Voluntary Separation – Leaving UConn and Academic Leave of Absence

Graduate students may need to step away from their academic studies or GA employment at some point during their graduate career. The information provided below can help guide students toward the best option for their circumstances. Please feel free to reach out to The Graduate School (megan.petsa@uconn.edu) with any questions.

 

Voluntary Separation Notification Form

 

Click here to view a list of department/program heads and department admins/grad payroll processors. The name of your major advisor can be found in your Student Center in Student Admin.

Completing the Voluntary Separation Notification Form

The process of separating from the university involves multiple phases. (View a flowchart of this process here.)

  1. In the first phase, the student provides information about their current enrollment and the type of separation they are considering. The student should be prepared to provide the name of their advisor, department/program head, and department admin/grad payroll processor on the form. A list of department/program heads and department admins/grad payroll processors can be found here. Students can view the name of their advisor in their Student Center in Student Admin. The form is then sent to The Graduate School.
  2. A representative from The Graduate School will contact the student to provide consumer counseling, which includes the financial and academic implications of withdrawing from the semester and the process to return to the program. The form is then returned to the student via email so the student can make an informed decision about whether or not to cancel enrollment or withdraw from the semester.
  3. The student must make a decision on the form to either stay enrolled or move forward with separation. This is the date of notification of the intent to withdraw, which will be used to calculate eligibility for the university refund schedule. If a response if not received from the student within 10 business days, the separation will not be finalized and the student will remain active in the program. If a response is not received within 10 business days, the request for a voluntary separation will be canceled. Should the student then decide to voluntarily separate, the student will need to start a new request which will then determine eligibility for the university refund schedule.
  4. After the student has a made a decision to either separate or remain enrolled, the form is either returned directly to The Graduate School for final processing or, in the case of academic leave of absence requests, routed to the major advisor and department head for approval, before being sent to The Graduate School for final processing.
  5. To return to their program from an academic Leave of Absence, students will need to follow the reinstatement procedures outlined in The Graduate Catalog to request reinstatement prior to the semester in which they wish to resume study.
  • Continuous registration courses maintain a student’s active student status. Students therefore maintain access to things like their UConn e-mail and the library. It does not keep any student loans from going into repayment.
  • Continuous registration courses can help students comply with UConn’s continuous enrollment requirement for graduate programs. The continuous enrollment requirement also applies to students in graduate certificate programs.
  • Enrollment in continuous registration courses count toward a student’s time to degree.
  • This course charges a flat fee (no tuition or other fees).
    • For students with Storrs as their home campus, the fee is $400.
    • For students with a regional campus as their home campus, the fee is $100.
  • Enrollment in continuous registration must be completed before the first day of the semester. Students cannot change from credit-bearing courses to continuous registration after the semester has begun.
  • International students require approval from ISSS via the Reduced Course Load form and are generally only permitted to enroll in continuous registration in their final semester. See the ISSS Part Time Study page for additional information.
  • Students self-enroll in continuous registration courses via Student Admin.
  • A description of the continuous registration courses offered can be found in The Graduate Catalog (link).
  • This is an academic leave, which means a student is temporarily separated from UConn and does not have active student status.
    • Employment as a graduate assistant is contingent on active student status, which means that a student who takes an academic leave will be terminated from their assistantship.
    • The Graduate School coordinates this process to ensure that the academic leave start date and the GA payroll separation dates are aligned so that the GA’s tuition waiver remains intact.
  • Students on an academic leave do not have access to UConn services such as e-mail or the library.
  • Academic leave should be requested in advance, or at the earliest date possible in extenuating circumstances.
  • Academic leave requires approval from both the major advisor and the department head.
    • This requirement exists because an approved academic leave guarantees a student’s ability to return to their program at the end of their leave.
    • Academic leave should not be used in place of recommending a student for academic dismissal because academic leave guarantees the student the right to resume their program at the end of their approved leave.
    • If an advisor or department does not support a student’s request for academic leave, they are not obligated to approve it. The Graduate School will reach out to the student to discuss other options for their enrollment.
  • An academic leave request can be for a maximum of two semesters. If withdrawing mid-semester to go on leave, the current semester counts as the first semester. Academic leave can be extended for up to an additional two semesters. Extension of academic leave requires the approval of the major advisor and department head.
  • A student’s time on academic leave does not count toward their time to degree.
