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Office of Educational Accessibility

About Educational Accessibility

University of the Arts is committed to providing equal access to individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA of 1990 and the ADA amended. The Office of Educational Accessibility (OEA) provides reasonable accommodations, support and advocacy, and consultation to promote independence and inclusion in all areas of university life.  

The Office of Educational Accessibility works to break down barriers that hinder student success, and promotes inclusive best practices in the areas of teaching and learning. 

UArts values diverse types of learners and is committed to the ways in which a neurodiverse community can enhance our academic environment and deepen our strategic mission.

Contact us

Kelly Deasy, Director of Educational Accessibility 

DeShana Wooden, Accommodation Specialist

Gershman Hall, room 204 
401 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
215-717-6801 | brochure 

*OEA staff are working remotely during the spring 2021 semester, but available for meetings via phone or Zoom.

Diversity Statement and Statement of Non-discrimination

The Office of Educational Accessibility does not discriminate on the basis of ability; age; cultural identity; ethnicity; family educational history; gender identity and expression; nationality; political affiliation; race; religious affiliation; sex; sexual orientation; economic, marital, social, or veteran status; or any other basis included in institutional policies and codes and laws.  Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunit

Forms and More Information

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Registering with the Office of Educational Accessibility

Students who have a diagnosed medical, physical, psychological, and/or learning disability, may qualify for reasonable accommodations at the University of the Arts. 

To receive academic, housing, and/or meal plan accommodations, students must register with the Office of Educational Accessibility. Click here for details about the registration process.

Resources for Faculty

OEA has a variety of resources to support faculty in creating an accessible and inclusive classroom environment.

Click here to visit our Faculty Resources page.

Academic Tools and Resources for Students

University of the Arts will continue to operate on a remote learning schedule for spring 2021.  Please see UArts' Student Remote Learning Resources for important information.

Learning During COVID-19

This is a challenging time for everyone and staying organized and setting concrete goals will be important more than ever in a less-structured academic environment.  We encourage you to create strong personal and academic skills for the semester that will become critical life-long learning habits for the future.

Organization, Planning and Productivity



  • myHomework - Academic success and student planner
  • iStudiez - Comprehensive, tried and true study tool
  • AnkiApp and Quizlet - Efficient learning tools and flashcard methods



Accessibility Features in OSX and iOS for Mac

 Accessibility Features in Android

More Remote Learning Resources 

Accommodations and Forms

Registering with the Office of Educational Accessibility

For Students Registered with the Office of Educational Accessibility

For Students Requesting Housing or Meal Plan Accommodations (Not applicable during the fall 2020 semester).

Accommodations in Residential Living

Housing Accommodations Policy at the University of the Arts

The University of the Arts is committed to providing reasonable accommodations in residential housing for individuals with disabilities. The Office of Educational Accessibility and Office of Residence Life will consult to determine reasonable modifications and accommodations based on a student's documented disability.

Requests for reasonable accommodation in housing are governed by the following requirements:

  1. Requesting a Housing Accommodation 

  • An individual with a disability must complete the Pre-Intake Form to request a reasonable accommodation. 

  • UArts will accept and consider requests for reasonable accommodation in University housing at any time during the year.  If the request for accommodation is made after housing assignments have been made (July 1 for Fall and November 1 for Spring), UArts cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the student's accommodation needs during the first semester or term of occupancy.

  • If the need for the accommodation arises while the semester is underway, students should contact Educational Accessibility and complete the registration process as soon as possible. UArts cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received due to limitations in housing types.

 2. Documentation for Accommodations in Residential Living

In order to qualify for accommodations in the residential environment students must provide documentation that substantiates the need and shows a direct link between the condition and the requested housing accommodation. 

Documentation requirements: 

  • The form of a letter or report from a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other medical provider who is qualified to make the diagnosis and is currently treating the student for a disability.  

