Walking away from school might be more than you can afford

Leave of absence
Jaime Munoz

Sometimes life comes at you like a train and you have to decide whether to get on board or not.

Such a difficult decision presents itself to students when they have to decide whether to stay in school or take a break.

For some students, taking a leave of absence might seem like the best option. However, before deciding to take a break from school, students should consider resources that are available to them on campus for their benefit.

While this option can be beneficial for some, not all students should take a leave of absence.

Taking a break can have a huge impact on benefits that can help their future career.

Financial aid can be affected. Every university has different policies, but it’s important to consult with the Financial Aid Office on campus to determine how your financial aid will be affected.

When students withdraw or don’t complete units, those units can count against them, said Elizabeth Alaniz, assistant director of advising.

“This can be effective if students choose to take a withdrawal, it won’t affect their semester,” Alaniz said. “But for financial aid purposes, we have this thing called satisfactory academic progress. Every time a student attempts units but doesn’t complete them, their academic progress goes down and if a student begins hitting a certain percentage, we stop providing financial aid.”

A student who is approved to take a leave of absence after receiving financial aid for the semester may be required to return a portion of it.

When a student discontinues their enrollment for at least six months in a year, they will be considered as withdrawn from school will have to start repaying loans. At that point, the school is required to calculate the amount of financial aid that must be returned, according to the Federal Education Loan regulations.

Once the six month grace period is used for a specific loan, it will not be given again. At the end of the grace period, students will be required to start repaying their federal loans until they return to school, according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“A student can successfully take time off if they have a plan and seek advising,” Alaniz said. “The effect can be minimal. Sometimes students may or may not come back. But it’s important for students to know where they are with their loans because they may have to pay some of it back.”

However, if there is no other option, taking time off of school is possible. It is important for students to know that there are accommodations on campus that are there to support them.

If you are thinking of dropping out or taking a break, the best thing to do is find a support system, both inside and outside of the university, to help you decide what is best.

Resources on Campus:

  • Student Health Center
  • Financial Aid & Scholarship Office:
  • Counseling and Wellness Center
  • Emergency Line: (530) 891-2810
  • NSLDS: Students can check their loan balances and their Pell Grant amount.

Karen Limones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @theorion_news.