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AP 5540 Student Leave of Absence

References:

>NWCCU 2020 Standards 1.B.1 and 2.G.1
AP 5500 – Standards of Student Conduct
AP 5520 – Student Discipline Procedures
AP 5210 – Communicable Disease – Students


I. Purpose

The purpose of Rogue Community College’s Student Leave of Absence Policy is to give options to students who have experienced unexpected events which have temporarily interfered with their ability to successfully complete required coursework.  This procedure is intended to help students on their path to graduation.  A Leave of Absence can be requested at any time after the add/drop date has passed for that term.  However, Leave of Absences cannot be applied retroactively.

II. Scope

Rogue Community College is an open enrollment institution.  This procedure applies to all Rogue Community College students pursuing a degree or certificate including students enrolled in limited-entry programs.

A Leave of Absence allows for a student with qualifying circumstances to temporarily suspend their academic and extra-curricular participation at Rogue Community College without losing any standing they may have within the school. 

An approved Leave of Absence allows students to return from their time away to the standing they had before they left.  A Leave of Absence is only available for the current term and moving forward.  A Leave of Absence is not appropriate as a remedy for difficulty in a previous term.

Students on an approved Leave of Absence are treated as enrolled students for the purposes of financial aid repayment and the use of campus resources but will be enrolled in no credits while on a Leave of Absence.  Students will not receive financial aid, will not be eligible for student employment, or able to participate in extra-curricular activities while on a Leave of Absence.  Students on an approved Leave of Absence should work with a Counselor to complete a student records appeal regarding outstanding charges. 

For limited entry programs students may not be able to start the program immediately after returning from leave due to the cohorted nature of these programs.  However, every effort will be made to provide the student a seat in the next cohort following their leave.

A Leave of Absence is an option of last resort.  Students are encouraged to work with a Counselor to understand their options and make an informed decision.  Other options include a complete withdraw, a student account petition, a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal, requesting Incomplete grades, and repeating courses.

Students enrolled in programs which have state mandated Leave of Absence procedures will be required to follow the state mandated procedures for requesting a Leave of Absence and for reenrolling.

III. Reasons for Leave

A leave of absence request may be made in extraordinary cases in which serious illness, injury, or another significant personal situation which prevents a student from continuing their classes. 

Leaves of Absence may also be granted to students who are severely ill and their presence on campus constitutes a threat to the health and safety of the campus community as determined under RCC’s Communicable Disease – Students Procedure (AP -5210).

IV. Eligibility

To qualify for a Leave of Absence a student must be in good standing.

Leaves of absence are generally limited to 180 days in a 12-month period.  The 12-month period starts on the day a Leave of Absence is approved.  To qualify for a Leave of Absence a student must not have exhausted the available leave in a 12-month period. 

Leaves may be extended beyond the 180-day timeframe if the circumstances of a student’s situation warrant (for example: returning to a limited entry program which only offers sequenced courses once a year.) However, due to Federal Financial Aid regulations leaves of absence greater than 180 days may effect a student’s financial aid and loan repayment.  A student should work with a Counselor to fully understand the consequences of a leave greater than 180 days.

a. Request form

To request a Leave of Absence a student should work with a Counselor to complete a request form. Once completed the Counselor will forward the form for a determination.

b. Documentation

A student should include documentation in support of a Leave of Absence request.  Examples of other acceptable documentation include but are not limited to: medical records, testimonials, court orders, deployment orders, and statements explaining the circumstances that require a Leave of Absence.

c. Decision

Each student requesting a Leave of Absence will receive an individualized assessment by the Leave of Absence Committee.  The Leave of Absence Committee will consist of the Dean of Student Success, the Dean of the program the student is enrolled in, a Financial Aid Advisor, and the Counselor who worked with the student, and the student’s Faculty Advisor.  The presumption is that the student will be granted the Leave of Absence however the committee will consider:

  1. The well-being of the student when considering the totality of the circumstances leading to the request. Including but not limited to the financial, academic, emotional, and cohort standing consequences to the student.
  2. The documentation submitted by the student showing the necessity of requesting a Leave of Absence.
  3. The effect on the student if a leave request is not granted.
  4. The needs and well-being of the campus community as a whole.
  5. Other options and processes available to help the student.

The student requesting a leave will be notified of the decision regarding their request within 5 business days of the request form and all required documentation being submitted.  If additional information is required, the 5 business day period will restart when the additional requested documentation is submitted.  

The notification of decision will be in writing and will explain the reasons for the approval or denial. Notification via email will be considered to be in writing but a hard-copy notification will also be sent to the address on file for the student making the request.

If the Leave of Absence request is granted the notification will include the length of time the request is being approved for, a point of contact for questions, and any requirements that must be met prior to reenrollment.

d. Appeal

If a student disagrees with the decision made regarding their request they may appeal the decision to the Vice President of Student Affairs (or designee).  Appeals must be made in writing and must be received within 10 business days from the date on the notification of decision.  Appeal decisions will be made within 5 business days and all appeal decisions are final.

e. Reenrollment

A student wishing to return to school must complete a Return from Leave of Absence Request form 20 business days prior to the start date of the term they plan to enroll.  Students will be able to return to Rogue Community College at the beginning to the term immediately following submitting a Return from Leave of Absence Request form.  A student returning from an approved Leave of Absence will return at the beginning of the term and be responsible for all coursework associated with classes they enroll in (i.e. a student who went on a Leave of Absence in Week 6 of term would have to start in Week 1 regardless of previously completed coursework).

If any requirements for reenrollment were imposed by the committee a student must provide documentation of meeting those requirements.  Any necessary documentation must be turned in with the Return from Leave of Absence Request form.

When a student returns, they must be able to fulfill all the routine requirements of their program.  As stated in specific program or degree requirements this may include but is not limited to physical demands of the program, a criminal background check, and or drug screen. Criminal background checks and drug screenings will occur under the programs established procedures.

If a student does not return from a Leave of Absence or indicate their intent to return by completing a return from Leave of Absence form, their last day of attendance will be the day the Leave of Absence was approved.  This may mean that a student who fails to return from a Leave of Absence will owe a repayment of financial aid awarded for the term in which they took a Leave of Absence.

V. Notice of Non-Discrimination

Rogue Community College will not engage in discrimination or harassment against any person because of the following protected categories: race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, age, order of protection status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation including gender identity, arrest record status, military status, unfavorable discharge from military service, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law while applying the Leave of Absence policy and procedure.

Rescinds Procedure Number: None

Approved: August 13, 2020

Revised: September 1, 2020