Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I'm thinking of taking a leave of absence?
A good first step is to meet with your class dean or the College Case Manager. We’re here to help you think through your options and walk you through any next steps.
How long is a leave of absence?
If you’re not feeling well in the middle of the semester and need to take a few days to recover, that is not a leave of absence -- you should get doctors’ notes and communicate with your instructors and class dean, but those are just absences, not a Leave of Absence. If, for whatever reason, you believe you will need to spend more than two weeks away from Barnard, we advise you to go through the formal Leave of Absence process. You can take a leave as short as a single semester, or as long as five years, and return through the process outlined on this website. After five years on leave, you can still return, but the process is slightly different - contact the Dean of Studies for more information.
I feel like I'm the only one taking time off or returning from time off. How common is it to take a leave of absence?
It’s more common than you might think. In a typical semester, approximately 40 students are either taking a leave of absence or returning after a leave.
What happens to my housing if I take a leave of absence?
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. Students returning from far away may also receive preference.
Can I get a tuition refund if I decide to leave during the semester?
Depending on when in the semester you begin your leave of absence, you may be eligible for a partial refund of tuition and/or housing costs. You may contact the Bursar’s Office with questions about tuition. You may view the schedule of housing costs on the Housing Cancellation website, and you may contact the Office of Residential Life and Housing with further questions.
What happens to my financial aid if I take a leave of absence?
Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 8 semesters. If you are leaving in the middle of a semester, you should consult with your financial aid counselor to discuss options and next steps. You will apply for financial aid again as usual along with your request to return to Barnard.
What happens to my Barnard email address while I'm on a leave of absence?
After a grace period, your email address will be temporarily deactivated. During this deactivation period, Barnard offices will communicate with you using the alternate email you provide when you fill out the Notice of Leave of Absence form. When your request to return to Barnard is granted, your email will be reactivated. The schedule for email address deactivation is as follows:
- If you take a leave during or after a fall semester, your account is deactivated the following July.
- If you take a leave during or after a spring semester, your account is deactivated the following January.
What happens to my Barnard mailbox during my leave of absence?
Your mailbox will be closed and reassigned during your leave. When you return, you will be given a new mailbox with a new number. Please be sure to update anyone who is writing to you at Barnard.
Am I allowed to use campus facilities during a leave of absence?
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.
Can I take courses from other institutions while on a leave of absence?
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.
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