Leave of Absence Policy
MassArt undergraduate, graduate, and certificate students who experience physical or emotional difficulties that significantly impair their ability to function successfully or safely as a student may want to consider taking a personal leave of absence, medical leave of absence, or may be placed on a mandatory administrative leave of absence.
Note that the leave of absence policy is a dual undergraduate and graduate policy, and that in cases where the policy differs for these populations, both policies are included.
PERSONAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE
If a student experiences circumstances that impair his/her ability to function successfully or safely at the college and does not meet the criteria for a Medical Leave of Absence, a student may request a personal leave of absence. Dropping or not attending classes does not constitute a personal leave of absence.
A student requesting a leave must contact the Associate Dean of the Academic Resource Center (ARC) to obtain the Personal Leave of Absence form. The Associate Dean of the ARC will assist the student with completing this form and with gaining required signatures. The Associate Dean of the ARC will submit the completed Leave of Absence form to the Registrar’s Office, which will process the leave.
If a student submits a Personal Leave of Absence request or an Institutional Withdrawal request after the Add/Drop deadline, but by the Course Withdrawal deadline, they will receive a grade of “W” for all of their registered courses. They will not be eligible to petition for Incompletes in their courses. Students who submit a Personal Leave of Absence request or an Institutional Withdrawal request after the Course Withdrawal deadline will receive grades of F/NC for their registered courses. They will not be eligible to petition for Incompletes in those courses.
A BFA student may take up to 2 semesters of personal leave, and a graduate student may take up to 3 consecutive semesters including summer (up to 1 academic year) of personal leave, during their time as a matriculated student. This total leave would include the semester in which a student declared a personal leave.
Returning from a Personal Leave of Absence
Weeks in advance of the registration period for the semester of return, the Registrar’s Office will contact students at their MassArt email address. The email will contain instructions for registration and returning to campus. It is mandatory for the student to respond to the email and confirm that they will or will not be returning to campus on the expected return date. Students need to be aware of all holds on their account.
MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE
A medical leave of absence is granted by the Director or Assistant Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center in order for a student to have time away from the college to recover from the pressing medical or mental health issue. The process to be placed on medical leave is the following:
- Contact the Counseling and Wellness Center and request a meeting with the Director or Assistant Director. If it is not possible to meet in person then a telephone conversation with the student or family member is possible. The student will complete release of information forms (when appropriate) with the Counseling and Wellness staff for coordination of care with parents, MassArt supports, and/or off-campus providers.
- In collaboration with the student, the Director of Counseling and Wellness or the Dean of Students generally notifies parents/legal guardians in the case of a medical leave of absence.
- After receiving the signed Leave of Absence form by the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness, the student will submit this form to the Associate Dean of the Academic Resource Center.
- The Associate Dean of the Academic Resource Center will notify the Registrar’s Office that the student has been approved for a medical leave of absence.
- The Registrar’s Office will notify housing, the financial assistance office, current faculty, faculty advisor, academic advisor, department chair, graduate programs office, administrative assistants for major department, and business office, informing them that the student will be taking a medical leave of absence. The Registrar’s will email the student to confirm the medical leave of absence.
Deadlines for initiating a medical leave: Students must have completed an evaluation through the Counseling and Wellness Center for a medical leave of absence no later than the final day of classes as listed on the online academic calendar in order for a medical leave of absence to be processed for that semester.
Length of a medical leave: A medical leave of absence may be approved or 2 semesters for a BFA student, and for up to 3 consecutive semesters including summer (up to 1 academic year) for a graduate student. Students who do not return at the expected return date and have not been given approval to extend the medical leave are considered withdrawn from the college and must reapply for admission. The semester in which the first medical leave of absence begins counts as one of the allotted semesters for medical leave.
Please note: If a student initiates a medical leave of absence after the withdrawal deadline for the semester, the student will be strongly encouraged to take the following semester off as part of their medical leave of absence.
Extensions: With approval by the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness, and in coordination with a student’s medical provider(s), a BFA student may be approved to extend a medical leave for additional semesters. A graduate student may not extend a leave beyond the stated limit of 3 consecutive semesters. Students who wish to extend an approved medical leave of absence must do so in writing to the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness.
Appeal Process: If a student disagrees with the results of the evaluation required to take a medical leave of absence, an appeal can be made to the Dean of Students (Student Development Office). An Appeals Committee chaired by the Dean of Students will review the decision and consider the following criteria:
- Was the decision made in a fair and reasonable manner?
