If you withdraw or take a leave of absence from Harvard Law School, you may be required to repay a portion of the financial aid that you received.
Your award package will be pro-rated based on enrollment information we receive from the Registrar’s office, in accordance with both federal and institutional regulations. You can refer to the HLS Handbook of Academic Policies for leave of absence guidelines.
You have the option of purchasing two 4 additional months of health insurance during your leave of absence. This must be arranged directly with Harvard University Health Services within 30 days of your leave date. For further details, visit University Health Services.
If you decide or need to take a leave of absence you will need to notify the Registrar, and in some cases, the Dean of Student’s office. The Registrar’s Office will inform us in the Financial Aid Office that you are taking a leave and the conditions under which you will no longer be enrolled; i.e. graduate study at another school, personal leave, medical leave, etc. We will also be informed of the date you withdrew – usually the last day you attended classes. This information is what we will use to re-calculate your financial aid. It is required that you have an Exit Interview with our office either just prior to your leave or within 30 days after you have withdrawn. The Exit interview will review your adjusted award, inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a borrower, review your term bill and to whom you will repay your student loans.
Recalculation of Your Award
Loan Only Students
If you receive only loan assistance (Direct Loans and private Loans) and do not receive any grant assistance from Harvard Law School, your award will be adjusted according to federal guidelines. The federal guidelines require us to adjust your award based on the number of days you have been enrolled for the semester. If a student is enrolled for at least 60% of the semester or academic year they are entitled to all federal funds for their enrollment period. Any student who is enrolled for less than 60% must have their federal aid adjusted according to the “Return to Title IV” calculation guidelines.
If you do receive grant assistance (as well as federal and private loans) from Harvard Law School, your award will be adjusted according to BOTH federal and institutional guidelines. As noted in the HLS Handbook, institutional guidelines state that your tuition is adjusted by the number of months you have been enrolled. Therefore, once we have been informed by the Registrar’s Office of your tuition adjustment, we will adjust your budget, grant and base loan using institutional guidelines. We will ALSO do a separate calculation and adjust your federal aid based on federal guidelines.
Once all adjustments have been made you will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office informing you of your new award as well as the other necessary steps you must take to complete your leave of absence paperwork.
Your Student Bill
It is important for you to review your bill once all the adjustments have been made to your award. As always you can view your student bill by logging into www.termbill.harvard.edu. If you are owed a refund, the Financial Aid Office will contact you for your mailing address and the check will be send within a matter of days or via direct deposit if you have already set up access. If you owe money to your term bill, you are expected to pay the amount due prior to any future enrollment at any of the Harvard University colleges, however, if you take a permanent leave or withdraw, the bill will be due within 30 days.
The Exit Interview
If your leave of absence is due to a non academic enrollment matters, i.e. personal or medical, you will need to complete the Exit forms. Depending on how long your leave will be, you may go into repayment on your loans prior to your re-enrollment. Students who have borrowed through the federal (Direct and Perkins) and Harvard Law School Loan programs have a six month grace period and will make their first payment in the seventh month after their leave. If you should re-enroll prior to the end of your grace period you will need to be sure your enrollment information has been updated with ALL of your lenders in order to avoid defaulting due to timing issues. We often encourage students who are required to make a payment in their seventh month to also be prepared to make a payment in their eight month as well in order to avoid default in case your deferment form is not received by the payment due date.