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Student Life

On this page, you will find information on various aspects of student life at AU, including library resources, parking, student activities, and study abroad. The Office of Campus Life has many other opportunities to consider, as do the academic programs on campus.

If you are interested in information about housing or housing accommodations, these links contain information to help you make good decisions about your living situation.

Bender Library makes its resources available to all university staff, students, and faculty on an equal basis. In an effort to facilitate the library research process for those members of the AU community with disabilities, the library provides a number of services designed to help address their specific needs. To make use of these services, individuals with disabilities should contact the Assistive Technology Manager prior to or early in the semester to discuss individual needs. The Assistive Technology Manager can be reached in the Academic Support and Access Center at 202-885-3360.

A brochure with information about library services for patrons with disabilities is available from the reference library. Click here for the library's policy on services for individuals with disabilities.

Washington College of Law Library

The Washington College of Law (WCL) Pence Law Library is open to any member of the American University community who needs to use the materials found in this library. The law library also provides services to patrons with disabilities. Further information may be obtained by calling 202-274-4300.


Designated accessible parking spaces are available for visitors or members of the American University community with disabilities who have purchased a parking permit or obtained a permit from Parking and Traffic Services. Temporary permits are available to persons with temporary disabilities. Medical documentation may be required.

Cars parked in spaces for persons with disabilities or blocking access ramps for persons with disabilities will be ticketed, booted, or towed at the owner's expense.

A university shuttle service operates accessible buses regularly from the main campus, WCL campus, and the Tenleytown Metro station. For more information regarding transportation and shuttle schedules, contact Parking and Traffic Services or call 202-885-3111.

Students with disabilities participate in the full range of student clubs, organizations, leadership opportunities, and volunteer experiences, both on campus and off. Students with disabilities are encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunities offered through participation in co-curricular activities. For more information on activities through this office, contact 202-885-3390 or email the Center for Student Involvement.

CDI is dedicated to enhancing LGBTQ, multicultural, first generation, and women's experiences on campus. In addition, they collaborate with campus partners, in particular those that work with international students, students with disabilities, and students with active religious affiliations to create a safe, supportive & empowering community for all, regardless of identity. The Disability Rights Coalition is co-sponsored by CDI and the ASAC and gives voice to issues of the disability community at AU. Call 202-885-3651 or email the Center for Diversity & Inclusion for more information.

The Center for Community Engagement & Service offers multiple opportunities to engage with the city, the region, and global issues. Its programs include Community-Based Learning (aka "service-learning"), DC Reads (a tutoring program available as a volunteer or through Federal Work Study), Alternative Break Trips (spring, summer, and winter breaks), One Day Service Events, Freshman Service Experience, the Eagle Endowment for Public and Community Service (apply for grants to do service projects), and more. To learn more, call 202-885-7378 or email

AU Abroad and the ASAC make every effort to ensure that students with disabilities can participate successfully in study abroad programs. Since 2003, AU students with disabilities have studied abroad as frequently as other AU students and their experiences have been remarkable.

Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that facilities or support services will be available at each location abroad in the same range and quality as on the AU campus. We cannot alter architecture, transportation, or laws in other countries. We can make an individual assessment of need as it relates to a student’s interest, support system needs, and the availability of accommodations. We have created the following checklist for suggested procedures for AU students with disabilities who desire to study abroad.

  • Identify one or more study abroad sites that interest you
  • Make an appointment early in the process with your Disability Access Advisor in the Academic Support and Access Center to begin a conversation about study abroad options
  • Research to confirm whether you will have access to what you need for a successful experience abroad
  • Apply online at the AU Abroad website
  • Once admitted, complete the Disability Accommodation Request form online
  • Request a letter of accommodation from your Disability Access Advisor and present it to your study abroad site coordinator if accommodations are needed

Additional resources on study abroad for students with disabilities:

American University is committed to the safety of students with disabilities. Please note that areas within campus buildings have been designated Areas of Rescue Assistance. There should be a sign posted in each of the designated areas of a building. If you have trouble locating an Area of Rescue Assistance please contact the Academic Support and Access Center at 202-885-3360 or 

Register for AU Alert: Emergency Notification

Students with disabilities are oriented to all procedures related to their safety in all university buildings, including residence halls and academic buildings, during an intake meeting with a Disability Access Advisor in the Academic Support and Access Center. Students participate in a required intake meeting when they request reasonable accommodations.

Students, employees, and visitors may contact the ASAC with questions at 202-885-3360 or