- Is there another alternative outcome that could be reached?
The Appeals Committee recommendation shall be final and conclusive and not subject to further appeal.
Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence
Students should review the Checklist for Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence.
The student must be in a healthier state than when the student began the medical leave. This can be determined by the counseling and wellness staff with input from the medical providers who have worked with the student during the leave of absence. The medical provider will need to submit the Community Provider Report summarizing the student’s readiness to return to college. The evaluation should be submitted by August 1 for the fall semester, January 10 for the spring semester and May 15 for the graduate program summer semester.
All students must meet with the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness prior to being approved to return from a medical leave of absence. After this consultation, the Director or Assistant Director will provide a recommendation to the Dean of Students regarding the student’s return to MassArt. The Dean of Students may request to meet with the student. The Dean of Students will make a decision, notify the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness of approval or denial, and the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness will inform the student by email of approval or denial to return to the college and to return to on-campus housing, if requested. Once approved, the staff and student will discuss what supports can be put in place to create a supportive environment for the student to return to the College.
Students should expect to receive an email from the Registrar’s Office weeks prior to the registration period for the semester of return. Students will be expected to respond to that email and confirm that they will or will not be returning to campus.
MANDATORY ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE OF ABSENCE
The College may require a student to take a mandatory administrative leave of absence in the event the student has an illness, condition or behavior that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the student or other people. The policy attempts to address the student’s difficulties with a humanistic approach by mandating an interim leave of absence and psychological evaluation with due process rather than dealing with the problem behavior from a strictly disciplinary approach and/or dismissing the student from the college.
A student can be placed on a mandatory administrative leave of absence from MassArt, or from the college residence halls, if it is determined that the student is an imminent danger to self or others, or has engaged or threatened to engage in or directly and substantially impede the lawful activities of others, lacks the capacity to respond to pending disciplinary charges, or did not know the nature of wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense. These standards do not preclude removal from the college, or college residence hall, in accordance with provisions of the residence hall, occupancy agreement, or other Massachusetts College of Art and Design rules or regulations.
The student will be expected to meet with the Dean of Students (Student Development office) and will be informed in writing of the mandatory leave of absence. Please refer to the student handbook for a detailed explanation of the policies and procedures of the mandatory leave of absence. During a mandatory leave of absence, the student will only be allowed on college property when approved by the Dean of Students.
Returning from a Mandatory Administrative Leave of Absence
To return to the college from a mandatory administrative leave of absence, a student may be required to:
- Meet with the Dean of Students (Student Development office)
- Meet with the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness (if this leave of absence was due to a medical issue)
- Provide written consent for appropriate consultation among college offices and off-campus providers
- Contact the Housing and Residence Life Office to discuss on-campus housing opportunities after approval by the Dean of Students.
The Dean of Students will inform the student in writing of approval or denial to return to the college and to return to on-campus housing, if requested.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS (for all leaves of absence)
Students taking a leave of absence should review the Checklist for Students Taking a Leave of Absence form to guide them through the necessary steps for taking care of college matters.
Taking a leave of absence after the add/drop period may impact a student’s grades, academic standing and eligibility for financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to understand the implications of taking a leave of absence. Please refer to the MassArt business office policies on financial implications of a withdrawal from the college.
Academic Resource Center: Once a student is approved to return from a leave of absence, the student is encouraged to contact the Academic Resource Center (617-879-7280) or his/her faculty advisor to receive academic advising.
Continuing Education (CE): Students may not take Continuing Education courses at MassArt while they are on a medical leave of absence unless a student obtains permission from the Director or Assistant Director of Counseling and Wellness. This is because it is assumed that the student on a medical leave is generally focused on self-care and recovery from the reasons that led to the leave of absence. For all other leave of absences, students may register for CE courses, but if they choose to do so for the Fall or Spring semester, they need to notify the Registrar so that their tuition bill is calculated correctly. Prior to registration in any CE course, graduate students must contact their Graduate Program Coordinator and the Graduate Dean to request approval for application of the course towards program credit.
Financial Aid: Students who withdraw and have received financial aid must contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The federal government mandates that students who withdraw or take a leave of absence from all classes before the 60% point of the semester may only keep the financial aid they have “earned” up to the time of withdrawal/leave. Title IV funds that were disbursed in excess of the “earned” amount must be returned by the college and/or the student to the Federal Government. This could result in the student owing aid funds to the college, the government, or both. Pursuant with federal guidelines, students taking a leave of absence of one or more semesters will be considered withdrawn for the purpose of student loan repayment.
