The College has confirmed that 164 returning students, or approximately eight percent of the student body, will take personal leaves of absence for the fall 2020 semester. Another 37 students from the class of 2024 will defer enrollment to the fall of 2021.
The College updated its Leave of Absence Policy on May 21, making the notable revision that students taking personal leaves would have to reapply for admission and may not be guaranteed enrollment for the semester for which they would like to re-enroll. However, in an email sent on July 16 from Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi to students taking a personal leave of absence, the College reassured students taking time off that they would be admitted for the semester in which they intended to enroll.
“I am happy to confirm that [students] will be able to request readmission within the timeframe you requested via the Intent to Withdraw form, provided materials for readmission are submitted accordingly,” wrote Odejimi.
The class of 2022 has the highest number of personal leaves of absence, with 66 students choosing not to enroll for the Fall 2020 semester. Of those students, 51 are planning to only take the fall semester off, and the other 15 plan not to re-enroll for the entire 2020-21 academic year off.
The class of 2023 has 51 students taking a leave of absence, with 40 of those students planning to take the fall semester off and 11 opting to take the entire 2020-21 academic year off.
Of the returning classes, the class of 2021 has the lowest number of students choosing to take time off, with 45 students taking a personal leave of absence. Of those students, 37 will take only the fall semester off, and eight will take a leave for the entire academic year.
Another two students from the class of 2020 who had taken time off before this upcoming semester will also not enroll in the fall.
President Clayton Rose announced in an email to all students on July 14 that the College will extend the deadline for first-year international students to request a deferral to August 26 and will extend the deadline for returning international students to request a personal leave of absence to August 31.
In a survey conducted by the Orient in June—well before the College’s July 12 deadline to submit an Intent to Withdraw—11 percent of students planned to take a personal leave of absence, while another 43 percent were unsure whether or not they would enroll for the fall semester. At the time, students reported academics, finances and the uncertainty of the College’s policy as leading factors in their decision about whether to take time off.