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Policy No: 2012
Responsible Office: Office of Student Disability Services
Last Review Date: 02/26/2020
Next Required Review: 02/26/2025

Medical Withdrawal Policy

1. Purpose

A Medical Withdrawal is designed for students who suffer from a physical or psychological condition that prevents them from successfully completing their academic responsibilities in a given semester. A Medical Withdrawal allows a student to withdraw at any time during the semester, even after the official deadline to drop from courses.

2. Applicability

This policy applies to graduate (except for medical students in the College of Medicine) and undergraduate students; also, to faculty whose classes include these students.

3. Definitions

Accommodations: are described as any academic modifications, adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services that give a student with a disability an equal opportunity to benefit from the educational process.

Healthcare Provider: is described as any professional that is licensed and appropriately credentialed to diagnose and treat the identified physical or psychological condition.

Incapacity: is described as a physical or mental inability to do something or to manage one's affairs.

Medical Condition: is described as a physical or psychological condition that prevents a student from successfully completing their academic responsibilities in a given semester.

4. Policy Guidelines

4.1 A Medical Withdrawal affects all the courses in which the student is enrolled in a given semester. Students will not be able to request a Medical Withdrawal for individual courses unless authorized by the Provost. Exceptions may be made when one course is offered during part of a semester and other courses were taken at a different time during that semester. For example, if a student becomes ill while taking a course during the Maymester, a Medical Withdrawal will only impact all Maymester courses but not courses taken during other terms in the summer semester.

4.2 Although generally the request for a Medical Withdrawal should be submitted prior to the end of the term, if the student can document that the medical condition prevented him/her from requesting a Medical Withdrawal during the semester in question, a medical withdrawal may be retroactively applied. The time limit to request a retroactive Medical Withdrawal will be six months after the end of the semester in question.

4.3 Once the Medical Withdrawal is approved, the office of the Registrar will notify the student with copies to the Provost and the Dean of the college of the student’s major program.

5. Procedures

5.1 The request for a Medical Withdrawal and all supporting information must be submitted to:

Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Disability Services
Educational Services Building
320 Alumni Circle Suite 19
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
P: (251) 460-7212
F: (251) 414-8176

5.2 The Director of Student Disability Services will determine if the student is eligible for a Medical Withdrawal and forward the request to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for final approval. The student may appeal a denial of Medical Withdrawal request with the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. The decision of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs will be final.

5.3 If the medical condition is chronic/permanent, students will be encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services.

5.4 Students will not be able to receive repeated Medical Withdrawals for the same medical condition unless such condition is associated with unpredictable exacerbations that may interfere with the student’s academic performance.

5.5 A student requesting a Medical Withdrawal must provide the following documentation:

5.5.1 A signed letter or an email from the student’s jagmail account requesting a medical withdrawal for a specific semester. The request letter must include the following information:

      • Student’s Jag# and current contact information,
      • Description of how the medical condition interfered with academic performance,
      • Dates when the medical condition began,
      • The last date of academic attendance and/or submission of assignments, as well as any other pertinent information. 

5.5.2 A letter from the student’s parent or legal guardian may be acceptable if the student is incapacitated.

5.5.3 A letter from a licensed healthcare provider, on their letterhead paper, signed by the provider, recommending that the student be granted a medical withdrawal for a specific semester. The letter needs to include the dates of onset/duration of the medical condition, and also indicate that the severity was such that it prevented attendance, participation, and/or performance for the semester in question. In order to protect the privacy of the student, there is no need to include specific symptoms or diagnoses. If the medical condition may lead or has led to a disability, the health professional should provide details concerning what types of support/accommodations the student may need once they are able to return.

5.5.4 An authorization for release of academic medical information, signed by the student, will be required in case there is a need to contact the health provider.

5.6 Submission of a false medical excuse will be considered a Level II form of Academic Misconduct.

5.7 Before returning to the university, the student will need to provide a letter from the healthcare provider to the Office of Student Disability Services stating that he/she is ready to resume academic work. In instances when a student is enrolled in a clinical program, a copy of the letter must be also forwarded to the program coordinator or department chair. Any request for accommodations will be considered at this time. The student must then communicate with the advisor of the student’s major to select appropriate courses. The time frame for reenrolling may depend on course availability.

5.8 Financial Implications:

5.6.1 Tuition reimbursement in cases of Medical Withdrawal will follow the university’s reimbursement withdrawal policy. Thus, students receiving a Medical Withdrawal may be eligible to a 100% or 50% refund if the request is made before the deadlines listed in the academic calendar. However, in accordance with Federal guidelines, complete withdrawal from the institution will require a portion of Federal Financial aid grant or loan funds, except for Federal Work-Study earnings, to be returned to the applicable federal program (s) based on the student's last date of attendance.

5.6.2 If a federal aid recipient completely withdraws from school after beginning attendance, the amount of federal aid earned by the student must be determined based on the number of days the student attended in the given term. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, the unearned federal aid funds must be returned and the student may owe a balance to the University.

6. Enforcement

The University’s Office of Student Disability Services (Student Affairs Division) is responsible for this policy, and for assuring the necessary members of the University of South Alabama community are aware of it. Noncompliance with this policy will be addressed by the Office of Student Disability Services.

7. Related Documents

Not Applicable.