Applying for Assistance Animals Accommodation

Applying for Assistance Animals Accommodation


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.

Assistance Animal: 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.

Service Animal: 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.

Emotional Support Animal: 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 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.

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

Resident: 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).


Making a Request to have an Assistance Animal on Campus

All emotional support animals must be authorized to be on ISU campus as indicated below. We appreciate being informed about the presence of all assistance animals on campus.

Student and visitor accommodation requests will be reviewed/assessed by Student Accessibility Services (SAS) consistent with applicable laws and policies.

To make a request to have an Emotional Support Animal in student housing:

  1. 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.  

    1. Housing and Dining Accommodation Request Form   

    2. Animals in Residence Agreement Form 

  2. Work with your health care professional to have them complete Appendix A: Request for Assistance Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation in Housing: Health Care Professional Form. This form needs to be completed by a qualifying health care professional and submitted to Student Accessibility Services.  

    1. Please review these important notes on Assistance Animals Documentation prior to meeting with your health care provider.  

  3. 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.

    1. Appendix A: Request for Assistance Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation in Housing: Health Care Professional Form: If you have this form completed by your health care provider prior to this meeting, please submit it so we have time to review it before you come in.

    2. Appendix B: Responsibilities of Owners of Service Animals and/or Emotional Support Animals Residing in University Housing Form

  4. Once SAS has received and reviewed your documentation, we will determinate on a case-by-case basis if the presence of an assistance animal is reasonable. 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. 

  5. 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.  

  6. An approved ESA may not reside in university housing until all forms have been submitted by the student to DoR AND the DoR has informed the student that they may bring their ESA to campus.  This may take the DoR up to 60 days after all forms have been received and approval has been sent by SAS.  


Additional information and guidance regarding assistance animals on campus is available here: Animals On Campus Policy or via the Student Accessibility Services website.   
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 and you by Student Accessibility Services.  
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.  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 with additional questions and to schedule an appointment to begin the process. You may schedule an appointment online through Navigate or by calling our office at 515-294-7220. 


Employee accommodation requests will be reviewed by University Human Resources Employee Relations/Labor Relations (UHR ER/LR). Questions pertaining to an employee’s assistance animal (including requests to use a service animal as an accommodation) may be directed to UHR ER/LR at 515-294-4800 or 877-477-7485.