The Catholic University of America strongly believes in the benefits that on-campus living has to offer to our students in terms of academic success, personal development and involvement within the campus community. The Catholic University of America requires that all full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students live in on-campus housing -- to the extent that housing is available -- for the first six semesters of enrollment (to include Fall and Spring semesters only).
The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) supports students who may need a specific type of room, housing assignment, or other accommodation to mitigate: 1). substantial barriers presented by a communal, shared living environment or 2). substantial functional limitations to major life activities that may impact their full participation in an on-campus housing program. In these cases, DSS works closely with Housing Services and Residence Life Offices to provide reasonable housing accommodation(s) to eligible students with a diagnosed disability through an interactive process.
Seeking a Housing Accommodation requires a student to initiate a request through DSS and concurrently complete all required steps of the Room Selection Process (for current upperclass students) or the Housing Application Process (for new students). A student who falls under the University's Residency Requirement remains obligated to complete all forms and steps of the Room Selection or Housing Application processes by deadline dates set by Housing Services. A student must adhere to all established steps and deadlines established by both offices for full consideration prior to housing assignments being made.
The student process with DSS follows the following steps:
Step One: Complete a Housing Accommodation Request Form
The Housing Accommodation Request Form seeks to gather information about the following: demographic and contact information; details of a student's diagnosed disability or condition and current state of their condition; the impact any functional limitations may have on major life activities; a student's on-campus housing and/or communal living history, and what reasonable housing accommodations are being sought. This form must be completed by the student.
Step Two: Provide DSS with Supportive Documentation
Supportive documentation from a qualified provider assists DSS in formulating a comprehensive understanding of a student's diagnosed disability or condition; what barriers or functional limitations may impact a student's experience; and what care and treatment is being offered.
DSS has created a Clinical Care Provider Form for Housing Accommodations Requests as the preferred way to submit supportive documentation. A student may also request a written letter from a qualified provider as long as all question from the Clinical Care Provider Form are clearly addressed; submitted letters that do not address all of the content may significantly delay the review phase of the process.
Note: A student who is already registered with DSS for other Accommodations (and therefore already has supportive documentation on file with DSS) is strongly encouraged to provide new, updated, or more specific supportive documentation as it relates directly to a Housing Accommodation Request. A student with supportive documentation already on file with DSS must notify DSS directly by email if they want their existing documentation to be used as part of this review process and do not intend to submit any new or additional documentation.
Step Three: Participate in an Intake Meeting
Once both of the prior steps have been completed and information submitted to DSS, the student will meet with a DSS staff member for an Intake Meeting regarding their Housing Accommodations Request. It is the responsibility of the student to schedule and participate in this interactive process. DSS will reach out to the student via email to set a time and date for this meeting (either virtual or in-person); meetings generally last between 30-60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the student's request.
During the meeting, the student will have an opportunity to share, in their own words, about the nature of their lived experiences as it relates to the housing accommodations request. This also presents an opportunity for DSS staff to validate or clarify their understanding of the request and about the student's diagnosed disability or condition.
The objective of this interactive process is for DSS to be best positioned to make an informed determination on the Housing Accommodation Request. All determinations will be communicated back to the student, directly from DSS. Determinations that support reasonable housing accommodation(s) will also be shared with Housing Services, to be incorporated into the offer of a housing assignment or reassignment (if already assigned to housing). The specific offer of a housing assignment that aligns with an approved housing accommodation is managed directly by Housing Services.
Important DSS Dates
Housing Application Process Important Dates for Upperclass Students
January 12, 2024 -- DSS opens the Housing Accommodation Request Form and Process.
Starting January 24, 2024 -- For students who have completed both Step One and Step Two, DSS will begin reaching out, on a rolling basis, to schedule an Intake Meeting with a DSS Staff member.
Starting February 2, 2024 -- On a rolling basis, DSS will communicate determinations to students weekly on Fridays. Housing Accommodations Determinations will be shared concurrently with Housing Services.
