Undergraduate Medical Leave Policy
The policies and procedures described below establish a process for the voluntary and involuntary leave of undergraduate students for mental or physical health reasons. The procedures also provide guidance for requesting return after being away from MIT on a medical leave.
For undergraduate students, voluntary and involuntary medical leave decisions are made by the Dean for Undergraduate Education or their designee after MIT Medical evaluates medical and other relevant documentation and either confirms eligibility for voluntary leave, or in the case of involuntary leave, recommends such action. Information from academic departments, faculty and Student Disabilities Services will be incorporated in the process as applicable. In addition, students should be informed of the resources of Student Disabilities Services.
A student on voluntary or involuntary medical leave is not allowed to reside in MIT owned or affiliated housing (campus residences, apartments, fraternities, sororities, or independent living groups) attend classes at MIT, perform research at MIT, work at MIT, participate in student life or other campus events or utilize other MIT facilities.
Medical leave is not intended be a way of shielding a student from unsatisfactory progress or any other academic concern. In addition, a medical leave should not be used when disciplinary or other academic responses are appropriate and the student's circumstances should be addressed through those responses.
Tuition for students taking a medical leave will be prorated according to the Registrar's proration tables. Please see the official MIT policy on costs and tuition adjustments located in the MIT Bulletin.
Students who did not waive the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan while registered may continue this insurance coverage during the period of medical leave but such coverage will be limited to two consecutive semesters and a summer. Should an extension of the medical leave be granted according to the steps outlined below in this policy, students can continue their MIT Extended Student Insurance for an additional semester. Students who choose to continue their MIT Extended Insurance Plan for Students will be responsible for premium payments that will be billed in monthly installments.
The International Students Office will be informed of all international students who are placed on a medical leave status. Copies of leave letters will also be sent to the advisor and to other critical offices as appropriate.
A student on voluntary or involuntary medical leave is expected to spend his/her time productively while away from MIT. This typically involves sustained effort in some activity such as working and/or taking classes, in addition to the specific medical treatment recommendations. While on a medical leave, a student will be advised to seek mental health or other medical treatment outside of MIT Medical as clinically appropriate.
Voluntary Medical Leave
A voluntary leave will 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 towards Institute academic requirements.
Any student can make a request for a voluntary medical leave. Appropriate medical documentation needs to be provided for such a request, and this should be done in consultation with MIT Medical. Medical leave requests by an undergraduate student should be made to Student Support Services, who will facilitate the review of such request with the Dean for Undergraduate Education or their designee.
Involuntary Medical Leave
A student will be placed on involuntary medical leave when a decision is made that due to mental or physical health reasons, a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of self or others and/or it is established that a student is unable to participate in campus life, including but not limited to, an inability to complete or make satisfactory progress towards academic requirements. In addition, a student may be placed on involuntarily leave for medical reasons if a student does not cooperate with efforts deemed necessary by the Institute to determine if the student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of self or others.
When possible and appropriate, efforts should be made to allow a student to take a voluntarily leave under appropriate procedures before placing a student on involuntary leave status.
MIT Medical can recommend that a student be placed on involuntary medical leave when it determines that a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of self or others or it is established that a student is unable to participate in campus life, including but not limited to, an inability to complete or make satisfactory progress towards academic requirements. In addition, a student may be placed on involuntarily leave for medical reasons if a student does not cooperate with efforts deemed necessary by the Institute to determine if the student poses such a risk.
The decision to place a student on involuntary leave status will be provided in writing to the student. Written decisions will include an explanation of the reasons for placing a student on involuntary leave status (and the information relied upon), the details of the leave and the conditions for requesting return.
Process for Appeal of Decision
A student who is placed on involuntary medical leave may write to the Chancellor and seek a review of the decision. The decision is in effect despite a request for review of the decision. To be timely, the Chancellor must receive any such request for review within five working days of the decision, unless the Chancellor determines to accept a late review request due to exceptional circumstances. Such request should be made in writing and include detailed support for the request to overturn or modify the decision. The Chancellor will review the student's appeal and may affirm, overturn or modify the decision within ten working days from the date of receipt of request for review or an agreed extended time. The Chancellor can meet with the student if needed or can consult with anyone that he or she determines is reasonable in order to review the appeal. The Chancellor's decision will be communicated to the student in writing and shall be considered final.
Extension of Health Insurance
A student may request in writing to the Chief of MIT Mental Health and Counseling approval for one additional semester of MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan health insurance beyond the period granted. An extension may be granted for a student who provides documentation that they are actively engaged in an appropriate treatment program and who is likely to be able to return to full participation in campus life at the end of that additional semester. An extension of health insurance will not be approved and should not be used to prolong treatment of a chronic medical or mental health condition when return to full participation in campus life is an unlikely outcome as determined by their functional assessment, course, and prognosis.
Requests for further extensions of the medical leave period beyond two consecutive semesters and a summer shall be determined by the Chief of MIT Mental Health and Counseling or their designee. The Chief of MIT Mental Health and Counseling or their designee has the option of consulting with a team of professionals who can assist in evaluating whether the request should be granted. The team will usually include a representative from MIT Mental Health and Counseling; Student Support Services; the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education; the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education; the Office of the Dean for Student Life; MIT Medical and the MIT Health Plan. This team will make a recommendation with regard to specific requests to the Chief of MIT Mental Health and Counseling or his/her designee. The Chief of Mental Health and Counseling or their designee will communicate the final decision to the Health Plans Office and to Student Support Services. For return purposes, even if the health insurance period is not extended, the expectations for return from medical leave will remain in effect and be at the sole discretion of the Institute.
Process for Requesting Return
A student who has been on voluntary or involuntary medical leave who wishes to request to return must 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 or physical health of the student and their ability to resume full time participation in campus academic and residential life are central to the determination whether the student will be approved to return. Successful follow-through on recommendations made in notification of medical leave decision will weigh heavily in the consideration of the student's request to return. The decision whether to approve a student's request to return is made after evaluating relevant documentation and is within the sole discretion of the Institute.
Process for Appeal of Decision
A decision not to approve a student's request to return will 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 Chair of the Committee on Academic Performance will reconsider the decision.
Further details regarding the medical leave and request to return process may be found in documents available in Student Support Services and on this site in the PDF Undergraduate Request to Return.
This policy supersedes any previously existing policy.
Date Updated: March 2012