Leaves of Absence

Summary

You may request a leave of absence for health, parental or personal reasons. A leave pauses your student status, with the opportunity to return to your program at a set time.

  • For health reasons, medical or mental health, request a health leave, available for up to a maximum of four years.
  • Leave of absence may be requested for personal reasons other than health and parental accommodation for up to 12 months and renewable for a maximum of four years.
  • Maternity and paternity accommodations (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. To initiate the parental accommodation, complete and return the Parental Accommodation Request form.

In Depth

Comparison of Different Statuses

Leaves of Absences
Question/TopicHealth LeavePersonal LeaveMaternity/Paternity Accommodation*
How to initiate processAfter the student states intent to take a health leave of absence, the Health Leaves Coordinator makes the recommendation to the Graduate School. (healthleaves@cornell.edu)Student completes the Leave of Absence form and submits to the Graduate School.Student completes the Accommodation Request form, gathers necessary signatures and documentation and submits the form to the Graduate School.
Length of leaveDuration of health leave will depend upon the time the student needs for treatment and/or recovery and the resolution of academic conditions determined by the Graduate School. Up to 12 months with annual renewal possible for a total of four years.Up to 12 months with annual renewal possible for a total of four years.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 degreeTime away does not count toward time to degree.Time away does not count toward time to degree.Time on accommodation does not count toward time to degree.
Is financial support maintained?Original offer of financial support at time of admission is continued when you return if you are in good academic standing.Original offer of financial support at time of admission is not guaranteed when you return.Yes, the six or eight-weeks of accommodation is paid. Reduced academic load status is unpaid.
Does health insurance continue?Yes. The option to continue with health insurance continues until the end of the plan year – decision on who pays the premium while on a health leave is to be decided. Yes. The option to continue with health insurance continues until the end of the plan year – decision on who pays the premium while on a personal leave is to be decided. Yes.
Access to Cornell facilities and personnelStudents do not have access to Cornell facilities or personnel.
Students do not have access to Cornell facilities or personnel.Students maintain access to all Cornell facilities and personnel.
Learn moreRead health leave policy.
Contact Health Leaves Coordinator (healthleaves@cornell.edu).
Contact Janna Lamey (janna.lamey@cornell.edu), the senior assistant dean for graduate student life.
Read personal leave policy.
Contact Graduate School Student Services (gradstudserv@cornell.edu) or Janna Lamey (janna.lamey@cornell.edu), the senior assistant dean for graduate student life.
Read parental accommodation policy .
Contact Janna Lamey (janna.lamey@cornell.edu), the senior assistant dean for graduate student life.

*Note that the parental accommodation is not considered to be a leave of absence

International Student Considerations

If you are not an American citizen or permanent resident and hold a nonimmigrant visa, you must talk to a representative in International Services before requesting a leave of absence. International students should contact the Graduate Student Services Office and International Services for information on maintaining visa eligibility for reentry.

Timing of Personal Leaves

Under university policy, personal leave of absences typically become effective upon conclusion of the current term. The standard dates are:

Timing of Personal Leaves
 2020-21

Official start date of Leave of Absence
Leaves requested during the fall term for the spring termDecember 22, 2020
Leaves requested during the spring term for the summer termMay 26, 2021
Leaves requested during the summer term for the fall termAugust 4, 2021

Students who wish to request a leave of absence beginning on different dates, including dates within an academic term, are required to consult with the Graduate School Registrar (grad_registrar@cornell.edu) in advance. If approved, non-standard leave dates may result in prorated tuition charges, adjustment of fellowship awards, and changes to assistantship eligibility.

Related

Contact

Brenda Wakoff
Graduate School Registrar
grad_registrar@cornell.edu
Phone: 607-254-4561