Housing Accommodations

Housing-based accommodations are available to students with a documented need. CAS provides housing accommodations based on the definition of a disability from the Fair Housing Act:

The Fair Housing Act defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Under this definition, an impairment is a disability if it substantially limits the ability of the person to perform a major life activity such as walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, etc. The definition also considers any mitigating measures such as, medications, treatments, and/or therapies in which the person is employing that may relieve the substantial limitations. If the mitigating measure(s) eliminates the substantial limitations cause by the impairment, the person does not have a disability. 

Please note: there is a difference between housing accommodations and housing preferences.  Preferences for certain types of housing (i.e. specific residence halls, rooms, locations on campus, roommates) cannot be guaranteed.  Housing accommodations are only approved for the singular student who has a disability-related need (i.e. not roommates or suitemates as well).

For any housing accommodations NOT related to an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), students and licensed providers are required to fill out the following forms:

  1. Housing Accommodation - Student Form
  2. Housing Accommodation - Provider Form
  3. Permission to Share Information Form

Definition of a Service Animal:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as “any dog that is individual trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items for a person with limited mobility.”

If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a Service Animal regardless of whether or not it has been certified by a training program.

Please Note - Emotional Support or comfort animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or promote emotional well-being are not Service Animals. Please see “Emotional Support Animals” for more information.

The person a Service Animal assists is referred to as a handler. The handler and animal together are referred to as a team. Service Animals are working animals, not pets. Service Animals are not required to wear any special collars, vests, or harness. You may inquire if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. You may not ask about the nature or extend of a person’s disability.

Access rights afforded to users of Service Animals comes with the responsibility of the handler to ensure compliance with all requirements of this policy, including but not limited to the following control requirements: The handler assumes full personal liability for any damage to property or persons caused by their Service Animal, and Plymouth State University shall not be responsible for any harm to a Service Animal while on campus, including but not limited to injury to the animal caused by pest management or lawn care products.


Types of Service Animals:

A service dog can be any breed or size.

Guide dog: A dog that is carefully trained that serves as a travel tool for individuals who are blind or have low vision.

Hearing Dog: A dog that has been trained to alert a person who is deaf or hard of hearing when a sound occurs (e.g. knock on the door, a fire alarm, the phone ringing).

Service dog (assistance dog: A dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment. Types of duties the dog may perform include carrying, retrieving, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability, assisting a person to get up after a fall, etc.

Sig (signal) dog: A dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts to distracting repetitive movements, such as hand flapping, which are common among those with autism. This intervention allows the person to stop the movement. A person with autism may also have deficits in sensory input and may need the same support services from a dog that may be provided to a person who is blind or deaf.

Seizure response dog: A dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. The method by which the dog serves the person depends on the individual’s needs. Some dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.

Psychiatric Service Animal: A dog trained to perform a variety of tasks that assist individuals to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and ameliorate their effects. Some of the tasks may include:

  • Reminding the handler to take medicine
  • Providing safety checks or room searches
  • Turning on lights
  • Preventing or interrupting impulsive or self-destructive behaviors
  • Removing disoriented individuals from dangerous situations


Public Etiquette by Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Individual should not:

  • Engage in behavior that draws attention to the animal so as to cause a disruption to the class, activity, and/or event.
  • Pet a Service Animal. Service Animals are trained to be protective of their handlers and petting distracts them from their responsibilities.
  • Feed a working Service Animal.
  • Deliberately startle, tease or taunt a Service Animal.
  • Separate or attempt to separate a handler from his/her Service Animal.
  • Hesitate to ask a student if he/she would like assistance if the team seems confused about a direction in which to turn, an accessible entrance, or the location of an elevator, etc.

For more information, please refer to Residential Life’s Emotional Support Animal & Service Animal Policy.

Definition of an Emotional Support Animal:

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support and comfort to an individual with a disability. ESAs are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ESAs are not trained to work or perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability related to activities of daily living.

Unlike a Service Animal, Emotional Support Animals are only allowed in the student’s place of residence. They cannot accompany the student wherever they go. As a result, Emotional Support Animals are subject to restrictions from any areas with a no-pets policy.

For more information, please refer to Residential Life’s Emotional Support Animal & Service Animal Policy.

For more information on how to register your ESA, please refer to “Requests for Service Animals and ESAs to Live on Campus”.

Per the ADA, Service Animals are permitted in all campus spaces with their handler without any formal registration process through Campus Accessibility Service. However, in order to request to have a Service Animal live in the residence halls or on-campus apartments, students must register their Service Animal with the Campus Accessibility Services Director, who will work with the student and Residential Life staff to ensure the rights and responsibilities of all parties are understood. Students who are requesting to have an Emotional Support Animal in their on-campus residence must complete the necessary paperwork to document the need for the animal.


ESA/Service animal approval is a two-step process:

1. Reasonableness: Campus Accessibility Services (CAS)- Individuals who wish to bring an ESA or service animal to campus must first obtain confirmation of a reasonable accommodation through Campus Accessibility Services. CAS will send confirmation to the Office of Residential Life once processed.

2. Animal Health and Policy Adherence- Residential Life- Once confirmation is received, the Housing Coordinator will email the student a link to the Service/Support Animal Housing Application. This online application is needed to confirm the health of the animal and acknowledgment of policies.

Requests for an ESA should be made as early as possible. Review of requests may take up to 30 days.

For more information, please refer to Residential Life’s Emotional Support Animal & Service Animal Policy.


Documentation Requirements:

Documentation is required to establish that the ESA is necessary for the student to live in University housing:

Housing Accommodation Request – Student Form

Housing Accommodation Request – ESA

The student may be asked to provide an authorization to allow Campus Accessibility Service to communicate directly with the third-party provider. Please see the Permission to Share Information Form for more information.

Plymouth State University is committed to providing appropriate accommodations and services to qualifying individuals with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  Contact Title IX and 504 Coordinator, Janette Wiggett (603) 535-2206, if you believe your rights have been violated or are a person dissatisfied with a decision concerning an Emotional Support Animal.

If a request has been granted for an ESA, the approval has been granted for that specific animal only for the designated academic year. Requests for another animal or subsequent housing assignments must follow the same procedures, as outlined in this policy, and will be determined following the same guidelines.

Questions related to the use of Emotional Support Animals on campus should be directed to the following departments:



Student Concerns
Lindsay Page, Campus Accessibility Services Director

(603) 535-2482


Visitor Concerns
Katie Caron, Manager, Campus Environmental Health & Safety

(603) 535-2409


Appeals/504 Coordinator
Janette Wiggett, Title IX, and 504 Coordinator

(603) 535-2206



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