The College’s guiding principles in creating and implementing the administrative leave procedure are:
1. Limiting Unnecessary Student Debt
We aim to limit student exposure to unnecessary debt and make sure that students can preserve their financial aid funds for future study. When a Mills student is on leave and no longer enrolled in classes, they do not incur tuition debt and cease drawing down their financial aid for the semester. This means that when they return to their education, their financial aid will not be negatively impacted by unsatisfactory undergraduate academic progress or unsatisfactory graduate academic progress.
2. Student-Centeredness and Transparency
The payment timeline aims to be student-centered and transparent. Dates chosen for communication campaigns, payment deadlines, course disenrollment, and other administrative actions are based on the academic calendar, to minimize disruption in students’ classes and to focus support during the days immediately afterward. Communication outreach to students is well-planned, timely, and in various formats, e.g., email, posted messages in the Mills Portal, and phone calls. Messages alert students to general deadlines and are also customized based on each student’s situation. An up-to-date, student-facing Administrative Leave web page with a timeline is available for students to access at any time.
3. Collaborative Administrative Effort
The following offices aim to collaborate using a case-management approach to support our students: Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Records, and Division of Student Life. The Provost’s Office provides guidance in advising and communicates with faculty advisors about important upcoming deadlines. View the detailed fall 2021 (XLS) and spring 2022 (XLS) case management timelines for more information.
4. Holistic Student Support
The offices noted above work together to find the best ways to support students through complex situations. As mentioned before, our goal is to minimize the impact on student learning and keep students in classes if it seems likely that they will be able to clear their accounts during the semester. For example, in spring 2021, as part of our pilot process, more than 80 percent of students who had not originally cleared their accounts at the start of classes eventually were able to continue for that semester. We ultimately withdrew less than three percent of registered students. We will continue to reach out to these students to explore options to return to Mills and complete their degree program.
5. Fiscal and Legal Responsibility
We want to maintain Mills’ ability to receive state and federal financial aid on behalf of our students by remaining in compliance with state and federal regulations. This means that we must submit an accurate count of students who will attend classes each semester on the Census Date (the day when Mills finalizes the count of enrolled students), which usually falls on the day after the add deadline. Keeping students in classes past the Census Date when they are likely not to clear their accounts puts them at risk of having to return financial aid money to the government and may hurt their chances for future eligibility. Please review the Federal Return to Title IV Policy and the information on satisfactory undergraduate academic progress or satisfactory graduate academic progress.