Policies + Disclosures

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Leave of Absence – Undergraduate

RISD allows for undergraduate leaves of absences in the following categories: Personal Leaves, Medical Leaves and Administrative Leaves. Undergraduate Students may apply for a leave of absence for a period of up to 1 year. Students are expected to return to RISD at the conclusion of their leave or request a second leave of up to one more year. A student who has not returned to RISD after their leave will be officially withdrawn. Once a student is withdrawn an application to return is considered as if it is a new application and will be reviewed by the committee on Academic Standing in addition to the other offices that review such readmit applications. Students can apply for one of the leave categories by meeting with Student Affairs on the 3rd floor of Carr House or by calling 401-454-6600. Taking this step will help to assure readmission with a minimum of difficulty after the leave of absence is granted.

Students on a Leave of Absence are still considered candidates for the RISD degree even though they are not formally enrolled. If you receive permission from RISD to take classes elsewhere while on leave, you must enroll there as a guest or visiting (non-degree seeking) student, not as a transfer or degree-seeking student. Students can be candidates for the bachelor’s degree at only one institution.

Students who receive Financial Aid must meet with the Student Financial Services office to complete the necessary exit interview and to learn whether there are consequences of a leave on their financial aid eligibility or loan repayment. International Students must meet with the International Student Advisor before applying for a leave to ensure compliance with their visa status. A Leave of Absence from RISD could affect the health insurance status for a student. Consult with your health insurance carrier for details.

Students who are granted a personal, academic or administrative leave during a semester will be withdrawn from all classes with a course grade of “W” if it is before the withdrawal deadline (see Academic Calendar). If the leave is after the deadline date has passed for withdrawal from class, the student may have failing grades recorded. For information on refund schedules contact the Student Accounts Office.

Supplementary Paragraph for International Students (F-1 visas)

International students that will be taking a leave of absence from RISD should note that they may forfeit their F-1 work authorization benefits upon their return. Please contact the Office of International Student Services for details.

Personal Leave of Absence 

Students who are granted a leave for personal reflection, financial concerns, military duty, academic exploration beyond the programs and classes of the RISD curriculum or off-campus study opportunities that are not recognized by RISD are on Personal Leave. Normally, personal leaves are granted between terms; students are not granted personal leaves during a term for which they are already in classes except under unusual circumstances or emergencies listed in the Medical Leave of Absence section.

Medical Leave of Absence

RISD, through the Office of Student Affairs, authorizes medical leaves of absences through consultation with on-and off-campus medical providers. If a medical leave is issued during an academic term the student receives a course grade of “W.” The length of time a medical leave is expected to last is determined on a case-by-case basis, allowing the student sufficient time away from campus to achieve sustained stability and to engage in activities that will contribute to a successful return. Deadlines for requesting a medical leave are November 15th for Fall semester and April 15th for Spring semester.

RISD maintains the right to require a student to take a leave of absence from the college for physical or psychological health reasons in accordance with the “Guidelines for a Required Leave of Absence for Health or Psychological Reasons.” In order to return, the student must comply with the conditions stated in the “Medical Leave Readmission Guidelines,” available from the Office of Student Affairs.

Administrative Leaves

Student may be asked to leave for reasons of poor scholarship, unacceptable behavior, or non-payment of tuition. See the section on “Academic Standing” for procedures and process regarding dismissal for academic reasons. See the Code of Student Conduct for policy and procedures regarding academic or behavioral misconduct. 

Active Military Service Leaves 

In order to support and accommodate RISD students called to active military service, RISD’s policy is the following:

  1. Any student required to leave RISD because of a call to active military service will receive a leave of absence and a refund of tuition and fees paid for the interrupted semester of study.
  2. Cost of RISD housing and meal plan will be prorated to the effective date of the leave of absence.
  3. A place will be held in the student’s department which will guarantee re-admittance to RISD after military service is completed, and at a time in the academic year which best fits with the student’s departmental curricular program.
  4. The leave of absence may be for the duration of the military service. It is not limited to the normal restriction of one year. 
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Providence's riverfront park offers a great setting for drawing and sketching, just across from RISD's Mandle Center for
Living and Learning.