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.
Below you will find information on the implications associated with arranging a mid-semester leave, the process steps for arranging a mid-semester leave, and information on mid-semester leaves and tuition/fee adjustments. We share this information on line, knowing students may wish to review this with advisors, health care providers, family, and others–but it is very important, if you are considering a leave of absence once the semester is underway, that you speak with an associate director at the USC.
To plan your return from a leave of absence taken on or after the first day of the semester, please see Planning Your Return.
Arranging a Mid-Semester Leave (implications)
The University establishes the semester deadlines for leaves of absence and withdrawals; these may be viewed on the University Registrar’s website, under “Semester Dates” and “Withdrawals and Tuition Refund Schedules.”
If the semester deadline for a leave of absence has passed, and a medical or other emergency arises which will prevent you from taking your scheduled finals, you should 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.
Students residing in on-campus housing may take up to 48 hours to vacate their residence and return their keys; see BU Housing’s webpage for more detailed checkout instructions. Information regarding the housing refund schedule may be found in the Terms and Conditions of the Residence License Agreement.
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.
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.
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. 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 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. Please also see “Loan Deferment/Repayment” section, below.
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.
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.
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
The Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan coverage is yearlong and begins each August. Undergraduate students whose leaves are approved by the beginning of August (for the fall semester only or for the full academic year) will have their SHIP coverage canceled and the charge removed from the tuition invoice, as part of the leave process. Students may also waive SHIP coverage directly via the Student Link, during the official waiver period.
Students who are enrolled in the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan in the fall, who arrange a spring leave of absence, will retain the coverage through the remainder of the policy period.
To determine the impact that arranging a leave of absence will have on your eligibility to retain insurance coverage, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-353-2870. For more information about SHIP, please visit the Student Health Services resource page.
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. A student on a leave of absence cannot be paid as a student employee; see the policy “Student Work Hours for Employment at Boston University” for more information.
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.
How Do I Officially Request A Mid-Semester Leave of Absence?
For information on the process for requesting an official leave of absence, see here.
Mid-Semester Leaves of Absence and Tuition/Fee Adjustments
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.