A Home Away from Home: Understanding Housing Accommodations

Some Types of Accommodations in Campus Housing

Be aware that disability accommodations are determined and applied on an individualized, case-by-case basis. The examples below are illustrative only. Not everyone is eligible for any or all of these, or any other housing accommodations.


A single room may be necessary for students who have certain physical or medical conditions or mental health needs. However, single rooms can generally only be requested if there is a specific need related to your disability. Disability services offices will often not approve a single room if you just want a quiet space to study. However, you can apply for a room in a designated quiet floor/building, which many colleges offer for both students with and without disabilities.

If you need space in your room for a wheelchair, medical equipment, or a personal care attendant, you may be able to request a double room as a single room. You can also request to have a room on the first floor to make getting in and out of your building easier.

Other accommodations that you might consider in your room are:

  • Rooms without carpets for students with allergies
  • Air conditioning for students with respiratory conditions
  • Specialized furniture (e.g., a height-adjustable desk)
  • A visual alerting device for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (e.g., a fire alarm or doorbell)

Bathrooms & Shower Rooms

If you have a physical disability, you can request to have a dorm that has restroom features such as:

  • Roll-in showers
  • Grab bars in a shower stall or tub
  • An adjustable showerhead
  • Faucets at different heights

Some residence halls may have these features already built in, while others do not. In some cases, you can work with residence life and facilities management to install these features in your residence hall.

Personal Care Attendants

Colleges generally do not provide personal care attendants (PCAs) to students with disabilities. However, you can still bring a PCA to campus if you need assistance in activities of daily living. You are responsible for hiring your own PCA and submitting documentation demonstrating the need for a PCA to the disability services office.

Before the semester begins, either you or your PCA must submit a copy of the PCA’s background check investigation to your disability services office. This document can be obtained through the PCA’s employment agency.

Your PCA may also have to register with your college’s public safety office so they can access buildings on campus. During their service, the PCA must follow your school’s conduct codes.


Trained Service Animals (Dogs) such as Guide Dogs for the Blind or "Hearing" Dogs for Deaf People are allowed in most areas of a college campus under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You aren't required to provide documentation for this kind of dog.

Trained Emotional Support or Therapy Animals (ESA's can be dogs or other animals) might be allowed in campus housing only, under applicable rules of the Fair Housing Act. Students must submit disability documentation that supports the need for an ESA and get approval from Residential Life and Disability Services to be able to bring an ESA in to campus housing.

More information about animals is available at the NCCSD Clearinghouse.