  • Documentation must be on official letterhead and be signed and dated within the last year

  • Include a diagnosis, the functional limitations (impact on residential living) and the the specific housing recommendation.  Information should also include date and summary of most recent evaluation and the expected duration of the condition (chronic, cyclical, etc.)

  • Include possible alternatives if the requested accommodation is not available.

  • Provide evidence that the provider is currently treating you for the condition for which the accommodation is requested.

3. Determination of Reasonableness

  • Educational Accessibility may deny the requested accommodation if it is unreasonable. Educational Accessibility shall consult with the Office of Residence Life to determine if implementing the requested accommodation is reasonable.

  • An accommodation is unreasonable if it: (1) imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden; (2) fundamentally alters university housing policies; (3) poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including University property; and/or (4) is otherwise unreasonable to the operation of the University.

4. Approval of Accommodation

  • If Educational Accessibility determines a requested accommodation is necessary and is not unreasonable, it will contact the individual, in writing, within seven (7) business days of its determination, to arrange a meeting to discuss the implementation of the accommodation.

5. Denial of Accommodation/Appeal

  • If Educational Accessibility determines a requested accommodation is necessary but unreasonable, Educational Accessibility will contact the individual, in writing, within seven (7) business days of its determination and engage in an interactive process with the individual to determine if there are alternative accommodations that might effectively meet the individual’s disability-related needs.

  • If the individual is unwilling to accept any alternative accommodation offered by Educational Accessibility or there are no alternative accommodations available, Educational Accessibility will provide a verbal explanation and written notification to the individual of the denial, the reasons for the denial, the right to appeal the decision, and the procedures for that appeals process. The notification shall be in writing and made within seven (7) business days of the notification from the individual of his/her unwillingness to accept any of the alternative accommodations offered or the determination that there are no alternative accommodations available.

  • All appeals are reviewed by the Assistant Vice President for Academic Support Services. If the appeal is denied, the Assistant Vice President for Academic Support Services and the Educational Accessibility Director shall provide written notification of the denial to the individual and a written explanation with all of the reasons for the denial.

  • An individual may also use the grievance procedure provided under the Office of Educational Accessibility Grievance Policy.

The University of the Arts will not retaliate against any individual because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in University housing.

Meal Plan Accommodations at the University of the Arts

Please Note: A fully documented disability may necessitate the need for an accommodation; should your disability impact your ability to fully participate in the meal plan, we can make a determination to lower the meal plan once all options have been exhausted.  If a student chooses to live on campus in the residence facilities, we do not exempt students or remove them completely from the meal plan.

Applications for changes to the meal plan must be supported by a medical diagnosis or substantiation of disability and must be made before the end of the drop/add period of each semester. 

The University of the Arts is able to accommodate most food allergies and sensitivities within the Dining Services facilities. The Dining Services staff at the University of the Arts are specifically trained in handling food allergies and allergen-specific food preparation to avoid cross-contamination through AllerTrain(TM).

Any special preparations of food can be accommodated if they are arranged with the Dining Hall. All recipes for all foods and ingredients are available upon request at Terra Dining Hall.

For questions about accommodations to the meal plan or options available through Dining Services, please contact the Director of Dining Services at

The following common reasons given to justify a meal plan accommodation will NOT be considered:

• I don’t like the food.
• The meal schedule does not fit my personal schedule.
• I am a vegetarian or vegan or gluten free (except students with documented Celiac Disease).
• I cannot afford to be on a meal plan.
• I have more meals than I can use.
• I don’t eat all my meals.

All exceptions due to religious dietary restrictions should be referred to the Office of Student Affairs, Gershman Hall 311, The University of the Arts dining facilities are not Kosher or Halal.

Exceptions to the Animal Policy

Exceptions to the Animal Policy at University of the Arts
(Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals for a Person with a Disability)

Please note: Exceptions to the Animal Policy are only granted due to a fully documented disability.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act, students with disabilities may be eligible to have an emotional support/assistance animal in campus housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines an assistance animal as follows.

"An assistance animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability."

