Leave of Absence Policies

Georgetown University maintains leave of absence policies that protect students from undue hardship caused by forces outside the student’s control, such as military service obligations or physical health conditions like surgery. The MAVRC recommends that students explore the various leave of absence policies if considering disenrolling, withdrawing, or otherwise taking a prolonged break from their studies. The MAVRC can assist students in exploring and processing leave of absence requests.

Military Leave of Absence Policies

Georgetown University recognizes that students who serve in the U.S. armed forces may encounter situations in which military obligations force them to withdraw from a course of study and that this can sometimes happen with little notice. This policy applies to all University schools and programs and is intended to recognize, and make appropriate allowances for students who find themselves in such situations. Specific inquiries regarding the Military Leave of Absence process should be directed to your academic advisor.

Please review the Military Leave of Absence Checklist to assist with navigating steps to take at the University.


A. Definition
For purposes of this policy, a “military service leave” is a University approved withdrawal from all in-progress University classes that is necessitated by service, whether voluntary or involuntary, in the United States Armed Forces, including service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve, active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under Federal authority, for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than 30 consecutive days.

B. Student Responsibilities
A student who is called to active duty or active service in a branch of the United States Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserve) and wishes to take a military service leave must :

Provide the University with advanced notice of such service and the intention to take a leave of absence. As soon as possible, after receiving military orders that require withdrawal from a program or course of study, a student must contact his or her academic dean to request a formal leave of absence and attach a copy of the military orders or other appropriate documentation to the request. This advanced notice can be made by the student or may be made by an appropriate officer of the U.S. Armed Forces or official of the U.S. Department of Defense to the University Registrar, but the student is responsible for making sure the dean receives notice. The notice need not include a statement of an intention to return to the University. If military necessity renders it impossible to provide advance notice to their academic dean, the student may initiate a military service leave by providing notice at the first reasonable opportunity, in writing, personally signed, and with a copy of the military orders attached.

C. University Procedures
Upon receiving notice of a student’s request to withdraw from the University or a program or drop all enrolled courses because of military obligations, the dean shall promptly contact the campus registrar. The campus registrar will review the request and initiate the military service leave of absence by notifying the Office of Student Financial Services and the Office of Student Accounts or equivalent offices at the Law School and Medical Center. The Office of Student Financial Services (or equivalent) will review the student’s eligibility for financial aid funds received before the time of withdrawal and inform the student about the status of his or her financial aid and actions required to defer loan repayments based on military obligations. Students who are granted a military service leave will receive a 100% refund of tuition and fees charged for the semester or academic term in which they withdraw, but will be charged for housing and meal plan expenses already incurred. If the University determines that it is appropriate to award academic credit for work completed in the semester or academic term in which a student takes military service leave, the student shall not receive a refund for the portion of the course of study for which academic credit is awarded. No refund will be provided until the University receives a copy of the military orders necessitating the withdrawal. Students who are granted a military service leave may be on leave for up to five academic years, after which an extension may be granted with their dean’s approval. To apply for an extension, students must contact their dean. Students who do not request an extension will be withdrawn from the University and at a later date may choose to seek readmission. To seek readmission at a later date, students must contact their dean.

A. Definition
For purposes of this policy, a “military re-enrollment” is a University approved re-enrollment after a military service leave.

B.Student Responsibilities
A student who has taken military service leave from the University or has had studies interrupted because of active duty or active service in a branch of the United States Armed Forces and wishes to re-enroll must:

