Leaves of Absence and Return

Barnard students who are considering taking a leave of absence should work with Dean Rebecca Grabiner, who serves as the College's Case Manager, as well as Senior Class Dean.  Here is some general infomation about leaves of absence, but for specific questions, contact Dean Grabiner: schedule an appointment or email leavesandreturns@barnard.edu.

Leaves of Absence from the College

If a situation or opportunity arises in which a student, in conversation with her adviser, the Case Manager, and/or the Dean of Studies, decides she would like to take a leave of absence from a semester of coursework and for an extended time, the student may opt for a general Leave of Absence, or a Medical or Mental Health Leave of Absence, depending on the nature of the leave. The student must make an appointment with the Case Manager or the Dean of Studies to discuss her specific situation and to review the terms of a leave of absence. Degree progress and financial aid implications should be considered as part of a decision to withdraw.

Please note: General Leaves or Medical/Mental Health Leaves are not the same as a required leave, in which a student is required to leave the college for a year or a semester due to lack of satisfactory academic progress. Students required to leave due to academic performance are notified of their separation from the college by the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing, and have slightly different requirements for return. All leaves of absence are noted by the College in a student's permanent educational record. The date of the leave will occur in the transcript if the leave occurred during a semester in progress. The leave begins on the date the student last attended class. 

Taking Courses While on Leave

Students who wish to take courses during their leave of absence at another institution should arrange with the Registrar to confirm in advance the approval to do so, and complete the necessary process to transfer the credits from that institution.

Tuition Refunds

A student  who elects to go on leave for any reason may be eligible for a partial tuition refund, depending on attendance records and date of last attendance. For further information, please contact Financial Aid or the Bursar's Office. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with Financial Aid to discuss implications of their leave on current and future financial aid support.

International students should be aware that a leave of absence may affect their student visa status, and are strongly encouraged to consult with the Dean for International Students.

College Facilities and Housing

Students who elect to take a leave are not permitted to use any College facilities, including housing, the gym or fitness center, health services, counseling services, or financial aid. Residential students who elect a leave must also complete a housing cancellation form indicating . Occupied housing must be vacated within 48 hours of the student's completion of paperwork.

Note: Housing is not guaranteed upon return from a leave of absence. Students who wish to seek housing must follow the housing application process. Students returning from medical/mental health leave may be given housing preference, based upon timely receipt of return paperwork and housing applications.

All medical/mental health readmission forms must be in by the appropriate date (June 1 for fall readmission, November 1 for spring readmission). Students should note that in some cases, an assessment interview with the Executive Director of Health Services or the Director of the Furman Counseling Center may need to take place as close to the start of the semester as possible, depending on what is indicated in their forms, recommended by their care providers, or otherwise recommended by the Executive Director of Health Services at Barnard.

For further questions about housing, please contact either the Dean of Studies Office or Residential Life.

Types of Leaves

General Leaves 

Students seeking to take a general leave must fill out the Notice of Leave of Absence, which they can obtain in the Dean of Studies Office from the Case Manager. Students seeking to return from a general leave, and who do not require any kind of medical clearance, need to fill out the Request for Return Form and follow the steps required for general readmission indicated on the form. (Please note: Request for Return from a general leave will not require scheduling an interview with a specific office on campus unless otherwise noted on the form; an interview with the Case Manager may be specified, and these should take place prior to the semester of return.)

A student who has taken a leave from the College for non-medical or non-mental health reasons may request to return by submitting a detailed statement explaining her reasons for returning and establishing that she has fulfilled all stated conditions for re-enrollment to the Dean of Studies by June 1 for a fall semester return and by November 1 for a spring semester return. A $100 processing fee (check payable to Barnard College) is required with the request for return.

Please see the Request for Return form for detailed instructions.

Medical/Mental Health Leave

Students who must interrupt their studies temporarily due to physical or psychological condition must notify the Dean of Studies and the Case Manager, and submit a completed Medical Leave Request form, in addition to a Notice of Leave of Absence form. The form must be signed by a medical or mental health professional, who recommends a leave of absence for specific reasons. Students on medical or mental health leave must demonstrate that they will pursue medical or mental health treatment, as indicated, to address the noted condition during their time away from the College. The Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness must meet with students pursuing a medical or mental health leave. The Dean of Studies, in consultation with other deans and Primary Health Care Services or Furman Counseling, will review each case and help the student to file  paperwork. The the Medical Leave Request Forms must be turned in to the Dean of Studies Office within 30 days of the date of the student's departure from campus. Students who are unable to meet the 30-day deadline must be in touch in a timely fashion with the Case Manager; students who do not turn in their forms within the appropriate time frame may delay the process for return, and may be asked to seek return at a later date. Degree progress and financial aid implications should be considered as part of a decision to leave and return.

Students returning from Medical/Mental Health Leave will be asked to demonstrate that the condition that caused them to leave has resolved sufficiently to allow resumption of full time studies. The Dean of Studies requires a Medical Request for Return Form to be filled out by a treatment provider, documenting the course of treatment and supporting the student's readiness to return to school as a full time student. An in-person assessment interview with the Executive Director of Health Services or the Director of the Furman Counseling Center will also be required prior to final clearance being given. The Medical/Mental Health Leave Return forms must be completed and presented to the clinical staff at the time of the assessment interview. While  paperwork must be submitted by the specified deadline, medical clearance may be required to be provided at a later date. (Clearance interviews typically occur no earlier than one month prior to the expected return).

Required Leave

Students who do not meet the requirements for satisfactory academic progress, or who are not in good academic standing, for two consecutive semesters, may be asked to leave the college for a specified time. The Committee on Programs and Academic Standing meets to review student records twice a year, and the Committee determines the length of leave time and the conditions for return. Good academic standing is defined as maintaining a 2.0 GPA each semester and attempting or earning at least 12 credits each semester; satisfactory academic progress (or SAP) is defined as the above PLUS the evidence that a student is earning the appropriate annual number of credits necessary to achieve their class standing and meet the 122 required credits for graduation. Students who fail to meet these requirements and who are placed on leave may be required to take coursework while on leave. Students on academic leave should remain in contact with the Case Manager or the Dean of Studies to make arrangements during their leave, and for their return. The return process from an academic leave is nearly identical to the return process from a General Leave, but may require an interview with the Case Manager or Dean of Studies.