Disability Services

Welcome to the Hennepin Technical College (HTC) Disability Services Office website. We value diversity in our college community and are committed to ensuring equal access and opportunities to qualified students with documented physical, learning, or psychological disabilities.

COVID-19 Update

Disability Services staff are available to meet with you virtually, by video chat (Zoom or Teams), email or by phone. See contact information below.

Hours

  • Monday-Thursday from 9am to 5pm
  • Fridays from 8am-4pm
Interpreting Services

Requesting Disability Services

Students who require accommodation due to a disability need to apply for services through the Disability Services Office.

New Students

Please request accommodations once you have registered for classes. If you have not been approved for accommodations at HTC in the past, you will need to complete the Disability Services Application, review the Disability Services Information document, and schedule an intake appointment. Please complete and submit the application form below:

Disability Services Application

Please note to download the application to your computer and open it in Adobe Acrobat. Filling out the form from a web browser will not save your changes.

Once submitted, please schedule an intake appointment with the Disability Services representative at your respective campus by clicking on the (Book an Appointment) link below. During your appointment, you will need to provide your student ID number as well as some form of documentation of your disability (IEP, Psych Eval, Dr.’s letter, etc).

Returning Students

If you have been approved accommodations at HTC in the past, you will not need to repeat the intake process. However, you will need to email us every semester to request accommodations. If your accommodations requirements have changed from previous semesters, please list your new accommodations in the email. You will receive an email confirmation that your accommodations have been sent to your instructors.

Brooklyn Park Campus
Toua Thao, Associate Director of Academic Support Programs
toua.thao@hennepintech.edu 

Book an appointment
with Toua Thao

Eden Prairie Campus
Michelle Obergfoll, Director of Academic Support Programs
michelle.obergfoll@hennepintech.edu

Book an appointment
with Michelle Obergfoll

 

Accommodations

Services for Deaf Students

 

To request Hennepin Technical College Interpreting Services, click the button below to complete the interpreter request form or email michelle.obergfoll@hennepintech.edu 

HTC ASL Interpreter Request Form

Minnesota Relay Service 711 or 1-800-627-3529
(763) 488-2477 Voice

 

Accuplacer Test Accommodations

Complete the Accuplacer Test Accommodations form and email to:

Common Accommodations

  • Note Takers
  • Test reader
  • Extended Testing Time
  • Quiet place to take tests
  • Textbooks in Alternative Formats
  • Sign Language Interpreting services
  • Adaptive Software and Equipment

Tutoring

Free tutoring for all students enrolled in HTC courses are offered through our Tutoring Centers.

Information about Disability Services

Disability Law

There are several laws that address HTC’s responsibilities regarding individuals with disabilities. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

HTC has two basic duties under the law regarding individuals with disabilities:

  1. HTC must not discriminate against individuals on the basis of disability. A ‘qualified’ individual with a disability is someone who, with or without accommodation, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs, services, or activities provided by this college. HTC may not treat qualified individuals with disabilities differently from individuals without disabilities or have a policy that disparately impacts individuals with disabilities.
  2. HTC must provide access to its programs and services, and appropriately accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities who seek accommodations to allow them to effectively participate in those programs and services.

The laws apply only if an individual establishes that he or she meets the legal definition of ‘disabled’. Sometimes meeting this standard is difficult and requires information from appropriate professionals.

What is a disability?
An individual with a disability is any person who:

Has a physical, mental or emotional impairment, that substantially or materially limits one or more of their major life activities;

Has a record of such an impairment;

or

Is regarded as having such an impairment.

What are accommodations?
Accommodations are modifications or supports that give a student with a disability an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from college. Accommodations are adjustments to how things are usually done. The purpose of effective accommodations is to increase a student’s chances for success.

Disability Services works with students with disabilities and HTC officials to answer questions about the college's compliance with disability laws, such as what is considered an accommodation.

Accommodations can be provided in various ways. The following are brief descriptions and examples of the most common categories of accommodations that permit a qualified student with a disability to effectively participate in the educational process.

Changes to a classroom environment or task; examples might include:

  • extended time for an exam,
  • alternate location for an exam,
  • materials in alternate formats such as enlarged print or electronic text.

Removal of architectural barriers; examples might include:

  • adapting a classroom to meet the needs of a student who uses a wheelchair.

Modifications to policies, practices or procedures.

