Parents & Families

The Disability Resource Center strives to support the development of students’ self-determination skills, an integral part of their success as a college student. For students with disabilities, managing their own accommodations while at Northeastern is an important opportunity to practice self-determination.

For students with disabilities, taking ownership of the accommodation request process during their transition from high school to college and managing their accommodations while at Northeastern is an important opportunity to practice their self-determination skill. In your role as a parent, we ask that you encourage your student to take the lead in communicating with our office. We invite you to explore the resources below as you consider how you can partner with us in supporting the development of their self-determination skills. You can also visit this website to learn more.

Field, S., Sarver, M. D., & Shaw, S. F. (2003). Self-determination: A key to success in postsecondary education for  students with learning disabilities. Remedial and special education, 24(6), 339-349.

Parent Contact Form

In support of developing your student’s self-determination skills, please encourage them to contact our office directly and set up a meeting with a DRC staff member.  If after that meeting any questions remain, you may fill out the following form to provide additional information about your student’s concern.  A member of our team will review your message and reply to you in 24-48 hours.

Transitioning from High School to College: Differing Roles

The transition from high school to college is significant — the responsibility for connecting with campus resources and initiating the accommodation process shifts from the institution to the student. The following table is an overview of a few of the differences in roles and in expectations.

Your student…

As a parent of a college student…

  • initiates and navigates the accommodation request process by contacting the DRC and submitting required documentation.
  • encourage them to think about the different ways their disability impacts them in an academic or residential environment.
  • help them to practice talking about their disability and its impact.
  • takes point on communication with the Disability Resource Center.
  • advise them to monitor their email and take the initiative to communicate with the DRC about any disability related barriers they might be facing.
  • communicates with instructors, advisors, and other university personnel.
  • suggest that they seek support if needed and utilize the campus resources available at Northeastern.
  • manages coursework independently.
  • ask your student how they are managing, both academically and emotionally.
  • pays attention to university notifications and processes.
  • encourage them to take responsibility and communicate with necessary university resources if you learn of any issues.

Transitioning to College: A Guide for Parents & Families

A Note on Privacy

The DRC is committed to maintaining student confidentiality while providing disability accommodation to Northeastern students. Registration with the DRC is not reflected on a student’s transcript or educational records. It is the student’s choice to disclose to the DRC and to faculty each semester via Professor Notification Letters, the DRC does not disclose this information on the student’s behalf. Faculty are not made aware of a student’s diagnosis or nature of their disability, they are only made aware of the approved accommodations. 

The privacy of student educational records with the DRC is guided by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We encourage students and families to review Northeastern University’s FERPA policies. More information about FERPA and the release form can be found here.  

Your student can email or contact their specialist regarding any questions or concerns about how their personal information is stored, shared, or disclosed.  

FAQs for Parents & Families

What if I have about a concern about my student and their accommodations?

We would first encourage your student take the lead in communicating with our office. Your student can reach out to a DRC specialist to request a meeting to address any concerns.

If you having any remaining questions, we welcome you to complete our Parent Contact Form above. Once the form has been received and reviewed, a DRC staff member will be in touch to discuss the concerns and ask that your student be involved in any conversations as well. 

Does the DRC offer any specialized tutoring for students?

The DRC does not provide content tutoring, but the university does offer academic tutoring for all students through a variety of resources including the Writing Center and the Peer Tutoring Program. We recommend students discuss tutoring resources with their academic advisor. 

What if my student is having challenges or issues in their residential placement?

If students are having any difficulties in their residential placement, we recommend they reach out to their Resident Assistant and/or Resident Director to address any concerns. Please refer to Northeastern’s Housing and Residential Life department for assistance. If you have any additional concerns, please fill out our Parent Contact Form located above. 

When should my student expect to hear back about their accommodation request?

Documentation goes through a formal, thorough, case-by-case review process. If the Documentation Review Committee determines that supporting information is needed from your student, it could take some additional time. Please allow for approximately 2-3 weeks for our accommodation review process upon receipt of all necessary pieces of documentation. A specialist will email the student to provide next step when the Documentation Review Committee completes their review.  

Does the DRC provide accommodations for all of Northeastern's campuses?

Yes, please contact us directly with any questions about accommodations for campuses outside of Boston at

Is there a special application process for students with disabilities applying to Northeastern?

No, there is no special application process for students with disabilities when applying to the university. Students are expected to meet regular admission standards. A student may voluntarily disclose their disability during the admissions process, but the DRC does not have any role in the process.  

Does the DRC assist students with temporary conditions or injury?

Yes, students with temporary conditions can reach out to our office to inquire about available support while they are recovering. The university does not, however, provide transportation services or medical equipment (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.) to students. 

What if my student requires disability-related housing accommodations?

If your student is experiencing a disability-related barrier to accessing their living environment, you can encourage your student to reach out to our office to learn more about how to apply for a housing accommodation. Information about starting this process can be found on the Incoming/Unregistered students tab on this website. 

What is the difference between the Learning Disabilities Program and the DRC?

The DRC provides accommodations to all eligible students. The LDP is a fee-based, academic support program designed for students whose primary diagnosis is a learning disability or ADHD. Please see the LDP’s website for additional information.  

What kind of support can my DRC specialist offer me?

Students can meet with their specialist 3-5 times per semester to work on study skills, organizational supports, and building their self-determination skills. Specialists are also available to assist with any issues relating to disability accommodations or their implementation. Students can reach out to their specialist by email to set up a meeting to discuss any concerns. 

Does the DRC provide any mental health support services for students?

No, the DRC is not a clinical office. If a student is in need of mental health support or care, we can help refer them to the University’s Health and Counseling Services (UHCS), including FIND@northeastern.

Does the DRC provide medical leave support?

No, the medical leave process is handled by UHCS, please see their website for more information.

Where can my student get support in their residential hall?

Resident Assistants and Resident Directors assigned to your student’s residential hall can assist with any concerns or issues that arise in the residential hall. Please take a look at Northeastern’s Housing and Residential Life website for more information.

My student had an IEP or 504 plan in high school. How can they request accommodations?

Please note that a 504 plan or IEP establishes a history of accommodation use, but alone it is not enough to approve accommodations at the collegiate level. In addition to information about any high school accommodations, your student will also need to provide a Student Disclosure Form, and updated clinical documentation. Please see the red box entitiled “Disclosure Forms” on our Incoming/Unregistered Students page for access to all necessary forms.

Does my student need to resubmit documentation for accommodation eligibility each semester?

No, once they officially register with the DRC and complete a Student Service Agreement they do not need to resubmit documentation. Should your student wish to apply for any additional accommodations, they can submit updated or additional information at any time.