Residential living is central to the learning environment for all Cornell College students (read the residency requirement policy or meal plan requirement policy for details). Virtually all student needs can be met through the standard room selection process and the standard meal plan options. However, students who believe that they have conditions such that their needs cannot be met through this process may request special housing or meal plan consideration.

Examples of housing-related considerations

Though not an exhaustive list, the most common requests we receive include:

  • A residence hall with an elevator
  • A residence hall with an accessible washroom
  • A single residence hall room

Process for requesting special consideration

Any student requesting special consideration should download the Documentation of Medical and/or Psychological Conditions (PDF) form. The student will need to complete a portion of the form and then ask a health care professional with no familial relationship to the student to provide the remaining information. Students seeking special consideration for a physical condition must provide documentation from a trained, licensed medical professional who is qualified in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.  Students seeking special consideration for a psychological condition must provide documentation from a trained, licensed or certified mental health professional who is qualified in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Individuals requesting the use of a service or assistance animal should refer to the service and assistance animals policy for complete details of definitions, procedures and handler responsibilities.

All documentation will then be reviewed by a committee (as detailed below). Any member of the committee may contact the health care provider for additional information or clarification. The final decision for accommodation rests with the Director of Residence Life.  Every effort is made to meet students' special needs within our housing system and food service plan using the alternatives available.

Timeline for requesting special consideration

We ask that all documentation for incoming new and transfer students be received by June 1 for students starting in fall semester or December 1 for students starting in spring semester. We ask that documentation for returning students requesting special consideration for the following year be submitted by March 1. The Committee will review the documentation on or around those dates and will follow up with those students at that time.

Any student requesting special consideration for the current academic year should submit documentation as soon as possible. The Committee will typically review the documentation within ten (10) business days.

Though a student can submit documentation at any time, we have established the above guidelines to maximize the options available to meet the individual student's needs.

The Committee Reviewing Housing and Meal Plan Requests

The committee consists of:

  • The Director of Residence Life
  • The Academic Support and Advising Coordinator
  • The Director of the Student Health Center
  • The Director of the Counseling Center
  • The General Manager of Dining Services
  • The Dean of Students

The Director of Residence Life will review all documentation.  Other members of the committee will be consulted only when the documentation or request is related to the committee member's area of expertise (as an example, the General Manager of Dining Services will be consulted only when the request is related to a student's dietary needs).

In the event of extended absences or staff vacancies, a designee for any of these positions may be consulted.  Also, the Director of Facility Services is not a regular member of the committee.  However, this person may be consulted if the health care professional's recommendation has an impact on existing facilities. In such cases, the Director will have limited access to the information provided in the documentation.

Updated documentation

If approved, changes to housing assignments and/or meal plans are provided for the current academic year only. Students who have been given special consideration must resubmit their request annually (during the room select process held each spring, as explained in the timeline section above). They must also be prepared to resubmit updated documentation as requested by the Committee.

Temporary medical conditions

Temporary medical conditions (such as select injuries, surgeries, or illnesses) are likely not considered a disability. However, Cornell College recognizes that some temporary conditions may impact a student's ability to live comfortably in certain buildings or on certain floors (such as a student on crutches who is assigned to the top floor of a building that does not have an elevator). Any student with a temporary condition who may wish to have special consideration is encouraged to contact Residence Life to explore any available options (such as a temporary space on a lower floor or in a different building). The availability of alternatives is not guaranteed. In cases where alternatives are available, the student may be asked to obtain supporting documentation from a health care provider, though the documentation requirements will likely be less detailed than the requirements outlined in the process above.

Students with temporary medical conditions who wish to explore alternate parking options should refer to Campus Safety's Student Parking Regulations.

Academic accommodations

The process outlined here is specifically for considerations related to housing and/or meal plans. Students wishing to explore academic accommodations should refer to the information provided by the Office of Disabilities Services for documentation guidelines and expectations.