Grades and Registration Holds:
- Personal Leave of Absence:
- If a personal leave of absence is approved by the course withdrawal deadline for that semester, the student will receive a “W” for each course.
- If a student takes a personal leave before the add/drop period, they will receive no grades on their transcript.
- Medical Leave of Absence: If a student is approved for a medical leave of absence after the add/drop period, the student will receive a “W” in each enrolled course for the semester in which a complete medical leave of absence is approved. If a student is eligible for a 100% tuition refund based on the effective date of the leave of absence and the college’s refund schedule, all enrolled courses will be deleted for the semester.
Health Insurance: Students who are enrolled in MassArt’s Student Health Insurance Plan at the time of taking a leave of absence will continue to be enrolled through the paid policy’s expiration date. A student on a leave of absence will not be able to return to MassArt’s Health Insurance for the following year if they are still on a leave of absence. In order to re-enroll in MassArt’s Student Health Insurance, a student must be enrolled in at least 9 credits.
International Students: For international students, a leave of absence may affect one’s immigration status. International students holding visas should consult with the International Education Center before filing a leave of absence to make sure they meet immigration regulatory requirements.
Residence Halls: If a resident student is approved for a leave of absence, the student must vacate college housing within 48 hours of the leave of absence approval. If the student has been living on campus, he/she is required to inform the Housing and Residence Life Office via email Housing@MassArt.edu prior to leaving the residence hall. Additionally, the student should speak with the Director of Housing and Residence Life or the Housing Coordinator about the financial obligation to Residence Life. Residence Life staff will be unable to hold a student’s housing assignment during an approved leave of absence. Students may not return to residence halls to visit during the duration of their leave of absence. Once the student is approved to return to the college, the office will make every effort to find suitable college housing, however space is not guaranteed.
Room/Board: A room/board refund might be granted for a leave of absence. The refund will be based on the effective date of the approved leave of absence. Prior to the appeal review, all students must submit in writing their separation from the institution. The Housing and Residence Life Office will provide a detailed email outlining student financial responsibilities, the cancellation policy, and the appeals request process. Once the request is submitted, the Dean of Students and Director of Housing and Residence Life will consider the appeals request. Granting an appeal is often due to exceptional circumstances. Generally, there are no meal plan refunds given for students taking a leave of absence.
Tuition Billing: A full or partial tuition (refund) may be granted for a medical leave of absence if a student leaves MassArt before the semester begins or during the first two weeks of the semester. Federal regulations require that all educational institutions disclose their refund policy to all prospective students. In accordance with that regulation, please review the Student Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
Institutional Withdrawal (IW): When a student submits a withdrawal request and officially separates from the college. At that time, their student program is closed.
Course Withdrawal (CW): The action of withdrawing from a course by the course withdrawal deadline in any given semester. When a student withdraws from a course by the course withdrawal deadline, they receive a grade of “W” for the course. If a student submits a Personal Leave of Absence request or an Institutional Withdrawal request by the course withdrawal deadline, they will receive a grade of “W” for all of that semester’s classes.
Add/Drop Period: The first two weeks of the semester are the Add/Drop period when students can adjust their schedules without grading penalty. If a student drops a class during the Add/Drop period, they do not receive any type of grade for the course. If a student requests a Leave of Absence or an Institutional Withdrawal within the Add/Drop period, they will receive a 50% refund of their paid tuition.
REASON FOR UNENROLLMENT
RESULTING ACADEMIC STANDING WHEN TAKEN PRE-WITHDRAWAL DEADLINE
RESULTING ACADEMIC STANDING WHEN TAKEN POST-WITHDRAWAL DEADLINE
HOW TO RETURN
Personal Leave of Absence
All courses graded ‘W’ which negatively impacts academic standing
Preregister on the regular schedule
Medical Leave of Absence
All courses graded ‘W’ but no impact on academic standing
All courses graded ‘W’ but no impact on academic standing
Preregister on the regular schedule but must obtain Director Of Counseling approval by August 1 or January 10
Involuntary Administrative or Disciplinary
All courses graded ‘W’ which negatively impacts academic standing
Student grades assigned by each individual faculty member
Preregister on the regular schedule but must obtain Dean of Students approval by August 1 or January 10
Withdrawal from college degree program
All courses graded ‘W’ and negatively impacts academic standing if student applies for readmission
Student grades assigned by each individual faculty member
Must apply for readmission (see also “Returning Student Policy”)