Taking Time Away

Leaves of Absence

From time-to-time circumstances might compel students to take some time away from the College. 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, and may be associated with a medical condition. The type of leave (voluntary, medical, administrative) may affect the resumption process and access to student health insurance but are otherwise all subject to the following policies. 

All students in the College are granted up to eight cumulative quarters of leave and may extend their leave beyond eight quarters with permission from the Dean of Students. Time spent on leave will not count against a student’s progress toward their degree or their total quarters of enrollment.  

The College supports students who need to take time away and works to help students create the conditions for success upon their resumption. Leaves of absence and resumptions of study are processed by the Office of College Community Standards. Students planning a leave are welcome to meet with a representative of that office and are also encouraged to meet with their academic adviser. If applicable, students should also consult with Financial Aid, the Office of International Affairs, Housing and Residential Life, and their student loan providers when considering a leave of absence.  

Students wishing to take a leave of absence in the current quarter must submit their request before the withdrawal deadline, which is 5 p.m. on the Monday of the ninth week of instruction or the day before the final exam or final assignment is due, whichever is earlier. If a leave of absence is requested after the fifth week of instruction, the student will be required to remain on leave the following quarter as well.  

The University of Chicago transcript does not note a leave of absence. When a leave of absence is requested before the add/drop deadline (5 p.m. on Friday of Week 3), enrollments will not appear on the transcript. If a leave (medical or otherwise) is requested after the add/drop deadline, “W” (withdrawn) grades will appear as the grades for all enrollments.  

The Bursar’s refund and proration schedule can be found here: https://bursar.uchicago.edu/policies/leave-of-absence-and-withdrawal-financial-policies.

A leave of absence is considered a formal break from the university. While on leave, students will have limited access to campus facilities. Students may request temporary access to Regenstein Library and can purchase a membership to Ratner Athletic Center. Students on a medical leave of absence who also have student health insurance will be able to access UChicago Student Wellness.  

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

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. 

Any change to a student status will be communicated (if permissible) to relevant family contact.

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

Types of Leaves of Absence

    A voluntary leave of absence is one requested by the student. This leave may be for any number of reasons, including but not limited to the following: personal or family matters, an internship, military service, or religious reasons. 

    If a student needs to take a leave of absence for medical reasons, they can request a medical leave of absence (MLOA). A medical leave is also voluntary. While on a medical leave of absence, students are eligible to maintain university health insurance (U-SHIP) for up to four quarters. Students on MLOA with U-SHIP will have access to UChicago Student Wellness. Students on a medical leave of absence are automatically assessed the student services fee. If you will be living more than 50 miles from campus, you can waive the student services free by following the instructions found here: https://bursar.uchicago.edu/studentservicesfee/ 

    If you take a leave for medical reasons, your resumption may be contingent upon the condition being resolved or managed successfully. In such cases, the Dean of Students in the College may request information from a medical professional attesting to the readiness of the student to successfully resume studies. The student may be asked to sign a medical records release form to authorize direct communication between their health care provider(s) and the appropriate clinician at UChicago Student Wellness, and for their clinician to speak to our Dean of Students and the appropriate person in the Office of College Community Standards regarding the request to resume. If a student declines to participate in this process, 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. 

    Upon resumption, additional conditions maybe required of the student, 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. 

    The Dean of Students in the College may place a student on an involuntary or an administrative leave of absence according to the policies set forth in the Student Manual. Potential causes for an involuntary leave are listed below. 

    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 has been 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 (300 units/quarter).

    A student may also 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 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. 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 involuntary 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. 

    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 exist or the situation can be eliminated by reasonable modification or accommodation.  

    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. 

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:

  • Speak with a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid about the implications of a leave on current obligations and future financial aid.
  • Notify the Housing and Residential Life (if applicable) and prepare to remove all belongings from the residence hall (including storage areas).
  • Consult with the Office of International Affairs.
  • Discuss the implications of interrupting your enrollment with your Academic Adviser.
  • If you have questions about the leave of absence policies or process, book an appointment with the Office of College Community Standards as necessary by emailing collegestandards@uchicago.edu
  • To request a leave of absence please submit a Request for Leave of Absence form.