Accommodations & Appeals for Students and Academic Applicants

Current Students

Reasonable Accommodation Requests

UW-Madison’s Access for Students with Disabilities policy affirms the university’s commitment to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.

Students seeking reasonable accommodations complete the McBurney Disability Resource Center’s online application.

For more information about the accommodation request process, contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Process for Accommodation Denials

Students who have been denied an accommodation related to their status as a student (not a student employee) may initially attempt to resolve matters by contacting the McBurney Disability Resource Center to discuss the nature of the complaint, factors to consider as part of the interactive process, and whether an alternative resolution process with the individual or program that denied the accommodation could be engaged. Often, an alternative resolution process is sufficient to address the accommodation concern. Additionally, the ADA Coordinator may refer a student concern back to the McBurney Center if the interactive process has not been fully engaged before accepting an appeal request.

Students should note that engaging in the alternative dispute resolution process does not stop the 30-calendar day deadline by which an appeal must be filed with the ADA Coordinator as noted in the Access for Students with Disabilities policy.

Students who have been denied an accommodation by the McBurney Disability Resource Center may contact the ADA Coordinator directly without engaging in the alternate dispute resolution process.

Students who have been denied an accommodation in their status as a student employee (including as a teaching, research or project assistant or post-doctoral trainee) follow the appeals procedures for employees.

Appeals Information

When an alternative resolution process is not successful, students may formally appeal an accommodation denial or modification. To do so, the appellant must address in writing one or more of the following bases for appeal to the ADA Coordinator:

  • Identify the facts in the record that do not support the accommodation denial and explain why those facts warrant a different outcome.
  • Identify new facts that were not known and could not have been discovered during the interactive process and state how these new facts would change the analysis and decision.
  • Identify how the denial was based on factors proscribed by state or federal law.

The appellant must also identify any other internal university appeals, grievances or complaints that have been filed related to the same facts.

It is within the ADA Coordinator’s discretion to decline an appeal review when the appellant does not provide sufficient information to detail any basis for the appeal.

ADA Coordinator Review Process for Student Appeals

The ADA Coordinator’s review will determine whether:

  • proper procedures were followed and all relevant information was gathered and fairly considered,
  • the requested accommodation fundamentally alters the nature of the program or an essential program standard,
  • the requested accommodation presents an undue hardship, financial or administrative burden to the institution,
  • the denial is supported by the record and was not arbitrary or capricious,
  • the denial is in compliance with the law,
  • any other factors the ADA Coordinator deems relevant to the matter.

The ADA Coordinator may request detailed information from the appellant and the unit denying the request, and may solicit additional information from or consult with those previously involved in the accommodation decision, the overall unit head (dean, director, vice chancellor), the McBurney Disability Resource Center, Employee Disability Resources Office, Office of Human Resources—Workforce Relations, Office of Legal Affairs, and/or others as appropriate.

Maximum possible confidentiality will be maintained and information will only be shared on a “need to know” basis, if it appears necessary in order to decide the appeal.

The potential outcomes of the ADA appeal process may include:

  1. The decision to deny the accommodation is upheld.
  2. The decision to deny the accommodation is overturned and the appealing party and the relevant unit return to the interactive process to determine implementation of the accommodation.
  3. The ADA Coordinator returns the issue to the interactive process with instruction to reevaluate reasonable accommodations.
  4. The appeal is dismissed for untimeliness or because insufficient information was provided by the appealing party initially or during the course of the review.

The ADA Coordinator shall provide written notification of the appeal decision within 30 calendar days to the Appealing Party, the unit that originally denied the accommodation, and other relevant parties (e.g., McBurney Disability Resource Center, Disability Divisional Representative, Employee Disability Resources Office, Dean/Director, department chair, etc.). If the 30 calendar day time limit cannot be met, the ADAC will inform the Appealing Party, the unit, and relevant other parties of an alternative time limit, not to exceed an additional 60 calendar days.

This is the final internal appeal process for accommodation denials for all parties other than students who have the right to appeal to the Chancellor under state statute 36.12.

Appeal of ADA Coordinator Decision to the Chancellor

The ADA Coordinator’s decision to uphold a disability accommodation denial or modification may be appealed by the student to the Chancellor per Wis. Stats. sec. 36.12. The deadline for submitting an appeal to the Chancellor is 14 calendar days from the date of the ADA Coordinator’s written decision, which may or may not be the date the decision is sent to or received by the student. Students should email their written appeal to the Chancellor at chancellor@news.wisc.edu.

The Chancellor shall sustain the decision of the ADA Coordinator to uphold the denial or modification unless the Chancellor finds any of the following:

  • The information in the record does not support the findings or decision of the ADA Coordinator;
  • Appropriate procedures were not followed by the ADA Coordinator and material prejudice to the student resulted; or
  • The decision was based on factors proscribed by state or federal law.

The Office of the Chancellor has 30 calendar days to respond to the appeal from the date the appeal is filed. The decision is based on a review of the record only – no meetings or oral arguments will take place. If the Chancellor determines one or more of the above factors exist, the Chancellor may return the matter to the ADA Coordinator with further instruction or invoke an appropriate remedy of their own.

Per Wis. Stats. sec. 36.12(2)(b), the Chancellor’s decision may be appealed to the Board of Regents, consistent with the Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 7(c).

