Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College

Campus Life

Leaves of Absence and Withdrawals

Leaves of Absence

There are many reasons why a student may request a leave of absence from the college or be placed on a required leave of absence. Students who decide that they may benefit from some time away from the college, should first meet with and discuss this decision with one of the deans in the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.

If a student is placed on an involuntary or required leave, the basis for the leave and possible conditions for return are stipulated according to each type of leave.

There is no notation recorded on the academic transcript but leave of absence status does not constitute enrollment at the college; this status, however, does maintain the student’s affiliation with the college and indicates that the student plans to return to Wheaton after the designated period of time.

Refund policies for leave of absence students are the same as those for students who withdraw from the college. Please refer to the Office of Student Financial Services webpage for the refund schedule.

At the end of the designated leave, the student will receive a letter from the Office of the Registrar informing her or him about course selection and plans for returning to campus.

Students who request to return from medical leave must be in good financial and academic standing.

If, during the leave, the student wishes to take courses at another institution and transfer the course credit to Wheaton, prior approval must be obtained from the appropriate faculty department chair. For more detailed information about transfer credit: http://wheatoncollege.edu/advising/rules/faq/transfer.html

Voluntary Leaves of Absence

A voluntary leave is normally granted to any student in good standing for up to a year; the extension of a leave to a second year or additional semester requires permission of the Dean for Advising. The college recognizes that such time away, often as a period of reassessment and self evaluation, can prove to be educationally beneficial. In order to plan for the time away and to insure a smooth return to the college, this decision should be made in consultation with one of the deans in the Filene Center.

The Leave of Absence form is available in the Filene Center in Kollett Hall and should be returned there upon completion. The form requires that the student provide the purpose of the leave and the semester that the student plans to return. All requests for voluntary leaves of absence are approved by one of the advising deans.

Voluntary Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons

A student may request a leave for reasons related to his/her physical and/or mental health, as advised and confirmed by a healthcare professional. The decision to approve a medical leave request is made by the Office of the Dean of Students, which may consult with the Office of Health and Wellness, the Counseling Center, the student’s healthcare provider, and/or the student and his/her family, in determining whether a medical leave is advisable.

When a medical leave has been approved, a letter is sent to the student and her/his family granting medical leave status and describing the requirements of a medical leave and the process for requesting to return. The student may request that this information not be shared with his/her family.

It is the college’s general expectation that students on medical leave will remain away from the college for a period of adequate duration to provide enough time for the student to pursue appropriate treatment.

At the time the medical leave is approved:

  • the student is informed of the effective date of the medical leave.
  • the student’s faculty and the appropriate college offices are notified of the change in enrollment status to “Leave” and asked to make the appropriate adjustments to their record and account.
  • the student is informed that he/she will be withdrawn (WD) from all courses for the current semester (if the leave takes effect mid-semester.)
  • the student is asked to contact the Office of Student Financial Services to discuss the financial implications of the leave, and any outstanding obligations to the college.
  • the student is asked to contact the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services to inquire whether there may be any academic considerations related to the leave and/or eventual return.

When a medical leave has been approved, the Office of the Dean of Students sends notification to various campus offices of the change in status, the effective date of the leave, the semester for which the student may request to return, and a request that the student’s record and account be appropriately adjusted. In addition, a “Hold” is placed on the student’s record preventing the student from registering for courses or applying for campus housing until his/her request to return has been approved.

Students and their families are encouraged to stay in communication with the Office of the Dean of Students during the course of their medical leave.

Mid Semester Leave

After the semester begins, unexpected medical or personal issues may occur where it becomes advisable for a student to take a mid-semester leave. Under these circumstances, the Office of the Dean of Students determines the effective date of the leave. For enrollment purposes, this date becomes the official date of the student’s change of status. Since the student engaged in course work for some period of time during the semester, WDs (withdrawals) are recorded for all his/her courses.

Request to Return from Medical Leave

It is the college’s general expectation that students on medical leave will remain away from the college for a period of adequate duration to provide enough time for the student to pursue appropriate treatment.

If the student and appropriate healthcare professionals determine that the student is able to return to a full program of study for the coming semester, the college will consider the student’s request to return. The student who wishes to return to the college after taking a leave for medical reasons must submit the following materials to the Office of the Dean of Students by August 1 for a request to return for fall semester, and by January 1 for a request to return for spring semester:

  • a letter from the student that details what she/he has been doing while on leave and his/her academic plans upon return to school;
  • a letter from a healthcare professional indicating the student’s readiness to return to Wheaton, which letter is to provide information as to the student’s readiness to participate in his/her academic program and the residential life/environment of the college (if the student is residing in college housing) and, if appropriate, inform the college of any conditions the healthcare provider places on the student’s return and any reasonable accommodations the healthcare provider believes the student needs to request in regard to his/her return; and
  • if the college is in need of further information or clarification, it may request the student to provide a signed release giving permission for the student’s healthcare provider to speak with the Office of Health and Wellness and/or the Counseling Center staff so that the healthcare provider can provide the further information or clarification to the college regarding the student’s request and readiness to return to the college.

This information remains confidential and does not become part of the student’s academic record.

The decision to approve a request to return from medical leave is made by the Office of the Dean of Students, in consultation with the appropriate college staff and the student’s healthcare provider. In addition, the decision may be made in consultation with the student and his/her family.

Involuntary Leaves of Absence

Academic Suspension

Students whose semester and/or cumulative grade point average is below 2.00 for two consecutive semesters, or whose semester grade point average is 1.33 (D+) or below, may be placed on academic suspension by the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). Academic suspension normally lasts two semesters. Students who fail to attain and maintain good academic standing following their return from academic suspension may face academic dismissal (permanent separation) from the college.

Students who have been placed on academic suspension or academic dismissal may appeal the decision of CAS by submitting a letter of appeal and any additional supporting documentation to the committee by the specified deadline. Students who have been suspended for academic reasons may petition to be readmitted after one semester if they fulfill certain academic requirements specified by the committee.

Disciplinary Suspension/Withdrawal

Enrollment and continued attendance at Wheaton College is a privilege, not a right. Students may be subject to suspension from the college for a determined period of time, or to expulsion (permanent separation), by action of the Office of the Dean of Students or the College Hearing Board for conduct that is determined to be a serious breach of the Wheaton Honor Code and Community Standards. Students who are suspended or expelled from the college for conduct during the course of a semester are not entitled to a refund of tuition and fees and may not complete work for their classes in that semester. A student who is suspended or expelled from the college for conduct will be withdrawn (WD) from courses in progress. A notation of “Withdrawn” and the effective date is reflected on the student’s academic transcript.

Any action of disciplinary suspension or expulsion as determined by the Office of the Dean of Students or the College Hearing Board may be enforced pending the outcome of an appeal at the sole discretion of the Dean or Senior Associate Dean in compliance with the college judicial procedures: http://wheatoncollege.edu/about/honor-code/judicial-procedures/.

Any action of disciplinary suspension or expulsion, as determined by the Office of the Dean of Students or the College Hearing Board, will be effective immediately. At the sole discretion of the Dean or the Senior Associate Dean, the action may be held in abeyance pending the outcome of an appeal submitted in accordance with the college judicial procedures: http://wheatoncollege.edu/about/honor-code/judicial-procedures/.

Financial Leave of Absence

Students are required to complete payment of their tuition, fees and all other charges by the stated deadlines to maintain active enrollment status, and eligibility to register for courses, and approval to return for a subsequent semester. Late fees may be imposed if payment is not received by the due date. Wheaton College policy states that any student with a balance greater than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) and at least 60 days past due may not be permitted to enroll or return for subsequent terms until the past due balance is paid in full.

Students who are unable to fulfill their financial obligations to the college and do not work out a satisfactory payment plan may be required to take a leave of absence (and/or may not receive approval to return to the college after taking a leave) until such time as their accounts with the college are resolved.

Interim Removal

In certain circumstances, the Office of the Dean of Students or a designee may impose an interim removal of a student from campus before a hearing is conducted by the College Hearing Board or an administrator for conduct that is determined to be a serious breach of the Wheaton Honor Code and Community Standards: http://wheatoncollege.edu/about/honor-code/judicial-procedures/

Interim removal of a student may be imposed: 1) to ensure the safety and well-being of the college community or preservation of college property; 2) to ensure the student's own physical and/or emotional safety and well-being; or 3) if it is determined that the student poses a threat of disruption or of interference with the normal operations of the college. During the interim removal, a student may be denied access to the to the campus (including classes) and/or all other college activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Office of the Dean of Students or a designee may determine to be appropriate. In some cases a student may be restricted from campus residence halls and houses, from specified areas of campus or specified campus events or activities, but allowed to continue to attend classes. A scheduled conduct hearing with either the College Hearing Board or an administrator, as outlined in the college judicial procedures, will determine the terms of the student's continuing status at the college: http://wheatoncollege.edu/about/honor-code/judicial-procedures/.

Involuntary Leave Due to Direct Threat

If a student’s conduct presents a direct threat to the college community, the college may require the student to go on an involuntary leave of absence. In determining if a student’s conduct presents a direct threat, the college will consider if the conduct presents a significant risk to the health or safety of others or the student. In doing so, the college will make an individualized assessment to ascertain the nature, duration, and severity of the risk, the probability that the potential injury will occur, and whether there are any reasonable accommodations that will mitigate the risk.

Revised: 11 March 2011

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