Personal Care Attendant Guidance

The university recognizes that some students may be entitled to the services of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). The following guidance addresses the use of PCAs for students that have PCAs as part of an approved accommodation through Disability Support Services (DSS) (e.g., access to PCA during testing, classroom instruction, housing). The university does not assume coordination of, financial responsibility for, or legal liability for PCAs.


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 DSS

GW does not provide PCA services and is not responsible or liable for any consequences resulting from a student’s associations with a PCA. Through DSS, the university 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 Letter to Professor to faculty that a student will be accompanied by a PCA in the classroom and for all classroom-related activities
  • Providing Campus Living & Residential Living (CLRE) notification of a student’s need for a PCA in campus housing
  • Responsibilities of Students using Personal Care Attendants

A 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. Any student who wishes to bring or use a PCA on campus must:

  • 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 university