Centenary College strives to create supportive and comfortable living communities inclusive of the needs of all students. Centenary is committed to allowing Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) that are approved as necessary to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy college housing, which complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1972 (Section 504), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Students may qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) as an accommodation if

  1. the student has a documented disability, and
  2. the animal is necessary to afford the student with a disability an ability to fully participate in the campus housing, and
  3. there is a direct, identifiable, and documented nexus between the mental health impairment and the assistance provided by the ESA that mitigates one or more life activities.


Timeline and Application Deadlines

Students seeking to have an ESA in residential housing must submit a request for review each academic year. Completed requests must be received by the following deadlines in order to ensure that approved requests can be arranged with Residence Life Staff for the start of the semester:


March 1st

Continuing students should submit requests by the deadline for housing accommodations for the upcoming academic year.


june 1st

First Year and transfer students should submit requests by June 1st for the upcoming academic year


November 1st

Students returning from study away, students returning from a break from the college, new transfer students or new admits should submit requests by November 15th for the Spring Semester.


ODS will consider off-cycle requests on a case-by-case basis, but it cannot be guaranteed that a determination will be reached if documentation is received after the above mentioned dates.



1. It is highly recommended that students schedule an appointment with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to discuss process, forms, and necessary documentation in order for applicant to understand policies and procedures.

2. Complete required forms:

Service Dog Only

  • ODS Registration
  • Animal Information Form with required vaccination records

Emotional Support Animal Only

  • ODS Registration
  • ODS Medical Form or other supporting documentation from medical provider
  • ESA Roommate/Suitemate Agreement Form
  • Upon Approval, complete Animal Information Form with required vaccination records

3. Documentation Requirements

  • All requests and completed forms must be submitted to ODS prior to the aforementioned deadlines to ensure a decision is reached prior to the start of the applicable semester.
  • All required documentation must be received by ODS before any request is reviewed.


What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

An ESA is an animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. For example, emotional support to an individual that has a mental health disorder. ESAs are not pets, as defined by the Fair Housing Act (FHA). 

How can a student request to have an ESA in on-campus housing?

To have an ESA in on-campus housing, a student must complete the accommodation request process with Disability Services. The student must have a recognized disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and show that the request for an ESA is a reasonable accommodation that is directly related to their disability needs. 
Documentation from a qualified evaluator to whom a student has an established relationship. (An evaluator that the student has only met with once or twice should not complete forms). 
Documentation should articulate the need for the ESA based upon the student’s medical and/or mental health condition. 
Documentation must indicate how the ESA alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability. 

Is an ESA the same as a Service Animal?

No. While ESAs are often used as part of a medical treatment plan, they are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, they are viewed as a “reasonable accommodation” under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in those housing communities that have a “no pets” rule. 

What is the difference between a Service Animal and an ESA?

Service animals are defined as dogs (or miniature horses, in limited situations) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The work or task a service animal does must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service animals may accompany persons with disabilities into places that the public normally goes. 

An ESA generally provides assistance and/or emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support. Dogs and cats are the most common type of ESAs. The animal need not be specifically trained to perform tasks for a person who has a mental health or medical disability. Unlike a service animal, an ESA is not granted access to all places of public accommodation. As noted above, under the FHA, an ESA is viewed as a “reasonable accommodation” in a housing unit. 

Can a student take their ESA to class?

ESAs are only allowed in the dwelling (housing environment) of students and places where any animal is allowed in public. ESAs are not allowed in other campus buildings. ESAs must be contained within the approved student’s privately assigned residential area (room, suite, apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness to leave campus or relieve themselves outside. 

Can I bring my ESA to campus while waiting for approval from Disability Services?

ESAs should not be brought into on-campus housing until the student obtains an official approval notice from the Office of Disability Services.

If an animal is brought to campus prior to receiving an approval, the request/application will not be processed.

Do I need an ESA Certificate to bring my animal on campus?

Disability Services discourages paying individuals found on websites for certificates or template letters.  As per the guidance document by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
“Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. 
**In HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal”. 

What type of documentation do I need?

Reasonably supporting information often consists of information from a licensed health care professional – e.g., MD, Ph.D., Psy.D., LPC and LCSW – general to the condition but specific as to the individual with a disability and the assistance or therapeutic emotional support provided by the animal. A relationship or connection between the disability and the need for the assistance animal must be provided. 
It is recommended (but not required) that the medical professional complete the Medical Form included in the ESA policy and forms document as it contains the information necessary to process a request. This form is provided as a convenience and can be obtained by contacting the Office of Disability Services

How long does it take to receive approval for an ESA?

If a request is made and all documentation is provided prior to the published deadline, it may take up to 2-3 weeks for the information to be reviewed and the accommodation to be put in place. 

What type of animal can be an ESA?

ESAs are generally cats or dogs. 
Most reptiles, rodents, barnyard animals, monkeys and other non-domesticated animals are not considered common household animals. These types of animals may be rejected because of health and safety concerns, as they can carry zoonotic disease which poses a threat to the general welfare of residents in Centenary’s communal living environment. 

The ESA Approval Process

Step 1: Application 
Student completes the Disability Services Request Form to initiate the request. 

Step 2: Documentation 
Documentation is submitted by the student. Required documentation includes: 
-Registration Form 
-Medical Form and/or Letter from medical provider 
-Roommate/Suitemate Agreement Form (one form per roommate/suitemate) 

Step 3: Review 
The review process may include the following:  
-Appointment with access coordinator 
-Request for additional documentation 
-Consultation with campus stakeholders 

Step 4: Determination/Decision 
The student will receive an email with the determination of the ESA request.  

If approved:  

-Residence Life, the Department of Public Safety, and Facility Services will be notified of the decision 
-The Animal Information Form must be submitted (must include proof that the animal is up to date on vaccinations)*
-Student must submit a photo to Disability Services of themselves with the animal for identification purposes* 

*The student may bring the animal to campus once the above information is received 

If denied: 

Student will receive communication of the reasons the ESA request was not approved 
Student will have the opportunity to appeal the denial, which will be sent to the Exception Review Committee.

Contact Info

Ashley Dehart

Coordinator for Academic and Disability Services

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy The institution does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or on any other basis proscribed by federal, state, or local law.