Frequently Asked Questions
A leave of absence (LOA) may be available for students who are taking time off from the college for a variety of reasons. Leaves are usually processed before the start of a semester and can be granted for a maximum of two semesters. The final deadline to take a leave during the semester is the deadline to withdraw from a semester course. Tuition, room and board refunds will be calculated on the college’s refund schedule, found in the catalog and guidebook. Students who would like to request a leave of absence begin the process by meeting with one of the Deans in Student Services.
For information regarding medical leaves, emergency absences, and withdrawals, please click here.
Click below for more information:
- Campus Communications
- Campus Resources
- Residence Life
- Campus Contacts
- All FAQs in booklet form to download and print (PDF)
- Download the form (PDF)
In this order please:
What are the steps for taking a leave of absence?
- Contact the Office of the Dean of Students to schedule an appointment with a Dean in Student Services to discuss the LOA. Contact information for the Office of the Dean of Students: Administrative Assistant to Student Services, 503.517.7396, email@example.com, Eliot 218.
- Read the FAQs listed here, or in the booklet you received from the Dean of Students' Office or a Dean in Student Services.
- Download or pick up the LOA form, and fill out the first two sections.
- Bring the LOA form to your appointment with one of the Deans in Student Services.
- At your meeting, the Dean will answer any questions you may have. Following your discussion, you and the Dean will both sign the LOA form.
- Bring the LOA form to the remaining required offices or individuals, ask any questions you may have, and get required signatures. All students are required to obtain signatures from the Business Office, Financial Aid (whether or not you use Financial Aid) and the student's academic adviser. If you live on campus, the Residence Life signature is required. If you are an international student, the International Student Services signature is required.
- Return the completed form to the Office of the Dean of Student Services.
- The completed form will be logged and a copy filed in the Dean of Student Services office. The original form will be delivered to the Registrar's Office.
- An email will be sent to your professors and adviser from the Dean of Students' Office to notify them that the LOA paperwork is being processed and that the Registrar's Office will notify them when you are removed from their classes (if the LOA is taken during the academic year).
How can I fill out the paperwork for a LOA if I am not currently in the Portland area?
If you decide you'd like to take a LOA, but are not currently in the Portland area, the process will be slightly different. Because you will be unable to visit each required office in person for a signature to complete your LOA form, you will need to contact each office listed on the form via email to notify them of your plans to take a leave of absence, ask them any questions you may have, and request information from them. (Please see below for more information about this step). You must copy Student Services on these emails, as our receipt of those emails from you to the individual offices will represent the official signature from those offices. PLEASE NOTE: Your leave is NOT COMPLETE until Student Services has received a copy of the emails you sent to ALL the required offices, thereby confirming that you've reached out to each office, as well as completing the remaining steps below in this order:
- Contact the Office of the Dean of Students to schedule an appointment with a Dean in Student Services to discuss the LOA. Contact information for the Office of the Dean of Students: Administrative Assistant to Student Services, 503.517.7396, firstname.lastname@example.org, Eliot 218.
- Read the FAQs listed here.
- Download the LOA form, and fill out the first two sections.
- Send the form to Student Services via fax, or scan and email the form. (fax: 503.777.7225, email: email@example.com)
- Set up a brief phone meeting with a Dean in Student Services to discuss any questions you may have, and to obtain any information relevant to your leave of absence.
- Send one email to all the following offices and individuals to notify them of your plans to take a leave of absence. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have, and for them to provide you with any information relevant to your leave of absence. Our receipt of the email you send to these offices is a substitution for obtaining signatures on the form in person. Listed below are the five offices / individuals and their email addresses:
Financial Aid (REQUIRED, whether or not you are receiving aid)
Business Office (REQUIRED)
Faculty Adviser (REQUIRED)
Contact info may be found in the Reed campus directory
Residence Life (REQUIRED only if you are signed up for housing for the time during which you intend to take a leave)
International Student Services (REQUIRED only if you are an international student)
- Once Student Services receives your completed LOA form, and you have connected with a Dean as required, and Student Services has received the above email(s) to the required offices from you, your LOA form will be finalized and submitted to the Registrar's Office.
