If you are a Valdosta State University or South Georgia State College Entry Program student with a documented disability who is requesting to have their Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in the residence hall, you must contact the Access Office for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible (2 months prior to occupancy is recommended, although requests will be considered in the event that space is still available). Students must complete the Request for ESA Housing Accommodation form and provide supporting documentation. Requests are determined on a case-by-case basis with respect to sufficient documentation from a reliable, licensed healthcare provider with knowledge of the student’s specific circumstances and health history. Documentation should be on official letterhead, including name, title, professional credentials, address, phone number, signature, and date within 6 months prior to occupancy in the residence hall. The documentation should also include the following information:
1. the student’s specific diagnosis (including DSM or ICD code as appropriate) and impact of disability in the housing environment;
2. the student’s specific symptoms;
3. how the ESA assists the student in managing their specific symptoms;
4. established history of a therapeutic relationship with the student, to include number of visits, diagnostic methodology used, and other interventions the student has utilized or is using (e.g. therapy, medication).
The Access Office is unable to approve requests that do not specifically address inaccessibility. For example, documentation that states that, “the student would benefit from…” or “it would be easier if…” will not likely meet the criteria for accommodation.
The Access Office will review requests within ten (10) business days upon receipt of all necessary documentation (including the Request for ESA Housing Accommodation form completed by the student and medical documentation that meets criteria). Once a decision has been made, the Access Office will notify students via VSU email address indicating whether or not the accommodation request has been approved or if it was determined that the documentation provided was not sufficient to support the request. In the event that the requested accommodations are deemed reasonable and supported by documentation, the Access Office will also notify Housing and Residence Life via VSU/SGSC email as soon as the decision has been made.
- A documented medical condition does not necessarily indicate that a student qualifies as a student with a disability who requires accommodation.
- An ESA accommodation and a private room accommodation are considered different requests and must be submitted separately. They will be reviewed independently of one another.
- The Access Office is not able to recommend a specific residence hall, room or roommate.
- Do not assume that existence of a disability/medical condition will support a request for release of contract. In most cases, options for housing accommodations (e.g., change of room, change of hall, etc.) need to be explored prior to support of a release of contract by the Access Office. It is recommended that, despite the existence of a disability, students complete the process outlined by Housing and Residence Life prior to making any alternate plans for housing.
- The documentation review process for an ESA request must be completed prior to the student bringing their ESA to campus. If a student is found with an animal that has not been approved as an ESA, the student will be subject to VSU’s Housing policy.
Please fill out the fields below, ONLY if you are a student with a disability requesting an ESA housing accommodation. Review will begin once the form is submitted and supporting documentation that meets criteria is received in the Access Office.
File attachment size limit is 2 MB.