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 After 180 days, a student is assumed to have withdrawn and their withdrawal date is backdated to the first day of their LOA.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
Students are normally eligible to defer repayment of current or previous Federal Loans whilst they are enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
It is a US Department of Education requirement that Queen's reports student enrolment status twice a year. These reports are submitted in late October and late March via The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). NSLDS makes this information available to the US Department of Education, lenders, loan servicers and guarantee agencies.
If you are in receipt of Federal Loans for a degree programme at Queen's, you will be automatically included in this report until you complete your programme. If you have never received Federal Loans at Queen's, but would like to defer loans borrowed at a previous school, please email the US Federal Loans Administrator at email@example.com and we will include you in the report. You should include your student number, degree programme and social security number.
Post Graduate Students
The submission of a thesis/dissertation is regarded as the last day in school- this ensures that there is a fair repayment deferral period after study for all students. Masters or PhD students who are writing up and registered with Thesis-only status are only eligible for loan deferment if they remain resident in Northern Ireland and remain compliant with their UK visa conditions.