What is a personal leave of absence?

A Personal Leave of Absence (PLOA) allows a student to drop enrollment for an upcoming term or withdraw from all courses in a current term before the published course withdrawal deadline, while retaining their status as a continuing student at Elon University. Students who intend to remain enrolled in any credits (including internship credits) should NOT submit a PLOA application, but should follow the course withdrawal process.

A leave remains active for up to one year following the term in which it is requested, after which point the student would be administratively withdrawn and no longer an Elon University student.

While on a leave, students remain eligible to register for future classes and to participate in housing selection for the upcoming year. Students retain their online access to important Elon accounts such as email and OnTrack. Students on a PLOA are not eligible to hold student employment, access student health or counseling services (including virtual services), utilize campus recreation and wellness facilities, or to participate in university clubs or organizations.

The deadline for Spring 2024 PLOA request has passed. The Fall 2024- Spring 2025 PLOA request form will be available following the posting of final grades (by June 1, 2024).  

Why might a student take a personal leave of absence?

Students may elect to take a personal leave for a variety of reasons: to explore a professional pursuit, engage in personal reflection, spend time with family, address a personal situation, etc. There is no supporting documentation required for a personal leave of absence request.

Students who wish to retain their status as a continuing student during a period of non-enrollment should utilize the PLOA process. Students who do not enroll in courses for a semester, or who withdraw from all courses during a semester with

out taking a leave, are administratively withdrawn from Elon University–resulting in deactivation of all accounts and requirement to complete the re-admission process through the Office of Admissions.  By taking a personal leave of absence, students retain access to their accounts and connection with Elon University.

What are the academic implications of taking a personal leave of absence?

The personal leave of absence policy follows the standard academic process for course add/drop and withdrawal. Students who are granted a personal leave of absence before the drop/add deadline have all classes dropped for the term and there is no transcript notation.  Students who take a leave after the drop/add deadline but prior to the course withdrawal deadline receive grades of “W” (this has no negative impact on GPA).

Students may delay their academic plans by taking a PLOA, thus extending the time to graduation.  While on a leave, students are eligible to complete coursework at another institution and transfer credits earned.  Students should consult with their academic advisor to update their graduation plan and/or with the Academic Advising Center to learn more about transfer of credits.

Considerations Prior to Requesting a Leave of Absence:

Students considering a leave of absence should weigh a number of factors when deciding whether a PLOA is appropriate for their specific situation.  The following is a short list of considerations to be weighed:

  • Financial Aid:  Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to retain their financial aid status. Students who take a PLOA after the drop/add period is over should consult with Financial Aid to determine any impact on their eligibility for financial aid.
  • University Housing: Students on a leave of absence are not eligible to remain in campus housing, including University apartments and University leased housing. Students must complete the Residence Life check-out process before a leave of absence will be processed.
  • Study Abroad and Study USA: Students enrolled in a Study Abroad or Study USA program must be enrolled full-time (12 credits) at Elon for the semester before study away (e.g. students studying away in Spring or Winter Term must have completed 12 credits in the Fall semester).  Students accepted into a study away program should consult with the Global Education Center regarding financial repercussions and options for deferral or cancellation.

Application Process:

Application Deadline:  Requests for a PLOA must be received and processed by the course withdrawal deadline for the current term, as posted on the academic calendar. Students must submit the online application (email/verbal requests will not be accepted).

Housing Check-Out Date: For students residing in university housing, requests cannot be processed until the student has checked-out of their housing (swipe access, meal plan, etc. is deactivated immediately upon approval). Students taking a leave of absence in the current term must make arrangements to depart university housing within 72 hours of leave request submission.

Anticipated Return Term: As part of the application for leave, students must indicate their intended term of return.  If this changes, email deanofstudents@elon.edu with your updated return term (e.g. if you decide to return earlier or to extend your leave).

Returning from a Personal Leave of Absence: Students returning from a personal leave of absence must complete the return form at least thirty days prior to anticipated term of return.  This is not an “approval” process, this simply ensures appropriate offices are notified of your re-enrollment.  There is no supporting documentation required for returns from a personal leave of absence.

Common Questions:

Can I retake the classes I received Ws in because of the PLOA?  In most cases, a student may repeat classes attempted during a semester where a leave of absence is taken.  For details related to repeat classes, see the Academic Advising website.

Will I get a refund?  Students may be eligible for a pro-rata refund of tuition based on the effective date of your PLOA. Refunds for room and board are calculated on a pro-rata basis. Students should contact the Bursar’s Office for specific refund-related questions.

Can I hold my housing for next year? Students who take a leave during spring term and anticipate returning for the subsequent fall may request to hold their housing assignment for the upcoming year. Students who take a leave of absence during the fall term and anticipate returning for the spring term may request to maintain their current housing contract (and continuing paying for their room rate). This option is available via the PLOA application form.  Please note that housing is dropped if a student does not complete the return form at least thirty days prior to their anticipated return.

Can a parent or family member submit the application on my behalf? The application must be submitted by the student and requires log-in and authentication. Elon University affirms the importance of student agency in decisions related to their academic progress.