Accessibility Resources


Accommodations are adjustments to courses, programs, and services that provide equal access and improve a student’s ability to fully engage in the college experience.

  • They do not fundamentally alter the requirements of the college’s standards, course, or program requirements.
  • They do not modify the content or rigor of the course. All students are held to the same standards.

Examples of Accommodations:

  • Testing accommodations: extra time and/or use of a distraction reduced environment for testing
  • Reader or scribe for exams
  • Texts in alternative format: use of software to read books aloud or use of audio book format, Braille or Nemeth code
  • Peer note taker to supply notes
  • Smartpen to record lectures
  • Preferential seating
  • Use of computer on exams
  • Captioning of videos
  • Course substitutions for non-English language or math
  • Priority registration
  • Lower lab benches in a science class to accommodate a wheelchair
  • Having the class sit in a circle to allow for lip reading
  • Making alternative arrangements for presentations such as a written paper or recorded speech.
  • Rides to class for students with impaired mobility.

Some students require dietary or housing accommodations. Accessibility Resources will refer students to the campus dietician or Residential Life if these accommodations are needed. More information about these accommodations is available online at:

Process for Obtaining Accommodations

  • Make an appointment with Accessibility Resources staff in the Center for Academic Resources and Enhancement (CARE) by calling 507-933-7227.
  • Discuss with Accessibility Resources staff the academic impact of your condition and how these impacts have been addressed in the past. Personalized accommodations are determined in conversation between the Accessibility Resources staff and the student. If documentation is available, it is helpful to bring it to the initial meeting. Accessibility Resources staff will provide you with more information if additional documentation is needed. See Documentation Guidelines for more information.
  • The Accessibility Resources staff will create and email the student an accommodation letter that explains the impact of the disability on the student and what accommodations are appropriate. The student is responsible for sending this letter to their professors.
  • The student is then responsible for initiating a conversation with faculty regarding specific learning needs and accommodations for each course. This allows the student and professor to talk about how accommodations will be implemented for that particular course.

Students are responsible for requesting an updated accommodation letter each semester.

Talking to Professors about Your Accommodations

Talking with professors regarding your accommodations is necessary to determine how they will be implemented. This also helps to establish a relationship with your professors. Here are some recommendations to guide your conversation:

  • Schedule a meeting as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen in the first week of class or shortly after you have established accommodations through Accessibility Resources. You may approach your professor before or after class to arrange a time or arrange a time via email.
  • Start with the professors who you feel most comfortable with. This will help you gain confidence in approaching other professors.
  • Plan ahead. Think about what information regarding your accommodations you want to discuss. You do not need to share your specific diagnosis. The focus should be on what your needs are and how to accommodate them.
  • Use your accommodation letter as a starting point for the conversation. Determine how accommodations will be implemented and how you will communicate with your professors regarding your accommodations if needed (e.g. if you use testing accommodations, or need to be absent).

Alternative Testing Arrangements

Students who have testing accommodations will need to arrange an alternative space for testing before each test. Professors are asked to make arrangements for students with testing accommodations in their department. If they cannot make these arrangements, the student and professor will request to take a test in the Center for Academic Resources and Enhancement using the Arranging Testing Form. This form should be filled out by the student and professor and submitted at least three work days before the test. The testing form should be initiated by the student and confirmed by the professor.

Request to TEST in CARE: Fill out the Alternative Testing Request HERE.

Technologies to Facilitate Learning

Alternative Text Formats

Students with alternative text accommodations have several options to access books. Accessibility Resources staff will assist students in the process of getting books in alternative format if this accommodation is determined. Our students use Learning Ally to listen to audio books and Read&Write software to have books read to them. Finding books in alternative format can take time so it is beneficial to request books as soon as possible, preferably before the start of the semester. Braille and Nemeth Code (a Braille code for mathematics) will also be made available if required.

Read&Write Gold

Read&Write Gold is literacy software that supports reading, writing, study skills and research. It can be used to read text aloud from Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader, and the four major web browsers.

Features include: text-to-speech, word prediction, mind mapping, screen masking, dictionaries and highlighters. Read&Write Gold has many how to videos available in drop downs within the program. Please make an appointment with CARE (507-933-7227) if you would like to have a CARE staff give you a tutorial or answer questions about this program.

All students and staff have access to the text-to-speech program Read&Write Gold by downloading it from Google Drive. You must be logged into your Gustavus account to access this program in Google drive. Read&Write Gold is also available for use on the computers in the Library lab.

For Mac: Instructions are here-
 the download is here-
For PC: Instructions are here-
 the download is here-

For more information visit:

Learning Ally

Learning Ally is a site that offers books in audio format to students with disabilities. Once given access by Accessibility Resources staff, students can search for books. Students download Read Hear software from this site and can listen to audio books from their own computer or device.

If a student is not able to find books on Learning Ally, communicate this to Accessibility Resources staff by telling them the title, author, publishing date, and ISBN. Accessibility Resources staff will locate books and instruct students to access Kurzweil 3000 or its online partner Firefly to read books aloud.

Smart Pen

Smartpens record lectures while you take notes. Students can listen to recorded lectures and go back to what was spoken when they wrote notes. Accessibility Resources has a limited number of these pens for students to loan out for a semester.



Inspiration is software that helps people: organize thoughts and ideas, brainstorm and visualize ideas with maps and diagrams, make sense of complex concepts and projects, build critical thinking and reasoning skills, organize for studying, and build study skills and note taking skills.

This software is available for anyone to use on the 9 iMacs on Level 1 of the library. It is also on the computers in the Mattson Lab; this lab is available to all students.

Rescue Time

Rescue Time is a free app that can be used as a time management tool. This app tracks and reports how time has been spent on the computer.

Study Abroad Accommodations

If you plan to study abroad meet with Accessibility Resources early in your planning process to determine your accommodation needs specific to the study abroad experience. Accessibility Resources will work with you to fill out the Gustavus Access Abroad. Please review this form before your meeting with Accessibility Resources.