- You will be officially on leave!
Yes, your registration for classes will be canceled for semesters during which you plan to be away from the College. Please contact the Registrar's Office for more information.
If I take a LOA and plan to be gone for a semester for which I have already registered, will my registration for those classes be canceled?
What will be recorded on my transcript for semesters when I’m on a LOA?
If your LOA begins before the drop deadline appropriate for your course (semester-long or year-long), no record of your attendance will be recorded for that semester. If your leave begins after the drop deadline, “W” for withdrawal will be entered in your transcript for those courses for that semester.
Is there a limit to the number of times a student may take a leave?
There is no administrative limit upon the number of leaves students may take. However, please note that leaves may not be taken back-to-back without a period of reenrollment.
How do I register for classes for the semester I plan to return to Reed while on a LOA?The Registrar's Office sends registration instructions to students on leave prior to the semester they are expected to return. Correspondence is sent in early November for spring and early March for the following academic year.
In order to register, students must contact their academic adviser to get their PIN. They can access the most up-to-date version of the schedule of classes online via the Reed web page. Registration can be transmitted via email if the student cannot use SOLAR. Emailed registrations should be sent to the Registrar's Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note: If your request to return is approved just prior to the start of the academic year, the Registrar may direct you to the Business Office for account settlement prior to registering for classes. You may not be able to register if your accounts are not in order. Please contact the Registrar's Office or the Business Office for more information.
Can I take classes at other institutions while on a LOA?Yes. Students should submit a completed transfer of credit form, available from the Registrar's Office, prior to enrolling at another institution. This enables the student to know whether and how the course or courses will apply to the Reed degree. Students must request that an official transcript be sent to Reed from all institutions attended during the time away, even if credit is not requested. Students must submit a completed transfer credit form to the Registrar's Office before the work can be evaluated for transfer credit. Note: Should you have financial aid at Reed, please check to determine whether there are any financial aid implications for taking classes while on leave.
Will the scheduling of my junior qualifying exam be affected by my plans to take an LOA?
The Junior Qualifying Exam is held in the year preceding the student's thesis year. Students who are on a leave of absence or planning to apply for readmission must make arrangements with the department or division to take this examination before registering for the fall (or first) semester of the thesis year. A student may not register for thesis until the student has passed the junior qualifying exam.
What if I am a second semester senior?
For a senior who takes a leave of absence in the spring, and is in the second semester of a two-semester thesis, that student will receive a "W" grade for two units of thesis (fall and spring). When such a student returns, there are three options:
- To pick up where the student left off (with thesis adviser approval) and essentially redo the spring semester and complete the original thesis. Once the project is completed, the "W" for last fall will be replaced by the thesis grade recorded at the end of the semester of return.
- To start a new two-semester thesis, lengthening the degree program by one semester. The two units of "W" for this year remain on the transcript.
- To start a new one-semester thesis (with department and division approval for the one-unit thesis and Administration Committee approval for an unusual senior year). The two units of "W" for this year remain on the transcript.
Can I extend my LOA status if I want to? Or return sooner than planned?Students can apply initially for a one- or two-semester leave of absence. Please note: Your classes will be dropped for any semester for which you note that you plan to be on leave.
A one-semester leave can be extended to two semesters at the request of the student. The student must schedule a meeting with a Dean in Student Services, meet with the Dean (via phone if not in the area), fill out the LOA form and contact the appropriate offices again so the offices may notify the student of any additional relevant information, or changes to the information they were given when they initially took a leave. These conversations help the student avoid being surprised by the academic, financial, logistical, and immigration-related implications of their decision to extend their leave. Students should also contact the Registrar's Office prior to the start of classes of the semester in which they were originally scheduled to return.
