Leaves of Absence and University Withdrawal

General Leave of Absence Policy

Students who wish to take a leave of absence are encouraged to apply for the leave by filling out the proper petition through the myNortheastern web portal before the last day to drop without a W in a term. Students can request a leave up until the last day to drop with a W in a term, but should review the financial implications of withdrawing from courses on the Student Financial Services website.  Students can take up to one year of leave, excluding medical and emergency leaves of absence. Any leave of absence type, if approved, will take into account the following conditions:

  • Students who do not return at the end of the leave will be withdrawn and must contact their college for re-entry prior to the term start.
  • Students must return to classes, not co-op.
  • Students must be currently enrolled in academic classes or co-op. If a student is withdrawn for personal reasons, the withdrawal can be reversed and a request for a leave of absence can only be processed if it is before the last day to drop without a W in a term. If the student has been administratively withdrawn, a request for leave of absence cannot be considered until the withdrawal is resolved.
  • Students who receive financial aid should meet with a financial aid counselor before going on a leave.
  • Students in university housing should refer to the Housing and Residential Life Office for policy information.
  • A Student’s enrollment status cannot include more than one academic year of consecutive non-class enrollments. Students on leave for more than one year will be withdrawn from the university.
  • If a student has taken multiple leaves equating to one year, the next leave request will be processed as a withdrawal.
  • International students must make an appointment with the Office of Global Services (OGS) to discuss leave of absence procedures in accordance with federal regulations.

Students on a leave of absence are considered active students and are able to register for classes in an upcoming term in a leave status. If a student is unable to register because they are inactive, they should contact their college for re-entry at the time of registration for the return term. Students are expected to register for classes upon returning from a leave of absence.

Medical or Emergency Leave of Absence

Medical leave is an option available to those Northeastern students who develop a major medical condition that precludes class attendance, completion of requirements, and/or participation in co-op. Medical leave petitions must be initiated at University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS). Students are not allowed to take classes for credit toward their degree at Northeastern while on a medical leave of absence. Students can petition their college for an exception to take classes elsewhere while on a medical leave of absence based on extenuating circumstances.

Students who wish to re-enter the university following a medical leave must contact UHCS. Re-entry from a medical leave requires receipt of all documentation delivered to UHCS on or around one month prior to the planned re-entry to classes. Once all documentation is received by UHCS, it will be reviewed and the student will be notified of the decision. Students must be enrolled in Northeastern University classes for the term in which they wish to return from their medical leave of absence.

More specific information about the re-entry process, along with the application for leave, can be found at the UHCS website.

Emergency leaves may be granted when a student cannot continue attending class after the start of the term due to life-changing situations beyond the student’s control. Students can access the application and submit their request for an Emergency Leave of Absence online by going to the myNortheastern web portal, and typing “Registrar Forms” in the search box, choosing Leave of Absence, and then selecting Emergency as the leave type.

The university’s medical leave of absence and emergency leave policy states that all tuition charged for the term in which the leave has been granted will be held by the university and applied toward future tuition charges in the same academic program. This does not include housing and other fees. Outstanding balances (including unpaid balances) for the academic term in which the leave is taken are still due the university. Tuition adjustments are made depending on the timing of the leave. The adjustments would follow the same schedule as the official withdrawal adjustments. See the schedule for “Refunds for Complete Withdrawal from the University.” Financial aid recipients must contact their financial aid counselor to understand the effects on aid received.

If the leave extends more than six months, student loans may go into repayment. Students enrolled in the Northeastern University Student Health Plan (NUSHP) will remain enrolled in the plan for the plan year, ending August 31.

Returning from a Leave Of Absence

Students on a leave of absence are considered active students and are able to register for classes in an upcoming term in a leave status. If a student is unable to register because they are inactive, they should contact their college for re-entry at the time of registration for the return term. Students are expected to register for classes upon returning from a leave of absence.

Students who are withdrawn and are applying for Commencement may be re-entered on a leave of absence, pending the college’s approval, prior to the term in which they will graduate. International students returning from a leave of absence should contact OGS regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) procedures three to four months prior to anticipated return date.

Students who wish to re-enter the university following a medical leave must contact the Medical Leave Team at UHCS. Re-entry from a medical leave requires receipt of all documentation delivered to UHCS on or around one month prior to the planned re-entry to classes. Once all documentation is received by the Medical Leave Team, it will be reviewed and the student will be notified of the decision. Students must attend classes for the term they wish to return from medical leave of absence.

Leave of Absence Due to Military Deployment or Missionary Service

When a student is called to active duty or missionary service, they must apply for the leave by filling out the proper petition through the myNortheastern web portal. Proof of official deployment or call to service paperwork will be required as an attachment when filling out the leave of absence request. 

When a student is called during the term, the university will:

  • Excuse tuition for that term. Any payment made will be credited to the student’s account.
  • Post a leave of absence for the term to hold a place for the student when he or she returns.

If a student is called near the end of the term, the student and faculty members may determine that incomplete (I) grades are more appropriate. In this case, tuition will not be waived.

When a student returns to the university after completion, he or she will notify the college academic student services office if the leave was longer than one year, which will in turn notify the Registrar’s Office. The college academic student services office will assist the student with re-entry and registration. If the leave was less than one year, the student should register for classes for the upcoming term prior to returning to campus.

International students who must take a leave of absence to engage in military service in their home country must additionally fill out a form for leave of absence with OGS.

Leave of Absence for International Students

International students should discuss maintenance of proper U.S. immigration status with an advisor at OGS before requesting any type of leave of absence.

University Withdrawal

Students seeking to withdraw from the university for any reason should meet with their academic advisor before completing the university withdrawal form online.  Students should review the financial implications of withdrawing from all classes on the Student Financial Services website.

Students may be withdrawn from the university for financial, disciplinary, academic, or medical reasons. In the last case, the vice president for student affairs will review the recommendations of the director of health services to determine whether the student should withdraw. Withdrawals are made only when it is determined that the student is a danger to himself or herself or to other members of the university community, or when the student has demonstrated behavior detrimental to the educational mission of the university.

Note that withdrawal from the university will impact an international student’s immigration status. Thus, international students should discuss the means to maintain proper U.S. nonimmigrant status with an advisor at OGS before requesting or after having been placed on withdrawal.