February 5, 2024 (CRITICAL TARGET DATE) -- Date for all current, enrolled students to fully complete both Step One and Step Two. Submission of a Request Form and/or Supportive Documentation after this date may prevent DSS from making a determination prior to the Room Selection Process commencing for students.
February 23, 2024 (CRITICAL TARGET DATE) -- Date by which determination must be made, in order for students to be offered a housing assignment through the Room Selection Process. Specific housing assignment offers will come directly from Housing Services.
Starting February 26, 2024 -- DSS will pause all staff-led review activity related to Housing Accommodation Requests until the last phase of the Room Selection Process is complete.
Late April 2023 -- DSS will resume the review and determination of any late Housing Accommodation requests and convey detractions on a rolling basis.
Room Selection Process Important Dates for Newly Admitted Students
Now -- DSS opens the Housing Accommodation Request Form and Process for all students.
May 15, 2023 – Catholic U.’s Office of Housing Services target date for Newly Admitted Freshman to complete their online New Student Housing Application. For newly admitted Transfer and Graduate students, Housing Services will accept applications on a rolling basis.
Starting May 15, 2023 – As students complete both Step One (Request Form) and Step Two (Supportive Documentation) of the DSS Housing Accommodation Request, DSS will begin reaching out, to schedule a virtual Intake Meeting with a DSS Staff member. For students who submit their Housing Application to Housing Services by May 15th, it is suggested to have supportive documentation submitted to DSS by May 26th.
Starting May 22, 2023 -- On a rolling basis, DSS will communicate determinations to students weekly on Fridays. Housing Accommodations Determinations will be shared concurrently with Housing Services.
By June 9, 2023 – For Catholic U.’s Housing Services to provide fully consideration of any approved Housing Accommodation, students are strongly encouraged to complete all phases of the DSS Housing Accommodation Request and have their virtual Intake Meeting scheduled no later than Friday, June 9th, in order for a determination to be shared with Housing Services prior to the processing of housing applications and Freshman Assignment Release.
For newly Admitted Transfer and Graduate students – DSS will model a similar workflow to that which is listed above, just on a rolling basis, as students are admitted to the University and then complete an online Housing Application.
Other Important Considerations
- Housing Accommodations Requests submitted outside of established timelines by both DSS and Housing Services will be reviewed on a rolling basis by DSS. Any approved Housing Accommodation(s) will be shared with Housing Services as determined; however, an immediate assignment/reassignment may not be available once students are assigned to housing. Housing Services will maintain an active list of students with an approved Housing Accommodation needing an alternate assignment.
- A student whose diagnosed disability or condition specifically relates to participation in the University's Meal Plan Program, a requirement of all on-campus residents, should review information about the Dining Accommodation Request process administered by DSS.
- A student's personal preference, such as the desire for a quiet, undisturbed place to study or the desire to have a private sleep area, in and of itself, is insufficient to warrant a housing accommodation. Further, the Housing Accommodation Request process, in and of itself, does not invalidate a student's obligation to the University's Residency Requirement nor give a student license to seek off-campus housing.
- A student who has been approved by DSS for academic accommodations does not automatically receive priority for on-campus housing nor do academic accommodations automatically result in approved housing accommodations. A student may request academic accommodations and housing accommodations concurrently but is not required to do so. In such cases where both requests are made concurrently, the student Intake Meeting will address all accommodation requests.
- A student who has been approved by DSS for housing accommodations will be able to carry over their approved accommodations to a future academic year's housing, without alteration, by notifying DSS of their intent to utilize their housing accommodations for a future academic year. DSS will reach out directly to students with more details ahead of each year's Room Selection process.
- A student who chooses to study abroad and has who has been approved by DSS for hosing accommodations and seeks accommodations while abroad must notify DSS to initiate outreach to Catholic U's Office of Education Abroad. Education Abroad staff serve as a liaison between the student and their abroad host institution. DSS is available to a student's abroad host institution to consult on their approved housing accommodations.