Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, Suspension, and Readmission


Students are expected to be enrolled continuously from their matriculation through graduation. Understanding that unexpected events may occur, the College allows for a student to request a leave of absence or withdrawal. If a student withdraws from a course during the last five weeks of the semester, the student will receive an F (failure) in the course unless granted a withdrawal for approved medical reasons.

The following applies to leaves through Counseling Services: Students granted a medical W from one or more but not all courses are generally expected to take a medical leave for the subsequent semester. Students who take medical withdrawals from all courses are generally expected to be on leave of absence for the remainder of the semester AND the subsequent semester.

Students who withdraw or take a leave of absence are not permitted to visit campus without permission from the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities. Students may request permission to visit campus for academic and medical reasons. Generally students on a leave will not be permitted on campus overnight or to participate in social or co-curricular activities. Gettysburg College reserves the right to initiate or require a leave of absence or withdrawal for academic, behavioral, disciplinary, or medical reasons and reserves the right to defer or refuse return/readmission.

  1. Leave of Absence

    A student who wishes to take time off for personal or medical reasons may request a leave of absence. A leave of absence is calculated from the last day of class attendance and cannot exceed 180 days. Students may participate in upcoming registration activities after being officially approved for reinstatement. Students on a leave of absence may not remain on campus and may not participate in College activities. To initiate a leave of absence, a student must submit a leave of absence request form to the Office of Academic Advising. A leave of absence will be reviewed by the Office of the Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students and must be approved by the Academic Standing Committee. A student who has been granted a leave of absence may, with the advance approval of the Academic Standing Committee, study at another institution and transfer those courses to Gettysburg College. Proposals for such study must be submitted in advance to the Office of Academic Advising for review by the Academic Standing Committee. Please remember that the total number of allowable transfer units is three courses, transfer students are not permitted additional courses above those they have already transferred.  

  2. Withdrawal

    A student who wishes to leave the College for personal or medical reasons and does not anticipate returning may request a withdrawal. A withdrawn student is no longer considered a degree candidate, may not remain on campus, and may not participate in College activities. Until the last five weeks of classes, students who withdraw will receive W’s. During the last five weeks of classes, students who withdraw will receive F’s unless withdrawing for approved medical reasons. To initiate a withdrawal, a student must submit a withdrawal request form to the Office of Academic Advising. A withdrawal will be reviewed by the Office of the Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students and must be approved by the Academic Standing Committee. A student who has been granted a withdrawal may petition the Academic Standing Committee about transferring courses taken at another institution.

  3. Required Withdrawal

    Any student not enrolled as a full-time student and not granted permission for part-time status, and/or not attending classes will be required to withdraw and leave campus.

  4. Suspension

    A student may be suspended for academic, behavioral, or disciplinary reasons. At the time of suspension, the student will be notified of the semester that the student may be eligible for readmission to the College. A student suspended for academic reasons for a second time is not eligible for readmission.

  5. Readmission

    A student who has been granted a leave of absence, has withdrawn, or has been suspended may be required to meet and document certain conditions prior to return or readmission These conditions will be set out in the letter sent to the student establishing the leave of absence, withdrawal, or suspension. For a fall semester return, students must notify the Office of Academic Advising of their desire to return from suspension by April 15, and provide all supporting materials by May 15; from personal leave or voluntary withdrawal no later than May 1; from medical leave or withdrawal no later than May 1, and provide all supporting materials so that reviews can be completed by June 1. All students desiring to return for a spring semester must notify the office of Academic Advising by November 1; students seeking to return from suspension must provide all supporting materials by December 1; and students seeking to return from medical leave or withdrawal must provide all supporting materials so that reviews can be completed by December 1. The Office of the Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students and the Academic Standing Committee will review all applications for readmission.

  6. Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

    Under certain circumstances, outlined below, the College may require a student to take a leave of absence.

    Medical or Psychiatric Leave of Absence, whether voluntary or involuntary, is not a substitute for appropriate disciplinary action. A student suffering from a medical or psychiatric disorder who is accused of a disciplinary violation will not normally be exempted from the disciplinary process.

A. Standards for a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

Typically, a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal will arise from a student exhibiting acute or persistent health or behavioral problems. Each situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The College may initiate the Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal process if, in the judgment of the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students, a student meets one or more of the following standards:

  1. Students whose behavior places at risk the health and safety of themselves or others. This may include behavior that necessitates unreasonable measures to ensure the students’ and others’ wellbeing.

    As a standard practice, students who are hospitalized for psychiatric reasons must have permission from the Counseling Center Director and the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students before they may return to campus. Students may be required to take an immediate medical withdrawal.
  2. Students whose behavior is disruptive to others. This includes behavior that causes emotional, psychological or physical distress substantially above that normally experienced in daily life or that disrupts College operations. Such disruption may be acute or chronic.
  3. Students who refuse to cooperate with recommended assessment or treatment. Where the recommended assessment is impossible, as with the student’s failure to comply, indirect behavioral observations will constitute the basis for judgment.
  4. Students who require care that exceeds what the College or local resources can adequately provide.

B. Guidelines

When conditions allow for the full investigation and appraisal of the student’s health status, resolution of the situation will be sought with the student’s cooperation if at all possible. Voluntary withdrawal or leave of absence may be encouraged to maximize the participation of the student and/or the student’s family. If a student declines a recommended voluntary withdrawal or leave of absence, the student may be separated without consent by action of the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or designee. (This action will be recorded on the transcript as a withdrawal from current courses.)

Students who withdraw or are separated for reasons of health are eligible to receive a refund for tuition and housing in accordance with the existing College refund policy.

