Military Leave of Absence Policy

Policy Statement

Alfred University recognizes that its students who also serve in the armed forces (Reserve & National Guard soldiers either fully matriculated or part-time at AU), hereafter referred to as “student service members,” may be required to satisfy military obligations during the academic semester. These obligations may include scheduled trainings and/or unanticipated mobilizations, including disaster relief or wartime deployment. This policy covers the academic procedures for supporting these students.

Instructors should work with student service members so that they are not penalized for meeting their military obligations. All student service members must take part in mandatory military training throughout the year, potentially conflicting with a course meeting times. These students and their instructors should work together to make arrangements to meet the learning outcomes of the course by making up missed coursework through alternate assignments if needed. The student is responsible for discussing with the instructor during the first week of the semester any scheduled mandatory military training conflicts. These include the potential for additional mandatory training to be assigned on short notice after the course has begun. The instructor and the student should determine if reasonable arrangements can be made to complete the course work.

Generally, students should plan their academic schedules around courses that will not conflict with their mandatory military training; however, in some cases this may not be feasible. Prescheduled absences due to mandatory military training should not exceed more than 1/5 of the course meetings for any course without the instructor’s permission. Please note, any prescheduled service time not indicated on a mandatory drill schedule (i.e. special military courses and schools) will count towards the 1/5 absence cap. Documentation must be in the form of military orders or equivalent documents and provided to the Alfred University Military and Academic Coach, to whom all AU student service members are assigned.

Student service members may have unanticipated obligatory military activities which cause them to be absent from class for a short but sustained period of time, under 30 days, during the course period. These absences may include orders for disaster relief or other state or national emergencies. Such absences may range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of duty student service members are assigned. These absences qualify as “excused absences,” which means that the absence, with proper documentation, is not subject to penalty. These unanticipated absences will not be counted towards the already scheduled 1/5 mandatory military training cap (see above). Any missed coursework may be made up through agreement between the instructor and the student. The instructor should assume that due to the nature of the duty, the student will be unable to complete coursework during these absences.

Agreements will include:

  • Make-up assignments arranged by the instructor and student to allow the student the opportunity to catch up without falling behind in the current course work.
  • Requests to get missed work in advance of leaving in order to reduce the amount of missed work upon returning. Alternatively, the student may request to make up all the missed assignments upon returning to campus.
  • Upon the student’s return, the instructor should provide the appropriate time period to complete assignments. If extensions are needed, the instructor and student are to discuss what an appropriate time frame will be.
  • In some cases, for absences beyond the scheduled 1/5 cap it may be appropriate for the student to take an “I” (Incomplete) or “W” (Withdrawal). The student and instructor will adopt a plan based on course objectives and the best opportunities for student success. This proposed plan will be registered with the AU Military and Academic Coach as early as possible. Since an incomplete grade can affect a student’s GI Bill tuition benefits, students should consult with the AU Military and Academic Coach or GI Bill certifying official before requesting an incomplete grade.

In the case of a longer military activations or deployments, the student service member must consult with their academic advisor and the AU Military and Academic Coach, who will coordinate with instructors to determine the best course of action based on the length of absence and percentage of the term completed. Some resolutions are listed below. In all cases, it should be assumed that Long Term Leaves of Absence will prohibit students from completing any coursework.

  • An alternate method to complete coursework, including online engagement, is appropriate for students who are enrolled, have completed the majority of a course, and wish to complete the course. Such coursework should be agreed upon by the student and instructor, and the plan should be registered with the AU Military and Academic Coach.
  • An incomplete is appropriate for students who have completed at least a quarter of the course, but must take a long-term leave of absence due to military activation or deployment. The student’s intention is to finish the course, but they will be unable to before the end of the term. If the student elects to receive an “I” (Incomplete), the student and instructor will adopt a plan of action to complete the course prior to departure, which will be registered with the AU Military and Academic Coach. The student will have until the end of the succeeding semester to complete assigned coursework unless the plan requires a longer term. Regardless of the grade, the student will be financially responsible for the course. Since an incomplete grade can affect a student’s GI Bill tuition benefits, students should consult with the AU Military and Academic Coach or GI Bill certifying official before requesting an incomplete grade.
  • If the student elects to take a withdrawal from the course due to military service after the semester’s drop deadline they will receive a “W” mark and will be able to retake the course upon reentry to the university once returning from military service.
  • If the student leaves at a point in the semester after which a significant amount of work has been submitted, the student may request the assignment of a grade for course hours completed. This option requires the agreement of the instructor as well as the college dean.
  • Alfred University finds appropriate to grant a leave-of-absence from AU for students who are activated or deployed to military service before the term has begun. This leave-of-absence will be submitted to the dean of the student’s college. Standard leave-of-absence procedures will be followed. Upon reentry, the student will follow the college’s reentry procedures. The Military & Academic Coach will be included in the notification.

Student service members are responsible for consulting with all their instructors before the semester commences regarding any scheduled or possible absences due to military service. This information will be submitted in written form which acknowledges an understanding of policy and the situation between the student and instructor. The student will provide their drill schedule to the AU Military and Academic Coach. The student must also remind instructors of any absence a week prior to the absence. If a student is being called away for military activation or deployment, the student must provide a copy of their orders to the AU Military and Academic Coach as soon as possible. The student must make prior arrangements with each of their instructors and a plan of action regarding any missed work. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the agreed upon work within the agreed upon timeline that was set by them and the instructor. If the student does not compete the work according to the timeline, penalties may include a failing grade.

The course instructor is responsible for arranging a plan of action with the student service member that will best satisfy the course requirements and learning objectives, while endeavoring to give the student ample opportunity to complete classwork, including make-up assignments. This plan should be registered with the AU Military and Academic Coach, who may request clarifications. The instructor will be supported by the AU Military and Academic Coach when students deviate from the plan of action.