A number of students have told us they are considering withdrawing from their courses this semester and taking a leave of absence until the fall 2020 or spring 2021 semesters. There are a variety of reasons students are considering leaves of absence. Some are not in situations conducive to paper writing or exam taking over the next few months due to illness, family obligations, mental health challenges, or other issues arising from the pandemic; some want to earn grades in the courses in which they currently are enrolled to benefit their future employment prospects; and some want to slow down the path to graduation by a semester or longer for a variety of personal, academic or career-planning reasons.

As a change to our usual policy, all J.D. students who are granted a leave of absence for this semester will receive a credit of the tuition they paid this semester toward their next enrolled semester, subject to the following restrictions and conditions:

(1) The current course withdrawal policies set forth in the Student Handbook will remain in place for Spring 2020:
J.D. students may withdraw (i.e., take a W) from any course other than first year requirements, clinics, practica, externships, and some professor-permission courses on or before the last day of classes (April 25, 2020), simply with permission of an academic advisor;

  • J.D. students may withdraw from any practicum course with permission of the professor and the Director of Experiential Education;
  • J.D. students may withdraw from any externship course with permission of the Director of Experiential Education;
  • J.D. students may withdraw from a clinic only with permission of the professor and the Associate Dean for Experiential Programs, which will only be given when remaining enrolled in the clinic would cause significant hardship to the student;
  • J.D. students may withdraw from first year required courses only with permission of the Dean of Students;
  • J.D. students may withdraw from more than one course, with the permission of the appropriate academic advisor or dean(s), as delineated above.
  • All leaves of absence for J.D. students must be approved by Mitch Bailin, Dean of Students.

(2) Consistent with those usual requirements, any J.D. student who withdraws from all of their Spring 2020 courses and is approved by the Dean of Students to take a leave of absence will receive a credit of tuition paid for Spring 2020 toward their next enrolled semester, subject to section 3 below.

(3) Students who withdraw from all courses due to a medical condition that prevents them from completing their coursework will be required to first seek coverage of their Spring 2020 tuition under the Student Tuition Insurance Plan, assuming they did not waive coverage for the year in Fall 2019. For those who did waive the coverage, they will still receive the tuition credit for Spring 2020. For those eligible for tuition insurance coverage, they will receive a credit of whatever portion of tuition paid toward Spring 2020 isn’t ultimately reimbursed by the tuition insurer (typically 15% of tuition is ineligible for coverage from the insurer).

(4) In addition to the usual requirements in Section 1 above, first year J.D. students will be eligible to take the leave of absence and receive a tuition credit without having to withdraw from already completed year-long or Spring 2020 courses: namely, Legal Practice and Week One electives.

(5) Consistent with current policy, tuition credit is not available for individual course withdrawals for full-time students. Part time students will be eligible for tuition credit for individual course withdrawals if they can demonstrate compelling personal or medical reasons to withdraw from the class(es), and should coordinate with the Office of the Dean of Students to request such tuition credits.

(6) Students who are approved to take a leave of absence will not receive any unusual priority to enroll in the same or other courses in future semesters. Upperclass J.D. students should not assume that all of the courses in which they currently enrolled will be offered again or in the semester in which they would like to take them after returning from a leave of absence.

(7) First year J.D. students will have to complete their remaining first year requirements at the first available opportunity when they re-enroll, with course/professor assignments made by the Registrar based on seat availability and other considerations. The same first year electives will not necessarily be offered. They likely will have to purchase new books for their courses.

 

JD students who wish to discuss a leave of absence should contact Megan May in ODOS, lawdeanofstudents@georgetown.edu , who will schedule an appointment for you with Dean Bailin or someone in the Office of the Dean of Students this week.