Leave of Absence

We understand that students may need to take a leave of absence from the University for financial reasons, or for personal considerations such as illness within families, medical reasons, or for special educational opportunities not available at Seattle Pacific University.

Term-based, credit-hour institutions such as Seattle Pacific University, as a rule, do not meet the conditions of a federally approved leave of absence. Therefore if the student is receiving federal financial aid and withdraws or takes a leave of absence from the University, the student may be subject to the federal Return of Title IV and state financial aid return policies and to the terms of his or her student loan(s).

International students are bound by particular federal laws with regard to leave of absence; therefore, this policy does not apply to them.

A student will be required to re-apply to SPU if she or he is away from the University for four or more quarters (including summer quarter), unless participating in a pre-approved yearlong study abroad program. Students do not apply for readmission to SPU if they take a leave of fewer than four quarters. A student gone for fewer than four quarters will be responsible to complete the same degree requirements as expected upon his or her first quarter of matriculation at the University.

Unless participating in a pre-approved yearlong study abroad program, student gone for four or more quarters (including summer quarter) will be subject to the degree requirements in effect when he or she is readmitted to the University.  The student must apply for readmission and will re-enter the University as a transfer student; however, requirements related to class standing at entrance remain the same as when the student first matriculated. For instance, a student who originally matriculated as a freshman will still be required to complete 8 “W” credits even if the student is readmitted as a junior.

Whether or not a student plans to study elsewhere while on leave from SPU, he or she is expected to complete a leave of absence form and submit it to Student Academic Services. Students approved for leave will maintain their priority registration appointment times upon their return to SPU.

If a student plans to attend another U.S. institution while on leave, the student must gain prior approval for courses from an undergraduate academic counselor in Student Academic Services by completing the Application for Studying Away in the United States (PDF). Official transcripts of completed work should be sent to Student Academic Services for credit evaluation according to transfer policy. Students studying abroad should follow the procedures outlined by the Study Abroad Office.

A student may earn no more than 20 credits from institutions other than SPU after initial matriculation at Seattle Pacific University, except through pre-approved study abroad or visitor programs.

An associate degree completed at any time after a student first matriculates at SPU will not be recognized.

Students who do not plan to enroll in higher education while on leave complete the Application for Non-Study Leave of Absence (PDF). The completed application, including a date, signature, and statement of reason(s) for requesting the leave of absence, should be submitted to Student Academic Services.

While a student is on leave of absence, the University will report the student’s enrollment status to lenders and loan service entities as “not attending,” and a student loan borrower’s grace period will begin.

Students on an SPU leave of absence who do not attend school elsewhere for two consecutive quarters (including summer), or who attend another institution less than half time for two or more consecutive quarters (including summer) will be expected to begin repayment on some or all of their loans. Students are advised to contact their lender(s) regarding their enrollment plans and for repayment information and grace period expiration.

Additional leave of absence policies:

  • Students are not eligible to reside on campus, attend classes, or participate in regular student campus activities during their absence.
  • Students are responsible for all prior arrangements with applicable student service offices (i.e., Student Financial Services, Student Academic Services, University Services, Residence Life, Athletics, etc.)
  • Students must keep the University apprised of their current contact information, including mailing address and phone number while on leave of absence.
  • Students must meet all regular University deadlines for registration, housing reservations, financial aid applications, and similar matters. Financial aid/scholarship awards and University housing reservations do not automatically carry over.
SPU campus

Change in Planned Period of Enrollment

Students must notify Student Financial Services about any change in planned period of enrollment, whether due to withdrawal from a class, a leave of absence, or withdrawal from the University.

The specific requirements by which a student agreed to abide at the time any financial aid was accepted will remain in effect.