Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

Occasionally students need to take time away from school to attend to personal matters, medical matters or to pursue additional educational enrichment opportunities. LC provides the following options for taking time away from the college.

Preplanned Leave of Absence

Students who plan to take a temporary leave of absence from Lewis & Clark must file leave paperwork with the Office of the Registrar. The maximum length of a temporary leave is two consecutive fall/spring semesters, including the partial semester if the student is taking a mid-semester withdrawal. The filing deadline for a planned leave beginning in the spring semester is November 1, or April 1 for a planned leave beginning in the fall semester.

Before filing a request for a leave of absence, students must meet with their faculty advisors to explore how the leave will fit into their overall academic plan. The request for the leave of absence is completed through the registrar’s office. The student will be notified by email of the decision. If the request is denied, the student may appeal the decision to the Curriculum Committee Subcommittee on Petitions and Appeals.

If a leave of absence is approved, the General Education requirements, as well as the major and minor requirements in effect at the start of the leave, will apply when the student returns from the leave.

Students who need to take an unplanned leave (initiated after the leave application deadlines listed above) may file for a leave up until 4 pm on the last business day before the first day of classes. Students must then complete a reentry process as outlined in Reenrolling at Lewis & Clark, below.

Students who do not apply for a leave of absence or whose period of absence has expired will be withdrawn from Lewis & Clark. They must apply to the registrar’s office for readmission, and will be subject to the graduation requirements in effect at the time of their return. (Students participating in approved dual-degree programs may be granted up to a two-year leave.)

Students intending to complete academic coursework during their leaves are advised to consult with the registrar’s office in advance to obtain approval for transfer credit. Any transfer credits that a student wishes to apply to major or minor requirements or use as a prerequisite for registration must also be approved by the appropriate department or program chair. (See transfer credit policies.) Students wishing to study abroad with a non-Lewis & Clark program should consult with the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Overseas and Off-Campus Programs. Students will not be able to receive federal financial aid through Lewis & Clark, and should not expect to be granted transfer credit without prior approval of their overseas program and courses. Some programs may not be eligible for credit transfer. (See Overseas and Off-Campus Programs overview).

Please note the following:

  • If you are a recipient of Financial Aid and are taking a leave of absence of 6 months or longer, it could affect your loan payback. Contact the Office of Student Financial Services to be certain you understand the terms of your financial obligations.
  • Contact Student and Departmental Account Services to make certain your account is settled prior to leaving the College.
  • Students intending to complete academic coursework during their leave are strongly advised to consult with the Office of the Registrar in advance to obtain approval for transfer credit, and to review the Transfer Credit policy in the College Catalog.
  • Should your plans for returning change for any reason, you should inform Office of the Registrar.
  • The Leave of Absence form can be completed online, printed and then submitted to your Advisor for approval. Return the completed form directly to the Office of the Registrar.

If you have questions please contact our office at reg@lclark.edu.


LEAVE OF ABSENCE FORM  (google form)


Withdrawing from All Courses During the Semester

To request a withdrawal from all courses during the semester, students need to obtain a request form from the Office of the Registrar, located on the ground floor of the Templeton Student Center. Students withdrawing from all courses during the semester may be eligible for an adjustment to tuition charges. However, the adjustment is based upon the date the completed form is filed with the registrar’s office. For more information on tuition adjustments, please see the Policy of Charge Adjustment.

The deadline for withdrawal from all courses is 4 pm on the last day of instruction for the semester. If an instructor recorded a grade prior to the deadline for withdrawal, that grade will be replaced by a mark of “W” on the student’s transcript. Students may use the semester withdrawal request form to also request an additional semester of leave if necessary. It is expected that the student will obtain the form in person from the Office of the Registrar. If a documented medical or family emergency makes that impossible, the registrar’s office will work with the student by phone or email to begin the withdrawal process.

A student who takes a complete semester withdrawal after the 10th week of classes is required to take a leave of absence for the subsequent fall/spring semester. Students may take a complete semester withdrawal more than once during their time at L&C. However, any subsequent semester withdrawal will result in a mandatory leave of absence for the subsequent semester. A student may petition the Leaves and Reentry Committee for an exception by contacting the College Advising Center: See Reenrolling at Lewis & Clark, below.

