Required or Involuntary Leave of Absence
In some instances, a student may be required to take a medical leave of absence (RLOA). The Dean of Students will review related materials to determine the need for a RLOA which shall occur when the Dean determines that:
- A student's behavior poses a serious and imminent risk to the health and/or safety of the student or others
- A student fails to carry out significant self-care obligations which impact the community
- A student's behavior significantly disrupts the educational or other activities of the College community, or prevents the student from participating meaningfully in educational activities
- A student requires a level of care from the college community which exceeds the resources and staffing that the college can reasonably be expected to provide in order to sustain the student's successful participation in the community or the student refuses or cannot be helped by medical treatment or accommodations
The Dean of Students may consult with the Campus Care Team in making the determination.
The Dean of Students may ask the student (and if a minor, the parents or guardians) to participate in the review by inviting them to provide a brief written or oral statement or other documents. The Dean of Students may require mandatory medical assessment and/or access to the student's medical, judicial or other educational records as necessary. A representative from Health or Counseling Services (or an outside provider if relevant) may share information on an as needed basis pending a release from the student and in accordance with State law. This information can include hospital records, internal evaluations or external evaluations from outside providers.
The Dean of Students is responsible for informing the student and if a minor, parents or guardians, of the results of the review of the student.
The student can appeal the decision to impose a RLOA within 7 days of the Dean's finding. The appeal must be made in writing and sent to the Vice President of Student Affairs. The Vice President will only consider an appeal if new information that was not available earlier is included in the request. In all cases, the decision of the Vice President of Student Affairs will be the final decision of the College.
Medical Leave of Absence
Students may want to take a voluntary medical leave of absence (MLOA) during the semester as a result of medical or mental health reasons. A MLOA allows students whose academic progress and performance, or ability to otherwise function, has been seriously compromised by a mental health condition or a medical condition to take time away from the College without academic penalty. Such leave affords students time to pursue treatment and eventually return to the College with a significantly improved chance of academic and personal success.
A MLOA can provide students with advantages that may not be afforded by another type of leave of absence, including:
- A MLOA may allow a student to initiate a leave of absence and withdraw from classes later in the semester than is normally permitted for personal leaves of absence and thus preserve the student's GPA.
- The length of time a student may take to recover while on a MLOA is typically longer than the length of time permitted by an academic program for a personal leave of absence.
- Although the standard tuition refund policy applies to students taking a MLOA, students with tuition reimbursement insurance generally qualify for benefits when taking a MLOA.
- For international students, a MLOA may provide a way to remain in the US legally for a period of time.
Medical Leave of Absence Procedures
To take a MLOA during the semester, a student should meet with either the Director of Health Services or the Director of Counseling Center (depending upon the issue) to discuss his or her particular circumstance.
The appropriate Director makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean of Academic Advising who will make the final decision regarding the MLOA. Students will be asked to sign a release of information form so that the recommendations, but not the student's medical details, can be shared with the Associate Dean. Students are encouraged to meet with the Office of Student Financial Services to understand the financial implications of a MLOA. Recommendations for a MLOA are made on an individualized case-by-case basis but usually will include a recommendation for appropriate form of treatment so that the student can address the health concern while on leave. Course work at another institution is not permitted without special permission from the Associate Dean of Academic Advising.
Return from Medical Leave of Absence
When students believe that they are well enough to return to the College, they should follow the steps outlined below to be considered for re-enrollment.
- Students should notify the Associate Dean of Academic Advising in writing of their intent to return at least two months prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student wishes to begin classes. This allows the College sufficient time to review the appropriate materials as described below and re-enroll the student.
- If treatment was recommended at the time of the MLOA, the treating provider will be asked to complete a form certifying that the student has benefited from treatment and is ready to resume academic and residential (if relevant) responsibilities, with specifications regarding any support or accommodations needed to ensure a successful return. A copy of this form can be found here.
- The student will need to provide releases of information so that the Counseling Center or Health Services Director can communicate with all relevant individuals regarding re-enrollment. Students can download these releases, sign and return them to Counseling or Health Services.
- Depending upon the nature and individual circumstances of the MLOA, that are applicable, at the time a student leaves, a student may be asked to provide a brief statement when ready to return describing (1) the student's experience away from the College, including the activities undertaken while away, (2) the student's current understanding of the factors that led to the need for the leave, and the insights the student has gained from treatment and time away, and (3) and for mental health leaves, how the student plans to ensure a successful return.
- Once a student has sent in all the required documentation, the appropriate Director (Counseling, Health Services or both) will review the materials to determine if the student appears ready to resume academics and college life and, if accommodations are needed, whether they can be reasonably provided by the College. If so, the appropriate Director will contact the student to arrange a check-in to review the student's safety and health and to assure that the student has a plan for maintaining optimal health, including recommendations for ongoing treatment or accommodations if they are warranted and reasonable.
- After the documentation and check-in with the student occurs, a recommendation regarding re-enrollment will be made to the Dean of Students. If a decision is made that the student should delay re-enrollment for a semester or is ineligible to return, the student who is denied readmission may submit a written appeal to the Vice President of Student Affairs who will evaluate the appeal and make a recommendation to the Dean of Students for reconsideration.
While the return process is time-intensive for the College as well as for students, it is designed to ensure that a student will be in the best possible position to thrive when he or she returns to school.
The College's withdrawal procedures and policies apply to all students, including those taking a medical leave of absence. If you are considering withdrawing from the College, we encourage you to meet with Academic Advising, Student Financial Services and Health Services or Counseling Center (if withdrawing due to medical reasons). Meeting with the different offices will ensure that you are making the best decision for you and your academic future.