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Leaves of Absence

Summary: 

Under compelling circumstances, you may request a leave of absence for personal, medical, or parental reasons.

  • For medical reasons unrelated to childbirth or adoption, request a health leave, available for up to 12 months and renewable for a maximum of four years.
  • Maternity and paternity leave (parental accommodation), although not technically a leave, offers six weeks of paid accommodation (eight weeks for the birth mother for a cesarean section delivery) OR up to two semesters of reduced load status depending on your circumstances.
  • Leave of absence is available to any student for personal reasons other than health and parental accommodation for up to 12 months and renewable for a maximum of four years.

 

In Depth

Comparison of different types of leaves:

Question/Topic

Health Leave

How to initiate the process

In consultation with the student, Cornell Health makes the recommendation to the Graduate School.

Length of leave

Up to 12 months with annual renewal possible for a total of four years.

 

Time to degree

Time away does not count toward time to degree.

Is financial support maintained during leave?

Original offer of financial support at time of admission is continued when you return if you are in good academic standing.

Does health insurance continue during leave?

Until the end of the plan year. Option to purchase another year.

Access to Cornell facilities and personnel during leave

Students do not have access to Cornell facilities or personnel.

Learn more

Question/Topic

Personal Leave

How to initiate the process

Student completes the Leave of Absence form and submits to the Graduate School.

Length of leave

Up to 12 months with annual renewal possible for a total of four years.

 

Time to degree

Time away does not count toward time to degree.

Is financial support maintained during leave?

Original offer of financial support at time of admissions is not guaranteed when you return.

Does health insurance continue during leave?

Until the end of the plan year. Option to purchase another year.

Access to Cornell facilities and personnel during leave

Students do not have access to Cornell facilities or personnel.

Learn more

Question/Topic

Maternity/Paternity

How to initiate the process

Student completes the Accommodation Request form, gathers necessary signatures and documentation and submits the form to the Graduate School. 

Length of accommodation

Six weeks of paid accommodation (eight weeks for the birth mother for a cesarean section delivery) OR up to two semesters of reduced academic load status.

 

Time to degree

Time away does not count toward time to degree.

Is financial support maintained during time away?

Yes, six or eight-weeks of leave is paid. Reduced academic load status is unpaid.

Does health insurance continue during time away?

Yes.

Access to Cornell facilities and personnel during time away

Students maintain access to all Cornell facilities and personnel during this leave.

Learn more

International Student Considerations

If you are not an American citizen and hold a nonimmigrant visa, you must talk to a representative in the International Students and Scholars Office. Before leaving Cornell, international students should contact the Graduate Student Services Office and the International Students and Scholars Office for information on maintaining visa eligibility for reentry. For U.S. citizens with educational loans, the repayment grace period starts the date the loans become active.

Contact: 

Janna Lamey
Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life
janna.lamey@cornell.edu