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Housing Accommodations


Student Disability Services and the Office of Student Engagement are happy to work with students with documented disabilities to identify appropriate accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (amended 2008), Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Housing Act.  Housing accommodations may include living in a building that has an elevator, a tile floor environment, access to air conditioning during the College’s cooling months, etc. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it fundamentally alters the essential requirement or nature of a program, service activity or class.  For more information about Student Disability Services and/or the accommodations process at Swarthmore, we invite you to visit the Student Section of the Student Disability Service Website.  

Please note that requests for housing considerations, based on non-disability needs (e.g. religious identity, gender identity), should be made directly to Amanda Atkinson, Director of Residential Communities. The disability accommodations process is not used to make non-disability housing requests. 

Steps in the Process

Disability housing accommodations require advance planning and documentation of disability. Students requesting housing accommodations due to a disability must submit a housing request by logging into mySwarthmore and completing the Disability Accommodations form located under the Student menu, along with providing appropriate documentation of disability to Student Disability Services staff. The documentation must verify a disability or significant chronic medical condition that currently limits the student’s ability to participate in a residential environment. This includes a medical necessity for air conditioning.  Students must use their official Swarthmore email address for all correspondence.

Please review the Student Disability Service Documentation Guidelines in the Student Section of Student Disability Services website for information about appropriate documentation.  Documentation must be from a licensed medical provider (non-family member) qualified in the disability area.  It should state and describe the diagnosis and must include a description of any symptoms of the condition that currently cause substantial limitations to  the student’s ability to live in campus housing. Recommendations made by the evaluator should include reasonable modifications that would allow the student an equal opportunity to participate in residential life, with a clear rationale and an indication of the level of need for each one.  We strongly recommend that you provide a copy of the documentation guidelines to your medical provider well in advance as it can take several weeks for doctors to address documentation requests.

Students are required to re-submit an updated housing accommodations request each year they request housing accommodations by logging into mySwarthmore and completing the Accommodation form located under the Personal Information menu. If a student already has appropriate documentation on file from a previous year, the student may not need to submit new documentation.  Students should be in contact with the Office of Student Disability Services to confirm if new documentation is needed.

Once accommodations have been approved by the Office of Student Disability Services, Student Disability Services will notify the Office of Student Engagement of the approved accommodations.  The Office of Student Engagement will then work with the student to identify housing that meets the accommodation.  Please note: The Office of Student Engagement does NOT make any determinations regarding approved accommodations.


Class of 2023, 2024 and 2025: Current students must submit a housing Accommodation request to Student Disability Services by logging into mySwarthmore and completing the Accommodation Form located under the Personal Information menu by Friday, March 4, 2022 .  Any new documentation must be submitted to Student Disability Services by Friday, March 18, 2022 .  Please review the Documentation Guidelines.

You will be notified by email of the determination of your request. If you submit your request or documentation after these deadlines, it may limit our ability to approve or provide your requested accommodations.

Class of 2026 and New Transfer Students:  Information regarding the accommodations process for new incoming students during the Summer 2022.

Note for Returning Students:

The Office of Student Engagement can advise on room options, whether you should go through the lottery (or use accommodations), if and how to disclose to room/suite mates, and any other concerns you have about selecting housing.  The OSE does not make any determinations of housing accommodations.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Question: Does utilizing a disability accommodation impact my chances of receiving my friend group block? 
    • Answer: Approved disability accommodations do not impact your chances of receiving your friend group block. 
  • Question: If I utilize disability accommodations for housing, do all the members of my friend group block receive the same accommodations? 
    • Answer: Not necessarily. If you have a disability accommodation for a room with air conditioning and your friend block is awarded a block of 3 doubles, your roommate would have access to air conditioning because you share a room but the other members of your block would not have air conditioning activated in their room. 
  • Question: What if my friend group block wants to live in a dorm that does not meet my accommodation needs?
    • Answer: We strongly discourage students from listing a dorm that does not meet their disability accommodations unless they are deciding to decline their disability accommodations for the term. For example: if you need tile floors please do not list a dorm with carpet as your housing preference, as that would not meet your needs.   

For More Information:

Students with questions about disability accommodation should visit the Student Disability Services website or contact Director Monica Vance.

Students with questions about Housing Options should visit the OSE website or contact Amanda Atkinson, Director of Residential Communities