How the Educational Access Center Provides Academic Support

The Educational Access Center is located at the right side of Bond Academic Center on PLNU's campus.

Through personalized assistance, such as testing services and a student success seminar, PLNU’s Educational Access Center both ensures an inclusive learning environment and empowers students with disabilities to thrive academically.

What is the Educational Access Center?

The Educational Access Center (EAC) is the point of contact regarding disability-related needs for PLNU undergraduate and graduate students. The center aids both current and incoming students in engaging with PLNU’s programs and activities by establishing an official Accommodation Plan (AP). 

Activities include:

  • Student success seminars
  • A mentoring program
  • A student club
  • A self-advocacy course
  • Testing services

What is an Accommodation Plan?

An Accommodation Plan is a modification made within the academic or non-academic setting to make sure learning is equally accessible for all students. Each accommodation is evaluated based on the individual’s circumstances, taking into account recommendations derived from submitted official medical documentation.

How the EAC provides academic support

Some of the main services that the EAC provides include:

  • Testing accommodations
    • Extended testing time
    • Testing in the EE (Educational Effectiveness) Lab
    • Testing in one of the two solo testing rooms
  • Scribing or reading tests for students
  • Note-taking accommodations
  • Textbook to audiobook scanners

Senior psychology major Kaylee Thompson has worked at the EAC for one year as a student accessibility receptionist. To Thompson, working at the EAC has been a very impactful experience, as she has been able to support and build friendships with the students who come in.

“I feel like it makes it a more welcoming, comfortable space for the students who are coming in to see a familiar face,” Thompson said.

“I love our office. It is very comforting, people are very friendly, and there are couches, chairs, coffee, and snacks. I think that it is a fun place to come hang out and do homework, so I hope that other students will take advantage of that and use it, too.”
— Kaylee Thompson, senior psychology major and EAC student accessibility receptionist

Other academic accommodations that the EAC provides include:

  • Alternative formats
  • Assistive technologies
  • Audio enhancements
  • Classroom conditions
  • Communication modalities
  • Exam conditions
  • Memory tools
  • Visual enhancements

Additional accommodations available through the EAC

Dietary accommodations

If a student has food sensitivities/intolerances/allergies, Celiac disease, or other dietary needs, PLNU’s dining facilities are equipped to provide safe, healthy, and delicious options for them. 

Dining managers and chefs are certified through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Great Kitchens© program to accommodate a gluten-free diet. Once a student submits medical documentation related to their dietary needs, they can schedule an appointment with a registered dietician through the EAC to discuss their accommodations. 

Housing accommodations

Some housing accommodations provided through the EAC include:

  • Applying for housing early
  • Having a service or emotional support animal
  • Having a single dorm room

Following the guidelines outlined in Residential Life at PLNU, students must apply for housing. Students who meet the EAC’s housing accommodation criteria will be assigned housing based on their medically-documented needs, which will be a separate process from the regular housing application process. If your accommodation includes having a service or emotional support animal, information about the procedure can be found here.

“[The EAC] is a tool for students who need it; I think that it is a huge help, just as a resource for [students] to come in and get that extra support they need and feel supported by other people on campus.”
— Kaylee Thompson, senior psychology major and EAC student accessibility receptionist

Transportation accommodations

The EAC can assist in identifying transportation while on campus for classes and other activities if a student is in need of transportation accommodations.

  • Parking. Although freshmen are not allowed vehicles on campus due to limited parking spaces, a Freshman Vehicle Exemption can be issued to EAC-registered students with (at least) weekly local provider appointments. EAC-registered upperclassmen can also request special parking for mobility reasons.
  • Cart service. The EAC provides a cart service for students in need of transportation accommodations.
  • On-campus shuttle. For all students, PLNU offers on- and off-campus shuttle services that run on a daily basis at predetermined stops.
  • Zipcar. Zipcars are available to rent for off-campus appointments.

Short-term accommodations

If a student has a temporary disability (a transitory impairment with an actual or expected duration of six months or less), they can provide medical documentation of the condition, limitations to daily life, estimated duration, and a treatment plan to the EAC to see if they qualify for accommodations. Some examples of temporary disabilities include:

  • Hand injuries
  • Torn ligaments
  • Post-surgical recoveries
  • Broken extremities
  • Singular concussions

How to connect with the EAC

Senior human health and performance major Juliana Sum has been working at the Educational Access Center for two years. If you’re interested in connecting with the EAC to see what resources are available for you, Sum encourages you to start by reaching out.

“[We] help students advocate for their needs. The EAC truly does a wonderful job helping the students at Point Loma; they genuinely care and want the best for their students,” Sum said. “They don’t just see students as a little fish in the sea; I’ve seen firsthand my managers truly get to know their students and their stories and really help them get the accommodations that they need to be successful, which I think is extremely valuable.”

Getting connected as a freshman

As soon as you’re accepted into PLNU, fill out a provider document and send it to the EAC.

Getting connected as a sophomore, junior, or senior

If you find out that you do need accommodations while you’re a student at PLNU, come to the EAC to receive a provider document and get it signed by a licensed professional. 

We’re happy to work with every student to ensure they have the best learning experience. If you’re interested in learning more about the Educational Access Center or are looking for ways that you can get academic support during your time at Point Loma Nazarene University, check out the EAC’s website here.