Military Leave of Absence, Military Withdrawal and Military Drop

Students who have yet to begin classes when their military service obligation becomes known are eligible to be placed on Military Leave of Absence (MLOA) status for a period not to exceed five (5) years. Students who have begun classes when their military obligation commences can fully withdraw from all their courses using a Military Withdrawal (MW) or continue with a reduced course load using a Military Drop (MD) for a portion of their courses. The MD is intended to provide students maximum flexibility to complete courses by maintaining a partial schedule.


Military Leave of Absence, Military Withdrawal and Military Drop are available only to students who:

  1. Are U.S. Armed Forces active-duty service members or activated reserve-component service members (Guard or Reserve), and/or those who are dependent spouses or dependent domestic partners of the active-duty service member or activated reserve-component service member, and
  2. Have a military permanent change of station (PCS), temporary duty assignment (TDY), reserve-component activation, or deployment and, as a result, are unable to meet class attendance and other participation requirements, including web-based activities.

Military Leave of Absence

A Military Leave of Absence (MLOA) provides the same protections as a standard Leave of Absence (see Policy J-2) but is available for a greater time limit. If students have yet to begin the semester, their schedules are canceled, and they are placed on MLOA. If students enroll and do not attend any classes due to military obligation, administrative cancellation can be used to place the student on MLOA. If there is an MLOA, this is indicated on the student's transcript. While on a MLOA, students may not enroll in any Penn State courses.

Process to Complete a Military Leave of Absence

Students may initiate a Military Leave of Absence by submitting a Military Leave of Absence Form and uploading a copy of their military orders.

Military Withdrawal

Students who have begun classes and must take a full break from their studies must be withdrawn. This Military Withdrawal (MW) is indicated on the transcript. For the period of their military orders, students' accounts will remain active and re-enrollment will be automatic by sending an email request to the Office of the University Registrar. Students will re-enroll with their status in the university as degree candidates in their original program requirements.

Process to Complete a Military Withdrawal

Students may initiate a Military Withdrawal by submitting a Military Withdrawal Form and uploading a copy of their military orders.

If timing or the situation does not permit a student to present their military orders prior to leaving campus, the student may withdraw by sending a signed written request for a military withdrawal along with a copy of their military orders to the University Registrar's Office by mail or fax.

Military Drop

A Military Drop (MD) is utilized to reduce a portion of a student's scheduled courses after consulting their college/academic unit.

Process to Complete a Military Drop

Students may initiate a Military Drop by submitting a Military Drop Form and uploading a copy of their military orders.

Financial Considerations

Financial policies for Military Leave of Absences (MLOA), Military Withdrawals (MW), and Military Drops (MD) will ensure that:

  1. Students receive a full tuition refund for those courses that will not be completed due to military obligation. Tuition will be recalculated to include only continued courses.
  2. If a student has on-campus housing and/or a meal plan, they will be charged a prorated housing assessment to cover expenses already incurred for room and board and the housing balance and unused meal points will be refunded.
  3. Students will maintain their university access account/email at no cost to the student.
  4. Students will be guaranteed the ability to return under the original term of enrollment with no reenrollment or other additional fees.
  5. Students will be advised by the Financial Aid Office of actions required to defer loan(s) repayments based on active military duty obligations.
  6. A notation will be placed in the Special Actions and Notes section of the student's transcript indicating a "military" withdrawal or "military" leave of absence. For a Military Drop, an MD grade will be assigned to the course(s).

Note: The Office of Student Aid and the Bursar's office will automatically be notified when the withdrawal form is processed.