Office of Academic Affairs

Leave of Absence Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a leave of absence?

A student may find it necessary to leave the School for a period of time and then return to normal studies at a later date. After consultation with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, a student may be approved for inactive status, commonly known as a leave of absence.

Why do students take a leave of absence?

Students take leaves of absence for various reasons, including but not limited to illness, military service, extended performance or professional opportunities; or for purely personal reasons.

How long may I be away from Eastman during a leave of absence?

Students on personal or military leave may be away from Eastman for up to 4 semesters.  Exceptions to this policy are granted at the discretion of the Office of Academic Affairs.

What special circumstances are there for a medical leave of absence?

The Eastman School of Music recognizes that on occasion, a student may be too ill to continue their studies in a given semester.  As a result, there are special requirements and allowances made for those students.

A medical leave of absence must be approved by the University Health Service (UHS) or the University Counseling Center (UCC) as well as the Office of Academic Affairs.  Special parameters will be established at the start of a medical leave of absence in order to fully inform the student of the requirements for their return to full-time study.  At the conclusion of the leave, students must again be evaluated by UHS/UCC in order to be permitted to return.   The minimum expectation is that the student will have been fully recovered for a period of at least 6 months before returning to Eastman.

Students declaring withdrawal or inactive status for medical reasons or other extraordinary circumstances may be granted prorated charges throughout the term with the approval of the Office of Academic Affairs.

What if I need to take a leave of absence during the middle of a semester?

In some circumstances, students may be required to take a leave of absence in the midst of a semester.  Should a student begin the inactive status during the school year, reimbursement of tuition will be made on the same schedule as that of a withdrawing student. See refund schedule:

Course grades for students who leave in the midst of a semester will all be recorded as “W,” or withdraw.

How long can my leave of absence be extended?

Undergraduate students on inactive status for four (4) or fewer semesters remain in good standing. If a student is on inactive status for more than four (4) semesters for any reason, they will be required to reapply for admission to Eastman through the Office of Admissions and re-audition for studio placement. Students readmitted to a degree will be required to fulfill the requirements in their program of study that are in place at the time of their readmission. Exceptions to this policy will be considered by petition to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs on a case-by-case basis.

Is there a fee to take a leave of absence?

There is a $100 per semester fee in order to register for a leave of absence.  This fee holds the student’s place in the studio, maintains their Eastman email address, and keeps them active in our Registrar’s system.

Will a leave of absence delay my graduation?

Eastman requires that undergraduates maintain full-time status for at least 8 semesters.  As a result, a leave of absence will always delay graduation by the number of semesters that the student is away.

What will happen to my financial aid award if I take a leave of absence?

There are two kinds of undergraduate financial aid: merit awards and need-based aid.  Merit awards remain intact when a student is on a leave of absence.  Need-based aid is evaluated yearly with the submission of the FAFSA form.  For this reason, eligibility for need-based funds is subject to change.  As a reminder, the cost of tuition increases every year.

Please contact Eastman’s Office of Financial Aid at 585-274-1070 for questions regarding financial aid.

What will happen to my studio placement when I return?

Studio placements will be honored upon a student’s return unless there are unforeseen circumstances.

May I take classes at another institution while I am away from Eastman?

An undergraduate student may not matriculate (enroll as a degree candidate) at another institution while on inactive status at Eastman.  Students who wish to matriculate elsewhere must withdraw from Eastman and, should they wish to return to the School to complete their degree, must apply for readmission.

Undergraduate students may take two humanities/science courses at another institution and transfer up to 6 credits into their Eastman School of Music bachelor of music degree program.  Each course must be worth a minimum of 3 credits, and a grade of B- or better must be earned.  Credit from courses taken on a pass/fail basis will not be considered for transfer credit.  Correspondence or online courses will not be accepted for credit.  Approval from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs must be obtained in advance of taking the courses in order to be sure that the course will fulfill Eastman Graduation requirements.

Please submit via email the following:

  • Name of institution where you will take the course
  • Course title, course number and number of credits
  • The link to the college or university’s course description in their course catalogue

Upon completion of an approved transfer course, the transcript from the course must be submitted to the Eastman Registrar’s Office in order to finalize the transfer of credits.

What paperwork do I need to complete and whom must I notify?

In order to take a leave of absence, undergraduate students must notify the Office of Academic Affairs and graduate students must notify the Office of Graduate Studies.  Undergraduate students must complete a Change of Status form, while graduate students must complete an ESM 985: Graduate Inactive Status form.  Academic Affairs/Graduate Studies will notify all other pertinent campus offices (Financial Aid, Bursar, Residential Life, Dining, advisors, etc.) as appropriate.

What do I need to do in order to return from a leave of absence?

To return from any leave of absence, the Office of Academic Affairs must be notified; deadlines are March 15 for the following fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester.  Students must complete the Change of Status form and submit a statement indicating their musical and personal activities since their last date of attendance.  If the student has been away for more than 2 consecutive semesters, they must also submit a recent recording of at least 2 contrasting selections on their primary instrument.

Students on medical leave must also work with the University Health Service (UHS) to be evaluated and approved for a return.  Please refer to UHS and/or the University Counseling Center (UCC) for student-specific requirements.

There may be additional requirements in place for a student’s return, as indicated by the Office of Academic Affairs.