Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Medical Leave of Absence. If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact Elizabeth Winberry, associate director of case management.

Going on a Medical Leave of Absence

What is a Medical Leave of Absence?

MLoA is a temporary break from enrollment to allow students to devote their attention to medical treatment when their need for care prevents them from being able to be a successful student. MLoA is granted for physical or mental health difficulties.

Who do I contact about discussing or requesting a MLoA?

A case manager can assist you with a medical leave of absence. It is a good idea if you are considering a medical leave to make an appointment to discuss this with a case manager — even if you aren’t sure it will be necessary.

If you’re working with a staff member in the Student Health and Wellness Center or Counseling Center, you may want to discuss the possibility of a medical leave with your provider.

What do I have to do when I am on leave?

  • The only requirement of you when on MLoA is to pursue treatment for the health issue that necessitated your leave. A case manager can assist you with finding referrals for treatment close to home. Should you need assistance with locating a treatment provider(s), please let your case manager know and they will connect you with a staff member in the Health and Wellness or Counseling Center who can assist with referrals.
  • If you are on the University’s Student Health Insurance plan, you are able to retain coverage while on a medical leave of absence through the remainder of the academic year. Should you opt to waive coverage during your Leave, you may only do so during an open enrollment period. Please direct any questions you have about your Student Health Insurance coverage to the Registrar’s office, which can be reached at (410) 516-8080.
  • Some students choose to volunteer or work a part-time job. Structure can be helpful for most students while on medical leave; while your first priority should be your health, it is recommended that you consider getting involved in an activity while away if your health permits this.

Do I need proof of an illness or documentation from a medical provider before I go on leave?

  • No, but you should discuss your situation with a case manager prior to taking leave.
  • Occasionally, students are encouraged to provide some sort of documentation for their given situation, which can be helpful when the student was not being treated at the Student Health or Counseling Center prior to going on MLoA, so that a provider can best assist you upon your return.

What is the minimum length of time I have to be on leave?

  • A minimum of a full semester (summer and intersession do not qualify as full semesters). This is to allow you enough time to seek treatment so that you are well enough upon your return to be a successful student.
  • A Case Manager will discuss your individual circumstances with you and a timeline that makes sense for your return.

When can I request a MLoA?

To take a leave for the current semester, you must meet with your Case Manager prior to last day for of the semester, as noted on the Academic Calendar. Requests for Medical Leaves cannot be processed after the last date of the semester.

How do I come back from medical leave?

You can read more about the reinstatement process in the MLoA section of the Office of the Dean of Student Life website.

How is MLoA different from a Leave of Absence?

Personal LoAs are offered through the KSAS and WSE advising offices. They are for students who want to take time away from the university to pursue an experience away from campus such as working on a political campaign, or caring for a sick relative. Personal LoAs are not for those needing medical treatment themselves.

What are the financial implications?

  • The Office of Student Financial Services is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students taking a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term. More information about this policy is available at finaid.jhu.edu/r2t4.
  • Students placed on any type of leave are considered as not enrolled and are reported to the National Student Clearinghouse as withdrawn from JHU. Federal loans will go into repayment after a 6-month grace period (unless the 6-month grace period has been used previously, in which case there is no grace period).
  • All students are evaluated per the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy; students on leave may lapse into Financial Aid Warning or Suspension based on their GPA, completion rate, and/or progress to degree. There is no impact to financial aid eligibility or disbursements during Financial Aid Warning. Students in Financial Aid Suspension may submit a SAP appeal to request aid consideration.
  • Depending on when the leave is put in place, students will be refunded between 0 and 100% of tuition, in accordance with the university’s refund policy. On-campus housing and dining fees will be adjusted as well, based on when the student vacates the room and terminates a dining contract.

What will my transcript say?

“Leave of Absence.” You may also have W’s on your transcript for MLoAs that begin after the deadline to drop courses for a semester. Your transcript does not indicate any reason for the leave of absence.

How do I enroll in classes while I’m on MLoA?

  • You will not be able to register for classes until you are cleared for reinstatement by the Dean of Student Life office and have any relevant holds removed from your account (e.g. academic or financial holds). You will see a Registrar’s hold on your account, which reflects your MLoA hold, which will be removed once you have been accepted for reinstatement. If registering early is important to you, you should begin the reinstatement process as soon as possible.
  • If you have already enrolled in next semester’s classes, but now you are taking MLoA, you will be taken out of those classes and not able to re-enroll until you have been cleared for reinstatement.

