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Medical Leave

A medical leave is a leave of absence from the College that may be granted to students who are unable to continue their enrollment because of physical or psychological conditions. Non-degree students are not eligible for medical leave. A request for medical leave is considered a request to withdraw from Hampshire College. Students seeking a medical leave must contact the Dean of Students Office (413.559.6545) to discuss the circumstances and the process for taking a medical leave from the College. The final day to take a medical leave is the last day of classes for the current semester; students cannot take a retroactive medical leave after classes have concluded. All medical leaves are processed through the Dean of Students Office by the Senior Director of Student Affairs - Student Retention & Success, Director of Student Affairs - Student Retention & Success, or an appointed designee. A "W" for withdrawal will appear on transcripts for courses in progress if a student goes on medical leave after the add/drop deadline. Students seeking a medical leave must fill out a medical leave declaration.

As with any other leave, the College reserves the right to deny a student’s request for medical leave.

A student on voluntary or involuntary medical leave normally will not be permitted to participate in College activities or to utilize the College’s services, facilities, or programs (including extracurricular activities) and will also be restricted from entering the campus during the leave period; exceptions to these restrictions must be approved in advance by the Dean of Students Office. 

Students on medical leave must complete a readmissions application. Refer to the readmission policy for details.

Students who have waived insurance coverage for the preceding term are not eligible to apply for insurance while on medical leave. Students enrolled in the insurance plan are eligible for coverage for a maximum of two (2) semesters. Insurance must be requested. Refer to the student financial services website for more information.

A change of status from fully enrolled to leave of absence after the opening of the term (enrollment check-in date) will, if approved, lead to the partial or full forfeiture of tuition, room, and board fees. Refer to the fee brochure and refund schedule. Factors determining the amount of the refund include the date of leave, the type of leave, and the financial aid status of the student. Upon leave, financial aid students may have a part of their aid returned to the programs that assisted them as mandated by the federal return-of-funds formula. Returns are applied in the following order: federal student and parent loans, federal grants, college and outside grants and scholarships. Students will be responsible for a balance due created by the return-of-funds process.

For information about medical leave in relation to academic work, see the leave policy in the Academic Policies section.

Duration of Medical Leave
Students on medical leave normally will be assumed to be on leave for the remainder of the semester in which the leave began and for one additional semester. Students beginning a medical leave within the last two weeks of classes are considered to be on medical leave for the remainder of the semester as well as two full consecutive semesters. Students may be permitted to return in accordance with the readmission policy.

Students on medical leave will have their leave automatically extended for a second consecutive semester. Students who do not apply for readmission after their second semester of medical leave are withdrawn from the College.

Students who want to return to the College after any medical leave (voluntary or involuntary) must follow the readmission policy.

Involuntary Medical Leave
All students (including those with physical or psychological conditions) are required to meet the academic, behavioral, and other standards of the College; requests for reasonable accommodations to meet these requirements are considered on a case-by-case basis. Threatening or other inappropriate behavior by a student will usually be addressed either through the College’s student conduct process or by a qualified health professional. Where such behavior is deemed attributable to a physical or psychological condition, the College may, in its discretion, initiate the following:

The College may encourage the student to voluntarily seek professional assistance and/or apply for a voluntary medical leave in order to address the condition. If the student is unwilling to take a voluntary medical leave, the College may place the student on involuntary medical leave. When, prior to being placed on an involuntary medical leave, a student requests to take a voluntary medical leave, they normally will be permitted to do so.

Examples of behavior that may lead to involuntary medical leave include, but are not limited to: 

  • Engaging in or threatening behavior that is deemed dangerous to the student or to others (e.g., physical threat to self or others, suicide attempt or threat, demonstrated inability to care for oneself)
  • Engaging in or threatening behavior that is deemed to be disruptive of the ability of the student or other members of the College community (including other students, faculty, and staff) to participate in the College’s academic, residential, or social environment
  • Engaging in or threatening behavior that is likely to cause significant damage to property

The following procedures will apply to involuntary medical leaves:

  • Prior to placing a student on involuntary medical leave, the Vice President for Student Affairs, Senior Director of Student Affairs - Student Retention & Sucecss, and the Senior Director of Student Affairs - Health & Counseling Services will make an assessment of the student’s ability to participate in the College’s academic, residential, or social environment. When the student is available on campus, the assessment may include a meeting with a clinician from Health and Counseling Services or the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students or designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, at which time they will: (a) discuss the areas of concern with the student; (b) give the student an opportunity to respond to those concerns; and (c) explain the College’s involuntary medical leave policy to the student. Further assessment may include consultation with persons knowledgeable about the College’s obligations regarding students with disabilities and with appropriate health or other professionals. The total assessment will take into consideration the following: (a) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of harm; (b) the likelihood that the harm will occur; and (c) whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures would sufficiently mitigate the risk.
  • If the process is initiated by the dean of students office, the student may be required to be evaluated by an appropriate health professional selected by the College. Such evaluation normally must be completed within five business days after the dean’s request. The student will be requested to sign a written authorization permitting the health professional to exchange health information with appropriate representatives of the College. A student’s refusal to sign such authorization will impede the dean’s ability to make an assessment and may negatively affect the leave decision.
  • If the assessment results in a decision to place the student on involuntary medical leave, the assessor will inform the student of that decision in writing. The student may request reconsideration of the decision by submitting a written request (including the grounds for reconsideration and requested resolution) to the dean of students within ten (10) business days of receiving notice of the decision. The student will also need to sign a form giving the dean permission to speak with any medical professionals involved in the case. The student also may utilize the Section 504 complaint procedure referred to in the accessibility resources and services section of this handbook.
  • The College may immediately suspend a student from the campus and/or from student housing if it determines that such immediate action is warranted due to: (a) imminent risk of substantial harm to the health/safety of the student or others; (b) the student’s refusal to participate in any part of the above-described process; or (c) a senior administrator’s determination that such action is necessary under the circumstances then known to them. Following an immediate interim suspension, the College will engage in the procedures described above as soon as reasonably practicable.

Students placed on involuntary medical leave will be subject to the policies and procedures for readmission

Students with Financial Aid

It is important to note, if the student withdraws from all classes in a semester and has federal financial aid, the Return of Title IV Funds policy applies. The same applies if a student has state funding or outside scholarships, the financial aid office is obligated to follow any state or outside aid return policy. Students receiving federal and/or state financial aid must contact the financial aid office to determine how their federal financial aid could be affected due to their withdrawal. Additionally, any refunds for tuition and fees will be reviewed and calculated by the Financial Aid Office and Student Accounts following the Tuition and Fees Refund Schedule policy.