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Requesting Accommodated Housing at UMD

The University of Maryland is deeply committed to the full participation of students with disabilities in all aspects of University life. We believe that living on campus, learning to live in a community, and sharing a space with others are integral parts of students’ educational experience.  We strive to meet the needs of students with documented disabilities per the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, and other applicable laws.

To request housing accommodation(s) for a disability, chronic health condition, or another medical issue(s), the treating licensed clinical professional or health care provider must submit information to Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS). The professional/provider must be thoroughly familiar with the student’s physical or psychological condition(s) and resulting functional limitations, restrictions, or considerations. 

This information is needed to ensure that the student will be assigned to a room that satisfactorily meets the assignment need. All information and documents provided to ADS will be kept confidential. Any confidential information will be shared discreetly only with relevant staff and only used as permitted by law. This information will have no bearing on a student’s general eligibility for housing.

ADS reserves the right to request additional documentation if the information submitted appears outdated, inadequate in scope or content, does not address the student's current level of functioning, or substantiates their need for modifications or accommodations. Students will be notified in writing of the decision.

All University students who wish to reside in University residences are required to follow the housing selection process administered by the Department of Resident Life.  For more information, visit the Department of Resident Life website.

Please note that students who require academic accommodations that are unrelated to their residential environment must register with the Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS) and follow the academic accommodation(s) request process.  For more information about requesting academic-related accommodations, please visit Prospective ADS Students.


Student Responsibilities

  1. Students apply to live on campus by all stated Department of Resident Life deadlines
  2. Students must formally register with ADS as an individual with a disability
  3. Providers (i.e. Physicians, Psychologists, etc.) must complete a Disability Housing Verification form (pdf). This documentation can be uploaded directly into the Disability Housing Accommodation Form or emailed to the ADS Front Desk at adsfrontdesk@umd.edu.

ADS Responsibility

  1. Upon completion of the above steps and receipt of all required paperwork, ADS staff will make an eligibility determination based on self-reported information and documentation. A student’s failure to actively engage in the interactive process may preclude ADS from effectively evaluating their request.
  2. Students will be notified of this decision in writing or may be asked to provide additional documentation. If ADS approves the request, the accommodation recommendation will be communicated to the Department of Resident Life.

ADS does not share the student’s diagnosis or other details of the student’s disability documentation with Resident Life staff unless specifically required by the student or required to implement the approved accommodation.

Department of Resident Life Responsibility

The Department of Resident Life will contact the student and work directly with them, as needed, to make the housing accommodation arrangements.

Housing accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended in 2008. To qualify, the student must have a current condition that substantially limits a major life activity, and the accommodation request must be necessary and reasonable. A diagnosis, in and of itself, does not automatically qualify one for accommodations.

We acknowledge that certain medical conditions (such as some allergies or forms of asthma) may cause discomfort in a university housing environment, but many medical conditions do not qualify as a disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and as such, may not be eligible for housing modifications. Please note that accommodations in the residential environment are granted to students with documented disabilities only. 

Adjustments to a student’s residential space due to health-related symptoms that do not rise to the level of a significant disabling condition, such as living with a particular roommate, religious preference, AC unit, proximity to academic/campus buildings, or desire for a quiet/undisturbed place to study, are considered housing preferences and are addressed by the Department of Resident Life.

Please note that residential buildings and housing units with air-conditioning do not guarantee low allergens, better air quality, or consistent air temperatures because most University residential and academic buildings do not have individually controlled air-conditioning units.

For housing accommodation requests to be reviewed and addressed in a timely manner, students are asked to meet the following due dates if they wish to have accommodations available on the day that residence halls open each semester. Requests submitted after the posted due dates will be reviewed and considered (as space allows), but they cannot be guaranteed to be available at the start of the semester.

  • May 15: Due date for fall admission
  • December 1: Due date for spring admission

Housing assignments and the residential learning environment are integral parts of University of Maryland programs. Below is a summary of the factors we consider when evaluating housing requests.

The answers to any/all of these questions may be key factors in our decision-making. Our goal is to provide access to a safe and supportive living environment for all students participating in the Maryland Residential Experience.

Severity of the Condition

  1. Is the impact of the condition life-threatening if the request is not met?
  2. Is there a negative health impact that may be permanent if the request is not met?
  3. Is the request an integral component of a treatment plan for the condition in question?
  4. Does the request center on room adaptations necessary for safe and independent occupancy in the residence hall?
  5. What is the likely impact on academic performance if the request is not met?
  6. What is the likely impact on social development if the request is not met?
  7. What is the likely impact on the student's comfort level if the request is not met?

