Sometimes, depression can get so bad that taking a leave of absence from school is necessary in order to get treatment and address symptoms. If you’re considering taking a leave of absence, take the following into consideration:
- The policy at your school: contact the disability office or your academic advisor to inquire about the policy for taking a leave, what documentation you’ll need to provide and how long you are able to take a leave for
- Class credits: You might lose your class credit or have to take incompletes and finish up your classes at a later time. You can also ask to retroactively withdraw from your classes if your grades suffered in the time leading up to your leave. Under the ADA, this is considered a reasonable accommodation.
- Financial aid: You may need to ask the financial aid office about whether or not you’ll need to repay your loans right away or if you’ll be given a grace period. Also, ask if any of your tuition could be refunded.
- Returning to school: Returning to school requires college officials to sign off on your return. They usually consider how you managed your academic and medical affairs prior to the leave, your application essays, and medical documentation from your providers. Check with your academic advisor and/or the dean of students office to better understand this process.
Can a School Require Me to Take a Leave?
Short answer: yes. A college can ask you to leave if they can show that there’s a clear risk you might harm yourself or someone else. If you believe your school is mistaken, seek legal advice. You can also consider filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.