Housing Accommodations

Living on campus can be a new and exciting experience for college students. Residential learning environments are important parts of Virginia Commonwealth University’s programs, especially for first-year and new students. VCU is committed to providing meaningful residential experiences for all students. In an effort to effectively respond to student requests for housing modifications or accommodations, we have created the Housing Accommodation Request Committee. This committee is made up of a group of VCU professionals representing Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity, Residential Life and Housing, University Counseling Services and the University Student Health Services.

Students interested in housing accommodations based on a medical, psychological, physical, or other disability-related impairment may submit their request to The Office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (SAEO). To formally submit a request, a student must:

  1. Complete the standard housing application process through Residential Life and Housing.
  2. Submit a completed version of the Housing Accommodation Request Form to the SAEO office. (Please Note: This form does not take the place of the VCU Residential Life & Housing Applications.)
  3. Submit documentation of the impairment/disability that supports the request. Appropriate documentation should meet the criteria set forth in the guidelines below.

The Housing Accommodation Request Committee will review requests throughout the year. It is important to note that the housing assignments for accommodations are based on availability. If a student is approved for a housing accommodation but an appropriate placement is not available at that time, the student will be notified of the approved accommodation and relevant information about availability. In order to increase your chances of receiving an appropriate assignment, please submit the Housing Accommodation Request Form and documentation by the following dates:

Documentation Guidelines

Documentation must be on professional letterhead, typed (or clearly legible), dated, and signed. It must be provided by an appropriately licensed professional with whom the student has an established treatment relationship. Documentation should include the following:

  1. Medical or clinical diagnosis of the disability/impairment.
  2. The diagnostic criteria or name of the assessment instruments used to determine the diagnosis.
  3. Detailed description of the current functional impact of the condition or disability as it relates to the housing modification or accommodation requested.
  4. Recommendation from the professional explaining the need for the accommodation as it relations to the disability/impairment.

A special note about documentation for Emotional Support Animals

VCU recognizes the tremendous benefit emotional support animals (ESA) can provide. In accordance with federal and state law, when approved as a housing accommodation, ESAs may be permitted to reside in the residence halls. Students should follow the same request process as they would for any other housing accommodation.

Please be aware, there is a great deal of misinformation available about what constitutes legitimate documentation for an ESA. Many licensed therapists across the country are willing to write letters supporting an ESA based on a single conversation either in person, over the phone, or a tele-meeting platform (i.e., Skype). In many cases, these brief conversations do not establish an appropriate relationship between a student and the provider, so the documentation may not be considered valid. Additionally, there are companies online which claim to be official support animal registries and/or provide official certifications, yet they have no legal authority and are not accredited. These certificates and registries may not be considered valid documentation. Please contact Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity to discuss whether or not a certain source of documentation would be deemed valid.

We also provide a comprehensive overview of Emotional Support Animals and answer frequently asked questions in our “Resources” section which you can find here.