Extended Absence

During academic/clinical careers, a student may need to take a leave from studies for a variety of reasons. There are two types of extended absences: 1) Withdraw with Intent to Return (WIR) and 2) Leave of Absence (LOA). A WIR or LOA must be requested in writing to the Program Dean/Director. Notification is required at least one month prior to a planned absence and must include the reason for the time away and the dates involved. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, for example, a personal or family emergency, the student must submit a request in writing as soon as they are able to do so (See the “Application for Leave, Withdraw or Withdraw with Intent to Return” form on the portal).

Depending on the Program curriculum, extended absences during the didactic portion may result in a student sitting out the entire year until the time when those courses are taught again. Extended absences during the clinical portion may occur for a minimum of one clinical rotation. Requirements for graduation differ by Program including examination policies, remediation and deceleration policies, and training time requirements. Therefore, the allowable time away from school must meet the appropriate time requirement set by each Program. Please consult your Program Student Handbook and/or Student Affairs professional.

Tuition will be prorated according to the Tuition Refund Policy. Unless expressly prohibited by the University in writing, students on extended absences generally may retain their Student ID/Access Card, University email, and access to online resources and the library. There will be a notation on their transcript of the beginning and end date of absences. Copies of the completed application will be sent to Financial Aid, Student Accounts, the Library, Campus Safety, and to other critical offices as appropriate. International students (F‐1 Visa holders) planning on extended absences must speak with a Designated School Official regarding their visa status.

Attendance at Congresses, Conferences & Extracurriculars

During the academic year there are several congresses, conferences, and other extracurricular meetings and events. If a student desires to attend any of these functions during scheduled classes or clinic assignments, the student must obtain prior permission in writing according to the protocol outlined in the respective Program Handbook. The responsibility for making up missed assignments, lectures, tests, labs, etc. lies completely with the student.

Medical Extended Absence Policy

MBKU is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our campus community. Students that experience situations that significantly limit their ability to function successfully or safely should consider requesting an extended leave of absence. An extended leave of absence permits students to take a break from the University and their studies, so that they may address the issues that led to the need for the leave and later return to the University to achieve their educational goals.

The policies and procedures described below establish a process for the voluntary and involuntary medical extended absence of MBKU students for mental or physical health reasons. The procedures also provide guidance for requesting return after being away from MBKU on a medical extended absence.

MBKU provides equal access to all participants in University processes, including students with disabilities. Students with disabilities should contact Disability Services to request accommodations. Information about support services and appropriate documentation for accommodations are located on the Portal.

Voluntary and involuntary student medical extended absence decisions are made by the respective Dean/Director or their designee; however, Student Disability Services evaluate medical and other relevant documentation and recommends to the respective Dean/Director, either eligibility for voluntary extended absence, or in the case of involuntary extended absence, recommends such action be undertaken. Information from academic departments, faculty, and the Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (CARE) Team will be incorporated into the process as applicable. In addition, students will be informed of the resources of Student Disability Services.

A student on voluntary or involuntary medical extended absence may not attend classes or clinic at MBKU, perform research at MBKU, work at MBKU, participate in student life or other campus events, or utilize other MBKU facilities. Unless expressly prohibited in writing, students on leave generally may retain their MBKU email account. Voluntary and involuntary medical extended absences are noted on the student transcript as a WIR or LOA depending on the length of the absence. Consistent with MBKU’s Tuition Refund Policy, students who leave the University before the end of a term may be eligible to receive refunds of portions of their tuition. Nothing in this policy relieves a student of any financial obligations to the University that were in place prior to the medical extended absence.

Medical extended absence is not intended to be a way of shielding a student from unsatisfactory progress or any other academic concern. In addition, a medical extended absence may not be used when disciplinary or other academic responses are appropriate, and the student’s circumstances should be addressed through those responses.

At any time during the leave process, the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services may notify a student’s parent, guardian, emergency contact, or other individual, consistent with the law, if notification is deemed appropriate.

Voluntary Medical Extended Absence

CRITERIA

A voluntary extended absence may be granted when a decision is made that, due to mental or physical health reasons, a student is unable to participate in campus life, including but not limited to an inability to complete or make satisfactory progress toward academic requirements.

