Office of Student Returns

Review Process FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Leave and Return Process

Leave and Return Policy Questions 

Application Review/Process Questions

Health Related Questions

Post Decision Questions

Leave and Return Policy Questions 

I have been separated from Duke multiple times, am I still eligible to apply to return?

There are seven distinct separation categories at Duke. Of those, two (e.g., academic dismissal and suspension for academic dishonesty or expulsion) have explicit policy governing eligibility to apply after repeated experiences. Students who experience a second academic dismissal are not eligible to return to return to Duke prior to the passing of five years since their last date of enrollment. Similarly, students who experience a second disciplinary suspension for academic dishonesty are not eligible to apply to return prior to the passing of five years. You should have a conversation with your Academic Dean to discuss your particular concerns regardless of your separation category.

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May I extend my medical leave of absence?

Yes. Students placed on medical leave are not required to return by an exact term date. If your time away exceeds two years, please contact you academic dean to share your intentions. 

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May I extend my personal leave of absence?

Students placed on a personal leave of absence may request additional time away. Students wishing to take additional time away should contact their Academic Dean for approval and to confirm their intent to return to Duke.

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I was given permission to return to Duke, may I defer my return term?

Students who submit a return application and given permission to return for a specified term may, at the discretion of their review committee, be required to submit a new return application or submit updates of distinct portions of their most recent return application. Students who choose not to return to Duke after a favorable review of their return application, will be returned to inactive status.

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May I apply to return early from a medical leave of absence?

Students who take a medical leave of absence should prioritize their heath needs. Duke encourages students to take adequate time for transition, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization so that the student can return to Duke from a position of strength and without additional interruptions in their degree pursuit. The time away may vary from student-to-student.  To initiate the returns process, students submit application materials according to established procedures and deadline dates applicable to their desired return term and separation category.  Duke will review the application materials and make return decisions based on the standards set forth in those procedures.  Students who take a medical leave are not required to return by an exact term date. If your time away exceeds two years, please contact your academic dean to share your intentions.

May I apply to return early from a personal leave of absence?

Yes, students wishing to return from a personal leave of absence prior to their anticipated return date should apply during the regular application cycle. Students are not permitted to return from a leave of absence during the middle of a term, or after classes have started for the targetted term.

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May I be on campus during my separation period?

Students who have been separated from Duke are no longer active students and therefore forfeit the privileges afforded to enrolled Duke undergraduates.  During your separation, you cannot enter university residential buildings (permission under the Housing Guest Policy does not apply to students on leave, or otherwise separated from Duke), participate in student activities, or access student resources and services. You are not eligible to work for Duke University units in job categories reserved for students, nor should you present yourself as an active student to the hiring personnel.  If you have been hired in a position on the basis of your student status, and experience a subsequent separation from Duke, you are no longer eligible to accept the position. You must inform your academic dean and the hiring personnel that you are no longer eligible. During your separation period, you may not attend or audit a Duke course.  If you are a student-athlete, a club member, member of a performance group, or hold an office in a student organization, you are not permitted to participate in meetings, rehearsals, practice sessions, have access to studios, stages, locker rooms, strength conditioning and film areas of DUAA or sit on the bench during contests.  If you believe there are compelling reasons for you to access resources on campus, you must obtain written permission from the director of the Office of Student Returns.  You must submit a written note via email requesting special dispensation for limited access to specific campus resources and specify the time and duration of access. Your written request must be submitted seventy-two business hours before your anticipated time on campus. Please submit your email request to officeofstudentreturns@duke.edu and write “request to be on campus” in your subject line. Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.

May I visit Duke Gardens during my separation period?

You may visit Duke Gardens during your separation period.

May I enroll in a course at Duke during my separation period?

During your separation period, you may not enroll, attend, or audit a Duke course.  Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.

May I visit Duke Medical Center (the hospital) during my separation period?

Yes, you may.

 

In the Revised Leave of Absence policy and procedures, the orange highlighted text represents changes/edits to the previous policy. How does it differ from the original text, policy or practice?

