Disability Services for Students

302 Memorial Union Univeristy of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 02881


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About Disability Services

DSS Vision and Mission 

Disability Services for Students. Disability Services for Students works with students and all units of URI to create inclusive and sustainable learning and working environments. We facilitate access, discourse, and involvement through innovative services, programs, leadership, and collaboration.

In response to the ADAAA (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act 2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, we promote academic success, self-advocacy, and equal opportunity through education, awareness, and the understanding that disability is a matter of cultural diversity.

Additional duties of the office include:

  • recommend and coordinate reasonable accommodations (exam, course, program, housing, transportation),
  • encourage student development through self-advocacy and personal decision making,
  • support student commitment to academic success and retention,
  • provide information to faculty and administrators regarding disability awareness and inclusion.

We are happy to discuss specific concerns in person, by phone, or by email. Our office is located at 302 Memorial Union, Kingston, RI 02881. Contact us: 401.874.2098 (TT via Relay at 711) OR dss@etal.uri.edu.

Disability Services for Students, Dean of Students Office,
Division of Student Affairs.

Disability Services for Students is part of the Dean of Students Office in the Division of Student Affairs. Our office currently consists of our Assistant Dean/Director, three fulltime Coordinators, one Graduate Assistant, and several undergraduate Technical Accommodation Assistants.  In addition, we hire approximately 150 students to help us provide class notes adapted texts, or other supports for eligible students.  Each of us is committed to equal opportunity for all members of  the URI Community.

The office is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We are closed on most Federal and State Holidays.

We work by individual appointment; please call us at 401-874-2098 (TT: via 711) or email us at dss@etal.uri.edu to make an appointment with your counselor.

About our Students 

About the students we serve:
We work with approximately 1342 self-identified students (approximately 8% of the student body) with a wide range of disabilities. Although the number of identified students in a given year varies, below is a typical distribution of students listed with our office:

Type of Disability

Number of Occurences

% of total Disabilities

Mental Health



ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder)



Learning Disability



Chronic Health Condition






Physical / Mobility Related



Autism Spectrum / Asperger Syndrome



Head Injury












Student Performance, Graduation and Retention

When we look at student grades, students with disabilities do as well, or better than, their non-disabled peers. Similar proportions of students with disabilities are on the Dean’s List (GPA 3.3 or above), and also similar proportions of students with disabilities are on probation (GPA below 2.0). There are proportionally fewer dismissals of students with disabilities.

At the recent URI accreditation review,  graduation statistics for students with disabilities were reported as “somewhat lower: 55-59%” as compared to the overall URI student body.  However, first and second year retention rates for students with disabilities were significantly higher (88.8% and 78.4% respectively) as compared to the retention rates for all URI students.

Despite the nation-wide statistics that demonstrate significantly lower graduation and retention rates for students with disabilities, we are committed to sustaining and increasing the retention and graduation rates of students with disabilities at URI.


(Source: Association of Higher Education and Disability — AHEAD)

We agree that these principles are the Code of Ethics for postsecondary disability service providers at the University of Rhode Island. As professionals, we are responsible for upholding, supporting, and advancing these ideas whenever possible. Members of AHEAD agree to monitor themselves and their peers in accordance with the spirit and provisions of this code, as delineated by the following principles:

  1. Postsecondary disability service providers are committed to facilitating the highest levels of educational excellence and potential quality of life for postsecondary students with disabilities.
  2. Postsecondary disability service providers strive to achieve and maintain the highest levels of competence and integrity in all areas of assistance to adult students with disabilities. This support is guided by the consistent use of objective, professional judgment in all areas, especially when addressing the confidential nature of the student’s disability.
  3. Postsecondary disability service providers continually participate in professional activities and educational opportunities designed to strengthen the personal, educational, and vocational quality of life for students with disabilities. This includes the on-going development of strategies, skills, research, and knowledge pertinent to the highest quality of disability service delivery whenever and wherever it occurs.
  4. Postsecondary disability service providers carry out their responsibilities in accordance with AHEAD professional standards and policy guidelines for adult students with disabilities. When certified, licensed, or affiliated with other professionals or organizations, they comply with those professional guidelines aswell.
  5. Postsecondary service providers are actively engaged in supporting and clarifying institutional, state, provincial, and federal laws, policies, and procedures applicable to the service delivery to students with disabilities. Compliance implies that professionals will not condone or participate in any unethical or illegal acts discussed within these guidelines.



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