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International students who have a disability - or who believe they may have a disability - should be aware of resources that are available to them as Tufts students. These resources are designed to ensure that students receive the help that they need to access services, programs and activities. Students with documented disabilities may ask for reasonable accommodations (see below) to support them with their academic as well as employment, housing, and programming needs.

Tufts's commitment is based in the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which provides that no qualified individual with a disability may be denied access to services and programs. Our mission is to ensure equal opportunity for all students, regardless of disability, and including international studies.

Examples of Disabilities and Reasonable Accommodations

Tufts provides services and accommodations to students with temporary or permanent disabilities such as:

  • sensory disability (hearing, vision or speech)
  • mental health disability (depression, anxiety, OCD, etc.)
  • difficulty with mobility
  • learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders
  • students with chronic health disabilities (diabetes, lymes disease, migraines, seizures, etc.)
  • students on the autism spectrum

Students with documented disabilities can ask for reasonable accommodations. This refers to resources or adjustments made for students with disabilities, so that they can participate in and take advantage of Tufts's academic, residential, and social opportunities and events. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, additional time for examinations, sign language interpretation, assistive technologies, and housing and dining accommodations.

Recommended Steps

  1. If you are an international student and you have a disability - or even if you think you might have a disability - we encourage you to reach out to accessibility services at the StAAR (Student Academic and Accessibility Resources) Center. StAAR advisors are available to provide guidance to students in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, SMFA, and the Fletcher School. Consider contacting StAAR even before you start your studies at Tufts, so you can get advice about how to get tested (if necessary) and certified for reasonable accommodations early in your program.
  2. Once you have talked to a StAAR advisor, consider also taking additional steps:
    • With your StAAR Center's guidance, engage with your academic advisor to plan out your course schedule for your program. Depending on your program, you may benefit from making careful conscientious choices to understand where reasonable accommodations may be needed.
    • Talk to your International Center advisor about options for taking a reduced course load. While disability by itself is not a permitted reason for a reduced course load under F-1 student visa regulations, F-1 students may be able to take a reduced course load in their first year of US-based degree study if they find that part-time study will help with making initial adjustments due to academic difficulties. In addition, if there are medical conditions associated with your disability, you may be eligible for a medical reduced course load at various times during your program.
  3. Take time to learn about other office resources and policies designed to help and support you in your educational and academic goals. These include our Student Health Service and Counseling and Mental Health Service. Advocate for yourself by reading our campus policies designed to protect students with disabilities, explaining what kinds of accommodations are available to support students with documented disabilities.

Services at Other Campuses

For information about how to obtain reasonable accommodations at other Tufts schools other than Arts & Sciences, Engineering, SMFA, and the Fletcher School, click on the links below:

Employee Accommodations

In addition, students who are also employees of the University (such as graduate assistants) should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity for information about accommodations available to employees.