Personal Leave of Absence


Under certain circumstances, you may wish to take a personal leave of absence for a non-medical and non-children-related reason. This type of leave may be considered a personal leave. A leave for medical reasons would be a Health Leave of Absence. A leave related to child dependent care would be handled through the Parental Accommodation policy.

Common reasons cited for taking a leave:

  • Personal reasons (i.e. family situation, financial, need to re-evaluate your interests and/or goals)
  • You complete a degree prior to the end of the fall or spring semester. You can file for a leave upon completion to be eligible for prorated tuition for the semester.
  • You take a job while completing your degree. You will not make academic progress during a leave and will not be eligible to receive funding from Cornell during a leave of absence. 

In Depth

How to initiate the process?

Compete the Leave of Absence form and submit 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 health plan year; you may need to pay the premium. You may elect to continue enrollment in the student health plan for up to 12 months while on leave and should contact the Office of Student Health Benefits.

Access to Cornell facilities and personnel during leave?

Students do not have access to Cornell facilities, personnel or any resource accessed via their NetID.


If you are on a non-immigrant visa and would like to take a personal leave, you should contact the International Services Office and the Graduate Student Services Office for assistance, especially for remaining in compliance with visa requirements and maintaining visa eligibility for re-entering the United States.


Learn More About Personal Leaves of Absence

Contact Janna Lamey (, the Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life.