Making a Request to Have an Assistance Animal in Housing

1. Submit your Housing Contract

As a student with a contract for ISU housing, you must submit the following forms to the ISU Department of Residence (DoR).

Note: These completed forms can be submitted to Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and we will forward it to DoR.  

Housing and Dining Accommodation Request Form

Animals in Residence Agreement Form

2. Meet with your Health Care Provider

Work with your health care professional to have them complete: 

Appendix A: Finding of Disability and Need for Assistance Animal

  • This form needs to be completed by a qualifying healthcare professional and submitted to Student Accessibility Services.  

3. Welcome Meeting

Schedule a Welcome Meeting with Student Accessibility Services to discuss the accommodation request, possible other accommodations, and provide the required forms. This meeting can occur before or after you speak with your health care provider.

Cat sitting in the grass near the Campanile
Milo the dog sitting in the grass outside of the memorial union
Milo the cat lounging in a bed in the dorms

4. Approval and Notification

Once SAS has received and reviewed your documentation and met with you, Student Accessibility Services will email to let you know if your request is approved or if further documentation is needed. If you are approved, the Department of Residence will be copied in that email. 

If the ESA is approved as a reasonable disability accommodation by SAS, the student should contact the Department of Residence (DOR) to schedule a meeting to discuss the accommodation, confirm responsibilities and rules, and complete Appendix B as required by DoR.  

SAS will be in touch once we receive and review the documentation you provide.  You should contact the Department of Residence directly at or 515.294.2900 regarding the status of your application after approval has been emailed to DoR by Student Accessibility Services.  

  • Student and visitor accommodation requests will be reviewed/assessed by Student Accessibility Services (SAS) consistent with applicable laws and policies.
  • Please note:  Emotional Support Animals are only permitted in ISU housing after specific approval has been granted by ISU Department of Residence (DoR) and only after proper processes have been followed.  It may take the DoR up to 60 days after all forms have been received and approval has been sent by SAS.  Approved Emotional Support Animals are not permitted elsewhere on campus; libraries, offices, classrooms, dining halls, labs, etc.  For more information, view the Animals On Campus Policy
  • Please call our office with additional questions. You may schedule an appointment online through Navigate or by calling our office at 515-294-7220.

[My ESA] makes every day better, taking care of him helps keep me motivated and gets me up in the morning...He adds so much joy and happiness to every day. He helps me to just live in the moment.

Animals on Campus Policy

The information below explains Iowa State University’s (ISU) general information and procedures related to the use of Assistance Animals in providing disability accommodations to students, faculty, staff, and visitors to university buildings and on university property.  The underlying Assistance Animals Policy is located in ISU Policy Library

ISU is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for all members of its community, including individuals with disabilities who require service or emotional support animals. In order to support individuals with disabilities and promote adherence to laws requiring accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, this policy and the accompanying procedures and guidance provides information concerning the appropriate use of and procedures associated with service animals and emotional support animals on university property.


In order to understand this policy and related procedures, it is important to have a clear understanding of the terms referenced.  Below find several key definitions or on the Assistance Animals Policy.

A general term referring to any animal providing support to mitigate the functional impacts of condition that causes substantial impairment in one or more major life activities to an individual with a disability. As used within this policy, an assistance animal may be either a service animal or an emotional support animal.  Assistance Animals are not considered pets.

A dog (or in limited circumstances a miniature horse) that is individually trained to do specific work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. All breeds of dogs are eligible for Service Animal status. All other species of animals are not eligible for Service Animal status as defined by the ADAAA.

A category of animals that provide necessary emotional support or comfort to an individual with a disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of that individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and this policy. Unlike Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals (“ESAs” have not been trained to perform a specific job or task for an individual with a disability, do not assist an individual with a disability with activities of daily living, and do not accompany an individual with a disability at all/most times. Emotional Support Animals are sometimes referred to as “assistance animals.” See, e.g., Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3601; Iowa Code Ch. 216. While dogs are the most common Emotional Support Animals, other animals may also serve as Emotional Support Animals.

A pet is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a service or emotional support.

Any ISU student residing in university housing and/or paying guests registered for university guest or conference housing operated by the Department of Residence (DOR).

ESAs on Campus

Meet some of our ESAs on campus! These animals provide emotional support to their owners while attending Iowa State.