Carnegie Mellon University

Special Accommodations

Housing Services is able to accommodate students with special needs. Requests for special accommodations are subject to recommendation by the Office of Disability Services and are dependent upon space availability within campus housing. Please make arrangements for special accommodations for any of the following needs or restrictions:

  • Medically necessary air-conditioning
  • Mobility issues that require an assignment with elevator access
  • Need for a private (single) room
  • Need for a semi-private bathroom (completely private bathrooms are not available)
  • Need for access to a kitchen
  • Use of a service animal
  • Need for an emotional support animal
  • Any other special requests or needs for medical or disability purposes

Housing Services does not offer housing accommodations for specific religious affiliations or accommodations such as single rooms or private bathrooms for religious reasons. Consideration can be made for requests such as eastward facing rooms. Also, single-gender communities are available.

Special accommodation requests are processed on a case-by-case basis and cannot be guaranteed. If you wish to make a request, please do so as early as possible, or at the time that you submit your housing application.


The deadline for submitting accommodation requests for new incoming first-year students is May 25 (in order to be guaranteed a space that meets your accommodation need.) The deadline for returning residents who are participating in Room Selection and have a new accommodation need is February 1 (returning residents who already have an accommodation on file with no change will have their accommodation carried over.) All other residents should submit their accommodation requests at the time of their housing application or as updates are needed, and those requests will be reviewed individually and accommodated subject to availability of space that meets the accommodation.


All students requesting a housing accommodation must complete and submit a University Housing Accommodation Request Form. Requests for accommodations will be reviewed by a committee led by the Office of Disability Resources with representation (if applicable) from Housing Services, University Health Services, and Counseling and Psychological Services. This committee will initiate an interactive dialogue with the student as necessary to determine the student’s needs and appropriate reasonable housing accommodations. For both First-Year Students and Upper-class Students, Housing Services will assign students a specific room as necessary to provide a reasonable accommodation that meets their need (Accommodation Room). 

Housing Accommodations are reviewed on an annual basis. Accommodations based on temporary disabilities may not continue into future semesters if the accommodation is no longer medically necessary. 

Upper-class students receiving housing accommodations may opt to decline the reasonable accommomdation (Accommodation Room) intially offered/assigned and select a different room that would also satisfy the accommodation, if available, through the Room Selection process. In such cases, the Upper-Class student will be responsible for paying the full cost of the room selected or assigned.


Housing Services uses the following principles to determine the room assignment and rate charged to students with disabilities who receive a housing accommodation.

  • General Rule – For students who require a specific room or specific type of room as an accommodation (e.g. single room, room with kitchen or bathroom), the student will be charged no more than the Base Rate representing the most common type of room assignment for individuals who do not have housing accommodations. Students whose housing accommodation requires a specific type of room that is more expensive than the Base Rate will not be charged more than the Base Rate, except where a student opts to decline the original offered accommodation and select a different room on their own (Upper-Class students), or works with Housing Services to be assigned to a room that exceeds the accommodation need (First-Year or Upper-Class students.) In these cases, the student will pay the full cost of the room selected/assigned. There may be unique circumstances where a rate lower than the Base Rate is appropriate. As such, Carnegie Mellon reserves the right to make modifications to these procedures on a case-by-case basis when such modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination.
  • Base Rates – Base Rates represent the most common type of room for students without a housing accommodation. The room type used for the Base Rate is the type of room the student most likely would have received if the student did not receive a housing accommodation.
    • First-Year Base Rate (Academic Year) = Traditional Double
    • Upper-Class Base Rate (Academic Year) = Apartment Double
    • Winter Break Base Rate = $500 (flat fee)
    • Summer Housing Base Rate (varies each summer based on summer housing options) = Apartment Single (for Summer 2024)
  • Declined Accommodations / Upper-class Room Selection – Upper-class students may opt to decline the room assigned to them as an accommodation (Accommodation Room) and select a different room, if available, through the Room Selection process. In the case where a student declines the Accommodation Room and selects a different room, the student will be responsible for paying the full cost of the room selected.
  • Mid-Semester Room Transfers – In cases where a student is currently living in university housing (Original Room) and requires a transfer to a different room as an accommodation for a disability, the student will pay the lesser of the rate of the Original Room and the room provided as an accommodation (prorated as needed.)
  • As a general principle, students with disabilities who receive a housing accommodation will be charged the same rate for the room in which they would have lived but for the accommodation. In most cases, the Base Rate represents the rate of the room the student most likely would have lived in if an accommodation was not necessary.
  • Air-Conditioning (also see section below) – Students who require air conditioning or other portable fixtures as an accommodation (e.g. refrigerator, fan, air filter, etc.) will not be charged extra for the installation or removal of such fixtures, if an installation is deemed necessary. Housing Services will perform all air conditioning installations. Not all buildings or rooms can accommodate window air-conditioners. In the event that air conditioning cannot be installed in a particular room, the student will be reassigned to a room with air conditioning. (Note: Air-Conditioning is provided in all upper-class housing buildings so no special accommodations for upper-class air-conditioning is needed.)


