The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 both mandate that modification of programs be considered if a disability can be identified. The law further specifies reduction in academic load as a reasonable accommodation. The legislation was written to give persons with disabilities equal opportunity.
Students who establish their status as a student with a disability through the Center for Access & Success would be eligible to receive the accommodation of taking a reduced course load while still maintaining full-time status. This means that an undergraduate student would be granted full-time status while enrolled in nine credit hours, rather than twelve credit hours per semester. A graduate student would be granted full-time status while enrolled in six credit hours, rather than nine credit hours per semester.
Students granted the accommodation of reduced course load will be viewed as a full-time student by the University and qualifies for all rights and privileges associated with such status, such as eligibility to live on campus, participation in student organization, and holding an office in the student government.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will no longer report a student as a “full-time” to health insurance companies without including the number of credits the student is currently enrolled.
Financial Aid is based on the actual number of credits for which a student is registered and this is founded on federal guidelines that the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth must adhere to. The Registrar, in reporting enrollment data to the National Student Loan Clearinghouse, likewise has to report the student’s actual enrollment data. Specific federal programs (i.e. Pell Grant and MassGrant) tie the award to a student's actual enrollment and require full-time attendance marked at 12 credit hours. Yet, as long as a student is enrolled in at least half-time attendance, they are still eligible for general financial aid consideration.