Leave of Absence Policy
This policy is applicable to all students who are actively enrolled in degree programs at Western International University.
Students may be approved by the University for multiple LOAs in a 12-month period. The total of all approved LOAs may not exceed 180 days in the 12-month period. During an approved LOA, the student is not considered withdrawn and no Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation is required for financial aid recipients.
An LOA may be approved only if the University determines there is a reasonable expectation the student will return. Students must follow the University’s LOA policy when requesting the LOA, by providing (on or before the start date of the LOA) a completed University LOA request form or a written, signed and dated request, including the reason for the LOA to Student Financial Services – Operations (SFS-O).
If unforeseen circumstances prevent a student from providing a request for the LOA to the campus on or before the start of the LOA, the University may grant the LOA if the campus has documented the reason and decision. The University must collect the signed LOA request form from the student later and provide it to SFS-O within a reasonable amount of time from the last date of attendance. Unforeseen circumstances may include, but are not limited to, medical and family emergencies, military, jury duty, business travel, University course cancellation and/or facility closure, and natural disasters.
If a student is out of attendance due to an unforeseen circumstance and considered an unofficial withdrawal and the University can document the reason and decision for the LOA prior to the Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation being performed, the student will be placed on an approved LOA and no calculation will be required.
An LOA will not be approved if a student requests an LOA after 14 consecutive days of nonattendance, has a current enrollment status of unofficial withdrawal (UNW) and the request is not due to unforeseen circumstances that occurred prior to the UNW status.
If a student requests an LOA start date in the future and is officially withdrawn, unofficially withdrawn, or administratively withdrawn from the University prior to the start date of the LOA, the LOA is not valid and will be canceled.
In determining the length of the LOA, the LOA start date is the first day of the LOA and the LOA end date is the day before the start date of the course the student is returning to at the University. The first day of the student’s initial LOA is used when determining the start date for the 12-month period. If a student is granted an LOA due to unforeseen circumstances, the beginning date of the approved LOA, as recorded by the student on the LOA form, is the date the student was unable to attend class because of unforeseen circumstance.
The course start date will cease the LOA day count; however, the University’s academic system of record will use an active enrollment status effective date as determined by the date the student posts an academic related activity (ARA) in the course the student returns to at the University. NSLDS Enrollment Reporting will use the standard effective date for an active enrollment (i.e. course start date). A new LOA request form will be required for any additional LOAs.
Note: At the time of the LOA approval, the University will review the LOA dates requested by the student and may adjust those dates based on ARAs, class schedules, etc.
Extending an LOA
A student may request an LOA extension as long as the request is made before the scheduled return date. Students must follow this policy when requesting the LOA extension, by providing on or before the scheduled end date, a written, signed, and dated request, including the reason for the LOA extension to Student Financial Services – Operations (SFS-O).
Institutionally Scheduled Breaks
If a student submits an LOA request with a start date being the same day as the start of an institutionally scheduled break or a start date that falls within an institutionally scheduled break, the University will update the LOA start date to the first day after the institutionally scheduled break ends.
If a student’s LOA is scheduled to end on or within an institutionally schedule break, the University will update the LOA return date to the start date of the course that is scheduled to begin after the institutionally scheduled break, as long as the student is registered for a course set to begin when the institutionally scheduled break ends.
If a student’s LOA request completely overlaps an institutionally scheduled break, all days of the institutionally scheduled break and the LOA days will count toward the length of the LOA and apply toward the maximum of 180 days in a 12-month period. The University will not allow a student to take two consecutive LOAs separated by an institutionally scheduled break.
Disbursements during an LOA
The University may disburse Pell, IASG, and FSEOG funds to a student on an LOA during certain times of the year. Federal financial aid funds that are part of a credit balance created before the student began an LOA may be paid to the student, since those funds were disbursed before the student went on the LOA.
Completion of Coursework upon Return
If a student starts an approved LOA in the middle of a course, the University must ensure no additional charges for this course are incurred when the student returns from the LOA. To ensure no additional charges for this course are incurred, the University will issue the student an LOA Credit (LOAC).This LOAC will be applied to the course scheduled after the LOA end date.
Failure to Return
The University will advise the student, prior to granting the LOA, that failure to return from an LOA may affect the loan repayment terms, including the expiration of the student’s grace period. If a student does not return from an approved LOA, the withdrawal date and beginning of the grace period will be the student’s last date of attendance.
If the student reenters, after withdrawing from the University, the previously approved LOA days will count toward the student’s LOA maximum of 180 days in a 12-month period.