Access and Support Services

RIT helps level the playing field for deaf and hard-of-hearing students

RIT provides one of the most accessible edu­cation communities in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 

If you take courses at NTID, faculty members will communicate directly with you using a variety of communication strategies, which may include sign language with voice, sign language without voice, spoken language (FM systems are available), fingerspelling, printed/visual aids, web-based instructional materials, and individual tutoring.

In cases where a faculty member’s communication strategies do not appropriately meet your needs, you can request access services from the Department of Access Services for courses at NTID via the website.

As a student taking NTID courses, you will have access to a state-of-the-art learning center staffed by professional and peer tutors. An assigned counselor will work closely with you to help you plan your collegiate experience and provide you with personal, social, career, and academic advising and counseling services.

If you qualify to take courses in RIT’s College of Engineering TechnologyBusinessComputing and Information SciencesEngineeringHealth Sciences and TechnologyArt and DesignLiberal Arts or Science, RIT will provide the educational access services you need. You can choose from among sign language interpreting services, FM systems, notetaking, or real-time captioning services by contacting the Department of Access Services. Alternative services also may be provided. You also will have access to a unique array of educational support services such as tutoring by experienced faculty tutors, personal and career counseling, and academic advising.


RIT has the largest staff of professional sign language interpreters of any college program in the world. Last year, RIT provided more than 118,000 hours of interpreting services. In addition to classroom interpreting, you also may request interpreting services for non-academic activities such as athletic events, religious services, student government meetings, guest presentations, and other student life activities. 


Trained student notetakers record information during class or laboratory lectures, discussions and multimedia presentations. The resulting class notes are uploaded to the web, so you can easily access them. Last year, RIT provided more than 40,000 hours of notetaking services for students.

Real-time Captioning Services

This service provides a comprehensive English text display of classroom lectures and discussion. Students read this text during class and may print it as a permanent record of class discussions. 

Personal FM Systems

FM services are available through the Department of Communication Studies and Services (CSS) at NTID. You can borrow an FM system at any time. For more information, please contact CSS. To request an FM system, please stop by the Hearing Aid Shop, Johnson (LBJ) Hall 60-3130, or contact the CSS chairperson.

FM Systems Installed in Venues at RIT

FM systems are installed in more than 30 venues at RIT, including general classrooms, laboratories, auditoriums and theaters. Signage outside the venue indicates that there is a system present and informs the user where the receivers can be obtained (e.g. box office, sound control booth, HelpDesk). Receivers are loaned free of charge; users are required to leave a driver's license or picture ID. 


Faculty tutors/advisers help answer your questions and clarify concepts and information taught in classes. They also provide academic advising, discuss programs and career goals with you, and help you plan your schedule, select classes, and prepare for cooperative (co-op) work experiences.

If you qualify for these programs, NTID instructors will use a variety of communication strategies to communicate directly with you in your courses. In cases where a faculty member’s communication strategies do not appropriately meet your needs, you can request access services from the Department of Access Services for courses at NTID via the website. For courses in your program that are taught by faculty members in RIT's eight mainstream colleges, you also may request access services. In addition, you can take advantage of educational support such as tutoring by experienced faculty tutors, career counseling, and academic advising.

If you enroll in the MSSE program, faculty will communicate with you using sign language and speech in small, personalized classes.

Access Services by the Numbers


in-house interpreters


real-time captionists


trained notetakers


total hours provided

Hours of Access Services Provided

  in classroom outside classroom
Interpreting 82,576 35,664
Captioning 20,501 1,355
Notetaking 40,475