  • considered on a case-by-case basis

Provision of auxiliary aids and services; examples might include:

  • providing a sign language interpreter
  • providing a note taker or scribe

In accordance with the law, there are some modifications that HTC does not provide as an accommodation. Examples include:

  • personal devices such as wheelchairs or glasses
  • personal services, such as private tutoring or personal attendants (Note: Tutoring services are available to all registered students in the campus Learning Resource Centers.)
  • modifications that lower or change course standards or program standards
  • modifications that would change the essence of a program, such as allowing a student in an auto mechanics program to take a written test on repairing an engine instead of actually repairing an engine or allowing a student in a public speaking class to substitute a written paper for an oral presentation
  • Services that are unduly burdensome, administratively or financially.

How do I request an accommodation?
To receive an accommodation you, the student, must first request the accommodation. In some cases, you may be asked to provide documentation of your disability.  The Disability Services office is the designated office to certify eligibility for disability services, determine accommodations, and maintain documentation separate from other college records. In general, the college will not act on its own to provide an accommodation to a student unless or until one is requested by the student.

If your disability or need for accommodations is not evident, Disability Services will generally require documentation of your disability by an appropriate licensed professional in order to evaluate a request for accommodations. Documentation should reflect the nature of your disability and how it affects you in an academic setting. The law allows the college to request recent documentation. If the disability has changed or fluctuates in intensity, then an up-to-date evaluation of the condition may be requested to determine accommodations.

Accommodations are arranged each term and students need to communicate with Disability Services prior to or at the beginning of each term to arrange for academic accommodations.

What if I have a concern about my accommodations or access to programs, services, or activities?
At Hennepin Technical College, you are responsible for notifying the Disability Services office if the accommodations that have been provided do not meet your needs. If you have attempted to resolve issues related to your accommodations but you feel that HTC has failed to meet your needs, you may file a complaint. Complaints generally are about issues such as:

  • accommodations provided
  • timely implementation of accommodations
  • access to buildings
  • access to information

Complaints are treated seriously at HTC and it has processes in place to investigate and help resolve them. Complaints should be filed in a timely manner and are usually, but do not need to be, submitted in written form. 

For students with disabilities, the complaint process progresses as follows:

Information for Students

Currently enrolled in high school:

If you are currently enrolled in high school and would like to attend HTC, you have several options:

Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO): The name of a law that enables high school students to take college or university courses. Sometimes these courses are offered in the high school and sometimes students attend regular college or university courses. Credits can be applied toward high school graduation and can be applied to a college or university degree. The State of Minnesota pays the tuition and most fees. To be eligible to attend, students must meet admissions requirements for PSEO students.

Concurrent Enrollment: Some schools have a special program called Concurrent Enrollment which is a partnership between the high school and Hennepin Technical College. These courses allow students to take HTC courses at the high school.  They are taught by a credentialed high school instructor who is working in partnership with an HTC faculty mentor. These courses allow students to earn both college credits and credit toward their high school graduation.  Both PSEO and Concurrent Enrollment are programs set up by law to "promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wider variety of options to high school pupils".

Students may also enroll in courses on their own. In this case, students meet the regular admissions requirements, pay tuition and fees and register for courses at the college. 

Students with disabilities are responsible for seeking accommodations through HTC's Disability Services Office. If you have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan from your high school, be sure to contact Disability Services as soon as possible.  Accommodations will be provided based on college standards.

Transfer students
If you are transferring to HTC from another institution, contact HTC's Disability Services Office for advice on how to register for services. You may be able to obtain copies of your documentation from your previous institution to provide to HTC. Otherwise, you may be asked to sign release forms for transferring this information directly between the institutions.

Student responsibilities and advocacy

Students with disabilities who want accommodations are responsible for contacting Disability Services to request the accommodations. Prior planning is the key to insuring the proper delivery of services. On your first visit to Disability Services, your Disability Services Director will meet with you to discuss the services you may need and the procedures for setting up those services. Your disability information is maintained separately from your academic record in compliance with federal and state data practices laws. You are responsible for providing the disability office with any documentation that may be required regarding your disability and the accommodations you are requesting.

Self-advocacy is critical to success in higher education. Colleges and universities are restricted from seeking out students with disabilities due to privacy laws. You are responsible for requesting the services you believe you need; the college does not provide accommodations unless or until you ask. The ability to advocate will benefit you in your life and career.

