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Student Accessibility Services Course Substitution


  • In awarding a degree or certificate, Central Virginia Community College is recognizing the satisfactory completion of a set of courses it deems representative of the academic standards it upholds. All students admitted to the college are regarded as "otherwise qualified" to participate in any academic program with or without reasonable accommodations; therefore, students with disabilities are not excused from degree requirements.
  • The college recognizes the need to accommodate students with documented disabilities without compromising the integrity of any student's course of study. The college also recognizes that a disability may preclude a student from demonstrating required competencies or from completing course requirements necessary for associate degrees or certificate programs.
  • In certain limited instances where a student has a disability that is so profound that it precludes his/her ability to meet a course requirement, the student may request a course substitution. Course substitutions will be granted only in cases where failure to meet the graduation requirement(s) does not constitute a fundamental alteration to the college program, or when the academic requirement(s) are not essential to the program of study or to meet licensing or certification requirements. Consideration of a course substitution is done on a case-by-case basis.

How to Substitute

Students with disabilities who wish to request a course substitution will need to:

  • Identify himself/herself as a person with a disability and submit appropriate documentation verifying a disability that substantially limits the skills required for the successful completion of the required course.
  • Request in writing, that the SAS counselor make a written request for course substitution including documentation supporting the reason the student needs the substitution. Items should include: documentation of the disability and how it prevents completion of the course required, student's academic history and career goals, transcripts, student's strengths, and possible substitution recommendations.
  • Be a current curricular student at Central Virginia Community College. This will allow a determination to be made as to whether the requested course substitution represents a fundamental alteration in the chosen field of study.
  • Have successfully completed at least 12 credit hours of college level course work.
  • Complete the Request for Substitution or Academic Requirement Form to submit to the dean of the designated department.
  • Sign a release form (give written permission) allowing the SAS counselor at CVCC to share relevant disability-related information with the appropriate school dean, program head, and appropriate faculty members, as part of the decision-making process.
  • Documents are submitted to the dean of the school for the curriculum in which the student is enrolled for approval or denial.
  • If the dean of the school is unable to determine an appropriate substitution, the dean may convene a committee consisting of no less than three but no more than six members of the college to review the student's request. Committee members will include but are not limited to:
  • One representative appointed by the dean from the school in which the degree or certificate is housed;
  • Representative of the program in question relating to the course for which a request is being made;
  • One representative from the program from which the substituted course is selected (e.g., the school dean and/or designee, or program head);
  • Other individuals relevant to the requirements for a course substitution (e.g., Admissions & Records staff).
  • Faculty and Student Accessibility Services may provide information to the committee, but only the committee members can vote.
  • A statement outlining the decision of the committee and appropriate course substitution, if applicable, will be attached to CVCC Request for Substitution of Academic Requirement, which is submitted to Admissions and Records. The Committee's finding should be provided to the student's academic advisor and the ADA 504/Plan Coordinator. A copy of the committee's decision will be placed in the student's academic file. Written notification to the student will be issued within thirty (30) calendar days of the committee meeting. The student has the right to appeal the decision by following the college's appeal procedures.


The college cannot guarantee that substitutions granted by CVCC will be honored at any other college/university either for general admission, graduation requirements, transfer admission, or admission into a specific degree program; moreover, CVCC does not automatically honor course substitutions granted by other colleges or universities. It is the students' responsibility to a) contact the four-year college where they plan to transfer and request information on their degree program requirements, and b) contact the Office of Admissions and Records to determine if the course substitution at his/her previous institution will fulfill the requirements of his/her program at CVCC.

Procedures and Timeline

  1. Student submits written request for course substitution to the ADA Coordinator.
  2. Student Accessibility Services (SAS) will review information and respond to student requests within ten (10) business days.
  3. If there is no merit to the request based on the documentation and nature of the request, SAS will notify the student that the request cannot proceed.
  4. If there is merit to the request based on the documentation on record and nature of the request, SAS will forward the request along with a letter of support to the school awarding the degree or certificate.
  5. Upon receipt of the request, the school dean will confer with the respective program head and SAS within ten (10) business days. If there is no resolution, the dean will call a meeting with various representatives to make recommendations based on the merits of the request and potential options for the student.
  6. After the meeting, the dean will notify the student in writing of the recommendations within ten (10) business days, with a copy forwarded to SAS.
  7. The student may appeal the decision following the Grievance Procedure with strict adherence to the time line process.