A student who has taken military service leave from the University or has had studies interrupted because of active duty or active service in a branch of the United States Armed Forces and wishes to re-enroll must notify the University of the intent to return to resume a course of study upon conclusion of duty or service and present appropriate documentation prior to the semester in which the student is requesting re-enrollment. To qualify for military re-enrollment, a student must provide notice to the University of the intention to re-enroll within three years of the time he or she is discharged from military service or is placed on inactive duty. Notice should be provided in writing to the appropriate academic dean in accordance with the program’s re-enrollment leave of absence process and should include documentation (including an official certificate of release or discharge, a copy of duty orders, or other appropriate documentation) to confirm/(verify) the student’s withdrawal was related to service in the uniformed services and that the student is able to resume studies.1 Military re-enrollment guarantees a student who meets these requirements access to the same course of study he/she was in at the time of withdrawal without incurring a re-enrollment fee, unless a student receives a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge or has been sentenced in a court-martial.2 Any student who, because of military necessity, did not give written or oral notice of service to their academic dean or the campus Registrar prior to withdrawal, may, at the time the student seeks readmission, submit documentation that the student served in a branch of the U.S. Armed Services that necessitated the student’s absence from the University.

C. University Procedures
A student who meets the notice requirements set forth herein will be granted military re-enrollment in the semester following the notice of intent to return, or, if the student chooses, at the beginning of the next full academic year. Upon returning to the University, the student will resume his or her course of study without repeating completed coursework and will have the same enrollment status and academic standing as before the military leave. If the student is readmitted to the same program, during the first academic year in which the student returns, the student will be assessed the same tuition and fee charges that the student was or would have been assessed during the academic year in which the student left the institution.3 However, for the first academic year in which the student returns, the University may assess an amount up to the amount of tuition and fee charges that other students in the program are currently assessed for that academic year if the student’s veterans’ education benefits4 or other service member education benefits will pay the amount in excess of the tuition and fee charges assessed for the academic year in which the student left the institution. 

If, in the judgment of the University, a student is not academically prepared to resume a course of study in which he or she was previously enrolled, or is unprepared to complete a program, the University will determine whether reasonable means are available to help the student become prepared. The University may deny the student re-enrollment if it determines that reasonable efforts are not available, or that such efforts have failed to prepare the student to resume the course of study or complete the program. A student who has been away from the University on military service for more than five years (including all previous absences for military service obligations after initial enrollment but including only time the student spends actually performing service in the uniformed services) will not be guaranteed military re-enrollment, but may petition his or her dean for consideration of military re-enrollment.5 A student who chooses at the conclusion of military service to enroll in a different course of study than the one the student was in at the time of military withdrawal must complete the regular admission and enrollment process for that course of study.

1. The University shall determine the adequacy of documentation with reference to 34. C.F.R. Sec. 668.18(g).

2. The appropriate point in a course or program for a student to resume studies, the timing of re-enrollment, and the determination of the “same course of study” will be determined by the University, taking into account the unique characteristics and requirements of that course or program and the modes in which it is offered (e.g., non-degree vs. degree, evening vs. day program, special program vs. standard program). If the program in which the student was enrolled has been discontinued or is no longer offered, the University will enroll the student in the program that it determines to be most similar to that program or in a different program for which the student is qualified. If the student is admitted to a different program, and for subsequent academic years for a student admitted to the same program, the University shall assess tuition and fee charges that are no greater than other students in the program are assessed for that academic year.

3. The appropriate tuition and fee amounts will be reflected on the bill that the student receives.

4. As defined in section 480(c) of the HEA.

5. This cumulative leave of absence restriction shall be interpreted and applied with reference to 34 C.F.R. Sec. 668.18(c) and (e), which set forth rules for calculating cumulative absence due to military service.

Medical Leave of Absence Policies

The University recognizes that students may experience medical situations that significantly limit their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In those situations, students should consider requesting a medical leave of absence (MLOA), which permits students to take a break from University life and their studies so that they may receive treatment and later return to the University with an enhanced opportunity to achieve their academic and co-curricular goals. The physical health situations below are examples of some reasons why a student might request a leave of absence:

  • severe and prolonged illness
  • surgery
  • pregnancy

Students should contact the Student Health Center (SHC) and/or their advising Dean to receive more advice about a medical leave of absence for a physical health condition. Consult Georgetown’s Medical Leave of Absence policy here for additional information or contact the Student Health Center.