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General Information--FAQ's

What is Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS)?
DSPS provides students with disabilities the specialized classes and support services which allow the students to more fully participate in and benefit from courses at the college. Classes include study skills, reading, writing, arithmetic, computer skills, and more. Services include alternative testing, sign language interpreters, textbooks recorded onto taped text, braille, and much more.
DSPS assists the college in complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which states that "no qualified individual with disabilities shall, on the basis of their disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subject to discrimination under any post-secondary program or activity receiving federal financial assistance".
How do I obtain services from DSPS?
To receive services from DSPS you must be registered or planning to register for the current semester and:
How do I make an appointment?
Call us at the SLO Campus at (805) 546-3148, at the NCC Campus at (805) 591-6215 or stop by our office in SLO building 3300 or NCC room N3024.
How do I register my guide dog
Service animals, such as Guide Dogs, are permitted on the Cuesta College campus; however, the animals must be registered with Campus Police. Service Animals
What are reasonable accommodations?
Reasonable accommodations are support services which allow a student to have access to an education without altering fundamental requirements.
What does DSPS offer in the summer?
DSPS offers these services in the summer:
  • Registration assistance
  • Alternative testing
  • Notetaking assistance
  • Other accommodation requests evaluated on an individual basis
  • (DSPS courses are not offered in the summer.)
Are there additional fees for DSPS classes or services?
There are no additional fees.
Can I receive services if I have a temporary disability?
Probably. Call the DSPS office for more information.
Who qualifies for DSPS services?
A student with a disability is a person enrolled at a community college who has a verified impairment which limits one or more major life activities and which imposes an educational limitation.
What is an educational limitation?
An educational limitation means disability related functional limitation in the educational setting. This occurs when the limitation prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes, activities, or services offered by the college to non-disabled students, without specific additional support services or instruction as defined in Section 56005.
Is a student’s disability information kept confidential?
All information is strictly confidential, and no written information is released without a student signing an informed consent. Accommodations are determined in consultation with the student and the DSPS staff and must be appropriate to the student’s disability.
Are all students with disabilities registered with DSPS?
No. Some students may not be registered with DSPS (registration is voluntary); however, in order for DSPS to serve the student with a verified disability, registration with DSPS is necessary.
Who is an "individual with a disability?"
A person who:
  • Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity;
  • Has a record or history of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.
It is also unlawful to discriminate against someone solely because of his/her association with an individual with a disability.
What are some examples of disabling conditions?
All conditions which entitled a student to receive special education while attending grade school (e.g., mental retardation, learning disabilities, serious emotional disturbances), AIDS, cancer, alcohol or drug addiction (so long as the student is not a current user of unlawful drugs), environmental illness, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, asthma, physical disabilities, behavior disorders, etc., so long as the condition substantially limits a major life activity.
What are the obligations of students with disabilities?
In order to enjoy the protections of Section 504 and the ADA, the student has an obligation to self-identify that s/he has a disability and needs accommodation. The institution may require that the student provide appropriate documentation at student expense in order to establish the existence of the disability and the need for accommodation. [See Student Responsibilities]
What are the institution's obligations under Section 504 and the ADA?
The institution must provide reasonable accommodations to the student's known disability in order to afford him/her an equal opportunity to participate in the institution's programs, activities and services (including extracurricular activities). A college or university may not discriminate against an individual solely on the basis of disability. [See Rights & Responsibilities]
Must the institution provide the student all the academic adjustments and auxiliary aids s/he needs?
No. Public institutions must give primary consideration to the communication preferences of the student with a disability. Moreover, both public and private institutions have the responsibility to provide effective accommodations. Nonetheless, a college or university is not required to provide academic adjustments or auxiliary aids if such provision would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or when the academic requirements are essential to a program of study or to meet licensing prerequisites. An auxiliary aid may also be denied when the provision of such would place an "undue burden" on the institution. An undue burden is defined as "significant difficulty or expense."
May the institution take adverse action against an individual for asserting his/her rights under Section 504 and the ADA?
No. The institution may not discriminate against any individual because of his/her exercise of these rights or against individuals who participate in an investigation pursuant to these regulations. It is important to note that an individual claiming discrimination need not prevail on the underlying claim in order to prove retaliation.
Does a college have the right to suspend or terminate DSPS services to a student?
Yes, a district may adopt a written policy providing for the suspension of DSPS services where a student fails to comply with any of the following:
  • be responsible in his/her use of DSPS services and adhere to written service provision policies adopted by the college; and
  • make measurable progress toward the goals established in the Student Educational Contract or, when the student is enrolled in a regular college course, meet academic standards established by the college
Such service suspension policy shall provide for written notice to the student prior to the suspension and shall afford the student an opportunity to appeal the decision. Each student shall be given a copy of this policy upon applying for DSPS services.
These policies and requirements should not differ from those pertaining to all students.


CAPED Communiqué, Fall/Winter 1994.
DSPS Q & A, Chancellor's Office, May 1993.
DSPS Information Handbook for Cuesta College Staff and Faculty, Aug. 2002.

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