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Regular Leave of Absence
Walden University’s programs are designed to permit students to pursue their studies full time while managing the many responsibilities they have as adult professionals. The university will, however, consider a student’s request for a leave of absence if the student is experiencing hardships that make effective academic progress unusually difficult. The university defines a leave of absence as a temporary break (30–180 calendar days) from academic registration with a clear intent to return to the program of study. Students may take one or more leaves of absence for a total not to exceed 180 days in a 1-year period. This 1-year time frame starts on the first day of an elected leave of absence.
Requesting a Leave of Absence
Students who wish to take a break from their courses for a short period of time should speak with their Academic Advisor to initiate a written request for a Leave of Absence (LOA). If unforeseen circumstances prevent a student from providing a prior written request, Walden University can document its decision to grant a student’s leave of absence request, as long as the written request is received from the student before the end of the withdrawal deadline for the respective term in which the LOA will take effect.
The registrar’s office will notify the student, faculty mentor or faculty coach (if applicable), financial aid office, and bursar of the university approval of the leave of absence request. However, a university-approved leave of absence does not qualify a student for a loan payment deferral as it relates to federal financial aid. Students with federal financial aid or federal loan obligations are advised to contact their lender to ascertain their loan repayment status during the leave of absence.
Time students spend on leave of absence counts toward students’ program length. If students request a leave of absence during a time when their program deadline will expire they must first file an appeal for an extension of their program deadline and have it approved prior to the leave of absence being granted.
A student must be in active and enrolled status in order to have access to all standard university services. While on a leave of absence, the student is not considered to be enrolled in the university and, therefore, will not have access to university library services, but will continue to have access to other services including the MyWalden university portal, university e-mail, and Office 365.
Adjusting Grades During a Leave of Absence
If students request a leave of absence during a term in which they are taking courses, rather than between terms, the following grading policies apply:
- Students whose leave of absence begins before or on the last day to withdraw from classes will receive a grade of W (Withdraw) for all course registrations in that term.
- Students whose leave of absence begins after this deadline will receive grades based on the coursework they completed up until the time the leave starts, for each course for which they had been registered in the term.
- A grade of I (Incomplete) may be awarded if the leave of absence does not exceed 60 calendar days, provided that other conditions related to the award of an I are met (see Grades of Incomplete in the Grading section of the Walden University Student Handbook).
Students should refer to the Academic Calendar to confirm withdrawal deadlines for each term.
Reporting Enrollment Status During a Leave of Absence
Students that are on an institutionally approved leave of absence are reported as W to the National Student Clearinghouse as of the date the leave began to signify that the students are not currently enrolled in classes.
Returning to the Academic Program Following a Leave of Absence
Students should notify the Academic Advising Team in writing of their desire to return from a leave of absence at least 15 calendar days prior to their intended start date. The Academic Advising Team will notify the registrar’s office of the student’s intent to return. The registrar’s office will in turn notify the bursar of the student’s intent to return. The student is required to submit the current term’s tuition and any previously owed tuition to the bursar.
Failure to Return From Leave of Absence
Students who fail to return from a leave of absence will be administratively withdrawn from the university as of the date the leave began. Walden will consider the official withdrawal date for a student not returning from a leave of absence to be the date of the original leave of absence request. If this action is taken, the registrar’s office will notify the student, academic advisor, financial aid office, and bursar.
Reporting Enrollment Status Due to Failure to Return From Leave of Absence
In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education guidance regarding academic engagement, the last date of academically related engagement, as determined by the university, is used as the withdrawal date for purposes of reporting enrollment status to the National Student Clearinghouse for students who have failed to return from a leave of absence. Please see Financial Aid Programs policies for more information on how withdrawal date may impact Financial Aid eligibility.
Determining Federal Financial Aid During Leave of Absence
The Financial Aid Programs section of this Walden University Student Handbook contains information about how a leave of absence may affect a student’s financial aid.
Students needing time away from their studies to relocate (Permanent Change of Station–PCS) or those who are assigned to temporary duty (Temporary Duty Assignment–TDY; Temporary Assignment of Duty–TAD) need only request a standard leave of absence (see the Regular Leave of Absence above).
