Leaves of Absence and Reinstatement (Undergraduate)
Undergraduates are admitted to Stanford University with the expectation that they will complete their degree programs in a reasonable amount of time, usually within four years. Students have the option of taking a leave of absence for up to one year upon filing a petition to do so with the Office of the University Registrar and receiving approval. The leave may be extended for up to one additional year provided the student files (before the end of the initial one-year leave) a petition for the leave extension with the Office of the University Registrar and receives approval. The University may condition its approval of a petition for leave of absence on the student's meeting such requirements as the University deems appropriate in the individual case for the student to be eligible to return (such as, in the case of a leave for medical reasons, proof of treatment or an interview with a provider at Vaden or CAPS). Leaves of absence for undergraduates may not exceed a cumulative total of two years (eight quarters including Summer Quarters). Undergraduates who take an approved leave of absence while in good standing may enroll in the University for the subsequent quarter with the privileges of a returning student.
Students who wish to withdraw from the current quarter, or from a quarter for which they have registered in advance and do not wish to attend, must file a leave of absence petition with the Office of the University Registrar. Information on tuition refunds is available in the "Refunds" section of this bulletin.
An involuntary leave of absence can be imposed in circumstances in which a student:
- presents a substantial risk of harm to self or others or is failing to carry out substantial self-care obligations; or
- significantly disrupts the educational or other activities of the University community; or
- is unable to participate meaningfully in educational activities; or
- requires a level of care from the University community that exceeds the resources and staffing that the University can reasonably be expected to provide for the student's well-being.
Students whose circumstances warrant a review under the Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy, will be apprised, in writing, of University concerns and will be provided an opportunity to respond to concerns in writing or in person or via telephone before a review committee convened by the Dean of Student Life. Students placed on involuntary leave of absence can appeal an unfavorable decision to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. The University can condition a student's return to registered student status on such requirements as the University deems appropriate in the individual case (such as, in the case of a leave for medical reasons, proof of treatment of an interview with a provider at Vaden or CAPS or its designee). The Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy is available on the Dean of Student Life's web site.
Students on leave of absence are not registered at Stanford and, therefore, do not have the rights and privileges of registered students. They cannot fulfill any official department or University requirements during the leave period.
When a student is granted or placed on a leave of absence after the beginning of the term, courses in which the student was enrolled after the final study list deadline appear on the student's transcript and show the symbol 'W' (withdraw). For additional information regarding satisfactory academic progress, refer to the "Academic Standing" section of this bulletin.
Students who have exceeded their eight quarters of approved leave, or who fail to submit a Leave of Absence petition by the published deadline and otherwise do not submit a study list, must apply for reinstatement. The University is not obliged to approve reinstatements of students. Applications for reinstatement are reviewed by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and are subject to the approval of the Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy or its designees. The Committee or its designees may determine whether the application for reinstatement will be approved or not, and/or the conditions a student must meet in order to be reinstated. Reinstatement decisions may be based on the applicant's status when last enrolled, activities while away from campus, the length of the absence, the perceived potential for successful completion of the program, as well as any other factors or considerations regarded as relevant to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education or the Committee.
Applications for reinstatement must be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education six to eight weeks prior to the start of the term in which the student seeks to enroll in classes. Petition information and instructions may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Sweet Hall, first floor.
Leaves of absence for and reinstatements of graduate students are addressed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.