During Cornell Days in April every year, we invite all new or prospective students and families visiting campus to stop by our office between 2:00pm-4:00pm to meet our staff and learn more about disability services at Cornell. For other times of the year, appointments between 8:30am-4:00pm can be scheduled in advance.

Answers to common questions are below. Feel free to contact us for more information: 607-254-4545.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for disability services or accommodations?

Applying for disability services and/or accommodations involves the student doing two things:

  1. Complete the Disability Self-Disclosure and Request for Access Accommodations Form.
  2. Submit supporting disability documentation via fax at 607-255-1562 or upload it to SDS Online Services when you submit the above form or later when you have the documentation. In order to know what type of documentation is needed, please review our Documentation Guidelines.

After this information is received, an SDS counselor will be contact you by phone or email about the next steps. If you are unsure whether you qualify for disability services and/or accommodations, you can indicate that on your disclosure form and an SDS counselor will follow up with you to provide more information about eligibility for disability services.

What is the deadline for registering with SDS?

If you are requesting a housing accommodation, you must submit the Self-Disclosure Form and supporting documentation by May 15. For all other accommodations/services, please submit by June 17 to allow ample time for planning. A student can become registered with SDS at any point during their Cornell career. The above deadlines are applicable to any incoming student who is requesting accommodations for the fall semester.

I have allergies and/or asthma. Can I get air-conditioned housing?

The Townhouses are air-conditioned, first-year residential communities. Typically anyone who requests to live there will be assigned there. Beyond that, there are very few residential communities that are climate controlled and/or air filtered. Eligibility for any housing accommodations is determined by the severity of the disability and its impact on daily living, as well as the available housing options. Students should follow our registration process to be considered for housing accommodations of any kind.

How current does my documentation need to be?

Documentation guidelines vary depending on the type of disability. Current and comprehensive documentation is needed to determine not only a student’s eligibility to receive accommodations, but also, their current levels of functioning.

  • For learning disabilities and ADHD, this typically means that students have been evaluated within the last three years.
  • Documentation for mental health disabilities must indicate the current impact of the mental health condition and demonstrate that the student has been substantially limited by the condition for more than several months.
  • For physical, medical, and sensory disabilities, documentation should be current and indicate the severity of the condition and impact on daily living.

Please review our Documentation Guidelines for more details.

I have a disability but I don’t need any accommodations. Should I still register with SDS?

We encourage all students with disabilities to register with SDS. 

Cornell is committed to creating a campus community that is inclusive of all aspects of diversity and identity, including disability identity. SDS serves as a resource to all students who have a disability, at any point in your Cornell career. By registering with SDS, you may avail yourself of resources and opportunities that may will be beneficial to you, whether you utilize accommodations/services or not. When you complete the Self-Disclosure Form you will see where you can indicate that you are not requesting any services or accommodations at this time.

I have a medical condition but never thought of it as a disability. Should I register with SDS?

This happens a lot. At Cornell, when students ask for modifications to policies in course or housing for a medical condition, the requests must be facilitated through Student Disability Services. It is also possible you may not realize until you get to campus and start engaging with classes and the campus that you need something. That is okay, too. You can register with SDS at any point in your Cornell career.

Can I get a learning disability or ADHD re-evaluation done at Cornell?

No. Cornell does not have services for LD or ADHD evaluations. Students need to submit current and comprehensive evaluations when requesting disability services. Please review our Documentation Guidelines for more information about what is required.

If you would like information about an off-campus referral, please contact SDS at 607-254-4545 to arrange to meet with an SDS counselor to discuss the type of assessment that you are seeking. We can provide information about local referrals.

Will my registration with SDS be kept confidential?

SDS keeps documentation and information on registration status in a secure location. When sharing information with faculty and campus partners involved in the provision of accommodations, our focus is on the accommodation you need for equal access, not on the disability.

For more information, please review our confidentiality protocols.

Are there any student groups or clubs that have a disability focus?

Yes! The list is changing every year, and each group has various means of advertising (i.e., websites, Facebook pages). We maintain a selected list of student organizations that have a disability-focus. A full, searchable listing of all the organizations on campus (there are over 1,000!) can be found on Cornell's Student Organizations website.


For more information, you can read more FAQs at our website in the Prospective Students section, or feel free to contact us with any other questions!