For Students with Disabilities

Welcome to the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR). We're here to help.

  • If you have a legally documented disability we will help you with access and appropriate accommodations.
  • If you are currently a student at OCC and there is a suspected disability, you may be screened through our office and then be referred for an outside evaluation.

Onondaga Community College prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other applicable laws.  Questions may be referred to the Office of Accessibility Resources. 

Complaints of non-compliance may be referred to the College’s Section 504 Compliance Officer, Rebecca Hoda-Kearse, Associate Vice President, Student Engagement at: or the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights,  32 Old Slip, 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005-2500, 646-428-3900, email:

Locate/contact Office of Accessibility Resources 

OAR Intake and Accommodation Request Form 

First Steps to Success 
Gives a step by step guide for students new to the Accessibility Resources Office

About OAR

Onondaga Community College provides web-based systems and content developed in accordance with generally accepted Web Accessibility guidelines.  Third-party website applications and content also are evaluated for quality and accessibility.  Students and employees with disabilities are assisted by the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) and the Office of Human Resources to review and determine appropriate accommodations involving speciality software and adaptive technology.  Individuals with a print disability, defined as a person who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability are encouraged to work with OAR to determine the text reader, e-text or other appropriate accommodations.

Mission Statement

The Office of Accessibility Resources(OAR) exists to assist in creating a hospitable, accessible college community to promote student success,. The OAR works to ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of the educational environment. the office partners with students, faculty, and staff to promote students' independence and to recognize and focus on our students' personal goals and inherent potential.

Text Readers

Onondaga Community College maintains current licenses for a wide range of assistive technologies, including Kurzweil and JAWS.  OAR will train an individual to use appropriate assistive technology products; map out a campus based strategy for assessing equipment in various campus locations, including but not limited to Coulter library, various locations in Gordon Student Center (e.g. OAR, the Testing Center and the Learning Center), computer labs, residence halls, and classrooms, and assist the individual to develop a strategy for accessing materials at home, such as by downloading the free product ""Natural Reader"" to his or her personal devices.


Onondaga Community College participates in two college textbook services, Accesstext and Bookshare that provide e-text versions of many textbooks.  These services expedite access to materials and require individuals to comply with related policies to copyright law.  Students are encouraged to notify OAR of specific textbook needs in advance of the first day of classes so that materials may be converted in time for the beginning of the semester.


The Onondaga Disability Service Office is a National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Voter registration site: 


  • Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation To obtain assistance from NYS ACCES-VR, call 1-800-222-JOBS or visit their web page at Contact them as early as possible, preferably five months prior to the start of your first semester.

  • A Guide to Visual Disabilities: How Colleges Help Visually Impaired Students Succeed: 

  • LD Online:
    Online resources for learning disabilities and related areas. When you get in this website, click on "LD Resources" for lists of organizations and agencies, such as:
    • National Organizations: A complete list of national organizations that provide information and assistance on learning disabilities and related issues.
    • Federal Agencies: A listing of the important federal agencies dealing with learning disability issues.
    • State by State Resource Guides: Offers the names and addresses of helpful state agencies, local organizations, and other resources available in your state.
    • On-line Resources: A vast assortment of links to other resources on the Internet.
  • Financial Resources for students with disabilities:

  • SensusAccess - Convert PDFs, JPGs and other files into e-book, text files, audio or braille.

OAR Office Mini-Documentary

Learn more about the OAR office in this mini-documentary video produced by Onondaga student Brian Doolittle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who works in the Office of Accessibility Resources?
  • Nancy Carr, Director, 315-498-2834
  • Jarrell Harrison, Assistant Director, - 315-498-2571
  • Lori Doyle, Technical Assistant, - 315-498-2245
  • Brian Shepardson, Technical Specialist, 315- 498-2426, Notetaking Coordinator
  • Daneen Brooks, Disability Specialist, 315-498-2190
  • Richelle Ciota, Disability Specialist, 315-498- 2535

OAR is housed in the Enrollment Management & Student Development division of the college. 

What documentation is required for a student to obtain services from OAR?

If the student had a disability in high school OAR requires the 504 plan, IEP and a copy of psychological testing. Other reports can be from a student’s physician, reports from ACCESS/VR, Department of Veterans Affairs, Workers' Compensation, etc. The reports must detail the exact nature of the disability. OAR intake form. 

Will OAR handle book and supply vouchers?

No, Questions regarding books and supplies should be directed to the Onondaga bookstore which is run by Barnes and Noble. Telephone number: 315-498-2246
Please note: College textbooks can be very expensive; you may want to consider the college's Textbook Rental program and/or buying early to find any used books at lower cost.

What about the College for Living?

The OAR is responsible for students taking college credit classes. College for Living is a separate program under Adult and Continuing Education and is staffed separately.

What types of disabilities does OAR serve?

OAR serves students with all types of disabilities. The two fastest growing groups are students with psychiatric disabilities and students on the autism spectrum.

What are the most popular programs at Onondaga?

The top ten programs at Onondaga are Humanities, Math and Science, Business, Criminal Justice, Human Services, Computer Studies, Nursing, Art, and Electronic Media.

What about the residence life halls? What if the student wants to live at Onondaga? 

Residence halls are filled on a first-come, first served basis. There are more students that want to live on campus than there are rooms. Freshman housing requests begin the first week of January for the upcoming fall semester. Students with disabilities can request accommodations but colleges are not responsible for personal care issues. Students with disabilities are expected to follow the Onondaga Student Code of Conduct. Onondaga has a zero alcohol tolerance policy.

Do Onondaga students all use bus transportation?

Full time Onondaga students are eligible for a reduced fare Centro bus pass. This does not mean that all Onondaga students can or do use the bus.  The bus does not run frequently, especially to further areas.  Depending on the student’s class schedule and personal obligations bus transportation may not be feasible for them. Many ACCESS/VR staff authorize transportation monies for those students who cannot use Centro.

What types of programs are OAR students enrolled in?

OAR students are enrolled across the college. One third are in programs leading to employment through an associate’s degree and two-thirds are in transfer programs.

What services do OAR students receive?

Accommodation plans which detail each student’s services are determined jointly between the student and their OAR specialist. This plan is determined each semester. Certain services such as tutoring are free and available to all.  

How many students does OAR serve?

OAR serves about 1000 students a year.

What are some trends in higher education and how do they affect OAR students?

a.) Online classes - many programs at Onondaga can now be completed totally online.
b.) E-text - many students prefer their text in e-text fashion, not just OAR students. This trend is expected to continue.
c.) More use of adaptive technology programs on campus. However, most incoming student arrive totally unfamiliar with adaptive technology. This requires the college to provide extensive training and support in its use.

Does OAR work with the CAL Center?

OAR and the Career and Applied Learning Center work together. The intent is to provide more employment information to college students with disabilities. 

Are there fees for OAR services?

No, but students must purchase books if they need etext conversion.

When I transfer or get a job will my college transcript reflect my affiliation with OAR or use of accommodations?

No, participation in OAR is confidential and does not appear on your transcript.  

How can the OAR and VESID or other community agencies work together?

ACCESS/VR counselors should refer clients attending Onondaga to the OAR.  The student should complete a release of information form if the agency will need information from Onondaga.  The agency should send vouchers as early as possible to avoid student stress related to economic difficulties. Early contact with the OAR is essential, especially in cases requiring time-consuming e-text, Braille conversion, etc.