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Leave of Absence

Personal Leave of Absence

There are various reasons students might consider a personal leave: to take time away from Hampshire for personal circumstances; the desire to travel or work; or simply the need for a break. Personal leaves are not intended for students planning to obtain academic credit while away.

A personal leave may be granted to any student for one term. By the field study, leave and exchange deadline, students must meet with a dean in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) to notify the College of their intention to take personal leave for the upcoming semester.

In extenuating circumstances, students already enrolled in a term may take a personal leave for the semester, but must meet with a CASA dean to request the leave by the end of the drop deadline at the beginning of the term. Requests for a personal leave after the drop deadline will be denied and are considered to be requests for withdrawal from the institution.

Automatic readmission after one semester will be assumed, provided students declare their intention to return by the field study, leave and exchange deadline of the term away from campus. A personal leave is not a semester of active enrollment. Students anticipated graduation will be adjusted to a later date by one semester to account for the term away. Should students pursue academic work while on personal leave, there is no guarantee that it will be accepted. Students who fail to notify the College of their intention to return will be withdrawn and must apply for readmission.

Leave with Conditions of Return

Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress as determined by CASA may be required to take a leave to make up for academic deficiencies by completing course and divisional work elsewhere. If students do not meet the conditions of return terms, students will be withdrawn. Read more about this academic progress under the Guidelines for Academic Progress section.

Procedure for Filing for Leave of Absence

The first step in the process is for students to meet with a CASA dean to discuss their plans before the leave deadline. CASA will provide a form that requires signatures from the student's advisor, housing operations office, financial aid office, the bursar, the international student advisor in the multicultural and international student services offices (for students with an F-1 student visa), and a CASA dean. To return from leave of absence the following semester, students should refer to online forms and information on the Hampshire College website. If CASA is not notified of the student's plans for the term following the personal leave by the notification deadline, the student will be withdrawn.

Students on leave do not have an advisor and may not work with faculty. They may not complete divisional work or negotiate the Division II or the Division III contract. Students on leave of absence may not have use of any Hampshire College or Five College facilities. Specifically, this involves the library; the Robert Crown Center; the Hampshire College or University of Massachusetts Amherst Health and Counseling Services; the Outdoors Program/Recreational Athletics college-sponsored trips; enrolling in, teaching, or auditing Hampshire or Five College interchange courses; having a job on campus, or having a validated Hampshire ID card.

Deadlines and Fees

The leave of absence fee is $400 for each term.

A change of status from fully enrolled to leave of absence after the start of classes will, if approved, lead to the partial or full forfeiture of tuition, room, and board fees. Refer to the Student Accounts website for the refund schedule. Factors determining the amount of the refund include the date of leave, the type of leave, and the financial aid status of the student. Upon leave, financial aid students may have a part of their aid returned to the programs that assisted them as mandated by the federal return-of-funds formula. Returns are applied in the following order: federal student and parent loans, federal grants, college and outside grants, and scholarships. Students will be responsible for a balance due created by the return-of-funds process. 


Students who have waived insurance coverage for the preceding term are not eligible to apply for insurance while on leave. Students enrolled in the insurance plan are eligible for coverage for a maximum of two semesters. Health insurance does not automatically continue while on leave. To request continuation of health insurance while on medical leave, contact student accounts at 413.559.6982.

Students may purchase the supplemental health insurance offered by Hampshire College that entitles leave students to medical care as outlined in the college insurance company brochure and on the Student Financial Services website. Supplemental insurance does not cover a student for care at the Hampshire College Health and Counseling Services or University of Massachusetts Amherst University Health Services.

Vacating Student Rooms

See the Residential Life & Housing Policies section.

International Students

International students (with an F-1 student visa) are required to consult with their international student advisor before submitting their leave of absence form to CASA; or if filing for medical leave, before submitting the medical leave declaration and any supporting medical documentation to health and counseling services.  Mandatory advisement will address the visa implications and procedures for international students taking a leave of absence or medical leave, and requests for authorization for a SEVIS Reduced Course Load (RCL) due to a medical condition, if applicable.  Without receiving timely advisement from their international student advisor, the student risks jeopardizing their student visa status and lawful presence in the U.S.  The advisor is located in the multicultural and international student services office in the Lebrón-Wiggins-Pran Cultural Center.

Student in the Military

Students who are called to active duty after the beginning of a semester may consider the two options below with CASA in determining their enrollment status at Hampshire College.

Option 1:

Students may remain enrolled for the current semester and make arrangements with their instructors to complete courses early or request an incomplete status and complete courses at a later agreed upon date. (Zena and Rachael, can you work on this option and provide wording please.)

Option 2:

Students may withdraw or take a leave of absence from all courses as of the effective date of their orders to report to active duty and prior to the last date to withdraw established by the College. Upon withdrawal/leave tuition and fee charges are cancelled and room and board charges will be prorated as of the date of withdrawal. If a student withdraws after the established withdrawal date, the student is ineligible for a refund of tuition and fee charges. For the purposes of this section, the "withdraw date" shall be the same as the date set by the institution for its general student population to withdraw from the institution or a course or class without academic penalty. Students who choose to withdraw may apply for readmission through the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA). The readmission processing fee will be waived. 

It is important to note, if the student withdraws from all classes in a semester and has federal financial aid, the “Return of Title IV Funds” policy applies. The same applies if a student has state funding or outside scholarships, the financial aid office is obligated to follow any state or outside aid return policy. The School Certifying Official will notify the Veterans Administration about withdrawals and last dates of attendance for students who are receiving VA benefits and who are called to duty.

Students receiving federal and/or state financial aid must contact the financial aid office to determine how their federal financial aid could be affected due to their withdrawal.

Any refunds for tuition and fees will be reviewed and calculated by the Financial Aid Office and Student Accounts.

Information about Medical Leave
Refer to the Medical Leave section.

Medical Leave and Academic Work

Students who begin a medical leave (either voluntary or involuntary) during a semester do not have the option of completing the semester’s academic work.[1] If students begin a medical leave before the course drop deadline at the beginning of a semester, courses in progress will not appear on their transcripts. If the medical leave begins after the semester’s course drop deadline, a “W” for withdrawal will appear on student transcripts for courses in progress.


[1] Students who begin medical leave within the last two weeks of classes may appeal to the dean of academic support and advising to discuss the possibility of completing work. This request must be in writing, addressed directly to the dean. Students should not negotiate the completion of work with the faculty member teaching the course. Approval to complete work will be considered on a course-by-course basis. If an exception is granted for one or more courses, a firm date for submitting the work will be established. If students do not complete the work, a “no evaluation” notation will be recorded on their transcripts. If students complete the approved courses, the semester will count as a semester of enrollment.