Leave of Absence and Withdrawal

Undergraduate Students

If you are considering a leave of absence or withdrawal, please contact the University Service Center immediately to discuss your situation. An associate director can review options, implications, and alternatives; we can also advise you on appropriate next steps if your decision to arrange a leave or withdrawal is final. Next steps vary from student to student, depending on individual circumstances, so a conversation with a USC associate director is important.  We can be reached at our drop in hours (during the academic year) as well as by phone (617-358-1818) and email (usc@bu.edu).

We’ve included a variety of information below, which may be helpful as you consider options; this information doesn’t substitute for a conversation with our staff.  We suggest students arrange leaves and withdrawals for an upcoming semester at least a month before the start of the semester.  This way, we can be sure class registration and residence/dining assignments are canceled, along with associated account charges; financial aid disbursements, loans, and sponsor payments can be returned in a timely way as well.  Students may arrange leaves and withdrawals closer to the start of the semester (and even after the start of classes), however, tuition and fees are canceled in accordance with the published tuition refund schedule.  It is best to finalize decisions and update your records as much in advance as possible.

What is a leave of absence?

A leave of absence is a temporary interruption in studies, typically for a full semester.  Tuition is cancelled in accordance with the published tuition refund schedule.  A student on a leave of absence may not enroll as a degree candidate at another institution.  If you are absent for a semester without arranging for an approved leave, re-enrollment into your degree program cannot be guaranteed.

What is a withdrawal?

Students who decide not to continue their program of study at BU, or who enroll as a degree candidate elsewhere, must officially withdraw.  Tuition is cancelled in accordance with the published tuition refund schedule.

Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Resources


The University Service Center assists undergraduate degree candidates with leaves of absence and withdrawals, and information on this site is designed for this group.  Graduate, Metropolitan College, online, and non-degree (visiting) students will need to contact the appropriate office for assistance with leaves of absence and withdrawals.  If you need help identifying the correct office, view the list here or contact the USC for assistance.