Academic Regulations & Procedures

Leave of Absence (Medical, Military Service, and Personal)

A leave of absence is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study and refers to the specific time period when a student is not in attendance and pursuing academic work at the College. Students who have taken a leave are not eligible to work or live at the College until the term of enrollment as indicated in their readmission letter.

A student may request a total of three terms of leave of absence during their time at Carleton. The total of three terms can include any combination of medical, military service, or personal leaves.

Students interested in exploring the leave options need to talk with their advisers and/or their class dean/assistant dean. Leave of absence requests must be made prior to the start of the term.  Medical leaves requests, during a term, need to be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of classes. Leave of absence requests are processed by the Dean of Students Office on behalf of the Academic Standing Committee (ASC). The student must intend to return to Carleton to be granted a leave of absence. If, at the end of the leave of absence the student fails to return to Carleton, the leave will convert to a withdrawal back-dated to when the leave of absence began. This may cause any affected Title IV loans to enter into immediate repayment.

Notes: (1) A leave of absence is for nonacademic activities; if students choose to study elsewhere, credit will not be transferred to Carleton. Students entering with the class of 2026 should review the Transfer of Credit policy for updates to this note. (2) A leave of absence may cause the student’s class year to change which may impact housing and registration priority numbers.  (3) A student who is away from the College on leave of absence status for more than three terms will be withdrawn with the option to petition for readmission when they are ready to return. (4) Any student who receives financial aid should consult with Student Financial Services to discuss how their aid may be impacted by a leave or the extension of a leave.

Medical Leave During a Term

A student who cannot complete the term due to illness or other health issues may petition the Dean of Students Office for a medical leave.

Notes: (1) A student who takes a medical leave will have DRP’s (drops) recorded for courses they are enrolled in at the time of the leave. (2) Return from medical leave must be approved by the Dean of Students Office in consultation with Student Health and Counseling, through a petition process and by providing the proper documentation from a medical professional supporting the student’s readiness to return.  (3) Normally, students returning from medical leave are not allowed to immediately go on an OCS program. (4) A term of medical leave does not count in your 12 academic terms but may count toward your allotted financial aid; any student who receives financial aid should consult with Student Financial Services to discuss how their aid may be impacted by a leave or the extension of a leave.

Military Service

A student may request a leave for military service at any time. Students petitioning to return to the College from military service who were in good academic standing at the time of their leave will typically be granted readmission.

Note: Students will be allowed to take a leave from the College for active service in the U.S. Military without penalty. If the leave is requested during the term, students will receive a 100 percent tuition refund and a pro rata refund of unused room and board fees (less any financial aid which may have been received for the term) upon presenting an original copy of their military orders for active duty to the Dean of Students Office. Alternatively, extension (EXT) grades with no tuition reimbursement may be more appropriate when the call for active military duty comes near the end of the term.

Personal Leave

Leave of absence requests must be made prior to the start of the term.  Personal leaves are usually for students who need a break from academic work and wish to engage in volunteer work, earn extra money for college, pursue other opportunities, etc.  A student on a personal leave is able to return to college by submitting a petition to the Dean of Students Office. Students interested in leaving after the term has started should discuss options with their class dean/assistant dean (see also “withdrawal from the college”).

Administrative Withdrawal

Carleton provides a range of support services to address the medical needs of students, including mental health issues. However, there may be circumstances in which students experience health needs beyond what they can obtain while at Carleton. In such circumstances, students may take a voluntary leave or withdrawal.

In situations where a student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations, where current medical knowledge and/or available evidence indicates a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of others, or where a student poses an actual risk to their own safety and the student does not want to take a leave or withdraw voluntarily, the Dean of Students Office has the authority to place the student on a mandatory leave of absence or to mandate withdrawal from the College. Carleton will do an individualized assessment to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the student to continue to participate in Carleton’s campus community. Nothing in the policy limits Carleton’s ability to take immediate temporary action while an assessment of a situation occurs. 

Carleton may require a medical assessment as part of the leave or withdrawal process, or as a condition for returning to the College. Whether a medical assessment is required and the terms of any assessment, including the professional conducting the evaluation, may be established by Carleton based on the particular circumstances of the situation. The process for returning may be similar to the medical leave of absence return process.    

Decisions regarding administrative leaves or withdrawals may be appealed in writing to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. Any appeal must be received by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students within five days of being notified of the final decision to place a student on leave or withdrawal. This Administrative Leave or Withdrawal policy is not a disciplinary code, policy or process but there may be overlap in situations in which a student engages in behavior that also implicates Carleton’s rules of conduct. 

See also academic progress, “ext”–extension granted, off-campus study, transfer of credits, and withdrawal from the college.

Last Revised: September 9, 2021

For: Students, Faculty

Last Reviewed: September 9, 2021

Maintained by: Office of the Provost