A student who has taken an LOA for two semesters and is not ready to return, but wishes to remain on leave, may contact the Dean of Student's Office for a one- or two-semester extension of the leave. Normally, students will not be approved for more than two consecutive years (four semesters) on leave at a time. (Please note: LOAs and MLOAs may not be stacked beyond four semesters--you may not spend more than four semesters away by returning from MLOA and immediately going on LOA or vice versa.) As with extending a one-semester leave, the student must schedule an appointment with a dean in Student Services, meet with a dean, fill out the LOA form and contact the appropriate offices again so the offices may notify the student of any additional relevant information, or changes to the information they were given when they initially took a leave. Again, these conversations help the student avoid being surprised by the academic, financial, logistical, and immigration-related implications of their decision to extend their leave.
Students who originally applied for a two-semester leave and who wish to return after only one semester away should contact the Registrar's Office at least one week prior to the start of classes. A registration PIN will be generated and both the student and the academic adviser will be contacted with registration instructions.
Also, as always, please be in touch with the Business Office and Financial Aid as soon as you know you will be returning. Please also contact Residence Life as soon as possible if you are interested in on-campus housing. (Please note: Housing is not guaranteed.) Additionally, if you are an international student, please be in touch with the International Student Services Office as soon as possible prior to your return.
What happens if I don't return from my LOA and my LOA expires, but I decide later that I would like to return?Readmission of students who have left Reed without an approved leave of absence or after failing to return from a leave of absence is coordinated through the Registrar's Office. Students must contact the Registrar's Office for the application for readmission.
In addition to the application, students must submit a personal statement and official transcripts from each institution the student has attended (if any) since leaving Reed. Letters of recommendation from faculty, employers, and/or a physician or therapist may be submitted as well. The readmission deadline for fall semester is July 1, for spring semester, January 2. All readmission materials should be sent to the Registrar's Office.
In certain cases (when the school has asked the student to take some time away), students must fulfill the conditions or sanctions set forth by the College in addition to being approved for readmission by the Registrar. Students should be ready to document that they have met those conditions.
Students applying for financial aid should complete all the necessary paperwork and adhere to applicable deadlines, which often are earlier than the deadlines for registering or requesting a retroactive leave. Financial aid cannot be awarded until the student has been formally readmitted. For that reason, the sooner the student applies for readmission, the better. The Dean of Students' Office will notify the Financial Aid Office when a student has been approved for readmission.
Residence Life will notify the student regarding available housing, if the student has indicated on their application for readmission that they plan to live on campus.
If I’m an international student, what do I need to know about visas, immigration documents, or other matters?International students need to speak with the Assistant Dean of Students for International Student Services to discuss their visa program status, departure to (and return from) their home country, and other considerations.
How is the process of taking time off different if I'm an incoming student (new first year or transfer student)?Students who are new to Reed and have not yet registered for classes are eligible to defer. Registration is the determining factor in whether an individual is considered a current student or an incoming student. If the incoming student registers for classes, they will be considered a current student and will not have the option to defer. Generally students who defer may only do so for a full year, not a semester. Please contact the Office of Admissions for further information on deferring.
How is the process of taking time off different if I'm a MALS student?Students in the MALS program should contact the Director of Special Programs directly for more information about taking time off from the MALS program. The information in this booklet may not be applicable to students in the MALS program.
Will I keep my on-campus mailbox?No. Students who are on leave and therefore not enrolled do not retain their campus mailbox. There are not enough campus mailboxes available to accommodate enrolled, leave, and study abroad students. When students return from their time away, a new mailbox will be assigned to them by the Registrar's Office. Mail will be sent to the forwarding address provided by the student on their LOA form. To set your forwarding address, go to the mail forwarding site on IRIS and enter a forwarding address. It is possible to forward overseas, however, the effectiveness of this option varies between countries.
Will I continue to have access to my Reed email account?Please contact Computer User Services with questions regarding your Reed email account.
Students on leave of absence are welcome as visitors in the library but are not granted borrowing privileges.
May I use the library?
