Adjusting your course load after the semester has begun
In cases where a student experiences a medical or mental health concern after a semester has begun, students may choose to drop some or all of their courses. Prior to the eighth week of class, students may drop courses for any reason and advisor approval is not required. After this date, withdrawal from courses requires approval from the student’s academic unit and is typically only approved with extenuating medical or mental health circumstances. If a student requests a withdrawal from all courses or a reduction in course load for medical reasons, the student must provide medical documentation supporting the request only to the Dean of Students Office. Courses dropped after the add/drop period remain on the student’s transcript and appear with a grade of W; this grade is not calculated in the grade point average. The student is not considered to be on leave during a semester in which all courses have been dropped after the Add/Drop deadline.
Requesting a Temporary Medical Leave
A Temporary Medical Leave is utilized when a student has a medical or mental health concern that necessitates taking time away from school. Prior to the start of a semester, a student who wishes to take a Temporary Medical Leave should contact his/her academic advisor to request the leave. At the same time, the student should provide documentation from his/her care provider that supports the leave on medical or mental health grounds only to the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will verify with the academic unit that the documentation is appropriate and supports the leave.
Students may take up to two semesters of Temporary Medical Leave. The leave is recorded on the student’s transcript as “Temporary Leave” – there is no additional notation that the leave was for medical reasons. Students are expected to work with their academic advisor in order to ensure that progress is being made toward their degree. The assessment of progress toward the degree is up to the discretion of the academic advisor. Students are advised to remain in close contact with the advisor and the Dean of Students Office throughout the leave period, and to effectively use their time while on leave.
Students who are granted a Temporary Medical Leave may not take courses at another college or university during the leave period unless they are granted a Medical Permit to Study.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding taking a Temporary Medical Leave
How do I request a Temporary Medical Leave?
Students requesting a Temporary Medical Leave should meet with their academic advisor. The academic advisor will discuss the student’s schedule and will revise the graduation plan. Forms for requesting a Temporary Medical Leave can be found on the Registrar’s website or in the advising office. For a leave to be qualified as a Temporary Medical Leave, the Dean of Students Office must receive documentation from a treating provider. Medical documentation should be sent directly to the Dean of Students Office. This documentation should include the rationale for requesting the Temporary Medical Leave, an outline of the treatment plan during the leave, and an explanation of the progress that should occur prior to reengaging in the academic and social environment of American University. The Dean of Students Office will evaluate the documentation, discuss plans with the student, and determine if the documentation supports granting of the Temporary Medical Leave. The Dean of Students Office will email the appropriate academic advisor stating whether the documentation supports taking the Temporary Medical Leave. All medical documentation will be maintained by the Office of the Dean of Students. This procedure allows students to keep their medical information in a private location that is separate from their academic record. The academic advisor will then work with the student to process the Temporary Medical Leave. Once the leave is granted, the Dean of Students Office will put a stop on the student’s account. This stop will be lifted once the student provides documentation from his/her treatment provider stating that s/he is ready to return to classes and campus activities. The Readiness to Return form provides a guide for the treatment provider when assessing a student’s readiness to return to campus. It is the responsibility of the student to provide this documentation at least one month prior to the start of the semester to begin the process of being cleared to return. It is important to note that the academic unit makes the final decision regarding whether or not a Temporary Medical Leave is granted.
How will taking a Temporary Medical Leave affect my financial aid?
Since each student’s financial situation is different, students should speak directly to AU Central regarding how a Temporary Medical Leave will affect their financial aid.
How will taking a Temporary Medical Leave affect my on-campus housing?
Students approved to take a Temporary Medical Leave who are living on campus will not be able to continue to live on campus once the leave is in effect. Students will be expected to move out of on-campus housing once the leave has been requested and are advised to contact their Resident Director to discuss a move out plan. Students must complete a Housing Termination Request form. If a student plans to take a Temporary Medical Leave prior to the start of the semester, the student should contact Housing and Dining Programs regarding any associated fees for canceling on-campus housing.
I am an international student, how will a Temporary Medical Leave affect my visa?
A leave may affect your visa status. International students should contact their international student advisor in the office of International Student and Scholar Services.
Can I take courses at another institution while I am on a Temporary Medical Leave?
While on leave, students may not take courses at another institution for credit unless granted prior approval to do so. Students may request a Medical Permit to Study at another institution while on Temporary Medical Leave. If a student is not approved for a Medical Permit to Study, no academic credit will be granted at American University.
Who else do I need to communicate with about my plans to take a Temporary Medical Leave?
Students who have pending or unresolved Student Conduct violations or sanctions should consult with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services. Students involved in academic integrity violations should consult with their academic advisor.