Taking Time Away

Leaves of Absence

From time to time circumstances might compel students in the College to interrupt their enrollment. These breaks in enrollment are formally recognized as leaves of absence (LOA). A leave of absence might be voluntary or involuntary, might occur while a student is in good standing or on academic probation, or might be associated with a medical condition.

Students planning any leave should promptly consult with their Academic Adviser. When taking a leave, students are advised of the conditions under which they might resume their studies in the College at a future date.

Leave status often impacts registration status in the College, and both voluntary and involuntary leaves of absence, and administrative withdrawals of registration are described below. 

Types of Leaves of Absence

    Students may take a voluntary leave of absence for up to eight consecutive quarters or eight cumulative quarters if more than one leave is taken. In view of the nature and rigor of the academic program, it is the College’s expectation that students will not exceed eight cumulative quarters of leave over the course of their time as a program participant, unless otherwise provided for by this policy.

    Students who have exceeded eight consecutive or cumulative quarters of leave ordinarily will be administratively withdrawn (see below) effective at the end of the eighth quarter. Petitions may be granted to extend a leave for up to 12 cumulative quarters for students fulfilling a military service requirement, religious obligations, as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, or otherwise as required by law. Students seeking an exception to the eight-quarter maximum must petition the Dean of Students in the College no later than the end of the eighth quarter of leave.

    Students planning any leave should promptly consult with their academic adviser and other offices (e.g., Financial Aid, the Office of International Affairs, or Housing & Residence Life) as needed as soon as the need for the leave arises. For full tuition refund, a leave of absence must be arranged no later than the Friday of first week of the quarter that a student is going to be on leave. For the tuition refund schedule, visit the Office of the Bursar. Other charges (room, board, course materials, etc.) may still apply and any refunds will be prorated accordingly.

    Students on financial aid should review their awards with the Office of College Aid before deciding on a leave of absence. 

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

    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. In making an informed decision to allow a student to resume the student’s studies, the Dean of Students will consider germane medical and other information available, including information provided in a timely manner by the student. The student may be asked to sign a medical records release, and to authorize direct communication between the Director of Student Health (or designee) or Director of Student Counseling (or designee) at UChicago Student Wellness and the student’s medical provider(s) regarding the circumstances and the student’s medical information, and to authorize the Director to share the substance of those communications with the Dean of Students or others, as appropriate. If a student declines to authorize communications between and among the student’s provider, the Dean of Students, and Student Health or Student Counseling Director (or their designees) and/or declines to authorize the release of germane medical records, then the Dean of Students will make the decision after considering all of the available information and will do so without the benefit of information that may be directly germane to the decision. Additional conditions may be required of the student requesting to return depending on the student’s medical condition (e.g. requirements for continued treatment, professional monitoring of the student’s condition by a local treatment team, etc.). In such cases the student will be notified of the additional requirements prior to the student’s return. Students who need a reasonable accommodation for a disability in conjunction with their return to enrollment should promptly contact Student Disability Services (SDS) and follow the required protocols.

    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.

    Students on leave of absence for medical reasons are eligible to utilize UChicago Student Wellness, and will be automatically assessed the student life fee each quarter of the leave of absence. Students who will reside more than 50 miles from campus during the leave of absence for medical reasons may request an exemption of the Student Life Fee by contacting the Office of the Dean of Students.

    Students on leave who do not participate in U-SHIP at the time the leave is processed do not have access to UChicago Student Wellness.

    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 before deciding on a leave of absence. 

    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 the student wishes to petition for additional quarters of leave to enable the student to resolve the medical issues in order to successfully resume studies. Petitions may be granted to extend a leave for up to 12 cumulative quarters for students as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, or otherwise as required by law. Students seeking an exception to the eight quarter maximum must petition the College Dean of Students no later than the end of the eighth quarter of leave. A student who has been withdrawn must petition the Academic Standing Committee to return to their academic program. 

    Students planning any leave should promptly consult with their academic adviser and other offices (e.g., Financial Aid, the Office of International Affairs, or Housing & Residence Life) as needed.

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

    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.
    2. The student is banned from campus.
    3. The student has not registered as required at the beginning of each quarter.
    4. The student withdraws from all courses. The leave of absence will be effective immediately.
    5. 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 financial aid should review their awards with the Office of College Aid

    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.

    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, the student will need to petition the Academic Standing Committee through the Office of the Dean of Students in the College. The College is not obliged to approve a student’s return.

Requesting a Leave of Absence

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

  • Discuss the implications of interrupting your enrollment with your Academic Adviser.
  • International students should also consult with the Office of International Affairs.
  • Schedule a leave of absence appointment with the Office of College Community Standards as necessary by emailing collegestandards@uchicago.edu.
  • Submit a Request for Leave of Absence form.
  • Notify the Housing and Residential Life (if applicable) and prepare to remove all belongings from the residence hall (including storage areas).
  • Speak with a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid about the implications of a leave on current obligations and future financial aid.
  • 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, see the Student Manual.

It is the College’s expectation that students will not exceed eight cumulative quarters of leave over the course of their undergraduate career, unless otherwise provided for in the College's Leave of Absence policy. Students who decide to return to the College after a leave extending more than 8 quarters, consecutive or cumulative, must submit the Request to Resume Study form with additional supporting materials. The request and the additional materials will be reviewed by the College Academic Standing Committee. The College is not obliged to approve a student’s return. Students who are approved to resume their studies are ordinarily expected to complete their program without further interruption.

Note: Students in the College who have graduated from another college or university will be administratively withdrawn from the College and are ineligible to return.