Taking a Leave of Absence After the Semester Begins

While leaves should typically be arranged well in advance of the start of the semester, sometimes unexpected circumstances—such as a medical emergency—will require the interruption of your studies after the semester has begun. Work with your instructors and academic advisor to determine whether it is possible to complete the classes you have started; consulting with the USC about options can also be helpful.

To plan your return from a leave of absence taken on or after the first day of the semester, please see Planning Your Return.


Leaves of absence may be arranged through November 28, 2017 for the Fall 2017 semester, and through April 11, 2018, for the Spring 2018 semester.  Leaves may not be arranged after these dates.  If a medical or other emergency arises which will prevent you from taking your scheduled finals, you must contact your academic advising office or School/College dean’s office for assistance.

Things to Know and Do

Visa Status (International Students)
If you are studying in the United States on a student visa, you must contact ISSO to speak with an advisor before submitting your leave of absence request to the USC.  Taking a leave of absence can have significant visa-related implications, so it is important to discuss your options with ISSO.

On-campus Housing
Students residing in on-campus housing may take up to 48 hours to vacate their residence and return their keys.  More detailed information on residence check-out procedures and the housing refund schedule may be found in the Terms and Conditions of the Residence License Agreement.

Academic Implications
An approved leave will result in a “leave of absence” notation being placed on your academic transcript.  In addition, individual classes may reflect a notation of “W” depending on when the leave occurs.  Leaves of absence are not available after November 28 (for Fall 2017) or after April 11 (for Spring 2018).

Class Registration
Your name will be removed from all class lists for the current semester.

Financial Implications (Tuition Cancellation Schedule)
Please note that the Charles River Campus tuition refund schedule applies to undergraduate students and permits the full cancellation of tuition only for leaves of absence and withdrawals taken prior to the start of the semester.  When an emergency medical situation arises after the start of the term, necessitating a leave of absence, undergraduate students may request an exception to the tuition refund schedule through the USC.  See the expandable link “Mid-Semester Leaves of Absence and Tuition/Fee Adjustments” below for more information.

Medical Documentation
University policy requires all students who take leave for medical reasons complete a medical review process with Student Health Services prior to re-enrollment. Information on the medical review process is outlined under the returning from leave options and on the Student Health Services website.  It is not necessary to provide medical documentation at the time of the leave of absence.  Providing medical documentation at the time of the leave or soon thereafter, however, can facilitate the process of requesting return from medical leave.

Financial Assistance
Financial aid awards may be reduced or canceled when students do not complete the semester.  Financial aid eligibility for future semesters may also be affected. Adjustments will vary based on aid type (federal grants and loans, Boston University need-based scholarships, outside sponsorships and awards) and the timing of your leave of absence, so discuss your specific situation with the USC and Financial Assistance staff.

Student Account/Billing
Allow two to three business days for account adjustments to be reflected in your online invoice; adjustment of financial aid funds may take up to thirty days.  If these adjustments result in a credit balance (overpayment) on your account, the credit may be left in place to offset future charges, or can be refunded by Student Accounting Services upon your request.

Loan Deferment/Repayment
Student and parent educational loans may go into repayment status once a student takes a leave of absence.  Information on payment amounts, grace periods, etc., can be obtained by contacting the lender.

Health Insurance
The Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan Year begins August 23, 2017, and runs through August 14, 2018.  For students covered under the BU student medical insurance plan, this coverage will be automatically canceled for students who arrange a fall semester or full year leave of absence prior to or within the first month of the insurance policy period.  If you were covered by the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan, you may be eligible to re-enroll in the plan.  To determine the impact that arranging a leave of absence will have on your eligibility to retain insurance coverage, contact insmed@bu.edu or call 617-353-2870.

Students who are enrolled in the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan in the fall and arrange a spring leave of absence will retain the coverage through the remainder of the policy period.

Student Employment/Work-Study
Alert your employer that you will not be returning to your position.  Your Work-Study award will be cancelled when you take a leave of absence.

Access to Services
During a leave of absence, you will not have access to BU services (FitRec membership, library borrowing privileges, etc.).

BU Email and Student Link
Your BU Email account remains active for each semester you are officially registered for classes or are on an approved leave of absence.  If you do not register and do not obtain approval for a leave of absence for a fall or spring semester prior to your graduation, your email account may be deactivated.

Student Link access is retained.  It is your responsibility to remember your BU login and Kerberos password to access your Link records during and after your University enrollment.

If you request a leave of absence or withdraw once the semester has begun, account adjustments will be made in accordance with the published refund schedule.

If your leave or withdrawal is necessary due to an unexpected and compelling medical situation, you are encouraged to submit a letter of explanation and supporting medical documentation. The possibility of an exception to the refund schedule, such as a partial credit of tuition to a future semester, may then be considered.

Contact the University Service Center (or the office through which your leave or withdrawal was arranged) for more information.