Center for Health and Counseling Services

Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA)

Important Forms

MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE (MLOA)

Request for a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA)

Ramapo College of New Jersey (RCNJ) students may apply for a Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) from the College for reasons of medical or psychological illnesses. Students must withdraw from all registered courses under this policy.  There are rare occasions when it is appropriate for students to receive a medical withdrawal from one or two courses (i.e., a medical injury that renders a person unable to participate in a course which requires physical activity).  Such exceptions will be considered on an individual basis the grade for each course the student withdraws from will be recorded as “W” on the student’s transcript. There will be no refund if the request for a MLOA is completed after the College course withdrawal deadline (see Academic Calendar).

Students may experience medical or psychological conditions that significantly impair their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as a student. It should be understood that most students need a minimum of one full semester away from RCNJ in order to obtain the necessary psychological or medical treatment which would enable them to recover their health sufficiently.

Student benefits and considerations of taking a MLOA

  • A MLOA sometimes qualifies a student to initiate a leave of absence later in the semester than might normally be permitted for other forms of leave.
  • If a student is covered by his/her parent’s insurance policy and at risk of losing coverage due to taking a MLOA, a letter may be provided citing the circumstances of a student medical leave of absence from the College and requesting continuation of insurance coverage due to a medical condition.
  • For international students, a MLOA may affect one’s legal status. International students holding visas, including F-1 or J-1 visas, should consult with the International Student Advisor or their own counsel before filing for a MLOA to make sure they meet the immigration regulatory requirements.  The Office of International Students and Scholars is located on the first floor of the Anisfield School of Business in the Roukema Center for International Education.
  • Students who live in housing must follow the housing withdrawal process outlined in the Guide for Community Living. Students intending on returning to housing after obtaining clearance to return from a MLOA must contact the Office of Residence Life via e-mail at reslife@ramapo.edu. The Office of Residence Life will make every reasonable effort to provide housing to a student who is returning from a MLOA.
  • Students can take as much time as needed away from the College to recover from their condition; however, students who do not take classes for two or more consecutive semesters must reapply for admission. Students who stay out for longer than two consecutive semesters and are readmitted will continue their studies under the graduation requirements in effect at the time of their readmission.
  • Students who withdraw and have received financial aid must contact the Financial Aid office. Some student aid may need to be returned. Any balance that results from a reduction in aid is the student’s responsibility.

Process for Obtaining a MLOA

If a student is considering applying for a MLOA he/she must contact the Center for Health and Counseling Services (CHCS) to request an evaluation for the purpose of pursuing a MLOA. If your condition is psychological in nature, contact Counseling Services (CS) (201-684-7522). If the condition is medical in nature, the student should contact Health Services (HS) (201-684-7536).

In order to both obtain a MLOA and to return from one a student must obtain a medical recommendation from the appropriate unit (Counseling Services or Health Services) within the Center for Health and Counseling Services.

MLOA Due to a Psychological Condition 

  • Contact and schedule an appointment at CS to request an evaluation for the purpose of pursuing a MLOA. The evaluation process, which may occur over a few sessions, assesses whether a student’s psychological condition meets the criteria for a medical leave.
  • If the student is being treated by an off-campus provider CS will require medical documentation or a detailed letter from the off-campus treatment provider stating:  1) diagnosis, 2) date of onset, 3) effect the psychological condition has on the student’s ability to perform academically, 4) prognosis, and 5) treatment plan. This information is reviewed by CS to determine if the psychological condition warrants a MLOA. The withdrawal determination is based on the severity and onset of the condition and its impact on the student’s ability to meet his/her responsibilities as a student. The student seeking a MLOA will be asked to provide written consent to consult with his/her current treatment provider(s).
  • After the evaluation is completed and has been approved by the Director of the Center for Health and Counseling Services, CS notifies the Registrar, who administers Withdrawal (W) grades. Counseling Services places a registration hold on the student’s account until the student has been evaluated and cleared to return to Ramapo. If the student is a resident, CS notifies the Office of Residence Life that he/she has been approved for a MLOA.
  • In cases where an MLOA is denied a student may file an appeal with the Dean of Students if the student can demonstrate that:
      • a specified procedural error or errors in the interpretation of College regulations were so substantial as to effectively deny the person fair consideration
      • the decision is held to be arbitrary and capricious 

Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students within five (5) business days from the date of notification of the denial of an MLOA.  The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

If a student chooses to take a mental health-related MLOA, he/she will be required to meet the following conditions of return before he/she can be medically cleared to pursue re-enrollment at RCNJ: 

1. A substantial amelioration of the psychological condition that precipitated the need for a MLOA, as evidenced by:

a. A substantially improved condition, as defined and determined by a CS counselor and if relevant, other treatment team members, which may include a psychiatrist.

b. Once achieved in treatment; the substantially improved condition is then maintained for a period deemed reasonable by a CS counselor and if relevant, other treatment team members, which may include a psychiatrist.

c. Attested to by the completion of the CHCS Community Provider Report form furnished by an off-campus mental health provider who has had direct contact with the student on a regular basis for a course of treatment.

2. The ability to effectively function at the College (if relevant to MLOA), as evidenced by:

a. A substantial reduction of any relevant safety related behaviors, including, but not limited to:

i.          Suicidal behaviors

ii.         Self injurious behaviors

iii.        Substance abuse

iv.        Food bingeing

v.         Food purging or any other potentially harmful compensatory behaviors used for weight  management (e.g., use of laxatives, excessive exercise, etc.)

vi.       Failure to maintain weight at minimum of 90% of Ideal Body Weight for height after being diagnosed and treated for an eating disorder

b. Once safety has been achieved, the stability of that condition is maintained for a period deemed reasonable by the CS counselor and if relevant, other treatment team members, which may include a psychiatrist.

c. Attested to by the completion of the CHCS Community Provider Report form furnished by an off-campus mental health provider who has had direct contact with the student on a regular basis for a course of treatment.

3. After satisfactory documentation of the aforementioned two conditions of return have been received and reviewed by the CS counselor, the student must have an evaluation with his/her CS counselor, and if relevant, other members of the CS team, which may include a psychiatrist. Following this evaluation, the CS counselor will make a judgment as to the student’s readiness to return to Ramapo College and will obtain approval from the Director for the Center for Health and Counseling Services.

4. If the student’s return from a MLOA is denied he or she may file an appeal with the Dean of Students if the student can demonstrate that:

    • a specified procedural error or errors in the interpretation of College regulations were so substantial as to effectively deny the person fair consideration
    • the decision is held to be arbitrary and capricious 

Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students within five (5) business days from the date of notification of the denial of an MLOA.  The decision of the Associate Vice President is final.

MLOA Due to a Medical Condition 

  • Contact and schedule an appointment at Health Services (HS) to request an evaluation for the purpose of pursuing a MLOA. The evaluation process, which occurs over a few sessions, assesses whether a student’s medical condition meets the criteria for a medical leave.
  • If the student is being treated by an off-campus provider HS will require medical documentation or a detailed letter from the off-campus treatment provider stating:  1) diagnosis, 2) date of onset, 3) effect the psychological condition has on the student’s ability to perform academically, 4) prognosis, and 5) treatment plan. This information is reviewed by HS to determine if the psychological condition warrants a MLOA. The withdrawal determination is based on the severity and onset of the condition and its impact on the student’s ability to meet his/her responsibilities as a student. The student seeking a MLOA will be asked to provide written consent to consult with his/her current treatment provider(s).
  • After the evaluation is completed and has been approved by the Director for the Center for Health and Counseling Services, HS notifies the Registrar, who administers Withdrawal (W) grades. Health Services places a registration hold on the student’s account until the student has been evaluated and cleared to return to Ramapo. If the student is a resident, HS notifies the Office of Residence Life that he/she has been approved for a MLOA.
  • In cases where an MLOA is denied a student may file an appeal with the Dean of Students if the student can demonstrate that:
      • a specified procedural error or errors in the interpretation of College regulations were so substantial as to effectively deny the person fair consideration
      • the decision is held to be arbitrary and capricious 

Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students within five (5) business days from the date of notification of the denial of an MLOA.  The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

If a student chooses to take a MLOA due to a medical condition, he/she will be required to meet the following conditions of return before he/she can be medically cleared to pursue reenrollment at RCNJ:

1. Evidence of stabilization of the medical condition that precipitated the need for a MLOA. This must be demonstrated by:

a. A substantially improved condition, as defined and determined by a HS staff member and if relevant, other treatment team members, which may include a collaborating physician.

b. A substantially improved condition that has been maintained for a period deemed reasonable by a HS staff member and if relevant, other treatment team members, which may include a collaborating physician.

c. The completion of the CHCS Community Provider Report form by an off-campus medical provider who rendered direct care to the student on a regular basis for the course of treatment.

2. The ability to effectively function at the College (if relevant to MLOA), as evidenced by:

a. A substantial reduction of signs and symptoms that would indicate instability of the current medical condition, including, but not limited to:

i.   Blood sugar levels
ii.  Breakthrough seizures or sudden unconsciousness
iii. Asthmatic events

b. Once self management has been achieved, it is maintained for a period of time deemed reasonable by Health Services staff and if relevant, other treatment team members, which may include a collaborating physician

c. Completion of a Health Services CHCS Community Provider Report form from an off-campus medical provider who rendered direct care to the student on a regular basis for the course of treatment.

3. After satisfactory documentation of the aforementioned two conditions of return have been received and reviewed by the HS staff member, the student must have an evaluation with his/her HS staff member, and if relevant, other members of the HS team, which may include a collaborating physician.  Following this evaluation, the HS staff member will make a judgment as to the student’s readiness to return to Ramapo College and will obtain approval from the Director for the Center for Health and Counseling Services.

4. If the student’s return from a MLOA is denied he or she may file an appeal with the Dean of Students if the student can demonstrate that:

    • a specified procedural error or errors in the interpretation of College regulations were so substantial as to effectively deny the person fair consideration
    • the decision is held to be arbitrary and capricious 

Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students within five (5) business days from the date of notification of the denial of an MLOA.  The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

Deadlines for Requesting a MLOA 

Students requesting a MLOA must have completed an evaluation, through the Center for Health and Counseling Services,no later than the final day of classes as listed on the on-line academic calendar in order for a MLOA to be processed for that semester.

Deadlines for Returning from a MLOA

In order to return from a MLOA the student should notify the appropriate unit of the Center for Health and Counseling Services and submit the Community Provider Form (available on the CHCS website) by August 1st to return for the coming Fall semester and by December 1st to return for the coming Spring semester. Requests received after these deadlines may be considered depending on the circumstances that led to the late submission.Once all the documentation has been received the student will be scheduled for an evaluation to determine his or her readiness to return from the MLOA. If the process to return from a MLOA is not completed by the deadline, the student will be deregistered from courses for the upcoming semester.

Disability Support Services for Students Following a Return from a MLOA 

Ramapo College of New Jersey supports the protections available to students with disabilities under Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and any applicable State regulations. The Office of Specialized Services (OSS) facilitates equal access to the programs and activities at Ramapo College for students with documented physical, sensory, learning, or psychological disabilities. Students whose medical or psychological conditions meet the criteria for a disability are encouraged to register with the Office of Specialized Services in order to receive accommodations.

Academic Standards and Code of Conduct

The granting of a MLOA does not in any way excuse the student from the usual academic standards and judicial processes set forth by College policy. Therefore only students free of academic suspension, dismissal, or expulsion due to academic or conduct issues are eligible to apply for and return from a MLOA.  

Notification 

The College reserves the right to notify a student’s designated emergency contact that a MLOA has been issued. The student’s designated emergency contact may be asked to make arrangements for safe removal of the student from the college environment.