What Colleges let you have pets in dorms?

Pets have been a valuable part of people’s lives for many years. They may be considered closer to the heart than family by some. Of course, this is debatable, but it doesn’t change the reality that animals have an impact on people in ways that other humans do not. They not only want to protect and raise them, but they also understand and respond emotionally. In this article, we will see if colleges let you have pets in dorms?

Unfortunately, most college campuses do not allow students to have pets in on-campus living, while there may be pet-friendly off-campus housing nearby. However, some institutions across the country are changing the trend and combining student and pet life for a more comfortable college experience. More than a dozen schools and universities permit dogs and cats on their campuses, regardless of whether them being service/emotional support animals or regular pets. Students at other universities are restricted to fish, amphibians, lizards, and other tiny, confined animals.

What Colleges let you have pets in dorms?

Service Animals vs Emotional Support Animals:

Service Animals

Service animals are trained working animals to assist impaired and disabled persons. Dogs and small horses that are taught to offer services relating to one’s handicap are considered service animals.

Emotional Support Animals:  

They are animals/pets that give relief to those suffering from “psychiatric impairment.” An emotional support animal, unlike a service animal, does not need to be taught to perform a specific duty or function. An emotional support animal, for example, may aid with anxiety episodes.

Under what circumstances can pets be allowed?

Service Animals/ Emotional Support Animals:

Federal laws govern what universities can or cannot allow. Two laws state that institutions are to permit service and/or emotional support animals on campus under the following conditions:

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and its requirements:

This act states institutions to allow students to bring service/emotional support animals to on-campus housing. The breed of service and support animals is not restricted by the Fair Housing Act. This also includes feline animals.

If the resident’s impairment isn’t immediately obvious, the institution may request verification, such as a letter from a medical practitioner or a social worker. The ADA (Americans with Disability Act), on the other hand, bars this practice in the case of service animals, therefore this only applies to non-service animals.

A fee for a service/support animal may not be required by colleges.

Americans with Disability Act (ADA):

Colleges are obligated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to permit students to bring service animals on campus and in dorms.

If the services offered by the service animal are not immediately apparent, the institution may inquire as to whether the animal is a service animal and what kinds of services the animal has been taught to carry out. However, the college may not inquire about the nature of the handicap, request a demonstration, or request disability paperwork.

You may not have to register your service animal with the college or even pay any fees for bringing them on campus.

If the service animal is not house-trained or has lost control, colleges may request that the service animal be removed from campus. The request for removing the animal should be based on the animal’s actual behavior, not on conjecture about its possible behavior or the behavior of other animals in the past.

Pet-friendly Institutions: 

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign:

As long as you reside in Ashton Woods, you can have up to two pets on campus at the same time. Students will have to apply to have their pet(s) on campus. However, animals weighing less than 50 pounds (as well as some types of canines) are not permitted. This is all relating to the institute’s pet policy.

Eckerd College (Florida):

One of the first and leading institutions to welcome pets and animals for a healthier student college experience. According to their pet policy, all domesticated animals so as long as they fit in a cage are permitted on campus. Small animals are even allowed in residence halls whereas the bigger animals are bound to certain housings.

Stephen’s College (Missouri):

Stephen’s College is another game-changing institute in terms of keeping on campus-pets. Not only are students allowed to bring their furry companions, but the college also provides a foster program with a local pet shelter for those who want to have a furry friend for a couple of days or weeks.

The students are, however, required to pay a fee for keeping the animals from the shelter safe until they are prepared for their permanent homes.

Students can bring their own pets as well under the college’s pet policy and even enter in a Halloween costume parade held for the animals.

Washington and Jefferson College (Pennsylvania):

During their college years, students are permitted to bring a pet from home to live with them. However, during their time as a student, they are not permitted to bring a new pet, either acquired or stray. Cats, dogs under 40 pounds, tiny birds, hamsters, fish, and other small animals are examples of pets that can reside on campus with students.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts):

Usually, the college allows cats only in dorms but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this policy has been temporarily discontinued.

Lees-McRae College (North Carolina):

The college’s policy not only allows students to bring in their own pets to on-campus housing but also encourages professors and students to bring them to classes as well.

Stetson University (Florida):

Stetson University boasts its leniency when it comes to the diversity of pets that are allowed in dorms. However, they are not allowed in classes and must be kept on leashes when on campus. They have a dog park as well for students to bring their dogs and socialize.

The college, however, does not take any responsibility for flee control. This is on the student as well as any dorm damages. 

Canton State University of New York (New York):

The university offers a pet wing designed specifically for students who wish to live with pets or for those who do not own a pet but love being around animals. Unfortunately, they have a limit on what domestic animals are allowed. Spiders, canaries, dogs, and certain reptiles such as snakes are prohibited. 


Research on the effects animals and pets have on the human psyche has proven that humans need animals more than expected. With the passage of time, colleges are starting to see the need for allowing students to bring their pets with them on campus. Granted, many colleges still have an issue with dogs and cats, but some are taking initiative to change this policy making it more comfortable for students to go through college life with a breeze. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which pets are good to keep in a dorm?

Small animals have proven to be easy and affordable pets to keep around in college. They are also easy to confine and raise and overall require very little upkeep.

  • Small dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Turtles
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Fish

These are all popular choices of pets students decide to keep on campus.

Why are pets good for college students?

Work overload leading to burnout, stress, and depression needs to be assessed and treated immediately. Pets have proven to significantly lower the symptoms and improve the quality of life for many college students. They provide companionship, and relaxation, and possess many emotional support qualities perfect for struggling students.