Leaves of Absence, Withdrawals, Termination of Studies and Readmission

Time to Complete Law Degree

Students considering whether to take a break in their legal studies should keep in mind ABA Standard 311(b) regarding timely completion of a law degree:

A law school shall require that the course of study for the J.D. degree be completed no earlier than 24 months and, except in extraordinary circumstances, no later than 84 months after a student has commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the student has accepted transfer credit.

Leave of Absence Overview

A leave of absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption in a student’s education at the Law School. If approved for a leave, a student on LOA continues to be considered a student at the School of Law but is not enrolled in courses during the semester(s) in which the student is on leave. A LOA requires prior written approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who will also advise on any academic consequences of a leave, such as the availability of courses during the semester the student expects to return to the law school.

Students may request an LOA for no more than two semesters. Typically, only students in good academic standing may request permission to take a leave of absence.

Note: Students should also be aware that any leave from the institution may have financial aid impact and should consult with the Director of Financial Aid. Students are advised that the failure to return from an LOA may have effects on the student’s loan repayment terms, including the expiration of the student’s grace period. For more information about Federal Student Aid and the Return of Title IV Aid Calculation, students should read the section on Return of Title IV Funds in the Financial Aid Information section of the Catalog.

For refund purposes, if applicable, students should consult the Refund and Cancellation Policy located in the Financial Information section of the Catalog.

1. Process and Procedures for Leaves of Absence

The below process and procedures govern leaves of absence:

a. All requests for LOAs must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean and include the reason for the student’s request. Students should use the designated form located either in the Office of the Registrar or on the webpage.1 The form must be signed and dated by the student and specify the semester for which the student wishes to take a leave. The form must also include the date the student anticipates returning to the law school.

i. Students may submit the form either to the Office of the Registrar or to Academic Affairs. If the form is submitted to the Office of the Registrar, the form will be given to the Associate Dean without delay.2

ii. If the LOA form is submitted to another department or office at the School of Law, that department or office must forward the form to Academic Affairs immediately so that the processing may begin.

b. Students must apply prior to the first day of class for an LOA unless unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from doing so.

i. An LOA will not be granted after the first day of class. Please see below for information about withdrawing from all courses in a semester or session.

c. The reason for the LOA must generally be non-academic in nature and must be one that leads to a reasonable expectation that the student will return from the LOA within the allowed time frame.

i. The Law School reserves the right to request additional information to ensure that the LOA is in the best interests of the student’s academic success.

d. The LOA, together with any additional leaves of absence, must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12-month period including days in which the Law School is not in session.

e. Once all the documentation has been received, the Associate Dean will review and then will notify the student in writing (including but not limited to email notification and/or mailed letter) the status of the leave request.

f. A copy of the final determination for the requested leave will be maintained in the student’s academic file. If the LOA is granted, the student’s transcript will reflect that he or she was on leave for the particular semester, and will include a notation regarding the reason for the leave.  For example, the transcript for a student who has requested and been granted a leave of absence for medical reasons will have the notation “Leave of Absence – Medical” for the particular semester.

g. If the leave is denied, the student is expected to return to the law school to take courses. Failure to do so will result in the student being administratively withdrawn as of the student’s last actual date of attendance.

h. An approved leave allows a student to return in the same academic status held before taking the leave.1 A student who fails to return to school at the end of the approved leave shall be considered to have terminated his or her studies as of the student’s last actual date of attendance. Terminated students are required to reapply through the Office of Admission should they wish to return to the Law School.

i. A student on leave may not enroll as a visiting student at another law school. If a student wishes to take courses at another law school, the student must follow the procedures outlined in the Request to Be a Visiting Student section of the Catalog. A student who enrolls at another institution without permission will be considered to have terminated his or her studies at the law school as of the student’s last actual date of attendance. Terminated students have to reapply through the Office of Admission.

1. Readmission following an Approved Leave of Absence

Any student in good standing who discontinues her or his attendance for no more than two regular semesters may resume law studies upon approval of the Associate Dean. Any student in good standing who discontinues her or his attendance for more than two regular semesters shall be deemed to have terminated her or his studies from school and must apply to return to the Law School through the Office of Admission.


Footnotes

[1] If extraordinary circumstances prevent a student from completing the required form, an email from the student’s Law School email account requesting an LOA can be considered as long   as all necessary information noted above is included in the email.
[2] Please note the date on the form and the date the form is received by Academic Affairs or the Office of the Registrar may be different dates. In addition, if the leave is approved, the student’s last date of attendance may be different from the date of approval, the date on the form or the date the form is received.
[3] If an honor code or code of conduct investigation or proceeding is pending during the student’s approved leave, the Dean, the Associate Dean of Students, or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may place a memo in the student’s academic file outlining the charges and the status of the proceedings. Proceedings may be held in abeyance pending the student’s return from leave or may continue even during the student’s leave.

Withdrawal from All Courses during a Semester or Session

Students who wish to withdraw from all courses during a semester or session and who wish to resume studies at the School of Law for the subsequent semester, must have the prior written approval of the Associate Dean following the procedures set forth below. The Associate Dean will also advise students on any academic consequences of withdrawing, such as the availability of courses during the semester the student expects to return to the Law School.

Typically, only students in good academic standing may request permission to withdraw from all courses during a semester or session. In addition, barring exigent circumstances, a request to withdraw from all courses for the current semester or session will not be considered during the last week of classes or during the exam period.