B.  Medical Leaves of Absence

Current Statement: . . . . Students who take a medical leave are not required to return by an exact term date. There is no minimum time away. The time away may vary from student-to-student.

Prior policy/practice:  The “no minimum time away” was added to clarify the meaning of the preexisting statement that follows it: The time away may vary from student-to-student.

C.  General Policies and Expectations For Students  Who Are Separated From Duke On Leave

Current statement #1:  Students who have been separated from Duke are no longer active students and therefore forfeit the privileges afforded to enrolled Duke undergraduates. . . . If you believe there are compelling reasons for you to access resources on campus, you must obtain written permission from the director of the Office of Student Returns.  You must submit a written note via email requesting special dispensation for limited access to specific campus resources and the time and duration of access. Your written request must be submitted at least seventy-two business hours before your anticipated time on campus. Please submit your email request to officeofstudentreturns@duke.edu and write “request to be on campus” in your subject line. Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.  Students who have been suspended from Duke continue to be held accountable for any sanctions, as communicated by the Office of Student Conduct.  While you are away, you are encouraged to contact the director of the Office of Student Returns if you have questions or concerns. Please note that a list of FAQs are available at http://trinity.duke.edu/osr/review-process-faqs.

Prior policy/practice: The prior practice indicated that the student must seek written permission from their academic dean. Now all students must contact the Office of Student Returns by a specified time period prior to their requested time to be on campus. This allows for centralized record keeping.

Current statement #2: If you want to appeal the final decision of your review committee, please contact Gerald Wilson, Senior Associate Dean of Trinity College (gerald.wilson@duke.edu)  The appeal officer will consider the information submitted to OSR and determine whether there was a reasonable basis for review committee’s decision. 

Prior policy/practice: The appellate process has always been available and used by students petitioning to return to Duke. The opportunity to appeal the return decision for any type of separation category is available to any student. This statement is not unique to the leave of absence policies but is included to underscore the fact that the opportunity to appeal any academic decision is available to all undergraduate students without a promise of outcome.

 

Application Review/Process Questions

Who is on my review committee?

Your academic dean and the director of the Office of Student Returns are customary members of every review committee. Other committee members are assigned on an ad hoc basis according to the circumstances that preceded your separation as well as your official separation category. For example, a representative from a Duke health-related unit (e.g., Academic Resource Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, Duke Medical Hospital) may be asked to review a return application submitted by a student petitioning to return from a medical leave of absence, or a student who was academically dismissed due to health challenges. A representative from the Office of Student Conduct may review the return application of a student who experienced a separation due to disciplinary matters.

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Is the review process the same for all students who are applying to return to Duke?

The review process (and the requested application materials) is based on a student’s separation category and the nature of the circumstances that caused the separation. Please visit the Office of Student Returns website for instructions related to a specific separation category. Keep in mind that your review committee reserves the right to request additional materials upon review of your application. Regardless of your separation type, if you were advised to seek treatment while away, you will be required to submit supporting documentation of your treatment.

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Who has access to materials in my return application packet?

During the review process, all members of your review committee have access to all materials included in your return packet. After a decision has been made regarding your return to Duke, your return packet remains in the Office of Student Returns. There is no automatic transfer of return applications to other campus units. Only on the basis of a safety concern, and in accordance with FERPA guidelines, will your return information be shared. Please see the above answer and question.

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How long is the review process?

All applications are reviewed as expeditiously as possible. A complete application is one in which all requested documents have been submitted appropriately to the Office of Student Returns. You should visit the website and read the return instructions carefully to ensure that you identify and submit, or request of others to submit, the appropriate documents in a timely manner. Please visit http://trinity.duke.edu/osr.

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Why is my review taking "so long?"

Applications are reviewed as expeditiously as possible. Only complete application packets are reviewed.  A completed application includes the portion of the application that is submitted by ALL students (e.g., Part A) and the supporting medical documents as required (e.g., Part B). Incomplete application packets are not routed for review. Feel free to contact the Office of Student Returns to confirm your application status. Your review committee may request additional information. The length of time between their request and actual receipt of the additional material requested will influence the speed of the decision.

