Frequently Asked Questions

What is the USC?

The USC is an excellent starting point for anyone who is unsure of where to turn for help.  The office was designed to assist students and parents with concerns which don’t seem to fit any of the more specialized administrative offices at the University, or which may involve the cooperation of several offices to resolve.  The USC’s first line of response is its associate director staff, who are generalists skilled at researching and responding to a wide range of questions and concerns.

Where is the USC?

The University Service Center is located on the lower level of 881 Commonwealth Avenue.

When is the USC open?

The USC is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for University holidays.

What’s the difference between withdrawal and leave of absence?

A leave of absence is a temporary break in your studies; your return to the University is expected once the period of your leave has ended.  A withdrawal is permanent; if you wish to return to the University, you must re-apply through the Office of Admissions.  If you enroll as a degree candidate at another institution, you must withdraw from Boston University.

I am an undergraduate degree student. Where do I get a Withdrawal/Leave of Absence Form?

A Withdrawal/Leave of Absence Form may be completed at the University Service Center, during normal business hours.  If you are not in the area and cannot visit the University Service Center, please contact the USC by phone for instructions on how to complete your withdrawal/leave of absence remotely.  We may be able to substitute the required in-person meeting with a phone interview, and you will be given instructions on how to submit signed paperwork to our office.

Where do students who are not undergraduates arrange to withdraw or take a leave of absence?

Graduate students should contact their academic dean’s office; Metropolitan College part-time and non-degree students should contact the MET dean’s office.  Other non-degree students arrange for a leave or withdrawal through the academic dean’s office at their School or College of registration.  If you are unsure of what office to contact, please call the University Service Center and we will help direct you.

Will any of my tuition be canceled if I take a leave or withdraw? Can I get a refund?

Students are entitled to the cancellation of tuition in accordance with the published refund schedule, based on the effective date of their leave of absence or withdrawal.  Requests for a leave or withdrawal are effective when the signed request is received in the appropriate office.

If the effective date of your official leave of absence or withdrawal entitles you to the cancellation of any or all of your tuition and will result in a credit balance on your student account, you may leave the credit on your account to be applied against future charges, or you may have it refunded to you.  Follow these instructions to request your refund online.

In some cases, the cancellation of charges may result in the loss of eligibility for some or all of the financial aid applied to your account.  For assistance in determining the financial implications of a leave of absence or withdrawal, undergraduate students may contact the University Service Center.  Graduate students should contact their graduate financial aid office.

When is the last day I can take a leave of absence or withdraw from a semester?

The date varies from semester to semester, depending on the academic calendar.  Current information can be found on the here on the Registrar’s website (you’ll need to select a semester to view the last day for a leave or withdrawal for that particular semester).

Can I take classes at another institution during my leave of absence?

Only as a non-degree or visiting student.  Contact the academic advising office at your School or College for pre-approval of transfer credit for classes you wish to take elsewhere during your leave of absence.  If you enroll as a degree candidate at another institution, you must officially withdraw from Boston University.

If I take a leave of absence, can I take a class at MET?

No; your leave of absence is a leave from Boston University, not just your School or College.  If you have any questions about academic options, talk with staff in your academic advising office.

Is there a limit to the number of semesters on leave of absence I may take?

The University Service Center will typically approve as many as four semesters of leave of absence.  If you wish to arrange for additional leave—whether for required military service in your home country, or any other reason—you should obtain the approval of your academic dean’s office before contacting the USC.

Will my BU e-mail account remain active during my leave of absence or after withdrawal?

Your BU e-mail account remains active during an official leave of absence.  However, if you do not register for the first Fall or Spring semester after your leave of absence expires, you will be notified by Information Services and Technology that your e-mail account is scheduled to be deactivated.  Detailed information about e-mail account expiration is available at Information Services & Technology.  To extend your leave of absence, contact the USC.

Your BU Google Apps e-mail account will remain active for three years after withdrawal from the University, as detailed on the IS&T web page.

I forgot my Kerberos password! When I tried to reset it, the system tells me I have to show my ID in person to have it re-activated. What can I do?

If you’re on campus or in the area, follow the instructions here.  If you are not in the Boston area, contact the IT Help Center and tell them you are away from campus and need to re-enable access to your security questions.  One of their Client Support Specialists can change your access level to make this possible.

I have been accepted to go on an External Study Abroad program and need to take a leave of absence. What should I do to notify BU?

First, contact the External Study Abroad Office for information and a comprehensive checklist of steps to take before, during, and after your semester studying away from BU.  Then set up an appointment to speak with the Assistant Director for External Programs.  Once you have completed the necessary steps, then you may submit your leave of absence request to the USC following these instructions.

I am an international student at BU on a visa. Is there anything special I should do before taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from BU?

Yes.  Before submitting a request for leave of absence or withdrawal at the University Service Center (USC), you must contact your International Student Advisor at the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).  Your advisor will give you the information you need and will notify the USC that they have spoken with you.  After you speak with your ISSO advisor and he/she notifies the USC that you have done so, you may then follow the remaining instructions here for requesting a leave of absence or withdrawal at the USC.

What should I do about my student loans if I’m taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from school?

You must complete the loan exit counseling requirements for federal (Stafford, Perkins) loans and for Massachusetts No Interest Loans (NIL) online here.  If you have private educational loans, you should contact the lender directly for guidance.

I don’t think I will earn the necessary GPA this year to have my financial assistance renewed for next year. What should I do?

Familiarize yourself with the renewal requirements for your need-based aid award.  Information about renewing merit-based awards is here.  In many cases, your concerns about not meeting the renewal criteria may be unfounded or premature, so generally we recommend you wait until your grades are posted to determine if you will be eligible for renewal of your award on the basis of your academic performance.  If you are certain that this will be a problem for you, or would like some additional information, contact BU Financial Assistance to make an appointment with your financial aid officer to discuss your concerns.

Will the Boston University student medical insurance plan (Aetna Student Health) continue to cover me while I am on a leave of absence from BU?

It depends.  If you did not waive the BU coverage (which you might have done if you have alternate coverage, such as through a parent’s or spouse’s medical plan), you may be covered through the end of the plan year.  However, things like the timing of your leave/withdrawal can affect your ability to remain on the plan, and the ways in which you access your care may change when you are no longer enrolled at BU.  Please contact Student Accounting Services to find out if you will still be enrolled. Contact Student Health Services with questions about referrals and claim forms.  Contact Aetna Student Health directly with questions about coverage for specific health issues.

What will happen to my on-campus residence and dining plan charges and/or remaining Convenience Points if I take a leave of absence or withdraw during the academic year?

Your residence and dining plan charges will be adjusted according to the schedule outlined in the Terms and Conditions of the Residence License Agreement.  Any remaining Convenience Points will be rebated as noted in the Convenience Points Plan Agreement.  If these adjustments result in a credit balance on your student account, you may request a refund.