University Policies

Student Bereavement Policy

Approved By: President
Effective Date: January 31, 2024


Students at Western Illinois University will be offered bereavement leave with the opportunity to make up missed work during their time away from the course.


The purpose is to provide all students a minimum, concrete amount of time to attend funerals or otherwise grieve the death of family members with assurance of being allowed to make up any missed work during their time of bereavement.


Anyone who provides classroom instruction online or in-person as well as those working in student-facing positions for the University should read this policy.


  • Consecutive weekdays: Any combination of Mondays through Fridays. Friday to Monday counts as two consecutive weekdays.
  • Immediate family: Father, mother, sister, brother, spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, and grandparents. Biological, adopted, foster, legal wards, a child of a person standing in loco parentis, or step family are considered immediate family.
  • In-laws: Mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law.
  • Other relatives: Aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin of the student.


Students will be granted, upon request, leave of at least three consecutive weekdays to attend the funeral or memorial service and/or for travel and bereavement time, upon the death of a member of the student's immediate family or in-laws.

Students will be granted, upon request, up to one weekday to attend the funeral or memorial service of a relative other than the above.

Bereavement leave is not granted in the event of the death of a member of the student's spouse's or domestic partner's family unless specifically stated in the definitions above. For example, grandparent refers to the grandparent of the student. For purposes of application of bereavement leave, relationships existing due to marriage or domestic partnership will terminate upon the divorce or termination of domestic partnership of the relative through whom the marriage or domestic partnership relationship exists. Current marital status will be defined in accord with Illinois State Law.

Bereavement leave must be completed within 60 days after the student receives notice of the death of the covered family member. Students will be allowed to make up any missed work/graded assessment items during their bereavement leave.

Faculty may, at their discretion, grant additional time away from the course to a student who cannot, because of special circumstances, return to coursework at the completion of the allowable bereavement leave days. Depending upon such factors as the faculty member's class attendance policy, the student's relationship to the bereaved, cultural/geographical considerations, and/or the student's prior record of class attendance, the faculty member may or may not grant the request to extended bereavement leave or make up work that has been missed outside of the leave allowance. It is emphasized that it is the individual faculty member's decision whether or not to grant the request beyond policy parameters.


The affected student will provide verifiable documentation identifying the date of death, name, and relation of the covered family member along with dates of leave to the Student Development and Success Center prior to missing coursework. The Student Development and Success Center will notify relevant professors with necessary information, to include the three bereavement dates covered.

RESPONSIBILITIES (Implementation and Enforcement)

It is the responsibility of the affected students and faculty to adhere to the policy.