Personal Care Attendants

Students with disabilities who need assistance with daily living activities or nursing care should retain the services of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). A PCA provides personal care or assistance in daily living activities, such as dressing, transferring to and from a wheelchair, feeding, personal hygiene and navigating the campus. PCA services may facilitate higher levels of independent access and participation in UTRGV programs, services and activities. UTRGV does not provide, coordinate or assume financial responsibility for PCA services.

The services of a PCA can play an important role in a student's quality of life. Students who require personal attendant services must make arrangements to secure a PCA and must follow the policies, procedures and guidelines set forth below.

Student's Responsibility (related to PCA)

  • Follow all applicable UTRGV policies, rules, regulations and procedures.

  • Register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and provide appropriate verification that supports the need for a PCA. The PCA should obtain a UTRGV identification card which is to be worn at all times while providing assistance to the student.

  • Secure an agency-affiliated or private PCA prior to attending any university-related activity (i.e. placement testing, enrollment, class attendance). UTRGV will not be responsible for providing a PCA on an interim basis.

  • Provide the PCA’s name and contact information to SAS. If you hire an additional or other PCA, provide updated information.

  • Direct the activities of the PCA while at UTRGV. The student is solely responsible for ensuring that the PCA is fulfilling his/her responsibilities for the student's care.

  • Develop an alternative plan of action should the regularly assigned PCA not be available to work.

PCA Role in the Classroom

The PCA is in attendance solely for mobility issues related to the student. The PCA will follow all instructions related to classroom management example outlined by the instructor (i.e. noise control, seating arrangements, and emergency evacuation).The PCA will not participate in the learning process or provide verbal or non-verbal feedback on learning material to the student, other classmates or instructor (i.e. raising hand to answer questions, speaking out, commenting to other students, approving or disapproving gestures). The PCA will not act as an assistant to the instructor or other students (i.e. sharing texts with other students, proctoring for exams, running errands).

PCA Role in Campus Life:

  • The PCA assisting a student with a disability on campus is required to follow all applicable UTRGV policies, rules, regulations and procedures.

  • The PCA may assist the student before and after class as needed, but should wait outside the classroom unless assistance during class is deemed appropriate or necessary and approved by Student Accessibility Services.

  • It is generally not appropriate for the PCA to have contact with or ask questions of faculty, staff or others on behalf of the student with a disability; it is not within the scope of the PCA's responsibilities to be involved in the student's academic life on campus.

  • The PCA should respect the dignity and privacy of the student with a disability and refrain from discussing confidential information about the student with faculty, staff or other students.

  • The PCA will only be allowed to access the student's residence hall while the student is in residence.

  • If the PCA violates UTRGV policies, rules, regulations or procedures, Student Accessibility Services may determine, in conjunction with the Dean of Students, that the PCA may no longer assist the student on UTRGV’s campus. If this occurs, it is the student's responsibility to secure the services of another PCA.

PCA Appeals Process

If a student’s personal care attendant is asked to leave campus for a violation of the PCA policy, the student receiving services may file an appeal and request a review of the alleged violation in accordance with the following procedures.

  1. Appeals under the Personal Care Attendant Policy must be made in writing and submitted to the Director of Student Accessibility Services within ten (10) working days from the date of the alleged violation.

  2. Appeals must contain the name, address, phone and email of the person(s) filing it.

  3. Briefly describe the circumstances and argument in defense of allowing the PCA to return to campus.

  4. An investigation conducted by the Director of SAS and the Director of Residential Life, when appropriate, shall follow the filing of an appeal. The investigation shall be informal but thorough, and it should afford all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the appeal.

  5. A written determination of the resolution shall be issued by either Director and/or a staff representative and forwarded to the student within ten (10) working days after the written appeal and all supporting evidence are submitted.

  6. Student Accessibility Services shall maintain files and records relating to appeals for a period of three (3) years.

  7. Appeals should be submitted to the Director of Student Accessibility Services.