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Disabled students may face ableist challenges in the campus residential environment. Although campus housing plays a critical role in retention by promoting social integration, little is known about what promotes the engagement of disabled students in campus living environments because the literature about these students focuses on legal topics or accommodations. In this study, we wanted to understand how disabled students experienced living on campus and how the residential experience promoted social integration. We employed a critical constructivist case study approach, framing disability from a social justice perspective. Data for this study come from interviews with 24 students attending four highly residential liberal arts colleges. Students reported that the degree of accessibility, flexibility, use of accommodations, and staff disability awareness and responsiveness influenced their social integration and residential experience. Implications for practice include providing disability-specific staff training, tailoring accommodations to individual students, conceptualizing access broadly, using single rooms creatively, and viewing dining services as part of the housing experience even if the administrative locations are different.

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This document was originally published in The Journal of College and University Student Housing by Association of College & University Housing Officers - International. Copyright restrictions may apply.