C. Procedures for a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

Any individual who believes that a student meets one or more of the standards described above should contact the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students. The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students shall refer the matter to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities (for disciplinary review) and/or a Sub-Committee of the CARE Committee, with one administrator designated as the Coordinator of the student’s case.

The Sub-Committee may provide the student with an opportunity to meet with the Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee may require an assessment of the student by the medical/psychiatric provider identified by the Sub-Committee to determine if the student meets the standards above. However, an assessment is not required in determining whether the standards above have been met. The Sub-Committee will receive all medical, psychological or observational reports submitted with regard to or on behalf of the student as may pertain to determining health status. Treatment and evaluation reports should include information pertaining to diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. With the information available, the Sub-Committee will also determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made to maintain the student’s enrollment.

If the Sub-Committee concludes that the student does not meet any of the standards for a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal, it will inform the student in writing and this process will terminate. Generally, the Sub-Committee will meet with the student to develop alternative actions deemed appropriate, including a behavioral contract or initiating disciplinary action.

If the Sub-Committee concludes that the student does meet one or more of the standards for a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal, the Sub-Committee will notify the student of its decision in writing and will include its reasons for this conclusion. The Sub-Committee’s decision will become effective immediately upon deposit in the mail or hand delivery.

D. Interim Measures

In all cases where a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal is being considered, the College will undertake an appropriate review and take prompt and effective action to support and protect the student(s) involved. This may include taking interim measures before the final decision is made. Interim measures include residential separation or relocation, class schedule changes, restrictions from College activities and/or facilities, work or job assignment changes, “no contact” directives, interim separation from the College, a mental health evaluation, or other measures to ensure the well-being of all students. Note that securing a valid mental health evaluation can take weeks; thus when a mental health evaluation is required, the student may be advised/required to take a medical leave of absence.

E. Appeal Process for a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

A decision reached by the Sub-Committee may be appealed by the student to the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students within five (5) calendar days of the decision. Such appeals should be in writing and include specific points the student wishes the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students to consider.

The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students has five (5) calendar days to review the information presented and inform the student of his or her decision in writing. The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students may (1) uphold the decision of the Committee, (2) adjust the finding, (3) refer the matter back to the Committee for further proceedings, or (4) reverse the decision of the Committee and reinstate the student. The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students’ decision is final.

F. Process for Readmission to the College after a Required Medical or Psychiatric Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

Return of a student who has been placed on a Medical or Psychiatric Required Leave of Absence or Withdrawal will follow the guidelines set by Academic Advising in consultation with other departments at the College (e.g., Health and Counseling Services and the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students). Typically, at a minimum, conditions for return will include medical or psychiatric treatment during the period of leave and verification of compliance with recommendations of treatment providers. Students will be required to provide relevant medical information to Health and Counseling Services. Health and Counseling services will consider recommendations from the student’s care providers, but it will make decisions independently and in accordance with all available information and expertise. Thus, a recommendation for return from a student’s healthcare provider(s) is not in itself sufficient grounds for return. Failure of the student to cooperate in these procedures, to comply with required conditions of the leave or withdrawal, or to provide accurate and complete information is grounds for reconsideration of the student’s status. Return may include stipulations concerning class schedule, extracurricular activities, place of residence or other conditions as may be judged to be in the best interest of the student and
the College.

Some material has been adapted from Lehigh University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

7. Alcohol and Drug Required Leave

A key component of Gettysburg College’s mission is to provide a safe environment where students are able to pursue their academic and social goals. The College may require a student to take a leave of absence if a student illustrates that they are repeatedly unable to make sound and safe decisions about alcohol and drug use, or the student engages in drinking or drug use that threatens the life, health and safety of one’s self or others. This term of Alcohol and Drug Required Leave will be invoked for significant or repeated violations of the terms of the College’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Points System.

The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or their designee will determine the terms of the Alcohol and Drug Required Leave. If a student violates the terms of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Points System by reaching or exceeding ten points, the terms of the Alcohol and Drug Required Leave will normally include a provision for the student to receive care (medical, psychiatric, psychological, counseling, or therapy) while on leave.

Generally, our procedures will follow the protocol outlined in the Medical Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Policy. The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or their designee may identify additional criteria in order to return to campus. The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or their designee, in consultation with Health and Counseling Services, will determine if all criteria have been met and if the student is eligible to return. If a student is required to leave, the leave will normally be extended through the entire subsequent semester.

A student returning from Required Leave will have 5 points on their record upon return. A student that accumulates 10 or more points for a SECOND time during their Gettysburg career will be referred to the Student Conduct Review Board for consideration of suspension/expulsion, along with any sanctions assigned through the point system process.

Instances of any of these behaviors, whether alcohol-related or not, could also be referred to the Student Conduct Review Board for consideration of possible suspension or expulsion (along with other sanctions, as detailed in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities).

Students are expected to be enrolled continuously from their matriculation through graduation. Understanding that unexpected events may occur, the College allows for a student to request a leave of absence or withdrawal. If a student withdraws from a course during the last five weeks of the semester, the student will receive an F (failure) in the course unless granted a withdrawal for approved medical reasons.

The following applies to leaves through Counseling Services: Students granted a medical W from one or more but not all courses are generally expected to take a medical leave for the subsequent semester. Students who take medical withdrawals from all courses are generally expected to be on leave of absence for the remainder of the semester AND the subsequent semester. Students who withdraw or take a leave of absence are not permitted to visit campus without permission from the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities. Students may request permission to visit campus for academic and medical reasons. Generally students on a leave will not be permitted on campus overnight or to participate in social or co-curricular activities. Gettysburg College reserves the right to initiate or require a leave of absence or withdrawal for academic, behavioral, disciplinary, or medical reasons and reserves the right to defer or refuse return/readmission.