Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities are welcome and encouraged to live in university housing. UC Berkeley and Cal Housing value the contributions all students make in our communities, and we seek to provide accessible housing to meet the needs of everyone.
Students are encouraged to review the information below to learn more about the accommodation process.
For more information, you may get in touch with the Cal Housing Accommodations Coordinator:
Note: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) supports student privacy by allowing university officials to release student records only to the student. University officials are prohibited from discussing students records with a student's family members. As a result, the Accommodations Coordinator will only be able to discuss medical documents and detailed housing accommodation assignments with students, and not parents or guardians. We are happy at any time, however, to talk about our typical accommodation processes with family members.
Students with disabilities should provide information about their needs on the housing application, available at portal.housing.berkeley.edu
The first phase of the application process has several steps, including a place to provide “additional information” where students may describe the functional limitations of their disability and the accommodations they believe they may need in university housing. This information will be kept confidential and will only be used to determine proper housing accommodations.
Please be conscious of the application deadline for students in your classification (first year, transfer, continuing student, etc.), and be sure to complete and submit phase one of the housing application to us, including the $25 application fee, before the deadline.
In addition to submitting the housing application, students must complete the Accommodations Request Form and provide appropriate medical documentation in a timely manner to be eligible for a Housing Accommodation.
Students should complete and return page one of the accommodation form.
Page two of the Accommodation Request Form should be completed by an appropriate medical expert. In most cases this will mean a medical professional with whom the student has an established relationship. In addition the medical expert is asked to write a letter (on office letterhead) describing the ways the student’s disability impacts their housing needs. The most effective letters should:
- Describe the medical professional’s specialty, and how long the student has been in their care
- Verify that the student has a disability or medical condition, and share how the disability may impact the student while in university housing
- Provide the medical professional’s recommendations for the type of living space accommodations or modifications the student will need while in university housing, and explain in detail the functional limitations of the student’s disability that the recommended accommodations will address
- Include the medical professional’s signature and licensure information
The Cal Housing Accommodations Coordinator is the person in the housing assignments office that reviews ADA accommodation requests. Documentation can be returned to the Accommodation Coordinator via email, fax, or mail.
Priority is given to students who provide documentation by the stated deadline. It is recommended that students contact the Cal Housing office to verify that all of their documentation has been received by the deadline.
Upon receipt of a complete Accommodation Request, the Accommodation Coordinator will review the documentation provided to determine a reasonable accommodation, and may offer an alternative accommodation that meets the student’s disability-related needs as described by the medical expert.
Students who receive a housing offer will be notified of the offer via email to their berkeley.edu email address, and will be given the opportunity to accept or decline the housing offer online by completing Phase 2 of the application (portal.housing.berkeley.edu) and paying a $300 advance payment. By declining an offer, the student is indicating they do not wish to live on campus, and they will not receive an offer for a different space.
If a student with disabilities has concerns about the housing they receive, and believes it does not address the functional limitations of their disability, they may reach out to the Accommodations Coordinator with additional information, and begin to dialogue about possible options.
Below are some examples of accommodations students have requested in the past related to a disability or medical accommodation:
Automatic Door Opener
ADA compliant bathroom (including roll in shower)
Visual doorbell (typically for students with hearing impairments)
Strobe light fire alarm/ smoke detector (typically for students with hearing impairments)
Ability to rent more than one MicroChill unit
Room with additional space for medical equipment
Ground floor room or room on a lower floor
Location close to Tang Medical Center for access to health care
Room removed from traffic noise, distractions from outdoors, and other loud ambient sound
Room with less allergens
Placement with a Requested Roommate
Private Room or Room with Fewer Roommates
Substance Free Environment
- Assistance or Emotional Support Animal
This is not an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to get in contact with the housing office with specific questions you may have about the type of accommodations available.
Students requesting emotional support animals as an accommodation to address the functional limitations of a disability must provide the documentation listed in the above accommodation request process, along with additional supplemental documentation.
Students with trained Service Animals are encouraged to contact Cal Housing in advance of arriving on campus to notify our staff of the presence of an animal and to insure the housing assignment provided to you meets the needs of you and your animal.
To learn more about the accommodation animal process and to fill out the supplemental materials needed please review our Accommodation Animal Policy and Process.
The Disabled Students' Program (DSP) on campus can assist students with disabilities with campus access and in receiving accommodations in the classroom. Students seeking academic accommodations need to register and provide documentation to the DSP office.
This is a handy guide focused on accessibility with information about navigating the campus with a mobility or visual disability.