If you do plan not to enroll in classes for at least 1 semester or more and plan to return to the University within 2 academic years, you may qualify for a leave of absence. A formal leave of absence allows you to break your continuous enrollment and return to your degree program at a later date. This provides several benefits to you, such as being able to maintain your active student status, and continuing with the same degree program requirements when you return.
If you do not have a definite plan to return or are transferring to another school, please see information about withdrawing.
A leave of absence may be appropriate for the following reasons:
- Physical or mental health concerns
- Family obligations
- Financial concerns
- Military service (see military leave)
- Academic reasons (sequenced courses not offered for upcoming term, reconsidering major, academic struggles or lack of direction, studying abroad, etc.)
- Career opportunities
You are not eligible for a leave of absence if any of the following are true:
- It is your first term at the University.*
- You are currently on academic suspension.
- You do not intend to return to the University (see withdraw).
- You are admitted or plan to enroll in a degree program at another institution.
- You intend to take courses at another institution while away from the University.
- You are participating in the Study Abroad or National Student Exchange program (check with your advisor).
*If this is your first term of enrollment at the University, you may not take a leave of absence. If extenuating circumstances arise and you need to change your term of admission, contact the Office of Admissions.
When to apply
Apply for a leave of absence at least 1 term before your leave of absence would start. You may only request a leave of absence for the current term if you make the request no later than day 10 of the term.
Steps to apply for a leave of absence
- Discuss your options with your advisor. They can help you decide whether or not you qualify and should apply for a formal leave of absence.
- Complete a Leave of Absence form.
- Cancel your enrollment and be aware of costs you may be responsible for. You must manually drop your classes in MyU, whether for current or future terms. This prevents you from receiving “F” grades. Depending on when you cancel your enrollment, you may be responsible for all or part of the tuition and fees. Check the academic calendar for drop and refund deadlines. Print out a confirmation of the cancellation to keep for your records.
- Check on your financial aid. Taking a leave of absence can affect your financial aid. You may be required to repay your financial aid, including scholarships, grants, or loans.
- Complete exit counseling if you received financial aid and will not be attending at least half-time. It may take several weeks after cancelling classes for you to be auto-enrolled in exit counseling. Check your University email regularly for prompts to complete the process. A hold will be placed on your student account until you complete exit counseling.
- Pay any remaining charges on your student account. You will not be able register at the University in the future, or request an official transcript, if any unpaid, past-due charges remain on your account (tuition, fees, etc.). If your account is past due, it may be referred to a collection agency and/or result in legal action.
- Return any materials on loan from the University such as library books, lab equipment, keys, parking permits, keycards, and/or any other University materials to avoid late fees and/or replacement costs.
- Update your contact information in MyU to keep your address and phone number up-to-date with the University. Official communications will continue to be sent to your University of Minnesota email account.
Impacts to consider
Many aspects of your student life may be affected by taking a leave of absence. Here are things to consider, which may or may not apply to your situation:
Taking a leave of absence may have implications on future financial aid eligibility and student loan repayment. You may be required to repay your financial aid, including scholarships, grants, or loans. We strongly encourage you to investigate these impacts prior to requesting a leave of absence.
University account and email
If you are leaving the University for extenuating circumstances (e.g. medical or US military reasons), you may be entitled to a partial or, in rare cases, a full tuition refund. Refer to the tuition refund appeal process. Be aware that you must provide third-party documentation supporting your appeal. If you are leaving for US military reasons, refer to military leave.
Whether you live on or off campus, be sure to update the Housing and Residential Life office or your landlord to discuss your options. There may be financial penalties for canceling your housing contract or lease.
You may no longer be covered by a University-sponsored health plan once you take a leave of absence from the University. If you are covered by the University’s health plan, contact the Office of Student Health Benefits to determine your status. If you are covered under a private plan and are no longer a student, contact the private health plan carrier to discuss implications.
If you received benefits as a servicemember, or family member of a US veteran, you must notify University Veterans Services of your leave. If you are leaving for US military reasons, refer to military leave.
SEVIS requires notification if you are an international student who plans to leave the University. Consult with an F1/J1 advisor before leaving and/or requesting a leave of absence from your college. Leaving the University may affect your visa status and scholarship eligibility.
If you are a current or former student athlete, you may need to obtain approval from the Department of Athletics of your temporary or permanent leave of the University.