Personal Care Attendant Policy

Policy Information

SUNY Geneseo is dedicated to providing students equal and comprehensive access to college-wide programs, services, and campus facilities. The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) will coordinate reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids and services designed to ensure full participation and equal access for students with disabilities. Students who seek reasonable accommodations must register with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS).The OAS will review all requests for reasonable accommodations on an individualized and case-by-case basis.

The College recognizes that certain students may be entitled to the services of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). This policy addresses the use of PCAs for students that have PCAs as part of an approved accommodation through the OAS. The College does not assume coordination of, financial responsibility for, or legal liability for PCAs.

The purpose of this policy is to describe the key concepts involved in a request for the use of a PCA; clarify the student’s responsibilities with respect to their PCA; and explain the College’s role in this process.  The College reserves the right to edit this policy at any time.


Student with a disability – an otherwise qualified individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual, as specified according to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended in 2008.

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 (chronic or temporary). A PCA works directly for and is employed by the student. The type of tasks performed by PCAs vary from person to person. Tasks performed by PCAs may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Providing help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and grooming
  • Housekeeping
  • Preparing meals and assistance with eating
  • Positioning or transferring to and from a wheelchair
  • Running errands
  • Monitoring medical conditions
  • Ensuring compliance with medication regimes
  • Transporting and/or escorting
  • Assisting with maintenance of the housing environment, including light cleaning, laundry, and keeping the environment safe
  • Turning pages and retrieving books
  • Opening doors
  • Alerting to distracting, repetitive movements
  • Alerting to dangerous environments/situations

Responsibilities of SUNY Geneseo

SUNY Geneseo does not provide PCA services and is not responsible or liable for any consequences resulting from a student’s associations with a PCA. Through the OAS, the College can assist students requiring personal care attendant services by:

  • Generating ideas for advertising and recruitment for PCA services on campus and in the community
  • Including in an accommodation letter to faculty that a student will be accompanied by a PCA in the classroom and for all classroom-related activities
  • Answering any questions from the Office of Residential Life regarding a student’s need for a PCA in campus housing, if applicable

Responsibilities of Students using Personal Care Attendants

The PCA works directly for a student with a disability. Students who use PCAs are responsible for securing, training, supervising, and paying their PCAs. Students can make arrangements through agencies or private contacts. SUNY Geneseo will not assume any responsibility for the PCA or for the PCA’s failure to fulfill its contract with the student. Any student who wishes to bring or use a PCA on campus must:

  • Be registered with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS)
  • Qualify as an individual with a disability
  • Request, through OAS, an accommodation of using a PCA in the classroom and/or housing
    • If a PCA is required in the classroom and/or other areas of the campus, such as the dining halls, the student needs to complete an Academic Accommodation Request form. The OAS will contact the student to schedule an appointment.
    • If a PCA is required in the residential halls, the student and their treatment provider must complete a Housing Accommodation Request form and submit to the OAS by the required submission date to support the medical necessity of having a PCA in campus housing.
  • Register the PCA with the OAS by submitting a copy of the contractual agreement with the PCA or the PCA’s agency. This documentation could cover a specific person, or an agency providing services through more than one PCA. The contract must stipulate that the services required by the student will in fact be provided by the PCA.
  • Secure, hire, manage, and fire (if necessary) the PCA
  • Develop an alternative plan of action should the regularly assigned PCA not be available for work
  • Recruit and hire a PCA as soon as the student knows they will be enrolling and attending the College
  • Accept responsibility for the behavior and actions of the PCA (including through the campus disciplinary system) while on campus
  • Ensure that PCA personnel changes are registered with the OAS and Office of Residential Life (if living on campus)

Responsibilities of the Personal Care Attendant

Personal Care Attendants are expected to follow all applicable College and departmental policies, regulations, rules, and procedures. PCAs will only be able to access the student campus housing while classes are in session or if the student has properly secured permission to be on campus during break sessions. PCAs must:

  • Allow the student to take responsibility for his/her own academic responsibilities and behavior
  • Refrain from contact with or asking questions of faculty, staff, or others on behalf of the student unless communication is part of the accommodation being provided by the PCA
  • Refrain from intervening in conversations between the student and faculty, staff, or other students unless communication is part of the accommodation being provided by the PCA
  • Refrain from discussing any private information about the student with faculty, staff, or students
  • Refrain from involvement with the student’s academic work related to class assignments or tests
  • Follow all SUNY Geneseo policies and abide by the Student Code of Conduct (including all policies related to law, behavior, and campus housing)
  • Carry their SUNY Geneseo ID while on campus

If the PCA fails to abide by such policies, regulations, rules, and procedures and/or causes a fundamental alteration in services, programs, or activities, the OAS may make a determination that the PCA will not be allowed to accompany the student with a disability into the classroom and/or other sites. If a PCA who resides in college housing fails to abide by the policies, regulations, rules, and procedures related to college housing, the Office of Residential Life may make a determination that the PCA will not be allowed to live with the student in campus housing. The PCA may be removed from campus immediately, regardless of the contractual arrangement the PCA has with the student. It is the student’s responsibility to secure the services of another PCA in the event a PCA becomes unable to perform services for a student, whatever the cause of that unavailability.