Effective 1/2021 | Albright College

Effective 1/2021

Policy Name

Leave of Absence & Withdrawal Policy

Policy Category

Academic

Policy Approved By

 Cabinet

Responsible Division Head or VP

Provost, Karen Campbell

Responsible Department

Academic Affairs

Responsible AVP or Director

Associate Dean for Student Academic Success

Original Policy Date

N/A

Last Known Revision Date

11/1/2018

Current Policy Effective Date

2/15/2021  Leave blank initially.  To be completed upon approval of this draft policy.  Format MM/DD/YYYY

Recommended Policy Review Date

02/15/2021

The date upon which the Responsible AVP or Director should initiate the next review of the policy’s efficacy.

Policy Applies To

 Students

Additional Authority/References

N/A

POLICY PURPOSE

A leave of absence is defined as a decision to temporarily leave Albright College with a plan to return to the college in no less than two weeks and no later than one academic year from the semester of departure.  Students are expected to be enrolled, and attending classes, continuously from their initial enrollment through graduation. Understanding that unexpected events may occur, the College allows for a student to request a leave of absence or a full withdrawal. Within this policy, Albright College reserves the right to initiate or mandate withdrawals and reserves the right to defer or refuse readmission. With this policy in place, it outlines a clear structure for students to take a leave of absence or withdraw from Albright College, thus the purpose of the policy. 

BACKGROUND

With this policy, we have clear outlines to the following:
 Voluntary Leave of Absence

 Voluntary Medical Leave of Absence

 Mandated Medical Leave of Absence

 WITHDRAWAL

 

DEFINITIONS

TERM

DEFINITION

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

 

A leave of absence is defined as a decision to temporarily leave Albright College with a plan to return to the college in no less than two weeks and no later than one academic year from the semester of departure.

A leave of absence might be voluntary or involuntary, might occur while a student is in good standing or on academic probation, and might be associated with a medical condition.

Voluntary Leave of Absence

 

Voluntary Leave of Absence is defined as when a student wishes to temporarily leave the college for a time no less than two weeks and no greater than one year for any personal reason not associated with physical or mental health, including but not limited to issues relating to work, travel, family, or a need to consider future academic and personal plans and goals.  

Voluntary Medical Leave of Absence

 

Voluntary Medical Leave of Absence is defined when a student wishes to temporarily leave the college for a time no less than two weeks and no greater than one year as the student is seeking professional treatment for a documented medical or psychological condition.  

Mandated Medical Leave of Absence

 

Mandated Medical Leave of Absence is defined when the college requires a student to temporarily leave the college for a time no less than two weeks and no greater than one year if a reason exists for the college to believe a student’s continued presence on campus poses a significant threat to self or others or to the stability and continuance of normal campus operations for a reason associated with physical and mental health.  

 

Short-Term Emergency

Short-Term Emergency is defined when a student experiences a situation that may cause them miss academic and cocurricular experiences for a time no more than two weeks.  These situations differ from taking a leave of absence and a withdrawal in that they are not official separations from college and do not constitute the need for readmission.

 

POLICY TEXT

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

 

A leave of absence is defined as a decision to temporarily leave Albright College with a plan to return to the college in no less than two weeks and no later than one academic year from the semester of departure.  For example, if a student takes a leave of absence in the fall 2029 semester, the student has until the start of fall 2030 semester to return.

 

A leave of absence might be voluntary or involuntary, might occur while a student is in good standing or on academic probation, and might be associated with a medical condition.  There are three types of leaves of absence: voluntary, voluntary medical, and mandated medical.  Community Standards suspensions or academic suspensions will be handled by the appropriate department.  Specific questions about Community Standards or academic suspensions should be addressed to the Student Life or Academic Affairs Office.  Students planning a leave of absence should promptly consult with their academic advisor, the Financial Aid Office and the Residential Life Office to gain a better understanding of the possible ramifications, in particular as to how the leave of absence affects their academic progress, account balance, financial aid and housing.  International Students must contact the International Students’ Office or the Dean of Students to discuss their possible ramifications.

 

A student taking a leave of absence for any reason must meet the following conditions:

 

  1. The student must complete and submit the appropriate form to the Registrar’s Office.
  2. The student must return to the college within one academic year.  If not, the student will be fully withdrawn from the college.  Please see below for more details about Withdrawals and the policies for readmission.
  3. The student is responsible for understanding how the absence may affect their current course grades and their academic standing.
  4. The student on a leave of absence may not be on campus without the permission of The Dean of Students.
  5. The student on a leave of absence may not participate in college activities.  This includes all athletics.  
  6. The student on a leave of absence may not remain living in a residence on campus.
  7. The student must settle any account balance from a prior semester before they will be permitted to return to classes for the next semester. 
  8. The student on a leave of absence must meet the normal deadlines for applying for financial aid for the semester in which the student plans to return.
  9. The student on a leave of absence is responsible for understanding how this may affect their current and future semesters’ financial aid.

