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 undergraduate academic catalog. Students enrolled in graduate programs should consult their program handbook.

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.  Students on a leave are eligible to take courses elsewhere and transfer credit back to Elon. 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, they would remain on leave during Winter and the earliest they 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 space 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.

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 undergraduate deadlines based on upcoming semesters (subject to change based on academic calendar):

  • Fall 2023: Friday, November 24 at 5:00 pm (must depart university housing by Sunday, November 26)
  • Spring 2024: Friday, May 3 at 5:00 pm (must depart university housing by Sunday, May 5)

How to Request a Medical Leave of Absence

  • Submit the online medical leave request form: Students must apply online using the request link. In situations where a student is hospitalized and unable to complete the online form, families may contact the Office of the Dean of Students for guidance. Please note that leaves cannot be processed until a student is no longer residing in university housing, as swipe card access is deactivated for approved leaves.
  • Attach or submit supporting documentation: A student requesting an MLOA MUST attach or provide documentation.  No request will be approved until the necessary documentation is received. In most cases, a student may submit the Treatment Provider Form as documentation for their medical leave of absence. Any substitute documentation must include contact information for the treating physician and must include information related to the same elements as is contained in the Treatment Provider Form.

What Happens Next:

Once submitted, 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. Please allow 2-3 business days for review. Staff will contact the student if additional documentation or information is needed.

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 Office of the Registrar will then send official notice of leave and effective date to campus departments (this may take 2-3 business days).

The effective date for mid-semester leaves of absence is the date the online request and supporting documentation is submitted. Students must complete the housing check-out process within 72 hours of approval.  Delays in housing check-out or submission of documentation will result in adjusted effective date. Exceptions to the effective date may be considered for situations with supporting documentation from a licensed treatment provider that the student was incapacitated and physically or mentally unable to submit the request.


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.