If your college student relies on a service animal for assistance with a disability, the prospect of going to college, especially if it involves living on campus, comes with extra complexities. Your student may be concerned about whether their service animal will be able to live in the residence hall with them.
Fortunately, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, your student should have no problem bringing a service animal to college. Many colleges and universities are experiencing a rise in requests to bring service animals to campus. The law defines a service animal as any dog (or other animal) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The tasks that the animal performs must be related to the student’s disability, and can include a wide variety of services, such as assisting the blind, alerting individuals who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving items. Service animals may also perform tasks such as recognizing and assisting during seizures.
Service animals do not necessarily need certification, although your student may need a letter from a doctor stating the need for the animal. According to the American with Disabilities Act, the school may ask whether the animal is required because of a disability and what service the animal performs. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, tethered or under strict control or the school may request that they be removed.