Military Leave of Absence
Requesting a Military Leave of Absence
Walden University stands ready to support those students who are members of the armed forces. Students whose military obligations make it difficult or impossible for them to be successful in their academic program are urged to request a military leave of absence (MLOA). For purposes of granting an MLOA, military obligation is defined as (a) deployment, (b) mobilization leading to deployment, or (c) attendance at a military school or college.
Students must contact a member of the Academic Advising Team to request the MLOA and forward a copy of their military orders to Walden’s Military Services Office for authentication. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who have yet to receive orders need to provide a memo from their commanding officer supporting the request for the MLOA. If unforeseen circumstances prevent a student from providing a prior written request, Walden University can document its decision to grant a student’s leave of absence request, as long as the written request is received from the student before the end of the withdrawal deadline for the respective term in which the LOA will take effect.
Students approved for MLOA are eligible for a leave from the university of up to 545 calendar days. Students who are currently on MLOA with a limit of 365 calendar days may extend their leave beyond that 365-calendar-day limit up to a total of 545 calendar days provided they present military orders supporting the extension. Students needing time away from their studies to relocate (Permanent Change of Station–PCS) or those who are assigned to temporary duty (Temporary Duty Assignment–TDY; Temporary Assignment of Duty–TAD) need only request a standard leave of absence (see Regular Leave of Absence above).
Students with federal financial aid, federal loan obligations, or military tuition assistance must contact their lenders or the military education office to ascertain their loan repayment status or repayment of tuition assistance during the leave of absence. Students receiving benefits under any of the GI Bills will have their enrollment certifications terminated for the initial term of the leave of absence and any subsequent terms for which leave has been approved.
Once the MLOA is approved by the Academic Advising Team, with input from the Walden Military Services Office, the request for MLOA is forwarded to the registrar’s office for processing. The student will receive a confirmation of approval via e-mail with instructions on how to return to the university.
Adjusting Grades During a Military Leave of Absence
Military students should make every attempt to work with their instructors to determine (a) if they need to drop their courses, (b) if they need to withdraw from their courses, or (c) if they might receive a grade of I (Incomplete) in the courses following the university policy for incomplete grades.
Military students who are forced to withdraw will receive a grade of W even if they withdraw after the last day to withdraw from classes. These students will then be required to retake those courses upon their return.
For Iowa National Guard or Reserve Forces Only
The following additional considerations are made for a student who is a member or the spouse of a member if the member has a dependent child, of the Iowa National Guard or reserve forces of the United States and who is ordered to National Guard duty or federal active duty:
- The student may make arrangements with the instructor(s) for course grades, or for incompletes to be completed by the student at a later time, which will keep the student’s registration and all tuition and fees intact.
- The student may make arrangements with only some instructors for grades, or for incompletes to be completed by the student at a later time, which will keep the student’s registration, tuition and fees intact for only those courses in which the student makes arrangements.
- Students who are forced to drop or withdraw from their classes due to military obligations will be credited the full cost of those classes for the term.
A “dependent child” is defined as someone who was claimed by a qualified military person on the qualified military person’s internal revenue service tax filing for the previous tax year.
Students may be required to submit additional documentation, as requested by the university, to support the military leave of absence considerations listed above.
Returning to the Academic Program Following a Military Leave of Absence
To return from a military leave of absence, students must contact a member of the Academic Advising Team, to be reinstated without penalty, and the Military Services Office, if they wish to reinstate benefits. For students on MLOA, their leave time does not count toward the total time allowed to earn their degree. Walden University’s Office of Admissions reserves the right to review course applicability to a student’s degree program, dependent upon the time elapsed between the student’s leave and when the student returns to the original program of study. Also see the Gaining Readmission in the Walden University Student Handbook.
For Iowa residents: The same options apply to a student who is the spouse of a service member described above if the service member has a dependent child.
Tuition Reduction Benefit
Only one tuition-reduction benefit may be applied to tuition at one time.
Students will forfeit any scholarship or tuition reduction they receive if they withdraw from the university or change to another degree program that is not eligible for the scholarship or tuition reduction.
Students on a leave of absence will retain their scholarship or tuition reduction if they return to the university within the time frame listed in the leave of absence policy.