The Medical Withdrawal policy of The University of Alabama establishes procedures to follow when a student suffers from a physical, emotional or psychological condition that significantly impairs their ability to function successfully or safely as a student. The policy is primarily administered by the University’s Student Health Center (SHC) according to the procedures described below.
Medical Withdrawals are voluntary. Eligibility for Medical Withdrawal is limited to students who have not taken a final exam or otherwise completed course work for a final grade. The SHC will request documentation from the dean of the division in which the student is enrolled to verify that the student took no final exam(s) or otherwise completed no course work for a final grade for the semester/term in question; in addition, students are expected to affirm these conditions at the time of the request. Falsely attesting to the eligibility on the Student Request for Medical Withdrawal form is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and may result in the denial or revocation of the Medical Withdrawal.
Medical Withdrawal, when approved, removes all courses for a given semester/term. Students are not allowed to medically withdraw from individual courses. The only exception to this policy occurs when parts of a term within a semester have unique start and end dates. For example the summer semester at UA includes four separate parts (Interim Term, Summer I, Summer II and full Summer Term). It would be possible, if approved, for a student to complete coursework in Summer I and to medically withdraw from Summer II. In this example, the student would not be medically withdrawn from the entire summer semester, but rather only from all of their courses for the Summer II.
A student seeking a medical withdrawal must submit the required Medical Withdrawal Documentation described hereinafter to the SHC. After appropriate SHC personnel have deemed a medical withdrawal request eligible for consideration, a designated SHC physician handles all medical withdrawal decisions on behalf of the University. The designated SHC physician shall make an individualized assessment before deciding to approve or deny the request and determining the effective date of the withdrawal. The designated physician’s decisions regarding Medical Withdrawal are final with no appeal rights. If approved, the SHC will notify the Office of the University Registrar. The Registrar will process the withdrawal and notify the student. If the request is denied, the SHC will notify the student.
Handling of Medical Withdrawal
Once a Medical Withdrawal has been approved, the withdrawal will proceed under these guidelines:
- Registrar assigns a grade of “W” on the official transcript for effective dates that fall after the add/drop period for the semester.
- All grades from the transcript are completely removed when the medical withdrawal effective date falls within the add/drop period for the semester.
- The impact of an approved non-medical semester withdrawal (administrative withdrawal) for the same semester is addressed in the following way:
- If an approved non-medical withdrawal from an academic division predates the approved medical withdrawal effective date, the earlier date will be applied by the Registrar for the official transcript.
- If the approved medical withdrawal effective date pre-dates an approved non-medical withdrawal, again the earlier date will be applied by the Registrar for the official transcript.
Return to The University Following Medical Withdrawal
When the medical withdrawal is approved, a SHC representative will initiate a medical clearance hold on the student’s record. A medical clearance hold will remain in place until the appropriate documentation is received and a designated SHC physician approves release of the hold.
A student seeking to return following a medical withdrawal must provide appropriate medical documentation from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or mental health professional who has treated the student since the effective date of medical withdrawal. This medical documentation must indicate that it is appropriate and safe for the student to resume classes at the beginning of a specified semester/term. A completed Recommendation for Return to Campus form must be submitted to the Student Health Center/Medical Withdrawal by mail (750 5th Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401) or by fax (205-348-7174).
Upon receipt of the required Recommendation for Return to Campus and other appropriate medical documentation, a designated SHC physician, on behalf of the University and, where appropriate, in consultation with relevant University personnel, will conduct an individualized assessment of the returning student’s situation. This assessment will include reviewing materials submitted by the student or on the student’s behalf. During the process of reviewing a student’s request to return, if at the discretion of the SHC physician a determination is made that the information provided by a treatment provider or student is incomplete, requires further explanation or clarification, or when there is a disconnect between the medical information provided and other available information relating to the student, the student may be required to provide additional documentation and/or complete one or more Release of Information forms so the SHC may obtain further information about the student’s current condition. In extraordinary circumstances (e.g., concern exists about the medical provider’s credentials/assessment, etc.), the student may be asked to undergo additional evaluation or assessment to assist with the determination about a student’s readiness to return. All steps that the SHC may initiate as part of its individualized assessment are aimed at ensuring the student is ready to resume their studies and be a successful member of the campus community.
Every effort will be made to respond to a student’s request for return within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of all requested or required materials. A longer response time may be caused by the inability to reach a student’s treatment provider, high volume in SHC, clinic closure during University holiday periods, or other extenuating circumstances.
If, at the discretion of the SHC physician, it is determined that the hold should remain in place because a student is not yet ready to return, the student will be advised in writing by letter or via e-mail to their University account. A student may appeal that decision by submitting an appeal letter in writing to the UA Provost by email (email@example.com) or fax (205-348-9137) within fourteen (14) calendar days of receiving the designated physician’s initial decision. The Provost or designee will review the matter and make a final determination as to the student’s ability to return.
If the decision is made to grant the student’s request to return and lift the medical clearance hold, relevant University personnel may contact the student prior to the student’s return to discuss or review a plan for sustained health, including recommendations for ongoing treatment, as well as any accommodations, resources, or services that may be available to help the student succeed.
If the medical clearance hold is lifted, the returning student may have additional holds on their record (e.g. conduct hold, financial hold, academic hold, etc.) that will need to be resolved through other areas of the University before the student may return. Additionally, to return, the student must meet any applicable admission and enrollment requirements of the University and of the school or college in which they wish to be enrolled.
Financial Impact of Medical Withdrawal
The purpose of this policy is to provide academic relief to the student, not financial relief. Please refer the Student Receivables website for the financial impact of withdrawals at different stages in the semester.
When Medical Withdrawal is not Appropriate
When Medical Withdrawal is not appropriate, the student is directed to the appropriate dean’s office for other potential options.
Please call (205) 348-7164 for clarification or more information. For questions pertaining to the financial impact of withdrawals, please contact Student Account Services 205-348-5350.
In the event of any conflict with other University materials, the Medical Withdrawal policy found on this page of the Student Health Center’s website, will govern and control the University’s medical withdrawal process.
- A student must fully and accurately complete the Student Request for Medical Withdrawal and send the completed form by fax (205-348-7174) or mail to The Student Health Center, Medical Withdrawal, 750 5th Ave East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
- A student must have a licensed medical practitioner (physician, nurse practitioner, or mental health professional) submit a completed Licensed Provider Recommendation for Medical Withdrawal by fax (205-348-7174) or mail to The Student Health Center, Medical Withdrawal, 750 5th Ave East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. The licensed medical professional shall be the one who is currently treating the student for the conditional(s) related to the withdrawal and is responsible for obtaining permission from the student to provide the documentation and to discuss the medial conditions, if needed, with the appropriate University personnel. If the University, in its sole discretion, determines that an extraordinary or emergency situation exists, alternative documentation may be requested and considered.
- A student may also attach to the student request form any further supportive documentation from faculty teaching the student’s currently enrolled courses, or if to support a retroactive withdrawal, from faculty who taught the student for the semester/term for which the withdrawal is requested.
- In the event that the student’s medial condition so incapacitates the student that they cannot act on behalf of themselves, the student’s parent or legal guardian should contact the Student Health Center at 205-348-7164 for further guidance.