Office for Disability and Access

Housing and Dining Accommodations

Oberlin College & Conservatory is a four-year, residential college and considers residential life integral to a student’s development and believes that having students living and dining together fosters community, discourse, and debate. Therefore, all students must live in college housing (ResLife) or an Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA) co-op and participate in one of the dining programs through graduation unless an exemption has been granted.  

The ODA always works to provide inclusion for all students, which includes the required residential experience at Oberlin. The ODA will seek to meet students' needs through a wide variety of accommodations available to ensure that students are included in that residential experience. 

Students with disabilities may apply for housing and dining accommodations which could include off-board or other reasonable modifications by following the Procedures for Requesting Housing and Dining Accommodations. The College requires supporting documentation from an appropriately licensed professional that clearly identifies the student's disability-related barriers to access and how the requested accommodation will mitigate or remove those barriers. Please be aware that a diagnosis of a medical condition in and of itself does not automatically qualify a student for disability accommodations. Additionally, a provider recommendation alone does not automatically qualify a student for disability accommodations. Housing and dining accommodation requests are brought before a  multi-disciplinary committee of Oberlin College & Conservatory staff members with relevant expertise, such as housing, dietary issues, disabilities, and physical and mental health.

If you are a student experiencing challenges or barriers in the college's residential setting based on religious practices or cultural reasons, please complete the Religious/Cultural Consideration Request Form through ResLife. As a community, it is important to us that all students have the resources and support they need to practice their religious and cultural beliefs while living on campus. However, the Office for Disability & Access (ODA) works under the purview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since religious, spiritual, and cultural practices are not considered a disability or covered by the ADA, ODA cannot approve a housing/dining accommodation based on a student's religious or cultural beliefs.

Housing/Dining Accommodation Request Timeline

Deadlines allow for accommodation consideration before the general ResLife selection process begins. Only complete requests will be considered, so students are advised to start the process early to allow adequate time to obtain the required documentation from their healthcare provider. Incomplete request materials will delay the eligibility determination. Accommodation requests made outside the established deadlines, even if approved by ODA, are not guaranteed and are based on availability. 

Requests for accommodation(s) in housing and/or dining based on disability should be submitted to the Office of Disability and Access (ODA). The ODA is responsible for reviewing and determining all disability-related housing and dining requests. After eligibility for accommodation(s) is determined by the Office for Disability & Access (ODA), ResLife manages the actual housing placement process. Please note that all housing placements, including accommodated housing placements, are facilitated by ResLife.


If a student has a disability housing accommodation, ResLife will offer them a housing placement that meets the approved accommodation(s). Students then have the option to either accept the accommodated housing placement or decline it and opt to go through the general housing lottery in an attempt to secure a preferred placement.


It's important for students to understand that there can be risks associated with declining an accommodated housing placement. When a student declines an initial offer of accommodated housing, that space goes back into the lottery pool. If the student decides they would like to use their accommodation in housing, it may result in a delay in securing another accommodated space. This delay is the primary risk of turning down an accommodated placement, not the possibility of not receiving accommodations altogether.

Here's what you need to know:

Risk of Declining: Declining an accommodated housing placement may cause a delay in securing another suitable space. If declined, the placement is returned to the lottery pool.This delay occurs because rejecting an initial offer may necessitate waiting for another appropriate space to become available.

Understanding the Process: If you decline an offered placement, it might take time to secure another accommodated space that meets your needs. However, accepting the offer guarantees access to your housing accommodations when the semester starts.

Impact of Initial Placement Acceptance: It's crucial to understand the impact of accepting the offered placement as it aids in ensuring timely access to your housing accommodations. By accepting the initial accommodated offer, you can avoid potential delays and ensure that your housing needs are met from the beginning of the semester.


We are here to support you throughout this process. If you have any questions or concerns about housing accommodations, please don't hesitate to reach out to the Office for Disability & Access. We are committed to working with you to ensure that your housing experience aligns with your disability accommodation(s).

General Housing and Dining Requests
Student Status Full Academic Year/Fall  Spring Semester (only)
First-year and New Transfer students June 1st January 1
Continuing/Returning students  March 4th  November 1
Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Requests
Fall Semester Spring Semester
June 1st October 1st 

Policies and Procedures: 

Housing/Dining Accommodation Policy and Procedures

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Policy and Procedures 


Provider Documentation Forms for Housing and Dining Requests

To properly evaluate the student’s request for Housing and Dining Accommodations at the Oberlin College and Conservatory, the Office for Disability & Access (ODA) requires specific diagnostic information from a licensed clinical professional or healthcare provider who is directly responsible for the treatments of the student’s diagnosed disability, including the intentional use of housing/dining accommodations to address the functional limitations that result from the student’s physical or psychological condition(s). The Provider Documentation forms below are provided for your convenience. You are not required to use these forms to support your accommodation request. See our Documentation Guidelines for more information if you submit alternative documentation.

Provider Documentation Form for Housing/Dining Requests

Provider Documentation Form for ESA Requests

Provider Documentation Form for Severe Allergies