Information and Resources for Students


Welcome to the Accessibility Resource Center. The primary function of the Center is to create an accessible and inclusive collegiate environment for students with disabilities. Students with documented disabilities are encouraged to visit the Accessibility Resource Center in Eder 201 to explore campus and community resources available while attending MWSU.

To register with the ARC and submit documentation, please visit the following link: (this link opens a new page)


There are a number of significant changes that happen when a disabled student leaves the public education setting and enters the post-secondary (college/university) environment. The Department of Education has created a helpful document to explain the differences between the two academic environments and to assist students with making a successful transition.

To learn more about this, please visit the following link: (this link opens a new page)

What does it mean to be a person with a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.

To learn about this, please visit the following link: (this link opens a new page)

What kinds of things are considered major life activities?

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines major life activities as those functions that are important to most people’s daily lives. Examples of major life activities are breathing, walking, talking, hearing, seeing, sleeping, caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, and working. Major life activities also include major bodily functions such as immune system functions, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

To learn more about these criteria, please visit the following link: (this link opens a new page)


An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is not a suitable or sufficient form of disability documentation in the post-secondary environment. At MWSU, students with disabilities are required to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician. Documentation must include the following: a diagnosis of the student’s current disability, as well as supporting information, such as the date of the diagnosis, how the diagnosis was reached, and the credentials of the diagnosing professional; information on how the student’s disability affects a major life activity; and information on how the disability affects the student’s academic performance. Documentation should provide enough information for the University to make a determination as to reasonable and effective academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and accommodations as we work with the student throughout the interactive process.

If a student does not have sufficient documentation, they will be referred to the vocational rehabilitation agency in their state of residence for an evaluation. You may locate your state vocational rehabilitation agency at (this link opens a new page) by clicking on “Info about RSA,” then “People and Offices,” and then “State Agencies/ Contacts.”

The Accommodation Process

Once a determination has been made that a student’s diagnosed disability has a significant impact on one or more major life activities, an accommodation letter will be created detailing the academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and accommodations that need to be put in place on their behalf. Students will receive this letter in their MWSU Gold Link email and will need to forward their email to their instructors and other relevant staff members. Returning students will need to request an updated letter at the beginning of each semester.

To request an accommodation, please fill out the form at the following link: (this link opens a new page)

Academic Adjustments and Accommodations

Academic adjustments and accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and other similar civil rights legislation. The purpose of academic adjustments and accommodations is to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent students with disabilities from having equal access to the same learning opportunities made available to all other students. To request academic adjustments and accommodations, students should complete this form. For now, students should contact the ARC Coordinator at

To read more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, please visit this link: (this link opens a new page)
To read more about the Rehabilitation Act, please visit this link: (this link opens a new page)

Housing Accommodations

Housing accommodations are available to students with documented disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. The purpose of housing accommodations is to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent students with disabilities from having equal access to the same opportunities to live in campus housing that is made available to all other student residents. Students with general housing accommodation requests should complete the Request for Reasonable Housing Accommodations form.

To read more about the Fair Housing Act, please visit this link: (this link opens a new page)
To request Reasonable Housing Accommodations at Missouri Western State University, please fill out this form: (this link opens a new page)

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Accommodations

Missouri Western State University policy prohibits pets in our residence halls. However, exemptions from this policy may be available to students with diagnosed and documented disabilities. This exemption is only available to students with diagnoses that rise to the level of being considered a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are several steps involved in this process and students are not allowed to bring their animal to campus until they have successfully completed all of these steps and received an approval letter from the Accessibility Resource Center. Please be informed that an animal is considered a pet until it has been approved as an emotional support animal by the University. Upon a successful review of all submitted documentation, the student will receive an accommodation letter from the ARC. The Director of Residential Life will also receive a copy of the student’s accommodation letter stating that the student has been granted an exemption from University pet policy and that they will have an emotional support animal living with them in their place of residence on campus.

Submit your request for an ESA Accommodation (this link opens a new page) no later than July 15 each year for timely consideration. Approvals only last one academic year (August through July) so you will need to renew your request each year before returning your ESA to campus. Documentation will need to confirm that there is an ongoing need for the emotional support animal and that all of the animal’s records (vaccinations, city license, clean bill of health, etc.) are up to date.

Students requesting an allowance for having an Emotional support Animal living in their campus residence will need to complete the Emotional Support Animal Accommodation Request. We strongly encourage students to read through the request form and gather all of the required supporting documentation prior to completing the form. Within the form, there are opportunities to upload vaccination records, city license, healthcare provider documentation, etc. The form also contains detailed information students will need to share with their healthcare provider. Students will also find within the form a list of obligations they must read, sign and date prior to bringing an emotional support animal on campus.

If you would like to make a request to have your Emotional Support Animal accompany you, please fill out the following form: Emotional Support Animal Accommodation Request Form (this link opens a new page)

If you have received ESA accommodations in the past with Missouri Western State University, you should complete the ESA Accommodation Renewal form. You may find those forms below:

ESA Accommodation Renewal Form (this link opens in a new window)

If you have any questions about the information on this page, please contact the ARC at

Service Animal Accommodations

Definition of a Service Animal:

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as any dog (or in some cases a miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These disabilities can be physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. The tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the person’s disability. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision.
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds.
  • Pulling a wheelchair.
  • Alerting and protecting a person during a seizure.
  • Reminding a person to take medication.
  • Pressing an elevator button.

Access Rights:

Under the ADA, colleges and universities such as Missouri Western must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or students. This includes classrooms, offices, libraries, cafeterias, and other campus facilities.

Documentation Requirements:

Individuals with service animals are not required to provide documentation of their disability or the animal’s training, except for vaccination records. Staff should refrain from asking about the nature or extent of a person’s disability but may inquire whether the dog is a service animal required because of a disability and what tasks it has been trained to perform.

Responsibilities of Service Dog Handlers:

  1. Control and Behavior:

    • Service animals must be under the control of their handler at all times.
    • The animal should be on a harness, leash, or tether, unless it interferes with the animal’s work or the handler’s disability prevents using these devices.
    • The service animal should behave well and not disrupt the environment.
    • If the animal behaves aggressively or poses a direct threat to others’ health or safety, the handler may be asked to remove it from the premises.
  2. Access:

    • Service animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers in all public areas on campus.
    • In areas where animals are legally prohibited (e.g., certain research labs), alternative arrangements should be made to accommodate the individual with the disability.
  3. Accommodations:

    • Reasonable accommodations should be provided to allow service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities. This may involve adjusting policies, practices, or procedures.
  4. Cleaning and Hygiene:

    • Handlers are responsible for cleaning up after their service animals, including disposing of waste in appropriate receptacles.
    • Campus facilities accessible to service animals should be sanitary, possibly including designated relief areas.
  5. Education and Awareness:

    • Campus staff, faculty, and students should receive education on the rights of individuals with disabilities who use service animals.
    • Training programs or informational materials can promote awareness and foster understanding and acceptance of service animals on campus.

By adhering to these guidelines, MWSU ensures compliance with ADA regulations while fostering inclusivity and accessibility for individuals with disabilities who rely on service animals.