to pick up and hand-deliver the copies of the letter to each of their instructors.  Students are also responsible for discussing their needs/accommodations and any other pertinent information with the faculty.


Testing Accommodations

Extended time or modified testing is an accommodation that is available to a student whose documentation specifies this need in order to ensure that test performance reflects the person’s knowledge.

  • Physical disabilities which substantially impact performance will be evaluated by the OSSSD staff. Modifications such as, CCTV, computer-aided test, enlargements, Braille and scribe services will be tailored to the student’s individual needs and noted in the student’s file.
  • A student with a documented learning disability or physical disability which affects the rate at which an exam can be completed will be evaluated for the accommodation of extended test time.
  • Extended test time is established at one and one-half (1½) times the originally scheduled test time. This standard is taken from the Educational Testing Services.
  • Faculty may proctor their own exams and provide the prescribed accommodations.

Procedures for Implementing Testing Accomodations

Once the instructor announces a scheduled exam or in-class writing, the student immediately contacts the OSSSD to reserve a space to assure accommodations. Times and spaces are limited.  Please, remember to plan ahead.

  • If an instructor changes the date of a scheduled exam, it is the student’s responsibility to cancel the appointment in the OSSSD and reschedule the new test time.
  • Tests are to be scheduled for the same day and time that the test is scheduled for the class.
  • Students must remind the instructor that they have scheduled an appointment to take their class in the OSSSD.
  • Under no circumstance is a class to be missed in order to complete an exam! Consult with you instructor and the OSSSD to discuss options.
  • An instructor must provide written permission if a student is allowed to use notes, dictionary, calculator or book during an exam.
  • All exams will be monitored by the OSSSD staff to guarantee academic integrity/test security.
  • Plan to arrive promptly for your scheduled exam. Arriving late may impact valuable test time.

Academic Assistance

  • OSSSD offers assistance with academic issues. Contact the OSSSD staff to discuss needs and scheduling procedures. 
  • Attendance is important.  Students who miss THREE academic assistance sessions will have their needs reevaluated. Students who are unable to attend their scheduled appointment should contact the OSSSD to reschedule. Advance notice is greatly appreciated.
  • Come prepared. Write down the questions that need further discussion or clarification and bring a copy of the course syllabus.


  • Academic tutoring is available for many subjects through the Learning Assistance Center (LAC). Appointments are made through the LAC or the campus library. 
  • Rewriting or typing of the original notes can be a very effective study tool. 


Note-taking is an accommodation for students who have difficulty seeing the board, have manual dexterity issues, are hard of hearing/deaf or possess auditory processing problems.  A note-taker is someone in the class that is willing to share their notes.

How to Get a Note-Taker

  • Make sure that note-taking is on the recommended services list.
  • Consult with the instructor to identify a classmate who has regular attendance and takes good notes.
  • Ask the classmate if they are willing to take and share their notes.

Duplication of materials/photocopies or carbon-less paper is available for note-taking purposes through the OSSSD. Rewriting or typing of the original notes can be a very effective study tool. If there is a need to change note takers contact OSSSD.

Alternate Formats

Students with disabilities who encounter barriers with traditional print material such as textbooks, class handouts and other materials will be provided alternate formats as an academic accommodation. Students requiring alternate format texts must present documentation that clearly supports the need. Students are required to sign an agreement indicating that they understand their rights and responsibilities as related to copyright law.

Some alternate formats require the use of specialized hardware or software in order to access these materials. 

How to Receive Material in Alternate Formats

Once documentation is reviewed, a list of accommodations and/or services is recommended.  If an alternate format is indicated, e-texts can be ordered and formatted. Before an e-text can be ordered, the student must provide the OSSSD with a copy of their schedule and reciept for the book. The student should also verify the ISBN number, author, publisher and edition of each text.

Requests for alternate format materials must be made early in order to assure materials are received in a timely manner.

Occasionally an electronic copy of the textbook is unavailable.  In this case, the student must give the OSSSD permission to unbind their textbook, scan the pages and rebind the textbook with a plastic coil.

Students are required to return all media by the last day of finals for each semester.  If media is not returned a “hold” will be placed on the student’s account. Further registration will be prohibited until the media are returned.  


The following list comprises some of the technology/equipment that is available for campus and/or home use. Items are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  See the OSSSD for detailed information.