Emotional Support Animals/Assistance Animals may be prescribed by an individual's treating clinician to alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.  The assistance performed by the animal must be directly related to the individual's documented disability.

Under the Fair Housing Act, a person may be eligible to have an animal in residence as a reasonable accommodation if the follow conditions are met.

  • The individual has a disability.

  • The animal is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing; and

  • There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

  • There is an established relationship of support between the animal and the student. 

Please see our Policy on Emotional Support Animals at University of the Arts.

Applications for emotional support animals (ESAs) or services animals must be supported by a medical diagnosis or substantiation of disability and should be made before July 1 for Fall Semester and November 1 for Spring Semester to ensure that proper arrangements can be made. Exceptions will be considered for conditions initially diagnosed during the semester after these dates; however, we cannot guarantee that appropriate housing will be available. University of the Arts will make every reasonable effort to accommodate any requests received after these dates. 

Per ADA regulations, Service Animals are welcome in all parts of the University without restriction or documentation.

Students requesting an Emotional Support/Assistance animal must provide clinical documentation on official letterhead signed by a qualified and credentialed practitioner, who is not a family member of the student.  Documentation must meet the following qualifications.

  • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional regarding the individual's disability or condition, and the impact of the condition upon a major life activity.

  • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional regarding the necessity of the assistance animal for the individual to use campus housing; and

  • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional regarding the relationship between the student's disability and the assistance the animal provides.  The assistance performed by the animal must be directly related to the student's documented disability.

University of the Arts reserves the right to take reasonable advance planning time in order to be able to review Emotional Support/Assistance Animal requests so as to determine eligibility and to identify housing that will meet the needs of a student with an assistance animal as well as the needs of any students or staff who may have allergies or phobias. 

Please include the following with your application for an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal.

  • A veterinarian's verification that the animal has all veterinary recommended vaccinations to maintain the animal's health and prevent contagious disease, as required by local ordinances and regulations.

  • A copy of Pennsylvania's required animal license, if appropriate.

  • Supporting documentation of a disability as described above.

All students requesting exceptions to the Animal Policy must meet with the Educational Accessibility Advisor.  You can make an appointment at

Once approved for an Emotional Support Animal/Service Animal in Residence, the following policies apply.

  • UArts will request veterinary certification of routine care of the animal, including vaccines (where applicable) prior to your bringing the animal to campus.

  • UArts may not charge a student with a disability a surcharge for having an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal; however, if the animal causes any damage, UArts may charge for the cost of damages.

  • UArts and employees of the University are not responsible for the care or supervision of an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal.  This includes, but is not limited to, providing food for the animal as well as cleaning up the animal's urine or feces. Pet hair and dander must also be cleaned up regularly.

  • An Emotional Support/Assistance Animal is not required to have special training, certification or to be licensed as an assistance animal; however, the animal shall be under the control of the individual at all times.

  • An approved Emotional Support/Assistance Animal is allowed in the student's room and in common areas of the residence hall.  Emotional Support/Assistance Animals are not permitted in any other areas of the campus outside of the accommodated student's assigned housing.

  • Animals must be housebroken and able to live on campus without creating a nuisance for other residents and members of the community.  Emotional Support/Assistance Animals must be caged/contained when students are in class or out of the residence halls.  Assistance animals should not be left unattended/unchecked in the residence hall for long periods of time.  If students will be leaving campus for the weekend or for breaks, they are required to take their animal with them or board them off campus.  Since the animal is permitted to remain on campus as an accommodation for a specific students, the student with the accommodation is solely responsible for the control, observation, and maintenance of the animal.  Other students should not serve as proxies to care for the animal.

  • Emotional Support/Assistance Animals must meet the license requirements for Pennsylvania and the city and county of Philadelphia.  Animals must wear designated licensing tags (when applicable).  Current licensing and veterinary records (where applicable) will be maintained by the Office of Educational Accessibility and must be updated yearly.

Please refer to our Policy on Support Animals at University of the Arts.