Leave of Absence Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Leave of Absence?

From time to time, circumstances might compel students in the College to interrupt their enrolment. These breaks in enrolment are formally recognized as Leaves of Absence (LOA). A leave of absence might be for a variety of reasons, academic, personal or medical. Students planning any leave should promptly consult with their Assistant Dean of Students (AD). When taking a leave, students are advised of the conditions under which they might resume their studies in the College at a future date.

2. Is there such a thing as a Medical Leave of Absence?

There is no separate category of Leave of Absence. A student may be on Leave of Absence for medical reasons, both physical and non-physical.

Serious physical and non-physical medical conditions normally require weeks for recovery. The Assistant Dean Notes are not designed to cover long or frequent periods of illness. Students whose health challenges will require significant absences or delays in meeting assessment due dates will be advised to take a Leave of Absence.

A Leave of Absence for medical reasons will have reinstatement conditions attached.  The purpose of the reinstatement conditions is to ensure a student is fit and prepared to return to study.

3. How can I determine whether I should take a Leave of Absence?

If you are planning any leave you should consult with your Assistant Dean as soon as the need for the leave arises. Students take leave for a variety of reasons. For example, you may want to participate in an internship or practical training, or have other personal, financial or medical reasons. In case of a Leave of Absence for medical reasons, family members as well as doctors or counsellors should also be consulted. The Assistant Dean will help you to determine if a Leave of Absence will be beneficial for your health and academic goals.

4. How long is a Leave of Absence?

Students will normally receive permission to take a Leave of Absence for up to two semesters. In view of the nature and rigor of the academic program, it is the College’s expectation that students normally will not exceed two semesters of leave over the course of their time as a student.

5. What about in the case of mandatory military service?

Permission may be granted to extend a leave for up to four semesters for students fulfilling a military service requirement.

6. Can the College require a student to take a Leave of Absence? Under what circumstances?

The Dean of Students may place a student on a Leave of Absence in the following cases.
• The student has not registered as required.
• The student withdraws from all courses.

In the above circumstances, the Leave of Absence will be effective immediately.

There are also rare circumstances under which the College will require a student to go on Leave of Absence for medical reasons. In the majority of cases, students themselves declare that they are in a poor state of health and request a Leave of Absence to concentrate on recovery from physical illness or accident or an acute stage of a mental illness. However, there may be unusual cases in which a student does not recognize that they are in a poor state of health. In order to live on campus and attend classes, every student must be capable of independent living (i.e. able to function without the supervision of others) and not be a risk to harming themselves or others. The College’s foremost concern is for the health and safety of every student on campus. Therefore, in the event that a student cannot care for themselves or is a danger to themselves or others in the community, the College will require the student to take a Leave of Absence. The purpose of doing so is to support students with serious illness and allow them to take leave from their studies rather than compromise their health further.

7. When should I submit a request for leave?

You should seek advice from your Assistant Dean of Students as early as possible.

The deadline for applying for leave is 5 pm on Friday of Instructional Week 13 of the semester prior to the intended leave semester. In circumstances such as the sudden onset of illness after Week 13 or any situation which means you would like to take a leave after this point, you should make contact with your Assistant Dean immediately to discuss your options.

8. What happens if I’m unable to meet the deadline?

Applications submitted after Instructional Week 13 of the preceding semester will be considered at the discretion of the Dean of Students. The Dean will ask why meeting the deadline was not possible. This justification should be stated in the application and include supporting documentation. (For example, an internship offer that was confirmed only after the Week 13 deadline). In general, the College will work to allow students to take advantage of opportunities that are available to them.

Fees may be incurred by students who submit their application after the deadline. Students who occupy a room on campus after the start of Instructional Week 1 will incur the Miscellaneous Student Fee, which is non-refundable, and an administrative charge of SGD500.00 plus the current GST rate.

Students granted a Leave of Absence after 5.00 pm on the Friday of Instructional Week 2 will be charged full fees for the semester regardless of residential college occupancy.

9. What happens during the application process? What will I need to do?

You may discuss the application process with your Assistant Dean of Students who can help guide you through it. Depending on your reason for taking leave, you may need to collect and submit documents in support of your application. For example, you may need proof of acceptance for an internship or external programme or you may need a letter from a physician in support of a medical leave.

You will also need to contact staff in relevant Yale-NUS departments to get confirmation that you have settled any outstanding issues in relation to fees, overdue books or equipment, your student pass (if applicable), and have returned your access card as well as anything you may have borrowed from the College (books, media equipment, etc).

The Registry will update your registration and student records.

10. Do I have to leave the campus while on Leave of Absence?

Yes, you will need to leave the campus. The timing of when you must leave depends on the terms of your Leave of Absence. If the Leave of Absence is to start in the following semester, you may stay through the rest of the current semester. If your Leave of Absence is to begin immediately, you will have 72 hours.

11. Can I access the library, fitness centre or other campus facilities?

When you start your leave you will be required to hand in your access card and will no longer have access to campus facilities.

12. What happens to my student housing when I’m on Leave of Absence?

You will be required to vacate your student suite, which means removing all your personal belongings from your room and the student suite.

13. Can I store my belongings on campus while I’m on leave?

The College does not have storage facilities and, similar to the summer break, you will need to remove all your belongings.

