By providing support services at no cost to students, SAS offers an opportunity for students to achieve their academic and personal goals. Reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis, considering the specific disability and documentation of functional limitations following the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that enables a qualified individual with a disability to have an equitable opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to an individual without a disability. Below are some of the common accommodations used by students registered with SAS.

Accommodated Testing

Testing accommodations may include extended time, a reduced distraction environment, tests read aloud, or scribes. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule exams at least one week in advance of the testing date after providing the instructor with an official Letter of Accommodation from SAS.

All quizzes, tests, and exams that need to be taken with SAS must be scheduled with the office. For online exams, students will also need to select Panama City SAS as the testing location for their proctored exam.

Exams must be scheduled at the same time as it is administered in class. If you have a conflict due to back to back classes or SAS operating hours, be sure to address this with your instructor before scheduling.

Instructors must give written permission for students to use any materials (ex., notes, calculator, books, etc.) during an exam. Cell phones, book bags, and other personal items are not permitted in testing areas.

All students must abide by the University’s Academic Honor Policy. Any violation will be reported to the appropriate university administrator. Students taking exams at SAS will be video monitored during their exams.


Alternative Text Services

Students who qualify and have been approved for alternative text (Alt-text) accommodations can receive access to school-related texts in alternative formats. This includes required textbooks, assigned readings, instructor slide shows, and class handouts. Class notes and suggested reading/texts are not included in our Alt-text service. We try to provide the most accessible version of the materials as possible, depending on the source material. 

The Panama City SAS works with the Alt-text Services team in Tallahassee to provide materials and may take several business days to receive physical materials. Students are encouraged to request materials as soon as possible.

BookShare is a service that provides books and textbooks in accessible formats for those who qualify. They have a huge archive of books available, so always check here first when looking for accessible versions of your course books.

Through SAS, alt-text materials can be requested in braille, Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) files, Microsoft Word documents for standard software readers, Portable Document Format (PDF), Rich Text Format (RTF), and TXT files.

Textbooks may be requested before you have purchased them. The best plan is to request books at the same time you sign up for classes or as soon as the class syllabus is available on Canvas. The sooner you request your books and materials, the faster the Alt-text Services team can provide them to you. Waiting until the second or third week of classes, when the team is at its busiest, could mean a significant delay in you getting an accessible text to use for studying.

To receive requested alt-text books, you must provide receipts proving you have purchased your required textbooks. Legally, we are only providing an accessible copy of the materials you already own. We will not release books to you if we do not have a receipt from you. You may not sell, share, loan, or give the accessible copy to anyone; they are for your use only. Note that no receipt is necessary for instructor slide presentations, class readings, or other handouts.

SAS uses the Florida State Dropbox system to deliver alt-text files, which will send an e-mail to your FSU email address to notify you when the materials are available.


Kurzweil 3000

Students at Florida State University are eligible for a free membership with Kurzweil 3000, one of the top literacy tools available today. It includes text-to-speech tools for a variety of formats, zoom features, highlighting, and more. Your membership will allow you to use both the online access version and the full-feature downloadable software app.

Register for a Kurzweil 3000 account for free by completing the Kurzweil 3000 sign up form.

Sign up instructions:

  • You must use your FSU email address
  • Select “Florida State University” in the “School/Org” dropdown field
  • You must add your FSU EMPLID in the “External ID” field; this is your nine (9) digit code on your FSUCard or under “Identity Management” in your FSU Portal

Kurzweil 3000 Online brings digital, text-based content and literacy tools to anyone who desires assistance with literacy skills. It is available anytime and anywhere an Internet connection exists and from any computer running a Windows or Macintosh operating system. Kurzweil 3000 supports any Web browser and reads Kurzweil Educational Systems (KES) files as well as other file formats.

Read the Web Chrome Extension allows web content to be read aloud. You can now listen to tweets or research articles in 30 natural text-to-speech voices that read aloud in 17 languages and dialects. Download at the Chrome web app store.

Kurzweil 3000 downloadable software program offers integrated features that supplement and enhance reading, studying, and writing skills. It provides users with multiple ways to access information with tools to help accomplish tasks independently and practice active learning skills.

For the downloadable app:


Be sure to download the “Version 20 (subscription/web license)” as that will tie your existing Kurzweil 3000 account. One thing to note is that the instant file is very large and takes a few minutes to set up. Getting started guides can be helpful as well as their Kurzweil Academy.


American Sign Language Interpretation

SAS provides sign language interpretation to students who qualify and are registered with the office. This service includes interpretation for classes, study groups, advising, lectures, and other Florida State-sponsored activities. The interpreter will accommodate the needs of deaf/hard of hearing students through their preferred mode of communication.

