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Student Accessibility Services: surviving on small budget and little staff 


SUNY Brockport’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) support students with disabilities such as anxiety, depression and ADHD. There are currently 600 students registered with SAS, but with only three staff members operating the organization and a limited budget, the program needs more support.  

 Their main goal is to help provide students with the access they need.  

SAS provides several accommodations such as extra test time and the option to type essays instead of completing them by hand. There is also a note taking app that SAS provides for students who need help during the lecture and notetaking portions of class. For some students, SAS converts textbooks, however this is a more specific accommodation.  

“We level the playing field,” Nikki Hall, the Assistant Director of SAS, said.  “Accommodations give access, but don’t necessarily make things easier…and you are not guaranteed success.” 

Another program provided by SAS is the Academic Coaching program. SAS students can meet with a coach who will help organize their schedule of assignments for classes. 

“This falls under something called executive functioning. The metacognitive thoughts that help us through our day– how you’re going to get through your days, be on time and meet all your deadlines is something that we help our students with,” Hall said.  

SAS also works with the members of its community by providing an online access barrier report system. To anyone who finds an access barrier such as a broken elevator or furniture that is not inclusive to all body types, the issues can be reported here.  

 The opportunities and accommodation offered are plentiful, but this doesn’t change the staffing and fund shortage. There are about 500 students on campus who require test taking accommodation and only 11 seats available for taking a test by paper and only eight desks with computers for students who require a computer. 

“If I had a different budget and had the staff I need, then I would be doing student activities. I have collaborated with ResLife before, where I have worked with a certain building and had events for students,” Hall said.  

Hall works hard to make sure that students know about SAS, using every way possible to help students. Currently, it’s all about word of mouth. “People saying that accessibility matters and is important [is a huge benefit]. If the students say it’s a priority, it will have an impact. People will listen,” Hall said.  

There are a couple of requirements to become a student who is eligible for SAS accommodations. A form from high school that documents a need or forms found here can be filled out by either a doctor or a licensed therapist. If a student who is already enrolled believes that they may require accommodation, they can visit the Student Health Center to speak with a counselor about the process. 

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Graciella Dressler, Managing Editor
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