  • Withdrawing from the semester to take academic leave may impact students’ financial aid obligations. Students who have received financial aid may have all or part of their funds returned to the source, which can result in a balance due to the university. In addition, students who have borrowed federal loans are required to complete Exit Counseling before separating from the university. Most federal and private loans have grace periods of 6 months after separation so loan repayment must be considered. It is important to note that the return of financial aid is calculated in a different manner than University Refund Policy. The student is responsible for the complete payment of all charges on their student account. Please reference the Office of the Bursar’s website for additional information. The Graduate School will review the financial implications in detail with the student before they make a final decision.
  • The full policy on academic leaves can be found here in The Graduate Catalog.
  • Per Article 15 in the GEU contract, graduate assistants may request a personal leave of absence from their GA appointment for reasoning including, but not limited to:
    • Maternity (paid)
    • Care for a newborn or adopted child (non-birth parent) (paid for up to 21 calendar days)
    • Personal Illness/Injury
    • Family Illness/Injury (spouse, registered domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law)
    • Bereavement (spouse, registered domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law)
    • Military Leave
    • Immigration Hearings
    • Jury Duty
  • Graduate assistantship leave is a leave solely from the GA’s employment, not their academic studies. The GA must be continuing in their capacity as a graduate student (i.e., still enrolled and engaged in their classes) in order to be eligible to request a GA leave under the GEU contract provisions. A GA who wishes to take an academic leave must contact The Graduate School.
  • GA leaves are administered by the Human Resources Leave & Accommodations Team. More information and GA leave request forms can be found on HR’s website: https://hr.uconn.edu/ga-leave-administration/
  • A student who is matriculated into multiple graduate programs and wishes to discontinue one graduate program while remaining active in another graduate program must complete a Voluntary Separation Notification to request a program separation. International students must also contact their ISSS advisor.
  • The student must be matriculated into the new graduate program before requesting a program separation.
  • The student must submit the Voluntary Separation Notification themselves. Notification from the department is not sufficient. Without notifying The Graduate School, the student could remain active in two programs until they graduate, resulting in incorrect reporting and delays in degree auditing.
  • A student who is considering discontinuing their program(s) and exiting the university must complete a Voluntary Separation Notification . International students must also contact their ISSS advisor.
  • Withdrawing from the semester and exiting the university may impact the students’ financial aid obligations. Students who have received financial aid may have all or part of their funds returned to the source, which can result in a balance due to the university. In addition, students who have borrowed federal loans are required to complete Exit Counseling before separating from the university. Most federal and private loans have grace periods of 6 months after separation so loan repayment must be considered. It is important to note that the return of financial aid is calculated in a different manner than University Refund Policy. The student is responsible for the complete payment of all charges on their student account. Please reference the Office of the Bursar’s website for additional information. The Graduate School will review the financial implications in detail with the student before they make a final decision.
  • The student must submit the Voluntary Separation Notification themselves. Notification from the department is not sufficient.
  • Non-degree students in graduate courses who wish to cancel or withdraw from all registered courses must complete the Voluntary Separation Notification form.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the published deadlines regarding registration and refunds.
  • Academic Support Services
    • The Writing Center and the Academic Achievement Center both offer academic support to graduate students. The Writing Center provides online writing assistance to grads and more information about the support options available can be found at this link. The Academic Achievement Center (AAC) offers an array of academic support services, including coaching, mentoring, and student success workshops. Although many of the offerings are geared toward undergraduate students, graduate students can contact the AAC directly to discuss specific support needs and will be referred to available resources.
  • Academic or Faculty Advisor
    • A student’s major advisor is a resource in navigating academic challenges. Some academic departments also have program staff that can help you determine next steps academically and connect you to resources. If you are a graduate student, make sure you discuss all possible options with your advisor. If you aren’t sure who your advisor is, you can find this information in StudentAdmin.
  • Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD)
    • The CSD engages in an interactive process with students in order to determine appropriate accommodations as well as other University services that may be helpful. The interactive process simply means that the CSD, students with disabilities, and faculty and staff from across the University will work together to determine appropriate accommodations in order to provide access to University programs.
    • Through the interactive process, the CSD will:
    • Request and gather information and documentation related to your condition to understand how it impacts your functioning, including learning or living at UConn;
    • Obtain your self-report about the difficulties or limitations of your condition and the specific accommodations you are requesting;
