Leaving family and friends to attend college is hard. Leaving your four-legged best friend can make things even harder. Luckily, there are some colleges that allow dogs and other pets on their campuses. Whether you need your pet for comfort, or it needs you, these colleges will accept you both.
Check out these 16 pet-friendly campuses
Lees-McRae College – Banner Elk, North Carolina
Total Students: 991 undergraduate students
Size: 460 acres
Pet Policy: After two semesters in college housing, students can bring their pet to live on campus. Conventional pets (cats, dogs, and fish) can live with their owners in designated pet-friendly housing units. Make note that dogs must weigh less than 40 pounds when fully-grown and certain breeds are prohibited for insurance reasons.
Quick Overview: Lees-McRae is a private college that has a religious affiliation with the Presbyterian Church USA faith. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this college is great for students wishing to study wildlife biology or outdoor recreation management. Lees-McRae also has a pre-veterinary medicine program complete with a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where students gain hands experience caring for injured wildlife.
Eckerd College – St. Petersburg, Florida
Total Students: 2,046 undergraduate students
Size: 188 acres
Pet Policy: Students wishing to have a pet on campus can apply after their first semester. Eckerd provides eight dedicated pet-friendly college housing options. Dogs under 40 pounds, cats, ferrets chinchillas, rabbits, and even ducks can live with their owners. Eckerd also allows small caged or tanked animals to live in all residence halls. For fun, Eckerd even holds an honorary graduation ceremony for outgoing pets, where each pet receives a diploma from the college president.
Quick Overview: Eckerd is private liberal arts college that is religiously affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA faith. It is well known for its sustainability initiatives and beachfront campus. Students here can study a range of programs including chemistry, marine biology, creative writing, and environmental science. Eckerd also offers students more than 300 study abroad destinations each year.
Stephens College – Columbia, Missouri
Total Students: 729 undergraduates
Size: 48 acres
Pet Policy: As far as pet-friendly colleges go, Stephens is probably your best option. Your cat, dog, bird, or other pet are welcome on Stephens’ campus. Pets can even participate in the annual Halloween pet costume parade or spend the day in on-campus doggie daycare. If you do not have a pet of your own, you can participate in the college’s pet foster care program. Stephens College partners with a local no-kill animal shelter to help prepare animals for their forever home. Students temporarily take in these animals to train and nurture them.
Quick Overview: Stephens College is a small private women’s college located in an urban setting. The school is committed to student success in the performing arts, pre-professional programs, and the liberal arts. It is well known for its theatre program, which consistently ranks amongst the top 10 in the nation. Students who come here can expect a welcoming, family-like environment that is LGBT+ friendly.
Principia College – Elsah, Illinois
Total Students: 479 undergraduates
Size: 2,600 acres
Pet Policy: Principia College used to allow dogs and cats on campus, but this is no longer the case. However, students may still bring aquariums and small caged animals to campus. This includes fish, amphibians, hamsters, and birds.
Quick Overview: This private liberal arts college lies in the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Southern Illinois. Although not officially affiliated with the Christian Science faith, most Principia students and staff are practicing Christian Scientists, making Christian Science an important part of campus life. The student population is diverse with 20% of students coming from other countries. Students here can choose from 27 majors, including anthropology, studio and fine art, and mass communication.
Stetson University – DeLand, Florida
Total Students: 3,089 undergraduates, 1,268 graduates
Size: 175 acres
Pet Policy: Out of the few colleges that allow dogs, Stetson University takes a unique approach. It offers a service dog program for students interested in training and fostering future service dogs. These dogs come live on campus in the dorms. Stetson University also permits students to bring their dogs, cats, and fish from home. Dogs cannot exceed 70 pounds in weight and certain breeds are prohibited. Faculty and staff members in the College of Law can also bring their four-legged friends along to work.
Quick Overview: Stetson is a private, non-profit university composed of four schools and colleges. Students can study at the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business Administration, College of Law, or School of Music. Within those schools, Stetson offers more than 60 majors and minors for undergraduates. The law school at Stetson is best known for its top-ranking trial advocacy training and legal writing programs.
