Disability Resources for Students Admitted to Rice University

Rice students registered with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) may have a wide range of disabilities including learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, physical or medical conditions, sensory loss, or psychiatric or psychological conditions, etc. The DRC establishes eligibility for disability-related assistance, notifies and consults with faculty on needed accommodations, and provides adaptive equipment or resources as needed.

Rice University is committed to providing equal opportunity and access to the educational environment. The Disability Resource Center supports and implements federal guidelines included in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The DRC strives to make programs and facilities accessible to Rice students with disabilities using a wide range of disability resources.

The Disability Resource Center works with community and state agencies to coordinate campus services for students with disabilities admitted to Rice. For Houston area agencies, the DRC will refer students as needed. Students from other states may want to contact their state vocational rehabilitation agencies if special equipment or services are needed while attending Rice University.

Establishing eligibility as a student with a disability

The Disability Resource Center will facilitate reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities admitted to Rice. A disability, as defined by federal law, is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, hearing, seeing or learning. A Rice student requesting accommodations must self-identify and provide recent documentation of his or her disability to the DRC. This documentation is used to establish the Rice student as an individual with a disability, and provides rationale for reasonable accommodations.

New students that are admitted to Rice are advised to contact the DRC following admission to ensure eligibility is established and any needed, reasonable accommodations are evaluated and approved in a timely manner. Accommodations are not retroactive.

Students at Rice who need to request an accommodation are encouraged to refer to the Disability Documentation Guidelines. These guidelines help Rice students and their families know what information is needed to establish eligibility as a student with a disability that necessitates accommodations.

For students admitted to Rice who wish to document an Attention Deficit Disorder, the guidelines developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) are recommended. Refer to the ETS Resources for Test Takers with Disabilities at

Preliminary Notification of Disability-Related Needs

Recently admitted students who think disability support may be needed should notify the DRC prior to arriving on campus. Complete and submit the online Preliminary Notification of Disability-Related Needs form. The DRC will then contact the student to discuss particular needs. The Preliminary Notification form is merely provided to begin communication between the newly admitted student and DRC; completion does not automatically qualify a student as an accommodations-eligible individual with a disability.

Accommodations: What are they? How are they determined? How are they provided?

Accommodations are academic adjustments, resources and/or equipment that allow a Rice student with a disability to have equal access to academic programs, and to share in full participation with the Rice university community. Accommodations are made on an individual basis and are based on the functional limitations posed by the disabling condition(s).

Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assistive listening devices
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Captioning services (CART)
  • Extended time on examinations
  • Distraction-reduced examinations
  • Braille materials
  • Books in an alternative format (audio or e-texts)
  • Desktop video magnifiers (CCTVs)
  • Note taking or assistance with lecture notes
  • Specialized computer software
  • Advocacy

Accommodation letters are developed collaboratively by the director of the DRC and the student with a disability. These letters are for the student’s professors and indicate recommended accommodations. The nature of individual courses and course requirements vary, e.g. labs versus lectures. Therefore, the ways in which a student at Rice with a disability is functionally limited will impact some classes differently than others.

Food Allergies

Rice students residing on campus who have food allergies may have food related disabilities that limit their ability to participate in Rice’s meal plan. Examples of such disabilities are an autoimmune disease like celiac disease or allergies to products like wheat, milk, peanuts, eggs, etc. Students who need modification to Rice’s meal plan need to contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC).

DSS will need documentation from a physician that includes:

  • A confirmed and clear diagnosis,
  • Relevant medical history,
  • Test results that support the diagnosis (where appropriate),
  • Course of treatment, and
  • A description of the specific type of foods to be avoided or required.

Once the DRC has reviewed the documentation an appointment will be set to meet with the director of the DRC to discuss the student’s accommodation needs. For Meal Plan accommodation requests, please contact the DRC Director at Please contact the Residential Dining Director for information regarding meal preparation at

Adaptive Technology Available

Adaptive Technology
An Adaptive Technology (AT) lab which is located in Fondren Library room 108, is available for students admitted to Rice. The following is a list of some of the available technologies:

  • Desktop video magnifier (CCTV) - used for magnification of printed materials
  • JAWS screen reading software - used to make to make computers accessible to blind and visually impaired students
  • Refreshable Braille display
  • Kurzweil 3000 – software used to scan and read materials for students with learning disabilities or blind/visually impaired
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • Zoom Text – software used to magnify materials on a computer screen

At the DRC office, located in Allen Center - Room 111, the following technologies are used to produce materials for students as needed:

  • High-speed scanner with optical character recognition (OCR) software
  • Braille embossers for text and figures/tactile graphics

Certain pieces of adaptive technology equipment are also available for check-out from the DRC office. These include:

  • Hand held SenseView Duo magnifier - used for magnification of printed materials
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Adapted CD players – for use with certain audio books
  • Manual (push) wheelchair
  • Mobility scooters or golf carts
  • TDD for students with hearing impairments
  • Audio recording devices

The DRC staff, in addition to producing academic materials for students, also offers training on various types of adaptive technology. For details, contact the DRC at Allen Center - Room 111 or by phone at 713-348-5841.

Student Responsibilities

A Rice student with a disability has a responsibility to contact the DRC if any accommodations are required.

If accommodations are needed, the Rice student with a documented disability will receive an accommodation letter from the DRC to take to each instructor. It is the student's responsibility to deliver these letters as soon as possible. Instructors expect to receive notification early in each semester; students who deliver their letters later may encounter difficulties. Good, early communication is vital to the accommodation process.

A Rice student who thinks accommodations are not being provided in the manner specified, or are not sufficient to afford access, must notify the director of the DRC as soon as possible so the situation can be resolved.