    • In consultation with you, identify and consider potential accommodations that will provide equal access to your program, including the learning and living environments;
    • Notify your teaching professionals and other University departments as indicated of your approved accommodations.
    • Work with you, your instructors and other University staff to coordinate your accommodations as indicated.
    • This interactive process starts with the student by registering with the CSD through the student MyAccess portal at: https://myaccess.apps.sa.uconn.edu/.
  • Course Instructors
    • Students can speak with their course instructor to discuss options within the course, such as opportunities to make up work or extra time on an assignment, as well as the possibility of an Incomplete grade.
    • A student who has not completed all of the assessments but is currently passing the class may request in Incomplete from their instructor. A make-up schedule for the remaining work must be set with the instructor.
    • Per the Graduate Catalog, graduate students have up to one year from the time the grade was originally due to resolve an Incomplete, though the instructor may choose to set a shorter timeline.
    • Unlike undergraduate Incompletes, graduate Incompletes do not lapse to an “F” if unresolved.
    • Please be aware that an Incomplete, or any other grade that does not indicate successful completion of a course, may affect any financial aid that you may receive for a current or future semester. Please see information about Satisfactory Academic Progress here and Academic Engagement here and connect with the Office of Student Financial Aid Services if you have any questions by emailing financialaid@uconn.edu or calling (860) 486-2819.
    • A course may be converted to an Audit, provided the final exam has not been taken. The course will appear on the transcript as a “WAU.”
  • The Graduate School
    • Cinnamon Adams, Director of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Support, at The Graduate School provides direct one-on-one support to students and can be an excellent resource in navigating any challenges you may be facing. If you would like to discuss your situation with her, you can schedule an appointment with her through Nexus or reach her at cinnamon.adams@uconn.edu.
  • Student Health and Wellness (SHaW)
    • SHaW supports the optimal well-being of all UConn students by providing the highest quality compassionate care. SHaW provides medical, mental health and wellness services to promote the emotional, relational, and academic potential of all undergraduate and graduate students. SHAW mental health services include:
    • Rapid access screening appointments
    • Emergency/Crisis assessment
    • Individual and group therapy
    • Medication management
    • Mindfulness/Meditation/Yoga workshops
    • Referral and off-campus support services
    • Storrs graduate students may access SHAW mental health services by calling 860-486-4705 or schedule a screening appointment online. Regional campus graduate students seeking mental health resources can find campus specific contact information at this link.
  • Student Behavioral Health Services (SBHS)
    • The Student Behavioral Health Service (SBHS) provides evaluation and treatment to medical, dental and graduate students at UConn Health. To learn more about the resources available visit the SBHS website.
  • Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs
    • Veterans, current service members, and military affiliated students are encouraged to connect with the Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs. Their staff ensures the specific needs of veterans and service members at UConn are being addressed, and this office can be an excellent resource in navigating any challenges you may be facing.
  • Graduate Assistant Leave and/or Employee Accommodations
    • Graduate Assistants should be in touch with the HR Leave and Accommodation team to inquire as to whether they are entitled to any benefits, including but not limited to, a GA medical leave of absence and/or an employee accommodation. More information about GA leave and contact information for the HR Leave and Accommodation team can be found here.
    • Reinstatement from Academic Leave: Before the end date of a student’s leave, The Graduate School will reach out to the student to facilitate reinstatement from academic leave, extension of the academic leave, or discontinuation and exit from the university. Students who plan to return to graduate study must submit an online Request for Reinstatement to The Graduate School. Once reinstated, the student can self-enroll in classes for the upcoming semester. The maximum amount of time a student can be on academic leave is four semesters and any extension of the original academic leave must be requested and approved through a new online Voluntary Separation Notification request. If the student has reached their maximum allowed time on academic leave and does not return to the program at that time, the student would need to submit a new application for admission with no guarantee of acceptance.
    • Reinstatement after Discontinuation Due to Failure to Register: The Graduate School regulations require registration in each semester by all graduate degree program students except in instances where the student has been on an academic leave of absence approved by The Graduate School. Students without an approved leave of absence who fail to complete initial course registration by the tenth day of classes of any semester are automatically discontinued from their program(s). In that case, to return to active status, the student will require major advisor approval, registration for the lapsed semester(s), and payment of a reinstatement fee of $65. The reinstatement fee is added to the student’s bill along with any registration fees that have accrued. Students without an approved academic leave who do not register for longer than a year will be required to submit a new application for admission to the program. The online Request for Reinstatement form can be accessed here.