PROCESS

Any student may make a request for a voluntary medical extended absence. Appropriate medical documentation shall be provided for such a request, and this should be done in consultation with Student Disability Services. Medical extended absence requests by a student should be made to the Disability Services Coordinator, who shall facilitate the review of such requests with the Dean/Director or their designee.

Involuntary Medical Extended Absence

CRITERIA

Where current knowledge about the individual’s medical condition and/or the best available objective evidence indicates that a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of a member of the University community, where a student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self‐care obligations and poses a significant risk to their own safety not based on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations, or where a student’s behavior severely disrupts the University environment and the student does not want to take a voluntary extended absence, the CARE Team has the authority to place a student on an involuntary extended absence.

In addition, a student may be placed on involuntary extended absence for medical reasons if a student does not cooperate with efforts deemed necessary by MBKU to determine if the student poses a significant risk to the health and/or safety of self or others. Before placing any student on an involuntary extended absence, the CARE Team will conduct an individualized assessment, also considering if there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the student to continue to participate in the University community without taking an extended absence. When possible and appropriate, reasonable efforts shall be made to allow a student to take a voluntary extended absence under appropriate procedures before placing a student on involuntary extended absence status.

PROCESS

A representative from the CARE Team will issue a notice to the student in writing that an involuntary extended absence is under consideration. The written notice will include the reason(s) why the student is being considered for an involuntary extended absence, contact information for Disability Services, which can provide information about accommodations, and a reference to this policy. In the written notice, the student will be encouraged to respond before a decision regarding an extended absence is made and will be given a specified time within which to do so. The CARE Team will determine if a student meets the criteria of an involuntary extended absence using risk rubrics, individualized assessments, and consultation from CARE Team members, including the Director of Student Counseling Services and the Disability Services Coordinator/Assistant Coordinator. The CARE Team may consider information from the student’s healthcare provider(s) regarding issues relevant and appropriate to the circumstance.

All information gathered will be used to understand the nature, duration, and severity of the risk or disruption; the probability that the risk or disruption will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will adequately mitigate the risk or disruption so as to eliminate the need for an involuntary extended absence.

The decision to place a student on involuntary extended absence status shall be provided in writing to the student (after notifying the student’s Dean/Director and the University President). The written notice shall include an explanation of the reasons for placing a student on involuntary extended absence status (and the information relied upon), the details of the extended absence, and the conditions for requesting return. The written notice of decision will include information about the student’s right to appeal and to reasonable accommodations during the appeal process. The review and notice of the decision under this policy should be done in a reasonably timely manner. Where students have been asked to remain away from the University while the review is underway, every effort will be made by the CARE Team to reach a decision within one week, provided the student responds in a timely manner to requests for information and, if appropriate, evaluation.

If an involuntary extended absence is not imposed, the CARE Team may impose conditions and/or requirements under which the student may remain at the University.

In situations involving an imminent or ongoing threat of harm to the student or any other member of the University community, the CARE Team, in the exercise of their reasonable judgment, may require a student to be immediately prohibited from entering campus or facilities utilized for University programs or activities while the individualized assessment and review are taking place. Such students will receive written notice as quickly as possible.

PROCESS FOR APPEAL OF DECISION

A student who is placed on involuntary medical extended absence may write to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) or designee to seek a review of the decision. The decision is in effect despite a request for review of the decision. To be timely, the VPAA should receive any such request for review within five business days of the decision, unless they agree to accept a late review request due to exceptional circumstances.

The written request for appeal must specify the substantive and/or procedural basis for the appeal and must be made on grounds other than general dissatisfaction with the decision of the CARE Team. The review by the VPAA will be limited to the following considerations:

  • Lack of proper facts and criteria used for the decision
  • New information not previously available to the student that may change the outcome of the decision‐making process
  • Procedural irregularities that materially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the appellant
  • Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedures, the decision was not reasonable

The VPAA shall review the student’s appeal and may affirm, overturn, or modify the decision within ten business days from the date of receipt of request for review or an agreed extended time. The VPAA may meet with the student if needed or may consult with anyone that they determine is reasonable to review the appeal. The VPAA’s decision shall be communicated to the student in writing and shall be considered final and no other appeals or grievance procedures are available.

