Frequently Asked Questions about the Leave and Return Process


Leave and Return PolicyReview/ProcessHealth RelatedPost Decision• FINANciAL IMPACT

Yes. Students on time away are not required to return by an exact term date. If your time away exceeds two years, please contact the Time Away Office to share your plans. 

Yes. You will need to complete the Time Away Inquiry form before the first day of the semester and return when you are ready. 

Students on time away are considered inactive students and therefore, observe the same rights as the public when entering Duke's campus. During time away, students are not allowed to enter university residential buildings (permission under the Housing Guest Policy does not apply to students on time away), campus gyms, participate in student activities, or access student health services. Students on time away are ineligible to work for Duke University units in jobs funded by Duke or federal work study dollars. If you are unclear the funding stream of the position and want help exploring the issue, please contact the Time Away Office.

While on time away, students are not permitted to attend or audit Duke courses. If you are a student-athlete, a club member, member of a performance group, or hold an office in a student organization, you are not permitted to participate in meetings, rehearsals, practice sessions, have access to studios, stages, locker rooms, strength conditioning and film areas of DUAA or sit on the bench during contests.

If you believe there are compelling reasons for you to access resources on campus, you must obtain written permission from the Time Away Office. You must submit a written note via email requesting special dispensation for limited access to specific campus resources and specify the time and duration of access. Your written request must be submitted seventy-two business hours before your anticipated time on campus. Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.

If the Duke Gardens is open, you may visit it during your time away.

During your time away, you may not enroll, attend, or audit a Duke course. 

Yes, as with the general public, Duke Medical Center is open and available to you.

A student administratively withdrawn for financial reasons may not submit a request or return for the same semester in which they were withdrawn. 

Some reasons for an Involuntary Administrative Withdrawal include instances when students do not return to campus at the start of the semester and provide no reason for their absence; when students are separated from Duke for extended periods of time (e.g. longer than 2 years) and do not respond to outreach or contact the Time Away Office to indicate a desire to return, they may be involuntarily withdrawn from Duke in order to discontinue unwanted, ongoing communication from the institution.

Students may not use acceleration credits (Advanced Placement, International Placement or Pre-Matriculation credit) in order to compensate for time taken away as a result of any type of time away. Students are limited to a maximum of two AP credits. 

Residence hall charges are prorated and will be calculated according to the number of days a rooms is occupied. The Time Away Office can help you navigate the refund/reimbursement process for both dining and housing. 

Students returning from an academic dismissal may apply to return to Duke no earlier than two semesters after the original term of dismissal. Students dismissed twice for academic reasons are not eligible to return prior to two years (six semesters, including summers) after the second dismissal term. Academic Dismissal Policy

Students who are on a voluntary time away from the university may enroll in courses taken at another four-year accredited institution and transfer them back to Duke. Per university policy, students are allowed a maximum of two institutional transfer credits during their entire undergraduate career for Trinity students and four institutional transfer credits for Pratt students. Students are not allowed to enroll in a course while away and repeat the course, or its equivalent, at Duke.

Students on academic dismissal are able to take up to two transfer credits during a dismissal period if they have not used them. Students must first complete any outstanding incompletes to be eligible for transfer credit while on dismissal.

If you are eligible to transfer credits back to Duke, you must request that an official transcript be sent directly to Duke's Registrar's Office. Only transcripts sent directly from the visiting institution's Office of the Registrar are considered official documents. Students who have been involuntarily time away from Duke due to conduct matters are not eligible to transfer credits for courses taken during their period of separation. 

A student who was dismissed from Duke for disciplinary reasons must complete all required disciplinary sanctions in order to be eligible to return. If you are not sure about your sanctions or need assistance making a plan to complete them, the Time Away Office can help you. Please reach out to schedule an appointment.

Students who withdrew from Duke in order to transfer to another institution are eligible to return. However, the two transfer credit limit for Trinity students and four transfer credit limit for Pratt students will apply. The Time Away Office can help you through the process. 

Students seeking Special Leave of Completion/Return for Graduation (SPCM), should meet with their academic dean to request this type of leave if they are eligible for transfer credits, and choose not to complete them at Duke. Special Leave Completion students must complete the following process and eligibility guidelines: (1) be in good standing with the university; (2) have no pending disciplinary matters; (3) be eligible to transfer credits back to Duke; (4) have at least 32 of the 34 required graduation credits; (5) have not history of other types of leaves; (6) meet with academic dean to verify the missing credits/graduation requirements; (7) complete remaining credits at an accredited four-year college or university; (8) complete the Tentative Transfer Credit Approval Form. Your academic dean will support you throughout this process. Once a plan is established between you and your academic dean, you will need to complete a Time Away Inquiry Form to request a Special Completion Time Away. 