Know yourself and your disability

Before you can advocate for yourself, you need to know how to talk about your disability in a way that other people will understand.

Know your rights and responsibilities
Colleges and universities cannot close their doors to you solely because you have a disability. The college must provide services that will allow you an equal opportunity to access and participate in school activities, provided you meet the “otherwise qualified” language of the law. Please refer to the Disability Services Office for information about the college’s legal responsibilities.

Know where to go for help
A very important part of being successful in college is knowing when you need help and where to find it. Writing down the names and contact information of the people on campus that can help you, including staff at the Disability Services Office, is a good idea.

Take action
Develop a plan for communicating your needs. While the Disability Services office can assist you, developing your own communication skills may be very helpful. Consider practicing before talking with your instructors. You might practice explaining to a counselor or a trusted friend the accommodations you believe you will need.

Information for Parents

How is a college or university different from high school?

College life poses different challenges for students with disabilities. When students enroll in college, they are considered responsible adults by faculty and staff. The expectation is that they will assume responsibilities for meeting their class requirements.

This added responsibility is coupled with a change in environment. High school is a teaching environment in which students acquire knowledge and skills. College is a learning environment in which students take responsibility for thinking through and applying what they have learned.

Another student responsibility is that of self-advocacy. Students must become adept at realistically assessing and understanding their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and preferences. Also, they must become experts at communicating this information to other adults including instructors and service providers. Although services will be available to students through an office specializing in services to students with disabilities, students will be responsible for seeking these services and supports. Good communication skills and knowledge about oneself become crucial to success in college.

Understanding some of the important differences allows parents to help their son or daughter achieve a smoother transition.

High School College
School 6 hours per day, 5 days per week Students are typically in class 12-18 hours per week, depending on course load
The school year is about 9 months long The academic year is two 16-week semesters
Time is structured by others, and teachers closely monitor student’s attendance Students arrange their own schedule with an advisor or counselor and manage their own time
Students are not responsible for knowing what it takes to graduate Students are expected to know the graduation requirements for their particular program
Teachers check students completed homework Instructors don’t always check student’s homework
Teachers might remind students of missed work and often provide students with information they missed when they were absent Instructors don’t remind students of missed work, and they expect students to get notes from classmates for any classes they’ve missed
Case manager acts as advocate Students must advocate for themselves
Services result from Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) Services are designed on class by class basis and individual needs
Regular parent contact Parent contact limited by privacy laws
High Schools are required to identify students with disabilities and determine what is needed for the student to be successful Colleges are restricted from seeking out students with disabilities due to privacy laws
Educational and psychological testing is provided Students are responsible for providing documentation to the college, if required
Entitlement law (IDEA) Civil Rights - Anti-discrimination law (ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 and the MN Human Rights Act)

See also the Postsecondary Resource Guide and Transition Webinars in the Resources and Links section.

How can I help my son or daughter prepare for college?
Preparing for a successful college experience begins early in school. Statistically, students with disabilities are less likely to enter higher education, and those who do attend are less likely to graduate than their peers without disabilities. If your son or daughter is going to beat these odds, you have to plan and support the decisions that can lead to college success. Use the following list to help your son or daughter plan for college:

Encourage your son or daughter to lead all of the following discussions.

  • Recognize that your son or daughter with a disability will go through the same experiences as their non-disabled peers.
  • Preparation for higher education needs to start early in your son or daughter’s high school years. Ask the high school staff for information regarding appropriate postsecondary choices, such as technical college, community college, or university.
  • Explore the benefits of extending the high school graduation date to take advantage of transition programs.
  • Work with your son or daughter’s high school teachers and support staff, and community agencies to identify transition activities that will prepare your son or daughter for college.
  • Contact the admissions office of several colleges or universities. Ask to speak with the service provider for students with disabilities. Talk with the service provider about the admissions process for students with disabilities, how students must document their disability, and what services the college or university offers to students with disabilities.
  • Ensure that your son or daughter will have the necessary testing that a college may require to document a disability. This includes but is not limited to learning disabilities. This testing can be done during the senior year of high school, but schedule it early. Have these reports and copies of your son or daughter’s most recent disability assessment, IEP (Individualized Education Plan), Section 504 Plan, and transition plan available for college or university staff.
  • Encourage your son or daughter to contact Vocational Rehabilitation Services to determine eligibility for services. They can help with financial and equipment support for students with disabilities.
  • If your son or daughter’s college or university requires placement testing, learn the process for requesting test accommodations. If your son or daughter needs test accommodations, documentation of that need may be required.
  • Ensure that your son or daughter learns to use appropriate accommodations.  These accommodations are determined based on need and may include but are not limited to test taking accommodations, notetaking assistance, alternate text format, and use of adaptive technology.
  • Remember your son or daughter has the responsibility to notify the college or university that she or he has a disability, to identify his/her needs, and if required, to provide appropriate documentation of those needs. The college has the responsibility to provide accommodations based on procedures for determining what is appropriate.