Process for Requesting Return

A student who has been on voluntary or involuntary medical extended absence and who wishes to request to return should provide appropriate documentation to comply with any conditions of the return process including documentation of ongoing treatment to address the specific medical reasons that supported the medical leave. Both the status of the mental and physical health of the student and their ability to resume full-time participation in campus academic and student life are central to the determination of whether the student may be approved to return. Successful follow-through on recommendations made in the notification of medical extended absence decision may weigh heavily in the consideration of the student’s request to return. The decision whether to approve a student’s request to return shall be made after evaluating relevant documentation and shall be within the sole discretion of the Dean/Director of the Program, in collaboration with the MBKU CARE Team. After review, the CARE Team or Dean/Director may require additional conditions for return.

Generally, a student will not be allowed to return until one full quarter has elapsed or until the leave period in the involuntary extended absence notification has elapsed, and all conditions and/or requirements are met. Given the nature of the curriculum, students may need to remain on extended absence until they can re-enter the curriculum.

All returning students must meet the essential eligibility requirements and any technical standards of the University and the relevant Program, with or without reasonable accommodations. Students returning from a voluntary or involuntary medical extended absence are encouraged to meet with the Student Disability Services Coordinator to discuss reasonable accommodations.

A student who has been on voluntary or involuntary medical extended absence for more than two years may be considered withdrawn from the Program. If a student seeks to return after two years, the student should reapply for admission to restart the Program.

If the Program Dean/Director is not satisfied that the student is ready to return to the University, the student will be notified in writing of the decision, including the reason for the decision, within a reasonable time after the student has submitted a request for re-enrollment and required documentation. A student not permitted to return may appeal the decision to the VPAA.

PROCESS FOR APPEAL OF DECISION

A decision not to approve a student’s request to return may be reconsidered only if substantial new information has become available after the decision has been made. A request for reconsideration along with the new information should be submitted and the student’s Program committee on academic standing/progress may reconsider the decision.

Personal Leave of Absence (LOA)

Students may apply to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) from the Program for a specific time providing that it does not involve more than 180 days, including holidays and educational breaks, within a 12-month period. The LOA must be requested in writing, to the Dean/Director or the designee of the Program, no later than one month prior to the start of the LOA in the case of a planned event and must include the reason for the LOA as well as the dates involved. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, for example, an accident or emergency medical condition, the student must request the LOA in writing as soon as they are able to do so. Generally, reasons for a LOA are due to personal issues or medical conditions and not academic reasons.

Extension to an approved LOA may be requested from the Dean/Director or the designee of the program if the request to extend is received prior to the LOA end date and the request does not extend the LOA beyond 180 days. If the extension request is denied and the student does not return by the approved date, then the student will be considered Withdrawn with Intent to Return (see below) or withdrawn depending on the situation.

Students on a LOA during the clinical portion of their Program may not see patients during the specified LOA. Each Program has different procedures and allowances regarding short-term leaves. Please refer to the respective Program Student Handbook.

In addition, students may not receive financial aid during the time of the LOA. Students who meet the criteria for the LOA are not considered to have withdrawn from the Program for loan repayment purposes and their student loan repayment/grace status may not be impacted.

Unapproved Withdraw

Any student who is absent for more than two weeks without submitting a written request in accordance with the regulations for a LOA or WIR, will be considered to have withdrawn from the Program. As an unexcused/unapproved withdrawal, the student may forfeit any rights to return to the Program pending administrative decision.

Withdraw with Intent to Return (WIR)

Students who need to leave their studies may request a Withdrawal with Intent to Return (WIR). The student must request the WIR in writing to the Dean/Director or the designee of the Program and if approved, the student will be permitted to return. A student who has been on a WIR may request additional time away from their Program, however, it does require Program approval.

Students who are on academic probation at the time they elect to take a WIR may have their conditions for re-admittance reviewed by the Program's academic standards committee prior to readmission. Students who are dismissed for academic reasons and given the right to return are on a WIR.

Students who are on a WIR are in a non-enrollment status and will not be eligible for financial aid or in-school status. During this time, the student will not be enrolled, and their student loans will enter repayment/grace status effective with the date they left the Program/University. All students on a WIR will be eligible for financial aid when they return to the Program, provided they are enrolled at least half-time and are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.