How many students take a medical leave of absence each year?
How does the leavetaking process work?
Is a student ever asked to take a mandatory leave?
How does clearance to return work?
Are most students cleared to return?
Where can I go if I have additional questions about Medical Leave? 

 

How many students take a medical leave of absence each year?

In the past three academic years (2014-15, 2015-16,, 2016-17) between 85-100 students have taken a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) per year. Students take medical leaves for a variety of reasons including injury, illness and/or mental health concerns. In a handful of cases each year, the University will strongly encourage a student to take leave in order to address issues affecting their wellbeing if there is significant community or safety concerns. For more information, please refer to the related question below.

How does the leavetaking process work?

In most cases, a student decides that taking time off is the best option. Sometimes this occurs after conversations with family, friends, advisors and/or clinicians. The student contacts a dean in the Student Support Services office to learn the details of the process and initiate the leave. In many instances, they have been working with a dean on other support mechanisms and have discussed the option before. Students are encouraged to take time to inform themselves of the policies and procedures surrounding the process and to speak with others including financial aid, the Office of International Student & Scholar Services, academic deans or others who may be able to answer their questions. The Student Support dean will assist in connecting them to the right resources for their circumstances.

Most students who take a leave for health related reasons do so because they believe the treatment and care they need will require significant time and energy that they will not also be able to concentrate on their academic work and related obligations. Once the student has expressed a desire to take a leave, the dean will answer any questions they may have and can connect them with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) and/or University Health Services if it would be helpful for the student to discuss treatment options and referrals prior to their departure. For more information on the leavetaking process, click here

Is a student ever asked to take a mandatory leave?

In rare instances, a student whose health needs require a level of care that exceeds what the university can provide, but who does not want to take a leave voluntarily, may be asked to take a leave. If there is belief that the student’s safety or the safety of others is at risk, the university has the discretionary authority to place a student on a medical leave. In such a case, the dean will be in communication with the student about the specific reasons for this recommendation and try to work together with the student to come up with a plan that takes into account the student’s specific needs, situation, and well-being. We try to carefully balance the individual well-being of the student with the well-being of our community.

In such cases, the dean may require that the student be evaluated by a clinician. If the student wishes to provide any information they believe relevant to the situation, that information is welcome and is seriously considered as part of the decision. The process used in such extraordinary cases takes into consideration all the available information and includes consultation with the student and their family whenever possible.

This information will be evaluated by the Assistant Vice President for Campus Life/Dean of Students who will decide if a mandatory leave is warranted. If a student is required to take a leave, the student may appeal to the Vice President for Campus Life or designee.

How does clearance to return work?

We encourage students to take sufficient time to address the health-related concerns that led to their leavetaking. Returning too soon sometimes results in the student continuing to struggle academically and personally. Many students choose to take two or more semesters while others return after one semester. The length of the leave is intended to allow a student sufficient time away from campus to achieve sustained stability and to engage in activities that will contribute to a successful return. 

The Student Support Services staff holds three readmission rounds annually. Prior to each cycle deadline, students on leave receive information about the process. Students submit a personal statement and supporting documentation from clinicians with whom they’ve been working. Detailed information on what should be included in the information is available in the section of our website on Returning from Leave

Documentation from the student is reviewed by a Student Support dean and documentation from a student’s clinicians is reviewed by University Health Services and/or Counseling & Psychological Services depending on the leave reasons. Students may be contacted for additional information at this time. A MLOA Clearance Committee meeting is held which includes staff from these three offices as well as the office of the Dean of the College, and Student & Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS). The committee reviews the information provided and makes a determination as to whether the student has met the criteria for clearance to return. Most students are cleared to return. Students who are not readmitted may appeal following the process outlined in the Clearance Guidelines. Students may also re-petition for clearance at future cycles.

Are most students cleared to return?

The vast majority of students who take time off and reach a place of sustained stability return and successfully complete their degrees. Statistics are available on the Medical Leave section on our website. We understand that health issues often require sustained care over time. When students are cleared to return from a leave, we understand that they are likely to need continued care, and in fact, hope that a plan for this continued care is part of their clearance to return request. Student Support deans and many other colleagues are available to help develop and support such plans for students returning.

Where can I go if I have additional questions about Medical Leave? 
The office of Student Support Services is available to answer questions related to medical leave. Staff in our office can also connect you to many other resources on campus if you have questions beyond our expertise. We do everything we can to respond to student messages within one or two business days.