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 Disabled Students Program (DSP) Housing Specialist:
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 are encouraged to 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 an “accommodations” section where students can indicate that they may have a disability or identity-based need for an accommodation in University housing. For confidentiality reasons, the housing application does not allow for students to input personal information regarding their disability. This can be done during the interactive process following your application submission.
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 application fee, before the deadline. Students with accommodations are not given priority in the housing process, and are subject to the housing lottery. As such, accommodations requests submitted after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis after those received by the deadline, for students who do not receive a housing priority or guarantee.
In addition to submitting the housing application, students who wish to request an accommodation based on a disability-related need are encouraged to complete the Accommodations Request Form and provide appropriate medical documentation in a timely manner to be considered for a Housing Accommodation.
All students seeking an accommodation are encouraged to complete and return page one of the accommodations request form.
For students requesting an accommodation based on a disability-related need, page 2 of the Accommodations Request Form should be completed by an appropriate medical or mental health expert. In most cases, this will mean a medical professional with whom the student has an established relationship. If a student currently does not have an established relationship with a medical or mental healthcare provider, they are encouraged to visit the Tang Center on campus to complete this part of the form. In addition to the form, the medical or mental health expert is asked to write a letter describing the way 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 assignments office that reviews ADA Accommodations requests. Documentation can be returned to the Accommodations 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 Accommodations Request, the Accommodations 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
- Semi-private bathroom
- 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
Students requesting emotional support animals as an accommodation to address the functional limitations of a disability are encouraged to 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 receiving accommodations in the classroom. Students seeking academic accommodations need to register and provide documentation to the DSP office.
The Disability Access and Compliance office can assist students with requests for mobility access, communication access, and event access on the UC Berkeley campus. They can provide resources for accessibility with information about navigating the campus with a mobility or visual disability.
Students with Disabilities who are living in on campus housing and realize their current room is not a reasonble accommodation to address their functional limitations may request a room change or tranfer by using the Room Change Request form. More information about this process and form are available at housing.berkeley,edu/forms
Students with Disabilities also need to go through the interactive process to request reasonable accommodations, to ensure we identify a new space that will meet your needs. To do so, we recommend you use the Accommodation Request Form as a guide to provide the university documentation from a treating medical or mental health professional outlining the functional limitations of your disability, their recommendations for reasonable accommodations needed in housing, and an explaination of how your current housing assignment is not addressing your functional limitations. Priority consideration for a room change will be provided to students whose documentation clearly demonstrates that their current on campus residence is not a reasonable accomodation for their needs.
Students with Disabilities or those with medical conditions who do not provide medical documentation for review will have their room change request reviewed in the standard room change process, based upon the date of their room change submission and our housing availability. Please keep in mind that room changes are not guaranteed. We typically have an extensive waitlist of students seeking to change rooms.
If you have existing documentation on file and wish to request a room change, you should complete the Room Change Request form and email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what additional information may be needed from you or your medical professional in the interactive process to facilitate a move.