Personal Care Attendants

A student with a disability who anticipates needing a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) should contact the University of the South’s Residential Life office and Student Accessibility Services as soon as they make a deposit to reserve a space in the residence halls. A formal application for disability accommodations, with supporting documentation, must be completed by the student and submitted to SAS stating the requested accommodation. A SAS staff member will review all documentation to determine if the request for a PCA to live in University housing or be granted access to University housing and facilities is a reasonable accommodation.

A Personal Care Attendant (PCA)  is a person who has been hired to support a student with a disability to live a more independent life by performing personal care duties or services. A PCA works directly for and is employed by the student with a disability. The kind of tasks a PCA performs is comparable to those that a family member or medical personnel would perform and will vary from person to person.

Policy and Procedures

Any student that requires the service of a PCA must initiate contact with Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Residential Life at least 4 weeks in advance. Students must follow these guidelines to arrange services.

Submit Documentation

Students must provide medical documentation from the appropriate professional to verify that the requested accommodation related to the student’s current medical condition is necessary for the student to live in University housing. SAS will review this documentation, and, if needed, may seek further clarification from the student and their physician or medical professional regarding the request for accommodation.

Register PCA

The PCA must register with SAS. A copy of the agreement between the PCA or the PCA’s agency should be submitted at this time. The agreement could cover a specific person or the agency providing services. The agreement must specify that the services required by the student will be provided by the PCA. The PCA and student will also be required to sign the University’s PCA Policy and Agreement.

Background Check

The student must submit a current copy of their PCA’s criminal background check to Residential Life. The student is responsible for notifying Residential Life if the personal attendant is charged with any crimes that would create a concern of safety by the university community. If a criminal background check is not submitted or if there is any question or concern about the PCA’s criminal history, Residential Life has the authority to conduct a criminal background check of the PCA at the expense of the student.


PCA(s) are required to follow all University rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. PCA(s) determined not to be abiding by this policy can be immediately removed from campus, regardless of the contractual arrangement with the student. In this situation, the University will notify the student of the issue as soon as possible. 

Students should have a backup plan in mind should the primary PCA become ill or is otherwise unable to attend class or scheduled activity in which the student wants to participate.