Voluntary Health Related Leave of Absence

St. John's University students may apply for a Voluntary Health Related Leave of Absence (HRLOA). An HRLOA is an agreement regarding a separation between the student and the University for a period of time. HRLOAs are coordinated through the Department of Student Wellness, Division of Student Affairs. HRLOAs are recommended in those instances when a student’s medical and/or mental health condition is judged to significantly impair his or her ability to function successfully or safely as a student.

It is expected that a student who is granted an HRLOA will use the time away from the University for treatment and recovery. It should be understood that most students require a reasonable period of time away from St. John’s University, and, in the case of mental health services, a course of clinically recognized and accepted treatment interventions to recover their health sufficiently in order to obtain the requisite clearance from the Health Related Leave Review Committee to pursue reenrollment.

Current policy requires that specific steps be followed in order for a student to both obtain an HRLOA and to return from one. First, the student should initiate the process by informing the Dean of his/her school or college that he/she wishes to take a leave of absence as a result of a medical and/or mental health condition. The Dean’s office will then refer the student to the University’s Health Related Leave Review Committee. The student must provide a written request for an HRLOA to the Committee. The student’s written request must be accompanied by a letter from a licensed health care provider who is familiar with the student’s condition. Acceptable sources would include, but not be limited to, the student’s primary care physician, hospital-based physicians and clinicians, the University’s Counseling Center’s clinical staff, and private licensed clinicians.

This letter should indicate dates of evaluation and/or treatment, a clear recommendation from the health care provider that the student cannot continue his/her academic program because of his/her medical and/or mental health condition, and an estimate regarding the time period for an HRLOA. The Committee shall review the documentation and make a recommendation to the Dean of the student’s school or college as to whether the condition warrants an HRLOA. The Dean shall make the final decision regarding whether to approve or deny the HRLOA and then notify the student in writing as to his/her decision. If an HRLOA is approved, the Dean’s office will notify the appropriate University personnel to enact the HRLOA, including the Registrar, Financial Aid, Bursar, and Office of Residence Life, if applicable.

Before Taking a Voluntary Health Related Leave of Absence

It is essential that each student review his or her current health insurance coverage. Students should contact the University Health Plan office (1-800-437-6448) or their parent’s insurance plan (if applicable) for further information as needed. Students who are covered by the St. John’s University Student Health Insurance Plan (www.universityhealthplans.com) when they convert to On Leave status are automatically covered for the remainder of the plan year, and they may be eligible to purchase a one-time, one-year extension of their SHIP insurance if needed. Students who are covered by a parent’s employer plan when they convert to On Leave status may need to apply for continuation of coverage (COBRA) with the parent’s plan. Enrollment in COBRA is time sensitive.

Resources

The following forms are provided to assist students with their Voluntary Health Related Leave of Absence requests: