Finding the best colleges that allow pets is essential for pet parents across the United States. When enrolled in school, you’ll want to ensure you can take proper care of your service animal, emotional support animal, or companion pet by bringing them on campus with you.
As such, we’ve curated a list of 10 top-ranked institutions that allow various species of pets, with a few exceptions. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $32,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Colleges That Allow Pets
1. University of Florida
4 Year; Gainesville, FL
Average Annual Cost: $5,135
The University of Florida has many fantastic learning opportunities for students to explore various careers. As a pet parent, it’s important to consider the pet policy set for student housing and on campus.
At this school, students must obtain a Pet Policy Agreement from Housing and Residence Life before bringing a pet into housing. They must also get written approval from residence hall staff and roommates before they can have a pet.
At the University of Florida, students cannot keep a dog or cat on-campus unless it’s an emotional support animal. However, there are several alternative pets you can have, including:
- Lizards (no iguanas)
- Salamanders (certified non-poisonous)
- Frogs (certified non-poisonous)
Another requirement to be mindful of is the size of the pets you intend to bring on campus. The animal must be no larger than six inches long, measured using the Snout to Vent method.
Pet parents also have many responsibilities, including:
- Pets must be properly cleaned and cared for.
- Approved pets must remain caged at all times.
- Pet cages cannot exceed three feet in length, two feet in width, and two feet in height.
A few other notable restrictions include:
- Animal abuse is prohibited.
- Residents cannot have more than two approved pets.
- Additional unapproved pets are forbidden regardless of the length of stay.
- Pets must be removed from residences during breaks and intersession periods.
- Pets must remain in the assigned room.
To learn more about the University of Florida’s pet policies, you can visit this link.
2. University of Washington – Seattle Campus
4 Year; Seattle, WA
Average Annual Cost: $12,017
The University of Washington – Seattle Campus has relatively strict policies about keeping animals on campus. It’s highly likely you won’t be able to have pets of any kind if you are staying in on-campus housing. That said, you can find plenty of pet-friendly student apartments off-campus.
The school is also relatively silent on whether students can bring other animals, such as hamsters and lizards, into their living quarters. It’s best to contact your residence hall staff to get further clarification on what pets are allowed in dorms.
However, the University of Washington – Seattle Campus is quite clear about cats and dogs in its policy. Students cannot bring cats or dogs into their campus classrooms or dormitories with their general “no pets” policy.
There is an exception for students that require an assistance animal or emotional support animal. If you need a service or emotional support animal, you’ll have to apply through the DRS, UW Housing and Food Services.
During the application period, they will confirm your service animal is up to date with necessary vaccinations. They are also expected to be licensed animals with the City of Seattle. To learn more about the pet policy at the University of Washington – Seattle Campus, visit this link.
3. University of Idaho
4 Year; Moscow, ID
Average Annual Cost: $13,964
If you’re searching for a pet-friendly university, the University of Idaho is a good option with moderate restrictions on pets. Students will find more regulations with cats and dogs than other species, such as fish. However, it’s important you confirm with your residence hall staff to determine what type of pets are allowed in your specific housing.
In general, the University of Idaho allows students to keep fish, cats, and birds on campus and in their rooms. There are restrictions to note, including:
- Cats must be spayed or neutered.
- Fish must be in a 10-gallon or less aquarium.
- Birds must remain caged at all times.
Another critical thing to note is that students must register their pets with the Housing & Residence Life staff. This registration must be completed before moving in, or your pets will not be permitted in your apartment.
That said, this rule doesn’t apply to approved service and assistance animals. Students that intend to bring the allowed pets into their apartments at the University of Idaho must follow specific guidelines, including:
- No more than two pets are allowed per apartment.
- Pets must be accustomed to living in an apartment community.
- Nervous and aggressive pets are not suitable.
- Pets must have all up-to-date vaccinations and shots.
- Pets must be licensed by the city.
When registering your pets at the University of Idaho, you’ll need to provide a photo of the animal for easy identification. It’s also important you display an “Animal in Residence” placard in the front window of your apartment.
Additionally, pet parents must pay a $300 deposit and complete a pet application before moving in. To learn more about the pet policies at the University of Idaho, visit this link.
4. University of Northern Colorado
4 Year; Greeley, CO
Average Annual Cost: $15,570
The University of Northern Colorado is one of the most appealing options for students looking for a pet-friendly university. What sets the school apart is that they have designated pet-friendly housing options for those wanting to bring their animals with them.
Unlike other universities, this school welcomes dogs and cats as a pet-friendly community. However, because these housing options are highly competitive, they are limited.
This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a pet-friendly college, but owners are required to follow strict rules. You must also submit documentation to ensure your pet is safe to join the community.
There are a few notable policies at the University of Northern Colorado, including:
- Dogs must be 40 or fewer pounds when fully grown.
- Dogs and cats must be a minimum of six months old.
- Pets must be neutered or spayed.
- Cats must be indoor domestic pets.
As a dog owner, this school has special restrictions to consider regarding the breed. The University of Northern Colorado does not allow the following breeds on campus:
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull
- Great Dane
- Any pets with a mix of these breeds
To learn more about the pet policies at the University of Northern Colorado, visit this link.
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4 Year; Cambridge, MA
Average Annual Cost: $16,407
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a couple of options open to students interested in having a pet on campus. The school generally prohibits pets from most graduate and undergraduate residence halls. Pets are defined as birds, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians.
That said, all hope isn’t lost if you’re a pet parent attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students in Random Hall or East Campus could be permitted to have cats in their residences. Before moving in, you’ll need to check with your residence staff to see whether the application process is open.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology allows service dogs and emotional support animals like most other schools. You must provide the proper documentation to prove your animal is required for disability and medical reasons.
You’ll need to contact Housing & Residential Services to begin the application process. To learn more about the pet policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, visit this link.
6. Earlham College
4 Year; Richmond, IN
Average Annual Cost: $19,368
Earlham College’s pet policy is relatively straightforward. Students can own specific types of animals and keep them in their residence apartments with a few restrictions. It’s important to note that service animals do not apply to these restrictions and require separate registration.
The central premise of the pet policy at this school is to ensure every student has a comfortable community. As such, dogs and cats typically are not allowed in university housing on-campus. However, there is the option to find pet-friendly housing off-campus if you desire.
You’re allowed small fish and non-poisonous amphibians when staying at Earlham College. Both of these animals must be water-dependent and kept in tanks of 20 gallons or less. Students can only keep their pets in residence halls and houses owned by the colleges, not in dining areas or academic buildings.
To be allowed to bring your animals into your dorm, you need to apply through your Area Director. To learn more about the pet policies at Earlham College, visit this link.
7. Stephens College
4 Year; Columbia, MO
Average Annual Cost: $22,460
Stephens College takes pride in its pet policies, referring to itself as the “pet-friendliest campus on the planet.” For over 10 years, the campus has readily welcomed birds, cats, dogs, and other pets on campus. They even host Halloween costume parades so that you can dress your pet up and show them off during special seasons.
Stephens College primarily offers a pet-friendly learning space to help students feel more at home and lessen anxiety. All you have to do is register your animal and review the Pet Program Policies to get started.
Another unique option for pet lovers attending Stephens College is their fostering program. Working with a no-kill shelter, students can prepare to become foster parents for a dog or cat.
In this program, you’ll explore health improvements, nurturing techniques, and other types of training to assist animals in becoming adoptable. It’s a great option for those who have always wanted to give back to their community.
At Stephens College, students can bring cats, dogs, birds, fish, rabbits, hamsters, rats and mice, sugar gliders, lizards, and guinea pigs. However, there are a few restrictions to note, including:
- Birds must be kept in cages when students aren’t in the room.
- Fish must be kept in tanks under 40 gallons.
- Small animals must be kept in their housing when students aren’t in the room.
- Dogs must be at least six months old, house-trained, and registered with the city.
- Dogs must have all current vaccinations and be crated when students aren’t in the room.
- Cats must be at least six months old.
- Cats must have all current vaccinations and be registered with the city.
- Cats must wear tags.
To learn more about the pet policies at Stephens College, visit this link.
8. Sweet Briar College
4 Year; Sweet Briar, VA
Average Annual Cost: $23,783
Sweet Briar College isn’t the strictest university when it comes to pet restrictions, but several types of banned animals exist.
It’s important to note that, like many other campuses, emotional support and service animals are not covered by the restrictions. However, owners of service and emotional support animals must register with the school before being allowed to bring them on campus.
Overall, Sweet Briar College has a general no-pet policy with few exceptions. Students can bring fish and aquatic turtles into the residence halls, ensuring the animals are caged at all times. It’s also important to note these animals cannot be brought into food halls and other campus buildings.
To learn more about Sweet Briar College’s pet policy, visit this link.
9. Delaware Valley University
4 Year; Doylestown, PA
Average Annual Cost: $28,221
Delaware Valley University has an easy-to-follow pet policy, which recommends that pet owners leave their animals at home when in class. The primary reason for the no-pet policy on campus is biosecurity concerns for livestock health.
That said, there are certain exceptions to this rule that on-campus students can consider, as long as they are not cat or dog parents. It’s also important to note that these regulations do not cover service animals.
If you require a service dog or other service animal, you must register them to be allowed on campus. Otherwise, students at Delaware Valley University are allowed to own the following species:
- Hermit crabs
- Snakes (must be approved)
- Lizards and amphibians (must be approved)
- Guinea pigs
- Rats and mice
There’s very little information about the specifics of animals let onto campus. That said, you must talk with your residence staff to see if any pre-approval is required. To learn more about the pet policies at Delaware Valley University, visit this link.
10. University of Notre Dame
4 Year; Notre Dame, IN
Average Annual Cost: $31,101
Attending the University of Notre Dame will be a fantastic opportunity if you love fish. Although the school doesn’t allow cats and dogs in residence, students can own fish. That said, other small animals, including birds, are prohibited from student rooms.
Students can own non-carnivorous fish in aquariums less than 10 gallons large. Also, the no-pet policy does not apply to emotional support and service animals. To learn more about the University of Notre Dame’s pet policies, visit this link.
Choosing the Best College That Allows Pets
If you’re a pet parent, bringing your animals to the best colleges that allow pets can make a massive difference. Not only will your student rooms feel more like home, but you can also bring a piece of your family with you. Out of these 10 schools, you’re sure to find a campus environment best suited for your pet.