Accommodation Process Overview

Accommodations are an adjustment or adaptation made for a person with a disability to be fully included in an educational setting or activity.

Accommodations are determined on an individual basis. To qualify, students must have a disability and must meet with the Director of Student Care and Support to discuss the impact of the student’s disability on their lives. Details are provided in the Student Disability Policy and Procedure.

College is different from high school in that a significant responsibility lies with students need to act on their own behalf. 

Deadlines: Accommodations are not retroactive. However, once a need is established, the need is communicated to the appropriate faculty (and more rarely staff) as soon as possible to be implemented in a reasonable time frame.

At any point, meet with the Director of Student Care and Support to see what your options are.

Accommodation Possibilities

There are a variety of ways in which students with documented disabilities obtain equal access to their education. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. Some of the most common accommodations include (but are not limited to):

  • Extended time on exams and in-class assignments
  • Limited distraction conditions for exams
  • Use of a computer for exams and in-class assignments or note-taking
  • Print materials in an electronic and/or audio format

Accommodations are intended to enable students with disabilities to participate in and benefit from the College’s programs, services, and activities, provided that such accommodations would not 1) fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the College’s programs, services, or activities, 2) cause undue burden to the College, or 3) pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Accommodations are not retroactive.

For course accommodations, a student must provide an Accommodation Verification Letter to each professor, each semester and discuss the contents of the Letter with the professor each time. For specific instructions on how particular accommodations are provided or coordinated, contact the Director of Student Care and Support.

Class Attendance

The faculty at Cooper Union have determined that attendance at classes is required and is considered an essential component for each course.  Students with disabilities that affect attendance on a regular basis should speak with the professors immediately and work with the Director of Student Care and Support and the student's academic dean to establish accommodations but must also realize that faculty are not required to fundamentally alter their classes.

Executive Functioning Support

Many students note the need for support with executive functioning skills. Examples of executive functioning skills can include, but is not limited to, time management, paying attention and focusing on tasks, planning and organizing, paying attention to details, and multitasking. Accommodations included in this letter may be in support of executive functioning needs. Students seeking support with executive functioning should be sure to connect with the Academic Advisor as soon as possible to talk through strategies and plans for navigating your academic work. Students in need of executive functioning coaching or professional support should explore resources available in New York City and online. The Cooper Union does not offer formal executive functioning evaluation, coaching, or treatment planning.

Additional Time on Exams and Projects

One of the most common academic accommodations requested by students with disabilities is additional time on exams and projects. A significant amount of academic work at The Cooper Union consists of long-term project-based work that is spread over the course of the entire academic term. There are also courses where part of the pedagogy is the ability to complete work within specific timeframes. In cases like these, additional time may not be a reasonable accommodation. Students should work with their faculty members at the beginning of the semester to develop a plan for the completion of all course requirements within the confines of the academic semester. For practical reasons and resource availability, consistent with other organizations such as The College Board, Cooper Union does not provide an accommodation for testing with unlimited time.


Information regarding a student’s disability is private. Consistent with FERPA, Student Affairs staff may share disability-related information with faculty and staff when there is an individual need for them to know.Specifically, it is sometimes important to share such information to provide accommodations. However, information is rarely shared with parents or other parties without the student’s written consent unless it is an emergency, or the student is determined to be a danger to self or others.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.