Students who are on leave are not eligible for student employment. If you are working on campus or through an off-campus Federal Work Study (FWS) Internship program, you must stop working on or before the date your LOA begins and notify your supervisor that you will not be able to continue working. Please be certain to turn in your final timesheet to the Business Office. You may not be paid for any work done after your LOA begins. For FWS off-campus internships, while you will no longer be paid through the FWS program once your leave begins, you can continue as a volunteer at the community organization, provided you will remain in Portland and both you and your supervisor are comfortable with you staying on as a volunteer. Your volunteer position will be directly with the school, government or non-profit organization and not supported or supervised by SEEDS or any other Reed office once your leave of absence begins. Students who already have official approval for their return from a leave in the fall are eligible to begin work after July 1. If you need a work reference or employment history verified, please contact the Student Payroll Specialist in the Business Office. If you are in doubt as to your employment status, please contact the Business Office.
Am I permitted to work on campus?
Students on leave do not have access to the on-campus health and counseling center staff or services. However, the student’s health insurance may cover services in the Portland area. For more information, contact the health insurance provider directly.
Can I continue to use the services of the Health & Counseling Center?
Do I lose my Reed health insurance?
If you attended at least 30 days of a semester, and did not waive the health insurance, you will continue to be covered by the student health insurance for that term.
If you attended less than 30 days of the semester, did not waive the health insurance, and used the health insurance, you will continue to be covered by the student health insurance.
If you attended less than 30 days of the semester, did not waive the health insurance, and did not use the health insurance, you will NOT continue to be covered by the student health insurance.
If you were covered by Reed health insurance in the fall, take a Leave of Absence in the spring, and do not qualify to continue to be covered as per the paragraph above, you may purchase a 90 day Continuation Plan online.
You can purchase a 90 day Continuation Plan at: https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/stu_conn/student_connection.aspx?GroupID=697431. You will see a tab on the left side that says "Select Medical Plan: Enroll". Click on that tab and scroll to the bottom of the page to Enroll: Continuation Plan.
If you were covered by Reed health insurance in the spring and take a Leave of Absence the following fall semester, you may purchase a 90 day Continuation Plan online. See steps above to purchase the plan.
Please contact the Business Office directly to find out more.
A student on leave can come into the center for career counseling, résumé and/or job search help. In addition, many valuable resources are on the career services web site: http://web.reed.edu/career/index.html, including job and internship postings and contact information for our alumni volunteers.
May I access Career Services resources?
Since students on leave are not enrolled in classes, they are not eligible for the services offered by Academic Support, including tutoring, coaching, attending workshops, or use of the Dorothy Johansen House. Exceptions to this policy may apply to students who have already been approved to return to Reed and would like to meet with Academic Support staff to discuss strategies for success before returning to class. Please contact the Director of Academic Support if you are returning from leave and would like us to consider your eligibility for individual coaching prior to the start of class.
May I use the resources of Academic Support Services?
Since it has been determined that the student will be taking a break from the college, students on leave are not eligible to use the sports center, take classes, compete on teams or participate in Reed Outing Club events. Exceptions to this policy can be requested and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
May I use the Sports Center?
May I participate in SEEDS-sponsored off-campus volunteering that uses Reed vans?Since it has been determined that the student will be taking a break from the college, students on leave are not eligible to access these events. However, exceptions to this policy may be requested and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please submit requests to the Dean of Students Office. They may then be in touch with the SEEDS coordinator.
Students on leave are not eligible to take part in off-campus Gray Fund trips. They may attend campus-wide Gray Fund events as the guest of a current Reed student.
May I participate in Gray Fund activities?
Students on leave are welcome to be a guest of a current student but may not access or use student organization spaces by themselves. Only current Reed students are able to receive senate and other funds, reserve space, signate, or sign contracts on behalf of a student event.
May I be in student organization spaces, register an event, or signate?
Please contact Computer User Services regarding access to computer resources.
Will I have access to computer facilities?
What happens to any payments that I’ve already paid to the Business Office for the remainder of the semester/year?When a student submits their completed leave form, a worksheet is prepared by the Business Office to calculate any refund or balance due. Refunds of tuition are based on the number of days completed in the semester. Refunds of room and board are based on the move-out date and any remaining board points. The student body fee and the student health insurance fees are not refunded. Please inform the Business Office to whom any refund check should be sent. A copy of the worksheet mentioned above will be appended to the check.
