Student Life Office

Medical Leave of Absence

A medical leave of absence may be available for students who have medical or psychological conditions that severely limit their ability to perform their academic work. Students who would like to request a medical leave of absence should begin by meeting with a staff member in Health and Counseling. Medical leaves of absence are granted by the Dean of Students in consultation with Health and Counseling Services, and are based on the written recommendation of a physician or mental health professional. Medical leaves of absence may be in effect for a maximum of four consecutive semesters. If you are considering taking a medical leave of absence during a semester, please review our tuition refund policy

Taking a medical leave is a big decision that can have academic, financial and personal implications. If you would like to speak with someone about your situation and options, please contact the Student Life Office to schedule a meeting with a dean. You are also encouraged to consult with the Health and Counseling Center (HCC) about whether you qualify for a medical leave.

If you are interested in exploring other options, please see Alternatives to Taking a Leave of Absence. A dean in Student Life or your faculty adviser can talk to you more about these options. You may also choose to consult Financial Aid, the Business Office, family, and other support resources to help you make a decision about whether taking a medical leave of absence is the best option for your situation.

Whenever possible, you are encouraged to continue to attend classes until you have made an official decision to take a medical leave of absence to avoid falling behind on work if you do decide to remain enrolled for the semester.

Instructions for Applying for a Medical Leave

The Student Life Office coordinates the Medical Leave of Absence process in collaboration with several partnering offices, most notably the Health and Counseling Center (HCC). If you need assistance or have general questions about taking a leave, please contact the Dean of Students’ Office or the HCC.

To request a medical leave of absence you must do the following:
  1. Review the Medical Leave of Absence FAQs
  2. Log into IRIS and select Request a Leave or Withdrawal
  3. Complete and submit the Medical Leave of Absence request form and survey in IRIS
  4. Contact the HCC to schedule a MLOA meeting with a provider (503-777-7281) 
  5. Meet with a provider at the Health and Counseling Center
  6. Meet with your faculty adviser (optional but encouraged)
  7. Satisfy any requests from the Business Office and Financial Aid (see below)
  8. Move out of on-campus housing, if applicable
  9. Review the Checklist for Taking a Leave and complete any necessary tasks before your departure

After you submit the Medical Leave of Absence request form, Health and Counseling will be notified. You will then have five business days to meet with and/or receive confirmation from the following offices and individuals:

Health and Counseling. Within one business day of submitting your request, please contact the Health and Counseling Services to schedule an appointment with a counselor ( The HCC will inform the Dean of Students if they endorse your request to take a medical leave, and the Dean of Students will approve your request in IRIS. 

Your faculty adviser (optional but encouraged). Students approved to take a medical leave of absence are encouraged but not required to meet with their faculty adviser. If you choose to meet with your adviser, please consult Questions to Ask Your Faculty Adviser about Taking a Leave of Absence in preparation of the meeting. If you choose not to meet with your adviser, your adviser will be notified of your leave when you are removed from classes. 

Residence Life (if applicable). If you live in on-campus, Residence Life will automatically be notified of your intentions to take a medical leave of absence. Students currently living in on-campus housing will have five business days after submitting their leave request form to move out of housing. Students are encouraged to make arrangements to move out of on-campus housing as soon as they make a decision to take a leave. Please visit Moving Out of On-Campus Housing for more information.  

The Business Office. The Business Office may contact you to share information with you regarding your student account. The Business Office may request you meet with a representative before they can confirm your leave in IRIS. Please check your Reed email and respond to all requests. 

Financial Aid (if applicable). If you are a recipient of financial aid, you will automatically receive information from Financial Aid about how taking a leave of absence may affect your financial aid or loans. Financial Aid may request you meet with a representative before they confirm your leave in IRIS. Please check your Reed email and respond to all requests. 

If you do not have any unresolved issues with your student account, the Business Office and Financial Aid Office will confirm your request without you needing to take any additional actions. 

When you have satisfied all the requirements above, and the offices have confirmed your medical leave in IRIS, the Registrar’s Office will remove you from any classes you are registered for the current semester and/or future semesters. You will then receive confirmation that your medical leave is official and in effect. The email will include information about how to return to Reed when you are ready. 

If you do not complete the steps outlined above within five business days, your medical leave of absence request will be canceled. If you still intend to take a medical leave of absence, you must contact the Student Life Office ( to re-initiate your request with a new initiation date. A changed initiation date may affect your tuition refund or money owed. 


Students can initiate a medical leave of absence before the semester at any time. We recommend students complete their medical leave of absence paperwork at least three weeks before the start of the semester to avoid any unnecessary billing or tuition charges.

If a student needs to initiate a medical leave during the semester, they can do so any time before the last day of classes for the semester. See academic calendar for specific dates.

On-Campus Housing

Students who live on campus at the time they take a leave of absence will have their room and board contract cancelled. Students have five business days to move out of housing after submitting their medical leave request form in IRIS. Students will incur additional room charges if they do not move out within five business days. Please review Moving Out of On-Campus Housing for more information.

Returning to Reed

Students on medical leave must secure approval from the Health and Counseling Center and Dean of Students to return. In order to authorize your return to Reed, the dean and HCC will need to see evidence that you have followed treatment recommendations and your condition has stabilized satisfactorily, and for a sufficient period of time, such that there is a reasonable expectation that you will be able to succeed at Reed. Please see Returning from a Medical Leave for more information.

If a student’s medical leave has expired (e.g. the student has taken more than four semesters away), the student will also need to apply for readmission through the Registrar’s Office to return.


Please read the Medical Leave of Absence FAQs to learn more about the regulations for taking a leave. You are also encouraged to contact the Student Life Office or any of the offices below if you have questions.

The Student Life Office
Location: Eliot Hall 218
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 am – 5 pm; closed noon – 1 pm
Telephone: 503/517-7396

Additional Resources

Medical Leave of Absence FAQs
Alternatives to Taking a Leave of Absence
Questions to Ask Your Faculty Adviser about Taking a Leave
Checklist for Taking a Medical Leave
Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence