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Voluntary Leave of Absence for Students

Cornell University is aware that there are situations where a student may wish to or need to interrupt their course of study. The university is committed to reasonable evaluation and responsible handling of such cases. Cornell may grant a student a voluntary leave of absence for health reasons. In other cases, not related to a student’s health, Cornell may grant a student a voluntary leave of absence for personal reasons. As set forth in University Policy 7.3, Processing and Reporting Changes in Student Enrollment Status Under Title IV, the university does not offer a leave of absence under the Title IV federal student aid program definitions, and therefore, any enrollment leave of absence under this policy will be treated as a withdrawal for federal financial aid purposes.

Policy details


The Health Leaves Coordinator or the student's college.

Revision History:

September 14, 2020: Added link for submitting a Health Leave of Absence.

August 13, 2020: Updated information in requirement Financial Considerations regarding financial support for graduate students taking a Personal Leave of Absence.

August 11, 2020: Corrected non-substantial typographical errors.

July 31, 2020: Clarified differences between a Health Leave of Absence and a Personal Leave of Absence and delineated the separate rules and procedures for taking and returning from each type. Clarified disability accommodation and access to healthcare. Clarified roles and responsibilities of students, Health Leaves Coordinator (case manager), administrative offices, colleges, Student Disability Services, and Office of University Registrar. Applied updated university policy template.

March 14, 2019: Added note regarding Title IV to end of policy statement.

December 22, 2017: Added note at end of procedures indicating that requests for health-care related leaves should be referred to Cornell Health to initiate the HLOA process, and that academic units should not request health information or medical records directly from a student.