A leave does not affect your eligibility for financial aid in the future; however, an unfinished semester may be counted as one semester of financial aid eligibility used. If you complete less than 60% of a semester, that semester will not be counted as a semester of financial aid used. If you complete 60% or more of a semester, that semester will be counted as a semester of financial aid used. In either case, lifetime loan aggregate limits apply and the amounts that you retain for an unfinished semester will be counted toward this aggregate limit. The Business Office determines how much, if any, of your current financial aid must be repaid to the financial aid programs and how much financial aid you are eligible to retain. This calculation is based on your leave date, which may be different than your move out date if you are living on campus. Please be certain to discuss with the Financial Aid Office and Business Office any money you may owe (aid to be repaid) as a result of taking a LOA. You may or may not owe, depending on your individual situation. Please note that 60% of the semester is generally completed several days prior to the deadline to take a LOA. This means that if you decide to take a LOA after the 60% mark, but before the LOA deadline, you may lose a semester of financial aid eligibility. Please contact the Business Office at email@example.com to determine what this deadline is for the semester you are considering taking a leave.
How does my leave affect my eligibility for subsequent financial aid, and what happens to the financial aid I have received for the semester/year?
Are there financial implications that would result from taking multiple leaves?
Yes, there may be. It depends on when the LOAs are taken. Every student's situation is different and must be reviewed individually by Financial Aid. Please contact Financial Aid for more information.
To be eligible for financial aid when you return from a leave, you must complete all financial aid application requirements by the May 1 deadline. If your application is completed between May 1 and July 1 the amount of institutional aid offered is reduced. After July 1 students are no longer eligible for institutional aid, but may still apply for federal financial aid.
What do I have to do to get financial aid when I come back from a LOA?
Note that there is not a different application deadline for students returning for spring semester. All financial aid application deadlines and requirements are posted on the Reed College Financial Aid website at http://web.reed.edu/financialaid/applying_for_aid_current.html.
Dewar Insurance is only applicable for medical leaves of absence.
What do I do if I purchased Dewar Insurance?
You will need to complete an exit interview for your Direct Student Loan available online at http://www.reed.edu/financialaid/loan_counseling.html. The six-month grace period for your Federal Direct Loan begins after your last day of attendance at Reed. During this grace period, interest accrues but no payments are due. Repayment on your Direct Student loan begins after your six month grace period. You should note that you are eligible for only one grace period on your Direct Student Loan. If you re-enroll at least half-time at a qualified post-secondary institution, your Direct Student Loan can be deferred; however, repayment will begin immediately once you are no longer enrolled as a half-time student. Direct Student Loans borrowed for subsequent periods of enrollment will have a six-month grace period. Parent or private loans do not have a grace period. If you plan to be unavailable during your leave, please be sure to contact your Direct Student Loan servicer before you leave about when your loan payments will be due, and to make arrangements in advance for payment. If you do not know your servicer, the Financial Aid Office can assist you.
What if I have a Direct Student Loan?
You will need to do an exit interview for your Perkins Loan through the Business Office website at http://www.reed.edu/business/counseling.html. The Business Office will notify you of the exit counseling requirement by certified mail. Your initial nine-month grace period on your Perkins Loan will begin after the date of last attendance at the College. During this grace period no interest accrues and no payments are due. Repayment on the loan will begin nine-months after your last date of attendance. Please note: You will not have access to transcripts or to SOLAR until you complete your exit counseling. Please also note that the Perkins Loan has different regulations than a Direct Student Loan. See above regarding the Direct Student Loan regulations.
What if I have a Federal Perkins Loan?
What if I have a Reed Loan?You will need to complete the Reed Loan “Payout Loan Note” and online “Truth in Lending” (TIL) requirements regardless of your future plans. The Business Office will contact you via email with specific instructions immediately following receipt of your completed LOA form. Please note that you will not have access to transcripts or to SOLAR until these requirements are complete. Also, only by completing the requirements will your loan have: deferment privileges, a 9% interest rate (vs. 12%) and repayment of the loan delayed until nine-months after your last date of attendance grace period.
