Requesting to Use an Emotional Support Animal on Campus

The information below describes the process for requesting the use of an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) on the University of Vermont campus.  You are not permitted to keep an emotional support animal in a residential building without prior approval as a reasonable accommodation through Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

Definition of Emotional Support Animal

An ESA is an animal that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. ESAs are distinct from service animals.  The University of Vermont has a University Operating Procedure regarding the presence of Service and Emotional Support Animals.

For more information about domestic animals on campus, please see UVM’s Domestic Animals Policy.

Request Process and Required Documentation

Please note that requests for ESAs in campus residential housing made within three (3) weeks of the start of the semester may not be reviewed for up to five (5)  weeks.

To request an ESA, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the online Getting Started  form in the myACCESS student portal.
  2. Meet with an SAS disability specialist. (If you are not yet living on campus, you can schedule a phone appointment.) The specialist will provide guidance about this accommodation request and necessary forms to complete.
  3. Provide the necessary supporting documentation from a qualified medical or mental health provider. The SAS specialist will discuss what documentation is required when you meet with them.  The supporting documentation includes:  Request for Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in Campus Housing and Documentation Guidelines for Students with a Psychiatric/Psychological Disability.

The SAS specialist, in consultation with the SAS Housing Committee  will make a decision about the eligibility for the accommodation of having an ESA.   Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.   Prior approval of an animal at a previous institution or residential setting does not guarantee you or your chosen ESA will be approved at the University of Vermont.  An ESA request will be approved with clear evidence that the ESA will ameliorate the symptoms of a disability.  While a student may receive generalized approval for an ESA, the actual animal that will serve in this capacity must also be approved as part of the interactive process.  Students should be aware that animals who, by their nature, are likely to cause a threat to health or safety, or a significant disruption within the residence hall may be denied where appropriate controls will not sufficiently mitigate these possibilities.  Examples include ferrets due to a strong natural odor, poisonous or constrictor snakes, and some small rodents and reptiles due to their ability to fit through small spaces and escape.

Process When The University of Vermont Has Approved the Use of an ESA


The SAS Program Manager will communicate with you regarding the decision of your request.   Additional time may be needed to inform roommate(s), floormates, or suitemates of the presence of an ESA and to make necessary housing changes that may be required based on the presence of the ESA.

Animals are approved on a yearly basis; you may be asked to submit updated documentation.
If you wish to change to a different ESA than the one approved, you must submit a new request for review with additional information from your care provider that verifies the disability-related need for a different animal.

Concerns and Questions


Students who have questions or concerns about any matter or policy affecting their use of an emotional support animal should contact SAS at 802-656-7753 or access@uvm.edu.