 

Academic Information

  1. A student taking a leave of absence after the end of a semester or between semesters will not affect their grades, as no courses will be in progress.
  2. Taking a leave of absence during a semester may affect a student’s grades, as their courses will be in progress.  See the Class Attendance policy 
    1. A student who does not take a leave of absence and simply fails to attend their courses will earn grades that reflect the student’s academic performance and work completed in said courses; a leave of absence only occurs when a student has submitted the form to the Registrar’s Office,
    2. A student cannot take a leave of absence within the last two weeks of a semester.

 

Financial Aid Information

  1. Taking a leave of absence may affect a student’s financial aid.  For more information, please see the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal FAQ.

 

Residential Life Information

  1. Taking a leave of absence may affect a student’s housing situation.  For more information, please see the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal FAQ.

 

Short-Term Emergency

 

Sometimes, emergencies arise and require a student’s attention.  Short-Term Emergency is a situation that may cause students to miss academic and cocurricular experiences for no more than two weeks.  See the Class Attendance policy.  These situations differ from taking a leave of absence and a withdrawal in that they are not official separations from college and do not constitute the need for readmission.

 

In the case of an emergency situation, for example the death of a family member, the hospitalization of a student, or a student entering an in-patient treatment program during a semester, students should contact the Public Safety Office as soon as possible to let the College know their whereabouts and the Dean of Students and their professors to discuss their short-term and long-term options, regarding time away from the College.  Should the situation change and the length of time needed away from the college increase beyond two weeks, students should either contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center to make arrangements for a voluntary medical leave of absence or start the process for a voluntary leave of absence.  

 

Voluntary Leave of Absence

 

Voluntary Leave of Absence is defined as when a student wishes to temporarily leave the college for a time no less than two weeks and no greater than one year for any personal reason not associated with physical or mental health, including but not limited to issues relating to work, travel, family, military service or another personal matter.  For medical-related leave of absences, please see below for more information.

 

A student returning within the same semester in which the leave began should notify the Registrar when they return to classes.   If a student plans to return in a subsequent semester, the student should contact the Admission Office for readmission. Readmission will be granted after review and approval by College administration; however, the college reserves the right to refuse readmission.

 

Voluntary Medical Leave of Absence

During your time at Albright College, a student may experience life situations, or medical and/or psychological conditions that significantly interfere with their academic and personal success. In these instances, it may be necessary to take time away from Albright to focus on one’s health. A voluntary medical leave of absence is intended to provide students with the opportunity to fully attend to their health and wellbeing, away from the stress associated with campus and academic life.

Voluntary Medical Leave of Absence is defined when a student wishes to temporarily leave the college for a time no less than two weeks and no greater than one year in order to seek professional treatment for a documented medical or psychological condition.  A voluntary medical leave of absence from Albright College is processed through the Gable Health and Counseling Center so that the College can consult with students’ off-campus care providers to ensure their safe return to full-time study with appropriate medical oversight, while keeping medical records secure and private. 

Students requesting this type of leave of absence must indicate as such to the college, as it directly affects the readmission process.  All requests for medical leaves of absence require the recommendation of the College’s health or counseling care providers.  

 

Recommendations are typically but not exclusively based on the following:

 

  1. An evaluation by staff at the Gable Health and Counseling Center
  2. A letter from a physician or mental health professional submitted to Gable Health and Counseling Center for review
  3. An evaluation from a hospital Emergency Room department submitted to Gable Health and Counseling Center for review

If a student opts to return within the allowable timeframe, the student should contact the Office of the Gable Health and Counseling Center for readmission.  The student should provide relevant medical information to the Gable Health and Counseling Center, such as certification from a health care provider or psychologist that the student has participated in a course of treatment and is able to attend classes and conform to the standards of residential living. Return to the College may be contingent upon signing a behavioral contract. Such contracts may require the student to acknowledge that certain behaviors are proscribed.  

The Gable Health and Counseling Center will review the paperwork and determine whether the condition requiring the medical withdrawal has been addressed sufficiently to allow students to resume their academic career at Albright successfully.  Once the Gable Health and Counseling Center has cleared a student to return, they will forward the request to the office of Admission to review other criteria for readmission.  The Gable Center staff will help connect students with resources to support their successful return to campus and academic life.

Mandated Medical Leave of Absence

Mandated Medical Leave of Absence is defined when the college requires a student to temporarily leave the college for a time no less than two weeks and no greater than one year if a reason exists for the college to believe a student’s continued presence on campus poses a significant threat to self or others or to the stability and continuance of normal campus operations for a reason associated with physical and mental health.

  

Typically, a mandated medical leave of absence will arise from a student exhibiting acute or persistent health or behavioral problems, despite having been offered or provided with reasonable accommodations, such as those made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The College may initiate the mandated medical leave of absence process if, in the judgment of the Vice President for Student and Campus Life or the Behavioral Intervention Team, a student:

 

1. Engages or threatens to engage in behavior that poses a danger of harm to self or others, causes significant property damage, or substantially affects the health or safety of others.