No, your Bookstore account will be closed.
Will I be able to continue charging purchases at the Bookstore?
When do I have to move out of my room and leave campus?Students generally have three days to vacate their residence hall rooms once their LOA is in effect. In some cases, students may be able to work with the Dean of Students' Office and Residence Life on this timeline if more time is needed to make travel arrangements. Please note that your refund for room and board is pro-rated and based on the day you move out of your room and your remaining board points.
Can I store my belongings on campus?If you are taking a leave of absence you are encouraged to take all of your belongings with you or to make off-campus arrangements for storage. The Office of Residence Life has information on its web site about off campus storage options at http://web.reed.edu/res_life.
If you plan to return from your LOA after one semester and plan to live on-campus, you may store up to four boxes in student storage in the residence hall. If you do not return within two years, the boxes will be removed from storage. Storage facilities are not open during winter or summer break. Please note that you may give permission to a friend or family member to pick up your boxes for you, if you are unavailable to do so. Please contact Residence Life for details at 503-777-7536.
What happens to my present room contract?
When you take a leave of absence, your room and board contract terminates on the date specified by the Assistant Dean of Residence Life or designee (normally three days after the LOA takes effect). If you return your room key and there is no damage to your room, you will get a full refund on your $100 housing deposit as a credit to your account. If you would prefer the credit refunded to you in check form, you can request it from the Business Office after the credit appears in your student account.
How do I request on-campus housing for the semester I plan to return?
Leaving during fall semester with plans to return in January for the spring semester:
Before you take your leave you can apply for spring housing in the Office of Residence Life. Contracts and additional information regarding room and board are available at http://web.reed.edu/res_life.
Leaving in the fall with plans to return the following fall:
You should check the Residence Life website after March 1 for the timeline of how to enter the lottery. There is a $100 housing deposit required to enter the lottery that you can pay by check (send checks to Reed College, Attention: Business Office) or by credit card at www.afford.com/reed. If you miss the lottery, you can contact the Residence Life Office to sign up for the waitlist.
Leaving during the spring semester with plans to return in the fall:
You should check the web site after March 1 for the timeline of how to enter the lottery. There is a $100 housing deposit required to enter the lottery that you can pay by check while on a LOA. The process to sign up for the lottery is currently online, so you can still sign up from off-campus. If you miss the lottery you can contact the Residence Life Office to sign up for the waitlist.
What if my leave begins over winter break?If your leave begins over winter break or at the beginning of the spring semester, once the residence halls open for spring semester you will have three days to pack your room and leave Reed. Students may ask for special permission from the Assistant Dean of Residence Life to return to the halls before they open to move their belongings from their room. Students on leave are not allowed to occupy their rooms overnight without permission from Residence Life.
Can I visit friends in the residence hall and stay overnight?The Residence Life Guest policy allows current students in the residence hall to host a guest for up to 14 days a semester with approval from the roommate(s) if applicable. As a guest you would need to be accompanied by your host while on campus.
Can I attend Renn Fayre while I’m on leave?Students on LOA are not issued a bracelet but are able to attend Renn Fayre as the guest of an enrolled student while their leave is in effect.
Administrative assistant to Student Services, 503/517-7396.
Clea Taylor, director of housing, 503/517-7429.
For questions regarding return from a leave of absence and registration:
Emilie Smith, associate registrar, 503/777-7296.
For questions regarding transfer credit:
Ben Bradley, recorder/transfer evaluator, 503/777-7295.
For questions regarding your leave and your financial aid status:
Leslie Limper, director of Financial Aid, 503/777-7223.
For questions regarding Direct Student Loan repayment and exit interviews:
Sarah Duncan, assistant director of Financial Aid, 503/788-6693.
For questions regarding Perkins and Reed loan repayment and exit interviews, and student health insurance:
Sara Rosenberger, accounts receivable/loan specialist, 503/777-7504.
Health and Counseling Center
Kate Smith, director of Health and Counseling, 503/517-7462.
International Student Services
Dana Lawson, assistant dean of students for International Student Services, 503/517-5538.