Graduate Student Handbook

Leave of Absence

Under exceptional situations, students may apply for a Leave of Absence. Students on leave are excused from the continuous registration requirement during the period of the leave and thus are not required to pay tuition and fees.

Leaves are normally granted for one semester with a possible extension of an additional semester for a total of up to two semesters. A Leave of Absence is granted only in exceptional circumstances, such as illness or other unusual personal hardship, and requires detailed justification.

Leaves of Absence are not granted to students who wish to absent themselves to undertake thesis or dissertation research elsewhere.

Requests for Leaves of Absence should be submitted one month prior to the semester for which the leave is requested. Students may not apply retroactively for a Leave of Absence because they have failed to register for a current semester. Students not submitting Leaves of Absences or requests to extend their Leaves of Absence must comply with the Continuous Registration policy.

In order to request a Leave of Absence, or an extension to a Leave of Absence, students must submit the Petition for Leave of Absenceform with the approval of the chair of their program.

If the student is an international student, additional approval is required from the Director of International Student Services. The Leave of Absence form is also approved by the Graduate Council Chair and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Students receiving Financial Aid should seek advising from the UH Hilo Financial Aid office prior to submitting the Leave of Absence Form. The UH Hilo Graduate Division Leave of Absence Policy does not meet the conditions to qualify as an approved Leave of Absence for Title IV financial aid purposes.

Returning from Leave of Absence

To return from Leave of Absence, students must submit the Return from Leave of Absence form in Kuali Build. This form will notify your Primary Advisor, Graduate Program Chair and the UH Hilo Graduate Division. Students on an approved Leave of Absence are not able to register for courses until this form is processed.

Students who fail to return from an approved leave of absence will need to reapply for admission per the Graduate Student Handbook.

Questions: Please contact the Graduate Division at

Revised February 2024