Washington and Jefferson College – Washington, PA
Total Students: 1,396 undergraduates, 10 graduates
Size: 60 acres
Pet Policy: W&J College’s Pet House is a residential hall where students can live with their cats, dogs (weighing less than 40 pounds), hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, fish, small birds, and other pets approved by the Residence Life Office. Aggressive dogs like pit bulls and wolf breeds are not permitted. The family pet has to have lived with your family for at least one year and be at least 1.5 years old. Students living in any residence hall can have a non-carnivorous fish for a pet too.
Live in Pet House and you can keep one dog, one cat, or two small animals. If you return to Pet House for a second year, you do not have to have a roommate. You can apply to live in a double room alone with your pet.
Quick Overview: W&J College is a small private liberal arts college located 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. The college focuses on preparing students for acceptance to graduate, law, and medical school, boasting high acceptance rates for all three. Most undergraduate students major in the sciences, but students have 32 major options.
University of Northern Colorado – Greeley, Colorado
Total Students: 10,011 undergraduate, 3,076 graduate
Size: 243 acres
Pet Policy: University of Northern Colorado is another one of those colleges that allow dogs. Students can sign up to live in Lawrenson Hall, the campus’s suit-style pet-friendly housing option, on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can bring your dog or domestic cat along, but your dog must be 40 pounds or less when fully grown. Protective breeds like Pit Bulls, Boxers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Huskies, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Wolfs, Rottweilers, or any mix of these breeds are not allowed.
Quick Overview: This public university offers more than 100 undergraduate and more than 100 graduate degree programs, including doctorate programs. Students at all levels do research and gain real-world, hands-on experience prior to graduation. The University of Northern Colorado is known for its University Orchestra, teacher education programs, and online graduate degree programs.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Total Students: 4,524 undergraduate, 6,852 graduate
Size: 168 acres
Pet Policy: Unlike many other pet-friendly colleges, MIT restricts its pet policies to just cats and fish. Fish can live in any residence hall, but cats are restricted to designated cat-friendly housing floors and areas. Students wishing to bring their cat to campus must receive written permission from all roommates and suite-mates.
Quick Overview: MIT, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, is a private research university located in Cambridge, MA. It is known for its research in the physical sciences, engineering, biology, linguistics, and management. Undergraduates can earn their Bachelor of Science degree in one of 44 different areas of study. The most popular major at MIT is engineering.
Harvey Mudd College – Claremont, California
Total Students: 842 undergraduates
Size: 38 acres
Pet Policy: Students living in any residence hall can keep small, caged pets like fish or hamsters. Cats and dogs are strictly prohibited. You must receive permission from your roommate and suitemates prior to bringing your pet to campus. All pets living on campus must be registered with the college. If your pet sheds, you must steam clean and possibly replace your room’s carpet at the end of the academic year.
Campus Overview: Harvey Mudd is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Claremont Colleges. All five contiguous Claremont Colleges share resources like libraries, dining halls, and campus security. Students attending Harvey Mudd College can also take classes at the other Claremont Colleges. Harvey Mudd only offers majors in the sciences, computer science, engineering, and mathematics.
University of Illinois – Champaign, Illinois
Total Students: 30,933 undergraduate, 14,658 graduate
Size: 6,370 acres
Pet Policy: Students, faculty, and staff living in the Ashton Woods apartment building can have up to two companion pets and fish tanks (a maximum of 50 gallons). Pets can weigh no more than 50 pounds. Farm animals, production animals, lab animals, and exotic animals are not allowed. Aggressive dog breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers are also not permitted.
Quick Overview: U of I is a public research university and a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. It is well regarded for its engineering and science programs. However, students can choose from more than 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Located in the city, this campus offers plenty of options for walking your pets.
Johnson and Wales University Providence Campus – Providence, Rhode Island
Total Students: 8,459 undergraduate, 865 graduate
Size: 176 acres
Pet Policy: At Johnson and Wales, each room, apartment, or suite is permitted to have one fish in a bowl or tank (under 5 gallons). Students wishing to bring other pets have to apply to live in pet-friendly housing. Here, you can bring your dog, domestic cat, or small caged or tanked animal like a guinea pig, rabbit, turtle, or lizard. Small animal cages cannot exceed 16 square feet and tanks cannot exceed 5 gallons. Dogs cannot weigh more than 40 pounds and must be at least 1 year old. Restricted breeds include Pit Bulls, Akitas, German Shepherds, and wolf hybrids.
