A Guide To Emotional Support Animals in College Dorms
A Guide To Emotional Support Animals in College Dorms
A Guide To Emotional Support Animals in College Dorms

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Resident Dynamics

Resident Dynamics

Resident Dynamics

Resident Dynamics

#collegeaccommodation

#emotionalsupportanimals

#studenthousing

#campuslife

#esaincollege

#wellbeing

#stressreduction

#socialsupport

#disabilityinclusion

#legalconsiderations

#policytips

#housingmanagement

#HousingCloud

#highereducation

#reslife

#dormlife

#inclusivecampus

#petmanagement

#campuscommunity

A Guide To Emotional Support Animals in College Dorms

Category

Resident Dynamics

#collegeaccommodation

#emotionalsupportanimals

#studenthousing

#campuslife

#esaincollege

#wellbeing

#stressreduction

#socialsupport

#disabilityinclusion

#legalconsiderations

#policytips

#housingmanagement

#HousingCloud

#highereducation

#reslife

#dormlife

#inclusivecampus

#petmanagement

#campuscommunity

Resident Dynamics

Resident Dynamics

Resident Dynamics

A Guide To Emotional Support Animals In College Dorms

Seventy-three percent of pet owners have certified their companions as emotional support animals, or ESAs — also known as therapy animals. Students might want to bring these pets into your buildings or live with them in campus housing, so you should create rules and policies for these learners to ensure the safety of your entire college community. 

This expert guide helps you make more informed decisions about ESAs living in college dorms so you can better serve students who rely on support animals for their mental health. 

What Are Emotional Support Animals?

ESAs are pets that provide emotional relief to college students with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an emotional disability. These animals on campus support a student's mental health condition by reducing stress, improving emotional well-being, and offering companionship. 

There's no consensus on what type of animal can be an ESA on the federal level, and different rules and regulations exist in different states. Typically, doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals might consider any domesticated animal to be an ESA, such as a dog, cat, rabbit, mouse, or ferret. 

It's important to understand the difference between ESAs and regular pets. ESAs have legal protections under legislation like the Fair Housing Act, meaning you can't deny these animals from living with a pet owner in your college accommodation. You also can't charge students additional rent or fees if they own an ESA like you can with traditional pets. Emotional support animals are also different from service animals or assistance animals, which are pets trained to complete specific tasks for someone with disabilities — for example, a guide dog for a blind person.

The Benefits of Having An ESA in College

Emotional support animals in college dorms can improve the well-being of their owners, as well as reduce stress and offer social support. 

Emotional Well-Being

Studies show that when someone cuddles a pet or ESA, oxytocin is released in the brain. This neurotransmitter can increase feelings of emotional well-being, providing temporary relief from a mental health condition. Oxytocin can also reduce blood pressure and heart rates, leaving students with a calm feeling. 

Stress Reduction

Students face many stressful situations when living in university housing, especially those in their first year who just moved away from their parents. Emotional support animals in college dorms can help learners manage the pressures of student life, such as writing assignments, giving presentations, meeting deadlines, and homesickness. That's because these animals may reduce cortisol levels in their owner, which is the body's primary stress hormone. When cortisol decreases, the body feels more relaxed

Social Support

Research shows that pets increase interactions with loved ones and the local community. ESAs, therefore, can increase a student's confidence in social situations during dorm life and provide support when interacting with others. Looking after an ESA also requires focus, which can help a college student with an animal on campus overcome anxiety in social environments. 

Considerations Before Bringing An ESA To College

Some college administrators have concerns about fraudulent requests for bringing ESAs to college. That's why it's critical to create clear policies for keeping ESAs on university grounds so those who need an ESA can get the relief they need while maintaining compliance with campus policies. 

How you structure your campus policies for ESAs will depend on how you expect these animals to impact your college community. It's essential to balance the needs of individuals with mental health conditions with those of your student body as a whole. For example, placing someone with a pet cat in the same dorm room as someone allergic to these animals can create an uncomfortable living environment for both parties. 

Start by considering the accommodation application process and how it can best serve the needs of those with ESAs and all other students. Using student housing technologies like a property management system can improve roommate matches and ensure students don't mind living with someone who owns a pet. Alternatively, you can think about creating theme housing, which allows students with similar types of ESAs to live together in the same space. That enables them to share pet-caring responsibilities like dog walking.

You should include information about your pet policy in student housing contracts alongside roommate rules and other tenant responsibilities. That way, students with pets will know their responsibilities and what you expect of them. For example, you might require these individuals to keep communal areas clean from pet hair and waste and avoid students with known allergies. You should also explain what kind of documentation you require from a healthcare provider for an ESA.

Students with ESAs should also understand that some may not be welcoming of their animals since college students have diverse experiences with pets and mental health in general. 

Make Accommodation Requests Easier For Students With Support Animals

Property management software makes it simple to cater to students with ESAs during the accommodation application process. You can create rules that consider each student's requirements, preferences, and characteristics when matching roommates in dorms and apartments, assign the right housing options to potential residents, and adhere to government policies.  

Plus, you can digitize application forms where students request the type of roommates they want to live with and upload them to Google Forms or AirTable. That removes the need for students to print out paperwork, fill it in, and then send it back to you in the mail, speeding up the housing process. 

Housing.Cloud is student housing management software with multiple features that help you manage accommodation requests effectively in your housing office. Its UI connects to your existing student information systems, letting you sync your student records quickly. It's also affordable for all colleges, even small institutions with a tight budget.

Housing.Cloud is the platform you need to support students with emotional support animals in college dorms. Request a demo right now and streamline application forms and accommodation requests.

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Housing.Cloud empowers housing professionals to deliver exceptional student experiences by simplifying inefficiencies and operational workarounds with one, scalable platform.

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Office:

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New York, NY 10031

Phone Number:

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info@housing.cloud

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Housing Cloud, Inc.

Copyright 2023-2024 © All rights reserved

Housing.Cloud empowers housing professionals to deliver exceptional student experiences by simplifying inefficiencies and operational workarounds with one, scalable platform.

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Connect with us

Office:

1850 Amsterdam Ave;

New York, NY 10031

Phone Number:

(848) 279-9511

Email:

info@housing.cloud

Contact

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Housing Cloud, Inc.

Copyright 2023-2024 © All rights reserved

Housing.Cloud empowers housing professionals to deliver exceptional student experiences by simplifying inefficiencies and operational workarounds with one, scalable platform.

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Office:

1850 Amsterdam Ave;

New York, NY 10031

Phone Number:

(848) 279-9511

Email:

info@housing.cloud

Contact

Careers

Housing Cloud, Inc.

Copyright 2023-2024 © All rights reserved

Housing.Cloud empowers housing professionals to deliver exceptional student experiences by simplifying inefficiencies and operational workarounds with one, scalable platform.

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info@housing.cloud

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