Yes, the transcript notation for medical leave and personal leave are the same "leave of absence". If a time away is granted while a semester is in progress, the student will be withdrawn from ALL courses, and a "W" notation will be assigned for each class. The "W's" will be recorded permanently on the student record. If you are concerned about how to address a leave on your transcript (which many students take time away and continue to get into top graduate, medical and professional schools), we are happy to connect you with the Career Center and PreHealth Advising are prepared to help you address any concerns you may have. 

Students who are placed on a medical leave during the first or second week of the semester receive 80% of their tuition back. During the third to fifth weeks, they receive 60% of their tuition, and during the sixth week, 20% of their tuition. After the sixth week of classes, no refund will be granted. Students who are enrolled in some type of tuition insurance may receive additional refund from their insurance company, if the leave was due to medical reasons. 

Students holding F1/J1 visas should contact Duke Visa Services (919) 681-8472 or email to obtain information about visa status implications. It is important to explore this information before requesting your time away so you can be prepared about the implications. The Time Away Office can help you develop a plan moving forward.

The Time Away Office conducts an individualized review with relevant campus partners based on each students' needs. The review committee will review the documentation submitted by each provider as well as content shared by the returning student in the Time Away Return Request Form to get an understanding of what the student has done during their time away, how they know they are ready to return and how the university can support them in the return process. The Time Away Office will meet individually with each student to discuss their request and develop a plan moving forward. 

The review process (and the requested request for return materials) is based on a student’s time away and the nature of the circumstances that caused the time away. 

During the review process, all members of your review committee have access to materials in your return packet. If you would like some materials shared with relevant offices like SDAO, you will need to email the Time Away Office to submit the request in writing. After a decision has been made regarding your return to Duke, your return packet remains in the Time Away Office. 

All requests for return are reviewed as expeditiously as possible. You are always welcome to reach out to the Time Away Office to request a status update.

You are not eligible to register for classes until your return request is complete. The Time Away Office will reach out to you to schedule a meeting to discuss your request and make a decision moving forward. You will receive a formal letter regarding your request from the Time Away Office outlining the plan developed. 

If you return request was postponed, the postponement letter outlines the steps and contact person for your appeal. Students have five business days to request an appeal in writing. The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Student Engagement or their designee will respond to the appeal.

Treatment conditions function to enhance your chance of a successful transition back to Duke. They are developed based on the information shared during the review process. The Time Away Office can help you identify local treatment providers to meet the treatment conditions.

Your conditions of return were determined by the Time Away Office, our relevant campus partners and your treatment provider recommendations. You must comply with the conditions of your return for the period of time stipulated in your return letter. Feel free to discuss your concerns with your treatment provider. If the two of you agree that your treatment plan should be adjusted, simply reach out to the Time Away Office to schedule a meeting to discuss. 

Of course, you can change providers if you do not feel like it is a good fit. However, it is important to note that it takes time to establish relationships. Be sure to give it a chance and share any concerns with your treatment provider. If you feel like you need a new provider, please reach out to the Time Away Office and we can help you find a new provider. It is important to note that the treatment recommendations are still in place, so it is important to make the change quickly so you can maintain the appropriate treatment frequency to demonstration clinical progress to return to campus when you ready.

There are several reasons a Duke Card may not be activated:

  1. A student has a bursar's block
  2. A student has "active" status but has not enrolled in any courses for their anticipated return term
  3. The move-in date for housing has not occurred. Relatedly, the card will not be activated for off-campus students prior to the housing move-in date
  4. There may be a disciplinary restriction on your Duke Card

Please contact the Time Away Office to talk through your plans to determine eligibility based on the program and your individualized situation.

Depending on when you take your time away, will determine if a time away will impact your financial aid. If you take a time away before the semester starts, your time away semester will not count towards you allotted financial aid semesters (meaning, if you take a time away over the summer prior to the start of fall semester, fall semester will not as a semester of financial aid). If you take a time away during the course of a semester, that semester will count as a semester of financial aid. 

If you have specific questions about your time away packet, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Yes, please complete your FASFA and CSS profile before your return semester starts and schedule a meeting with the Financial Aid Office to discuss your financial aid packet. Doing this before you physically return to campus, will allow you to financially plan for your return. 

No worries, if you forgot which financial aid counselor you are assigned to, you can email the general email address ( and they will answer your question and direct you to the right person. 

Student loans will begin a repayment process approximately six months after your time away was processed. Please contact the Student Loans & Personal Finance Office to get information about the specific date when your repayment will start and learn about what options available to you.