Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

The process is easy. Once you are officially accepted as a student at UH Hilo, you will need to complete the following forms:

You will need to turn it in person at the Student Services Center, Room E-230 or via mail:

UH Hilo
200 W. Kāwili St.
Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720

Appropriate documentation or a Medical Provider-Recommended Education Accommodations form (PDF) must be included as well, and must meet certain guidelines in order to be considered as an acceptable form of documentation.

What can I expect, once my application is received?

You can expect to receive a call within the week of receipt, or email, confirming the arrival of your documentation, and either an appointment, or request for additional documentation, will be made with you.

What will be discussed during my appointment?

We will review your application, discuss your plans and goals at UH Hilo, and see how our office can assist you in your academic career at UH Hilo. Many students have similar disabilities, but not all academic accommodations are the same. Our personalized meetings last no more than one hour.

What are academic accommodations? What can I expect as an accommodation?

Academic accommodations are modifications to academic requirements or procedures that are necessary to ensure that qualified students with disabilities receive equal access to education. These modifications should not alter the academic integrity of the course. That is, essential skills should not be waived; not should the content be watered down. Each person is unique in his/her needs, and therefore, service provision will depend on what each person needs in order to equally participate in the classroom setting.

Is there a due date for the applications? Is there any fee involved?

You can apply for services at any time during the semester, and all services that are considered academic accommodations are free to the student.

Do I need to reapply each semester?

Once accepted as a qualified person with a disability, you will not need to reapply.

Can I revise my accommodation request?

Definitely, and you should annually review your accommodations to make sure that they still meet your academic or program needs. You will need to meet with the DS Director to discuss your revisions and may need to provide additional supporting documentation, if not in your current records.

Does this campus have emergency plans for persons with disabilities?

Yes. Copies can be sent to you via email or by mail. The final version that will include both University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College Campus information will be made available on the DS website once approved by both campus authorities.

I plan to also reside on campus. Will my roommate be a person with a disability?

Our campus philosophy is for diversity at all levels. We will integrate people with/without disabilities in residential settings at our campus. If you do apply for on-campus housing, make sure that you note in the application that you will need a housing accommodation for the term of the year, or semester. Please be as specific as possible in the request and the reason for the request.

How often should I talk with the staff at the Disability Services Office?

You can see the office staff at any time during the semester, and during semester breaks. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. However, if you need to meet outside of those times, the Director is agreeable to special meeting arrangements with prior notice. Many students use the office for assistance in proctoring of their exams, advocating situations that may be more challenging than that which is usually experienced, notifying their professors if emergency medical situations come up and they are not able to connect with the professors, for sharing good experiences, updating your records if any changes have occurred that will necessitate a change in your type/frequency of accommodation, if you plan to withdraw or transfer to another institution, and for future planning for their general life goals. All shared information is held in strictest confidence between the DS staff and the student.

What about my exam accommodations? What do I need to do?

If you have extended time and/or distraction free testing as part of your accommodation, you should have a discussion with your professor about these facts. Please keep in mind that some exams can only be done in situations where the professors must be present.

Other than those situations, if you do not feel comfortable with the option that the professor is providing you for your testing accommodation (testing site is in a hallway, or where there is a lot of noise/foot traffic), feel free to contact us to request our office to do the testing with you. We will then contact your professors to make the arrangements and will be in contact with you to confirm the logistical information for the exam.

When we proctor the exams, we will need your course syllabi for these specific courses. If there are no dates on the syllabus, we will need for you to get these dates from your professors and notify us as soon as you get them.

To help us all keep on track, it is best that you give us a reminder call about any upcoming exams, as sometimes the exam dates have changed, and we have not been informed of this new date.

We have a new testing protocol that we proctor exams (except for finals). Tests are done in a specific room and it will vary each semester. Once it is confirmed that we will proctoring your exams, you will be contacted on a regular basis to make sure all the appropriate arrangements are intact before the exam day. You should notify us if any of the exam date changes for these proctored exams.

I am close to my parents, and would like for you to talk to them in case they call. Is this possible?

We will be able to talk with your parents about your academic situation, with your written permission. Beyond that, we will need to discuss this matter in person before a decision can be made because there are certain privacy laws in existence that we must work with.

If I choose not to have services, but still need help once in awhile, whom can I talk to?

There are numerous people on campus who can help you, depending on your circumstances. For example, we have free professional counseling services with the Counseling Center; we have a designated liaison with the Financial Aid Office, Mrs. Kolby Santiago , who can help you untangle the financial maze of going to school; we have a physician and nurse on staff who can provide limited free medical services in case you get ill; we have an energetic Advising Center for those who have not declared a major. Career Development Services staff can assist you in finding a job on campus and conduct effective Career Counseling.

There are also numerous support programs that can assist persons who qualify for their programs, including the Student Support Services Program and the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center. If you wish to have only tutoring, you can apply to the Student Support Services Program, and you can also access free tutoring in Math and English at the Learning Center and for other additional subjects at the Kilohana Academic Support Center.

I am thinking about applying to a mainland college, and have never applied for services; will it be too late to get my paperwork started, even if I am in my junior year?

Definitely apply, and use the services at the mainland institution. It is important to seek out these services, if you need them. Perhaps, in the past you did not need them, but your life may have changed since then. You may have added stresses that have impacted your ability to concentrate and focus. The services are a legal entitlement for those who qualify, and you will not know if you qualify until you try. Go to the institution’s web site, and begin doing some reading about their services and application process. That will help you and the intake counselor at the mainland institution during your first contact meeting – whether by email, phone, or letter.

I want to go to graduate school, and need to take the ETS placement exams. What do I need to do to obtain accommodations for these tests?

The Educational Testing Service (ETS), and other testing service agencies, often will include information in their testing packet information on the procedures of requesting for accommodations for their specific tests. Either the Career Center, or the DS Office will be able to assist you if you are planning to request for assistance for these professional exams.

Are there any scholarships for students with disabilities?

Yes, there are. The DS Office has a folder with compiled resources for this specific category of financial support. Please contact Susan Shirachi to view.

I am a student employee with a disability, what are my rights?

As a student and a person with a disability, your accommodations would fall under Title I and II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act ensures that your civil rights will not be violated during any part of the employment process. Call Disability Services at (808) 932-7623 for an appointment to speak with the Director to discuss your employment case on a more personal basis. For more comprehensive information on the ADA, visit .

For disability employment information at UH Hilo and other State of Hawaiʻi or County jobs please visit the State of Hawaiʻi Disability and Communication Access Board .

Mahalo nui loa (Thank you very much)