International Student Support

Leave of Absence


A leave of absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption in a student’s programme of study, when a student is not in attendance. To maintain US Federal Loan eligibility, the longest 'approved’ LOA a student can take is 180 days within a 12-month period. After 180 days, a student is assumed to have withdrawn and their withdrawal date is backdated to the first day of their LOA. This means a student could be potentially late starting their loan repayment as their grace period may be exhausted.

While a student is on an approved LOA, he/she is not eligible for any federal Loan disbursements and loans enter a grace period. If the leave of absence is longer than the 6 month grace period, loan repayments will begin. If a student returns to study at least half-time before the 6 month grace period ends, then the student will be allocated another six-month grace period. If the grace period has expired then another six-month period will not be allocated.

Exit counselling is completed at the end of a programme or before a leave of absence and this counselling provides important information including the length of a grace period and repayment options. Exit counselling may be repeated at any stage to review the details of a loan. Stafford loans carry a grace period of 6 months whereas a PLUS loan does not have a grace period. The loan promissory note will confirm the details of the grace period associated with that loan.


If you are considering a leave of absence please contact your School to request the appropriate form.

Please Note: Periods of LOA do not count towards the length of a programme.