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Medical Leave of Absence

Medical leave of absence (MLOA) policy

During your time at Washington University in St. Louis, you may experience life situations, medical conditions, or psychological conditions that significantly impair your ability to function successfully or safely as a student. In these instances, time away from the university for treatment and recovery can often restore your functioning to a level that will enable you to participate fully in academic coursework and the university community.

Students function not just as individuals, but also as connected parts of the university community and environment. When a student becomes impaired to the extent of needing a MLOA, this impairment often impacts that larger community. The university has a vested interest and a responsibility, both to you and to the larger university community, to establish criteria regarding your eligibility for re-enrollment following a MLOA. The criteria include, but are not limited to, compelling evidence that the condition that precipitated the MLOA has been sufficiently treated and ameliorated to the point where it will no longer adversely affect your safety and functioning. Certain MLOAs initiated as a result of life situations (sexual assault, death of a family member) may not be subject to these criteria.

Student considerations

Both a MLOA and a return from MLOA require a medical recommendation from SHS and an administrative approval from your school of enrollment. Various schools, colleges, and graduate fields have different policies regarding leaves of absence, including specific restrictions on or requirements for the amount of time a student is to be away on leave and distinct requirements or criteria for re-enrollment following a leave of absence. It is your responsibility to contact the advising office of your school or college, or for graduate students, the dean of the Graduate School, regarding the specific academic requirements or criteria for re-enrollment that will apply to you. It is the school or college that makes the final decisions whether you may return from a MLOA to that particular school or college.

Prior to taking a medical leave of absence, it is essential that you review your current health insurance coverage. Please review the health insurance section of the Medical Leave of Absence Policy to obtain information about continuing your insurance plan coverage.

To take and return from a Medical Leave of Absence

If you are seeking a medical leave of absence, please review the MLOA Policy  (PDF), schedule and attend an appointment with the appropriate SHS representative, and submit the signed acknowledgement form to Student Health Services. The MLOA Policy sets forth the steps that you must satisfy to take a medical leave as well as the steps that you must satisfy to return to Washington University from a medical leave. Request to Return from MLOA.pdf.