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Learning Services Program for First-Year Students with Learning Disabilities

The Learning Services Program (LSP) in the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) has earned a national reputation for providing outstanding service to students with learning disabilities for over 30 years. The one-year program has a one-time $5,000 fee for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The structured, mainstream Learning Services Program offers:

  • Weekly individual meetings with the program coordinator or learning support specialist. 
  • Enrollment in a reserved section of the first-year college writing class
  • Weekly meetings with a writing tutor for the class
  • Individualized course advising
  • Consultation with the program coordinator during the summer prior to matriculation on course selection and registration for the first semester of college
  • Upper-class student mentor

After the first year, students can receive continued support and accommodations through the ASAC, as available to all students.

Benefits of the Learning Services Program

All students can profit from developing more efficient reading, writing, and study skills, but for students with learning disabilities, these skills are crucial. Often the compensatory strategies that have worked for students in the past are no longer relevant to meeting the demands of college-level courses, and the program staff can help students develop new strategies.

Qualifications for Admission to American University

The academic credentials of successful applicants with learning disabilities fall within the range of general admissions criteria.

Profile of Students Admitted to AU for Fall 2023

  • GPA Middle 50%: 3.70 - 4.20 (School Reported)
  • SAT Middle 50%: 1310-1440 (Critical Reading and Math)
  • ACT Middle 50%: 30-33

Applying to the Learning Services Program

Applicants to the Learning Services program must submit an application for first-year admission to American University through the regular admissions process. Learning Services Program applications must be submitted online to If you have questions, please contact the ASAC at 202-885-3360.

Students applying to the program also must submit the following materials to the LSP Coordinator in the ASAC within the admissions deadline:

  1. LSP supplementary application with essay
  2. Documentation of the learning disability (See Guidelines for Documentation of Learning Disabilities for details.)
  3. Copy of a high school transcript

The LSP application materials must be submitted at the same time as the first-year application, adhering to these deadlines:

  • Early Decision - November 15
  • Early Decision 2 - January 15
  • Regular Decision - January 15

Test Optional Applicant Deadlines:

  • Early Decision - November 15
  • Early Decision 2 - January 15
  • Regular Decision - January 15

LSP Writing Tutors

The LSP writing tutors, assigned to the LSP reserved section of College Writing, hold weekly individual meetings with LSP students to help them with every stage of the writing process. Writing skills addressed throughout the year include: brainstorming, thesis formulation, outlining, topic sentences, transitions, grammar, technology for writing, and final fine-tuning.

Though these meetings are designed to accomplish specific assignments for College Writing, the tutors are cognizant of the writing that will be expected of students during their tenure at AU and therefore incorporate various broader strategies so that students are well prepared for future writing-intensive classes.

LSP Peer Mentors

Incoming students in the Learning Services Program are matched with upper class student mentors who were in the program as First-Year Students. This student pairing allows for a seasoned student to offer guidance on AU's classes, tips on managing disability-related needs, and thoughts about life on campus and in the DC area, which gives students the opportunity to access to the unique perspective that only their peers can provide.

Services for All Students with Disabilities

The ASAC provides services and assistance with accommodations for any student with disabilities. Such services may include periodic individual sessions with an ASAC Disability Access Advisor, free writing tutoring through the Writing Center, free one-on-one peer tutoring for selected classes through the ASAC Tutoring Lab, Academic Coaching, peer tutoring by referral (for a modest fee), and study skills resources. Students may make arrangements to take accommodated exams in the ASAC. The structured meetings with the program coordinator and with the writing tutor, the LSP reserved section of the College Writing class, and the consultation on course selection and registration during the summer for the first semester at AU, are the primary factors that distinguish the Learning Services Program from traditional support services for all other students.

Frequently Asked Questions

The program coordinator or learning support specialist meets weekly with students in individual sessions to help further develop college-level writing, reading, and study strategies. In addition, students can address issues regarding time management, transition to college, and self-advocacy.

After the freshman year, students can receive continued support and accommodations through the ASAC as available to all students.

The transition from high school to college is a major one. An important goal of the program is to help students cope with that transition. Students seeking support for personal concerns may use the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services, which offers individual appointments, group counseling, workshops, and referrals to professionals in the Washington area. A psychiatric nurse practitioner, located in the Student Health Center, is available for medication management.

Academic advisors are notified of the students in the Learning Services Program, so that the students can be advised according to individual needs, and the academic advisors collaborate with the Coordinator of the Learning Services Program in course selection for the first year. Freshmen enrolled in the program have the same course requirements as all other students, including Writing Studies. We recommend that students enrolled in the program take 12-14 credits per semester, at least during the first semester or year. The university recognizes full-time status as 12-17 credits.

There are computers with text-to-speech and speech-to-text software in the ASAC and at selected sites on campus. Texts in alternative format are available through Learning Ally or Bookshare or by accessing e-texts with text-to-speech software, such as Kurzweil. Learning Services Program students consult with the Assistant Director, Disability Support and Assistive Technology in the Academic Support and Access Center on technologies to support their success in college. We recommend that students not only are proficient in computer skills, but also have explored assistive technology before beginning college.

There is a one-time fee of $5,000 (2023-2024 academic year) for the first-year program, paid at the time of the first tuition bill. The university reserves the right to change the Learning Services Program fee at any time.

At American University, we do not want cost to be the impediment that hinders students from participating in the Learning Services Program. Therefore, we consider fee scholarships for students who meet certain qualifications set forth by Federal Financial Aid programs. Please contact the Coordinator of the Learning Services Program at if you are interested in requesting a fee scholarship.

Students in the Learning Services Program have been successful in their studies. Typically, the average grade point average for the freshman year has been close to 3.0 or higher. Many of our students go on to pursue graduate and professional degrees. The Learning Services Program offers the support and services you will need to achieve your goals. The real answer to the question of how well you can expect to do is up to you!

Nancy Sydnor Greenberg

LSP Coordinator

Nancy Sydnor-Greenberg enjoys working with each student to meet their specific goals.

Meet Nancy