Withdrawals, Leaves of Absence, and Reinstatement

The University expects that students who have matriculated in the College will remain enrolled as full-time students each semester, either at the University or on an approved study away program, until graduation. However, for a variety of reasons, a student or the University may determine that the student’s enrollment at the University should be interrupted or cease altogether: students may seek a formal leave of absence, or they may withdraw voluntarily, or they may be withdrawn involuntarily as when suspended for academic, disciplinary, or other reasons. The Office of the University Registrar notes leaves of absence and withdrawals on students’ transcripts. By definition, a leave of absence is meant to be temporary. Depending upon circumstances, a withdrawal may be considered temporary, and, after fulfilling any conditions predetermined by the University, the student may apply for reinstatement.

Leaves of Absence

The College may grant a leave of absence, for up to two semesters, for intellectual or personal development. Students wishing a leave must submit a formal request for leave, stating their specific plans for the period of absence and the planned date of return, via an online form. A dean will review the request and communicate with the student, explaining any conditions of the leave, before formally confirming the leave of absence. A student who meets the conditions may return as planned as a full-time student without applying for reinstatement. Students who have not met the conditions at the conclusion of the leave of absence are withdrawn from the college and must apply for reinstatement as described below.

The deadlines for submission of leave of absence applications for the Advent and Easter semesters are August 1 and January 1, respectively. Students who do not meet these deadlines but spend a semester or more away from Sewanee forfeit any deposit, are considered “withdrawn,” and must apply for reinstatement. A second reservation deposit is necessary to reserve a space in the college for the semester of planned re-entry.

Normally, students returning from an approved leave of absence do not have to apply for reinstatement but instead need only complete a “return to campus” notification by April 1 for the fol­lowing Advent semester or November 1 for the following Easter semester. Students who do not meet these deadlines will be re-classified as “withdrawn” and must apply for reinstatement. 

Voluntary Withdrawals

Voluntary withdrawals include those for medical or other personal reasons either during a semester or following a semester (i.e., between semesters). All voluntary withdrawals during a semester must be reviewed by the Dean of Students and only become official when the Dean of Students, after consultation with relevant offices, so designates. The Dean of Students will confirm the withdrawal with the student and will communicate any conditions for departure and reinstatement. (Students who indicate they are not returning after the conclusion of a semester are classified as “not returning”; see below.) When a student’s withdrawal takes place during a semester, then the student receives no credit for the semester and the student must leave within twenty-four hours of notification of withdrawal. For any withdrawal, the student may return to the Domain only with written permission from the Office of the Dean of Students. Students seeking informa­tion on the University’s refund policy should contact the Office of Student Accounts.

Medical Withdrawals: Students who seek to withdraw during a semester to receive treatment for any health-related concern should contact an appropriate medical provider for supporting documentation in order to have the medical withdrawal approved by the Dean of Students. Such students must apply for reinstatement. The Dean of Students will confirm the withdrawal with the student and will communicate any conditions for departure and reinstatement. At the time of application for reinstatement, an appropriate medical professional must confirm with the University Wellness Center that the student clearly demonstrates readiness to return and safely resume academic work at the University.

Personal Withdrawals: Students who choose to leave the University during a semester for non-medical reasons must meet with the Dean of Students for an exit interview and to confirm the voluntary withdrawal in writing (through an online form). The Dean will confirm the student’s intentions and status. Such students who want to return must apply for reinstatement.

“Not returning”: A student in good standing who, having completed a semester, does not return to the University for the subsequent semester will be classified as “not returning” and will have to apply for reinstatement. Students are asked to communicate their intentions to the Dean of the College via the online form rather than simply not show up the next term. Students who are “not returning” will have their status confirmed.

Involuntary Medical Withdrawal Policy

Student well-being is highly valued at The University of the South. The University of the South is committed to providing equal access to educational programs to all students, as well as reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities to allow them equal access to those programs. However, when situations arise where a student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations, or a student’s medical condition or effects of a medical condition pose a significant risk to the health or safety of others, or create significant disruption to and interference with the rights of other students or to the ability of the University to function efficiently, the University will consider whether the student will be administratively withdrawn.

The determination will include an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence, to ascertain both the probability, nature, duration, and severity of the disruption, threat, or impairment as well as whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures can mitigate the risks of allowing the student to remain enrolled. When this assessment indicates that a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of others; or poses an actual risk to their own safety not based on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities; and the student does not want to take a leave voluntarily, the vice president for student life and dean of students, with appropriate consultation, has the authority to administratively withdraw the student.

Students who are withdrawn through this process may apply for reinstatement.  At the time of application for reinstatement, the student must provide appropriate medical documentation to demonstrate a readiness to return and safely resume academic work at the University.

Involuntary Withdrawals (Suspensions)

In certain cases the University may require a student to withdraw. This latter practice is also known as suspension, and the University reserves the right to suspend and in some cases expel a student who is not fulfilling minimal academic standards of performance or who has violated the Honor Code or the Code of Conduct, as per the EQB Guide.

Students who are suspended are required to remain off-campus for the remainder of the semester, if the withdrawal occurs during a semester. Furthermore, students who are suspended for violating the Honor Code or Code of Conduct (or who voluntarily withdraw in the face of allegations of such violations) may be required to remain off-campus for one or more entire semesters and may return to the Domain only with written permission from the Dean of Students.

In some cases a student may be required to meet one or more additional conditions to be considered for reinstatement.


Students who withdraw or who are suspended from the College may apply for reinstatement unless specifically indicated at the time of withdrawal. (Students returning from an approved leave of absence should see that section above.) Applications for reinstatement are available through the Sewanee website. Students must return the completed application and any required materials by April 1 for the fol­lowing Advent semester or November 1 for the following Easter semester. Reinstatement during summer terms is not normally permitted. Students returning from an approved leave of absence must confirm their intent to return by the same deadlines.

Reinstatement is never guaranteed and is never automatic. The College Standards Committee meets in the weeks following each deadline and makes its decision after reviewing the application with all supporting materials as well as the student’s academic and conduct records at the University. The committee reserves the right to require additional documentation that the student is qualified and ready to return to rigorous academic work and abide by community standards. At its discretion, the Committee may require an on-campus or phone interview. Furthermore, reinstatement decisions are always pending available space, and applicants should know that decisions regarding financial aid are made separately from the reinstatement process.

The Committee looks for evidence that an applicant is ready to return to all aspects of college life and be successful. The Committee will not reinstate students if required progress toward graduation is not feasible, or if continued separation is considered to be in the best interests of the student, the University, or both. The decision of this committee is final; there are no appeals.