Leaves of Absence Guidelines

All correspondence from the University sent to students via US mail goes to the address on file with Student Information Services, which may be viewed via Student Services Online (SSOL). Students are responsible for making changes to that address by following the instructions on SSOL for change of address. 

Regarding Financial Aid

  • If you borrowed under a federal or Columbia student loan program, you must contact Student Financial Services to complete an exit interview.
  • If you received any Title IV aid or aid from the New York State TAP program, or if you are eligible for a late disbursement of Federal Title IV student aid funds, and wish to have this aid considered in the calculation to determine if Title IV funds should be returned, you must contact the GS Office of Educational Financing.
  • If you received any GS institutional aid, contact the GS Office of Educational Financing to determine if any funds will be returned or canceled.

Regarding Health Insurance

Except for a medical withdrawal from Columbia due to an accident or sickness that would be covered by the Student Medical Insurance Plan, any student withdrawing from school during the first 31 days of the period for which coverage is purchased shall not be covered under the policy and a full refund of the value of the premium will be applied to the Student Account Statement. Students withdrawing after 31 days will remain covered under the policy for the full period for which a premium has been paid. 

Regarding Dining Services and Flexdollars

Meals and Dining Dollars are non-refundable and non-transferable, even for non-used balances. However, for students withdrawing from a term in progress, a refund is possible for the unused portion of the plan or dining dollars, if students immediately notify Dining Services of their withdrawal and have this confirmed by their GS advisor. 

Regarding University Housing

Eligibility for housing is limited to students enrolled at GS full time. If you live in University Housing, you must immediately contact University Apartment Housing and arrange for a termination of your lease. 


If you have a credit on your student account, contact Student Financial Services to request a refund. Students with financial aid must wait until after their exit interview and their aid has been recalculated to request a refund.  

University Privileges

  • Email accounts are kept active from 6 to 9 months for students who take a leave or withdraw; however, email accounts are deactivated within a week for students who are suspended or dismissed, or who transfer or permanently withdraw from the School.
  • Swipe access to University buildings is suspended during a student’s leave or period of withdrawal from the School.
  • Library privileges are normally suspended during a student’s leave or period of withdrawal from the School.
  • Access to the Dodge Physical Fitness Center is suspended while a student is on leave or withdrawn, except in those cases where a student chooses to pay a membership fee to continue access to these facilities.
  • Students on a leave, who withdraw from a term in progress, or who are suspended from GS, and who intend to return to GS are not allowed to enroll in another Columbia school while withdrawn/on leave without written permission from the Dean of Students.

Additional Facts and Policies for Students Withdrawing from a Term in Progress

  • Students withdrawing from a term in progress are charged a $75 administrative processing fee.
  • Depending on the date of a student's withdrawal, tuition and other charges will be recalculated based on the Withdrawal Schedule established by the Trustees and published in the Student Fees booklet.

Returning to GS

  • Students in good standing on an official leave of absence must notify their GS advisor within a month prior to the start of the term in order to register. Leaves are granted for up to one year. Students who fail to take an official leave, whose leave extends beyond one year, who have taken a medical leave, or who took a leave while on probation must petition to return by completing and submitting a Re-enrollment Application Form. Completed re-enrollment petitions are due by August 15 to register for fall-term courses; December 15 for spring-term courses; and May 1 for summer-term courses.
  • Students who withdrew from a term in progress or who were required to withdraw must petition to re-enroll by the published deadlines; such students may not begin their re-enrollment with summer term. Late applications are not accepted.
  • Undergraduates who are away from GS for more than three years (from the last completed semester at GS), and Postbacs who are away from GS for more than one year, must reapply to GS through the Office of Admissions.