Return to Campus Plan for Fall 2020

Messiah University is in session this fall with flexible in-person and remote learning options, health and safety protocols and student care and support.

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Medical Leave

Graduate Student Medical Leave Policy

Voluntary Medical Leave

A graduate student may request a Voluntary Medical Leave for him/herself at Messiah University due to his/her own documented physical or psychological illness that prevents the graduate student from completing coursework during a part-of-term or semester. The University grants Voluntary Medical Leave for one semester based on the time of request. Students on medical leave are not withdrawn from the University; however, for federal government reporting and loan services, students on medical leave are considered withdrawn from the University.

To request Medical Leave, a student must complete the Request for Graduate Medical Leave form and submit a letter from his/her medical provider that verifies that the student is under medical care for an illness and medical leave is advisable. This documentation should be sent to the Director of Graduate Curriculum and Student Services who will review the request.

The Director of Graduate Curriculum and Student Services will approve or deny the Medical Leave request. The director will notify the graduate registrar’s office who will then notify the student as well as appropriate offices on campus.

Original documentation and copies of the decision will be maintained in the student’s file by the Director of Graduate Curriculum and Student Services.

Deadline for Application for Medical Leave Status

A request for medical leave for the current term/semester must be made during the first two-thirds of the part-of-term or semester, whichever occurs first. 

Effective Date of Medical Leave Status

A student whose request for medical leave is approved during the first two-thirds of the part-of-term or semester will be deemed to have medical leave status as of the date on which his/her request was made to the Director of Graduate Curriculum and Student Services. The student will remain on medical leave for the balance of that semester and may request an extension for the next semester by filing a request as described below.

Grades and Completion of Academic Work

A student whose request for medical leave is approved during the first two-thirds of the part-of-term or semester will be given a grade of “W” (Withdraw) in each course for which he/she is registered.  Incomplete (“I”) grades will not be recorded. A student whose request for medical leave is approved during the final third of the part-of-term or semester are medically excused and the faculty member(s) may submit an Incomplete (“I”) grade for coursework. When an Incomplete (“I”) is not deemed feasible, a Withdraw (“W”) grade will be recorded. Refunds will not be granted for Incomplete (“I”) courses. To receive academic credit for a course, incomplete work must be completed by the final day of the semester following that during which medical leave was approved. It is the responsibility of the student to contact individual instructors to arrange for the timely completion of course work. If the student does not complete work in a course within this time, the grade of “I” for that course will be changed to a “W”.

Extension of Medical Leave Status

A student on medical leave may request a one-semester extension. The student must provide additional documentation from his/her medical provider to the Director of Graduate Curriculum and Student Services by August 1 for the fall semester, December 1 for the spring semester, and May 1 for the summer semester. The Director will review the request and notify the registrar’s office.

Medical leave status is limited to two consecutive semesters. After the second consecutive semester, a student who does not resume their academic studies will be officially withdrawn from the University.

Involuntary Medical Leave

The University may place a student on Involuntary Medical Leave for the following reasons:

  • A student is deemed to be a danger or a threat to the safety, health, or well-being to himself/herself or others.
  • A student has significant health concerns and/or accompanying behavior that are disrupting the educational experience of others.
  • A student has significant health concerns and/or accompanying behavior that renders the student unfit to complete educational assignments (e.g. clinical, internships, practicums, fieldwork).

When placed on Involuntary Medical Leave, the University will outline the length of leave and criteria to resume academic work at Messiah University. In extraordinary circumstances, the Assistant Provost/Dean of School of Graduate Studies may initiate the process for a student’s Involuntary Medical Leave. Such action may be taken in consultation with the Provost and additional appropriate University officials.

Returning from Medical Leave

A graduate student must apply to return from Medical Leave (Voluntary or Involuntary) by completing the Return from Medical Leave form. Typically, this includes providing documentation from his/her physician, therapist, or other healthcare provider which outlines their fitness to return to their academic program. The deadline to submit documentation is one month prior to the start of the next part-of-term or semester. All information will be reviewed, and a decision regarding fitness to return will be made by the Director of Graduate Curriculum and Student Services. The graduate registrar’s office will notify the student and appropriate offices on campus if approval is granted.

A student placed on Involuntary Medical Leave by the University is not guaranteed permission to return.

Financial Aid Implications It is the responsibility of the student to contact the Student Financial Services Office to discuss the implications of medical leave for his/her financial aid.

Refunds of Tuition and Fees

Refunds for students will be provided per the refund policy as published by Student Financial Services.