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Academic Considerations vs. Academic Accommodations

Academic Consideration Request (ACR)
or Academic Accommodation Support (AAS)
- Which one is right for me?


What is the difference between an academic consideration and academic accommodations?

Did you know that these are defined by separate university policies?

In the table below, you can learn about what these terms mean and how they’re applied.


Academic Consideration 

Academic Accommodation

University Department

Senate Office (opens in new window) 

Academic Accommodation Support (AAS)

Guiding University Policy

 (PDF file) Policy 167 - Academic Consideration

 (PDF file) Policy 159 - Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Who is eligible? 

Any student who experiences extenuating circumstances (health or compassionate grounds) that significantly impact their ability to meet specific academic obligations (i.e. attending a lecture or lab, writing an exam, submitting an assignment by the deadline). 

Students registered with AAS who have extenuating circumstances not related to their disability.

Note: There is an alternate policy (150) for students seeking accommodation for religious, Aboriginal, and spiritual observance

Students with disabilities who experience barriers to accessing their education or participating in their studies. 

AAS works with any student enrolled at the university who requires academic disability accommodation, regardless of program or course load.

What does it entail? 

Alternate arrangements, or temporary modifications to course requirements, that may be made in response to students with extenuating circumstances who are unable to meet their academic requirements. 

The specific configuration of academic consideration is decided by the instructor in consultation with the student (and the medical documentation submitted if relevant).

See below for specific examples of considerations. 

A planned variation or modification in the way a student with a disability receives course curriculum and materials, participates in course and non-course degree requirements, and is evaluated and assessed, in order to acquire and demonstrate the essential academic requirements needed to successfully meet the learning objectives of a course or program. The goal is to provide equal access to education. 

Students with disabilities receive individualized academic accommodation plans based on the functional limitations resulting from disability impacts . Accommodation plans are outlined in the student’s accommodation letter. Disability accommodation is a protected ground as per the Ontario Human Rights Code.


What is the duration? 


Typically no more than 3 days; longer temporary absences with documentation (see below).

Longer-term (generally)

Permanent/ongoing or temporary/short-term disabilities.

How do I get access?  

Submit an Academic Consideration Request (ACR) through the online system.

Detailed procedures are outlined in the  (PDF file) Policy 167 document and the online ACR system. 

Register with AAS - Visit the AAS Website or email

Once registered with AAS, students are responsible for sending their accommodation plans to their course instructors via the AAS Student Portal each semester and requesting to use their accommodations when needed. 

Are there timelines or deadlines?

Students must submit their ACR within 3 business days of the missed course requirement. 

The AAS registration period ends before final exams each semester. Visit the AAS Website to review the deadlines. 

Like other deadlines in the university, the AAS registration deadline is necessary in order to implement student accommodation plans with reasonable notice to faculty and to be in line with other significant dates such as the final exam booking deadline. This is in order to ensure these services work in conjunction with others.

Is documentation required? 

Students can submit ACRs without documentation in limited circumstances (see below) one time per semester.

Students are required to submit documentation ( (PDF file) Student Health Certificate) in the following circumstances:

  • Final assessments/exams
  • Temporary absences lasting more than 3 days
  • An ACR without documentation has already occurred in that semester.

Documentation is needed to register with AAS.

Use this  (google form) identification too (external link) l to determine the type of documentation needed in your case.  AAS also offers consults. Email us at to discuss your circumstances.

Who approves it? 

ACRs are approved at the discretion of the course instructor

If relevant, documentation is verified by the department and then sent to the instructor for review. 

Submission of supporting documentation does not guarantee that academic consideration will be granted.

AAS is responsible for creating academic accommodation plans, in consultation with students and based on the respective disability-related documentation on file, and instructors/departments where necessary.  

Instructors are responsible for applying academic accommodation plans within their course. They work closely with AAS and students to determine reasonable and appropriate ways to implement accommodation plans while preserving the essential requirements and academic standards of the course.

AAS, students, instructors, and university administration have a shared responsibility in the provision of accommodations to reduce or eliminate disability-related barriers to education.

Who can support me?

Students: Academic Program Advisor

Faculty/Instructors: Program Advisor or Chair

Student Accommodation Facilitators (contact information is listed on the accommodation letter).


Extenuating Circumstances


  • Short-term physical or mental health issue that is sudden or acute (i.e. flu)
  • Unexpected illness or injury (i.e. concussion, broken bone) 
  • Hospitalization or treatment 
  • Significant aggravation of a pre-existing condition


  • Bereavement (i.e. death of a family member or close friend)
  • Life-threatening injury or illness of a close relative or friend
  • Traumatic event (i.e. abuse, social injustice)
  • Significant disruption to a student’s domestic arrangement
  • Sudden loss of income or employment
  • Caregiver responsibilities (substantial unplanned responsibilities to members of their immediate family or household)


  • University-sanctioned events (i.e. varsity sports)
  • Participation in events related to the student’s field of study (i.e. conferences, case competitions, or field trips)
  • Legal commitments (i.e. court or jury duty)


  • Ongoing Mental Illness
  • Acquired Brain Injury 
  • Learning Disability
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Chronic Health/Medical
  • Deaf, Deafened, Hard of Hearing
  • Low Vision, Blind
  • Physical, Functional, Mobility
  • Mild Intellectual Disability


Academic Consideration / Alternate Arrangements

Academic Accommodations
  • Extra time to write tests/exams
  • Alternative test-taking environments 
  • Extended deadlines for assignments on a case-by-case basis
  • Adaptive technology
  • Sign-language interpreters 
  • Note-taking support

What if my situation falls outside the scope of Academic Consideration and Academic Accommodation?

What if my situation falls outside the scope of Academic Consideration and Academic Accommodation? 

Not a short term circumstance or disability-related?

Requests for academic consideration that involve extenuating circumstances that are long-term in nature (but not appropropriate for registration with AAS) are handled and resolved with the Department/Program. 



  • A student who is pregnant and may need an alternate space to write an exam or has been assigned to bedrest for the remainder of the semester and cannot attend classes
  • A student who has submitted multiple ACRs in one semester and been unable to meet multiple extended deadlines that have been provided
  • A student registered with AAS who has been having a significant disability-related episode and missed the majority of their coursework and classes as a result
  • A student submits travel documents where the dates of travel exceed the 3 business day requirement or is open ended.   
  • A student experiences family related issues that are not within the 3 business day requirement or are open ended.