14. Can students on Leave of Absence participate in CIPE programs?

Students who have been granted Leave of Absence may participate in CIPE advising and internship/career fairs during the period of the Leave of Absence with the permission of the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will consider the particular circumstances to ensure students have the opportunity they need to recover or prepare for their return.

Students are expected to resume their studies on the Yale-NUS campus in the semester immediately following the end of their LOA. Therefore, it is not possible for students on an Leave of Absence to go on study abroad in the next semester.

15. What happens to my financial aid award?

Financial aid awards will be placed on hold during the period of your leave. You will need to contact the Financial Aid Department at the time you plan to return. financialaid@yale-nus.edu.sg

16. Will my Student’s Pass be cancelled?

In most circumstances, no, your Student’s Pass will not be cancelled. However, you will need to pay attention to the expiry or end date of your Pass. Student’s Passes are normally granted for a period of 4 years. In most cases, taking a leave of absence will extend your candidature beyond 4 years. You will need to write to studenthelp@yale-nus.edu.sg to request an extension at least 2 months before it expires. Please write to studenthelp@yale-nus.edu.sg for all questions pertaining to student passes.

17. Do the terms of my Student’s Pass change while I’m on leave?

Students holding a Student’s Pass are reminded to abide by the Terms & Conditions of the issue of the Student’s Pass as stipulated by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). A Student’s Pass holder is not to engage in any form of paid employment or in any business, profession or occupation in Singapore during the validity of the Student’s Pass unless he/she is a holder of a valid work pass issued under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

18. What if I take a leave of absence to participate in an internship for which I do not earn MC’s?

An international student who is granted a leave of absence during the regular semester to participate in a local internship that does not earn any credits for graduation will have to cancel their Student’s Pass and apply to the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) for the necessary work passes through their employer. Please note that the approval of the workpass is at the sole discretion of MOM and is subject to the minimum salary requirements.

Yale-NUS College can assist International students in re-applying for a Student’s Pass as needed.

19. Will I be covered by student health insurance while on Leave of Absence?

If the Leave of Absence is due to medical reasons, you will continue to be covered until the end of the next semester after the Leave of Absence starts, provided the insurance premium is paid.

If the Leave of Absence is for a reason other than medical, you will not be covered by the University’s Health Insurance.

20. Will I be covered by student travel insurance while on Leave of Absence?

Whether you are covered by travel insurance will depend on several factors including whether you are travelling on a trip that is approved/endorsed by the College and whether you are considered a registered student at the beginning of the trip. For information on travel insurance coverage, please contact Student Services studenthelp@yale-nus.edu.sg. Student Services may refer you to the insurance provider if necessary.

21. When must I return from Leave of Absence?

You are expected to resume your studies on the Yale-NUS campus in the semester immediately following the end of your Leave of Absence.

22. What do I need to do to return to study after taking a Leave of Absence?

First, contact your Assistant Dean of Students who can provide advice and help you start the process. The other steps you need to take depend on the reason for the leave and whether there are reinstatement conditions.

Where there are no reinstatement conditions, students should notify their Assistant Dean of Students as early as possible of their intention to return to campus. The Assistant Dean will alert Registry to the change in status to allow the student to register for modules in the returning semester.

Students on Leave of Absence with reinstatement conditions will need to go through a reinstatement process. The purpose of reinstatement is to determine a student’s fitness to return to study, and to develop, jointly with the student, a plan for support upon return. As part of that process, students will normally be required to provide the College with documentation. If the Leave of Absence was for medical reasons, the required documentation will be from health professionals, such as doctors or psychiatrists, and address the student’s current state of health and treatment plan. What documentation or other steps the student needs to take should be outlined when the Leave is granted. Ask your Assistant Dean if you are unsure.

In some cases, the reinstatement committee may require the student take an additional Leave of Absence or return to study with conditions, e.g. seeing a College Counselor or taking a reduced module load.

23. Will returning from Leave of Absence be easy? What else might I encounter when I return?

For many students taking a Leave of Absence is very good move that allows them to return focused and ready to succeed. That is not to say that returning from Leave of Absence is without its challenges. It could be that you return to find yourself in a different cohort in terms of courses or that friends have moved on to study abroad or have graduated. Of course, others may have had interruptions in their studies as well, but you may find yourself making new friends and graduating with a different class depending on the length of your leave.

You may also feel self-conscious; like you have to explain your absence. The truth is that with almost 80 percent of students taking study abroad and many interrupting their studies for internships, family reasons, or health reasons, these comings and goings are part of the rhythm of life here. How much or how little you tell people is up to you.

If you feel like you could use a little help, reach out to your Assistant Dean of Students or to Counseling for any needed support. CIPE is also standing by to counsel returning students about the next steps.

24. Will I be placed in my old Residential College? Can I request where my new room is?

Housing options are based on availability and will be shared with you once you have confirmed that you will return to the college. However, the College will try to place you in the same Residential College as you were in before your leave if possible.

25. Can I get my old room back when I return?

If you are to return for semester 1, you may participate in the Room Draw during the previous semester only if your return has already been approved. If your return is not approved in time for the Room Draw, the College cannot hold specific rooms open. If you are to return in semester 2 or miss the Room Draw, you will be given the available options from which you can select your room.

26. Can I request a room in a different Residential College (RC) when I return?

If you have a specific need to switch Residential Colleges, please speak with your current Assistant Dean for more details on that process.