Can I take classes at another institution while on a leave of absence?

Students who are on any Leave of Absence from Johns Hopkins may not take courses at another university to be transferred to their Johns Hopkins academic record.

How will going on medical leave affect my planned graduation date?

  • Please contact your advisor to discuss your remaining courses required for graduation.
  • Sometimes students are able to take a medical leave and still graduate at their planned graduation date. This may require taking summer courses if relevant courses are available. Other times, graduation dates are pushed back by the length of time of the leave.
  • For students in majors that are heavily sequenced, where courses may only be offered in one semester each year, it may be worthwhile to consider a leave for a full academic year rather than a semester.

I am an international student. Do I have to do anything for my visa?

Per the Office of International Services, all international students on F-1 or J-1 visas must see an advisor in the OIS to avoid potentially serious immigration issues, both concerning departure from the U.S. and return. OIS can be reached at (667) 208-7001 or the OIS website.

Can I still use campus buildings if I am in Baltimore during my leave?

No. Any student on any type of leave from the University will not have student privileges which include access to university services or facilities and student employment. Your J-Card will also be deactivated.

I’m in a housing contract. What should I do?

  • Residential students: You will be asked to vacate your on-campus residence in a prompt manner, usually within 5-7 days. Please contact the Housing Operations office to set up a time to drop off your keys.
  • Non-Residential students: You may want to sublet the remaining term of your lease; the University has no authority over your lease. You may contact the Off-Campus Housing office for more information.

Will I have to live on campus when I return from medical leave?

  • If you have not met JHU’s two-year on-campus housing requirement prior to leave, then you should plan to live on campus when you return from leave. If you are unsure as to whether you have fulfilled the residence requirement, feel free to reach out to Housing directly to inquire.
  • Signing a lease off-campus will not exempt you from the housing requirement. Please do not sign a lease until you have confirmed that you are not required to live on campus
  • If you have not met the residency requirement and opt not to take occupancy of your assigned room on campus, you will be billed for housing and board for the entire applicable term. You cannot complete your residence requirement in the middle of the academic year. For example, if you are a freshman returning for the spring semester, you must reside in the residence halls your entering semester and the following entire academic year.

What happens to my health insurance?

If you are on the University’s Student Health Insurance plan, you are able to retain coverage while on a medical leave of absence through the remainder of the academic year. Should you opt to waive coverage during your Leave, you may only do so during an open enrollment period. Please direct any questions you have about your Student Health Insurance coverage to the Registrar’s office, which can be reached at (410) 516-8080.

I am a graduate student. How do I take a Medical Leave?

The Office of the Dean of Student Life only serves undergraduate students, and thus handles all undergraduate requests for Medical Leave of Absence. Graduate students should speak to Christine Kavanaugh (410-516-0777 or christinekavanagh@jhu.edu) for a Medical Leave from Whiting programs, and Renee Eastwood (410-516-8477 or rseitz5@jhu.edu) for a Medical Leave from Kreiger programs.

Reinstatement from a Medical Leave of Absence

When can I return from my Medical Leave of Absence?

  • When you left you should have discussed your earliest reinstatement date with your case manager. If you are unsure, contact your case manager.
  • Please be aware that you must be within the window in which we accept requests for reinstatement. View the dates for reinstatement requests.
  • Your medical provider must be able to attest to your readiness to return, and any ongoing treatment needs. While a case manager would discuss an earliest reinstatement date when you leave, ultimately, returning is about when you are healthy enough to participate in the academic environment at JHU.

Who do I contact about returning?

You should notify a case manager of your intent to return and complete a CARE report. You may direct any questions to the case managers.

What documentation do I need?

Each student, regardless of the originating concern initiating their MLoA, must complete reinstatement documentation, which is available online or through your case manager. The documentation includes:

  • Release(s) of Information
  • Student Self-Questionnaire
  • Treating Provider Letter

Why do I have to go through a reinstatement process?