Feasibility and Availability

  1. Is space available that meets the student’s needs?
  2. Can space be adapted to provide the requested configuration without creating a safety hazard (electrical/structural load limits, emergency egress, etc.)
  3. Are there other effective methods or housing configurations that would achieve similar benefits as the requested configuration?
  4. How does meeting this request impact housing commitments to other students?

Assistance Animals: According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an Assistance Animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Under the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973, persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation for any Assistance Animal, including an emotional support animal.

Pet: A “pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered an Assistance Animal, and, therefore, it is not covered by these guidelines and related policies. Residents are not permitted to keep pets on university property or in university housing (with the exception of fish in up to a 10 gallon or less aquarium).

Assistance Animals in Residence Halls and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Housing

The Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS) works in collaboration with the Department of Resident Life, South Campus Commons, and The Courtyards to ensure reasonable and appropriate accommodations for residents. An emotional support/assistance animal accommodation is implemented by the Department of Resident Life, South Campus Commons, and/or the Courtyards following a review of documentation and determination of eligibility for such accommodation by ADS.

Students who require an emotional support/assistance animal in their campus residence must:

  1. Register with ADS by completing the ADS Registration Application
  2. Submit a UMD Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Housing Accommodation Request form (pdf) that has been completed by a qualified and appropriate professional
  3. Call the ADS Front Desk to schedule a Registration Appointment
  4. Meet with an ADS counselor to determine eligibility and, if appropriate, establish a formal accommodation
  5. If the request is deemed appropriate by ADS, the student will also meet with housing staff to review guidelines related to animal control and behavior, animal health and well-being, animal cleanliness and building sanitation requirements, the student’s overall responsibilities in maintaining the animal in the unit and prepare for discussions with other students who live in the same unit.

Please note: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been asked to investigate websites that purport to provide documentation from a health care provider in support of requests for an Assistance Animal or Emotional Support Animal (ESA). The websites in question offer documentation that is not reliable for purposes of determining whether an individual has a disability or a disability-related need for an Assistance Animal or ESA because the website operators and health care professionals who consult with them lack the personal knowledge that is necessary to make such determinations.

What is ADS’ role in the housing accommodation process?
Through the interactive process, ADS reviews submitted disability documentation and self-reported information to determine if an accommodation is reasonable and appropriate. ADS notifies the Department of Resident Life of the approved accommodation. 

What is the Department of Resident Life’s role in the accommodation process?
The Department of Resident Life is responsible for finalizing student housing placement within all UMD residence halls. The Department of Resident Life will notify students of their housing assignment in mid-July (or mid-January for spring semester requests). 

Do I need to have a disability to apply for housing accommodations?
Yes. Only students with documented disabilities for whom living in the residence hall is not viable without an accommodation, qualify for housing accommodations. 

When should I apply for housing accommodations?
Students are strongly encouraged to register with ADS as soon as a need for housing-based accommodations is known. While there is no deadline, a priority consideration review date of May 15 (for Fall semester housing) and December 1(for Spring Semester housing) allows time for the interactive process with ADS prior to the Department of Resident Life finalizing student housing placements for residents and releasing this information by mid-July.

If I register with ADS, am I guaranteed housing accommodations or a specific placement?
No. ADS will review each request on a case-by-case basis to determine if the accommodation is reasonable, feasible and/or appropriate. A diagnosis, in and of itself, does not automatically qualify one for accommodations.

What if I want to request a specific housing preference?
Adjustments to a student’s residential space due to health-related symptoms that do not rise to the level of a significant disabling condition, such as living with a particular roommate, religious preference, AC unit, proximity to academic/campus buildings or desire for a quiet/undisturbed place to study, are considered housing preferences and are addressed by the Department of Resident Life. 

How do housing accommodations impact my housing fees?
Students are not charged for any approved disability accommodations. Accommodations granted for a disability will result in students being assigned to a space and only being charged the predominant rate in that particular housing style. Due to the wide variety of room rates and styles, the Department of Resident Life would make adjustments accordingly based on the accommodation and type of housing.
 
What housing locations require students to register with ADS for accommodations?
Students who desire to live within one of the on-campus residence halls would register with ADS to establish housing accommodations. ADS does not approve housing accommodations for any private off-campus housing entity. 

What if I reside within one of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) locations like the Courtyard, South Campus Commons apartment complexes?
ADS only reviews requests for an emotional support animal for students in these locations. If a student needs any other housing accommodations while residing within a PPP location, they should contact their leasing office for assistance. 

Who should I contact if I have questions about my housing placement?
The Department of Resident Life is the appropriate contact to discuss housing placements. They can be reached by email at: reslife@umd.edu or by phone at 301-314-2100 Monday -Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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