Housing and Meal Plan Considerations

The Intent of Housing Contracts and Meal Plans

two female students eating at dining hall, click to enlargeLearning to live, work, and spend time with others is an essential component of the Northwestern University learning experience. There is no better place to do this than in our residence halls.

However, a variety of medical illnesses, disabilities and psychological conditions may necessitate special consideration in the housing assignment process or a release from the housing contract or meal plan. Every effort is made to accommodate students’ needs within our housing system and food service plan using the alternatives available. A few examples of disability-related considerations in residence halls or rooms are the following:

  • Air-conditioned residence hall
  • Residence hall with an elevator
  • Residence hall with an accessible washroom
  • Single room

To determine reasonable accommodations for housing and meal plans for students with disabilities in residence halls, SSD, in conjunction with the Room & Board Accommodation Committee (see below), carefully reviews all disability documentation (see our documentation guidelines) and requests and makes determinations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act, Illinois state laws, and municipal codes and ordinances.

Depending on the time of year when a housing-related accommodation is requested, the student may need to be reassigned to an alternate residence hall to appropriately meet need. Please note that the University meal plan contract does not permit releases based on religious dictates, personal food choice or preferences (e.g., vegetarianism), or other non-medically-based dietary requirements.

The Room & Board Accommodation Committee

Requests for special consideration in the housing assignment process or requests to be released from the housing contract or meal plan are evaluated carefully by the Room and Board Accommodation Committee. Members of the Committee include the Dean of Students, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, the Director of University Health Services, the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), and the Associate Director and Administrative Coordinator of University Housing and Food Service. University Housing and Food Service cannot make an assignment or approve a contract release based on a medical or psychological condition or disability without a recommendation from the Room and Board Accommodation Committee.

Procedures and Deadlines for Requesting Special Consideration

To qualify for special consideration in the housing assignment process or to request release from the housing contract or meal plan, a student must submit documentation to the SSD Office.  Please adhere to the guidelines found in the required documentation for housing or meal plan special consideration (Word format).

Deadline for New Students

The deadline for new students ('18 freshmen and transfer students) to submit their requests to SSD for housing accommodations, including the appropriate documentation, was June 2, 2014

Deadline for Returning Students

Returning students should have submitted their requests for housing accommodations by the first day of spring quarter 2014.

Expected Notification Date

(Students entering NU in 2013 were notified via email to their Northwestern email accounts in mid-July 2013 as to whether the Room and Board Accommodation Committee approved their housing-related request.)

Where to Send Relevant Documentation & Requests

Do not submit the required documentation to the University Housing Office; requests related to housing and meal plans should be addressed to:

Room and Board Accommodation Committee
c/o Services for Students with Disabilities
2122 Sheridan Rd, Ste 130
Evanston, IL 60201
Telephone: 847/467-5530
Fax: 847/467-5531