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Leave of Absence

From time to time, circumstances compel students in the College to interrupt their enrollment. These breaks in enrollment are formally recognized as leaves of absence (LOA) and fall into one of four categories:

  1. a leave of absence while in good standing;
  2. a leave of absence while on warning or probation;
  3. a leave of absence for medical reasons; and
  4. an involuntary leave of absence.

Each of these leaves is described below. Leave status often impacts registration status in the College, and both voluntary and involuntary withdrawals of registration are described below. Finally, this policy establishes the process for returning to the College from a leave of absence and/or withdrawal.

Students planning any leave should consult with their College adviser and also arrange for an interview with one of the College deans of students. For full tuition refund, a leave of absence must be arranged either at the end of the quarter prior to the leave or by the Friday of first week of the quarter that a student is going to be on leave. For the refund schedule, visit the Bursar's Office.

Students who decide not to return to the College must formally withdraw their registration. To do so, students should contact the Office of the Dean of Students in the College prior to the end of the first week of the quarter the withdrawal is to begin. At the time of withdrawal, students are advised of the conditions under which they might resume their studies in the College should they change their minds at a future date.

Leave of Absence While in Good Standing

Students in good standing will normally receive permission to take a Leave of Absence for up to eight consecutive quarters (eight cumulative if more than one leave is taken). (Petitions may be granted to extend the leave to twelve quarter for students fulfilling a military service requirement, or otherwise as required by law.) Students may return for any quarter (within the eight-quarter limit) by notifying in writing the Dean of Students in the College at least six weeks in advance of that quarter. An email informing the Dean of Students of the planned return and explaining the student’s activities while on leave of absence is sufficient.

It is the College’s expectation that students will not exceed eight cumulative quarters of leave over the course of their undergraduate career.

Applying for Readmission

Students who have exceeded eight quarters of approved leave will be involuntarily withdrawn. Students who have been withdrawn from the College are required to submit a completed Readmission Form along with supporting materials eight weeks prior to the start of the quarter of intended return. The application will be reviewed by the Faculty Committee on College Re-admissions. The results of the review will be communicated at least four weeks in advance of the intended quarter of return. The College is not obliged to approve student re-admissions. Please note: do not use Apple's "Preview" application to complete this form or it may not display properly; use Acrobat software instead.

Upon return, students are expected to complete the requirements for the degree without further interruption.

Leave of Absence While on Warning or Probation

Students placed on academic warning or probation are eligible to apply for a leave of absence under the conditions stated above, but their academic status will remain in effect upon their resumption of studies.

In first quarter of resuming studies, students on academic warning and probation are expected to complete 75 percent of the courses with a minimum GPA of 1.75; courses must be completed on time. At the end of that quarter, students on warning either will be returned to good standing or they will be placed on academic probation and an official notation will be placed on the transcript. Students returning on academic probation who fail to meet the minimum expectations will be withdrawn from the College and barred from further registration for at least one year. If a bar from further registration for an additional year results in a student exceeding the maximum eight quarters of cumulative leave from the College, then the student will need to apply for readmission. The College is not obliged to approve student re-admissions.

Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons

Students may be granted leaves for medical reasons at any time and resumption is contingent upon the condition being resolved or managed successfully. In such cases, the Dean of Students in the College may require information from a physician or therapist attesting to the readiness of the student to successfully resume studies. All conditions for resumption are determined on a case-by-case basis.

While a leave of absence for medical reasons may be granted at any time, tuition is only fully refunded if the leave of absence is arranged either at the end of the quarter prior to the leave or by the Friday of first week of the quarter in which the leave is to begin. For the refund schedule, visit the Bursar's Office.

If a leave of absence for medical reasons lasts more than eight quarters, the student’s status in the College will be changed to withdrawn. However, before a student is withdrawn, the Office of the Dean of Students in the College will seek input from the student to determine whether an additional quarter, or two (at most), of leave will enable the student to resolve his or her medical issues in order to successfully resume studies.

Leave of Absence – Involuntary

The Office of the Dean of Students in the College may require an involuntary leave of absence when it is determined:

  1. that the student has engaged, or threatened to engage, in behavior which has or could cause significant property damage, or that has or could directly and substantially impede the rightful activities of others; and/or;
  2. based on the consultation with the SCRS Director (or his or her designee) and the individualized assessment of the student's ability to safely participate in the University's programs, that the student is unable to function as a student and/or the student's continued presence on campus poses a substantial risk to the safety and well-being of the student and/or others.

In connection with certain leaves (e.g., some medical leaves or leaves taken because of behavioral issues), the dean of students may require, among other things, information from a physician or a therapist as a condition for resumption of studies. All conditions are determined on a case-by-case basis.

A return from an involuntary leave of absence is governed by the processes outlined in the Student Manual on University Processes and Regulations. If the involuntary leave results in a student exceeding the maximum eight quarters of cumulative leave from the College, then the student will be withdrawn and will need to apply for readmission. The College is not obliged to approve student readmissions.