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Will I be able to register for my classes, while my application is being reviewed?

Permission to return to Duke is not guaranteed. You are not eligible to register for classes until your review committee reviews your application and grant you permission to return. You will receive your decision letter via email sent to the address you provide in your return application. If you are granted permission to return to Duke you must sign and return your decision letter to the Office of Student Returns. Your signature indicates that you have read the conditions of your return and you agree to comply with them. Your registration will be activated according to your scheduled registration window, or within 1-3 days of receipt of your signed letter, whichever is latest. Please note that if you have outstanding financial matters with the University, you will not be able to enroll in classes.

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I was informed that my application packet was complete. Why is my review committee asking for additional documents/information?

Your review committee will consider all application materials submitted on your behalf as well as their prior knowledge of your Duke experience before communicating an opinion regarding your return to Duke. At the discretion of the review committee, additional documentation may be requested in order to address inconsistencies found among the supporting documents and or to provide clarity on a key concern(s) of one or more of the committee members.

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How will I be notified of my review committee’s decision regarding my return?

You will receive your decision letter via email to the address you provide in your return application. If you are granted permission to return to Duke you must sign and return your decision letter to the Office of Student Returns. Your signature indicates that you have read the conditions of your return and you agree to comply with them.

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What happens to my return application once a decision is made?

Your return application remains in the Office of Student Returns. Upon your graduation it will be shredded/deleted, or purged of all identifying markers and used as a learning/teaching tool.

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Health Related Questions

I have been directed to seek treatment from a professional in the Durham community? Before my separation I received treatment in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or the Academic Resource Center (ARC), why am I not able to continue my treatment with them upon my return to Duke?

If your health condition was serious enough to warrant a separation from Duke, the appropriate treatment is likely beyond the scope of either CAPS or ARC. Both of these campus units are intended to treat health concerns that can be resolved over a short-period of time.

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If I have experienced a separation from Duke for health related reasons, am I not allowed to visit CAPS for the remainder of my stay at Duke?

CAPS is here to serve you. Upon your return, you were referred to treatment in the Durham community for a particular diagnosis. For that purpose, you should seek treatment outside of CAPS. You are welcome, and encouraged, to speak to someone in CAPS to help negotiate a new life crisis, or would just like to speak to someone about a concern you have about your college life.

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I was granted permission to return to Duke provided that I agree to comply with certain medical treatment conditions. I feel much better, why was I given treatment conditions?

Treatment conditions function to enhance your chance of a successful transition back to Duke. They are grounded in your review committee’s awareness of the Duke culture and their years of experience supporting and advocating for the success of students who have had experiences and or challenges similar to yours. Your individual treatment conditions are based on your review committee’s evaluation of your complete return application, current health condition as assessed by our Duke health professionals and your treatment provider(s) during your time way.

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I do not believe that I need the health treatment required of me as a condition of my return to Duke. How long must I comply with the return conditions? How can I get them changed?

Your conditions of return were determined by your academic dean and Duke health professionals after a review of your complete application. You must comply with the conditions of your return for the period of time stipulated in your return letter. As your post-return treatment progresses, you may feel that a lesser/greater frequency, or different treatment type is more appropriate. Feel free to discuss your concerns with your treatment provider. If the two of you agree that your treatment plan should be adjusted, ask your provider to notify (in writing) your Duke case manager about the new treatment plan. If you have more than one treatment provider, please understand that you cannot obtain the opinion of one to stop the treatment sessions of another without proper consultation and agreement between the two treatment providers.

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I do not like my Durham treatment provider, may I change providers?

It takes time to establish relationships. Be sure to give it a chance and share any concerns with your treatment provider. If for any reason, you still believe it is best to change treatment providers, you must notify your Duke case manager. The two of you can work out arrangements to change with minimum interruption to your treatment frequency.

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Post Decision Questions

I have submitted my signed decision letter and have no outstanding financial obligations to the university. Why am I unable to register for classes?

Upon receipt of your signed decision letter, your registration will be activated according to your scheduled registration window, or 1-3 days of receipt of your signed letter, whichever is latest. After waiting a minimum of 72 hours, please contact your academic dean or the Office of Student Returns with additional questions. Please email officeofstudentreturns@duke.edu.

