Status Changes

Voluntary Academic Leaves

Students must be continuously registered every semester until all degree requirements have been met. Students who wish to suspend their studies for a period of time for any reason must submit a request for a leave of absence using the online form. Leaves of absence are normally approved for up to one year.

Leave of Absence Request Process:

  • Meet with your assigned program advisor to discuss the reasons for taking a leave
  • Submit the online request form; you will receive email confirmation when the form is sent
  • Review all items on the LOA checklist (below) and follow up with the appropriate offices as necessary
  • The SP2 Registrar will email you with confirmation once the leave has been processed

All requirements for the degree must be completed within five years of the date when the student first registered for the degree. Students are responsible for tuition charges and other financial obligations to the University incurred before the effective date of the leave. Students may not earn credit for courses taken at another institution while on leave of absence.

Leave of Absence Checklist

Tuition – if the leave is requested before the end of Add/Drop as posted on the SP2 Academic Calendar, students will receive a full refund of tuition and fees. If the leave occurs after Add/Drop, partial refunds may apply; see the Finances page for more information. Leaves processed after the 6th week of classes are not eligible for any tuition refund.

Student Bills/Financial Aid – check your student account; any outstanding balance will result in late fees and your account will be placed on hold. Students who have borrowed from the Federal Loan Program must complete the online exit loan counseling session. Please note that depending on the length of the leave, students may be required to begin repayment of loans before returning to Penn.

Penn Student Insurance Plan –  students who go on leave before September 30 will receive a refund of the insurance premium as long as they have not used the insurance. Students who go on leave after September 30 will retain their insurance coverage until January 31. Coverage will then terminate unless students enroll in classes by that date. Contact a SHS advisor for detailed information here.

On campus housing (Sansom) – if the leave occurs within the semester, complete Request for Early Termination. For more information, click here.

Penn facilities access/Penn Card – students on leave who wish to retain access to Penn facilities, such as the library, can request to pay the Special services fee. The fee will be added to the student account. Contact SP2 Registrar with the request. Once paid, the student may request a student on leave Penn Card from the Penn Card Center.

International students – Immigration status is dependent upon full-time enrollment and students are required to depart from the US within 15 days of a posted leave. Students must communicate their intention to take a leave of absence with their ISSS advisor.

Return from Voluntary Leave of Absence

Students notify the SP2 Registrar with the request to return to their studies.

For a fall semester return, requests should be made before the end of March. For a spring semester return, requests should be made in September. Late requests to return from leave may result in limited course selection.

Students must contact their academic advisor prior to registering for courses.

MSW students who need a field placement should notify the Field Office well in advance to assure placement options.

Involuntary Leave of Absence

Students whose psychiatric, psychological, or other medical condition causes them to pose a threat to themselves and/or others, or causes them to significantly disrupt the educational activities of the University community, may be required to take a leave of absence from the University.

Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy

Withdrawal from Degree Program

A student who wishes to terminate candidacy for the degree should formally withdraw from the School by notifying the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in writing. The effective date of separation from the University is the date on which the student files the written request. Students are responsible for tuition charges and other financial obligations to the University incurred before the effective date of withdrawal.

Readmission to Degree Program

A student wishing to return to the program after having withdrawn must reapply to the program.

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