Academic Program Applicants

Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Applicants for admission apply to UW-Madison via an accessible online process. If an accommodation is needed as part of the application process (e.g., audition as part of an application to the School of Music), applicants should contact the program contact to request a reasonable accommodation. Applicants may also contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center or the ADA Coordinator for further information or guidance or to provide notification about an application accessibility barrier.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Process for Accommodation Denials

Academic program applicants who have been denied an accommodation may initially attempt to resolve matters by contacting the McBurney Disability Resource Center to discuss the nature of the complaint, factors to consider as part of the interactive process, and whether an alternative resolution process with the individual or program that denied the accommodation could be engaged. Often, an alternative resolution process is sufficient to address the accommodation concern. Additionally, the ADA Coordinator may refer a academic program applicant concern back to the McBurney Center if the interactive process has not been fully engaged before accepting an appeal request.

Academic program applicants should note that engaging in the alternative dispute resolution process does not stop the 30-calendar day deadline by which an appeal must be filed with the ADA Coordinator.

Applicants who have been denied an accommodation by the McBurney Disability Resource Center may contact the ADA Coordinator directly without engaging in the alternate dispute resolution process.

Appeals Information

Applicants may formally appeal an accommodation denial or modification. To do so, the appellant must address in writing one or more of the following bases for appeal to the ADA Coordinator:

  • Identify the facts in the record which do not support the accommodation denial and explain why those facts warrant a different outcome;
  • Identify new facts that were not known and could not have been discovered during the interactive process and state how these new facts would change the analysis and decision.
  • Identify how the denial was based on factors proscribed by state or federal law.

The appellant must also identify any other internal university appeals, grievances or complaints that have been filed related to the same facts.

It is within the ADA Coordinator’s discretion to decline an appeal review when the appellant does not provide sufficient information to detail any basis for the appeal.

ADA Coordinator Review Process for Applicant Appeals

The ADA Coordinator’s review will determine whether:

  • proper procedures were followed and all relevant information was gathered and fairly considered,
  • the requested accommodation fundamentally alters the nature of the program or an essential program standard,
  • the requested accommodation presents an undue hardship, financial or administrative burden to the institution,
  • the denial is supported by the record and was not arbitrary or capricious,
  • the denial is in compliance with the law,
  • any other factors the ADA Coordinator deems relevant to the matter.

The ADA Coordinator may request detailed information from the appellant and the unit denying the request, and may solicit additional information from or consult with those previously involved in the accommodation decision, the overall unit head (dean, director, vice chancellor), the McBurney Disability Resource Center, Employee Disability Resources Office, Office of Human Resources—Workforce Relations, Office of Legal Affairs, and/or others as appropriate.

Maximum possible confidentiality will be maintained and information will only be shared on a “need to know” basis, if it appears necessary in order to decide the appeal.

The potential outcomes of the ADA appeal process may include:

  1. The decision to deny the accommodation is upheld.
  2. The decision to deny the accommodation is overturned and the appealing party and the relevant unit return to the interactive process to determine implementation of the accommodation.
  3. The ADA Coordinator returns the issue to the interactive process with instruction to reevaluate reasonable accommodations.
  4. The appeal is dismissed for untimeliness or because insufficient information was provided by the appealing party initially or during the course of the review.

The ADA Coordinator shall provide written notification of the appeal decision within 30 calendar days to the Appealing Party, the unit that originally denied the accommodation, and other relevant parties (e.g., McBurney Disability Resource Center, Disability Divisional Representative, Employee Disability Resources Office, Dean/Director, department chair, etc.). If the 30 calendar day time limit cannot be met, the ADAC will inform the Appealing Party, the unit, and relevant other parties of an alternative time limit, not to exceed an additional 60 calendar days.

This is the final internal appeals process for accommodation denials for all parties other than current UW-Madison students also applying as an academic program applicant, who have the right to appeal to the Chancellor under state statute 36.12.

Appeal of ADA Coordinator Decision to the Chancellor (only for current UW-Madison students)

The ADA Coordinator’s decision to uphold a disability accommodation denial or modification may be appealed by the student to the Chancellor per Wis. Stats. sec. 36.12. The deadline for submitting an appeal to the Chancellor is 14 calendar days from the date of the ADA Coordinator’s written decision, which may or may not be the date the decision is sent to or received by the student. Students should email their written appeals to the Chancellor at chancellor@news.wisc.edu.

The Chancellor shall sustain the decision of the ADA Coordinator to uphold the denial or modification unless the Chancellor finds any of the following:

  • The information in the record does not support the findings or decision of the ADA Coordinator;
  • Appropriate procedures were not followed by the ADA Coordinator and material prejudice to the applicant resulted; or
  • The decision was based on factors proscribed by state or federal law.

The Office of the Chancellor has 30 calendar days to respond to the appeal from the date the appeal is filed. The decision is based on a review of the record only – no meetings or oral arguments will take place. If the Chancellor determines one or more of the above factors exist, the Chancellor may return the matter to the ADA Coordinator with further instruction or invoke an appropriate remedy of their own.

Per Wis. Stats. sec. 36.12(2)(b), the Chancellor’s decision may be appealed to the Board of Regents, consistent with the Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 7(c).