Personal Care Attendants

Guidance Regarding Personal Care Attendants (PCA)

Portland State University (P.S.U.) is committed to making the learning and living environment accessible for all students. A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) assists the student with their activities of daily living and enables the student to function independently in their daily routines. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) has the responsibility to verify that a PCA is a reasonable accommodation. Students with disabilities who require the services of a PCA to accomplish activities of daily living are permitted to have that person accompany them on the PSU campus and in Campus Housing.

Personal Care Attendant (PCA)

A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) is considered a personal service, and the student is responsible for hiring, paying, and managing their own PCA. Portland State University does not provide PCA services and is not responsible or liable for any consequences resulting from the support provided by a PCA. 

A PCA assists the student with their activities of daily living, and enables the student to function independently in their daily routines. Students are responsible for directing the activities of the PCA. For example, PCAs typically provide one or more of the following types of assistance: 

  • preparing or eating food
  • personal cleaning
  • maintaining the residence
  • transportation
  • medication or medical equipment

PCAs, as defined herein, may include relief PCAs who only provide services when the regular PCA is not available. PCAs are not classroom assistants, who provide academic support in the classroom. Portland State University will provide classroom assistants for students who are eligible for this accommodation. PCAs should have the training and ability to provide the services students require.

In order to work at Portland State University, all PCAs must:

  • Be approved as a reasonable accommodation through the DRC (see above).
  • Provide a copy of their background check to the Campus Public Safety Office.
  • Abide by all of the policies, rules, and regulations of Portland State University, the City, County, and State.
  • Adhere to all other guidelines and regulations within this document and other University policies.

Registering with the DRC and Receiving a PCA as a Reasonable Accommodation

If you require the support of a PCA on campus, you need to register with the Disability Resource Center. 

  • Register with the Disability Resource Center
    • Fill out an Application for Accommodation in DRC Online
    • Schedule an initial appointment to meet with a DRC Access Counselor & Consultant (AC&C) to discuss your accommodation request.
    • Provide any additional information requested by your AC&C.
    • Provide a copy of the contract or agreement between yourself and the PCA to the DRC. Examples of contracts/agreements can be found by searching “personal care attendant contract” or “personal care attendant agreement” on a search engine such as Google.
  • Sign up with P.S.U. Campus Housing if needed.
    • The DRC will notify University Housing and Residence Life (UHRL) that a student is eligible for a PCA and work with the student and Campus Housing to ensure the living environment is suitable. See note regarding “PCAs in Campus Housing” below.
    • If applicable, the DRC will also notify faculty of the presence of the PCA in the learning environment via the Faculty Notification Letter. 

The DRC addresses faculty and student questions or concerns regarding the PCA and facilitates discussion among parties as needed.

PCAs in Campus Housing

  • Students will need to complete the Care Giver Registration Form with University Housing and Residence Life (UHRL), which requires a signature from the student and PCA. The PCA must abide by all applicable provisions of your Housing Contract. Should a PCA violate any policies, rules, or regulations, the PCA may be required to leave the residence hall immediately.
  • The DRC will make appropriate arrangements with UHRL for your PCA to be able to do their work.
  • The student will only be responsible for paying their own room charge. There will be no charge for a PCA who lives with the student and provides full-time care.
  • As long as the student is eligible to live in campus housing and they need full-time assistance from a PCA, the PCA can stay in the residence during short absences when the student leaves campus for school breaks or weekend visits.
  • PCAs will need a PSU ID card if access to residence halls will be required as part of their work. UHRL will help facilitate this process.
  • Students are responsible for making contingency plans if or when their PCA is not available to provide assistance. This plan must be in writing and a copy provided to UHRL.
  • Undergraduate students must be registered for 8 credits and graduate students must be registered for 4 credits in order to live in campus housing or have their PCA live in campus housing.

PCAs in the Classroom

  • PCAs must wait outside the classroom. PCAs will be permitted in the classroom only when documentation indicates the services the PCA provides require that the PCA be present continuously.
  • Portland State University will provide a Classroom Assistant for students who are eligible for this accommodation to provide academic support in the classroom. PCAs do not provide academic support.
  • PCAs will not interact with instructors or other students or intervene in conversations the student is having with their instructor or other students or be otherwise disruptive.
  • If the student’s disability affects communication, the PCA may verbalize the student’s comments. The student and the PCA will have already established a minimally-disruptive mode of communication prior to the start of classes. For example, the student may use a communication board and the PCA will read it out loud.
  • If the PCA’s function is to provide communication assistance, an exception will be made and the student and PCA will work out a minimally-disruptive mode of communication prior to the start of classes.
  • PCAs must not disclose any confidential information discussed in class.
  • PCAs are not academic participants. They will not be enrolled in or auditing your class. 
  • If you have any questions or concerns at any point about Personal Care Attendants on campus, please contact the DRC.

If you have questions about the information on this page, please contact the Disability Resource Center.

Phone: 503-725-4150

Check our home page for our hours and contact information.