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Medical Leaves and Administrative Actions

Taking a Medical Leave of Absence from Purchase College and Other Administrative Action

Additional information on official withdrawal and leaves of absence, including links to the needed forms, is available under Leaves and Withdrawals for the Office of the Registrar.  

Medical Leave of Absence

A medical leave can be taken for issues of a medical nature (i.e., injury, illness, substance-related issues, mental health issues, etc.). In order to take a medical leave, you must submit supporting documentation. Acceptable documentation would be a letter or note from your physician, psychologist, or counselor, on their letterhead, which indicates the following: (1) the reason you are requesting a medical leave, including your diagnosis; (2) the date of initial treatment; (3) the dates of subsequent treatment (if applicable); and (4) the expected semester of recovery.

If your request is related to a mental health and/or substance related condition, you must schedule an appointment (health permitting) and submit documentation to the Counseling and Behavioral Health Services (located in the Humanities Building, Basement Level, Room 0009). For specific questions, contact the Counseling Center at (914) 251-6390.

If your request is related to any other medical condition, including a traumatic injury, accident, or illness, you must schedule an appointment (health permitting) and submit documentation to Student Health Services (located in Campus Center South, Lower Level). For specific questions, contact Student Health Services at (914) 251-6380.

Medical leaves of absence are effective on the date that the completed, signed form is received at the Office of Student Affairs. This effective date is used for calculating billing and refunds, and for assessing financial liability.

While we realize that there may be extenuating exceptions, deadlines for mid-semester medical leaves are as follow:

  • Before November 15 for fall semesters
  • Before April 15 for spring semesters
  • The same as the withdrawal deadline for summer and winter sessions

Students who choose to take a medical leaves of absence will be encouraged to prioritize their health and well-being over their academic pursuits. However, students should remain mindful that there are several implications of medical leaves. These include, but may not be limited to:

  • Grades: Students who take mid-semester approved medical leaves are given W grades.
  • College Health Insurance: Students who are enrolled in the college health insurance plan will continue to be covered until the end of the enrollment period (either January or August, whichever comes first), even if they leave school on a medical leave. If you continue your medical leave of absence beyond that semester, you will not be eligible to enroll in the college health insurance plan until you return to active full-time status. Students on medical leaves who are insured on non-college policies should check eligibility for continuing coverage with their insurance companies.
  • Financial: Students requesting a medical leave should be aware of the refund deadlines for financial liability of the cost of tuition, fees, meals, and housing as well as other financial implications of withdrawing with regard to financial aid. Leaves and withdrawals are effective on the date that the completed, signed form is received at the Office of Student Affairs. This effective date is used for calculating billing and refunds, and for assessing financial liability.

Registration while on Medical Leave of Absence:

Students on medical leaves may be eligible to register for campus housing and for classes based on their completed credits during the time of their leave. To be eligible for pre-registration, the student must have their treatment provider submit a preliminary letter that indicates that the student is currently undergoing treatment and is expected to be able to return to active student status for the semester in question (i.e., summer, fall, spring). That letter should be submitted by the treatment provider to either Health Services or Counseling and Behavioral Health Services – whichever department originally recommended the medical leave. Once the letter is received, the student will receive an email communication from the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs or designee informing the student of the date(s) that the account hold will be lifted to allow for registration. Following registration, the hold will be replaced on the student’s account pending final re-entry assessment clearance as outlined below. In the event that the student does not return through the process or is denied reentry through the process, the student will be deregistered as follows:

  • May 5 for summer session courses
  • August 10 for fall semester courses
  • December 10 for winter semester courses
  • January 10 for spring semester courses 

Return from Medical Leave of Absence:

Although a request for return will be assessed whenever requested by a student, a medical leave is generally for a period of no less than six months. If a medical leave is needed for more than a year, a request for an extension must be made in writing by the student for the subsequent year. Please note that a return from a medical leave of absence requires approval from the Office of Student Affairs following a re-entry assessment process.

Effective October 1, 2021, requests for returns from leaves must be received by the Friday of the first week in August or the Friday of the first week in January prior to the first day of classes in a new semester. The re-entry process can be scheduled as follows:

  • After April 15 for summer session returns
  • After July 15 for fall semester returns
  • After December 1 for winter session returns
  • After December 15 for spring semester returns

For specific questions related to returning from a mental health and/or substance-related medical leave, contact Counseling and Behavioral Health Services at (914) 251-6390. For specific questions related to returning from any other medical condition, contact Health Services at (914) 251-6380.

