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Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHigher Education (University +) · 9 months ago

Is it legal for colleges in the United States to not have an option for a single room in a dorm for a student with a disability? The reason?

The doctor wants them to have a single room is for extra medical equipment and also because they have mast cell activation syndrome(they have bouts of anaphylaxis reacting to a lot of things like food, perfume, and temperature changes) and carry an epipen at all times). They also have primary immune deficiencies, limited mobility, and cardiac issues. They claim they can manage a dorm on the first floor and exemption from the meal plan since they need to prepare all their food but there’s no options for air conditioning or a single dorm room on campus. I think she would be able to manage with a fan and opening windows but I don’t see how they could manage a roommate. Between all the medical equipment and restrictions on the roommate with perfume, smoke, and food in addition to all the rest she’s hard to imagine a typical 17/18 year old girl complying. So is this legal? Should we try to fight it further? We already brought in documentation from the immunologist, orthopedist, and cardiologist. We met with disability services and housing. The immunologist said he has never seen this happen. Typically patients get granted a single room and then have to pay an extra fee. We are not sure if we should find another school or continue to fight this.


They said a single dorm isn’t an option even if we paid for the entire room. So waiting a semester wouldn’t make a difference. They just don’t do single rooms. They have rolling admissions though. Our reason for choosing this school is that it’s close. Commuting is also an option but she did want to live on campus. We were under the impression that certain rules can be bent.

4 Answers

  • drip
    Lv 7
    9 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Sorry I find this all hard to believe. My daughter has severe asthma. When we were scouting out colleges checking what the dorms offered was number one on our list. She had to have air conditioning. The dorm she got into was newly refurbished and had a wonderful air purification system and central AC

    I can’t believe a student with this many severe health issues would not of made sure housing at the universities she applied to could of provided her with everything she needed before even applying.

    I can not imagine , with heart and allergies problems this student could deal with living without air conditioning.

    It is mid July, this should of been dealt with back in April or immediately after the student was accepted.

    This site is for the state of Michigan, find one for your area

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  • 9 months ago

    Yes it is legal. "Reasonable accommodation" is the legal standard, not meeting every specific request or demand. There seems to be several issues going on here. In general, the vast majority of U.S. universities do have single rooms and do allocate them to students who have medical needs. The question is whether or not there are single rooms still available and or if the university is willing or able to move someone from a single to a shared room. The demand for dorm housing exceeds the available beds at most schools, and the number of singles has gone down as well.

    Given what you posted here, I serious question whether this particular student should be in a dorm at all, but that's up to the family. Clearly, the next options are either to offer to pay double for the room, withdraw from the school, ask for deferred admission until a room is available, or escalate this issue. A law suit will take years and there is no law being broken. It is up to the family to research housing options and accommodations before accepting admission.

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  • MS
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    It's not illegal. They are required by law to provide a "reasonable accommodation." They should be able to provide a single room, but there may be factors that actually do make that impossible. I would see if you can actually meet with the Dean of Housing and/or the Dean of Student Services at that university. They may not be able to provide everything you want/need though.

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  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Most schools do give single rooms to people with problems like that or even people with things like autism. The thing is housing is limited everywhere so it may not be a reasonable accommodation. Just like them installing an elevator or a/c system or changing the thermostat would be unreasonable. I have seem 3-4 people in a room in freshman dorms. I understand wanting her to have a normal life but I would just find another school or defer admission for now. Even if you win a lawsuit she may be labeled a “problem “. I have to wonder if she was homeschooled or on homebound instruction before college as well? It’s none of my business but i am also thinking of all the germs around campus. And getting around campus. The wheelchair/walker part is fine but problems with temperature could be a problem. It’s a lot more time outdoors than in high school.

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