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Disabilities and Accommodations

Students who receive accommodations at UM can often receive the same or similar accommodations abroad, with some preparation.

Selecting a Program

CGIS recommends that students start the process early, discussing options with CGIS advisors, who can help students find a program that works best for their needs. Once students know which program they plan to travel on, they should contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office to work through accommodations needs for their time studying abroad.

Please note that accommodations may not transfer abroad, as different countries have different laws regarding access and accommodations. Making arrangements for accommodations is the personal responsibility of the student, and should be done with the assistance of SSD.

If students are curious if their accommodations will transfer abroad, they should consult with CGIS advisors, who can contact the host institution abroad to assess accommodation possibilities. It is best for students to identify several programs that meet their academic interests since CGIS partners will have different accessibility standards.

Important Note: Need for accommodations is never a criterion for selection or admission to a program.

Disability Documentation

If a student hopes to use their accommodations abroad, they must obtain an advocacy letter—known as a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form—from SSD. Students then submit a copy of this to their on-site program coordinator. Program coordinators vary by location, so students should consult their CGIS advisor if unsure whom to share the information with. To learn more about this process, read our Disability Accommodations Handout and check out the process chart below.

Funding Abroad

Students should be aware that federal and state laws do not require the university to provide funding for accommodations and facilities beyond US borders.

It is the student’s responsibility to assure that any funding required for special services abroad is arranged well in advance. If funding is not available, students are responsible for all costs associated with special services abroad. 

Late Disclosure

Students who disclose needs at the last minute, or who require accommodations that cannot be made available in the host country, may be advised to postpone participation.

Housing Accommodations

Accommodation requests for living assignment while studying abroad based on a disability or chronic health condition must be submitted to CGIS. Students should submit such requests using this form, which needs to be filled out by both the student and the treating health professional who is recommending an accommodation.

Please note that CGIS does not provide or manage living arrangements for every study abroad program and this form applies to those programs for which CGIS does provide living arrangements as part of the program being offered.

For all pre-existing conditions, the form must be submitted within ten business days of confirming acceptance into the program on MCompass.