Arcadia housing can accommodate many unique student needs. We partner with Disability Support Services (DSS) to help students with physical, psychological, or cognitive challenges identify a housing option that suits them best.
New students must deposit by May 1. If you’d like to request special housing accommodations due to a disability or medical condition, we strongly encourage contacting DSS as early as possible (preferably on or before May 30).
Returning students should make housing accommodation requests by March 1. For information regarding requirements for documentation of a disability related to housing, contact DSS at 215-572-4033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although requests for accommodations may be made at any time, availability of these spaces may be limited. Medical conditions, such as allergies or asthma, can be accommodated; however, they may not rise to the level of a disabling condition.
Single Room Requests
We require documentation that justifies the medical necessity of a single room. Examples of medical necessity may include the presence of a 24/7 personal care attendant, self-catheterization, need to store a power chair, etc. While it may not be a medical necessity to have a single room, students with disabilities may be given single-room preference due to their disability when available and will be charged the single room rate.
Emotional Support Animals
The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) assures that people with disabilities be allowed to have an assistance animal in residence with them if the animal is necessary for the individual to have full benefit, enjoyment, and use of a residential facility. The term “assistance animal” encompasses both service animals and emotional support animals (ESAs).
What is an ESA?
An ESA provides comfort to a person with a psychiatric/psychological disability. They are distinguishable from service animals in that they are not trained to perform specific tasks that assist an individual with a disability.While we understand how beneficial pets can be to one's well being, emotional support animals are not considered pets. Additionally, a mental health diagnosis may not rise to the level of a disability. ESAs are only an accommodation for students with disabilities. In general, our residence halls are not an animal-friendly environment. Communal living requires Arcadia to consider the concerns and comfort for all residential students. Therefore, Arcadia offers some important guidance for students considering ESA requests.
Note: ESAs are not permitted on campus until the accommodation request has been made and acted upon; students found with unauthorized animals in the residence hall will be subject to sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct and will be fined for having a pet on campus.
What documentation do I need to provide?
Since an ESA is part of a treatment plan for someone with a significant mental health diagnosis, documentation must come from your licensed treating mental health provider. ESA requests are approved for the academic year, and new accommodation requests will need to be made each year—meaning you may need to provide updated documentation supporting the continued need for an ESA.
Accommodation requests are only for residential living, and do not apply to students seeking break housing. Breaking housing typically only lasts for a week or two and consists of students moving into Oak Summit and living in a communal hostel environment that is not conducive for an ESA.
Note: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been asked by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to investigate websites that purport to provide documentation from a health care provider in support of requests for an ESA after individuals complete a short questionnaire or interview. The websites in question offer for sale documentation that is not reliable for purposes of determining whether an individual has a disability or disability-related need for an ESA because the website operators and health care professionals who consult with them lack the personal knowledge that is necessary to make such determinations.
What ESAs can I bring?
It’s important to note that Arcadia may approve the ESA request, but not the particular ESA you hope to bring. For example, many reptiles and rodents may be rejected because of safety and health concerns, as they can carry zoonotic diseases posing a threat to the community. Another example would include if the animal is too large for the assigned housing space. In traditional halls, this typically means the animal's crate or cage must fit in the student’s room. This typically means a tank that would fit on the student’s desk (4ft x 2ft) or an animal smaller than 30 pounds. We require that the animal be spayed or neutered to prevent behavioral issues (excessive yowling, spraying, etc.).
What are my responsibilities in caring for an ESA?
Students bringing ESAs to campus are fully responsible for the animal’s care, behavior, and for any damage done. ESAs are restricted to the student’s immediate living space, and are not allowed in common areas throughout the residence hall. Moreover, the ESA must be contained (caged or crated) any time the student is not in the room.
The ESA may not be left in the care of other residents. If the student leaves campus overnight, the ESA must be taken along. If the ESA is disruptive to the living environment for others (i.e. barking or other loud noises, significant odor from litter boxes or cages), or if there is damage done to University facilities, the ESA will need to be removed from the premises. The student will be responsible for paying for property damage.
Discuss the appropriateness of an ESA (and considerations for campus living) with your mental health professional.
After receiving approval from DSS and signing the approval acknowledgement, meet with Campus Life to review and sign Arcadia’s guidelines.
Be aware of accommodation request deadlines. Since housing accommodations are closely tied to the housing selection process, we can not guarantee requests made after the deadline will be honored.