Leave of Absence (LOA)
A leave of absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study and refers to the specific time period during a program when a student is not in attendance. All requests for LOAs, for purposes of Return of Title IV, must be submitted to the Financial Aid Department. Each student must complete the Financial Aid Leave of Absence form. Students must apply for a LOA in advance unless unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from doing so; i.e., a medical emergency, death in the family, etc.
In order for Williamson College to grant an approved LOA:
- The student must follow the college’s policy in requesting the LOA
- There must be a reasonable expectation that the student will return from the LOA
- The student must complete the Financial Aid LOA form providing written confirmation of the date of return from the LOA
- WC must approve the LOA in accordance with college policy
- WC may not assess the student any additional institutional charges, the student’s need may not increase, and the student may not gain eligibility for additional Title IV funds
- The LOA may be granted for up to 60 days.
- If the student is a Title IV loan recipient, WC must explain to the student, prior to granting the LOA, the effects that the student’s failure to return from a LOA may have on the student’s repayment terms, including the expiration of the student’s grace period*
- The student must be in good academic standing
- The student must have completed at least one full term of enrollment at WC
- The student must be enrolled at least half-time
*If you receive Title IV loans (Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, or PLUS loans) and do not return from an approved leave of absence, you may exhaust some or all of your loan grace period. The date of withdrawal (for purposes of Title IV programs) will be backdated to the first day of your approved leave of absence.
The Financial Aid Office is responsible for ensuring that students have a valid reason for requesting a LOA. The student may be required to submit a letter from a physician, therapist, supervisor, etc., attesting to the need for the requested leave. Generally, the following reasons are deemed valid:
- Personal illness;
- Immediate family illness;
- Death in the family.
A student who is granted a LOA, that meets the conditions for an approved LOA for Title IV purposes, is not considered to have withdrawn, and no Return of Title IV calculation is required. Upon the student’s return from the leave, he or she will resume attendance at the school at the point he/she left and will continue to earn the Title IV aid previously awarded for the period.
Effect of a LOA on financial aid:
Students should be aware that even an approved LOA might affect financial aid eligibility. No Title IV or Veteran’s Benefits can be disbursed during an approved LOA. Should a student fail to return following an approved LOA, the student is considered withdrawn from all courses which may result in decreased eligibility.
If the student does not meet the conditions for an approved LOA for Title IV purposes, or does not return after an approved LOA, he/she is considered to have withdrawn and any tuition refund calculated will be returned to the federal aid programs first. Federal regulations mandate that the percentage of the semester the student did not complete will be the percentage of available federal aid the student did not earn. If the student received more federal student aid than they earned, the school must return the unearned funds to the student’s lender in a specified order. Once the student has completed 60% of the semester, the student has earned 100% of their aid, and no federal refund is required. When a refund is required, the amount of the student’s aid that the school is required to return to the student’s lender is determined by multiplying the amount of the student’s tuition and fees by the percentage of the semester the student did not complete. Once institutional and federal refunds are calculated, the student will be required to pay any remaining balance due the school.