Medical Leave of Absence and Reduction in Course Load Policy

Purpose:  

The College has traditionally recognized the educational and personal rewards that many students receive from a semester or two away from the campus. Occasionally, faculty members, advisors, or deans may suggest that students withdraw from formal studies to focus on their health and gain fresh perspectives on their intellectual commitments, career plans, and educational priorities.   Medical issues, both physical and mental, encountered by students may require that they remain away from the College for more than the usual College vacation periods. Moreover, certain unforeseeable medical issues may occur during the course of the semester which may impact a student’s ability to meet the academic expectations of a particular course.  The College, therefore, encourages students to consider carefully their situations, to clarify their objectives, and to consider whether they should temporarily interrupt their study at the College and take a medical leave of absence from all courses or withdraw from specific course(s) for medical reason(s). 

Students who wish to explore the advantages and disadvantages of medical leaves and course withdrawals should confer with the Dean of Students Office, Dean of Academic Life, College faculty advisors, and family. Students are also encouraged to discuss their situations and tentative plans with the Registrar, Controller’s Office, and Financial Aid Office (if applicable).

 

Medical Leave of Absence Policy

Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA):  A student may request a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) for physical health or psychological reasons if during the course of an academic term (Fall or Spring Semesters) he/she/they incurs a condition that prevents him/her/they from meeting the expectations of a student (e.g. unable to attend classes, unable to complete academic responsibilities, etc.) for a period of time during that term. The severity and duration of the problem must be such that it would not be reasonable to expect the student to be able to make up the missed work. Requests for MLOA must be made in writing by the student to the Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs through completion of the “Student Request for Medical Leave of Absence” form and must be supported by a licensed health professional in the form of a completed, signed “Treating Healthcare Professional Report Form” clearly indicating support for the Course Reduction. The Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Students Affairs, will review the request and may share this request and accompanying medical and/or mental health information with other Muhlenberg College officials including a Health Review Committee, as necessary, for the purpose of review of the request. The student will be notified in writing by the Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs if the request has been approved or denied. The college permits a maximum of 4 semesters of MLOA, LOA, or combination of both.

PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING A MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE:

1. Assessment and Documentation from Health Care Professional
The student should complete an assessment by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner, depending upon the nature of the condition, who will make a recommendation about whether the student has a condition that is preventing him/her from meeting the expectations of a student. The provider must complete the “Treating Healthcare Professional Report: Request for Medical Leave of Absence” form.

Appropriate health practitioners for the purposes of this request must be currently licensed within their state of practice and in good standing in their fields. They must not have an immediate familial relationship with the student. These typically include: physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, social workers, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists.

If extraordinary circumstances exist in which provider documentation is not available, please discuss with the Dean of Students to make a recommendation for how to proceed with the request.

2. Student Application
The student must complete the “Student Request for Medical Leave of Absence” form.

3. Request,  Submission, Notification, Transcript Notations

  • The student must submit both the “Student Application” and “Treating Health Care Professional Report Form- Request for Medical Leave of Absence” to the Dean of Students Office either by uploading the “Treating Health Care Professional Report Form- Request for Medical Leave of Absence” when submitting the “Student Application“ or by completing the “Student Application and having a provider fax the “Treating Healthcare Report Form: Request for Medical Leave of Absence” directly to the Office of the Dean of Students/ Vice President of Student Affairs at 484-664-3930.  Both forms must be received in order to be reviewed for a MLOA.

  • The student must meet with the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs or his/her/their designee  to review the circumstances that prompted the Course Withdrawal request.  The Dean of Students/VP of Student Affairs may request that other college officials, as necessary, review this information for purposes of making a determination about the MLOA.

  • Decisions will be made by the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs in consultation with the Health Review committee as needed.

  • Students will receive written notification through their Muhlenberg College email whether their request for MLOA was approved for denied.  This correspondence will also indicate the earliest the student will be eligible for reinstatement if approved for a MLOA.  Once approved, MLOA requests cannot be withdrawn.

  • The Dean of Students Office will notify the following departments if MLOA is approved:  Registrar’s Office, Controller’s Office, Financial Aid, Residential Services, Dean of Academic Life, Health and Counseling Services.

