Residential living is central to the learning environment for all Cornell College students (please consult 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 needs that cannot be met through this process may request housing or meal plan accommodations.

Examples of housing-related accommodations

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

All requests for reasonable accommodation will be considered. Typically the committee is looking for information about what is the barrier to access the student would experience in a typical housing assignment that this accommodation will remove. Requests due solely to a preference or a potential benefit to the student are not typically approved.

Process for requesting an accommodation

Any student requesting an accommodation should download the Documentation for Housing or Meal Plan Accommodation Request form. The student will need to complete the first page and ask their qualified health care professional (with no familial relationship to the student) to provide the remaining information. Students requesting the use of a service animal or emotional support animal should refer to the Service Animal policy and the Emotional Support Animal policy for complete details of definitions, procedures, and handler responsibilities.  Students requesting an Emotional Support Animal should use the ESA Request form.

The Coordinator of Disability Services will review all documentation provided. The Coordinator of Disability Services may contact the health care provider for additional information or clarification. Once this review is complete the Coordinator of Disability Services will email the student to notify them of the outcome of the review.  Should a housing-related accommodation be approved, the Director of Residence Life will then work directly with the student to finalize the implementation of the accommodation.

In circumstances where the requested accommodation is particularly complex, the request for accommodation may need to be reviewed by the committee (as detailed below).  The committee will consider the requested accommodations and all reasonable alternatives and will make suggestions to the Coordinator. However, the final decision for accommodations rests with the Coordinator of Disability Services.  Every effort is made to meet students' needs within the College’s housing system and food service plan using the alternatives available.

Timeline for requesting an accommodation

All documentation for incoming new and transfer students starting in the fall semester must be received by June 1 and by December 1 for students starting in the spring semester.

Documentation for current students requesting an accommodation for the following year must be submitted by March 1 of the preceding academic year prior to the general room selection process.

These deadlines are established to ensure time to consider and implement accommodations, however, a student can submit documentation after these deadlines if special circumstances exist. Any student requesting an accommodation for the current academic year should submit documentation as soon as possible. The Coordinator of Disability Services and the committee will typically review the completed documentation within thirty business days during the academic year and work with the student on approved requests to implement as quickly as possible.

The Committee Reviewing Housing and Meal Plan Requests

The committee may consist of:

  • The Coordinator of Disability Services
  • The Director of Residence Life
  • The Director of the Student Health Center
  • The Director of the Counseling Center
  • The General Manager of Dining Services
  • The Dean of Students

In the event of extended absences or staff vacancies, a designee for any of these positions may be consulted.  The Director of Facility Services may be consulted by the committee when the health care professional's recommendation has an impact on existing facilities.

Once the review of the documentation by the committee is complete, the Coordinator of Disability Services will email the student using campus email to notify them of the outcome of the review.  Should a housing-related accommodation be approved, the Director of Residence Life will then work directly with the student to finalize the implementation of the accommodation.

Updated documentation

If approved, housing and/or meal accommodations are provided for the current academic year only. Students who have been given an accommodation must resubmit their request annually (during the room selection process as described above). They must also be prepared to resubmit updated documentation as requested by the Committee, ideally before March 1 (prior to the next year's general housing selection process begins).

Temporary medical conditions

Temporary medical conditions (such as certain 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 medical condition who may wish to have an accommodation is encouraged to contact Residence Life staff to explore 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.

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 requests related to housing and/or meal plan accommodations. Students wishing to explore academic accommodations due to a disability should refer to the information provided by the Office of Disability Services for the process to request an academic accommodation.