Students who determine that it is not possible or in their best interest to complete the coursework in which they are currently enrolled can request to take a leave of absence from the program. This includes students who are taking a leave of absence due to compelling personal circumstances.
To initiate a request for a leave of absence, students should first talk with their faculty advisors and fill out a Leave Plan to determine if a leave is the right next step for them. The faculty advisor will then refer students to the Office of the Provost of Teacher Preparation to determine how and when to take the leave of absence. Students must discuss the implications of a leave of absence with their school leaders, applicable partner programs (such as Teach For America or New York City Teaching Fellows), and SFS. There may be significant professional, academic, financial, and when appropriate, certification consequences to suspending enrollment in a Relay program. For details, see Financial Obligations upon Changes to Enrollment.
Once students have confirmed that a leave of absence is the right decision, they must formally submit a leave of absence application to Relay. Please note, requests cannot be accepted by telephone or email. Failure to attend class or pay tuition does not constitute an official leave of absence. The effective date, if approved, will be the date indicated in the formal leave of absence application. Directions for accessing and submitting an application are available in Support Center. Students are still enrolled students at Relay, with corresponding academic, financial, and administrative responsibilities, until the leave of absence is processed and they receive email verification of the leave of absence. As such, corresponding communications from Relay will continue until the leave of absence is processed.
Relay will notify students via email upon approval of their leaves of absence and inform the students of leave and reenrollment procedures. SFS will follow up with students about how to pay any outstanding Relay tuition and fees, including any tuition balances from pending unearned awards that must be immediately paid back due to the leave and prior to reenrollment. Please see Billing Due Dates and Refunds for more information. Students who return from leave of absences may also have to pay for coursework they are required to repeat. See Repeat Coursework for more details.
A leave of absence is valid for up to one year (12 consecutive months). Relay will consider withdrawing leave of absence students from the program permanently if they do not return within one year. For students enrolled in a certification program, a leave of absence and/or withdrawal may result in immediate suspension or revocation of a teaching license in most states. Additional details can be provided by the Office of the Provost of Teacher Preparation.
Students taking a general leave of absence may apply to return one year from the term in which they take the leave of absence (e.g., if a student takes a general leave of absence during fall 2021, they may apply to reenroll by the census date of the fall 2022 term). If a student takes a leave of absence for a compelling personal circumstance, they may apply to return for any future term.
Students should note that a leave of absence will be treated as a withdrawal for the purposes of Title IV federal financial aid. This may require students who have taken a leave of absence to return a portion of unearned federal loans or grants. For more information about the return of Title IV funds, please see Return of Title IV.