Michigan State University provides services and accommodations to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing for both academic and workplace settings. RCPD's Deaf/Hard of Hearing Ability Access Specialist works with students, staff, and faculty to access accommodations and campus resources. 

Getting Started with RCPD

RCPD provides services and accommodations to persons with disabilities for both academic and workplace settings. Before receiving accommodations, students and employees must Identify and Register as a person with a disability and provide appropriate documentation of their disability to RCPD.

Step 1: Self-Identify

To get started in the process of registering with RCPD, start by self-identifying as a person with a disability. Use your MSU NetID and password to log into the MyProfile system to create a profile and initiate contact with RCPD. This process will then assign you to an Ability Access Specialist.

Step 2: Disability Documentation

Your assigned Ability Access Specialist will request for you to submit documentation of your disability. The disability documentation is necessary to verify the presence and severity of your disability. Documentation must appear on official letterhead from a licensed medical or diagnostic professional and include a diagnosis, scope or degree of involvement and summary of related functional limitations. A copy of an audiogram is also necessary to document hearing loss. Please include your audiogram with the letter from the medical professional. RCPD provides a downloadable Hearing Loss Documentation Form that may be used by medical providers to document conditions. 

Step 3: Needs Assessment

Once your Ability Access Specialist has received sufficient disability documentation, they will reach out to arrange a Needs Assessment meeting. During this meeting reasonable accommodations are discussed and determined.

The MSU Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy provides additional guidance.

Implementing Accommodations

RCPD recognizes that accommodations may be required in order to assist individuals in maximizing their educational and workplace experience at MSU. While the university provides reasonable accommodations, we do not change essential academic requirements or job functions. Accommodation determinations are based on documentation and an individualized needs assessment.

The MSU Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy provides additional guidance.

Student Accommodations

Students will receive a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations letter, otherwise known as a VISA. The VISA is the primary method for students to communicate their RCPD approved accommodations to course instructors. A similar document that performs the same functions as a VISA for students with conditions of a temporary nature is known as a VISTA.

Students registered with the RCPD should contact their assigned specialist by phone, email, or by scheduling a meeting to request their VISA.

  • The VISA typically has an expiration date, so students will need to request an updated VISA at least 2 weeks prior to when a current VISA is needed.
  • Accommodations are not retroactive and will not apply to events or situations that occurred prior to the student notifying and providing a copy of the VISA to the course instructor.
  • Accommodations can be updated at anytime and students should reach out to their assigned specialist to discuss this further.

Employee Accommodations

Employees will receive a Statement of Employee Accommodation Determination letter, otherwise known as a SEAD. The SEAD is issued by the Office of Employee Relations (OER), when an accommodation is granted. The employee should then work with their supervisor to discuss implementation of the SEAD.

Housing & Dietary Accommodations

MSU offers a variety of on-campus living and dining options. Each living environment features unique design and atmosphere. Most housing options on campus offer units that meet the needs of students with disabilities (including but not limited to: lighted fire alarms, bed/pillow shakers, doorbells, etc.). A student with a disability in need of a housing accommodation must identify and register with the RCPD in advance, and work with their assigned specialist to facilitate the housing accommodation request process. More information about accommodations for housing and dining can be found on our Housing and Campus Life page.

Visit the MSU Housing Live On website for more information on campus housing.

American Sign Language (ASL) and CART Services


The RCPD is fully engaged in providing ASL and Real-Time Captioning services for RCPD registered students who are deaf or hard of hearing and meet eligibility criteria.  These services are provided by RCPD at no cost to the student or department when used in credit-granting courses at MSU.

Employees, Visitors, Extracurricular Activities, and Non-credit Courses  

RCPD offers the following guidelines to MSU departments in filling ASL and Real-Time Captioning requests in situations that are not for students in credit-granting MSU courses. State regulations mandate use of state-registered, appropriately-qualified ASL interpreters as identified at this database. Using ASL interpreters who are not certified by the State of Michigan may cause the University and the Department to incur noteworthy fines and penalties.  Using this registry allows departments to directly contract with service providers which may represent cost savings over agency coordination services. 

Guidelines coming soon...

Confidentiality & Mandatory Reporting

RCPD adheres to strict standards of confidentiality in the management of student information. Since RCPD is the only holder of disability documentation; therefore, all disability-related documentation should be directed to RCPD (not other campus departments). The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Code of Professional Conduct regarding confidentiality binds all sign language interpreters. All CART providers who offer captioning services for the RCPD adhere to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Code of Professional Ethics (for providers in a non-legal setting)

The RCPD staff are designated as mandatory reporters and must promptly report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual misconduct, stalking, and relationship violence that are observed or learned about in their professional capacity and involve a member of the university community or occurred at a university-sponsored event or on university property.

Dispute Resolution

RCPD Ability Access Specialists are committed to an active partnership with students and employees who make reasonable accommodation requests through our office. In the case you experience a disagreement regarding disability determination or appropriateness of accommodations, you may consider taking the steps outlined in our dispute resolution process.

Building Community

MSU provides many venues for collaboration and community building on disability issues. Please consider becoming involved in the following organizations: