Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Guide

Use the following list as a guide to help you through the withdrawal or leave process. Note: Not all items may apply to your situation.

1. Understand what type of leave (or withdrawal) suits your situation best

  • Leave of Absence. A leave that is personal in nature and may be related to family, finances, health, work, or other circumstances interrupting your ability to proceed with academics. Luther’s leave of absence is not a Title IV approved LOA, so all financial aid will be processed as a financial aid withdrawal.
  • Withdrawal. A withdrawal is when a student wishes to withdraw from the college, which may include withdrawing in all courses during a semester. A withdrawal indicates that a student currently doesn’t have plans to continue taking classes at the college in the near future.
  • Administrative Withdrawal or Dismissal. This is an involuntary leave that is related to your academic performance or progress made toward your degree. You may not have attended the courses for which you registered or achieved a required grade point average (GPA).
  • Involuntary Leave of Absence. This is a leave made on the basis of the direct threat standard, where a student poses a threat to the health and safety of Luther College, the wider community, or its members, or seriously disrupts others in the residential community or academic environment and a reasonable accommodation is not available.

2. Speak with your Academic Advisor or contact the Office of Student Engagement at [email protected]. Your advisor or the Office of Student Engagement can help determine what options are available to you in your situation. There are campus resources, supports, or accommodations that may help you complete the term successfully. The goal is to provide you with information to make an informed decision. If you choose to meet with Student Engagement, this meeting may count as your Exit Interview.

You have determined that a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal is the best process.

3. Email the Office of Student Engagement at [email protected]. The email should include your intended action (personal leave of absence, withdrawal, etc), the last day you plan to attend class, and the day you will check out of campus housing (if applicable).

4. Complete an Exit Interview with the Office of Student Engagement. Luther uses this conversation to determine what factors influenced your decision to take a leave of absence or withdraw. This information is utilized to share information with you about how to complete the next steps and to help better understand what resources or supports are needed on campus.

5. Conversations to be Prepared for:

  • Resident Assistant (RA). Arrange check-out time with your Resident Assistant. At check-out you will sign your Room Condition Report and key card. Turn in your room key.
  • Financial Aid. If your leave or withdrawal is occurring while courses are in session, some Financial Aid may not have been “earned” yet. This conversation will share what you need to do for Exit Counseling, Federal Loan Repayment, and preparing for your return to campus (if applicable). Note: Luther’s Leave of Absence doesn’t qualify as a Title IV-approved Leave of Absence, so they are treated as Withdrawals for Title IV purposes.  You can view the Financial Aid Refund Policy on their website.
  • Registrar. If you want to receive a copy of your official transcript, requests can be submitted electronically from the Registrar’s Office webpage at registrar.luther.edu
  • Financial Services. If your leave or withdrawal occurs while courses are in session, some of your charges may be prorated. This conversation will share what you can expect for a balance, institutional loans, and enrollment deposits. The tuition and fees withdrawal policy can be located at Financial Services.
  • Designated School Officer (DSO). International students should discuss the implications this could have on your immigration status with the DSO in the CIES office.
  • Student Employment Supervisor. Notify your supervisor of your last date on campus and if your availability will change for your remaining dates on campus.  This is important to help keep them as a resource for future references as well as to help your supervisor find alternates to cover your shift(s).
  • Student Post Office. If you want your mail forwarded somewhere other than your home address, fill out a change of address card.
  • Miscellaneous. Return rented textbooks, library books, borrowed equipment or supplies to athletics, music, or any other academic departments.

6. During your Leave of Absence

A good Student Guide for your Leave of Absence can be found at Taking a Leave of Absence: A Guide for College Students. Norse or Luther resources indicated are still available to students during a leave of absence.

  • People. Maintain or build social connections. Advisors, coaches, friends, family, and supporting connection to people is critical for wellness and a sense of belonging.
    • Watch this video, a reminder you’re not alone in finding and connecting with your peers
    • Invite a Luther friend to meet virtually for a Zoom brunch or movie
    • Explore Meetup to connect with local people with similar interest and goals
    • Download and create a Bumble BFF profile to meet people with shared values and interests
  • Academics. A leave of absence can be a time to build academic skills and strategies you felt were missing or lacking, as well as maintaining current skills.
    • Learn more about how you learn by taking a brief Learning Style Inventory
    • Apply a new learning strategy the next time you watch and/or listen to content. You could practice with content from LinkedIn Learning
    • Use your Norse Hub Google Calendar to track daily tasks (medication, laundry, etc)
    • Search local or online news sources for information about free classes or workshops
  • Care. Your definition of care is unique to you but could be clinical or non-clinical, it may enhance or promote health via activities, people, places, and things.
  • Engagement. Keeping a routine while on leave is an excellent practice for keeping up with commitments, appointments, and communication you will need to manage when you return to school.
    • Use LinkedIn to connect or reconnect with potential employers, or browse profiles for ideas of how to build out your profile or resume
    • Practice the Feynman Technique to explain or review something new you’ve learned
    • Browse job opportunity search sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter
    • Get involved in National and Community Service that match your skill set, passion, and availability

7. Planning your Return from a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal. If you are on a planned Leave of Absence, you will receive an email requesting you complete the Return to Luther form. If you had withdrawn, you will need to reach out to [email protected]

Information needed for the Return to Luther form:

  • Did you take any classes at another institution? If yes, an official transcript needs to be shared with the Registrar's Office.
  • Did you work or volunteer? Where and how many hours per week?
  • Did you want to review your academic goals? The Center for Academic Enrichment can identify ways to be academically successful and meet your goals. Please complete an Academic Success Plan. They will reach out to you to talk about your goals when completed.
  • Did you have any disciplinary violations while away?

8. If you had any Conduct issues or Satisfactory Progress issues prior to your absence

  • Conduct: The Office of Student Engagement will need to meet with you to ensure action points from the sanction letter were completed
  • Satisfactory Progress: The Academic Review Board only meets in June or January and may need additional information (such as a completed Academic Success Plan) to ensure that you are ready to return

9. If you have any registration holds, reach out to offices to clear them so you can register

10. If you didn’t participate in room draw, please contact Residence Life at [email protected].