CSU-Pueblo Policy: General Education Requirement Substitution Policy

Policy Title: General Education Requirement Substitution Policy Category: Student Affairs
Owner: Dean of Student Affairs Policy ID#: 12-005-00
Disability Resources and Support Center
Web: http://www.csupueblo.edu/Disability
Email: DRO@csupueblo.edu
Phone: 719-549-2648

Also Contact:
Dean of Student Affairs
Web: http://www.csupueblo.edu/StudentLife
Email: marie.humphrey@csupueblo.edu
Phone: 719-549-2919
Effective Date: 4/20/2018
Supersedes Policy ID#: 00
Viewing/Downloading Options:



Colorado State University-Pueblo has established curriculum requirements for completion of academic programs. Students with documented disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations or modifications to ensure equal opportunity to complete these curricular requirements. In cases where a student has a learning disability or other disability so profound that it precludes them from completing any of the general education curriculum requirements, the student may request a course substitution.


This policy applies to all students.


There are no exemptions to this policy.


  • General Education Requirements: The skills component of the CSU-Pueblo general education program is designed to give students the written communication and quantitative reasoning skills necessary for success in their undergraduate studies and future careers. The knowledge component is designed to give students direct experience in the methods of thought and inquiry in three central areas of academic endeavor: the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and the natural and physical sciences.


As permitted in the Colorado State University-Pueblo Catalog, substitutions for courses fulfilling academic requirements may be approved by the appropriate department chair and reviewed by the Registrar. Generally, the University will not waive any general education requirements. In cases where a student has a disability so profound that it precludes them from completing a specific general education requirement, the student may request a course substitution. The University will consider substitution requests based on appropriate documentation of a disability from a student.


Consideration will be provided through the following processes:

Process 1: A substitution will be granted by the Director of the Disability Resource and Support Center (“Director”) if a student has submitted documented evidence demonstrating a profound disability that would prevent them from completing a specific general education requirement. The documentation should be based on an evaluation per the standards set in the most recent revisions to the DSM-5 or by other diagnostic tools if the diagnosis was received at a time prior to the DSM-5 and the conditions are “unlikely to change” and no compensatory strategies to accommodate the student have been identified.  The evaluation must be completed by a qualified professional, such as a psychologist, and contain the following information:

  • A clear statement that a disability is present along with the level of severity and the rationale for this diagnosis. (Note: individual "learning deficits" "learning styles," and "learning differences," do not, in or of themselves, constitute a learning disability).
  • A statement of the functional impact or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activities and the degree to which the disability impacts the student.
  • Recommendations of accommodations that would be appropriate for the student based on the diagnosis and testing results.

                Key considerations in determining whether documentation is sufficient to evidence the existence of a disability include:  1) the qualifications of the individual making the assessment, including whether the individual has knowledge or experience in the area of the particular disability; 2) the use of appropriate criteria; and 3) the familiarity of the expert with the student's condition.

The evaluation should be typed on letterhead and include the name, title, professional credentials, address, and telephone number of the professional as well as the date(s) of assessment. The professional must be an impartial individual. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a 504 Plan, or an Accommodation Plan from another institution is not considered sufficient documentation.

If it is determined by the Director through the Disability Resource and Support Center’s established interactive process that the student has a profound disability preventing them from completing the general education requirement identified by the student, the Director will forward the decision to the student by letter, with copies to the Registrar.

Process 2: If a student with a disability is unable to meet the criteria set in Process 1 or does not have a disability profound enough to prevent them from completing a specific general education requirement, they may engage in Process 2.  If they choose to engage in Process 2 they must provide evidence demonstrating that the general education requirement under consideration for substitution was attempted with a good faith effort. A good faith effort must include but is not limited to the following:

  1. Finishing the course without dropping or withdrawing from it;
  2. Records indicating use of tutoring services;
  3. Use of applicable disability accommodations; and
  4. Statements from the appropriate or relevant instructors supporting the student’s assertion that every effort was made to successfully complete the course and receive assistance.

The student must provide a typed request to the Dean of the College in which the student is seeking a substitution, addressing their need for a substitution. The request should include:

  1. Evidence of a good faith effort;
  2. Why the student’s disability prohibits them from successfully completing a course in the general education curriculum;
  3. Any reasoning as to why another course meeting the same general education requirement would not be appropriate; and
  4. Any other relevant documentation.

Within 5 business days of the receipt of a student’s request for substitution the Dean will forward the request and all related documentation to a General Education Review Committee (GERC) and convene the committee.  The GERC will be composed of:

  • A non-student representative from the General Education Board (GEB);
  • The Chair of the Department for which a substitution is requested;
  • Tenure or tenure-track faculty representative of the student’s chosen major if a major has been declared;
  • The Director; and
  • Any other faculty or staff member with a legitimate educational interest deemed appropriate by the review committee.

Once the Dean has forwarded the request to the GERC and the Director, the student will participate in the interactive process with the Director within 10 business days. Such meeting shall occur prior to the meeting of the GERC. The Director will provide a report to the GERC about the meeting detailing the student’s position, including any issues in which the student did not agree with the Director.  The student will have the opportunity to review the report and respond to any issues within 5 business days of the report.

The GERC will be convened within 10 business days of the report being reviewed by the student.  The GERC will be chaired by the representative of the GEB. The GERC deliberations will include the:

  • Review of the student’s typed request.
  • Review of student’s grades received in any previously attempted courses.
  • Review of the student’s evidence of good faith effort, as described above.
  • Consultation with any relevant faculty or staff.

The GERC will decide the outcome of the request with a majority vote within 5 business days. After the GERC arrives to a decision, the Chair of the Department will immediately forward the decision to the student with copies to the Dean of the College and the Registrar. If the request for a substitution is granted, the letter will indicate the course(s) allowed for the substitution. Additionally, the previously attempted course(s) will be removed from consideration of the student’s grade point average, though they will still be counted towards Satisfactory Academic Progress. If the request for a substitution is denied, the GERC’s letter will include reasons for denial.

Appeal Process:

If the request for a substitution is denied through Process #2, the student may submit a letter of appeal to the Office of the Provost within 10 business days of receipt of the substitution denial letter. The Provost or their designee will review the appeal to determine if:

  • A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the GERC’s decision.
  • New and significant information–which was not known at the time the student submitted their request—is now available and sufficient enough to alter the GERC’s decision. (Note: Failure to provide information does not make information “unavailable” at the time of the GERC’s review.)

Once in receipt of the appeal letter, the Provost or their designee will determine if the student has submitted the appeal in a timely manner and if the student has grounds for appeal. If it is found that there are grounds for an appeal, the Provost or their designee will resolve the appeal in one of the following ways:

  • Uphold the decision of the GERC.
  • Return the case to the GERC with specific findings or recommendations on how to proceed in light of the findings, including but not limited to: rehearing of the matter and/or consideration of additional evidence.
  • Dismiss the GERC’s decision on the grounds that the student has demonstrated a good faith effort in attempting the course.

Within 10 working days of receipt of the student’s appeal letter, the Office of the Provost will notify the student in writing the outcome of the appeal. The decision of the Provost or their designee is final.


  • Process for Requesting Academic Accommodations at CSU-Pueblo
  • Documentation Guidelines
  • Policy on Discrimination, Protected Class Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking and Retaliation


  • American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (as amended by the ADA Amendment Act of 2008)
  • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973


Approved by:


Original signature on file

Dr. Timothy Mottet, President

Date - 04/20/2018


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