2. Is not able to adequately address daily living skills to the extent that they cannot function independently and/or safely in the residential milieu.

3. Interferes with or disrupts the operations, activities, or functions of the College or fails to comply with the behavioral requirements of a College official in the performance of his/her duty with regard to the College’s commitments to both the individual and the community.

4. In rare cases, a mandated leave of absence may co-occur with hospitalization or visit to the hospital. Occasionally, a student is released within hours or within a day or two of entering a hospital. If the student lives on campus, he/she must find alternative accommodations off campus.

 

If a student is able to and opts to return within the allowable timeframe, the student should contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center for readmission. Readmission will require providing relevant medical information to the Gable Health and Counseling Center, including certification by the student’s health care provider or psychologist that the student participated in a course of treatment to resolve issues that precipitated the medical leave, is able to attend classes and is able to conform to the standards of residential living. Documentation should be provided to the college at least 45 days prior to anticipated return. 

 

The Vice President for Student and Campus Life, or their designee, will have the final authority regarding readmission, including returning to activities and residential life.  The Vice President for Student and Campus Life reserves the right to determine additional criteria for readmission, including, but not limited to, signing a behavioral contract that may require the student to acknowledge that certain behaviors are proscribed and that if they reoccur, withdrawal from the college will be mandated.  

 

WITHDRAWAL

A withdrawal is defined as a decision to leave Albright College without a plan to return to the college before one academic year from the semester of departure.  References in this policy to “withdrawal” refer to full withdrawal from all courses.

 

Students planning on withdrawing should promptly consult with their academic advisor, the Financial Aid Office and the Residential Life Office to gain a better understanding of the possible ramifications, in particular as to how the withdrawal affects their academic progress, financial aid and housing.  International Students must contact the International Students’ Office or the Dean of Students to discuss their student visas.

 

If a student wishes to return to Albright College after withdrawing, the student must contact the Admission Office and apply for readmission.

 

A student who plans a withdrawal for any reason is responsible for the following conditions:

  1. The student withdrawing has completed and submitted the appropriate form to the Registrar’s Office.
  2. The student understands how withdrawal may affect their current course grades and future academic standing.
  3. If a student withdraws tuition and institutional charges will be refunded in accordance with the schedule posted on the Student Accounts website.
  4. The student understands how withdrawal may affect their current and future financial aid.
  5. Following withdrawal, the student may not be on campus without the permission of the Dean of Students.
  6. Following withdrawal, the student may not participate in college activities.  This includes all athletics.  
  7. The student who has withdrawn may not continue to live in a residence on campus.

 

Academic Information

  1. A student withdrawing after the end of a semester or between semesters will not affect their grades, as no courses will be in progress.
  2. Withdrawing during a semester may affect a student’s grades, as their courses will be in progress.
    1. A student who does not withdraw and simply fails to attend their courses will earn grades that reflect the student’s academic performance and work completed in said courses; a leave of absence only occurs when a student has submitted the form to the Registrar’s Office. 
    2. Withdrawing up to one week after mid-terms grades will result in the students’ courses receiving the designation of W (Withdrawn).  This will not affect a student’s term or cumulative Grade Point Average.
    3. Withdrawing after the above date and three weeks prior to the beginning of final exams will result in the students’ courses receiving the designation of a W (Withdrawn) or a WF (Withdrawn Failing) at the discretion of the instructor.
      1. A WF (Withdrawn Failing) will affect a student’s term or cumulative Grade Point Average, essentially counting as an F in the course.
    4. Withdrawing in the last three weeks of the semester will automatically result in the students’ courses receiving the designation of WF, except for dire circumstances as determined by the Provost.
    5. For withdrawal deadlines in a shorter session, for example interim, summer, or an intensive session, please consult the Registrar’s Office.  

 

Financial Aid Information

  1. Withdrawing may affect a student’s financial aid.  For more information, please see the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal FAQ.

 

Residential Life Information

  1. Withdrawing may affect a student’s housing situation.  For more information, please see the Leave of Absence/Withdrawal FAQ.

ASSOCIATED PROCEDURES LOCATION

REVISION LOG

DATE OF REVISION

MAJOR CHANGES

(Note:     electronic copies of the former versions of the policy must be maintained within the unit, department, or division)

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IMPLEMENTATION PLAN – For decision-making purposes only.  This will not appear in the Final Policy that is posted to the Policy Repository.

The implementation plan may include a timeline, plan for communications to campus, and any necessary training essential for the rollout of the policy.  

 

DECISION – For decision-making purposes only.   This will not appear in the Final Policy that is posted to the Policy Repository.

Date of Draft Policy Review

8/13/2020

Name of Reviewing Committee/Individual

Date Approved

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Comments:

Date Rejected

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Date Draft Tabled or Further Review Needed (provide comments including plan for re-submission)

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