Housing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State provides a climate of equal opportunity to all of its programs, activities, and services, and is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. University housing provides accessible housing for a student with disability as defined by these laws. The student must provide documentation from a licensed, qualified professional that substantiates that he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and that the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the student equal access.

This process is for a student who is requesting a room accommodation for Housing. There is a different process for requesting a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal.

 

STEP 1: HFS CONTRACT

A student with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation related to housing must have accepted a Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract. Documentation received for a student who does not have a HFS Contract will not be processed. Learn more about the HFS Contract process

STEP 2: DOCUMENTATION

To request a reasonable accommodation for housing, the student must have a qualified third-party (e.g., medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical licensed social worker) who is treating the student personally complete the Request for Reasonable Accommodations in Housing (pdf). There is a different process for requesting a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal.

STEP 3: SUBMISSION DEADLINE

The student should submit the completed Request for Reasonable Accommodations in Housing (pdf) on or before the following dates for the appropriate semester that the student will first move into on-campus housing. Documentation may be submitted at any time, but after the deadline dates, the University may not be able to take into account a student's preference for assignment (such as area or roommate).

SEMESTER DEADLINE DATE
Summer Session June 1
Fall Semester June 15
Spring Semester December 1

To make a reasonable accommodation for the student’s need, there may be certain situations where housing preferences (such as area or roommate requests) cannot be honored. If a student submits documentation after the dates indicated above, the student will be assigned to an appropriate room assignment as quickly as possible, when acceptable space can be determined. If a student is offered a change to the housing environment, an additional cost may be associated with the resulting assignment or requests. Any reasonable accommodation is considered, but the student must support the accommodation request with a documented need linked to his or her disabling condition.

The reasonable accommodation takes effect once the determination is made, based on space available. Documentation cannot be submitted for a future semester without having the assignment for the current semester updated - once a determination is made, the student's room assignment will be updated immediately.

STEP 4: DOCUMENTATION SUBMISSION

Documentation should be submitted to the appropriate office. Faxing is the most secure method to transit medical paperwork.

  • University ParkAssignment Office, 201 Johnston Commons, University Park PA 16802. Phone: 814-865-7501. FAX: 814-863-8364 
  • Commonwealth CampusHousing and Food Services, 209 HFS Building, University Park PA 16802. Phone: 814-865-7862. FAX: 814-863-5928

STEP 5: DETERMINATION

The student's paperwork will be reviewed by professional staff in University Health Services (UHS)Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and/or Student Disability Resources (SDR), who will consult with University Housing to determine what type of housing accommodation can be made. The information completed on the request form will be reviewed to determine:

  • That the student is a person with a documented disability; 
  • That the housing accommodation being requested is necessary to afford the student, as a person with a disability, an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the on-campus housing facilities; and
  • That there is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the support that the housing accommodation will provide.

The student will receive an email within 1-2 weeks after submission that will include the determination letter. The student will be informed if an accommodation has been approved, if a change in room assignment is appropriate, any associated room rate charges if applicable, and other additional information. The determination will be applied immediately, and will stay active on the student's account as long as the student has a HFS Contract.

A student may submit an appeal to the determination within fifteen (15) days of receiving the letter. The appeal must be sent in writing and indicate the issue and remedy or relief sought. The student will receive a formal response within ten (10) days of receiving the appeal.

  • University ParkAssignment Office, 201 Johnston Commons, University Park PA 16802. Phone: 814-865-7501. FAX: 814-863-8364 
  • Commonwealth CampusHousing and Food Services, 209 HFS Building, University Park PA 16802. Phone: 814-865-7862. FAX: 814-863-5928

 

COMMON DETERMINATIONS

  • Air Conditioning/Climate-Controlled Environments:
    • Beaver, Greater Allegheny, Mont Alto, Hazleton, and first-year students at University Park: If a student is approved for air conditioning, he or she will be assigned to a pre-determined room that has an air conditioning (AC) unit. AC units are installed in both double rooms and supplemental housing rooms. The student's room assignment will be processed in date-order from when the offer of admission was accepted, and will be assigned to the appropriate room (regular or supplemental). AC units have been installed in pre-determined rooms and cannot be removed. A student who requires AC will not be able to use the Direct Room Exchange eBoard to change his or her room assignment. If a determination is made after the deadline indicated below or after the beginning of the semester, the student will be reassigned to a room with an AC unit and will be need to move (without the student's preferred roommate).
    • Altoona, Behrend, and upper-class students at University Park: Air conditioned and/or climate-controlled housing is available and the student will be assigned to the appropriate accommodatoin. If the student is eligible to participate in the housing lottery, the student can request a housing option that offers air conditioning and/or climate controlled. If a determination is made after the deadline indicated below or after the beginning of the semester and the student is not in an air-conditioned space, the student will be reassigned to a room with an AC unit and will need to move (without the student’s preferred roommate).
    • Abington, Berks, Brandywine, and Harrisburg: all spaces are air-conditioned.
  • Housing Options: A determination may require a change to a student's housing option, such as changing from a traditional double to a single with private bathroom, if that type of housing is approved and available at the campus. Some campuses/buildings may not have availibility in or offer the type of housing recommended. If a space is not available in the recommended housing option, the student will be added to the Waitlist and will be reassigned once a vacancy becomes available. Requests for specific housing options or buildings may not be honored.