Withdrawal – Voluntary

Students who decide not to return to the College must formally withdraw their registration. To do so, students should contact the Office of the Dean of Students in the College. Students who decide to return to the College after being withdrawn must apply for readmission. The College is not obliged to approve student readmissions. Students who are readmitted are expected to complete their studies without further interruption.

Withdrawal – Involuntary

Students who fail to return to good standing after a quarter of academic probation will be withdrawn from the College and banned from further registration for at least one year. At the time of withdrawal, students are advised of the conditions under which they may resume their studies in the College. A student who has been withdrawn twice for academic reasons is not eligible to apply for a second readmission.

Students who have exceeded their eight quarters of approved leave, or who failed to meet with one of the College deans of students to formally request the leave, will be withdrawn from the College and must apply for readmission. The College is not obliged to approve student re-admissions. Students who are readmitted are expected to complete their studies without further interruption.

Students may be withdrawn from the College because of financial or administrative restrictions. 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. 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, he or she should meet with a dean of students as soon as possible to request an approved leave of absence.

Requesting a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

If you are a student who needs to interrupt or discontinue enrollment in the College, you should request a leave of absence or withdrawal by taking the following steps:

Again, it is the College’s expectation that a student will not exceed eight cumulative quarters of leave over the course of his or her undergraduate career. A student who has exceeded eight quarters of approved leave will be involuntarily withdrawn and must apply for readmission. The College is not obliged to approve student re-admissions.

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

Returning to the College from a LOA or Withdrawal

For students on a leave of absence, the deadline for notifying the Dean of Students in the College about resuming studies is at least six weeks prior to the start of the quarter in which the student intends to return. An email informing the Dean of Students of the planned return and explaining the student’s activities while on leave of absence is sufficient. The Dean of Students in the College, in the case of some leaves granted for medical or behavioral reasons, may require information from a physician or therapist attesting to the readiness of the student to successfully resume studies. All conditions are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Students who have been withdrawn from the College are required to submit a completed readmission application along with supporting materials eight weeks prior to the start of the quarter of intended return. The application will be reviewed by the Faculty Committee on College Re-admissions. The results of the review will be communicated at least four weeks in advance of the intended quarter of return. The College is not obliged to approve student re-admissions. Upon return, students are expected to complete the requirements for the degree without further interruption.

Students who intend to resume may also wish to:

Students returning from a LOA or a Withdrawal may be permitted to register for classes during the add/drop period. A resumption of studies conference with their College adviser or a dean is typically required in the first week of the quarter.

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

Financial Aid and LOA

Students on financial aid should review their awards with the Office of College Aid before deciding on a leave of absence. If they are recipients of Title IV loans, they are advised that their grace period for loan repayment may be exhausted should their leave of absence exceed 180 days within a twelve-month period. A student who has exhausted his /her grace period and is unable to begin repayment may apply for a deferment or forbearance of payment: http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/difficulty.jsp. Students should contact their loan servicer and the Student Loan Administration for more information before leaving campus.

Health Insurance and LOA

Students participating in the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP) at the time a leave is processed may purchase continuation coverage under the plan for up to 12 months while on leave of absence. Application is required through the insurance coordinator in the Admin Building, room 231 or by calling 773-834-4543 (press option #2). The continuation coverage fee is higher for students on leave than for registered students.

Plan participants who go on leave for medical reasons may remain enrolled in U-SHIP at the registered student rate through the remainder of the plan year in which their medical leave of absence was granted (i.e., through August 31). They are also eligible to utilize the Student Care Center and Student Counseling and Resource Service, pending payment of the student life fee.

Students on LOA who do not participate in U-SHIP at the time the leave is processed do not have access to the Student Care Center (SCC) or Student Counseling and Resource Service (SCRS).

Facilities Use and LOA

  • Athletic facilities are available to students on leave of absence for a fee. Consult with a dean during the leave of absence conference about access to athletic facilities.
  • Career Advancement resources are generally available to students on LOA.
  • Borrowing privileges at the library are available for a fee. Consult with a dean during the leave of absence conference about library access.
  • Students on a medical LOA who are enrolled in U-SHIP may access the on-campus Student Care Center and Student Counseling and Resource Service through the remainder of the year in which their medical leave of absence was granted (i.e., August 31st). These students will be assessed the quarterly Student Life Fee for access to these on-campus health services.
  • The USITE Computing Clusters are not available to students on LOA. Email access continues for two quarters. Computer workstations are available at the Regenstein Library to anyone with library access. After one year, all mail files, personal Web pages, and online directory data are deleted.

Graduation and LOA

Students on leave of absence may graduate in any quarter provided they have

  1. met all graduation requirements,
  2. informed their College advisers, and
  3. submitted a “College Degree Application Form” by the appropriate deadline.

Taking Classes Elsewhere and LOA

Students considering enrollment in another institution while on leave of absence should discuss their academic plans with a College adviser. The Transfer Credit page on this site provides guidelines for transferring credit back to the University.

Students who receive financial aid from the College use up aid eligibility here when they register for classes full time at another institution, even if no financial aid is received for those classes. Summer study, less-than-half-time study, and course work undertaken abroad are exempt from this rule.


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