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 for 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 their 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 they are 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, a student gone for four or more quarters (including summer) will be subject to the degree requirements in effect when they are readmitted to the University. Undergraduate students who apply for readmission 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, they are expected to complete a leave of absence form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar. 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 by completing the Study Away Application. Official transcripts of completed work should be sent to the Office of the Registrar 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 30 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 toward fulfillment of the Exploratory Curriculum, University Core requirements, or the foreign language proficiency requirement. The only exception to this policy occurs when a student participates in the Reverse Transfer DTA Associate’s Degree agreement.

Students who do not plan to enroll in higher education while on leave complete the Non Study Leave of Absence Request through their Banner account. The completed application, including a date, signature, and statement of reason(s) for requesting the leave of absence, should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Go to Banner > Student Menu > Academic Records Menu > Non-Study Leave of Absence Request.


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, the Office of the RegistrarUniversity 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.