Below are links to the forms necessary for return:

Counseling return from medical leave forms:
Procedure for Re-enrollment from a Medical Leave of Absence

Health Services return from medical leave form:
Health Services Re-Entry Procedure

When choosing to return, students should remain mindful that:

  • In reviewing requests for return from medical leave, we look for evidence that the issues that led to your inability to perform have been addressed. Specifically, evidence that you have maintained stability and demonstrated follow-through with treatment for a sufficient period of time to enable you to be a successful student. Additionally, evidence of productive functioning (i.e., employment, volunteerism, etc.) is looked upon favorably. In order to be approved for return, you must have complied with any recommendations given to you for treatment at the time of your medical leave.
  • If you are planning to live on campus, please note that on-campus housing is limited and is not guaranteed for students returning from medical leaves of absence. Although students returning from medical leaves receive priority for housing, there is no guarantee that housing will be provided. Therefore, it is in your best interest to complete your return as close to the above dates as possible. Students returning from leave should explore off-campus options in case campus housing is unavailable. Please contact the Office of Community Engagement at (914) 251-6320 for specific information related to on-campus housing.
  • If you have not returned from or re-applied to extend your medical leave, you will be administratively withdrawn from the college after one year and will need to apply for readmission to the college if you choose to return at a later date.

Administrative Actions

Change in student status

A. Interim Suspension and Interim Residence Suspension

When in the judgment of the conduct officer and/ or the director of residence life (in consultation with the conduct officer) the continued presence of an accused person at the college presents an immediate danger to the fulfillment of the educational mission of the college or to the life, health, welfare, safety or property of any member(s) of the college community, the accused person may be subject to a change in student status including immediate denial of campus residency and/or suspension from the college pending the outcome of an initial conference or disciplinary hearing which shall be scheduled as expeditiously as possible.

Such a recommendation would be communicated to the vice president for student affairs or designee who will review the recommendation and gather and consider whatever additional information may be needed, and will determine if any change in status is warranted. Notification of any change of the student’s status and the reasons for it will be communicated to the student, in writing, within 24 hours of the decision. The accused will be provided with a specification of charges and the terms of the immediate action changing student status. This action may be taken, but is not limited to, situations involving physical and/or sexual violence, drugs, and other controlled substances.

B. Administrative relocations

If a resident student fails to comply with the conditions set forth in the residence license agreement (e.g. adhering to special interest housing expectations) they may be subject to reassignment. Such administrative action is not subject to the disciplinary process, but will involve discussion with the student.

  • Resident students who violate the terms and conditions of the residence license agreement in a manner which jeopardizes the health and safety of themselves or others are subject to reassignment and/or removal from campus housing. Such administrative action is not subject to the disciplinary appeals process, but shall involve discussion with the student.

C. Involuntary medical leaves of absence

The college maintains a health center and a counseling center to serve physical and emotional needs of students. Students whose needs are beyond the resources of these offices will be referred to off-campus facilities and service providers when possible. However, students who cannot adequately be helped by the available facilities and/or refuse to accept recommended emotional and/or medical treatment and whose resulting behavior renders them unable to effectively function in the residential or college community; that is, without harming others or disrupting the college community may be required to leave the college following the described procedure below:

  1. The assistant dean of student affairs and/or the vice president for student affairs or designee may require a mandatory assessment if a student’s condition renders them unable to function in the college community without harming others and/or disrupting the educational mission of the institution.
  2. When in the opinion of a professional member of the counseling or health center staff a student is unable to be adequately helped by the center or by other available facilities, and the student’s condition renders them unable to function in the college community without harming others and/or disrupting the educational mission of the institution, the staff member shall notify the vice president for student affairs or designee of the situation as soon as possible.
  3. When the vice president for student affairs receives notification under either (1) or (2), described above, the vice president for student affairs or their designee will review appropriate documentation and make a decision regarding the student’s status. Failure to appear for a mandated assessment will result in an involuntary medical leave of absence without further process. If the vice president for student affairs determines that the student should leave the College, the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee may inform the student’s parent, spouse, or other close relative.
  4. Although a request for return will be assessed whenever requested by a student, involuntary medical leaves of absence are generally for a period of no less than six months. A student may apply for re-enrollment by following the re-enrollment process described in the procedures for re-enrollment from a medical leave of absence.