7.03 Undergraduate Short-term Leave of Absence

Effective: 04/25/2024
Senate Pro/posal: No
Responsible University Officer: Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs 
Responsible Office: Dean of Students Office

Policy Statement

The Dean of Students Office will work with undergraduate students requiring a short-term leave of absence during a semester or term. Approval for a short-term leave of absence requires documentation of an extenuating circumstance, following guidelines of the University Attendance Policy. Short-term leaves will not extend longer than six weeks or into future semesters. Students requiring a leave that extends into a future semester will be advised to pursue incomplete grades or a full withdrawal. Students approved for short-term leave must be able to fulfill the educational objectives of a course with or without reasonable accommodations. Students approved for short-term leaves will not be required to withdraw from the semester unless they fail to maintain communication with the Dean of Students Office or reapply for admission to the University upon their return.

Policy Requirements

This policy applies to students who need to take a leave of absence longer than two weeks but less than the remainder of a given semester. Short-term leaves of absence are for circumstances including but not limited to the following:

  • Surgery or recovery from surgery
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Inpatient or intensive outpatient mental health care
  • Birth, adoption, or new foster placement of a child
  • Other physical or mental health emergencies

Students requesting a short-term leave of absence must provide documentation of an extenuating circumstance and meet with a representative from the Dean of Students Office to complete a detailed plan for their leave, following the Procedures for Short-Term Leave of Absence.

International students attending Michigan Tech are encouraged to consult with a staff member in International Programs and Services to ensure compliance with immigration regulations and requirements.

Students returning from a medically-related short term leave of absence will provide documentation from a healthcare professional prior to returning. Documentation will not be required of students returning from a leave due to the birth, adoption or new foster care of a child. 


This policy will bring Michigan Tech into compliance with existing and proposed Title IX regulations regarding pregnant and parenting students. The proposed short term leave of absence policy would be an extension of the University Attendance Policy. The current attendance policy is vague in terms of extended absences and does not provide a framework for students, staff or faculty in administering this type of absence.

A short-term leave of absence policy was recommended by the JED Foundation as part of the Michigan Tech JED Campus strategic plan. It is recommended that Michigan Tech establishes separate leave of absence and withdrawal policies. Enabling students to leave school for a period of time without causing negative academic consequences encourages those students to seek needed mental and physical health treatment. 

Establishing a short-term leave of absence policy will likely have a positive impact on retention, allowing students to maintain enrollment and providing them with an easier path to return to classes following the leave. This policy will alleviate the need for students to automatically withdraw from all courses when they are seeking treatment, allowing them to maintain progress toward graduation. Students following the short-term leave procedures will be connected to a staff member who can guide and assist them through their leave and subsequent reintegration into classes.


The Undergraduate Short-Term Leave of Absence Policy is applicable to any undergraduate student enrolled at Michigan Tech who requires an absence of 2 or more weeks. The Dean of Students (DOS) Office will manage the procedure for leaves of absence. Staff in the DOS Office will consult with the Provost’s Office and the student’s instructors and academic advisors as needed. 

Related Policy Information

Remote or Virtual Options: Students on a short term leave of absence may, depending on their individual circumstances, be able to continue to engage in course work in a remote or virtual nature. The ability to participate remotely or virtually is dependent upon the nature of the course, and will be at the discretion of the course instructor. The DOS Office will facilitate this discussion between the student and instructor. 

Educational Objective: Instructors determine the educational objectives of their courses. For students missing a substantial amount of time or coursework during their leave, this time away could negatively impact their ability to meet the educational objectives for an individual course. If the course instructor determines the student will not be able to meet the educational objectives for their particular course, the student may wish to withdraw from the course in order to avoid a failing grade. Students who need to withdraw for this purpose will be granted a late drop from the course if the last day to drop a course with a W has already passed. 

Accommodations During Leave: Students who have the ability to continue with a level of engagement during their leave may require accommodations such as the ability to negotiate deadlines for coursework, taking exams and quizzes in an alternate location, extended time for exams, etc. Any requests for accommodations must be accompanied by documentation from a healthcare professional. Accommodations will be administered through the DOS Office.

Student responsibilities: Students are responsible for notifying the DOS Office of the need for a short term leave of absence prior to the time of the leave. Emergency situations will be considered on an  individual basis and must be accompanied by appropriate documentation. During the leave of absence and upon return to campus, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain communication with their instructors and the DOS Office and to adhere to the terms agreed upon. 

Faculty responsibilities: Faculty will be responsible for determining what, if any, content can be delivered/accessed in a remote or virtual manner. Faculty will also be responsible for determining whether the student will be able to meet the educational objectives of the course upon return from the short term leave. 

Staff responsibilities: The DOS staff member assigned to the case will notify instructors in a timely manner of upcoming leaves of absences and will facilitate the discussion between the student and instructors. 


This policy applies to undergraduate students at Michigan Tech. Graduate students are referred to the policies of the Graduate School, specifically the Graduate Student Parental Leave Policy.


Laura Bulleit

Vice President for Student Affairs



Kellie Raffaelli

Dean of Students



Reasonable accommodations—For the purpose of this policy, a reasonable accommodation is one that would allow a modification to the course or course material to allow the student to continue to engage in course content without undue hardship on the instructor. Examples are deadline extensions, access to Zoom or video recordings of lectures, ability to take exams or quizzes in an off-site proctored location, etc. 

Temporary accommodation—Accommodations which extend beyond the date of the short term leave of absence but will not remain in place for the entirety of the student’s academic career.


In support of this policy, the following procedures are included: 

Undergraduate Short-term Leave of Absence Procedure


Undergraduate Short Term Leave of Absence Request

Undergraduate Short Term Leave Arrangements Worksheet

Health Evaluation Form


University Attendance Policy


Adopted: 04/25/2024 Approved by appropriate executive team member