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Madison, WI 53715-1007

Main Office Numbers: 608-263-2741(voice)
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McBurney Disability Resource Center

Housing Accommodations in University Residence Halls & University Apartments

Who is eligible for housing accommodations?

Students with documented long-term or permanent disabilities or serious medical conditions may request housing accommodations. To be eligible for housing accommodations the student must have a disability, the disability must necessitate adjustments to the living environment, and the request process must be completed before room assignments are made.

University Housing will make every effort to accommodate housing requests for students who acquire a disability or medical condition after room assignments are made; however, some accommodations may be limited by housing availability.

What role does the McBurney Center play in housing accommodations?

The McBurney Disability Resource Center is the designated entity on campus to collect and review all disability documentation as it relates to housing and academic accommodations. McBurney staff communicate with University Housing staff regarding the functional limitations experienced by a student as verified in the disability documentation. While students should contact the University Housing Assignment Office by email or by phone ((voice/Relay711) 608-262-2522) to request housing accommodations, disability or medical documentation should be sent to McBurney, not University Housing. Documentation received by McBurney is maintained as a confidential record; it is not part of a student's permanent university record.

How do I request housing accommodations?

You need to follow the standard University Housing process (Step 1a. OR 1b. contract, assignment, and corresponding deadlines) for all students, and in parallel request housing accommodations (Step 2.) so accommodations can be considered in your assignment.

Step 1a. Completing the Standard Steps for University Housing for Undergraduates

  1. Incoming freshman/transfer students will receive a housing contract offer via email after you are admitted to UW-Madison. Submit your completed housing contract to Housing by the deadline specified in the email. If you currently are a UW-Madison student but do not live in University Housing, you will need to apply for housing.
  2. Submit your hall preferences to University Housing by the standard deadline.
    1. Review housing information, including the Residence Hall Facility Features Chart, Residence Hall Information, Dining Locations & Hours, Residential Learning Communities, and the Campus Map (search for "residence hall"), for more information and locations.
    2. Consider a General Residential Hall Tour.
    3. If you have a significant mobility limitation that requires accommodation, tours of some of the halls and rooms can be arranged. Please be aware that very few residence hall rooms have private bathrooms.
  3. University Housing will contact you or your McBurney Accommodation Specialist with any questions about your housing accommodations during or after the hall assignment process.

Step 1b. Completing the Standard Steps for University Housing for Undergraduate Students with Families and Graduate Students

  1. Read more about the University Apartments.
  2. Apply Online for University Apartments as soon as you are interested in studying at UW-Madison. It is important to apply early as the University Apartments usually fill up quickly.
  3. If you become eligible for a lease, University Housing will contact you or your McBurney Accommodation Specialist with any questions about your housing accommodations during or after the apartment assignment process.

Step 2. Completing the Accommodation Request Steps for University Housing

Note: Students are encouraged to complete the following steps by May 1st. Housing assignments begin in May for the fall, thus accommodations for requests made after May 1st may be limited by housing availability.

  1. Email the University Housing Assignment Office with your specific requests (wheelchair accessibility, devices/alarms for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, etc.). Early notification is required so appropriate accommodations can be identified.
  2. Call ((voice/Relay711) 608-263-2741) or email the the McBurney Disability Resource Center to inform us that you are requesting housing accommodations for University Housing. Then, follow the instructions for How to Become a McBurney Client. This includes submitting an Accommodation Request Form and necessary documentation supporting the diagnosed medical condition or disability and need for the specific housing accommodations you are requesting.
  3. After the appropriate documentation has been submitted and you have completed the intake process, McBurney staff will determine your eligibility for services and make a recommendation to University Housing regarding your housing accommodation requests. All recommendations are made on a case by case basis and through an interactive process. Early contact with both University Housing and McBurney is critical in order to fairly assess your needs and identify reasonable housing accommodations.
  4. New freshman are encouraged to register for and attend McBurney's MOST orientation program so that they can move in early.

Under what circumstances could a housing accommodation request be denied?

Requests are generally denied for three reasons:
  1. Documentation does not indicate a substantial limitation to a major life activity (i.e., the student does not have a disability).
  2. The disability-related need does not require an alteration to the living environment. For example, students with AD/HD, learning disabilities or psychological disabilities who request a private room in order to have a quiet study area can have that need met through use of the libraries and other spaces around campus that are suitable for quiet study.
  3. A student makes a late request for a room that is no longer available. For example, University Housing has wheelchair accessible rooms; however, all rooms are assigned during the room selection process. Once the assignments are made, students are not then reassigned or denied housing to accommodate a late request. To avoid this situation, it is imperative that you contact University Housing and McBurney as soon as you believe you will need a housing accommodation.

Remember, housing assignments will be based on disability-related needs, not requests to live in a specific residence hall. Not all residence halls are able to accommodate students in the same way. If a student's top choices for residence halls are already filled or are unable to meet the student's disability-related needs, the student will be assigned to another residence hall. For instance, if a student with a mobility disorder is requesting a specific centrally located dorm due to mobility concerns and that dorm is either full or is not equipped with other accessible amenities, the student may be placed in another centrally located dorm that can accommodate their needs.

Air Conditioning ONLY Requests

University Housing will install air conditioner window units for students who require air conditioning for medical reasons and who are not assigned to a room with central air. Students do not need to work with the McBurney Center if the ONLY accommodation they are requesting is air conditioning.

  • Instructions for requesting air conditioners are located on Division of University Housing's website. The Air Conditioner Agreement Form (must be signed by your doctor) should only be completed AFTER you have received your housing placement, as it only needs to be completed if you are living in a residence hall without central air.
  • There are seven University Residence Halls that have central air: Chadbourne, Dejope, Merit, Leopold, Ogg, Phillips, and Smith. You may consider putting these halls high on your list when submitting your residence hall preferences if you require air conditioning for medical reasons.

Special Dietary Requirements

If you are concerned about your diet or nutrition, University Housing has registered dietitians on staff that would be available to speak to you. Any questions or comments may be emailed to dining services.

Assistance Animals

Eligibility to have an assistance animal accompany a student in University Housing is determined by the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Personal Care Attendants

University Housing does not provide personal care attendants; however, attendants may live with a student as part of their housing accommodation. Students are encouraged to contact Community Living Alliance (CLA) for their personal care needs. The process for becoming a CLA member can take up to three months. Please contact CLA to apply for services as soon as you have been admitted to the UW-Madison.

Further Information

For further information regarding University Housing and accommodation requests, please visit the Division of University Housing website.

File last updated: April 13, 2017. 09:07:59 am
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