Quick Overview: JWU Providence has two campuses–Downcity and Harborside. Its Downcity campus houses the college’s business, hospitality, and technology programs while the Harborside campus houses the College of Culinary Arts and graduate programs. JWU’s culinary arts program recently expanded to include 30 state-of-the-art teaching labs and classrooms. All JWU residence halls are centrally located, leaving students with sidewalks and 380 miles of nearby coastline where they can walk their dogs.
Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, Ohio
Total Students: 5,152 undergraduate, 6,512 graduate
Size: 155 acres
Pet Policy: Case Western Reserve University is the first of two Ohio colleges that allow pets. As long as your roommate is okay with it, you can bring a small, caged, non-poisonous animal, or fish onto campus. Pets like dogs, cats, and ferrets are not allowed.
Quick Overview: Case is a private, doctorate-granting university located in an urban setting. It has a diverse student body with more than 80 countries represented. The university is most known for its medical school, dental school, business school, law school, nursing school, and biomedical engineering department. Students who come here can enjoy the arts, watch sports, and participate in cutting-edge research.
University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida
Total Students: 34,554 undergraduate, 17,813 graduate
Size: 2,000 acres
Pet Policy: Only degree-seeking students living in graduate or family housing can house pets on campus. These students can have no more than two approved pets. The list of approved pets includes fish, hamsters, gerbils, lizards (minus iguanas) that do not exceed six inches in length, non-poisonous salamanders, non-poisonous frogs, geckos, and chinchillas.
Quick Overview: University of Florida is a large public land-grant, space-grant, and sea-grant research university. Here, you will find more than 150 research centers and institutes and 16 academic colleges. Undergraduates have 100 major options, and graduate students have 200-degree options. The college has an active Greek Life system and renowned Division I sports program.
State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton – Canton, New York
Total Students: 3,180 undergraduate
Size: 555 acres
Pet Policy: SUNY Canton has a number of themed housing options like The Pet Wing. In this housing area, students can share their living space with their small caged pet. Dogs, snakes, spiders, and birds are not allowed. Students who love animals but do not own a pet can also apply to live on this floor. The Pet Wing is a designated alcohol-free living area.
Quick Overview: SUNY Canton is a small rural public institution that awards one-year certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. Students here receive a career-driven education, which includes earning credit for on-the-job internships. The college also offers fifteen 100% online degree programs. Along with the Pet Wing, SUNY Canton has a number of other themed residential floors.
Ohio Wesleyan University – Delaware, Ohio
Total Population: 1,638
Pet Policy: Ohio Wesleyan, another one of Ohio’s colleges that allow pets, permits each student to have fish and one gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, mouse, or rat in the residence halls. Aquariums cannot exceed 10 gallons and can only house fish, crustaceans, and snails. Students must register their pet with the college and obtain approval from their roommate and the Residential Life Office. This same pet policy applies to Ohio Wesleyan’s fraternity houses, small living units, and other student houses.
Quick Overview: OWU is a small private liberal arts college located on a suburban campus 27 miles north of Columbus, Ohio. It is known for its large international student population and its LGBT-friendly campus. Undergraduate students can choose from nearly 90 majors in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.
Reed College – Portland, Oregon
Total Population: 1,410 undergraduates, 17 graduates
Size: 116 acres
Pet Policy: Students living in any residence hall or on-campus house can keep small caged pets and fish. Each room is limited to one small cage or one aquarium (maximum of 25 gallons). All pets must be registered with the college and approved by the owner’s roommate(s). Pets should remain in their owner’s room unless the floor or house agrees that the pet can enter common areas. Kitchen spaces are off limits to all pets.
Quick Overview: Reed College is a residential liberal arts college with a forested canyon nature preserve right on campus. The college is known for its rigorous academics and a high proportion of graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. Reed boasts a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and all classes are taught by professors. Students here can choose from 38 majors and 6 dual-degree programs with other institutions.