SAS can assist departments in finding and hiring a contractor for other university department events and programs.


Emotional Support Animals

Florida State University welcomes Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) based on the Fair Housing Act (FHA). ESAs provide a measure of support and comfort to individuals with qualifying disabilities. ESAs are a prescribed part of therapy for emotional and psychological disabilities and serve to alleviate symptoms of the disability.

There is much confusion about the role of ESAs and they are often mistaken for Service Animals. ESAs are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ESAs provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and can help reduce symptoms of psychiatric disabilities and mental impairments, such as depression, anxiety, and certain phobias. ESAs differ from Service Animals in that they do not have special training to perform specific tasks that assist people with disabilities.

Unlike a Service Animal that has access to public places where pets are not typically allowed, an ESA has limited access to places of public accommodation. Under the FHA, an ESA is viewed as a reasonable accommodation in a housing unit that has a no pet policy for its residents. Therefore, ESAs are allowed in residence halls, but are restricted to a student’s room and can only leave for nature breaks. ESAs are not allowed in classrooms, campus buildings, common rooms, or areas in the residence halls, or campus events. ESAs must be under the control of their owner at all times, cannot be left alone overnight, and cannot be cared for by another student.


Service Animals versus Emotional Support Animals


Service Animals Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)
Dogs Species not specified; typically a dog or cat
Assists a person with a disability by performing a specific task Alleviates symptoms of a psychiatric or emotional disability
Trained to perform a specific task Not trained for a specific task
Does not need to register with the Office of Accessibility Services (SAS) Does need to register with SAS with documentation that clearly links the ESA to the disability
May be eligible for academic accommodations (If so, must register with SAS) May be eligible for academic accommodations (If so, is considered separately from ESA requests)
Unlimited campus access Restricted campus access; limited to the student’s residence hall room and may only leave the room for nature breaks
Must be under the owner’s control at all times and must be with the owner at all times Must be under the owner’s control at all times, provided care solely by the owner, and cannot be left alone or with anyone else overnight

SAS does not influence a specific room or residence hall assignment. Asset Living should be contacted with questions or concerns about your room assignment and/or your housing contract. SAS cannot assist you with these matters

You must clean up after your ESA and your ESA must be under your control at all times. Any damages caused by your ESA is your financial responsibility. ESAs that pose health, safety, or welfare threats to the campus community may be disallowed.


Note-Taking Services

If you have note-taking assistance as an accommodation, you must attend class and be attentive unless an exception is noted. You do not have the right to copies of notes from a class for which you were absent unless an exception is noted. PowerPoint slides fill-in-the-blank note packets and smartpens are approved supplemental note-taking accommodations. Please remember, these are supplemental notes and you are required to still take your own notes.

If a lecture or video is posted on Canvas, there will automatically be transcripts available via Kaltura. Transcripts are an approved supplemental note-taking accommodation. Note-taking will only be necessary for online classes with live, synchronous lectures in which transcripts are not provided. If PowerPoints are provided for the live lecture, they are considered an approved supplemental note-taking accommodation. If you did not watch the live lecture at the time allotted, you do not have the right to copies of notes, unless an exception is noted. Note-taking for online courses is only for lecture videos; it is your responsibility to complete the required readings without supplemental notes.

When providing your instructor(s) with your Letter of Accommodation, outlining the need of a note-taker, you must ask the instructor(s) to make an anonymous announcement in class to recruit a note-taker.

You are responsible for contacting SAS if one of the following occurs:

  • Your instructor has not made an announcement to try and recruit a note-taker within one week of receiving your Letter of Accommodation.
  • Your instructor has made an announcement to recruit a note-taker and you have not been assigned a note-taker by the third week of class.
  • You were assigned a note-taker, but notes are not provided within 48 hours of each lecture.


Reduced Course Load Policy

Generally, the University considers 12 credit hours a full-time load for both undergraduate and graduate students. A student with a documented disability can be considered for a reduced course load to take 9 credit hours and still be considered a full-time undergraduate student or 6 credit hours and still be considered a full-time graduate student. The student must make a formal request through SAS and provide comprehensive and supportive documentation. The documentation must contain a full explanation for the need to take a reduced course load, as well as containing a specific diagnosis of the condition.

It is important to remember that taking less than a full course load may affect your financial assistance (federal financial aid, scholarship, grants, etc.) regardless of the disability status. Also, the reduced course load will not allow the student to be exempt from a program or honor that requires a minimum number of hours of enrollment to be eligible. This would include, but not be limited to, scholarship requirements, Dean’s List requirements, and specialized departmental program requirements.


