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Dean of Students

Florida State University


Medical (M)/Mental Health Withdrawal (MHW)


Information on Medical/Mental Health Withdrawal

If you have experienced a severe medical and/or mental health problem that caused you to miss several classes and/or take a failing grade, you may qualify to receive a medical/mental health withdrawal. However, your health problems must meet certain criteria and be documented to be evaluated. Medical withdrawal (all courses removed) will be approved only for severe illnesses or injuries of an acute emergency nature that incapacitates the student.

MHW will be approved for severe psychological conditions requiring hospitalization or intensive outpatient care for an extended period of time.

MHW will be considered for a traumatic event (e.g. death of a close friend or family member, acts of violence, etc.) that clearly impedes the student’s ability to perform in the usual manner. Documentation of counseling sessions, whether at the University Counseling Center or another facility, must be submitted.

Specific conditions for which medical withdrawals will be considered with examples provided of previously approved condition(s) for those criteria:

  • Severe accident with prolonged recovery: Closed head injury, required hospitalization and rehabilitation.
  • Severe illness with prolonged recovery: Mononucleosis with possible enlarged spleen.
  • Severe illness requiring ongoing close medical monitoring: Severe diarrhea, which required IV’s, and treatment with antibiotics.
  • Severe complications resulting from a chronic medical condition: HIV with complications including upper respiratory infection.
  • Documented multiple severe medical conditions resulting in extended missed course work: Mononucleosis with hepatitis and severe tonsillitis.
  • New diagnosis of life threatening cancer: Salivary gland tumor.
  • Surgery with prolonged recovery: Spinal surgery.
  • Premature labor or other complications of pregnancy requiring extended mandatory bed rest: Complications with high blood pressure (strict bed rest).
  • Infectious disease requiring specific isolation (as per Centers for Disease Control Guidelines): None applied for.
  • Documented medical or mental health complications from sexual or other violent assault: Severe depression or anxiety.
  • Severe depression or anxiety.

Specific medical documentation pertinent to the health problem (including office visit notes to show exam findings, diagnosis, plan of treatment, recommendations, lab or x-ray reports (not the x-rays themselves), and/or admission/discharge summary, etc.) MUST be included. Link to open MHW Provider’s Instructions. Students should apply for and complete a medical/mental health withdrawal of the illness or injury within six (6) months of the end of the semester in question. Hospital or treatment bills will not be accepted as documentation. Incomplete documentation will not be processed.Please keep copies of your records, as our office cannot release or provide copies of your records.

Students with chronic disabling conditions should register with the Student Disability Resource Center (850.644.9566).

Any evidence of fraudulence or misrepresentation in this process/application will result in automatic recommendation for denial and the information will be turned over to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for appropriate action.

University Health Services and the University Counseling Center do not automatically support medical justification for Withdrawal for ongoing chronic illnesses regardless of clinical documentation. University Health Services and the University Counseling Center strongly recommend that the student and their clinician jointly evaluate realistic abilities to determine an appropriate course load so as to avoid withdrawal actions.


Procedures for Medical/Mental Health Withdrawal

  1. Before applying for M/MHW, explore other academic options like incompletes and/or the drop policies.
  2. To qualify for M/MHW, the student will be required to complete and submit the Medical/Mental Health Withdrawal forms with supporting medical documentation to University Health Services. Medical/mental health documentation should be provided from a physician, counselor, or other health care provider, and must document treatment during the semester in question. The documentation needed are:
    • the dates of treatment
    • the nature of the illness/injury
    • An indication that the illness/injury is severe enough to necessitate a withdrawal from the current semester/term.
    • MHW Provider’s Instructions
  3. Once it’s determined that M/MHW is appropriate, proceed with the following:
    • Withdrawals for Medical/Mental Health – the student should start by contacting the Office of Withdrawal Services located on the 4th floor of the University Center, building A, room 4100 (email: withdrawal-sevices@fsu.edu; phone: 850-644-1741) to obtain a withdrawal application and medical withdrawal forms.
    • Please contact University Health Services (email: uhs-coursedrops@fsu.edu; phone: 850.644.1624) for any questions or guidelines regarding what type of supporting documentation to obtain.
    • The student must complete the University withdrawal application and the medical/mental health professionals statement (completing the student section allows the professional to disclose your situation). Incomplete forms will not be processed!
    • The student must have their health professional submit supporting documentation. This includes providing the correct documentation, which means office visit notes, admission/discharge summary (if hospitalized), or emergency room exam note. Documentation should note dates of service, exam findings, diagnosis, plan of treatment, and recommendations. Documentation provided should be for the semester in question. Hospital or physician bills will not be accepted as documentation. A signed letter from a physician will not be accepted instead of office visit notes.
    • The student statement is the student’s personal statement of how the health problem affected their academic courses.
    • The completed Medical/Mental Health Application must be submitted to University Health Services, email to: uhs-coursedrops@fsu.edu or fax to: 850-644-2737 (MW), 850-644-3150 (MWH).
  4. Documentation will be reviewed by the committee(s) and determination made whether criteria has been met. The committee’s decision will be forward to the Withdrawal Services for documentation and processing.
  5. The withdrawal staff will forward the withdrawal application with the medical results to the Dean’s office for final consideration (approval or denial). Withdrawal Services will notify the student of the final decision in writing or via e-mail.
  6. If the M/MHW does not meet the criteria, the student is allowed one appeal. To appeal a medical decision, the student must be able to furnish additional documentation from the medical or mental health professional that gives stronger support to the reasons for the withdrawal. The student should submit additional documents to University Health Services (email: uhs-coursedrops@fsu.edu; phone: 850.644.1624). The University Health Services office will then forward the additional information to the M/MHW committee. Please write “APPEAL” on the first page of the new documentation.
  7. The M/MHW process normally takes about 7 to 10 working days. This does not include the time necessary for the review of the Withdrawal application by your Academic Dean’s office. Questions about completing the forms or the withdrawal process can be answered by contacting the Office of Withdrawal Services (email: withdrawal-services@fsu.edu; phone: 850.644.1741), University Health Services at 850.644.1624 or the University Counseling Center at 850.644.1624.

The Dean of Student Department supports an inclusive academic environment through education, empowerment, crisis management, and advocacy of students in collaboration with campus and community partners.

We welcome students and family members to connect with the Dean of Students Department if you are experiencing a crisis or just need someone to talk through a problem or experience you are having at Florida State University.

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