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Medical/Family Leave of Absence

Section E.6 of the Graduate School Handbook

Funded graduate students may, on occasion, require a leave of absence (PDF, Word) for a personal serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. In these rare circumstances, every effort should be made to protect the funded graduate student’s stipend and appointment. Medical documentation is required in cases of leaves of absence for medical/family reasons.

Medical/Family Leave of Absence Provisions

  • An eligible funded graduate student on a leave of absence from appointment responsibilities for a personal serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition receives 100 percent of his/her stipend and other benefits associated with the appointment (fee authorization, health care subsidy, etc.).
  • For an eligible funded graduate student, the stipend will be maintained for up to six weeks or until the last day of the appointment, whichever comes first.
  • The same appointment status (with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms) will be available after a medical/family leave of absence has been taken, provided the appointment or reappointment would normally have been available. Assigned duties, however, may be subject to change.


Serious health condition, an illness, injury, impairment, or physical/mental condition that meets either one of the following:

  • involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care
  • continuing treatment by a health care provider that consists of a period of incapacity that also involves treatment multiple times by a health care provider or treatment at least once by a health care provider that results in a regimen of continuing treatment and continuing incapacity

Chronic conditions, episodic incapacity (e.g. diabetes, epilepsy), permanent/long-term conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s, cancer), or multiple treatments (e.g. chemotherapy, dialysis)

Immediate family, spouse, domestic partner, mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandparent-in-law, grandchild-in-law, or corresponding relatives of the graduate student’s partner, other persons for whom the graduate student is legally responsible, and anyone who stood in loco parentis to the graduate student as a child. To use a leave of absence for the care of a domestic partner or for the corresponding relative of the partner, a completed Affidavit of Domestic Partnership for Funded Graduate Students’ Leaves of Absence must be on file with the Graduate School.

Eligibility for Medical/Family Leave of Absence

  • A funded graduate student must have completed two consecutive semesters as a GA (GAA, GRA, or GTA with appointment at least 50 percent FTE), fellow or trainee paid through the Ohio State payroll system  prior to the date a leave of absence is to commence.
  • A GTA, GRA or GAA must hold an appointment of at least 50 percent FTE (or multiple concurrent appointments combined for at least 50 percent FTE) paid through the Ohio State payroll system to be approved for a leave of absence. In the case of multiple appointments, different appointing units should work together with the student (and his/her enrolling unit, where appropriate) to create a coherent plan for the leave of absence.
  • Fellows and trainees funded by external agencies are also subject to the guidelines established by the funding agency.
  • Reasonable progress toward degree and good academic standing are required to be approved for a leave of absence. Full-time registration is also required. Requirements for full-time enrollment may be reduced with the approval of the appropriate Graduate Studies Committee, the Graduate School, and other relevant entities (such as a funding agency, Office of International Education, etc.).