  • Scan-to-Speech, Text-to-Speech and Web-to-Speech Software
  • Voice Recognition Software
  • Navigation Programs
  • Writing Software
  • Screen Enlargement Software
  • CCTV Test Magnification Systems
  • Enlarged Screen Monitors
  • Digital Recorders
  • Braille Translator
  • Victor Readers
  • TTY’s with Answering Machines
  • Listening Devices
  • Adaptive Mouse and Keyboards
  • Adjustable Tables/Chairs

                              Student Aggreement for Interpreting Services

Community College of Allegheny County strives to meet the individual needs of students who are deaf/hard of hearing by providing access to sign language interpreters. Interpreter services are a highly personal and costly service and specifically allocated to meet individual needs and schedules.  Since availability of interpreters is limited, students are responsible for notifying the OSSSD of any changes in their schedule or status. It is the goal of OSSSD to maximize the potential of each student served. The following guidelines have been established to help assure uninterrupted services for students and proper usage of services. 

                                   Advanced Notice for Request of Interpreter

In order to assure timely provision of interpreter services:

  • Students taking credit classes are required to submit a written request for interpreter services at least two months prior to the beginning of classes.
  • Students taking non-credit classes are required to submit a written request for interpreter services at least one month prior to the beginning of classes.

Confidentiality and Release of Information

The OSSSD views all materials pertaining to a student’s disability as confidential. This is based upon federal mandates regarding the confidential treatment of disability-related information.  Documentation is used to verify the disability, identify how it affects the learning process and to plan for appropriate and reasonable accommodations. Only the OSSSD staff has access to these files.

  • Disability information is released upon the student’s written request and signature.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), do not allow faculty or other individuals access to disability-related information unless it is essential to the safety of the student or the college.

A student may request to review the contents of his/her own file in the presence of the OSSSD staff.  All information in the file is the property of the OSSSD.

Medical Withdrawal Procedure

A medical withdrawal is defined as a withdrawal from courses for medical reasons. While often this results in a withdrawal from all courses, the Director of Supportive Services, in consultation with the student’s physician, may determine a student’s ability to maintain some courses while withdrawing from others. Medical withdrawals must be submitted by the last day of classes for the semester in which the medical situation occurred (see the student’s class schedule for the last day of the semester).

The Director of Supportive Services will recommend approval or denial of the request based on the nature of the illness on the Physician/Mental Health Professional’s statement and the last date of attendance indicated by the Physician/Mental Health Professional. The Physician/Mental Health Professional’s signature does not necessarily constitute approval.

Financial Aid reserves the right to cancel or adjust financial aid awarded for the semester in which the withdrawal is sought. 

Consideration for withdrawal “W” grades and adjustment of tuition and refundable fees is based on the date indicated by the Physician/Mental Health Professional that the student was no longer able to attend. If approved: 100% adjustment of tuition and refundable fees will be awarded prior to the census date*; students receiving a medical withdrawal on or after the census date but prior to the designated withdrawal deadline of the semester will be awarded 60% adjustment of tuition and refundable fees; after the designated withdrawal deadline of the semester, medical withdrawals are acceptable, however, no tuition and fee adjustment will be applicable. A petition for medical withdrawal can only be filed through the last day of classes for the semester in which the medical situation occurred. *Refer to Academic Calendar for census date.

The College reserves the right to verify the authenticity of all requested information and signatures.

Handicapped Accessible parking Permits

Permanent Parking Permit

The individuals requesting a permanent CCAC handicap parking permit must have a State issued handicapped placard/license plate and a campus parking permit. Further information can be obtained in the OSSSD.

Temporary Parking Permit

The individual requesting temporary parking permit must have documentation from their doctor.  These permits are issued for a maximum of six weeks. Further information can be obtained in the OSSSD.

Grievance Procedures for Individuals with Disabilities

The Community College of Allegheny County has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, (29 USC 794) which prohibit discrimination on the
basis of disability.

Complaints should be addressed to Esther M. Mason, Compliance Coordinator, Community College of Allegheny County, 1750 Clairton Road, West Mifflin, PA 15122, phone 412.469.6215 (voice), 412.469.6005 (TTY), who has been designated to coordinate the college's compliance activities pursuant to the above noted regulations.