Service Animals

Service Animals do not need to be registered with SAS; however, you may be eligible for academic accommodations if you use a service animal. Please contact SAS to discuss your specific needs.


Study Space

Students registered with SAS are invited to utilize the common study room in the office suite as a quiet, reduced distraction environment. The study space is available by reservation during normal business hours (9:00 to 5:00 p.m.) so contact our office by calling (850) 770-2172 or by emailing to reserve your space!


Grievance/Complaint Procedures

The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that FSU Panama City complies with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that faculty, staff, students, applicants, and visitors with disabilities are provided the means to seek recourse in the event a violation is perceived to have occurred.

All members of the University community are entitled to learn, study, and work in an atmosphere free from illegal discrimination. The University’s equal opportunity policies prohibit discrimination against students, employees, applicants, or visitors based on their disability as well as race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected group status. Under the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy, intent to discriminate is irrelevant. The focus is instead on whether students, employees, applicants, or visitors have been treated differently or subjected to an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment as a result of their disabilities.

Any grievances or complaints alleged as violations of ADA, including denials of reasonable accommodation requests, may be filed with SAS, Student Affairs, FSU Panama City Dean’s Office, or Human Resources. These offices will receive, review, and investigate the complaint(s) and work towards the achievement of full resolution. Ultimately, all intakes of complaints or grievances should be listed or reported to the Associate Director of Student Affairs for monitoring and record-keeping purposes. The responsible University offices will not concurrently investigate any ADA-related complaints or grievances and, where possible, should not confer to avoid duplication of efforts. The Associate Director will monitor investigations to ensure expeditious resolution.

Students and student applicants with disabilities should file complaints with SAS or Students Affairs. Faculty and faculty candidates with disabilities should file complaints with the Office of the Dean. Staff and employment applicants should file complaints with Human Resources. Any visitor to campus with a disability may report an alleged violation or register a complaint with SAS. Complaints that should appropriately be handled under other existing grievance procedures will be referred to accordingly. 

The following procedures will be used for all complaints or grievances alleging violations of ADA or Section 504:

  1. All complaints alleging violation of ADA or Section 505 must be made in writing to the appropriate investigating department within 60 class days of the alleged violation or claim of failure to provide reasonable accommodation. A student complaint must be filed within 30 class days of the end of the term in which the alleged violation occurred. The written complaint should specify the time, place, and nature of the act claimed to be in violation and may be supplemented by supporting documents and/or affidavits from persons having firsthand knowledge of the facts.
  2. The appropriate department will investigate all pertinent facts and circumstances in support of the alleged violation within 20 class days of receipt of the complaint, to include review and verification of all documentation and testimony by involved and/or knowledgeable parties.
  3. The investigating department may attempt resolution of a complaint through mutual agreement of the affected party at any point during the investigation. Should such resolution be achieved, the investigation shall be ended. The terms and conditions of the resolution agreement shall be issued to the charging party and the appropriate administer(s) of the party or department charged within 10 class days for review and signatures.
  4. When resolution through mutual agreement is not achieved, written findings from the investigation, along with a recommendation for resolving the complaint, shall be forwarded simultaneously to the charging party, responsible administrator(s) of the charged department, and  Student Affairs immediately upon completion of the investigation.
  5. The responsible administrator(s) shall take final action on the recommendation within 10 class days after receipt of the recommendation. A consultation will be provided by SAS as requested.
  6. A complainant with a disability who believes that their grievance has not been handled appropriately should bring this to the attention of the Office of the Dean.
  7. Either party may appeal the findings of the investigating department to the University President (or the President’s designee) by filing a request for a review of a complaint alleging discrimination based on disability or failure to provide reasonable accommodation within 10 class days of receipt of finding.
  8. Within 7 class days of receipt of the initial findings, the University President (or designee) may render a final decision on the complaint or choose to appoint a hearing panel to review the appeal. If a hearing panel is used, the President shall appoint a 3 to 5 member hearing panel that will include at least one person with a disability. In the case of a student appeal, the panel shall include at least one student with a disability. The hearing panel shall conduct a hearing, consider evidence and testimony in justification of the appeal, and render its decision within 21 days of appointment. The President may accept, reject, or modify the decision of the hearing panel.
  9. Upon final resolution of a complaint, copies of records will be forwarded to and maintained by Student Affairs or Human Resources as appropriate. All records relating to complaints of failure to provide reasonable accommodations are evaluative in nature and all medical information contained in complaint records shall be deemed confidential according to, but not limited to, the provisions of Sections 240.237, 240.253, 228.093, 455.241, Florida Statutes.

Students, faculty, staff, or visitors who believe that the university established system has failed them or is insufficient to address their complaint may also contact the Office of Civil Rights at