This policy explains the purpose of and procedures related to a voluntary Medical Leave of Absence.
Case Manager: An NSC employee who works closely with the Dean of Students to connect students to campus and community resources.
Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA): A temporary interruption in a student’s education as a result of significant physical or mental health issues that compromise a student’s academic success.
Student Concern, Assessment, Referral, and Education (CARE) Team: A committee of faculty and staff that promotes the health and safety of the campus community and coordinates information and the development of support plans for students of concern.
Working Day: For the purposes of this policy, Monday through Friday when campus is open.
Students who are experiencing significant physical or mental health issues that are interfering with their academics may request a voluntary Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA). The Student CARE Team may recommend a voluntary MLOA in some cases; however, it is up to the student whether to pursue a MLOA.
A Medical Leave of Absence is granted when the College determines that a student’s health, safety, and academic success have been compromised by a mental or physical health condition.
The U.S. Department of Education sets explicit criteria for a leave of absence to apply to financial aid and cautions that many institutions will not qualify. A Medical Leave of Absence as described in this policy does not meet the criteria specified in 34 CFR 668.22(d). Therefore, a MLOA granted by NSC does not apply to financial aid and does not relieve a student of obligations related to course attendance or satisfactory academic progress.
If a student requesting a MLOA receives financial aid, the student must meet with a financial aid counselor in the NSC Financial Aid Office. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the student of the possible impact of a MLOA on their financial aid status (e.g., loan repayment status and obligations; possible reduction in future aid; return of aid already disbursed).
Students interested in a Medical Leave of Absence should complete the following steps:
Requests for MLOA must be accompanied by documentation and a recommendation from a medical professional.
A. MLOA for Mental Health Issues: If a student requests MLOA due to mental health difficulties, the Case Manager will facilitate contact with counseling services for an evaluation. Once a Release of Information Form has been signed, the clinician will submit a recommendation on whether the request for MLOA should be approved. If the student is under the care of a mental health professional, the student’s treating physician may submit the recommendation. All information from medical providers will be kept in strict confidence and will be accessible only to members of the Student CARE Team and College administrators with a need to know.
B. MLOA for Physical Health Issues: To request MLOA for a physical condition, the student must provide documentation from their treating medical provider recommending that the student’s request for MLOA be approved. The information will be kept in strict confidence and will be accessible only to members of the Student CARE Team and College administrators with a need to know.
The student’s academic Dean (or designee) will forward the request for a MLOA to the Student CARE Team and consult with the Student CARE Team about whether to approve the request. The Dean has final authority on whether to approve a request for MLOA; a written decision will be provided to the student via email. The goal of a MLOA is to ensure that students return to college with an increased opportunity for academic success. Because every student’s situation is different, the length of the Medical Leave of Absence will be determined on a case-by-case basis. However, the MLOA may not exceed a total of one hundred eighty (180) calendar days in any twelve (12)-month period.
Depending upon the nature and individual circumstance of the MLOA, the academic Dean may indicate that when the student petitions to return to the College to resume academic studies, they will be required to provide a brief statement describing their plans to ensure a successful return to NSC. The decision to require this information is made on a case-by-case basis and is conveyed in the Dean’s written approval.
A. Required Materials: The student should complete the following steps to initiate the re-enrollment consideration process:
B. Deadlines: Students must submit all materials no later than November 1 for consideration for the following spring semester; no later than April 1 for the following summer sessions; and no later than June 30 for the following fall semester. This ensures that the Dean’s office and Student CARE Team have sufficient time to review the student’s request.
If there is missing information, students may not be approved in time to enroll in the semester during which they hoped to return. This may cause the student to exceed the 180-day limit for a Medical Leaves of Absence. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for re-enrollment in a timely manner and to ensure that all necessary materials and documentation are provided.
C. Decision Process: The Dean will forward the materials to the Student CARE Team, which will review the information provided to determine whether a student is ready to resume studies. Significant weight will be given to the documentation provided by the student’s treatment provider(s) regarding the student’s ability to function academically and safely at the College, with or without accommodations. If information provided by the treatment provider is incomplete, requires further explanation or clarification, or conflicts with other information in the student’s files, the Dean or Case Manager, with the student’s authorization, will contact the treatment provider to obtain additional information. In extraordinary circumstances (e.g., NSC is concerned about the medical provider’s credentials), NSC may request that the student undergo an additional assessment to determine readiness to return; NSC would pay for the assessment.
The Student CARE Team will make a recommendation to the Dean regarding whether the student is ready to resume studies. A final decision about the student’s return will be made by the Dean within twenty (20) Working Days of receiving all required materials; missing information and/or the need to collect additional information from the student’s treatment provider may delay a final decision. The student will be notified of the decision via email and certified letter.
A student may appeal a Dean’s decision to deny a request to return to the College by submitting an appeal letter in writing to the Provost’s office within ten (10) Working Days of receiving the Dean’s decision via email. The student may attach any information that is relevant to the appeal. The Provost will review the student’s submission and make a final decision regarding the request to return. This decision is not subject to further appeal.
Office of Financial Aid
Anthony Morrone, Director
Office of the Provost
Originally approved as part of Student of Concern Policy, May 2015
Approved by Provost Dr. Vickie Shields, November 30, 2018.
Approved by President Bart Patterson, April 2, 2019.