About Absence Letters

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Absence letters are intended to provide information to faculty regarding student absences that they may use to determine whether or not to excuse the absence and/or permit make-up work. Absence letters do not excuse students from class nor ensure that make-up work will be permitted; this authority rests only with the instructor.

Important Things to Know About Absence Letters

  • We ask that students request an absence letter from the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students only if one or more of their professors has asked for one AND they meet criteria outlined in the Class Attendance Policy in the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Absence letters are not provided in advance, or during, absences and must be requested after a student has returned to classes. The one exception to this is requests for accommodation for religious observances (see below).
  • Students must request all absence letters within 10 business days of their return to class. The Student Assistance Center will not provide letters requested outside of this time frame.
  • We advise students seeking an absence letter due to a religious holiday to submit their request by the end of the second week of the course by completing a Request for Accommodation for Religious Observance (pdf). Get more information about making a request for accommoodation for religious observances.
  • The Emergency Dean should not be contacted regarding absence letters. Questions about absence letters should only be directed to the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students during business hours (8:30 am-5 pm; Monday through Friday, excluding university holidays).

What If I'm Not Eligible for a Letter?

We encourage students who do not meet criteria should inform their professors that they are not eligible for an absence letter, share the policy with them, and discuss how the absence will be managed in the course.

How Do I Request a Letter?

  1. If you meet criteria, you may submit a request for an absence letter to helpdean@illinois.edu. Your request should include the following information:
    • Name
    • UIN
    • Dates of absence
    • Documentation which addresses the cause of the absence and the specific dates missed. We require 3rd party documentation (e.g., a letter from a health care provider or hospital; a link to an obituary or copy of a funeral program); letters from family members are not permitted
    • Your relationship to the deceased if absence is bereavement related; please also see Student Bereavement Guidelines
    • Students who have been treated by McKinley Health Center (MHC) for a prolonged illness of 3 or more days should simply note this in their request. The Office of the Dean of Students verifies illness with McKinley via an electronic process; visit slips are not accepted as documentation
    • If MHC verifies that a student’s illness was prolonged and would have reasonably caused them to be absent for 3 or more consecutive days, a letter will be approved; we will not approve a letter for one or two days of illness even if verified by MHC.
  2. We will review your request. If approved, we will send you a PDF letter you may distribute to your requesting professors. If denied, we will send you a communication alerting you to the denial.

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