  • If a student requested a MLOA before the start of the semester and through the first day of classes, no courses will be listed, but the notation “Leave of Absence” will appear on the transcript.  After the eighth day of class, if MLOA is approved, all course grades will appear as a “W” on the transcript along with notation of “Leave of Absence”.

  • Students and families should work with the Controller’s Office regarding fees and any refunds by contacting them directly at 484-664-3150.

  • Deadline for Request MLOA:

    Student Request” form and “Treating Health Care Professional Report Form- Request for Medical Leave of Absence” must be received in the Dean of Students Office by:

    • November 20 for Fall Semester Requests
    • April 20 for Spring Semester Requests
    • Requests received after the above dates but before the last day of class in the given semester are only considered in cases of extraordinary circumstances. Requests received after the last day of class will not be considered.  

4. MLOA Clinical Follow-up:
As a condition of accepting a MLOA, the student should complete ongoing treatment as agreed to with a health professional. It is strongly suggested that for the student’s best interest and greatest likelihood of future success, he/she/they work with a health professional toward the goal of returning to academic life only when a plan has been enacted which helps the student to manage stressors and remain active, engaged, and successful at achieving their academic goals. He/she/they should feel well prepared for the rigors of returning to school after an absence before requesting to reinstatement from a MLOA.

5. Academic Coursework
While on a MLOA, students may transfer in two courses per semester.  Students should contact the Registrar’s Office for information.

6. Extension of MLOA
Students must submit the “Student Request to Extend a MLOA Form” and “Treating Healthcare Professional Report Form-Request for Extension of Medical Leave of Absence ” form to the Dean of Students Office, who will make a determination. The Dean may consult with the Health Review Committee to make a determination.  The student will be notified through their college email account of the decision.  The college permits a maximum of 4 semesters  MLOA, LOA, or combination of both.

Deadlines for Request for Extensions of MLOA:

Application for extension from a MLOA should also be made in a timely manner.   Submission of the “Student Request for Extension of MLOA  Form” and the “Treating Healthcare Professional Report Form-Request for Extension of Medical Leave of Absence

  • August 1 for extension for the Fall semester
  • December 10 for extension for the Spring semester  


7. Reinstatement from MLOA

  • The student should submit the “Student Request for Reinstatement Form” and “ Treating Healthcare Professional Report Form- Request for Return from Medical Leave Absence”  to the Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs, as above, verifying that the condition which led to the MLOA no longer prevents the student from meeting the expectations of a student. Both forms must be received in order to be reviewed for reinstatement.
  • After submitting this information, the student must meet with the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs and/or other select college officials, as determined by the Dean of Students.  

  • Deadlines for Request for Reinstatement:

    Application for reinstatement from a MLOA should also be made in a timely fashion, (e.g. as soon as the student and family are ready and as soon as the health professional is able to provide the supporting documentation of improvement).  Timely submission of this information is necessary for course registration and housing.  Submission of the “Student Request for Reinstatement from MLOA” form  and the “ Treating Healthcare Professional Report Form- Request for Return from Medical Leave Absence” form, along with the meeting with Dean of Students and select college officials, as necessary, must occur no later than:

    • August 1 for reinstatement in the Fall semester
    • December 10 for reinstatement in the Spring semester

  • Notification of Reinstatement Decision: Upon receipt of this documentation and after the meeting with the student, the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs will review the request. The Dean of Students/VP of Student Affairs may request that other college officials, as necessary, review this information for purposes of making a determination about the Request for Reinstatement from a MLOA. The student will be notified of that determination by College email.


8. Course Withdrawal for Medical Reasons

  • In rare circumstances, the college recognizes that students may incur a condition that prevents him/her/they from meeting the expectations of a student in a particular  course.  Requests for Course Withdrawal for Medical Reasons must clearly indicate how the medical condition affected the specific course and not all courses.  

