Clarifying the New and More Student-Friendly Leave of Absence Process

NEOMED recently revised its Leave of Absence (LOA) process allowing a student to temporarily step out of the curriculum without losing their seat in the program.

What has changed? And what’s the first step, if you are a student who is considering requesting a leave?

First, the definitions

There are three kinds of leaves. Medical and personal leaves of absence are intended for emergency situations in which a student, due to extenuating circumstances that negatively impact their academic performance and/or mental and physical health, may step out of the curriculum at any time. Within 48 hours, these leaves are reviewed confidentially by just two people: Sandra Emerick, Ed.D., senior executive director of academic affairs and student services, and the chair of the Committee on Academic and Professional Progress (CAPP).

An example of the third kind of leave, an enrichment leave of absence, would be to allow a student to take a gap year to complete a program at a research institution such as the National Institutes of Health.

How to request an LOA

Step one

Visit the Office of Student Services in B-204 to learn more about the LOA process and to initiate a medical, personal or enrichment leave. You can make an appointment with Dr. Emerick by calling 330.325.6735.

Step two

Students needing a medical or personal leave of absence will need to complete the LOA form online and submit documentation from a treating health care provider attesting the need for immediate care to Students requesting an Enrichment LOA can complete the form and submit documentation regarding the enrichment experiences to

Here are some things that will be considered by those evaluating your request:

  • Medical or personal leaves are not deadline-specific. They may be submitted at any time a need for immediate care occurs.
  • Enrichment leaves are due by February 1 of each year for a leave between years of the program.
  • When taking a leave, be sure to speak with the financial aid office about the financial impact, including the limited grace period before loan repayment occurs.
  • When taking a leave of absence, also review the LOA checklist, which addresses the many issues to consider (such as access to campus and resources, living in the Village, etc.)
  • Finally, when taking a leave, returning students will be asked to complete a Petition to Return form. Students who take a leave during the year may have to restart the term if courses are incomplete. For the College of Medicine, most returning students who departed before the end of the year will be asked to restart the academic year. For the College of Pharmacy, there is some flexibility to the restart date, depending on whether courses were completed.

Remember, NEOMED’s faculty and staff are here to help you get through the challenges of your academic and personal life. Our counseling staff can help you with the emotional issues surrounding a LOA. Call Student Services at 330.325.6735 if you are considering taking an LOA and would like support in sorting it out.

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