Students who wish to be out of attendance from the Tisch School of the Arts for one semester or one academic year may apply for an official leave of absence. Because a leave interrupts progress toward the degree and may interrupt professional training, it is granted only for good cause. A leave of absence maintains a student's status as accepted and matriculated toward the degree. Being absent from school without an official leave, even for one semester, has the effect of invalidating acceptance towards the degree, forcing the student to re-apply for admission.
A student contemplating a leave of absence should begin by discussing the matter with their department advisor. To officially request a leave, the student must submit a Leave of Absence Request Form to their department chair along with a written explanation of the reasons for the leave and its duration. The Leave of Absence Request Form is available on the Student Affairs website.
A letter of explanation is required, in which the student must indicate the reasons for the leave request. If the department feels the leave is justified, they will forward the request to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs for approval. A request for a leave for medical reasons must be accompanied by a note from a physician, and will require the additional approval from the Student Health Center and / or University Counseling Service, if a counseling medical leave. A leave is official only after the student receives final written approval from the dean.
Because a leave of absence may affect financial aid, university housing, and future student status, students should discuss these ramifications with the appropriate offices before applying for a leave. While on leave, students are responsible for meeting all financial aid and housing deadlines relevant to returning students. Students receiving federal loans (SSL, SLS, and NDSL) should note that a leave of absence does not certify one as an enrolled student for the purpose of loan deferral. There is a separate leave of absence procedure for those seeking to register off-campus during their leave.
As a general rule, a leave of absence must be requested prior to the first day of classes of the semester. Requests for leaves after this date will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A leave will usually not be granted after the end of the third week of classes. This marks the conclusion of the drop/add period, after which a student withdrawing for the term receives grades of “W” in all courses. The grade of Incomplete is not possible for a student on leave, and the student is not permitted to make up work for courses after a W is assigned, as it is a terminal grade. If a student is granted a leave after the semester has begun, the same refund schedule applying to withdrawal from classes is in effect. The refund schedule is strictly enforced.
To request an extension or cancellation of a leave, the student should meet with a department advisor to begin the process and paperwork. The student must also write to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Be sure to include the reasons for the extension or cancellation and the time period involved. The normal time limit for a leave is one academic year (or two consecutive semesters) in total. At least one month prior to returning from leave, the student must notify the Office of Student Affairs in writing stating an intention to return. If the leave is medical, the student must also provide written verification from a physician certifying an ability to resume studies, and, where applicable, must also obtain approval from the Student Health Center or NYU University Counseling Service. If a student is on academic probation when a leave is granted, the student will remain on academic probation upon return from leave.