  1. A complaint should be filed in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it and briefly describe the alleged violation of the policy and/or rules.
  2. A complaint should generally be filed within 45 days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation, though the college may be able to pursue complaints made after 45 days depending on the availability of evidence.  
  3. An investigation, as may be appropriate, will follow the filing of the complaint. The investigation will be conducted by Esther M. Mason, unless Ms. Mason is the subject of the complaint, in which case the investigation will be conducted by the functional dean for Supportive Services. These rules contemplate informal but thorough investigation, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to a complaint.
  4. A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, will be issued by Esther M. Mason and a copy forwarded to the complainant no later than 45 days after its filing.  Any finding will be based on whether evidence shows it is more likely than not that the alleged behavior violated CCAC policies. 
  5. The college's designated compliance coordinator will maintain the files and records of the Community College of Allegheny County relating to the complaints filed
  6. The complainant can request an appeal of the case in instances where he or she is dissatisfied with the resolution.

 To appeal:

a.  Student or complainant may petition within seven school days of receiving the written decision of the Compliance Coordinator for the review. Such petitions will be in writing and will be delivered to the dean of student development or designee.

b.  If the dean of student development or designee determines that one of the five bases for appeal below has been met, the dean may re-open the complaint to allow reconsideration of the original determination for reconsideration. The dean of student development or designee serves as the final level of review in the matter.

c.   Except as required to explain the basis of new information, a review will be limited to review of the record of the initial investigation and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes: 

 i.   To consider new information, unavailable during the original complaint, that could be outcome determinative;

 ii.  To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the review;

 iii.  To decide if a sanction(s) is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense;

iv.  To determine that the finding does not accord with the information;

v.    To assess whether bias on the part of a conduct board member deprived the process of impartiality.

d. On appeal by any party to the complaint, the dean of student development or designee may support or change a decision, increase, decrease or modify the outcome. The reviewing body will be deferential to the original decision maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the outcome only if a compelling justification to do so exists.

7.  The rights of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed hereunder will not be impaired by the person's pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a Section 504 complaint with the responsible federal department or agency. Utilization of this grievance procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.

8.  These rules shall be construed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons, to meet appropriate due process standards and to ensure that the Community College of Allegheny County is complying with Section 504 and Title IX and their implementing regulations.

Emergency Evacuation Procedures 

Student Responsibilities:

In class: Follow the instructions of the faculty.  

Not in class: Leave the building immediately, in an orderly fashion, via the nearest exit.  Remain at least 200 feet from the building until instructed further.

Mobility Impaired Individuals: Proceed to the designated “TEMPORARY REFUGE AREA”.

In an actual emergency, all persons in a temporary refuge area will be assisted in exiting the building. OSSSD staff maintains a list of all students with disabilities that will require assistance in an emergency situation. This list is distributed to the Security Office and Area Monitors at each campus. Keep in mind that during emergencies the elevators will be inoperable.

OSSSD Student Club

The OSSSD student club is a social organization geared towards expanding the awareness of the ability of individuals with disabilities.  Membership is open to all students. Activities include:  social outings, guest speakers, discussion groups, and fund-raising events. Contact the OSSSD to learn more of the details about membership.


Teamwork is essential in providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations.  It takes communication between the student and the OSSSD staff to make sure that issues are addressed.  Students need information and materials from the OSSSD staff and the staff needs input from the students about their courses and their needs.  Working together we are able to create an accessible environment to assist students in meeting academic goals.


New Nondiscrimination Policy Statement:

Approve by CCAC Board of Trustees on Sept. 6, 2012


The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and its Board of Trustees are committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment for all.  CCAC does not discriminate based upon race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or place of birth, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, use of a guide or support animal due to disability, marital status, familial status, genetic information, veteran status, or age.

Creating, supporting and sustaining a diverse community prepares our students to be effective in the world outside of CCAC.


Any employee, student or 3rd party vendor who wishes to report discrimination or harassment based on any of the aforementioned protected classes should contact Clyde W. Pickett, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity & Inclusion /Title IX Coordinator.


Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion

               808 Ridge Ave.

               Pittsburgh, PA 15212




The college also prohibits and will not engage in retaliation against any person who in good faith reports a violation of this policy, makes a claim of discrimination or harassment, provides investigation of a potential violation of this policy, or otherwise engages in protected activity under the law.


Individuals with disabilities who are requesting accommodations should contact the Supportive Services for Students with Disabilities office at the campus that they will be attending. This publication is available in alternate formats. Questions may be addressed to Esther Mason, Lead Director of Supportive Services & Section 504 Coordinator at