Leave of Absence

From time to time, students may take a voluntary leave of absence from their studies as a result of medical, mental health, or other personal matters that compromise their ability to continue in an academic program.  A student may apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) at any time after enrolling at the College. To request a Leave of Absence, students' should follow the process listed on the Registrar's web page:

If the student chooses to take a voluntary leave of absence in order to receive intensive clinical health care treatment, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs or designee will assist with processing this request.  In some instances the student maybe asked to complete the Process for Returning from an Involuntary Leave of Absence as a requirement of returning to the College. (See below.)

Voluntary Leave of Absence

An undergraduate degree candidate may apply (the form is online at the Registrar's web site) for a leave of absence at any time after she enrolls at the College. The leave of absence may extend for a period of up to two calendar years from the start of the leave. The student may return to the College at the beginning of any term within that period by notifying the Office of the Registrar at least one month prior to the first day of class if she was in good standing at the start of the leave.

Registered students who apply for a leave after the eighth week of a semester must have their records reviewed by the Administrative Board. If the Board determines that the student was progressing unsatisfactorily in her courses at the time her leave began, the Board may impose an appropriate academic sanction (e.g., letter of warning, probation, removal from degree candidacy, or exclusion from the College). In such cases the student may apply for re-admission to the College when she wishes to return. Non-degree candidates are not eligible to apply for a leave of absence.

If, during the leave, the student wishes to take courses at another institution and transfer the credit to Simmons, she must obtain prior approval from the Office of the Registrar.

Students must meet with their faculty advisor and the Dean for Student Affairs or her designee to confirm leave plans and must obtain their signatures on the application. Students who are financial aid recipients must meet with a financial aid counselor before taking a leave.

The transcript of a student who begins a leave after the fourth week of classes will show a "W" for each of her courses. The statement "Leave of Absence" and the effective date will be recorded on the transcript. Refund policies for leave of absence students are the same as those for students who withdraw from the College.

Involuntary Leave of Absence

Simmons College is committed to the safety and well-being of its community members and to the integrity of the living and learning environment. Our goals therefore are to maintain the health and safety of each individual in our community and to enable all enrolled students to participate fully in the life of the College.

In instances in which a student's mental, emotional, or medical health pose a threat to themselves and/or others, becomes a barrier to appropriate or prescribed levels of self care, or causes significant disruption to the activities of the College community, such a students may be required to take an involuntary leave of absence from the College.

In instances when a student's mental, physical or emotional health may pose a direct, imminent, threat to the safety and well-being of the Simmons community, or the student has been admitted to a health care setting to undergo intensive medical or psychological treatment (hospitalization, intensive outpatient or inpatient program), the Associate Dean of Students or designee, as an interim measure, can place the student on an involuntary leave of absence from the College. When applicable the student will be informed in writing of the actions that lead to her/him being placed on leave and direct the student to the process for return. The student's parent/guardian/emergency contact person may be notified that the student is in a potentially dangerous situation.

Any student placed on an involuntary leave of absence will not be allowed to remain on campus. This includes living in residence, attending classes, and participating in Simmons sponsored events.

In circumstances when the student has not met direct threat/inpatient criteria, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee may, based off of observable/recorded behavior, still require a student to undergo an individualized psychological and/or medical assessment in order to make an informed decision regarding the student's ability to meet the academic, social and emotional requirements of being a Simmons student. This evaluation can be conducted by a member of the College's clinical staff, or by a student's external health care provider who is treating the student. The student will be required to sign a release that gives permission to the College's designated clinical personnel to speak with her/his external evaluating health care provider and to allow for the release of any relevant medical reports as part of the assessment. If the student chooses not to engage in the process listed above, then she/he will be required to take an involuntary leave of absence and if applicable, an immediate removal from the residence halls.

If, following the evaluation a leave is deemed unnecessary, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee may impose other conditions and/or requirements which the student would be required to comply with as a condition of continued enrollment at the College.

In any instance in which a leave is required, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee will provide written notice to the student, including the specific requirements that must be met as a condition of eligibility for re-enrollment, the time line for initiating and completing the return process, as well as the procedure for appealing the decision. In most instances, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the student will be included in this notice. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss the need for a voluntary or involuntary leave with their parent(s) or guardian(s) prior to and during the leave process.

The duration of the leave is typically no fewer than six full months, although the specific length of the leave will be based on the student's individualized assessment and determined by the Associate Dean or designee on a case-by-case basis. When a student takes a leave before the end of a semester, whether voluntary or involuntary, Simmons' usual tuition and residence hall refund schedule applies.

Process for Returning to Simmons After an Involuntary Leave

Simmons College students who have been placed on an Involuntary Leave of Absence will be required to undergo an individualized assessment to be cleared to return to Simmons, prior to their return to the College. They are also required to sign an authorization form that enables the hospital, treatment facility, and/or all pertinent external health care providers to release information necessary for the review process.  The review process will involve an interview with the appropriately licensed Simmons clinical staff member as well as the Associate Dean of Student Affairs or designee.   Following the interview with an individual of the clinical staff, a recommendation that is based off the student’s report,  his/ her treatment history, information gathered from the external treatment facility, and/or a student’s personal health care provider, will be shared with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee regarding the student's readiness to return.  Then, on a case by case basis the Associate Dean of Student Affairs or designee will make a determination if the students is permitted to return to the Simmons community.  If it is determined that the student can return, the student will meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee to establish a plan to return to the College and identify community resources.  As a condition of continued enrollment and, if applicable, as a condition of re-admittance to the residence halls, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The consulting health care provider must find that the student has maintained a significant level of physical, mental, or emotional stability along with the skill set necessary to successfully engage in the student’s academic program as well as the the activities associated in being a Simmons student.
  2. The student and the consulting Simmons clinical staff member in conjunction with all relevant external health care providers must establish and agree upon a plan for continued managed care after returning to the College.
  3. The student must commit to follow the recommended and established treatment plan.

If, after reviewing all pertinent information, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs or designee denies a student’s request to return from and involuntary leave of absence, or the student disagrees with the conditions established as part of the return process, the student can appeal the decision in writing to the Vice President of Student Affairs.