  • Requests must be made in writing by the student to the Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs through completion of the “Student Request for Course Withdrawal for Medical Reason” form and must be supported by a licensed health professional in the form of a completed, signed “Treating Healthcare Professional Report Form- Course Withdrawal for Medical Reasonsclearly indicating support for the Course Reduction. Both forms must be received in order to be reviewed for a Course Withdrawal for Medical Reasons.

  • The student must meet with the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs or his/her designee  to review the circumstances that prompted the Course Withdrawal request.

  • The Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Students Affairs, will review the request and may share this request and companying medical and/or mental health information with other Muhlenberg College officials, including the Health Review Committee, as necessary.

  • The student will be notified by email from the Office of the Dean of Students/ VP of Student Affairs if the request has been approved or denied.

  • In order to remain in campus housing, the college requires students to be enrolled and actively participating in 3.0 units after course withdrawal is approved.

  • If approved,students will receive written notification through their Muhlenberg College email along with the Muhlenberg Medical Withdrawal of Course(s) form. The Medical Withdrawal of Course(s) form and a copy of the approval letter need to be submitted by the student to their Academic Advisor and the Registrar Office for processing .

  • After the eighth day of class, if Course withdrawal for medical reasons is approved, those course with appear as a “W” on the transcript.  

  • Once a Course Withdrawal is approved, students cannot withdraw their request.

  • There is no adjustment in tuition and fees for course withdrawals.

  • Deadlines for Requests:  
    • November 20 for Fall Semester Requests
    • April 20 for Spring Semester Requests
    • Requests received after the above dates but before the last day of class in the given semester are only considered in cases of extraordinary circumstances.  Requests received after the last day of class will not be considered.  

Administrative Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence

Muhlenberg College strives to provide a safe and orderly environment, insofar as possible, in which all students are able to pursue their academic and social development.  In doing so, we reserve the right to require an Administrative Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) of any student whose behavior is incompatible with standards of academic performance and/or social adjustment.  Students to whom this procedure applies include students whose behavior is severely disruptive to others.  Disruptive is here defined to include behavior that causes emotional/psychological/physical distress to fellow students and/or staff substantially above that normally experienced in daily life.  Such disruption may be in the form of a single incident or somewhat less severe but persistent disruption over a more extended period.


Process for
Administrative Involuntary Medical Leave of Absence

  • Implementation of this policy shall be as timely and expeditious as possible, while careful to avoid undue haste. It should be noted that in some situations — particularly those in which a mandatory withdrawal is involved — it is in neither the student’s nor the College’s interest to delay emergency action.
  • The Dean of Students, or his/her designee, shall be responsible for advising the student about the process.  
  • The student shall be afforded the opportunity to review with the dean, or designee, and Health Review Team members (at the discretion of the dean) the rationale for the leave/withdrawal. The student may have support persons present, including parents.  In no event may the student be accompanied by legal counsel to review the rationale for the leave/withdrawal.
  • The student will be permitted up to 48 hours to gather information related to the student’s illness, condition, or behavior.  This information is to be submitted to the Dean of Students. During this period, the Dean of Student may take interim measures, with which the student must comply.
  • After an individualized deliberative review of factors  involved, the Dean of Students or designee, in consultation with select members of the Health Review Team will make a determination about the Administrative Involuntary MLOA
  • The Dean of Students notifies the student that she/he/they is being placed on an Administrative Involuntarily MLOA.
  • The student is encouraged to seek immediate attention from an off campus healthcare provider.
  • While on an Administrative Involuntary MLOA, the student will be asked to leave campus for the duration of the semester.

 

To be considered for reinstatement, the student must:

  • Follow the procedure and deadlines for Reinstatement from a MLOA (#7 on MLOA Policy) 
  • Student must meet with the Dean of Students, or his/her designee, and other college officials, as determined by the Dean of Students to make a determination about reinstatement

 

Appeals for Denial of Medical Leave of Absence, Reentry, or Administrative Involuntary MLOA

  • Students may appeal a decision regarding a MLOA to the Provost.
  • Students have one week from notification of the decision to appeal.
  • The grounds for appeal are limited to the following:
    • The existence of procedural errors so substantial that such errors greatly impacted the decision
    • New medical documentation that was not reasonably available at the time of the initial decision.