A student may request the installation of an air conditioner for medical reasons only. A student will need to provide documentation as specified above under Procedures and Rates. Once the need is documented and approved, Housing Services will initiate an assignment change to reassign the student to a room with air conditioning, or request a work order to install an air conditioner in the appropriate location or (some buildings/rooms cannot be outfitted with air conditioning). All installations and removals must be completed by Housing Services. There is no charge for the installation or removal of air conditioning provided as an accommodation for a disability.

Housing Services offers the opportunity for students to select into a room with air conditioning during the Room Selection and First-Year Assignment processes. To request housing in an air-conditioned space for medical reasons please refer to and complete the Housing Accommodations Procedures above.

First-Year Students - Not all first-year housing buildings are equipped with air-conditioning. Therefore, incoming first-year students must complete the Housing Accommodations Procedures above, by the May 25 deadline in order to be guaranteed and initial assignment with air-conditioning. For air-conditioning accommodations after May 25, Housing Services will work with students individually to coordinate a room change into a building/room where air-conditioning is offered. In the event of a room change, roommate requests or hall preferences may not be guaranteed during the placement process. When it is deemed necessary to install air conditioning, Housing Services will provide standard air conditioning units at no charge.

Upper-Class Students - At this time, all upper-class buildings are equipped with air-conditioning. Therefore, upper-class residents with an accommodation for air-conditioning can go through the regular Room Selection or Housing Waitlist Application process and be assigned a room with air-conditioning. If, for some reason, a student is not successful with selecting into a room with air conditioning at their designated time of selection or assignment, please contact the Housing Services Assignments Team.

Service and Emotional Support Animal Standards

The following standards apply to service animals and/or emotional support animals maintained in university residence facilities:

  1. Any emotional support animal or service animal must be healthy and free of communicable disease. If appropriate for the animal, documentation of all veterinarian recommended vaccination must be provided to the Office of Disability Resources. New proof of vaccination must be provided before the previous proof of vaccination expires.
  2. Dogs must be properly registered with the City of Pittsburgh. Registration documentation must be submitted annually to the Office of Disability Resources.
  3. Emotional support animals are only permitted in the approved student’s private living space. Animals are not permitted in any public or common spaces within the residence facility, except as necessary to bring the animal into and out of the building as needed. Housing Services or the Office of Student Life may establish reasonable restrictions on how an emotional support animal is transported into and out of the building.
  4. Emotional support animals approved by the Office of Disability Resources for university residence facilities are not permitted inside other campus buildings. See The Word.
  5. Emotional support animals are not permitted in the private living spaces of other residents of the facility.
  6. The student is responsible for any damages caused by the service animal or emotional support animal in the student’s private living space or elsewhere.
  7. The student is responsible for the behavior of the service animal or emotional support animals, even when the student is not present in the living space.
  8. The student is responsible for providing appropriate care for the service animal or emotional support animal at all times, including regular flea and tick treatments, as well as the clean-up and disposal of any waste, whether indoor or outdoor. Animal waste or bags containing animal waste cannot be placed in garbage chutes or common area trash cans, and should be taken directly to dumpsters only.
  9. The service animal or emotional support animal may not be disruptive to the community. Disruptive animals may be removed.
  10. Emotional support animals must wear collars and identification tags at all times.
  11. Carnegie Mellon reserves the right to remove any animal that is not appropriately cared for. To ensure that appropriate care is available at all times, students are encouraged to establish a plan to care for the animal in the event the student is unable to do so (e.g. due to illness or emergency).
  12. Carnegie Mellon reserves the right to establish other reasonable expectations or restrictions at any time to ensure the health or safety of the community.