Leave of Absence Policy
WestMed College’s programs are designed as a series of uninterrupted courses. Students with extenuating circumstances may be granted a leave of absence at the discretion of both the program director and the Director of Education. The total amount of the leave may not exceed 180 days and the expected date of return must be specified. If the student does not return within the time agreed upon and has not contacted the school, he/she will be terminated and given a refund in accordance with WestMed College’s refund policy.
A request for a leave of absence (LOA) must be made in writing and signed by the student. The student must discuss the LOA request with the program director before it is forwarded (with program director’s recommendation) to the director of education for review and approval. The director of education will notify the student with the result of the request review within 10 business days. If a leave of absence is approved, the student will be granted a leave of absence not to exceed 180 days within a 12 month period.
Leave of Absence Policy (LOA) for Financial Aid Recipients
The WestMed College LOA policy is mandated by federal regulation for federal student aid recipients. This impacts students who receive Title IV federal financial aid (Federal Pell Grants, Federal Stafford Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Parent Loans) or who want to have a federal student loan deferred from payment while in school. A student on an approved LOA will be considered enrolled at WestMed College and would be eligible for an in school deferment for student aid loans. Students will not receive disbursements of Title IV student loan financial aid funds during an approved LOA. It is important to note that Federal financial aid and in-school deferment may be negatively impacted if a student fails to apply for the LOA within the guidelines stipulated or if the application is denied. A student who fails to return from an approved LOA may be subject to impacts on both student loan repayment terms as well as the grace period of any aid. If a student does not return from an approved LOA the student will be treated as a withdrawn student effective the first day of the leave and a return calculation of Federal Student aid will be performed. All LOA approvals for student receiving financial aid must be submitted via e-form on the student portal to the Registrar’s Office.
WestMed celebrates access as one of its core values. The College understands that life events may require a student to modify class enrollment and schedules. The LOA policy is designed to provide flexibility for students who need to adjust to life events. Students may have multiple LOAs within a 12 month period provided that the cumulative total does not exceed the allowable amount. College scheduled breaks are included in the 180 leave day limit.
To request a formal LOA, students will need to follow the steps outlined below. Students who receive Federal Student Assistance (FSA) in the form of loans and grants, and who will have a break in attendance of 14 days or more, may be subject to recalculation and/or return of unearned FSA monies unless they have an approved LOA on file. Students who do not return from an approved LOA will be withdrawn from the College with regard to all financial aid consideration effective the start date of the LOA. Further information for FSA students may be obtained from their financial aid advisor. Students who are not on FSA, or who do not have a federal loan in deferment, are not required to request a leave of absence but may choose to do so.
Students requesting a leave of absence must:
- Inform their financial aid advisor of their request and discuss financial aid implications, as appropriate.
- Submit a written and signed request for Leave of Absence and include the following information:
- Beginning and ending dates of the LOA requested
- Reason for the LOA request. The following are acceptable reasons for a leave of absence: military, medical, jury duty, loss of job, family emergency, employment emergency or other reasons which demonstrate the student’s circumstance.
- Late requests may be considered for approval if they include an explanation of the unforeseen circumstances that prevented the earlier submission of the request.
All students are encouraged to submit requests as soon as possible to allow the College adequate time to process the request.
A LOA approval must meet the above criteria and the reason for the request must be approved by the Program Director and Director of Education. All LOA requests start the day following the student’s last date of attendance at WestMed College, unless otherwise requested and approved by the Program Director and Director of Education. Once approved, the LOA will be entered into the student’s record and the student will be reported as an approved LOA student. It is the student’s responsibility to determine how this status may affect any external institution or agency.
Requesting a LOA does not grant a drop or withdrawal from the current class of attendance.
Special notes for financial aid students regarding a LOA:
Financial aid students must contact their Financial Aid Advisor as early as possible upon determining that they would like to request a LOA to discuss the impact on student aid. Students who do not return from an approved LOA will have all future loan disbursements canceled. The loan repayment grace periods established on all previously disbursed loans will have begun as of the first day of the student’s approved LOA. Therefore, if the student does not return from an approved LOA, the student may have exhausted some or all of the grace period and may be required to enter into immediate repayment on previously disbursed loans. Students will need to contact their lender regarding grace period rules and requirements. If the student does not return following the leave of absence period, WestMed College will consider the student as having permanently withdrawn and will apply its refund policy, which will be based on the time elapsed in the student’s program, as measured in clock hours, as of the last date of attendance.
Deployed Military Leave of Absence Policy
A student required to take a leave of absence (LOA) due to military deployment will not have a loss of academic credits earned, institutional scholarships awarded or application/registration fees paid when returning from deployed status. Under the 180-day LOA limitation (Subsection (a)(2)(B) of 484B, Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091b) the student shall not be treated as withdrawn unless the student fails to return upon the completion of the leave of absence.