Elon University provides a range of support services to address the medical and mental health needs of students, within the context of the campus community. On occasion, students may experience physical and mental health needs requiring a level of care that exceeds what the University can appropriately provide. In such circumstances, students may take a voluntary leave of absence. For a full description of the leave of absence policy and procedures, please visit the academic catalog.

What is a Medical Leave of Absence:

A Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) allows a student to withdraw from all of their current courses (or defer an upcoming semester) while remaining affiliated as a student at Elon.  While away, students approved for an MLOA remain eligible to register for future classes, maintain their ability to register for housing, and maintain their online access to important Elon services such as email and OnTrack.  An MLOA is different from a permanent medical withdrawal where a student has no plans to return to the University.  An MLOA is different from a course withdrawal where a student is withdrawing from an individual course prior to the academic deadline.

Students approved for an MLOA will receive a “WD” for each of their current classes.  A “WD” is not included when calculating a student’s GPA.

Considerations Prior to Requesting a Medical Leave of Absence:

A student’s health is the most important factor to be weighed when considering a leave of absence.  Students are encouraged to seek medical assistance, even if doing so results in taking a leave from classes.  Despite this, students considering an MLOA should weigh a number of factors when deciding whether an MLOA is appropriate for their specific situation.  The following is a short list of considerations to be weighed:

  • Financial Aid:  Students are typically expected to complete a certain percent of the classes they attempt in order to maintain their financial aid status. Students should consult with Financial Aid to determine the likely impact of an MLOA on their ability to remain eligible for aid.
  • Academic Progress:  Students may delay their academic plans by taking an MLOA, thus extending the time to graduation.  While away, students in good standing may be able to transfer credits earned from home institutions.  Students should consult with their academic advisor or the Academic Advising Center to complete a graduation plan or learn more about transfer of credits.
  • Enrollment in a Subsequent Term: In most circumstances, a student requesting a leave of absence near the end of a term will not be eligible to return for the term that immediately follows.   As a result, students requesting leave near the end of a Fall or Spring term should expect to remain on leave at least until the following semester (e.g. If a student takes leave at the end of Fall, she would remain on leave during Winter and the earliest she could return would be Spring).  Students requesting leave during Winter term should expect to remain on leave during Spring term and will be eligible to return for Summer I.
  • On-Campus Housing: Students on a leave of absence are not eligible to remain in campus housing, including University apartments and University leased housing. Students must complete the Residence Life check-out process before a leave of absence will be processed.  Students are not guaranteed that the same spot will be available for them when they return from leave.
  • Study Abroad and Study USA: Students enrolled in a Study Abroad or Study USA program must be enrolled full-time (12 credits) at Elon for the semester which precedes the off-campus term (e.g. students studying away in Spring or Winter Term must have completed 12 credits in the Fall semester).  Students accepted into a study away program should consult with the Global Education Center regarding financial repercussions and options for deferral or cancellation. Students seeking a medical leave for Fall 2020 should consult with Global Education regarding the availability of virtual orientation for Spring study abroad. 
  • Fraternity and Sorority Recruitment: Students must have achieved a minimum GPA and credit requirement (12 credits) prior to participating in fraternity and sorority recruitment.  Students considering an MLOA (particularly first-year students) should be aware that an MLOA will likely delay their ability to participate.  Student may consult with Student Involvement staff to learn about options for participating in future recruitment programs.

Application Deadlines:

Requests for leave of absence for health reasons, including all supporting documentation, must be received five days before the final course date of the term in which the leave is requested (i.e. 5 days before the last day of class). Below are example deadlines based on upcoming semesters (subject to change based on academic calendar):

  • Fall 2021: Monday, November 29th at 5:00 PM
  • Winter 2022: Wednesday, January 19th at 5:00 PM
  • Spring 2022: Thursday, May 5th at 5:00 PM

How to Request a Medical Leave of Absence:

STEP 1: Gather Documentation: A student requesting an MLOA MUST attach or provide documentation.  No request will be considered until the necessary documentation is provided.  Students are encouraged to submit documentation as part of their online application (see below) but may submit this separately in unique situations.

  • In most cases, a student may submit the Treatment Provider Form as documentation for their medical leave of absence.  In unique circumstances, a student may submit a letter or other medical documentation in lieu of the Treatment Provider Form.  Any substitute documentation must include contact information for the treating physician, must be completed on the medical facility’s stationary (e.g. with letterhead), and must include information related to the same elements as is contained in the Treatment Provider Form.



STEP 2: Submit the Online Application with attached Documentation: Students can apply online using the link below.  As part of their application, students are asked to provide context for their request.  Students are strongly encouraged to factor in the above considerations prior to submitting a leave request:


What Happens Next:

Once submitted, the student will receive an automated confirmation email and the application will be forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Students.

The Office of the Dean of Students will review the application and documentation to determine if it meets grounds for the requested leave of absence.  Staff will contact the student if additional documentation or information is needed.

If approved, staff will notify the student of approval and any required action and documentation necessary for return.  The Office of the Dean of Students will then notify the Registrar.  The Registrar will process the request and determine the effective date for refund purposes.  The Office of the Registrar will then send official notice of leave to campus departments (this may take 2-3 business days).

If not approved, staff in the Office of the Dean of Students will notify the student of the reason for denial. There is no appeal process for denied requests.


Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence:

Students returning from a Medical Leave of Absence must follow the procedures outlined on the Returning from Leave of Absence website.


Common Questions:

Can I retake the classes I received WDs in because of the MLOA?  In most cases, a student may repeat classes attempted during a semester where a leave of absence is taken.  For details related to repeat classes, see the Academic Advising website.

Will I get a refund?  Students may be eligible for a refund depending on the timing of their request and approval.  Students may contact the Bursar’s Office for specific refund related questions.