Disabilities: Course Substitutions for Students with Disabilities Seeking a Terminal Degree at Lane

Center for Accessible Resources
(541) 463-3010
Primary Contact: 
Terrie Minner
Contact Email: 
Responsible Executive Authority: 
Executive Dean, Student Affairs

This procedure describes the process for students with disabilities who are seeking to complete one of Lane's terminal degrees to request a course substitution.


In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, colleges must be willing to modify academic requirements to prevent discrimination against eligible students with disabilities. Therefore, qualified students with disabilities may request that appropriate course substitutions be considered as a programmatic accommodation.

Lane Community College's Center for Accessible Resources (CAR) will consider a course substitution request on a case-by-case basis, based on the student's disability, as determined by documentation, as long as there is no substantial change to the course learning outcomes. A review will be conducted to determine eligibility and to reasonably accommodate qualified students with alternative course work that will fulfill the appropriate degree/certificate requirement.

Since a course substitution may have the effect of fundamentally altering the nature of the degree/certificate, a course that is deemed essential to the degree/certificate may not be appropriate for substitution. Please note that this procedure pertains to course substitutions only; course waivers are not considered.

Basic Process to Request a Course Substitution

  1. The student must request a disability-related course substitution through the Center for Accessibility Resources (CAR) and provide appropriate documentation.
  2. CAR will analyze the student's disability documentation in terms of type, severity and relevance to the requested substitution. Note: A course substitution will not automatically be made simply because the student has documentation of a disability impacting a particular area of academics
  3. CAR will review the avenues that have been pursued in an attempt to successfully complete the course/s for which a substitution is sought
  4. CAR will contact the appropriate Division Dean to determine whether the substituted course would result in a substantial change in the course learning outcomes.
  5. Courses proposed as a substitution must be relevant and consistent for the purpose of the degree/certificate requirements and must be approved by appropriate administrators.
  6. If the substitution would result in a substantial change in the course learning outcomes, the substitution will be denied.
  7. If the substitution does not result in a substantial change in the course learning outcomes, it will be approved.

When a student seeking one of Lane's terminal degrees requests a Course Substitution, CAR will perform the following steps:

Step 1: Review and Analysis

  • Review the types of accessible technology, tutoring, and other reasonable accommodations that have been utilized in an effort to enable the student to succeed in standard course work.

  • Clarify whether the student has worked closely with the academic division.  If not, CAR will refer the student to the appropriate Division Dean.

  • Review of student transcript to determine whether the student has attempted and not passed the course/s in question despite having used appropriate accommodations and other college resources. (This is not a requirement for approving a program modification, but may be a factor.)

  • CAR will confirm that the student is "otherwise qualified" according to the ADA to participate in the degree program as specified in the degree program requirements.

Step 2: Explore Options

  • If pertinent, CAR will explore alternatives to a program substitution with the student (such as other degrees or other courses), without violating the student's right to obtain the preferred degree.

  • CAR will research perspectives of other institutions/colleagues, actions creating past precedence, case law, or regional/state/national investigative decisions related to the request.

Step 3: Consultation with Departments

CAR will consult with the Lead Faculty and Division Dean for the specific degree program in order to consider:

  • Essential elements of the degree being sought and the performance outcomes expected as a result of receiving that degree, in relation to the course in question (e.g., if the student is obtaining a nursing degree and is expected to compute medication dosages,  s/he must be able to demonstrate that competency through coursework/fieldwork); and

  • The appropriateness of a course substitution.

CAR may request clarification from the appropriate division/department that the competencies for the course in question are necessary for the degree in relation to the job market (i.e. through labor market surveys, etc.). If so, Lane would be remiss in granting a degree without that course or a comparable competency requirement.

Note: a Labor Market Survey includes the specific skills required by a particular job, the background and training requirements for the position and future trends of the occupation.

STEP 4: Determination of Appropriate Course to Substitute

  • If a course substitution is a viable option, CAR will consult with the program Division Dean and the Lead Faculty to determine potential courses that could be approved as course substitutions, taking into consideration courses the student has already completed.

  • CAR Staff will notify the student of the determination regarding a course substitution.

STEP 5: Finalizing Course Substitution

  • The CAR Associate Dean will send a memo to the Dean of Enrollment Management Systems that either:
    • offers general support and confirmation of the disability but no recommendation, or
    • provides a specific recommendation and relates the legal risks if the College chooses not to approve the request.
  • The memo will include the course substitution recommendations from STEP 4.

  • The memo will request confirmation about the final decision for that student's request.

For questions about this process, contact Center for Accessible Resources (Voice: (541) 463-5150, TTY: 711, FAX: (541) 463-4739, or AccessibleResources@lanecc.edu)

Please see also Disabilities: Course Substitutions for Students with Disabilities Seeking an AAOT degree at Lane and  Course Substitution.

Date Adopted: 
Saturday, March 1, 2003
Date Last Reviewed: 
Thursday, May 14, 2015