While colleges are required to allow service animals under the ADA act (but you should still contact the college and let them know!), they do not have to allow pets on campus.
But, finding pet friendly colleges that allow pets of all types is not as hard as you might think these days!
Having a daughter who is starting her college search – and is sad that she has to leave her cat behind (or does she?) – it made me think about the possibility that there might be schools that allow her to bring her best friend!
That led me on a search to find schools that embraced the human/pet bond and allow them to remain together during those stressful college days!
The colleges below clearly care enough about pets and their students and have some of the pet friendliest policies we could find – and yes, we are adding some of these to our own college review list!
These are listed in order of our top-picks based on variety of animals allowed, animal resources and sense of animal community the college provides to its students!
Location: Columbia MO
Pet Policy: Click Here
Stephens College is our top pick for pet-friendly colleges! They have been welcoming pets of all types for over 10 years!
Dogs, cats, birds —- and even other pets have been invited to attend school with their pet parents – and not only do they allow you to bring your own pet, but they have an amazing foster program in place as well!
Pet Owner Program
The school offers approximately 175 designated dorm rooms for the pet owners! They have a motto that they “treat dogs like royalty” and feature things like doggy treats in the President’s office, pet toys in the bookstore and even a pet costume parade on Halloween!
One thing we particularly love is the inclusion of a puppy daycare center where beloved pooches can have a great playdate with their friends! There are also 5 dog parks in the local community that students can attend with their pets making it a great location for dog loving college students.
While there are some limitations on breed and size – it is still out top-pick for those looking for a dog-friendly college!
Foster Pet Program
Stephens has partnered with a local no-kill shelter, Columbia Second Chance, which will allow students the opportunity to foster a pet while it is waiting for its chance at a forever home. This is an amazing program that allows students the joy of a pet while the animals get to be in a home environment as opposed to a cage!
The students have full responsibility for these animals in terms of daily care and some even go as far as to create social media pages for their fosters to help them find a home quicker! All expenses for the pet are covered by the shelter so no financial liability is placed on the students. Fosters can also receive a $3,000 scholarship for being in the foster program.
They also do great animal related special events, like having pet communicator Joan Ranquet come to the campus and work with students who are fostering, to help them improve their animal communication skills.
Lock Haven University
Location: Lock Haven, PA
Pet Policy: Click Here
Lock Haven just launched their pet friendly housing program which will begin in the Spring of 2019!
Their program will allow a variety of pets in their North Hall including fish, birds, cats, and dogs up to 40 pounds (of course breed restrictions apply). Dogs and cats must be at last 6 months of age and must have been owned by the students family for a minimum of 3 months prior to applying for the pet program.
Reptiles seem to be the only exclusion from the list. All applicants will need to supply vet records and various certificates for shots and spay/neuter procedures and all pets must be kept on leashes at all times when outside their rooms.
Eckerd College is another phenomenal option for those looking at colleges that embrace the relationships between students and their pets.
Dogs under 40 pounds, cats, ducks, ferrets – even snakes are all allowed on campus in the designated animal friendly housing areas. These pets must be existing pets – you cannot get a pet while a student and the pets must be registered before you attend campus.
New freshman students will have to wait until their second semester to bring their pets on campus. One special component we LOVE is that they are NOT restricting breeds — but if your dog shows aggressive behaviors, they will be removed from campus.
Some of the other amenities we are loving include:
- Pet Blessing that is held every October
- Diplomas for outgoing pets at their graduation ceremony (check out the 2017 Pet Commencements!)
- They have a local veterinarian come on campus 2x a year for check-ups
- They promote their Eckerd Pets via a specific Instagram page
This school REALLY loves their pets and it shows!
Stetson University has a pretty generous pet policy that allows students to bring a variety of pets to campus.
Allowed pets include: Fish (10 gallon tank maximum), small caged animals, cats and dogs not exceeding 50 pounds.
The do have breed specific rules in place so it is important to know which breeds are not allowed on campus before applying for pet-friendly housing.
There is a dog park on campus so dogs can socialize which is a feature not all colleges offer. Students must keep dogs leashed on-campus and they are not allowed in classrooms.
Johnson & Wales University
Certain residence halls allow for the housing of 1 pet.
Pets allowed: dogs up to 40 pounds and at least 1 year old, domestic cats over 1 year old, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits who can live in a cage no larger th
an 16 sq. ft. Fish are permitted in all halls in tank or gallons under 5 gallons – 1 tank per room.
Breed specific rules apply so please check to ensure your dog is allowed.
Space is limited for pet-friendly housing and you do need to put in an application to the Residential Life team. There is a wait list as well to which you can be placed if all pet-friendly rooms are filled.
Washington & Jefferson College
Location: Washington, PA
Washington & Jefferson College is a very pet-friendly college having a designated building where students can reside with their pets! Monroe Hall has lovingly been dubbed “the Pet House” because of the pet friendly policies.
They do require that the students have an existing family pet that has been in the family for at least one year – you are not allowed to get a NEW pet while at the college. We like this rule since it seemingly respects the bond we have with our pets! By allowing students to bring their existing family members to school with them, they are removing the stress of leaving a fur friend behind.
They allow all types of pets including but not limited to cats, dogs (under 40 pounds), small birds and gerbils.
They also allow “visiting pets” where your family can visit and bring pets with them! They cannot stay overnight and still can only be in the “Pet House” but this is another great addition to it being a pet friendly college.
Lees McRae College
Lees McRae offers designated pet dorms just for students that want to bring their pets to college! One additional feature that makes this school awesome is that even professors can decide whether to allow pets into the classrooms as well.
The pets are limited to cats, dogs and fish and there are breed policy restrictions in place as well. All animals must be registered with Student Development before the animals are brought on campus.
Other Pet Friendly Colleges
The colleges listed below also allow pets but have more restrictions and requirements, so while we cannot consider them “pet-friendly” like the colleges above – we wanted to include them for your college search!
Lehigh University – Bethlehem, PA
Pets allowed: up to 10 gallon fish tanks allowed in resident halls, cats and dogs are allowed in sorority or fraternity houses only. All members of the house must agree to allow the pet.
MIT – Cambridge, MA
Pets allowed: only cats are allowed on campus. There is a limited number of cat friendly spaces and they are only allowed in specific dorms. Approval from the MIT student body pet chair is required and you have to make sure you have a cat friendly roommate.
Caltech – Pasadena, CA
Pets allowed: up to 2 cats per room in certain halls and pets that can be kept in an aquarium of up to 20 gallons. A cat application has to be submitted for approval.
Humboldt University – Arcata, CA
Pets allowed: turtles, snakes, lizards or any pet that can be housed in a tank up to 10 gallons in size. Their pet policy states residents may not have birds, warm-blooded or poisonous pets. Student must consult with roommate to ensure they are OK with your pet
Houghton College – Houghton, NY
Pets allowed: horses! Any student can bring their horse and board it at the school. No enrollment in their equestrian program is required, but you do need to pay for the boarding of your horse in addition to your college tuition and room and board.
While you may think bringing your pet to college may be a great idea – make sure you give it a lot of thought and be real about the situation! Just because these colleges offer pet friendly options does not mean it is the right choice for every student!
Remember you still need a lot of time to dedicate to caring for your pet! Especially if you bring a dog to college! There are walks, cleaning of litter boxes, feeding, play time and more. Top that with lots of classes, studying, activities and fun with friends – time may become an issue and your pet may suffer.
I think having a pet on campus is great – they are stress relievers and can be great for meeting new people! Just make sure you both have everything you need to make the experience awesome.