If a student chooses to discontinue use of accommodations, notification is expected.


The Disability Resource Center respects the confidential nature of disability information, whether conveyed verbally, electronically or in writing. Students admitted to Rice can authorize the release of pertinent information to campus individuals when there is a legitimate educational reason to do so. Examples may relate to housing arrangements, academic accommodations, instructional strategies and resources, or other circumstances specific to the individual.

Disability-related documentation and information are stored at the DRC office. A disability designation does not appear on transcripts or other master university documents. The DRC files are not integrated with computerized university records. As well, disability status is not a part of the admissions process and will not impact whether or not the prospective student is admitted to Rice University.

Professors are aware of the confidential nature of the disability information shared with them. The accommodation letters they receive do not give diagnoses unless requested by the student. The letters merely describe the functional limitations caused by the disability and the corresponding accommodations.

Study Abroad

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) works closely with theRice Study Abroad staff. Rice students with disabilities are encouraged to consider studying abroad. While the laws of foreign countries may not mirror those in the U.S., the DRC and International Programs work to facilitate equivalent access in study abroad programs regarding the provision of accommodations. Rice students with a range of disabilities including learning disabilities, hearing loss, blindness, and health impairments have successfully studied abroad in a variety of countries.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is an excellent resource for information about travel and study abroad for individuals with disabilities.

Financial Aid and Resources

Rice University does not specifically offer scholarships or financial aid to students with disabilities. General information regarding typical financial aid inquiries should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.

A non-Rice website which is a source for information about financial aid for students with disabilities is the HEATH Resource Center. The Heath Resource Center is not affiliated with Rice University; however, it has served as a national clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities and may provide useful information in your search for financial aid and resources.


The Center for Career Development (CCD) at Rice offers comprehensive assistance on all aspects of employment and career decision making. The DRC and CCD will work together when the specific needs of a student suggest a collaborative approach. A non-Rice web site, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), may be another useful resource.

Medical Alert

Rice Students with major medical or physical conditions are encouraged to complete a Medical Alert form. This form states whom the student wants contacted in the event of a medical emergency (e.g., Rice EMS unit, college personnel, professors and/or work supervisors). Students with epilepsy, diabetes, cardiac conditions or other similar health conditions may wish to complete a Medical Alert Form and a Medical Alert Memo. Contact the DRC to discuss completion of this form. It does not guarantee specific medical responses or treatment, yet merely assists university personnel in being familiar with an individual’s medical background in the event of a crisis.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

Individuals at Rice with disabilities including mobility impairments, visual impairments, hearing impairments, speech impairments, and cognitive impairments should plan for evacuation in case of an emergency. Please fill out the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan for the residential colleges, office buildings, labs or other facilities where you expect be on a regular basis. File updates as needed. Forward the plan to the Disability Resource Center. The plan will be submitted to RUPD and the Fire Safety Officer. Additional Procedures for Persons with Disabilities

When preparing the plan keep in mind the four elements of evacuation information that people need.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan
Evacuation Procedures
Additional Procedures for Persons with Disabilities

  • Notification (What is the emergency?)
  • Way finding (Where is the way out?)
  • Use of the way (Can I get out myself, or do I need help?)
    • Self with assistance
    • Self with device
    • Self
  • Assistance (What kind of assistance might I need?)
    • Who
    • What
    • Where
    • When
    • How

Short-Term Disabilities

Rice students who have injuries, surgeries or other conditions which will temporarily restrict them on campus can contact the DRC. If short-term assistance is required, a medical statement may be necessary if equipment is checked-out to the student during recovery. For mobility equipment such as scooters or the golf cart, medical documentation and a security deposit will be necessary for check-out. Individuals in need of mobility equipment should contact the DRC prior to visiting the office.


Accessible housing units are available for both undergraduate and graduate students in all university residences.

Undergraduates at Rice University are assigned to one of 11 unique colleges, where wheelchair accessible rooms and rooms equipped for the deaf are available. The colleges are much more than conventional dormitories; each is a special community. If an incoming student needs specific physical features, he/she will need to contact the DRC. Examples of such needs include specific room-type, stair access, needing to be near a particular location on campus, etc. If the parent of an incoming undergraduate student has a physical disability that will impact visiting the student while at Rice, please contact the DRC.

New undergraduate students coming in the fall semester should notify the DRC of any special housing needs no later than June 1st. New graduate students need to notify the DRC by May 15th if requesting accommodations in Rice graduate housing units. Medical documentation is often requested if modifications or special arrangements are required. The DRC, following processing, makes recommendations to the Director of Housing and Dining as well as the Dean of Undergraduates.

Newly admitted students may choose to notify the Disability Resource Center of their possible need for housing accommodations by using the online Preliminary Notification of Disability-Related Needs form. The DRC will then make contact to discuss particular needs. Completing the online preliminary notification form does not automatically qualify the student as eligible for housing accommodations; it is provided to begin communication between DRC and incoming students with disability-related concerns.

Service/Assistance Animals

Some Rice students with disabilities utilize the services of trained animals to directly assist them in daily life. Service animals, often referred to as assistance animals, are permitted to accompany their owner everywhere on campus. For further information contact the DRC office.


Students are referred to the Grievance Procedures if they believe they have a problem related to accommodations or other disability-related resources or treatment at Rice University

Disability Resource Center
Allen Center, Room 111
Phone: (main) 713-348-5841
Fax: 713-348-5888

Mailing Address:
Disability Resource Center, Rice University, MS 802
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Adaptive Technology Lab
Limited access, key available 1st floor at Circulation & Reserve desk.
Location: Fondren Library, Room 108
For inquires contact 713-348-5841 or e-mail
TTY: dial 711 or 800-735-2988 to be connected through a relay operator.