Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is an interruption in a student’s formal education and may be granted to undergraduate students as a result of a medical event, the need for impactful medical procedures, or a personal/family hardship that would prevent the student from completing one or more full academic semesters. While students who are granted LOAs are not enrolled in classes, they are not withdrawn from Elon University and, therefore, remain on a matriculating hiatus status in the University’s systems.

The principal advantage of a LOA is that it offers a student the opportunity to leave Elon temporarily with the assurance that he/she/they will be able to return and resume studies efficiently. Because the LOA is approved through established University procedures and officially recognized by the University, the student is able to be away from campus and not be enrolled in courses while still maintaining their affiliation with the institution. When a student pursues a LOA, they may either withdraw from all their courses before the end of that term or decide not to return to the university before the beginning of a full term. Students who are granted a LOA while enrolled in courses will be withdrawn from the entirety of their schedule subject to Elon University’s course withdrawal and financial obligation policies and timelines (www.elon.edu/u/registrar/student-resources/individual-course-withdrawal). 

Students on an approved LOA will maintain access to their Elon e-mail account, course registration priority, remote access to Elon library resources, eligibility to apply for study abroad/study USA programs [provided they meet the program requirements], current advisor assignment, and may participate in residence hall selection during the spring semester. However, students on a LOA cannot live in campus-owned or operated housing during the duration of their LOA and must, therefore, vacate University housing, including campus apartments. Any lease agreements and related financial obligations are the sole responsibility of the student. Students on a LOA also do not maintain their access to on-campus University facilities nor may they participate in student activities, including clubs and organizations. Additionally, retaining previously awarded financial aid or grants, as well as status in admissions-based University Programs like Honors Fellows, Elon College Fellows, Business Fellows, Communications Fellows, Teaching Fellows, Leadership Fellows, and Music Theater are not guaranteed. Along with the pursuit of a LOA, students should interact with the appropriate departments and offices to discuss these items and the related implications for their return.

Leave of Absence Procedures:

The LOA requires that the LOA form be completed and approved by the Office of the Dean of Students. Once the LOA form has been filed and approved, the Registrar’s Office will notify the student and relevant University Offices/personnel of the change in status [including their current academic advisor, department chair, academic dean, student life, bursar, financial planning, housing, advising, etc.…]. Students on an approved leave of absence should follow the Return from LOA Procedures and may return to Elon University without formally applying for readmission. A student may be on LOA for up to two consecutive, traditional-length semesters following the semester in which the leave is requested. Typically, the student will need to withdraw from the University for any absence from campus that extends beyond this timeframe. Students must notify the Registrar of their intent to return or request an extension to the LOA which must be approved by the Registrar and the Dean of Students prior to the end of the originally, agreed-upon date range.

Elon University provides a range of support services to address the medical and mental health needs of students, within the context of the campus community. On occasion, students may experience physical and mental health needs requiring a level of care that exceeds what the University can appropriately provide. In such circumstances, students may take a voluntary leave of absence. In situations where a student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations, where current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence indicates that a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of others, or where a student poses an actual risk to their own safety not based on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities, and the student does not want to take a leave voluntarily, the Associate Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students has the authority to place the student on a mandatory leave of absence. Before placing any student with a disability on a mandatory leave of absence, Elon University will conduct an individualized assessment of the situation to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the student to continue to participate in the campus community and coursework without taking a leave of absence. This assessment may require evaluation and documentation from a licensed medical or mental health provider at the student’s expense. The decision to place a student on a mandatory leave of absence may be appealed in writing to the Vice President for Student Life.

Return from LOA Procedures:

In order to be approved for return from a LOA related to medical reasons, a LOA , the Office of The Dean of Students will require the student to provide the following documentation from the treating clinician(s) or physician(s): 1) Diagnosis or clinical assessment, 2) Summary of treatment, including progress in treatment and resolution of the issues that prompted the LOA, 3) Current medications, 4) Evaluation of the student’s readiness to resume university responsibilities, and 5) Any recommendations for follow-up treatment or support. This information must be received at least thirty days prior to anticipated return. If there are recommendations for ongoing treatment, the student must provide documentation of continuity of care plan and provider. Once all documentation is received, the Office of The Dean of Students will advise the Registrar that the student is eligible to resume studies. Students who fail to provide the appropriate documentation at least thirty days prior to anticipated return will not be eligible to return to campus. Any housing/course registration will be dropped.

The Dean of Students or designee may require an interview or meeting with the student prior to or upon the first day of classes. Student Concerns Outreach staff will determine the nature and frequency of any follow-up meetings. Any student conduct and/or academic integrity sanctions must be completed as assigned by the Office of Student Conduct or the Assistant Provost for Communications and Operations. If a student chooses not to return to Elon University, they should complete the University withdraw procedures (www.elon.edu/u/registrar/student-resources/university-withdrawal).

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