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Take a leave of absence

Maintaining active status

At the University of Minnesota, you are expected to maintain continuous enrollment (i.e. register for classes) every fall and spring term. This is called maintaining “active” status.

However, if you do not register for classes for a single term (with the exception of summer), your student status will be discontinued, or moved to “inactive” status. If you do not register for two or more consecutive semesters and at a later date wish to resume your studies at the University, you will have to apply for readmission.

While it is important to maintain active status to stay on target for graduation, the University realizes there are circumstances in which you may need to take a break in your studies. Depending on your situation, you may either want to withdraw or take a formal leave of absence. We encourage you to speak with your advisor to determine which option is right for you.

Withdraw from the University

There are several reasons why you might choose to withdraw from the University. You may plan to:

  • Transfer to another institution.
  • Leave the University without a definite plan to return.
  • Take a break in your studies, but a leave of absence (LOA) does not apply to you.

If you find you need to drop below 6 credits or withdraw after the first week of classes, you must speak with your academic  advisor first. You should also contact the One Stop to discuss the possible impacts of your enrollment decision such as changes to your eligibility for financial aid, health services, housing, and student employment,among others. Review the Exit Guide for additional considerations.

Apply for a leave of absence

The University has a formal leave of absence (LOA) process for students who need to take a break in their studies and plan to return to the University within two years. A formal LOA requires approval and provides several benefits to you. A few benefits include being able to maintain your student status and degree program requirements upon your return.

LOA eligibility includes:

  • Physical or mental health concerns
  • Family obligations
  • Financial concerns
  • Military service
  • Academics—sequenced courses not offered for upcoming term, reconsidering major, academic struggles or lack of direction, etc.
  • Career opportunities

You are not eligible for LOA if any of the following is true:

  • It is your first term at the University.*
  • You are currently on academic suspension.
  • You do not intend to return to the University.
  • You are admitted or plan to enroll in a degree program at another institution.
  • You intend to take courses at another institution while away from the University.
  • You are participating in the Study Abroad or National Student Exchange program.

It is recommended that you request a leave of absence for a future term, during the term prior to your leave. You may only request a leave of absence for the current term if you make the request no later than the tenth day of the term. 

*If this is your first term of enrollment at the University, you may not take a leave of absence. If extenuating circumstances arise and you need to change your term of admission, contact the Office of Admissions on your home campus.

Step 1: Contact your academic advisor and/or college. Discuss your options with your advisor or college. They can help you decide whether or not you qualify and should apply for a formal leave of absence.

Step 2: Complete a Leave of Absence form.

Step 3: Cancel your enrollment. If you are leaving the University for any reason, you must cancel or drop your classes to avoid receiving “F” grades. You will need to cancel/drop your last class with the Office of the Registrar. Please use the Cancellation of Enrollment form. You may be responsible for all or part of the tuition and fees if you cancel after the first week of classes for fall or spring semester. Summer deadlines vary. Check the cancel/add and refund deadlines. The symbol “W” will be added to your transcript for each class you cancel after the second week of the term. Be sure to cancel registration for future terms if you do not plan to return.

Step 4: Check on your financial aid. Taking a leave of absence can affect your financial aid. You may be required to repay your financial aid, including scholarships, grants, or loans.

Step 5: Complete exit counseling. If you received financial aid and will not be attending at least half-time, you must complete exit counseling. It may take several weeks after cancelling classes for you to be auto-enrolled in exit counseling; check your University email regularly for prompts to complete the process. A hold will be placed on your student account until you complete exit counseling.

Step 6: Pay any remaining charges on your student account. You will not be able register at the University in the future, or request an official transcript, if any unpaid, past-due charges remain on your account (tuition, fee, etc.). If your account is past due, it may be referred to a collection agency and/or result in legal action.

Step 7: Return any materials on loan from the University. Library books, lab equipment, keys, parking permits, keycards, and any other University materials must be returned promptly to avoid late fees and/or replacement costs.

Step 8: Update your contact information. Keep your address and phone number up-to-date with the University. Official communications will continue to be sent to your University of Minnesota email account.

Many aspects of student life may be affected by taking a leave of absence. Here are other things to consider that may or may not apply to you:

  • Financial aid: Taking a leave of absence may have implications on future financial aid eligibility and student loan repayment. You may be required to repay your financial aid, including scholarships, grants, or loans. We strongly encourage you to investigate these impacts prior to requesting a leave of absence.
  • Email: To keep your email account active, you must log in to your University email at least every 90 days. Your email address will continue to be the official means of communication from the University.
  • Tuition refund: If you are leaving the University for extenuating circumstances (e.g. medical or US military reasons), you may be entitled to a partial or, in rare cases, a full tuition refund. Refer to the Tuition Refund Appeal form. Be aware that you must provide third party documentation supporting your appeal. If you are leaving for US military reasons, refer to the Active Military Duty Cancellation policy.
  • Housing: Whether you live on or off campus, be sure to update the Housing and Residential Life office or your landlord to discuss your options. There may be financial penalties for canceling your housing contract or lease.
  • Health benefits: You may no longer be covered by a University-sponsored health plan once you take a leave of absence from the University. If you are covered by the University’s health plan, contact the Office of Student Health Benefits to determine your status. If you are covered under a private plan and are no longer a student, contact the private health plan carrier to discuss implications.
  • Veterans: If you received benefits as a servicemember, or family member of a US veteran, you must notify University Veterans Services of your leave. If you are leaving for US military reasons, please refer to the Active Military Duty Cancellation policy.
  • International students: SEVIS requires notification if you are an international student who plans to leave the University. Consult with an F1/J1 advisor before leaving and/or requesting a leave of absence from your college. Leaving the University may affect your visa status and scholarship eligibility.
  • Student athletes: If you are a current or former student athlete, you may need to obtain approval from the Department of Athletics of your temporary or permanent leave of the University.

Important Dates


Mon, May 23, 2022 First day of instruction for Full Summer Session and Summer Session I classes
Fri, Jun 3, 2022 Last day of instruction for May Session classes
Fri, Jun 24, 2022 Last day of instruction for Summer Session I classes