Yale University has announced a new mental health policy that allows students to take leave of absence rather than expulsion.
Previously, students struggling with mental health issues could leave Yale through elective or mandated expulsion. A reform policy announced on January 18 gave students the option to apply for a leave of absence without having to apply for readmission.
The change follows student, faculty, and alumni criticism of Yale’s expulsion policy and its impact on the ability of students to fully address their mental health needs.
In November 2022, The Washington Post reported that Yale’s inadequate counseling services and forced expulsion policies prevented it from adequately supporting students at risk. Students who are pressured by administrators to withdraw can be moved off campus within 72 hours. If they wished to be reinstated, their application for reinstatement required a personal statement, a letter of support, and proof that they remained “constructively occupied” while on leave.
According to students interviewed for the article, the threat of forced withdrawal led some to hide mental health issues and suicidal thoughts rather than seek help. In late November, Elis for Rachael of her group Mental Health filed a lawsuit alleging Yale discriminated against students with mental health issues.
Yale University’s new policy provides for deferrals, leave of absence, medical leave, and expulsion. New students who defer enrollment for one year are automatically admitted to the next class. Current students can request a leave of absence for up to four semesters. In the meantime, you can work on campus and access Yale academic resources.
When you are ready to go back, it will be automatically reverted without you needing to reapply. However, under certain circumstances, Yale University can enforce involuntary medical leave.
Yale University has also revised its health insurance policy. Students who previously had Yale health insurance lost coverage for treatment, medication and other mental health services after dropping out, The Washington Post reported. Now
Students can also take two courses per semester without penalty.
In an email to students, Yale Dean Pericles Lewis said, “These revised policies will ease concerns about student status and allow you (and those who support you) to focus on what matters. I hope you will be able to.
Penn’s mental health policy has not undergone a dramatic reform since the Student Psychological Health and Well-Being Task Force recommended administrative changes in 2015.
Penn can place a student on an involuntary leave of absence if the student declines a voluntary leave of absence, but the process of returning is still difficult.