Students considering withdrawal due to the onset of a disabling condition are encouraged to contact Student Support Services to explore accommodations.

Please note the following:

  • When withdrawing from a course after the add/drop period, individual section fees are nonrefundable and will not be prorated.
  • For students who have received federal financial assistance and who formally withdraw from the college, a calculation according to federal regulations is performed to determine which funds are to be returned to the appropriate program(s) by the school and/or the student.
  • If students receive a cash disbursement from the student account as a result of financial aid funding and then subsequently withdraw from the college, students may be required to repay the cash disbursement to Lewis & Clark College in order to refund the applicable financial aid programs. The amount of federal financial aid repayment is calculated based on the number of days in the semester students do not attend as a result of a withdrawal.
  • Refunds may be issued only after the request form has been processed by the registrar’s office. The date the registrar’s office receives the completed Withdrawal Form is the date used for assessing charges and the amount of any tuition credit. Tuition credit for a complete withdrawal is prorated in accordance with the amount of time the student has been in school for the semester.
  • Financial aid recipients are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid at 503-768-7090 or fao@lclark.edu before withdrawing, as eligibility for financial aid may be affected.

If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Registrar at reg@lclark.edu.

Administrative Leave

Students who are unable to meet standards of safety will be placed on administrative leave until they complete the steps outlined in Reenrolling at Lewis & Clark, below. If this occurs during a term, the student will be withdrawn for the duration of the term. Students placed on administrative leave will have five business days from the date that notification is issued to appeal this decision in writing to the vice president of Student Life.

Please see additional information on our Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy page.

Withdrawing Permanently from the College

Students who withdraw from Lewis & Clark and who do not intend to return are expected to complete a permanent withdrawal form. Students who fail to follow these procedures may not be withdrawn from their courses, may receive failing grades, and may become ineligible to re-enroll or to transfer to another institution. Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal from the College. See the Office of the Registrar to initiate a permanent withdrawal process.

Students withdrawing at the conclusion of a semester, or between semesters may file the form at any time in the semester preceding their permanent withdrawal. The withdrawal will be processed at the conclusion of the semester.

Students withdrawing from all courses during the semester should follow the procedures above for a withdrawal during the semester.

Reenrolling at Lewis & Clark

Prior to the registration period for the following semester, the Office of the Registrar will contact all students, via their Lewis & Clark email accounts, regarding upcoming registration periods. Students returning from leave must meet all regular deadlines for registration, housing reservations, financial aid applications, and similar matters. Students are also required to contact their faculty advisor prior to registration in order to obtain approval for registration, and must meet with their faculty advisor in person when they return to campus. Students register online using WebAdvisor during the regular on-campus registration period.

Students who have taken an unplanned leave of absence, including those who withdrew during the fall or spring semester, will complete a reentry process managed by the Leaves and Reentries Committee. This process is designed to ensure students are prepared for holistic success upon their return to Lewis & Clark. Because of limited resources in the summer, students returning through this process will only be eligible to return in fall or spring semester, not summer semester. Prior to reenrollment, students must demonstrate their ability to meet the following benchmarks for success:

  • Effective communication with committee members about the conditions that lead to the withdrawal/leave.
  • Effective planning and demonstrated progress to mitigate any conditions that contributed to the withdrawal/leave.
  • Academic planning, including a graduation plan and coursework for the semester in which they plan to return.
  • Resources in which the student plans to engage in order to support success. This will include a planned frequency and demonstrated progress toward establishing appropriate partnerships.

Students who do not meet criteria, as judged by the committee, at least 30 days before the first day of classes will be placed on administrative leave for the subsequent semester, if eligible, and will be dropped from any classes for which they are registered. Students ineligible for an additional semester of leave can otherwise apply for readmission at a later date.


Students who want to return to Lewis & Clark after having left without taking an official leave of absence, or whose leave has expired, must apply for readmission. Information concerning readmission, including application materials and procedures, is available in the Office of the Registrar. Readmitted students are subject to Lewis & Clark requirements in effect during the year of their return.

FAQ - Withdrawal and Leave of Absence

You can find more information about semester withdrawals,  leaves and reenrolling here.