Note: Students should also be aware that withdrawing from courses may have financial aid impact and should consult with the Director of Financial Aid. For more information about Federal Student Aid and the Return of Title IV Aid Calculation, students should read the section on Return of Title IV Funds in the Financial Aid Information section of the Catalog.

For refund purposes, if applicable, students should consult the Refund and Cancellation Policy located in the Financial Information section of the Catalog.

1. Process and Procedures for Withdrawing from All Courses

After consulting with the Associate Dean and within two (2) business days, students should complete the designated form located either in the Office of the Registrar or on the webpage. Failure to complete the necessary paperwork within two (2) business days will result in the student being administratively withdrawn from the law school as of the student’s last actual date of attendance. Please see below about readmission following an administrative withdrawal.

a. To ensure proper processing, the form must be dated and should provide the reason for the student’s withdrawal, as well as the date the student anticipates returning to the school. Students may submit the form either to the Office of the Registrar or to Academic Affairs.

b. If the form is submitted to the Office of the Registrar, the form will be given to the Associate Dean without delay.

c. If the form is submitted to another department or office at the Law School, that department or office must forward the form to Academic Affairs immediately so that the processing may begin without delay.

d. Once all the documentation has been received, the Associate Dean will review and then will notify the student in writing (including but not limited to email notification and/or mailed letter) the status of the withdrawal request.

e. A copy of the final determination for the requested withdrawal will be maintained in the student’s academic file. If withdrawal is granted, the student’s transcript will reflect that he or she withdrew from all courses for the particular semester, and will include a notation regarding the reason for the withdrawal. For example, the transcript for a student who has requested and been granted withdrawal for medical reasons will have the notation “Withdrawn – Medical.” The grade of “W” will be entered for all courses as well.

f. If the withdrawal request is denied, the student is expected to continue with courses. Failure to do so will result in the student being administratively withdrawn as of the student’s last actual date of attendance. Please see below about readmission following an administrative withdrawal.

2. Readmission following an Approved Withdrawal

Following an approved request for withdrawal, a student may resume law studies for the subsequent semester upon approval of the Associate Dean. If a student wishes to take an LOA for the subsequent semester, the student should follow the procedures listed under the Leave of Absence section of the Catalog. Any student in good standing who discontinues his or her attendance for more than two regular semesters shall be deemed to have terminated his or her studies from school and must apply to return to the Law School through the Office of Admission.

Termination of Studies at the Law School

A student who terminates his or her studies from the School of Law, either before classes begin for a required semester or session (such as summer standard session for students admitted in January) or from all academic credits in a given semester or session, and who does not intend to return to the School of Law, is no longer considered a student of the law school.

Students should be aware that termination of studies from the institution may have financial aid impact and should consult with the Director of Financial Aid. For refund purposes, however, students should consult the Refund and Cancellation Policy located in the Financial Information section of the Catalog.

1. Process and Procedures for Students Wishing to Terminate Their Studies

The below process and procedures govern when students wish to terminate their studies at the Law School:

a. Students who wish to terminate their studies should complete the designated form located either in the Office of the Registrar or on the webpage. To ensure proper processing, the form must be dated and should provide the reason for the student’s termination of studies. The termination process is not complete until this completed form has been received either by the Associate Dean or by the Registrar.

b. Students who fail to formally terminate their studies before the semester or required summer standard session begins may be subject to a $100 administrative fee.

c. Students who fail to formally terminate their studies after the drop/add period for the particular semester may incur costs as well. Students should consult the Refund and Cancellation Policy for more information. If a student withdraws after the last day of the drop/add period for that semester, the student’s transcript will reflect the designation of “W” for each of the courses for that semester. The W grade confers no credit and is not calculated in the student’s cumulative grade point average.

d. If a student terminates his or her studies when an honor code or code of conduct investigation or proceeding is pending, the Dean, the Associate Dean of Students, or the Associate Dean may place a memo in the student’s academic file outlining the charges and the status of the proceedings at the time of the student’s termination of studies. Proceedings may continue even after the student’s withdrawal.

e. The student’s transcript will reflect that the student terminated studies at the law school.

2. Readmission following a Termination of Studies

Any student who terminates studies but then determines that he or she would like to return to the Law School must apply through the Office of Admission. Any student who terminates studies at the Law School and matriculates at another institution, but subsequently would like to return to the Law School, must apply through the Office of Admission. Any student who begins the termination process, but decides to remain at the Law School, must contact the Office of the Registrar for reactivation procedures.

Administrative Withdrawal

In certain circumstances, students may be administratively withdrawn from the Law School. Examples of such circumstances include: a student’s failure to complete the process for a leave of absence, for withdrawal, or for termination of studies; a student’s failure to complete graduation requirements in a timely fashion; or, for reasons relating to the student’s mental or physical health.

If a student is administratively withdrawn, the Associate Dean will notify the student in writing (including but not limited to email notification and/or mailed letter) and will include the reasons for the withdrawal. The administrative withdrawal will be effective as of the student’s last actual date of attendance.

Note: Students should also be aware that an administrative withdrawal may have financial aid impact and should consult with the Director of Financial Aid. For more information about Federal Student Aid and the Return of Title IV Aid Calculation, students should read the section on Return of Title IV Funds in the Financial Aid Information section of the Catalog.

1. Readmission following an Administrative Withdrawal

Any student who has been administratively withdrawn must contact the Associate Dean to determine the steps necessary to remedy the circumstances necessitating the administrative withdrawal. If the administrative withdrawal was for reasons relating to a student’s mental or physical health, the Associate Dean of students must also be consulted.

Updated: August 2018.