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Student Disability Services
University of Mississippi

The Myth of the Unfair Advantage

There is often a concern that accommodations provide an unfair academic advantage for students with disabilities. This concern originates from the false assumption that all students begin college on a level playing field, thereby making all accommodations advantages that are either fair or unfair.

In reality, students with disabilities begin college at a disadvantage due to inaccessible campus, curricular, and classroom environments. For these students, accommodations simply advance them to the level playing field occupied by students without disabilities.

When considered from this point of view, accommodations are neither fair nor unfair. The determination of appropriate accommodations is based only on need, reasonableness, and curricular impact. Accommodations are not provided to ensure success; they are provided to ensure equal access to success and the issue of advantage is not, and should not be, part of the accommodation conversation.
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