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I have been givent permission to return to Duke. Why is my Duke Card not working?

There are several reasons a Duke Card may not be activated:

1) A student must submit their signed decision letter to the Office of Student Returns before their student record is reactivated. The Duke Card Office does not activate the card of  "inactive" students. 2) A student has submitted their signed decision letter but has not allowed adequate time for reactivation. Students must allow 72 business hours from the time they submit their signed decision letter; 3) A student has a bursar's block; 4) A student has "active" status but has not enrolled in any courses for their anticipated return term; 5) The move-in date for housing has not occurred. Relatedly, the card will not be activated for off-campus students prior to the housing move-in date; 6) There may be a disciplinary restriction on your Duke Card.

The Office of Student Returns has sent my return application to the Office of Student Conduct to investigate potential dishonesty. Does that mean I am no longer eligible to return to Duke?

The Office of Student Returns will only forward your return materials to the Office of Student Conduct when there is a concern that you have violated the Duke Code of Student Conduct (e.g., falsification of documents). You will be notified of this concern prior to your materials being sent to the Office of Student Conduct. Once the Office of Student Returns submits your material(s) to the Office of Student Conduct you will have a pending disciplinary matter to address. Accordingly, you are no longer eligible to apply to return to Duke until the matter has been resolved. The Office of Student Conduct will contact you regarding the specific disciplinary matter of concern and outline the disciplinary process. Once the case has been resolved, the Office of Student Conduct will notify the Office of Student Returns regarding the status of your eligibility to apply to return. Please contact conduct@duke.edu with questions regarding your unresolved disciplinary case.

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Upon my return, do I remain on academic or disciplinary probation?

Yes, you will remain on probation. If you are on academic probation you can clear probation within one semester of returning, per university policy. If you are on disciplinary probation, you will remain on disciplinary probation for the reminder of your undergraduate career at Duke.

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I was granted permission to return to Duke provided that I agree to comply with certain conditions/behavioral expectations. Why was I given return conditions?

Return conditions function to enhance your chance of a successful transition back to Duke. They are grounded in your review committee’s awareness of the Duke culture and their years of experience supporting and advocating for the success of students who have had experiences and or challenges similar to yours. Your individual return conditions are based on your review committee’s evaluation of your complete return application, current health condition as determined by experts, prior health and academic experiences, and overall citizenship record at Duke.

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In the event of a future student conduct matter, am I able to use my letters of recommendation submitted in my return packet as evidence of my good character?

No. Your return recommendation letters are submitted for the sole purpose of advising your review committee of your recommender’s assessment of your readiness to return to Duke. The letters function to document the recommender’s awareness of you during your separation period and at the time of your application. As a matter of principle, return recommendation letters are not transferred between offices for the purpose of addressing a matter towards which the writer had no intention and is likely unaware. The Office of Student Returns does not transfer recommendation letters to the Office of Student Conduct except in cases where the Office of Student Returns expects that a fraudulent document has been submitted during the review process.

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My healthcare provider’s letter of recommendation stated that I am ready to return to Duke and enroll in a full course load (4 s.c.). Why was I denied readmission?

The recommendation of your health care provider is considered in your review committee’s deliberation. It is not, however, the only consideration. It is not uncommon for a student to feel healthy and competent when they are no longer required to negotiate the daily challenges of being a Duke student. Your health care provider(s) evaluates your wellness outside of the Duke environment. Your reviewers determine your readiness to return from a social and medical perspective. They have a very intimate knowledge of college life, a particular appreciation of the Duke undergraduate experience and, more importantly, an understanding of your past struggle at Duke. It is for this reason that your review committee may deny or delay your return to Duke despite the recommendation to return by your private healthcare provider.

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If I am not granted permission to return to Duke, must I submit a new application packet in order to be considered for a future enrollment term?

Yes, the Office of Student Returns does not “rollover” return applications to be considered in future review cycles. It is important that each review committee has the most current information to make an informed decision.

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