Foreign Language Petition for Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Gies College of Business can approve a substitution to the foreign language requirement for students with disabilities that make it impossible to learn a foreign language. Specific documentation is required from students, faculty, learning disability/rehabilitation specialists, and psychologists/psychiatrists.

Petition Instructions

Submit the following information to the Associate Director of Academic Advising (Nicole Turner) in 1055 Business Instructional Facility:

I. Letter of Request for the College of Business Providing:

  • Background Information: Academic history of languages attempted and grades earned, along with number of enrollments attempted in college, high school, and elementary school; describe your study techniques, aspects of the language you find especially difficult and any use of special support services – tutoring, Language Learning Laboratory, etc. Also describe any learning problems or special education services received in high school and elementary school and any medical history of other disabilities – head injury, hearing loss, sight loss, cerebral palsy, vocal deficits, etc. If a history of disability diagnosis and special education services exists, please include appropriate letters documenting the diagnosis and educational accommodations made by those schools.
  • Personal Statement: What experiences support the request for course substitution? What are the pros and cons of striving to meet the traditional requirements versus making a non-traditional curricular request?
  • Conclude with your reasons for requesting a substitution.

II. Disability Documentation:

Obtain a statement of recommendation from the Rehabilitation Education Center. Diagnostic testing that includes a narrative description of tests given as well as a summary of the numerical sub-test scores is required in cases where other substantiating documentation is not available. Most typical testing includes the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised and the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Ability Revised. Additional testing to assess cognitive, reading, concentration, and memory abilities could be submitted for a complete battery of learning disability diagnostic testing and recommended educational accommodations. Referrals are provided. Copies of testing results need to be submitted.

III. Foreign Language Instructional Assessments and Recommendations:

For complete consideration, the committee recommends a sustained effort in a foreign language course. Forms are provided for the instructional faculty to indicate:

  • Your probable achievement in learning a foreign language,
  • Instructional accommodations attempted to assist second language acquisition, and
  • Specific recommendations for your college foreign language requirement.

IV. Psychological Assessment Interview Conducted by a Licensed Psychologist (for students who do not exhibit profound learning disabilities):

This assessment is to rule out learning strategy/study skill problems, barriers of emotional/anxiety problems, and to provide a detailed personal/educational history. Referrals are provided.


All materials should be submitted to the Director of Academic Affairs (Corey Thoss, October 1 to assure consideration in the fall semester or by March 1 to assure consideration in the spring semester. If approved, the substitution to the foreign language requirement includes up to four courses representing a critical mass in the study of one cultural region (history, literature).

Courses used to meet the substitution must be approved by the Associate Director for Advising (Nicole Turner) before enrollment and must be completed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These courses cannot fulfill any other requirement except the total credits needed to graduate and must be taken for a grade, not as Credit/No Credit, to align with other degree requirements.