Emotional Support Animals

In an effort to effectively respond to student requests for housing modifications, accommodations, and Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s), George Mason University has created the Housing Request Committee (HRC) to review such requests. Each request will be handled on a case-by-case basis and is reviewed by the HRC where staff from Disability Services consult with Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Housing and Residence Life. Any documentation submitted to support a request should be current and relevant and be from an appropriate professional that describes the current functional impact of the condition or disability as it relates to the housing modification or accommodation requested. The HRC will discuss reasonable modifications or accommodations as they relate to an ESA based on student self-report and observations and interactions during an initial Disability Services meeting. 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals. However, George Mason University recognizes that Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) may be used as part of a treatment plan for individuals with disabilities. 

To request an Emotional Support Animal, complete the following process:

1. Review George Mason University Procedure for Requesting ESA in University Housing and Regulations Governing ESAs. This can be found on our Policies and Procedures Page.

2. Complete and submit a Disability Services Intake Form. This intake form is available for completion on our Forms Page.  It can be submitted in person or electronically.

3. Complete and submit appropriate documentation from a diagnosing/treating healthcare provider. Students will need to submit Part 1 of the Housing Request Form (if living on campus) and a completed Emotional Support Animal request form, both found on our Forms Page.

4. Participate in an initial intake interview. Initial intake interviews are scheduled for 1 hour and involve meeting with a Disability Services Specialist to discuss accommodations. The initial intake interview will include a discussion around the emotional support animal as it relates to the impairment, condition, and or disability and a review/signing of policy forms.

5. Monitor George Mason email for receipt of the Housing Committee’s decision on your request. Following the intake interview, your request will be reviewed by a Housing Committee that consists of Disability Services, Housing and Residence Life, Student Health Services, and Counseling and Psychological Services. Following the Committee’s review of documentation, a Disability Services staff member will reach out to share the outcome of the review.