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 the Student Disability Service and the accommodations process at Swarthmore, we invite you to visit the Student Section of the Student Disability Service Website


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 Accommodation Request Form to the Student Disability Service along with appropriate documentation of disability. 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. This form should be filled out by the student.  Students must use their official Swarthmore email address for all correspondence.

Please review the Student Disability Service Documentation Guidelines in the Student Section of the Student Disability Service 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 form each year they request housing accommodations.   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 Engagement to confirm if new documentation is needed.



Class of 2018, 2019 and 2020: Current students must submit a Housing Accommodation Request Form to the Student Disability Service by February 15, 2017. Documentation must be submitted to the Student Disability Service by March 15, 2017.  Please review the Documentation Guidelines.  

Class of 2021 and New Transfer Students:  New incoming students must submit the Housing Accommodation Request Form along with documentation to the Student Disability Service by June 15, 2017.  Please review the Documentation Guidelines.  New students will also receive more information in their Orientation Packets about disability accommodations.


Note for Returning Students

Returning students may choose to waive their housing accommodations (i.e., if they will be living off campus or going abroad).

The Office of Student Engagement or the Student Disability Service may ask to meet with you to discuss your request. They 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.

If it is necessary for you to be placed into housing, you will receive confirmation of your placement from the Office of Student Engagement (generally during June or July). Students eligible for air conditioning accommodations are expected to participate in the Spring Housing Lottery since this does not substantially limit  one’s room choices. It is the student’s responsibility to select housing in a residence hall that can accommodate the need for an air conditioning accommodation. The Office of Student Engagement will provide students with the necessary information to select appropriate housing.


For More Information


Students with questions about Student Disability Services should visit the SDS website or contact:

Leslie Hempling, Director of Student Disability Services

email: lhempli1@swarthmore.edu


Students with questions about Housing or Student Activities should visit the OSE website or contact:

Rachel Head, Assistant Dean and Director of Student Engagement

email: rhead1@swarthmore.edu

Isaiah Thomas, Assistant Director of Residential Communities

email: ithomas1@swarthmore.edu