Medical Leave of Absence Protocol

The purpose of a medical leave of absence (MLOA) is to provide students time away from campus for treatment of a physical or mental health condition that impairs a student’s ability to function safely and successfully as a member of our community.  The authority to grant a MLOA and permission to return from a MLOA resides with the Dean of Students Office.  This protocol applies to both undergraduate and graduate students. Each leave is individualized based on the needs of the student and handled on a case-by-case basis.

2013-2014 Deadlines

  • Fall Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by  August 1, 2014
  • Winter Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by November 25, 2014
  • Spring Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by February 17, 2014
  • Summer Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by May 12, 2014



APPROVAL PROCESS FOR VOLUNTARY MLOA

The purpose of a voluntary medical leave of absence (MLOA) is to provide students time away from campus for treatment of a physical or mental health condition that impairs a student’s ability to function safely and successfully as a member of our community. A voluntary Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) is processed through the Dean of Students office by the Assistant Deans in the Student Assistance and Support Program (SASS).  Each leave is individualized based on the needs of the student and handled on a case-by-case basis.  Students who request and obtain a voluntary MLOA during an academic quarter may be eligible for a number of benefits, including:

  • Larger tuition refunds
  • Later course withdrawals
  • A coordinated treatment plan
  • For international students, depending upon the circumstances, an MLOA may provide a way to remain in the U.S. while maintaining legal status

Approval for the MLOA process:

1. Complete the Request for a Voluntary Medical Leave of Absence Form.  To begin the process of applying for a voluntary MLOA, a student must complete the following online application.  (Students in The Graduate School should follow additional steps outlined on The Graduate School’s policy guide – link).  Upon submission, the form is directly routed to the appropriate Assistant Dean in the Dean of Students office and the Associate Director of CAPS or Director of Health Services.  The Dean of Students office will work with The Graduate School for students enrolled in graduate study.

2. Contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or Health Services
The student must then schedule an interview with CAPS (for mental health reasons) or Health Services (for physical health reasons) for evaluation.
     CAPS, Searle Hall 633 Emerson, second floor
     ph: 847.491.2151; website:www.northwestern.edu/counseling
     Health Services, Searle Hall 633 Emerson Street
     ph: 847.491.8100; website: www.nuhs.northwestern.edu

3. Contact the Dean of Students Office

After the CAPS or Health Services evaluation, the student should contact the Dean of Student’s office for a MLOA appointment with one of the Assistant Dean’s in the SASS program. 

Dean of Students Office, 601 University Place, Room 40
ph: 847.491.8430; website: www.northwestern.edu/studentaffairs/dos

For students in The Graduate School, The Assistant Dean in the Dean of Students office will work with the Student Services staff in The Graduate School to ensure all necessary program and TGS approvals are obtained. Once all necessary approvals are obtained, The Graduate School will update the student’s record to reflect that the student is on an approved medical leave of absence.  

Deadlines

Students can apply for an MLOA at any time; however, in order for an MLOA to take effect during an ongoing quarter, the MLOA application must typically be submitted before 5 p.m. Friday during the 8th week of classes in such quarter.  A MLOA typically lasts two quarters.

Determination

The DOS will notify the student in writing of the determination based on the recommendation provided by CAPS and/or Health Service. The approval for MLOA will include some treatment expectations during the leave of absence which will be individually tailored to meet each student’s situation.  The DOS may notify parents of undergraduate students and other university departments of the student’s change in status.

Departure from University Housing

A student will be required to vacate university housing within 48 hours of the approval of the leave, which includes removal of all belongings. The student must complete a request to cancel his/her residence and board contract with Undergraduate or Graduate Housing. The student must also officially check out of the residence hall by completing the Room Condition Inventory and return all keys to a member of the Residential Life Staff. Failure to properly check out may result in additional changes.

University Housing Office, Seabury Hall, Room 225, 600 Haven Street
ph: 847.491.7564; website: www.northwestern.edu/living; email: housing@northwestern.edu
University Residential Life, Scott Hall, Room 10, 601 University Place
ph: 847.491.3541; website: www.northwestern.edu/living; email: res-life@northwestern.edu

Registration
While on MLOA, a student may not register for classes at Northwestern until the student has been reinstated by the DOS and the Student Affairs hold has been removed.  Students on medical leave are strongly encouraged to consult their academic dean’s office and advisor in advance and have an academic plan for classes so course registration can occur as soon as the hold is removed.

APPROVAL FOR REINSTATEMENT TO THE UNIVERSITY

Applications for reinstatement must be submitted to the Dean of Students office NO later than six weeks before the term in which you wish to return to Northwestern University. Applications for reinstatement will not be considered after the deadlines. For the academic year 2013-2014 the deadlines are as follows:
  • Fall Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by  August 1, 2014
  • Winter Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by November 25, 2014
  • Spring Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by February 17, 2014
  • Summer Quarter reinstatements should be submitted by May 12, 2014

1. To begin the process of applying for reinstatement, complete the following on-line application.  Upon submission, the form is directly routed to the appropriate Assistant Dean in the Dean of Student’s office and the Associate Director of CAPS or Director of Health Services.

2. Contact the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or Health Services
The student must then schedule an interview for reinstatement with CAPS (for mental health reasons) or Health Services (for physical health reasons) and provide documentation of treatment efforts/resolution. Students should also sign a release of information allowing their current treatment providers to speak with CAPS or Health Services staff.


     CAPS, Searle Hall 633 Emerson, second floor
     ph: 847.491.2151; website:www.northwestern.edu/counseling
     Health Services, Searle Hall 633 Emerson Street
     ph: 847.491.8100; website: www.nuhs.northwestern.edu

After the CAPS or Health Services evaluation, the student should contact the Dean of Students office for a reinstatement appointment with one of the Assistant Deans in the SASS program. 

Dean of Students Office, 601 University Place, Room 40
ph: 847.491.8430; website: www.northwestern.edu/studentaffairs/dos

3. Contact the Dean of Student’s Office

After the CAPS or Health Services evaluation, the student should contact the Dean of Students office for a reinstatement appointment with one of the Assistant Deans in the SASS program. 

Dean of Students Office, 601 University Place, Room 40
ph: 847.491.8430; website: www.northwestern.edu/studentaffairs/dos

Determination
The DOS will make a determination regarding reinstatement based on the recommendation provided by CAPS and/or Health Services. Reinstatement is based on the student's readiness to manage an academic course load and safely function in our community. The DOS will notify the student and other necessary University offices in writing of the determination, and if approved, whether any conditions will apply. If reinstatement is denied, the student may appeal the determination.

Appeal
If reinstatement is denied, the student may appeal the determination to the Dean of Students (or his or her designee) in writing within ten (10) business days of the decision. The appeal should be made in writing and should set forth the basis for the appeal. The Dean of Students shall review the record and any additional information submitted by the student and renders a decision within ten (10) business days of receiving the appeal. The Dean of Students decision shall be final.

4. Complete the FRET Form

If reinstatement is approved, complete the FRET Form and submit it to your academic dean's office.