Houston Graduate School of Theology

Disability Service+

Students with Disabilities

HGST is a learning community that welcomes the full participation of students with disabilities into all aspects of seminary life and our journey together toward formation for ministry and service. The seminary will make every reasonable accommodation for any persons with disabilities. This reasonable accommodation is assured by our concern for equitable treatment of all who study and work in the Seminary community, and to follow the legal guidelines for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In compliance with federal and state regulations, the seminary will provide reasonable accommodations or services to qualified students with disabilities. The key principle is “accommodation,” not the altering of academic standards or course content. The student must make his or her abilities and limitations known and must meet the instructor’s expectations regarding class participation, attendance, and performance.


HGST will deem a request for accommodation or services reasonable if the request:

  • Is based on documented individual needs;
  • Does not compromise essential requirements of a course or program;
  • Does not impose a financial or administrative burden upon the seminary beyond that which is deemed reasonable and customary; or
  • Is within the scope of the seminary’s control.

HGST defines a qualified student as one whom, with or without reasonable accommodations, is able to perform the essential functions of program or course requirements. The essential requirements of an academic course or program do not need modification to accommodate an individual with a disability.

The Seminary condemns all occurrences of discrimination and mistreatment as intolerable and will respond to them quickly and effectively through those preexisting channels most relevant to the nature and context of the discrimination or mistreatment.

How do I request accommodation?

Please contact the Academic Dean’s office to request accommodation. It is the responsibility of the student to make the request. Please remember that if a student does not request services, services will not be provided. Therefore, it is essential for all students needing accommodation to meet with Academic Disability Services staff (dcapes@hgst.edu) as soon as possible

Do I need to bring documentation of disability to my initial meeting with Academic Disability Services staff?

While it is helpful for our staff to have as much information as you feel comfortable sharing at our first meeting, documentation of disability is NOT required for the initial meeting. In fact, we encourage all students needing services to make an appointment with our staff as soon as they arrive on campus even if they do not have current documentation of disability.

What documentation is required to receive services?

Several different forms of documentation can be used to establish disability. Third party documentation is requested to help clarify the nature of disability and provide insight into the ways the learning environment may impact disability. This documentation is used to supplement information gathered in the initial student interview and in the assessment by our staff. Additional documentation may be requested as deemed necessary to adequately meet the needs of each student and maintain a standard of reasonable accommodation. If you have recent evaluations, these documents will aid our staff in ensuring that you receive the best possible accommodation.

What determines reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation will not and should not:

  • substantially alter the educational standards;
  • fundamentally alter the nature of the program, course, service, activity, or policy/practice as written and applied;
  • allow access to a program when a student is not otherwise qualified (with or without accommodations) to meet the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in an education program, course, service and/or activity;
  • cause undue financial or administrative hardship (seminary-wide);
  • be of a personal service in nature (personal aid or study coach);
  • pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the student with a disability or others as a result of accommodation implementation.



Is my conversation with Academic Disability Services staff confidential?

Yes, you can meet to discuss possible accommodation with our staff and be assured that all conversations will be confidential. If you decide to request accommodation, our staff will explain how information will be communicated to appropriate parties on campus and ask you to sign an approval to release disability information for the purpose of accommodation.

Do I need to meet regularly with the Academic Disability Services staff?

Although regularly meetings during the semester are not required, students are required to make an accommodation request at the beginning of each semester. This meeting allows student and staff to review the past semester and discuss any additional accommodation or issues with accommodation. Of course, our staff is willing to meet regularly with any student wishing to do so.

What are some common accommodations?

  • Extended time on in classroom exams
  • A quiet, distraction-reduced testing environment
  • Course note-taker (student volunteer)
  • Books in an alternate format when available
  • Preferential seating
  • Use of assistive technologies
  • Use of service animal

Is there a grievance procedure if I feel I am not receiving my approved accommodations?

Yes, grievances concerning accommodation and appeal can be filed through the Office of the Provost. If grievances cannot be mediated through the Provost, they can be filed with the President.

How do I arrange to use my accommodations?

To receive most services, the student must work directly with faculty and academic disability services to arrange accommodation. When your request for accommodation has been approved, you will be given a letter specifying your approved accommodations and the process necessary to arrange each accommodation. You should make an appointment to share this letter and discuss your accommodation plan with the professor of any of your courses for which you would like accommodation. Please remember that students are expected to be self-advocates and managers of the accommodation process.

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