Leave of Absence

Students are allowed to take a leave of absence from the University of Colorado Boulder; however, the leave-of-absence process differs for undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate students may take up to two semesters off plus summer after their last graded semester at CU Boulder without having to apply for a leave of absence. Please refer to the return chart. Undergraduate students may choose to participate in certain optional CU Boulder benefits during their semester(s) away.

Graduate students must apply for a leave of absence if they withdraw from or do not enroll in classes for a fall or spring semester.* Graduate students who do not apply for a leave of absence will be discontinued and must reapply to the university in order to return to CU Boulder.

If you are called to military active duty, please see Procedures for Students Ordered to Active Duty.

*A leave of absence is not required for summer semester; graduate students not taking summer classes are still considered active students.

How to Apply
  1. Complete the Withdrawal Form.

  2. Complete the undergraduate or graduate leave of absence application. ​​Undergraduate students are not required to complete a leave of absence application; however, in order to maintain access to campus benefits (listed below), a leave of absence application is required. Graduate students must apply for a leave of absence if they withdraw from or do not enroll in classes for a fall or spring semester.

  3. If you're enrolled in classes for the semester in which your leave of absence begins, obtain the required signatures on the application. Graduate students need their department's approval as well as permission of the college.

  4. Mail or hand deliver the application to the Office of the Registrar with a valid photo ID.

  5. Pay the required $50 administrative fee by cash or by check (credit cards are not accepted). Make out checks to the University of Colorado, and include the student's name on the check.

NOTE: The required signatures and fee must accompany the application or it will not be processed. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain the signatures from their department(s) and college(s).

  • Retain your Wardenburg student health insurance for one semester under certain conditions before finding an alternate insurance provider (303-492-5107; patientservices@colorado.edu).
  • Purchase a CollegePass through the Buff OneCard Office (303-492-0355).
  • Stay for one additional semester in Family Housing (303-492-6384) or Bear Creek (303-735-2275).
  • Remain employed in a non-work-study position on campus (303-492-7349).
    • International students may not remain employed.
  • Continue to use pre-purchased athletic tickets for the first semester of inactivity (303-492-8337).
    • Tickets cannot be purchased unless the student was registered for at least four credit hours.
  • Retain access to:
    • The Recreation Center, for a fee (303-492-6880).
    • CU Libraries, including book checkout (303-492-8705).
    • The Center for Multicultural Affairs (303-492-5667).
    • Career Services (303-492-6541).

A leave of absence does not:

  • Defer your loan status. If your loan status changes to repayment, please contact your loan provider to find out more about their policies and withdrawing.
  • Allow students who are withdrawn to continue to use their work-study.

A copy of the application from the Office of the Registrar may be required as proof to access benefits with certain departments.


Undergraduate degree-seeking students are automatically eligible to return to the university within 1–3 terms (including summer; up to 4 with restrictions) from their last graded semester without readmitting or reapplying through Admissions. Please refer to the return chart. Students may leave the university, preserve their enrollment appointment priority and return to the university. Students do not have to apply for a leave of absence in order to register for their return semester; however, in order to maintain access to optional benefits, a leave of absence application is required.

Graduate students are required to apply for an official leave of absence in order to return to CU Boulder in the future without reapplying.


  • New/readmit/transfer students who drop all classes by the first drop deadline are not eligible.
  • Good academic standing is required, and graduate/MBA students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Any student ordered to active duty or to state/national emergency relief is eligible.
  • International students must receive permission from the ISSS before submitting a leave of absence application.
  • Law students must receive signatory permission from their Law School advisor and the Dean of the Law School.
  • MBA students must receive signatory permission from their student services advisor.
  • Music, Education and Business students also require the signature of the Dean of the College of Music, the Dean of the School of Education or the Dean of the School of Business.
  • Graduate students must receive signatory permission from their graduate advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • Doctoral candidates who have passed their comprehensive examinations and concurrent degree students (BA/MA, BS/MS, BA/MS) are not eligible, with the exception of parental leave. Students with questions or extenuating situations may contact the Graduate School for further guidance (303-492-8220, gradinfo@colorado.edu).

You may complete the application any time until the last day of classes of the term from which you're withdrawing. Withdrawal fees are assessed based on the withdrawal calendar. To avoid withdrawal fees, you must be withdrawn at least 10 days prior to the start of the term. If you do not follow the refund/assessment schedule (see "Withdrawal Information" in the Resources sidebar), additional fees or full tuition may be assessed. For Wardenburg Health Center insurance purposes, please file by the second week of school.

Confirmation Deposit

Depending on when you withdraw from the term (not when you submit the application) and whether you owe money to the university, you may be entitled to a confirmation deposit refund. If the confirmation deposit is refunded, the refund will be sent about 6 to 8 weeks after the start of the fall or spring term from which you withdrew.

Student must pay back the confirmation deposit if they return to the university and register for Main Campus classes.

Contact the Bursar's Office at bursar@colorado.edu or 303-492-5381 for information regarding a financial account.

Returning and Registering for Classes

In order to return, you must register for classes through MyCUInfo. The Office of the Registrar automatically provides an enrollment appointment for your returning term. An email reminder is sent to your official @colorado.edu email account in:

  • March for fall term,
  • October for spring term, and
  • February for summer term.

Holds may prevent you from registering, so check your account before your enrollment appointment begins.

Unable to Return by the Deadline

If you are unable to return by the deadline, you will be discontinued from the university. To return, you must reapply through the Admissions Office at apply@colorado.edu or 303-492-6301.

Graduate students must obtain the dean's permission to extend their return date.

Graduate, law and MBA students must receive approval from their department first, and then contact the graduate, law or MBA program for further guidance. In some cases, returning late may affect in-state tuition status. For questions regarding in-state tuition status, contact Tuition Classification at 303-492-6970 or tuitclass@colorado.edu.