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Disabilities and Accommodations

Students who receive accommodations at UM can 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. The Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office is also available to help students know how the accommodations they receive at UM might be secured for their international experience.

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, although CGIS and SSD are available for guidance and assistance. Interested students should consult with SSD, the CGIS Health and Safety Advisor, and the host institution abroad to assess their needs and the accommodation possibilities. It is best for students to identify several programs that meet their academic interests since many CGIS locations will have different types of accessibility.

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.

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. Students are recommended to see if funding from sources such as Vocational Rehabilitation could be used for their study abroad experience.

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 Exemption

If a student requires an medically-mandated exception from their program housing, please contact Health & Safety Assistant Callie Rouse at for details on how to obtain an exception.