Can You Bring Your Emotional Support Animal To College

Emotional Support Animal Can You Bring Your Emotional Support Animal To College

Emotional Support Animals in College: Are They Allowed?

College is a stressful time, and mental health problems are a growing concern among college students. Emotional support animals in college can be a great way to support students' mental health. Still, emotional support animals are widely misunderstood, as are the regulations surrounding them.

DoNotPay can help you navigate all the bureaucratic processes involved in bringing your emotional support animal to college with you. Here's what college students should know about emotional support animals.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal, or ESA, is a dog or other animal that relieves mental health symptoms by providing comfort and companionship. To be considered an ESA, an animal needs a letter from your mental healthcare provider certifying that they recommend that animal as part of your treatment.

ESAs do not have the same legal rights that service animals do, but Fair Housing laws require that you be allowed to have one in your home, even if you live somewhere that does not allow pets.

Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

Here are some benefits emotional support animals provide their owners:

Relieves StressPets provide unconditional love to their owners. This can give you a sense of confidence and reduce your risk of depression or anxiety.
Improve Memory and FocusPets are very good at keeping person-centered. If you forget to feed them, they will remind you. If you feel lost in thought, they can give you a nudge to remind you that they are there.
Improve SleepCollege can be tough and you may feel unable to rest well at night. After running, walking, playing, and focusing on your pet throughout the day, you may be able to rest more at night.
Improves ScheduleSchedules and routines may be very important, yet, schedules may seem tedious. A pet requires care and a certain routine. You must feed them, you have to walk them, bathe them, play with them, etc. Setting your schedule to be based on their needs can also impact your other day-to-day tasks.

Can I Bring My Emotional Support Animal to College With Me?

Two areas you need to consider if you’re bringing an emotional support animal in college: your dorm and the school.

Housing

Renters need to be allowed to have ESAs even if they are not allowed to have pets. Recent legal rulings have confirmed that this rule applies to college dorms, so your university is required to accommodate your ESA. Each school will have its own process, but you can expect something similar to these steps:

  1. Submit an application and documentation that your healthcare provider has recommended you to have an ESA.
  2. Meet with your university's disability services office to discuss your individual needs.
  3. Coordinate with your university's housing office to ensure that your specific dorm and roommates can accommodate an ESA.

Classes and Other Facilities

ESA protections only apply to housing, so you generally won't be allowed to take your ESA to class or to other campus facilities like libraries or dining halls. If you would benefit from keeping your ESA with you throughout the day, you can speak to the staff at your school's disability office. However, there is no requirement or guarantee that you'll be allowed to take your ESA to class or elsewhere.

How Can I Get Documentation for My Emotional Support Animal?

If you believe that an ESA might help you with your mental and emotional health, you can follow these steps to get a letter authorizing one for you.

  1. Make an appointment with a doctor or therapist. Either can write your ESA letter, but a provider focused on mental health specifically is more likely to be familiar with the process. If you're already receiving treatment for a mental health condition, you can work with your established provider.
  2. Discuss whether an ESA would benefit you. A healthcare provider familiar with your personal situation is in the best position to recommend an ESA or other types of treatment.
  3. Ask for an ESA letter. If your provider agrees that an ESA is a good idea for you, ask for an official recommendation.

An ESA recommendation letter needs to include the following:

  • Professional letterhead
  • Your provider's license number and the state where they are licensed
  • Recommendation for an ESA
  • Date and signature

The letter can also contain information about the specific animal, such as name or breed, but this is not required.

Easily Bring Your ESA to College With DoNotPay

A growing number of college students struggle with their mental health, and many find ESAs to be beneficial. If you are one of these students, DoNotPay's fast, easy and successful product can help you bring your ESA to college so you can experience companionship and improved emotional well being. DoNotPay can connect you with reputable providers to write you an ESA recommendation letter, communicate with your university's housing office about your ESA and help you file a lawsuit if your rights regarding your ESA are violated.

Here's how DoNotPay can help:

Through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product, DoNotPay can help you with all of your ESA-related concerns, including contacting your landlord about your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, and finding the most affordable online ESA-letter service.

  1. Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.

     

  2. Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.

     

  3. Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.

     

And that's it! Depending on your issue, DoNotPay will generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf, contact the airline agency and get back to you with an answer, or send a letter to your mental health professional requesting an ESA letter.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay can help you with your ESA in many different ways, including:

If you're planning to head to college with an emotional support animal, contact DoNotPay today!

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