Assistance Animals

Assistance Animals on Campus FAQs


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 ensure that programs are free from discrimination and harassment based upon protected class, including physical and/or mental disability.


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 accommodation 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 service animal is individually trained to do specific work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including but not limited to physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities.  The specific work or tasks performed by the service animal for the benefit of the individual must be directly related to the individual´s disability.

Emotional Support Animal: An emotional support animal is any species of animal providing emotional support, well-being, or comfort that eases one or more identified symptoms or effects of a disability.   

Pet: A pet is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship.

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. Students with a contract for ISU housing must submit a request to the ISU Department of Residence (DoR). Please complete the Housing and Dining Accommodation Request Form and Animals in Residence Agreement Form after reviewing the Housing Accommodation website  for more information. Students will be required to work with their veterinarian to provide information about the animal's health.

  2. Students need to work with their medical professional to secure their response to the Reasonable Accommodation Verification Form for Emotional Support Animals in Department of Residence Housing to assist us in eligibility determination. Please review these important notes on Assistance Animals Documentation prior to meeting with your healthcare provider.

  3. Student Accessibility Services will communicate your need for the accommodation to the Department of Residence after eligibility can be determined. The Department of Residence will inform you of any needed next steps before your ESA may come to campus housing.

  4. Emotional Support Animals are only permitted in ISU housing after specific approval has been granted by ISU Department of Residence and only after proper processes have been followed. Approved ESA are not permitted elsewhere on campus; libraries, offices, classrooms, dining halls, labs, etc.

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA.