Involuntary Leave of Absence

The Dean of Students in the College may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence according to the policies set forth in the Student Manual. Because of the College’s unique educational environment, a student may also be placed on an involuntary leave of absence in the following cases: 

  1. The student has allegedly violated a disciplinary rule of the College and the Dean of Students, in consultation with the Dean of the College, concludes that the student poses a significant risk to the safety or educational environment of the community.
  1. The student is banned from campus.
  1. The student has not registered as required at the beginning of each quarter.
  1. The student withdraws from all courses. The leave of absence will be effective immediately.
  1. The student drops below the minimum number of courses required to remain a full-time student without approval from the Dean of Students (see Registration Policies).

A student may be placed on a leave of absence from the College because of a financial or administrative restriction that is not cleared by the deadline given by the restricting office. Restrictions may result from a student’s failure to fulfill financial obligations to the University or to comply with University rules and regulations. Whenever possible, students are warned of an impending restriction and are notified when one has been imposed. Before placing the student on leave of absence, the Dean of Students will attempt to determine the circumstances preventing the student from resolving the restriction and will respond accordingly. 

In order to resume studies in subsequent quarters, students need to clear the restriction with the administrative or academic office which imposed it. If a student anticipates being unable to clear the restriction in a timely manner, the student should meet with a dean in the Office of the Dean of Students in the College as soon as possible to request a voluntary leave of absence.

If a leave of absence is indicated, the student normally will be given the opportunity to take the leave of absence voluntarily. If the student declines to take a voluntary leave of absence, the Dean of Students has the authority to place the student on an involuntary leave of absence by restricting or canceling the student's existing and further registration irrespective of academic standing. When the Dean of Students mandates a leave of absence, generally such leave will be retroactive to the beginning of the quarter.

There will be no distinction made between a voluntary and an involuntary leave of absence on a student’s transcript.

When the Dean of Students decides that a leave of absence is appropriate, the decision and the conditions for resumption of studies will be communicated in writing. A student on a leave of absence no longer attends classes, participates in University programs, works a University job, or uses University facilities, must immediately vacate University housing, and may be entitled to refunds of tuition and fees. Charges for room and board will be refunded at a prorated rate (see the Office of the Bursar for more information). Ordinarily, a student placed on involuntary leave will not be allowed to resume the student’s studies until, at minimum, one quarter has passed. Any student who wishes to return to campus during the period of leave must seek advance authorization by the Dean of Students. The only exception is that the student may access the University of Chicago Medical Center for the student’s own health care treatment.

Students on LOA who do not participate in U-SHIP at the time the leave is processed do not have access to the Student Health Service (SHS) and Student Counseling Service (SCS).

For more information on health insurance and a leave of absence see the Student Manual.

Students on financial aid should review their awards with the Office of College Aid. See Financial Aid and LOA.

A student placed on a leave of absence will not be permitted to resume his or her studies until the Dean of Students makes a fact-specific assessment of the circumstances and concludes that the circumstances that brought about the leave no longer exists or the situation can be eliminated by reasonable modification or accommodation. See Returning to the College from a Leave or Withdrawal.

Note: Students cannot resume studies in the College if they have received a bachelor’s or an advanced degree elsewhere.

A student placed on an involuntary leave of absence may request, within fifteen days of the date of the decision, a review of the decision according to the policy presented in the Student Manual. The student must submit the request for a review of the decision and any supporting materials in writing.

If the involuntary leave results in a student exceeding the maximum eight quarters of cumulative leave from the College, unless otherwise provided for in this policy (see Voluntary Leave of Absence), the student will need to petition the Committee on the Resumption of Studies through the Office of the Dean of Students in the College. The College is not obliged to approve a student’s return.