How can I help my son or daughter have a successful college experience?

As first-year students arrive at a college or university and begin to venture forth they experience different reactions and thoughts. Some students will adjust to life with little difficulty, while others may find that the transition stretches beyond the first year. Parents can help by understanding the developmental process that their students will journey through as they enter a college or university and recognize that this process is part of the higher education learning environment.

  • Upon arrival, many students enjoy a period where the newness and excitement leads to strong positive feelings about college life.
  • A few weeks into the semester, students begin to realize that higher education is not all glamour and fun – there is hard work, and there can be frustration and disappointment as well. Students may receive their first low grades.
  • About mid-semester, students may begin wondering if college life is better at another school. They might believe that transferring to another institution will solve the problems they are experiencing. Or they may wonder if they would be better off out in the work world.

If students have left home to go to school, they may learn that things at home have changed. Life has gone on without them. At the same time, first year students learn that they have changed, and because of this, their relationships with family and high school friends may be different from what they remember. Like college, home suddenly feels like a new and changing place.

As students progress through the semester they refine their academic and study skills, engage in their first deep conversations with classmates and enjoy expanding their circle of friends. It is often at this time that true intellectual fulfillment begins and meaningful relationships with classmates and faculty develop.

With the end of the semester near, students face large amounts of work. No matter how well students have been doing academically and socially, they may have anxiety about whether they will survive the papers and exams and if they will actually make it to the second semester. They may question again whether they really belong in college.

Sometime during the second semester, most students begin to view college as a total experience. They come to see the classes, casual discussions with new friends, parties, and other elements of their college life are related and part of an interrelated whole. First year students come to understand that the choices and commitment that they make have a tremendous impact on the shape of their college experience and future.

As a parent what information is available to me from my son or daughter’s educational records?

In general, under federal and state privacy laws, students at colleges or universities have the legal right to control access to information about themselves. Some information called “directory data” is public and available to anyone, even parents. Almost all other information such as grades or class schedules is private and, in most cases, a student’s written authorization is required to release to a third party private information held by a college or university.

Parents are legally considered to be “third parties” and need their child’s written permission to access private data about them.

Resources and Links

Below is a partial list of agencies that serve people with disabilities. These agencies may provide a variety of services, such as useful information, advocacy, funding, career assistance, and academic assistance. For more information on how agencies can assist students with disabilities, contact the Disability Services Office on your campus.

Association on Higher Education and Disability

  • Organization of professionals committed to full participation in higher education for individuals with disabilities

CareerOneStop

  • Employment info for all including workers or veterans with disabilities

Closing the Gap

  • Assistive technology in special education and rehabilitation

Fastweb.com

  • Info on all aspects of applying to colleges

GettingHired.com

  • Career research and job hunting for people with disabilities

Job Accommodations Network

  • Info on job accommodations, ADA, and employability

Metro Mobility

  • Door-through-door public transportation for people with disabilities in the Twin Cities area

Minnesota Department of Human Rights

  • All human rights issues in Minnesota

Minnesota Life College

  • 2-4 year postsecondary vocational and life skills training for young adults with learning differences and autism spectrum disorders

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services

  • Info on rehabilitation services for Minnesotans with disabilities

MN State Council on Disability

  • Info on quality of life and empowerment for individuals with disabilities

National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) 

  • Regional centers for issues regarding education for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing

Post Secondary Enrollment Options

  • Information on Minnesota PSEO

Post-Secondary Resource Guide (PDF)

Social Security Online

  • All social security issues

Transition Webinars

  • Practical Learning Strategies
  • Planning for College While Still in High School
  • Family Roles in Postsecondary Planning
  • Differences Between High School and College

WorkSupport.com

  • Virginia Commonwealth University RRTC Info, resources, and research about work and disability

Contacts