Elon recognizes that in rare situations a student’s medical needs may prevent them from being able to complete their degree or may require that they take an extended break (greater than one year) in order to seek appropriate treatment.  In these circumstances, a medical withdrawal may be appropriate.  (Note: For situations involving a temporary leave for medical reasons and where the student plans to return to classes in a later semester, please consider the Medical Leave of Absence.)


What is a Medical Withdrawal?

A Medical Withdrawal allows a student to withdraw from all of their current courses and all future courses without consideration of whether they will return to the University.  When a student completes a medical withdrawal, it is assumed they will not be returning to the University.  As a result, students approved for a medical withdrawal are unable to register for classes and will no longer have online access to important Elon services such as email or OnTrack.  A medical withdrawal is reflected on the official academic transcript as a ‘WD’ for each course.  

A medical withdrawal is different from a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) where a student has plans to return to the University within the next year after leaving.  A medical withdrawal is different from a course withdrawal where a student is withdrawing from an individual course prior to the academic deadline, but otherwise plans to continue their other courses.  (NOTE:  Prior to Fall 2018, all leaves and withdrawals were treated as Medical Withdrawals.  With the creation of the MLOA policy, most students will consider an MLOA, not a medical withdrawal).


Considerations Prior to Requesting a Medical Withdrawal:

A student’s health is the most important factor to be weighed when considering a withdrawal.  Despite this, students considering a medical withdrawal should weigh a number of factors when deciding whether an withdrawal is appropriate for their specific situation.  The following is a short list of considerations to be weighed:

Access to Online Services: While withdrawn, students will not have access to online accounts, including OnTrack and email.

On-Campus Housing: Students who withdrawal 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 withdrawal will be processed.

Course Registration: Students taking a medical withdrawal will be removed from all registered courses, both current and future.


How to Request a Medical Leave of Absence:

Application Deadline:  Requests for medical withdrawal, 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:

  • Winter 2019: January 16th at 5:00 PM
  • Spring 2019: May 7th at 5:00 PM
  • Summer I 2019: June 20th at 5:00 PM
  • Summer II 2019: July 19th at 5:00 PM

Documentation: A student requesting a Medical Withdrawal 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 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.

Online Application: 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 medical withdrawal 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 Medical Withdrawal.  Staff will contact the student if additional documentation or information is needed.

If approved, staff will notify the student of approval.  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 withdrawal 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 Withdraw:

In rare situations, students may decide to return to Elon after completing a medical withdrawal.  To return from withdrawal, students must participate in the Readmission Application process outlined on the Admissions Website.


Common Questions:

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.

I plan to be away for a year for medical reasons, should I do a medical withdrawal or a medical leave of absence?  In most cases, we recommend students do a medical leave of absence, even if they are unsure whether they plan to return.  This allows them access to important Elon resources. A medical withdrawal is most appropriate in situations where a student is sure that they will not be returning to Elon.