Living with your emotional support animal in campus housing is typically a more entailed process. The majority of universities I have worked with have requested extensive information and paperwork, asking about more detailed Private Health Information (PHI) than is normally requested. In order to complete a campus request, I may need to meet with you multiple times. Usually, I suggest that campus housing clients book three appointments a week apart. The total cost for all appointments and sending documents is $250. Because campus housing is considered a public spaces (not private), these institutions are not protected by the same Fair Housing Act laws that private apartments would be required to honor. Thus, it is at the discretion of the University or College to decide if they will allow an emotional support animal. If you are concerned about not being able to take an emotional support animal with you, you have the option of living in an apartment that is not run by the university, which would be required to comply with local, state, and federal Assistance Animal laws set by the FHA, ADA, HUD, and DOJ.
The first steps that you would need to take is to book the initial appointment, and then complete the intake forms. You will also need to complete extra forms, which I will send you after the first appointment. In addition, I will need you to email me the directions or university forms that I will need to complete for your campus housing.
After we have met multiple times and discussed your needs and plan to live with your emotional support animal, I will send the documentation for you to look over before submitting to the university. I recommend that students look over everything in detail to check for accuracy and make sure they are comfortable with sharing their PHI with the University.
Another caveat that has made it difficult in getting campus housing forms approved is if the requesting student does not have a severe enough diagnosis. For example, if a student is high functioning but has ADHD or an adjustment disorder, then campus housing might not approve a request. However, if a student has a diagnosis such as ADHD, accompanied by other diagnoses, such as major depression, severe anxiety, prolonged grief, or PTSD, and if those diagnoses that affect a person’s ability to attend to daily activities can be mitigated by the presence of an emotional support animal, then universities typically will approve the recommendation. The majority of time, my clients have more complex mental health issues, which are improved by being able to live with their ESA, emotional support animal, assistance animal, service animal, cat, dog, or other animal.
Despite this lengthy process, I have been successful in guiding students through the process and gaining approval for an ESA or Service Dog for different university and college campus housing.