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 by checking in with the Business Office. 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.
Utilize these links to more directly access information noted below:
- Campus Communications
- Campus Resources
- Residence Life
- Campus Contacts
- Download the form (PDF)
What are the steps for taking a leave of absence?
In this order please:
- Contact the Office of the Dean of Students (Administrative Assistant to Student Services, 503.517.7396, firstname.lastname@example.org, Eliot 218) to schedule an appointment with a Dean in Student Services to discuss the LOA. Contact information for the Office of the Dean of Students.
- Review the FAQs listed here.
- Download or pick up the LOA form from Eliot 218, and fill out the first two sections.
- Bring the LOA form to your appointment with one of the Deans in Student Services.
- During your meeting, ask the Dean any questions you may have about leaves of absence. Following your discussion, you and the Dean will both sign the LOA form.
- Bring the LOA form to the offices or individuals requiring signatures, ask any questions you may have relevant to their area(s), and get required signatures. You are required to obtain signatures from the Business Office, Financial Aid (whether or not you use Financial Aid) and your 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 Students.
- The completed form will be logged and a copy filed in the Dean of Students’ office. The original form will be delivered to the Registrar's Office.
- An email will be sent to your professors and academic adviser from the Dean of Students Office to notify them that the LOA paperwork is being processed and that the Registrar's Office will remove you from their classes (if the LOA is taken during the academic year).
How can I fill out the paperwork for a leave of absence if I am not currently in the Portland area?
If you decide you'd like to take an 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, email@example.com, Eliot 218.
- Read the FAQs listed here.
- Download and print the LOA form, and fill out the first two sections.
- Send the form via fax or as an attachment to the Administrative Assistant to Student Services. (fax: 503.777.7225, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Send one email to 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. It is not the office’s response that counts as a signature, rather, your email to the office that we need to be in receipt of. 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 the Administrative Assistant to Student Services receives your signature on your LOA form, you have met with a Dean as required, and you have sent the above email(s) to the required offices/individuals, your LOA form will be considered complete and submitted to the Registrar's Office.
- The Administrative Assistant to Student Services will notify you of the leave of absence form’s completion and submission, providing an electronic copy of the form for your records.
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.
What will be recorded on my transcript for semesters when I’m on an 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 on your transcript 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 of absence?
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 while on an LOA for the semester I plan to return to Reed?
The Registrar's Office sends registration instructions to students on a leave of absence prior to the semester they are expected to return. These registration instructions are sent in early November for spring and late March or early April for the following fall semester.
In order to register, students must contact their academic adviser to get their PIN. You can access the Schedule of Classes at https://solar.reed.edu/class_schedule. Registration can be transmitted via email if you cannot use SOLAR. Emailed registrations should be sent to the Registrar's Office, at email@example.com.
Can I take classes at other institutions while on an LOA?
Yes. You should submit a completed transfer of credit form, available from the Registrar's Office, prior to enrolling at another institution. This enables students to know whether and how the course or courses will apply to the Reed degree. You must request that an official transcript be sent to Reed from all institutions attended during the time away, even if credit is not requested. You 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 interdisciplinary committee 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?
A senior who takes a leave of absence in the spring, and is in the second semester of a two-semester thesis, will receive a "W" for two units of thesis (fall and spring). When such a student returns, there are three options:
- To pick up where you 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 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 the first 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 the first 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. You should also contact the Registrar's Office prior to the start of classes of the semester in which you 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?
Students who do not return from leave, who withdraw, or who do not re-enroll must apply for readmission through the registrar’s office. Please contact the Registrar’s office to begin the readmission process.
In addition to the application, you must submit a personal statement and official transcripts from each institution you have 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. 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 registration, readmission, 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 an 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 Admission 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?
Yes. Your Reed email account will remain active during your leave of absence. Computer User Services will always notify you via your Reed email account before taking any action on your account. Contact CUS (firstname.lastname@example.org, 503/777-7525) with any questions about computing resources available while on leave.
May I use the library?
Students on leave of absence are welcome as visitors in the library but are not granted borrowing privileges.
Am I permitted to work on campus?
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 be asked to quit your position as of the day your LOA becomes effective. 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.
Can I continue to use the services of the Health & Counseling Center?
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.
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.
The Affordable Care Act allows individuals to purchase insurance whether they have a pre-existing condition or not so you will be able to purchase an individual plan through the marketplace. Please contact the Business Office directly to find out more.
May I access resources in The Center for Life Beyond Reed?
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 Center for Life Beyond Reed web site: http://web.reed.edu/beyond-reed, including job and internship postings and contact information for our alumni volunteers.
May I use the resources of Academic Support Services?
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 are eligible to return in the following semester and would like to meet with Academic Support staff to discuss strategies for success before returning to class. Please contact the Assistant Dean of Students for 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 Sports Center?
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 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.
May I participate in Gray Fund activities?
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 be in student organization spaces, register an event, or signate?
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.
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.
Will I have access to computer facilities?
Please contact Computer User Services regarding access to computer resources.
What if I have other obligations such as volunteer work or committees?
Please notify any groups with whom you are expecting to be working if your change in status will affect your ability to participate in the committee or work.
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 contact the Business Office with questions about refunds. A copy of the worksheet mentioned above will be appended to the check, or to a bill if there is a balance due.
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?
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.
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.
What do I have to do to get financial aid when I come back from a LOA?
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.
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.
What do I do if I purchased Dewar Insurance?
Dewar Insurance is only applicable for medical leaves of absence.
What if I have a Direct Student Loan?
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 Federal Perkins 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 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.
Will I be able to continue charging purchases at the Bookstore?
No, your Bookstore account will be closed.
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 housing 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 not receive any additional charges.
What happens to my future housing contract (for next semester or academic year)?
When you take a leave of absence, your future housing contract will be terminated. If you take a leave before and for the fall semester, your contract for the full academic year will be terminated. If you take a leave of absence between fall and spring semester, your spring semester portion will be canceled. If you have already paid for the upcoming semester housing, the Business Office will process a refund.
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. 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. 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. Please refer to the housing contract (http://www.reed.edu/res_life/on_campus/contracts) for more information.
Dean of Students' Office
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, enrollment services coordinator, 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 tuition charges and refunds, Perkins and Reed loan repayment and exit interviews, and student health insurance:
Sara Rosenberger, student accounts / loan coordinator, 503/777-7504.
Health and Counseling Center
Kate Smith, director of health and counseling, 503/517-7281.
International Student Services
Dana Lawson, assistant dean of students for international student services, 503/517-5538.