Housing Accommodations

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 a 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 an HFS Contract will be processed and held until the student has accepted a HFS Contract. Learn more about the HFS Contract process.

STEP 2: DOCUMENTATION

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 Accommodation in Housing (PDF file). There is a different process for requesting a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal

STEP 3: SUBMISSION DEADLINE

The completed Request for Reasonable Accommodation in Housing (PDF file) should be submitted 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 room assignment (such as housing area or roommate request).

Submission Deadlines
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 housing area or roommate requests) cannot be honored. If a student submits documentation after the deadline date indicated above, the student will be assigned to an appropriate room assignment as quickly as possible, when an 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 their disabling condition.

The reasonable accommodation takes effect once the determination is made, based on the space available. Documentation cannot be submitted for a future semester without having the room 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 Park: Housing Assignment Office, 201 Johnston Commons, University Park PA 16802. Phone: 814-865-7501. FAX: 814-863-8364
  • Commonwealth Campus: Housing 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 a 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. The determination is transferrable to another Penn State campus.

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

ROOM RATE CHARGED

When a student with a disability submits a request and receives a disability-related housing accommodation in a University facility, the rate charged for the room depends upon which room the student selects from the available housing options that meets the required disability-related housing accommodation and/or whether a student receives a preference to live in a certain type of room or housing area on campus. The student will be informed of housing options and applicable room rates.

COMMON DETERMINATIONS

  • Air Conditioning/Climate-Controlled Environments:
    • Beaver, Greater Allegheny, Mont Alto, Hazleton, and first-year students at University Park: A student who is approved for air conditioning will be assigned to a pre-determined room that has an air conditioning (AC) unit. AC units are installed in both double rooms traditional residence halls and supplemental housing rooms. A student who requires AC will not automatically be assigned to a renovated residence hall, as this building type is climate-controlled and does not offer the ability for the student to control the AC unit. 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 their 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 need to move (without the student's preferred roommate).
    • Altoona, Behrend, and upperclass students at University Park: Air-conditioned and/or climate-controlled housing is available and the student will be assigned to the appropriate accommodation. If the student is eligible to participate in the housing process, 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 a private bathroom if that type of housing is approved and available at the campus. Some campuses/buildings may not have availability 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.