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Leave of Absence Policy
Oklahoma State University (OSU) graduate students are expected to maintain active status through continuous enrollment from the time they matriculate until they graduate. Students who are not able to maintain active status are strongly encouraged to consult with their program, advisor, and Graduate College to determine whether requesting a leave of absence (LOA) is the most appropriate course of action. International students must consult with the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office to ensure compliance with Federal immigration policy. Example situations that may lead a student to explore a leave of absence request are medical, personal, employment and military service. Students who do not have an approved leave of absence and are not continuously enrolled may experience negative consequences related to academic, visa, financial aid, and other student issues – see University policies and guidelines for additional information. A student status of “good standing” (academic and conduct) is generally required for a leave of absence.
1. Students who experience circumstances that prevent them from maintaining active student status may be granted approval from the Graduate College for a leave of absence upon request. Students must complete a Leave of Absence form that specifies the length of the leave requested.
2. An approved leave of absence may not exceed one academic year, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
3. Students who do not obtain an approved leave of absence prior to interrupting their enrollment (excluding summer) may be terminated from their graduate program and/or held to new requirements if they are subsequently readmitted.
4. Students granted a leave of absence may not use University facilities or services available only to enrolled students.
5. The approved leave of absence time will not be counted toward time-to-degree limits.
6. Students who obtain an approved leave of absence in accordance with this policy are eligible for reinstatement provided they re-enroll no later than the term immediately following the expiration of the leave (excluding summer). Programs may specify reasonable conditions for reinstatement to active status, whether the student returns early or at the expiration of the leave. Programs may deny reinstatement to active status based on crimes or other serious misconduct occurring during the leave that would have been grounds for suspension or expulsion had the student engaged in the conduct while enrolled. Students are obligated and agree to disclose such material information. See OSU Student Code of Conduct.
7. Students whose leave of absence has expired and who have not yet registered for the following term (excluding summer) will be placed on inactive status. Students who are placed on inactive status must reapply for readmission.
8. Given the diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of graduate degree programs, programs may develop additional rules governing leaves of absence, as long as they are consistent with Graduate College and University policies.
Each program must establish and publicize its process for implementing this policy and must inform all entering students about it.
Students may need to interrupt their enrollment for reasons they cannot control. Allowing students to take a leave of absence provides students the opportunity to return to the University under the rules and policies in effect when they left and without affecting their time to degree. It also allows the University the opportunity to counsel students about actions they must take to be reinstated upon the expiration of the leave. In addition, it allows students to successfully complete degrees in the face of challenging situations.
No. Students are not required to register at any time during the period of their approved leave of absence. If students wish to enroll during a leave of absence, they must follow the returning from a leave of absence procedures.
No. Tuition and fees will not be charged for the period during which a student is on an approved leave of absence provided students cancel enrollment prior to published university deadlines. However, students not enrolled due to a granted leave of absence are not eligible for deferral of any federal student loans they may have, and depending on the length of the leave of absence, may be required to begin repaying those student loans. Students should confirm with their federal loan servicer (that information can be found at www.nslds.ed.gov) how their leave of absence will impact their student loans.
Will the terms during which students are on a leave of absence be counted by their programs or colleges when evaluating degree progress expectations or degree completion deadlines?
No. An approved leave of absence is not counted toward a student's time to degree and does not require the student to make degree progress during the period of the leave.
No. During the period of an approved leave of absence, students are not enrolled, and therefore, may not use student amenities and services, laboratories, equipment, libraries, and other research facilities, nor may they use the services of faculty or administrative staff, except as may be needed to return to active status.No. During the period of an approved leave of absence, students are not enrolled, and therefore, may not use student amenities and services, laboratories, equipment, libraries, and other research facilities, nor may they use the services of faculty or administrative staff, except as may be needed to return to active status.
Eligibility for coverage on each program is contingent on student status. Students no longer eligible for the Student Health Plan have the option of continuing coverage at their own expense for up to 18 months. Students should contact the Office of Student Health Benefits for specific details about continuation of coverage options.
A leave of absence for international students is subject to SEVIS regulations and requires completion of additional forms. All international students considering a leave of absence must consult International Students and Scholars (ISS) Office.
Units should refer to other relevant University policies regarding leaves for University employees, including graduate assistants. If the student is not a University employee, units are encouraged to make reasonable efforts to accommodate requests for leaves related to such situations as illness, death in the family, the birth or adoption of a child, and military service. The graduate program and student must document any specific requirements or conditions on which the leave of absence and reinstatement is governed.
Units shall reinstate a student following an approved leave of absence and should provide appropriate advising to help reintegrate the student to the graduate program.
If a student must take a leave of absence during the semester, the student would withdraw from all courses for that semester, would lose their tuition and fees for the term, and would not receive credit for their coursework. (Exceptions to allow a refund of tuition and fees may be considered by petition due to documented extraordinary circumstances and committee approval. The Petition for a Refund of Tuition and Fees form is available on the Registrar website.) If the leave occurred near the end of the semester and the student met the conditions for potentially receiving an incomplete (“I”) grade, the student in consultation with the course instructor may have an incomplete grade option. The student would need to follow current policy for making up an incomplete grade. The leave of absence would not affect the timeframe allowed for making up incomplete grades.
Federal aid recipients who take a leave of absence during a semester may be required to pay back some or all of the federal financial aid they received for that semester. For more specific information, read the Return to Title IV Policy on the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or contact that office at 405-744-6604.
Start and return dates for leaves of absence are term specific. The start date is the first day of the term for which the leave of absence begins – regardless of the timing of the leave request. The return date is the first day of the term (excluding summer) immediately following the expiration of the approved leave of absence.
Yes. Graduate students may be reinstated for any term prior to, but no later than, the term (excluding summer) immediately following the expiration of the leave. Students must confer with their principal advisor or graduate program coordinator and the dean of the Graduate College prior to the expiration of their approved leave of absence to discuss the terms of their reinstatement, any conditions related to resuming their studies after the leave, and to obtain required signatures of approval. Students must be reminded that leaves of absence are term specific, even in instances of early reinstatement; i.e., the first day of a term is always used to define the leave of absence return date.
In general, no; students may not return after the semester has started and should time their reinstatement accordingly. However, if circumstances preclude this and the student wishes to return very early in the semester, reinstatement during the restrictive drop/add period (the first two weeks of a fall/spring semester and the first week of an eight-week summer term) may be possible if the student's advisor or program coordinator and the dean of the Graduate College approve.
Can taking a leave of absence affect my student loan, private loan, fellowship, or other financial aid?
Yes. If you receive an assistantship, fellowship, scholarship, financial aid, etc. from the University, you should talk with your graduate program, Student Financial Aid, International Students and Scholars Office, and the Graduate College to understand the consequences a leave of absence might have. If you receive funding from a source outside the University, you should talk with that agency to learn about any issues a leave of absence might have.
How does a leave of absence work for a student who is in a dual (or joint) degree programs in different colleges?
If the student is pursuing two graduate degrees in two different graduate programs, the student will need to request a leave of absence from both programs under the provisions of this policy. If the student is pursuing a graduate degree and a first professional degree (e.g., D.V.M. or D.O. degree), the student will need to request a leave of absence from his or her graduate program under the provisions of this policy and will also need to comply with the leave of absence policy stipulated by the program offering the first professional degree.
Students may request an extension to the initial, approved leave of absence, but approval of such is exceedingly rare. In such cases, it is the student’s responsibility to make all arrangements and file all paperwork to request approval of an extension prior to the expiration of the initial, approved leave of absence. In general, students should start the process at least one month prior to the expiration of the initial, approved leave of absence.