6.24.1 Leave of Absence

Oglethorpe University expects students to plan for timely completion of a degree, typically eight semesters over four years.  However, at times it may be necessary to take a break from your studies in order to graduate successfully, either before or after the beginning of the semester.  If a student needs time away, Oglethorpe University offers support through the leave of absence process.

A leave of absence provides students a way to pause their course of study for one or more semesters.   A student may take more than one leave if needed, but the total number of semesters of leave may not be greater than eight semesters (two years).  Students whose leave is greater than eight cumulative semesters will be withdrawn and may reapply.

Students on leave remain admitted students but are not registered for classes.  They remain a part of the Oglethorpe University community, with the following parameters:

  • Students on leave may not participate in activities or utilize resources, including campus facilities, intended for registered students.
  • Students on leave may not complete any course work to fulfill major or graduation requirements.
  • Students on leave are expected to complete courses for which they received an incomplete by the time of the leave begins. Incompletes may not be completed while the student is on leave.
  • New students are not eligible for a leave of absence before their first semester and should work with Admissions to determine appropriate next steps if they do not wish to enroll as scheduled.

If a student plans to submit a request for leave before the start of the semester, such request must be submitted it no later than 30 days from the start of the semester, unless the student experiences an emergency or other circumstance that prevents them from meeting this deadline.

When a student takes a leave of absence after the start of the semester, they will receive a W for all courses in which they were enrolled as of the end of the add/drop period.  Leaves of absence are not recorded on student transcripts.  A student must request a leave of absence for a semester in progress by 5 p.m. on the last day of classes.  Once finals begin, a leave of absence is not available.

Students may not receive a W for only some classes after the W deadline has passed in the semester unless there is a specific reason that would make a W an approved accommodation.  Students should consult with Accessibility Services to request such an accommodation and for further information about the process and required documentation.

To request a leave of absence, students must make an appointment with their Student Success advisor and other relevant staff, as applicable:

  • When students request a leave of absence, they will meet with their Student Success advisor to create a revised plan to complete all degree requirements in a timely fashion.
  • Before requesting a leave of absence, students are strongly encouraged to consult with Financial Aid to determine what if any impact a leave might have on eligibility and repayment.
  • Visa holders should consult with Global Education to determine whether a leave is appropriate and what additional steps may be required.

Students may request a leave of one or two consecutive semesters at a time by completing the appropriate form with their Student Success advisor.  Students may request an additional two semesters of leave (two years total) by completing the appropriate form.  Longer leaves are only available in extraordinary circumstances, including military service.

Students who request a leave after the start of classes will receive refunds in accordance with University policy.  Students should review the refund policy with their Student Success advisor.

Returning from Leave of Absence

Students are encouraged to contact their Student Success advisor as soon as possible in the semester before planning to return in order to ensure registration in a timely fashion.  A student and their advisor will collaborate to create a plan for your successful return, including the identification of helpful campus resources and a plan for check-ins to ensure things are going well.  Advisors will also help identify any other important deadlines, such as housing selection if the student plans to live on campus.

Students in good academic standing at the time of a voluntary leave will register for the next semester through the same process as registered students as long as their request is received at least 30 days prior to the start of the registration period.  If a student requests to return after that date, their Student Success advisor will assist in late registration, which may impact access to some courses.