  • The Office of the Dean of Student Life requires proof of readiness to return from a MLoA because we want to ensure that you are set up for success upon your return.
  • Most students who take a MLoA are cleared for reinstatement. However, if you do not participate in adequate treatment related to your health while on a medical leave, you will not be reinstated until this requirement is met.
  • You are not required to be “cured” of all illnesses in order to return from a medical leave. Many students return from a medical leave and continue treatment in some manner while pursuing their JHU education. The goal of the medical leave and reinstatement process is to allow you to be healthy enough to continue your JHU education. The Office of the Dean of Student Life is eager to support students transitioning back from a medical leave to ensure that any ongoing health needs are met.

How long does it take?

  • The process can take approximately six weeks from the time the forms are submitted to when the student is cleared. This also depends on the time in the semester such as over Winter Break.
  • If you still have some of your residency requirement or want to live on campus, you should allow eight weeks. See more about Housing below.

What happens after I submit the required forms for reinstatement?

  • Disclosure of Documentation
    • After you have submitted Part 1 and Part 2 has been received, your paperwork will be disclosed to the appropriate on-campus care provider (Student Health and Wellness Center or Counseling Center) for review.
  • Consultation with On-Campus Care Provider
    • Once materials have been received, you will contact the on-campus provider for a phone consultation to discuss your treatment while on Leave, your readiness to return, and your plan to maintain your health upon return to the University.
    • The provider will make a recommendation to the Office of the Dean of Student Life. The recommendation will either be (1) you are cleared to return (with or without recommendations); (2) you are not cleared for return at this time and must apply at a later date.
  • Consultation with the Office of the Dean of Student Life
    • Once your recommendation is received by Office of the Dean of Student Life, you will be contacted by a member of the CARE team. You will have a phone interview with a Case Manager discussing your Leave and plans for support and care upon return to the University.
  • Decision is Made Regarding Reinstatement
    • The Student Questionnaire, Provider Letter, and your consultations will all be considered to determine your readiness for reinstatement.
    • You will be notified by phone or email by the Office of the Dean of Student Life as to the decision regarding your reinstatement.

I have been denied reinstatement. Can I appeal this decision?

  • In the event that a student objects the reinstatement decision made by the Office of the Dean of Student Life, the student may appeal the reinstatement decision in writing to the Senior Associate Dean or their designee within five (5) business days of the date of the notice of the decision. The student may not remain on campus during this time.
    • The appeal may be filed on the sole grounds of:
      • New information available
      • Incorrect facts were used to determine the decision
      • Unfair application of Johns Hopkins leave processes were applied
  • The student should provide documentation to support these statements. Any medical information used in the appeal must include signed releases for the student’s treatment team to discuss pertinent information with the Dean and/or designee
  • The Dean will review the record and any additional information submitted by the student and will render a written decision to the student within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal. The Dean’s decision will be final.

I still have a residency requirement but I want to live off-campus. What do I do?

You must complete four full semesters in on-campus housing to satisfy the residence requirement. In some cases, Housing will release a student from the residence requirement if they have resided on campus for three full semesters prior to their leave. Please contact Housing directly before signing any leases off campus. Signing an off-campus lease will not make you exempt from your housing requirement. If you have not met the residence requirement and opt not to live in your assigned space on campus, you will be billed for housing and board for the entire applicable term.

Can I register for classes before I am cleared?

No. There are no exceptions to this policy. Students who wish to register with their class should begin the process at least six weeks before their registration date.

What about my financial aid?

  • We recommend that you reach out to the Office of Student Financial Services at fin_aid@jhu or 410-516-8028 to ensure that you’ve completed all of the necessary forms for the coming semester. They cannot renew your aid until you are cleared for reinstatement.
  • Returning student aid application procedures and deadlines can be found on the Financial Aid website.

I am an international student. Do I have to do anything for my visa?

Per the Office of International Services, all international students on F-1 or J-1 visas must see an advisor in the OIS to avoid potentially serious immigration issues, both concerning departure from the U.S. and return. OIS can be reached at (6767) 208-7001 or the OIS website.

How can I get the accommodations I need when I return?

  • If you have a disability and need accommodations, you should register with Student Disability Services. You will need documentation from a treating provider in order to do so.
  • A case manager can also work with you to identify any other relevant support you may need on campus.