Leave of Absence (LOA) and University Withdrawal (UW)

Purpose of a Leave of Absence

A leave of absence (LOA) is a temporary separation from the university.  While on LOA you retain student status. When you return to RIT, you will resume the program requirements that were in place at the time you originally began your program of study.

Purpose of a University Withdrawal

A university withdrawal is a permanent separation from the university.   You will no longer be a student at RIT once your request to withdraw from the university has been approved and processed. If at a later time you want to return to RIT, you must reapply through Admissions.

Considering a LOA/UW

Anytime a student takes time away from the university there are important things to consider that might impact the student’s time to degree and/or financial obligations.

  • Do you need to leave the university immediately, or can you finish the term and request a planned LOA the following term? Leaving during a term will result in a grade of “W” for all of your courses (unless taken prior to the last day of add/drop).
  • International students, please be aware that taking a LOA/UW can affect your immigration status. Meet with International Student Services, PRIOR to meeting with your advisor to complete the Leave of Absence Request/University Withdrawal form.
  • If you receive financial aid, meet with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, to discuss how a LOA/UW may impact your financial aid package, your student account, your loan repayment schedule, and exit counseling.
  • Contact Student Financial Services regarding tuition charges and to inquire about the refund policy.
  • If you have any outstanding library materials, return them to the Wallace Library and pay any outstanding fines. Unreturned materials or fines may result in a hold being placed on your student account.
  • If you are currently living in RIT housing it is expected that you check out of housing within 48 hours of the LOA/UW being recorded in SIS. Review RIT Housing Terms & Conditions for more details, (http://www.rit.edu/fa/housing/publications). Contact RIT Housing with any questions or concerns regarding the timeline.
  • If you have an RIT Meal Plan, Dining Dollars or Tiger Bucks, review the Dining Services Terms & Conditions for information on cancellations and refunds.

Requesting a LOA/UW

  • Prior to starting the process it is important that you set-up a meeting with your primary academic advisor to discuss the reason(s) you are considering a LOA/UW, as well as other possible options.
  • Determine the appropriate type of LOA/UW request with your advisor; planned or immediate.
  • Log into SIS and complete the LOA/UW eForm found on the Eforms tile on the student homepage.
  • If taking a LOA, develop a LOA Success Plan in Starfish with your academic advisor. This includes recommended steps that you should complete during the leave and will support your success upon re-entry to the university.
  • Once the above steps are complete, Log into SIS and complete the LOA/UW eForm found on the Eforms tile on the student homepage 

    Student eForms
    • Completing the LOA Request form does not mean your request is approved. You should continue to attend classes, if possible, until you receive an email from the Registrar’s Office confirming that everything has been processed.
    • The form will be routed to your primary academic advisor to ensure you have met and discussed your intentions, and ultimately to your academic department for final approval.
  • Update your contact information (mailing address, email address, phone number) in SIS – from Student Center click on the Student Contact Verification link under Personal Information. 

Returning from a LOA

  • A student is allowed up to 3 consecutive terms, including summer, without enrollment. If you were not enrolled in the term(s) prior to your LOA, those terms will count toward the three allowed terms. In the fourth term, you must be enrolled in courses, or you will be discontinued. If discontinued, you will need to reapply to RIT through the admissions office. (See discontinuation schedule below)
  • Discontinuation Schedule:

    Last Enrolled Term

    Discontinuation Term (after add/drop)

    2211 – Fall 2021

    2225 – Spring 2023

    2215 – Spring 2022

    2228 – Summer 2023

    2218 – Summer 2022

    2231 – Fall 2023

    2221 – Fall 2022

    2235 – Spring 2024

    2225 – Spring 2023

    2238 – Summer 2024

    2228 – Summer 2023

    2241 – Fall 2024

    2231 – Fall 2023

    2245 – Spring 2025

    2235 – Spring 2024

    2248 – Summer 2025

    2238 – Summer 2024

    2251 – Fall 2025

  • Contact your primary academic advisor to initiate the Return from Leave of Absence form. This needs to be completed to give you an enrollment term in SIS. You will not be able to enroll until this is processed.
  • Discuss with your advisor possible course options to enroll in for the upcoming semester.

Returning from a UW

If you completed a university withdrawal, and now want to return to the university, you will need to reapply through the Undergraduate Admissions Office, or Graduate Enrollment Office