Student FAQs

Student Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Will I automatically receive services from DSP if I submit a "certification of disability" during the admissions application process?

No. Services are not provided by DSP automatically. All students seeking services through DSP must complete an application. If you are unable to complete the online application process, you can also request assistance in person from the receptionist at the DSP office.

What do I have to do in order to prove that I have a disability?

Disability documentation must verify two things: (1) the presence of a diagnosed disability or medical condition and (2) the current impact of the diagnosed disability or medical condition. For detailed information about documentation requirements and for forms that you can give to your medical providers to fill out, see Documentation.

If you have already sent us documentation but we conclude that it either is not sufficient to support a disability diagnosis or does not give us the...

If I was eligible for disability services in high school, will I automatically be eligible for similar services at Cal?

IEP's and 504 Plans are not binding on the University of California or any organizations outside of the schools in which they were developed. Accordingly, you will not automatically be eligible for specific services or accommodations simply because you present your high school Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.

To determine whether you are eligible for our services, one of our Disability Specialists will conduct a comprehensive assessment and evaluation process that is consistent with established University of California systemwide practices. The assessment and evaluation...

Why did you request that I submit to more learning disability testing?

Additional or updated testing is normally requested when the existing testing does not give us enough information to determine appropriate services for you. You may review the specific criteria for the diagnosis of learning disabilities and the determination of appropriate service.

Why is there a difference between the services I was offered in high school and those I am eligible to receive at Berkeley?

The laws that address students' access to K-12 education and to postsecondary education offer different protections to students and result in different accommodations.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act covers public school students with disabilities in the United States from elementary school through high school and focuses on student success. Students with disabilities are provided with the curriculum and accomodations they require to be successful in meeting their individualized goals. In some cases, this means that students with disabilities are meeting...

What are my responsibilities for ensuring that I receive the accommodations I am entitled to?

Students have multiple responsibilities in ensuring that they receive their accommodations.

The individual assessment and accommodation process is an ongoing and interactive one. Participate actively in your intake appointment. If the nature or impact of your disability changes, or if your accommodations no longer seem sufficient to provide you with equal access to your courses, let your assigned Disability Specialist know. You can meet with your Disability Specialist to review your current documentation, schedule, and accommodations.


Will you discuss my progress at Cal with my parents or answer their questions if they write or phone?

We encourage you to keep in close personal contact with your family throughout your years at Cal. However, DSP cannot normally discuss any information about students' progress at Berkeley with a third party, including parents, guardians, partners, and children. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the University policy regarding the release and disclosure of student information generally prohibit DSP from disclosing confidential information to anyone but the student.

What is...

What are the drop-in hours for this semester?

DSP Disability Specialists

Disability Specialists hold daily tabling just outside the front of the DSP office for students on their caseloads. Drop-in hours can be found below.

DSP Specialist Drop-In Calendar

Alternative Media

My instructor has not yet declared the titles of my textbooks, what do I do?

Fill out the Alternative Media Notice form as soon as possible. This will allow us to contact your instructor or course department for book and course material information. We will email you information as we receive it.

How do I check to see what textbooks I need for my classes?

There are a few ways to do this. You can check on CalCentral or the Cal Student Store Textbook Lookup. Additionally, you can log into AIM and access the Alternative Media module. See the instructions about how to request alternative media for more information.

My assigned format is not working for me (I don’t like it), can a request a different format?

Please email the Alternative Media Supervisor with details of what is not working for you. Your format could be adjusted or changed.

How do I request Alt Media?

To request alternative media each semester, you must log into AIM. Please see instructions on our website about how to request alternative media using AIM.

I dropped/changed one or more of my classes and no longer need Alt Media for them, what do I do?

As soon as possible, email us at with your name, the name of the class(es), and the name of the book(s) in those classes so that we can cancel those requests immediately.

How long does it take to get my files?

Books/course materials containing clean text (i.e. a novel) take 10-17 business days to process. Books containing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), graphs, tables, or poor quality/markups (highlighting, underlining, writing, blurry text) generally take longer than 10 business days. For detailed information please read our Alternative Media Guidelines

I am a graduate student and need alternative formats for non-course related academic work. Can I request alternative formats for these titles?

If you own a book that needs conversion, whether it is required for a class or not, please request a conversion from DSP's Alternative Media Unit by logging into AIM. You will need to provide a receipt or proof of ownership for any copyrighted materials.

Note: If you have a lot of books that you need converted, we recommend that you make an appointment with Alt Media staff so that we can prioritize what to convert...

Why do I need to provide a receipt?

DSP must adhere to copyright guidelines and verify that students own the textbooks they are requesting. For detailed information please read our Alternative Media Guidelines

Can I request books from the Library?

If you have a library book that needs conversion, please use the Library's scanning services. You will receive an email with a link to a PDF and a DOCX. If the document you received needs further editing, please feel free to request this file from the Alternative Media Unit of DSP.