Deadline Extensions

Deadline extensions are for when students are unable to complete or submit their work due to unexpected symptoms related to their disability. While faculty are not required to alter the essential elements or the learning outcomes of the course, flexibility in achieving outcomes or alternate opportunities to complete course requirements may be necessary. A student's disability can affect the student's ability to turn in homework, assignments, or projects on the due date outlined in the course syllabus. Students cannot be penalized for submitting work by an alternate due date mutually agreed to by the faculty, student, and CSD.

Deadline Extension Procedure

  1. If you need to request an extension for a specific assignment due to an exacerbation of your condition, email your instructor and cc your DSP at least 48 hours prior to the class due date or as soon as possible, with the following information:
    1. Course name and number (e.g., SOCI 1001.001)
    2. Assignment info (e.g., Reflection paper, homework #2, etc.)
    3. Class due date for the assignment
    4. Due date you are requesting
  2. Your DSP will contact your instructor to engage in the interactive process to determine if a deadline extension is appropriate based on the course requirements. Please note: Deadline extensions may not be appropriate for some assignments based on course requirements. 
  3. If an extension is appropriate, your DSP and instructor will determine a new due date and notify you via email.
  4. If an extension is determined to be a fundamental alteration of course requirements based on information provided by the instructor, your DSP will notify you and you should complete the assignment by the original due date.
  5. If necessary, the CSD may create a Course Modification Agreement which will be shared with you and your instructor. A Course Modification Agreement is created on a course-by-course basis to provide information for students and instructors related to a specific accommodation such as deadline extensions.

Information for Instructors

Considerations for Deadline Extensions

  • In general, extensions on assignment due dates may be considered a reasonable accommodation. However, an extension would not be reasonable if it results in a fundamental alteration of the course requirements (a change that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the course).
  • There may be some instances in which assignment due dates cannot be adjusted for an individual student without resulting in a fundamental alteration to the course. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
    • Those that rely on project-based learning where sequential assignments strictly build upon the material learned from the previous week(s)
    • Classes where students are expected to work as a group and failure to complete an assignment or project on time would compromise the educational experience of other students
  • Deadline extensions are not intended for students to have unlimited acceptance of late work. Agreed upon extensions should be specific and limited to a specific amount of time.
  • In most cases, deadline extensions do not apply to any previously missed deadlines.

Evaluating the Appropriateness of Deadline Extensions

The following questions, provided by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, are designed to help instructors assess the degree to which strict adherence to assignment due dates is an essential part of a course:

  1. What do the course description and syllabus say regarding late work?
  2. To what extent does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon completion of assignments within a specific time frame as an essential method for learning?
  3. Is the completion of an assignment within a specific time frame a critical component of an assignment activity?
  4. To what degree does a student’s failure to submit timely completion of assignments constitute a significant loss of the educational experience for the other students in the class?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Course Modification Agreement?

When necessary, a course modification agreement is a created on a course-by-course basis to provide a framework for the student, instructor and CSD around attendance flexibility. The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated to institutions of higher education that once approved for attendance flexibility, students cannot negotiate the coordination of this accommodation directly with their faculty. The CSD is required to engage each faculty member who has a student approved for attendance flexibility to determine: (1) the appropriateness of this accommodation in the course; (2) the nature of the course and how it is taught, including assessments/exams; and (3) flexibility in achieving learning outcomes or alternate opportunities to complete course requirements without fundamentally altering the course or compromising the technical standards of a program.

Are faculty required to provide deadline extensions even though assignment due dates are usually on the course syllabus provided to students at the start of the semester?

Federal law requires colleges and universities to consider reasonable modifications of deadline extensions if needed to accommodate a student’s disability that affects the timely completion of an assignment. The disabilities covered under this academic adjustment are typically chronic or episodic in nature and may affect a student’s ability to complete assignments by the due date listed in the course syllabus. Deadline extensions are for when students are unable to complete or submit their work due to unexpected symptoms related to their disability. Students cannot be penalized for submitting work by an alternate due date mutually agreed to by the faculty and student.

How is the length of a deadline extension determined?

CSD will engage in the interactive process with the instructor to determine a reasonable amount of time for a deadline extension and may depend on the nature and type of assignment, learning objectives being measured, whether assignment answers need to be released to other students in the class, etc. Depending on the requirements of the assignment, an extension may not always be appropriate.

Can instructors request documentation of a student’s disability to verify the need for deadline extensions?

No. To protect faculty and staff from potential claims of disability discrimination, it is University policy that only CSD should receive and review disability-related documentation. CSD reviews and considers any necessary medical documentation prior to approving accommodations. Students are NOT required to present their instructors with medical documentation verifying their disability or need for deadline extensions.

What if instructors do not engage in the process for coordinating deadline extensions for a student in their course?

Instructors are responsible for working with the student and CSD to ensure the approved accommodation(s) are coordinated. If after several attempts to contact the instructor, the faculty does not respond to the CSD, the Center will contact the department chair and/or Office of Institutional Equity for assistance in coordinating approved accommodations for the student in the course.

Who should instructors and students contact with questions regarding deadline extensions? regarding attendance flexibility?

If at any point, the instructor and/or student has questions or concerns about this accommodation, the Course Modification Agreement, etc., the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) should be notified as soon as possible to collaboratively address the concerns and work to resolve them. If the maximum number of deadline extensions as stated in the Course Modification Agreement is exceeded during the semester, the student and instructor should contact the CSD to meet and discuss an appropriate course of action (i.e., student will be granted an incomplete; student will be advised to withdraw from the course; the number of extensions allowed will be reviewed; policies outlined in syllabus will apply, etc.).