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Student Accessibility Services

Emotional Support Animals

Clemson University is committed to allowing students with mental health/psychological disabilities the use of an approved emotional support animal (ESA), as appropriate, in campus housing to facilitate their full benefit of the residential experience. For students living on campus, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) provides that emotional support animals may be considered a reasonable accommodation in campus housing. Please review university policy for Service and Assistance Animals for Individuals with Disabilities before proceeding with your request. 

Students with a disability-related need for an emotional support animal should follow the procedure listed below to begin their request.

Process for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Request

  • Step 1: Begin obtaining documentation

    Students should begin the process of obtaining documentation of their disability from their current mental health provider. Use of the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) ESA Form (PDF) may assist you in gathering documentation.

    NOTE: Letters purchased online and online ESA certifications typically do not provide the information needed by SAS to deem an ESA accommodation request reasonable. For reference, see the documentation guidelines for mental health/psychological disabilities.

  • Step 2: Complete the Housing Accommodation Request Form

    Complete our Housing Accommodation Request Form. Documentation (the ESA form and/or documentation of the disability) should be uploaded through the portal upon completion of the Request form. Requests received without documentation may be deleted.

  • Step 3: SAS reviews the information

    SAS will review the information and follow up with the student. The student may be asked to provide additional information and/or will be asked to schedule a meeting to discuss the request. Please allow 3-5 business days for SAS review; however, this timeline may vary.

  • Step 4: If initial approval is granted, share documentation with housing and the on-campus veterinarian

    After SAS staff meets with the student, an initial approval may be given for the student to have an ESA. If initial approval is given, the student will then be asked to provide information needed to have the specific animal approved for on-campus living. Updated vet records will need to be submitted by the student. SAS will coordinate the review of these records with the on-campus veterinarian.

    Note: Consideration may be given to how the animal could impact the style and size of the living space.

    Requests for unique animals, such as those not commonly kept in households, may require additional documentation which demonstrates a disability-related therapeutic need for the special animal or the specific type of animal. Animals with a potential risk of zoonosis may not be approved.

  • Step 5: SAS informs Clemson Housing of approval

    SAS will inform Clemson Housing via email once the request for an ESA and the specific ESA is given approval. The student will then be required to meet with the community staff for their assigned residence hall to review the Emotional Support Animal Maintenance Agreement for the Residence Halls.

  • Step 6: Approved ESA may enter University housing

    A student may bring the approved ESA into University housing only after the student has been approved to have an ESA by SAS, the specific animal has been approved by the on-campus vet and the student has met with the community staff for their residence hall.

Additional Information

Students will generally only be approved for one ESA. Evaluating ESA requests takes time. Decisions regarding ESA requests can only be reached after appropriate documentation for the disability has been received and evaluated and a meeting/interview with the student has taken place. Students should allow at least two weeks to complete this process once they have met with a SAS staff member and should not obtain any animal until final approval is given.