International students who for some reason want or need to interrupt their program of study and either withdraw completely from their program or take a semester away from their studies must consult both their academic advisor (or DGP) and an OIS advisor. There are university and departmental procedures as well as immigration consequences that must be considered before any action is taken by the student.
Graduate Students – Leave of Absence & Withdrawals
International graduate students who have successfully completed at least one semester may request a one semester leave of absence if they need to return home for personal reasons. A leave of absence (LOA) is permission from the Graduate School for a student to suspend the continuous enrollment requirement for a semester with the understanding that the student will resume full-time enrollment the next semester. Students should submit a written (or email) request to their DGP who will forward the request (if the department is amenable) to the Graduate School for approval and action. The student would then be exempt from registering for the following term. Since a leave of absence results in a student’s not maintaining full-time enrollment, OIS must terminate the SEVIS record. The student must communicate beforehand with an OIS advisor to discuss travel plans or other immigration options. In most cases, the student will depart the US, OIS will close out the SEVIS record and issue a new Form I-20 (DS-2019 for J-1 students) on a new SEVIS record for a future semester so the student may return to the US and resume the program. If the student does not intend to return then the student should simply withdraw. A one semester extension of an LOA may be possible for extenuating circumstances. To request a new I-20 (DS-2019 for J-1 students), students should contact their academic department to apply for re-admission. Once the re-admittance has been approved, students will receive a new Form I-20 or DS-2019. Students re-admitted after a leave of absence must check in at OIS with their documents upon re-entry.
International graduate students who wish to withdraw from their program must also communicate with their DGP and an OIS advisor in advance. After consulting with the DGP and an OIS advisor, the student should make an appointment to meet with a counselor at the Student Counseling Center. The Counselor can issue a “Goldenrod Form” to the student, which must then be routed to the department, OIS, Office of Financial Aid, and then dropped off at Records and Registration. The Tuition and Fees refund schedule is applicable, unless the student receives a semester cancellation instead of a withdrawal. If the student abandons the program and simply returns home, OIS will close out the SEVIS record early. If the student has been approved for a change of status, is transferring to another school, or simply wishes to drop out, the appropriate action will be indicated in SEVIS.
Undergraduate Students –Withdrawals
An international undergraduate student may request a withdrawal by following the same withdrawal procedures mentioned above: a student meets with a counselor at the Counseling Center and takes a goldenrod form to the departmental coordinator of advising, an OIS advisor (students must schedule an advising appointment to discuss immigration options and future plans), and the financial aid office. There is not a leave of absence option for undergraduate students. The OIS advisor will close out the student’s SEVIS record and indicate authorized early withdrawal, transfer, approved change of status, or failure to enroll (the last of which has negative immigration consequences). Students with an authorized early withdrawal (only) are allowed 15 days “grace period” to prepare for departure. Students who wish to resume their program in the future must complete and submit the Application for Re-admission, which is found on the Records and Registration website. After submitting the Application for Re-admission, students should follow the instructions received from the Undergraduate Admissions office.
Links to the NCSU Policies, Regulations & Rules on Withdrawal for undergraduates.