Students who determine that it is not possible or in their best interest to complete the coursework in which they are currently enrolled can request to take a leave of absence from the program. This includes students who are expected to be a child's primary caregiver (e.g., paternity leave, family medical leaves) where the leave is not related to the student’s medical conditions.
To initiate a request for a leave of absence, students should first talk with their faculty advisors and fill out a Leave Plan to determine if a leave is the right next step for them. The faculty advisor will then refer students to the campus dean to determine how and when to take the leave of absence. Students are also to help determine if a leave is the right next step for them. Students must discuss the implications of a leave of absence with their school leaders, applicable partner programs (such as Teach For America or New York City Teaching Fellows), and SFS. There may be significant professional, academic, financial, and when appropriate, certification consequences to suspending enrollment in a Relay program. For details, see Financial Obligations upon Changes to Enrollment.
Once students have confirmed a leave of absence is the right decision, they must formally submit a leave of absence application to Relay. Please note, requests can not be accepted by telephone or email. Failure to attend class or pay tuition does not constitute an official leave of absence. The effective date, if approved, will be the date indicated in the formal leave of absence application. Directions for accessing and submitting an application are available in Support Center. Students are still enrolled students at Relay, with corresponding academic, financial, and administrative responsibilities, until the leave of absence is processed and they receive an email verification of the leave of absence.
Relay will notify students via email upon approval of their leaves of absence and inform the students of leave and reenrollment procedures. SFS will follow up with students about how to pay any outstanding Relay tuition and fees, including any deferred tuition balances that must be immediately paid back due to the leave and prior to reenrollment. Please see Billing Due Dates and Refunds for more information. Students who return from a leave of absences may also have to pay for coursework they are required to repeat. See Repeat Coursework for more details.
A leave of absence is valid for one year (12 consecutive months). Relay will consider withdrawing leave of absence students from the program permanently if they do not return within one year. Permanent withdrawal can result in the immediate revocation of a teaching license or certification. Additional details can be provided by the campus Dean’s Office.
Students should note that a leave of absence will be treated as a withdrawal for the purposes of Title IV federal financial aid. This may require students who have taken a leave of absence to return a portion of unearned federal loans or grants. For more information about the return of Title IV funds, please see Return of Title IV.
Medical or Maternity Leave of Absence
Relay will work with students should they require leaves of absence from Relay due to medical conditions and/or pregnancies. Students are encouraged to discuss plans for a leave of absence with their faculty advisor as soon as possible. All general leave of absence processes apply to medical and maternity leaves. See General Leaves of Absence for details.
Relay permits students with medical conditions and/or pregnant students and students who have given birth within six months to take a leave of absence if deemed “medically necessary” by a doctor. Students who wish to request a temporary medical or maternity leave of absence or who wish to request accommodations must submit medical documentation with their leave of absence application to demonstrate that temporary leaves or accommodations are medically necessary (e.g., doctor’s note on letterhead or proof that their short-term disability claim was approved). Pregnant students are encouraged to connect with their faculty advisor to fill out a Leave Plan to help plan their course involvement and accommodations throughout the term.
Relay will excuse students’ leaves of absences because of medical conditions, including pregnancy or childbirth, for as long as the students’ doctors deem their absences medically necessary. Relay will work with students during their leaves to minimize, to the extent possible, students falling behind in coursework.
Once students are ready to return to Relay, Relay will work with students to address how best to make up missed coursework and/or clinical work and get back on track toward program completion. Please see Returning to Relay for more information on the reenrollment process. Upon returning to Relay, the student might be asked to submit a Readiness to Return Form with their reenrollment paperwork signed and stamped by a medical professional stating that the student is healthy enough to return to their coursework at Relay. Students who take a medical or maternity leave of absence may not be required to pay for repeated coursework if official medical documentation was provided to Relay prior to their leave (e.g., doctor’s note on letterhead). Please see Repeat Coursework for more information.
If students have concerns about a particular professor’s attendance and/or coursework policy as it relates to their medical or maternity leave of absence, the student should contact their campus Dean's Office. For complaints of medical-condition or pregnancy-related discrimination, please see Student Grievance Policy.
Accommodations for Students with Medical Conditions
Upon the submission of all required documentation, Relay will engage in an interactive process with students who have medical conditions, including those students who are pregnant or have given birth within six months, to develop temporary accommodations that allow them access to the curriculum. The accommodations will align to students’ requests, medical documentation, Relay resources, and the students’ academic programs. While Relay commits to engage in the interactive process with all students who request accommodations, accommodations may be denied if the requested accommodation:
- is not feasible and sustainable at the local campus;
- puts an excessive financial and/or administrative burden on the institution;
- changes the nature of the academic program or our institution’s curriculum
- are personal in nature, e.g. requesting personal care attendants, personal readers, or personal devices.
- are not inappropriate in the context, even if directly related to the student’s disability.
Please see Relay’s Disability Policy for information on how to request accommodations due to a disability.
Students who determine it is not possible or in their best interest to complete the coursework in which they are currently enrolled can withdraw from Relay. To initiate a withdrawal, students should first discuss their intentions with their school leader and their faculty advisor. Their faculty advisor will then connect the student with the campus operations leader, the Registrar’s Office, and SFS to assist the student in determining how and when to exit, as there may be professional, academic, certification, and financial consequences to early withdrawal from the program.
After learning the consequences of early withdrawal, students who wish to withdraw must complete a withdrawal form. Directions for accessing and submitting the form are available in Support Center. Students are still enrolled at Relay, with corresponding academic, financial, and administrative responsibilities, until the withdrawal form is processed and they receive email verification of the administrative withdrawal from the Registrar’s Office. Failure to attend class or pay tuition does not constitute an official withdrawal. The effective date will be the date indicated in the withdrawal form.
The Registrar’s Office will notify students via email when their withdrawal request is processed. SFS will follow up with students about how to pay any outstanding Relay tuition and fees.
Students who do not meet administrative requirements or expectations to remain enrolled at Relay or are unable to submit a formal leave of absence application can be administratively withdrawn by the institution. Students can be administratively withdrawn for the following reasons:
- Failure to pay tuition;
- Failure to meet employment requirements;
- Failure to meet matriculation requirements;
- Failure to meet immunization requirements (where appropriate);
- Failure to meet certification requirements (where appropriate);
- Failure to submit withdrawal paperwork after initiating a withdrawal;
- Failure to meet attendance requirements and/or persistent absence;
- Other substantive violations of Relay’s policies, procedures, or safety rules, including but not limited to violations of the academic honesty, code of conduct, or gender-based misconduct policies; and/or
- At the request of their campus Dean’s Office.
If students are in danger of administrative withdrawal, Relay may contact their school and/or sponsoring organizations and/or teacher-preparation program membership to notify them and enlist their help in supporting students.
In the event of an administrative withdrawal, the Registrar’s Office will notify students via email. SFS will follow up with students about how to pay any outstanding Relay tuition and fees. If administratively withdrawn, students have the right to appeal the decision by contacting the campus Dean’s Office. Depending on the type of administrative withdrawal, appeals will be reviewed by the campus Dean Office, SFS, the Registrar’s Office, and/or the Office of Student Affairs. If the appeal is unsuccessful, administrative withdrawal procedures will continue, and the student will be administratively withdrawn.
If students are administratively withdrawn, it is their responsibility to notify their schools (and if applicable, their teacher-preparation program membership, such as Teach For America or New York City Teaching Fellows) of their departure from Relay.
Relay understands that there may be certain medical circumstances where a student is unable to submit an official leave of absence application due to unexpected life changes. In these cases, at the campus Dean’s Office request, Relay will administratively withdraw the student from the institution and accept an official leave of absence application with medical documentation at a later date. If an official leave of absence application is received from the student, the medical documentation must match the date of the administrative withdrawal date. Relay will reverse the administrative withdrawal to the medical leave of absence in its systems.
The Registrar’s Office and the campus Dean’s Office conduct a regular review of in-person and online attendance in order to identify and support enrolled students who have not actively withdrawn or taken a leave of absence but demonstrate persistent absence. Relay defines persistent absence as having failed to (a) attend in-person class sessions for 30 consecutive days, (b) log in to Canvas, and (c) submit any course assignments within that time period. Once students who demonstrate persistent absence are identified, the Registrar’s Office or campus Dean’s Office will contact these students to determine their intention to remain enrolled and provide the necessary support. Students who continue to demonstrate persistent absence after they have been contacted may be administratively withdrawn from Relay. When persistently absent students do not formally inform Relay of their intention to withdraw or take a leave of absence, Relay will use the last day of in-class attendance, or the last date of sign-in to Canvas as the effective date of withdrawal.
Students who do not to meet Relay’s academic expectations may be dismissed from their program for the following reasons:
- Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for two consecutive terms;
- Failure to maintain minimum term GPA; and/or
- Failure to meet program-specific academic requirements.
If students are in danger of program dismissal, Relay may contact their sponsoring organizations, and/or teacher-preparation program membership to notify them and enlist their help in supporting students.
In the event of a program dismissal, the Dean’s Office will notify students via email. SFS will follow up with students about how to pay any outstanding Relay tuition and fees. If dismissed, students have the right to appeal the decision by contacting the campus dean. The campus dean will review all appeals with Relay’s Academic Review Council (campus dean, Office of Student Affairs, and additional academic leaders). The decision from the Academic Review Council is final. If the appeal is unsuccessful, program dismissal procedures will continue, and the student will be dismissed.
If students are dismissed, it is their responsibility to notify their schools (and if applicable, their teacher-preparation program membership, such as Teach For America or New York City Teaching Fellows) of their departure from Relay.
 Relay Newark Attendance Policy: If a graduate student is absent for four or more in-person sessions throughout the term, s/he will receive a warning letter and may be at risk for dismissal. Please note that Saturday class sessions amount to two in-person class sessions since they are twice as long. As such, a graduate student missing more than one Saturday class day, without an appropriate excuse for their absence, will quickly accrue four absences. Teachers with at least four absences will receive a warning letter, and if the problem continues, they may face dismissal from the program.