Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


FAQs for Students

Reach out to SSR at and we will help you through the process. Whether you chose to take a leave of absence or withdrawal, you are required to complete the official forms. All withdrawal, cancelation, and leave of absence requests must originate from the student’s SMU email account.

Cancelation: If a student removes all courses from his or her schedule prior to the first day of the term, the transaction is considered a cancellation and does not result in financial penalty or impact the student’s transcript. The enrollment of students who withdraw on or before the tenth day of the fall or spring semester as listed on the Official University Calendar will be canceled. Courses and grades are not recorded for canceled enrollments; however, the student will owe a portion of his/her tuition and fees.

Withdrawal: A withdrawal occurs when removing the course or courses will result in the student being enrolled in zero hours for the term. A student who withdraws after the tenth class day of the fall or spring semester will receive the grade of W in each course in which they are enrolled.

A Leave of Absence is when a student temporarily takes a leave from SMU, with plans to return. There are a variety of reasons why you may be interested in taking a leave including, but not limited to, personal challenges, family challenges, or illness. 
International students should make an appointment with their International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) advisor. Please keep in mind:


Leave of absence is a termination of your SEVIS status due to Authorized Early Withdrawal.

Leave of Absence/Early Withdrawal must be authorized by the ISSS Office.

Leave of Absence for more than five months will require a new I20 document.

Students who return to the U.S. with a new I20 must complete one academic year in order to be eligible for work authorization (CPT/OPT)

For additional information, go to  

International students who need to return to SMU after a leave of absence must contact the ISSS Office regarding their I20. An international student who has not been in the U.S. for five months will be need an initial attendance I20. For more information, please email or visit the website and click "Leave of Absence/Withdrawal."

Students on leave of absence still have access to many SMU resources, including SSR and your academic advisor. As you plan to return to campus, please reach out to your academic advisor, financial aid advisor, and/or our office. Please note that your SMU student ID card will not work on campus while you are on leave and you will not have access to dining, parking, or fitness facilities.

If you receive any financial aid or scholarships, make sure to reach out to your Financial Aid Advisor to see if taking a Leave of Absence will have any effect on your merit awards and need based aid.

No. You can drop most, but not all, of your classes yourself on my.SMU

No, all intersessions term cancellation and withdrawals go through the Intersessions office. Information can be found on their website:

Medical withdrawals are handled by the  Office of Student Advocacy & Support. Any student who wants to request a medical withdrawal should first complete and submit a CCC submission form and select the “medical withdrawal request” checkbox. Once the form is received, the student will be contacted to schedule an appointment to review the medical withdrawal process with a staff member and schedule an appointment with the Health Center for an evaluation of the request. The student will be asked to complete a “Statement of Understanding” form and review the “Medical Withdrawal Checklist.” You can learn more here.

Medical withdrawals allow a prorated refund of tuition and fees and have conditions that must be met prior to re-enrollment at SMU. The last day for a medical withdrawal is the last day of class instruction for the term from which the student is withdrawing. Retroactive medical withdrawals cannot be granted.

If you withdraw prior to the first day of the term you will get a 100% refund. The refund amount decreases after the first day. Details can be found here:

If you need to withdraw from the University, you must contact your academic school of record or deans office.

We would love to meet with you to answer your question. Make an appointment with us here or email us at so we can help you.

FAQs for Faculty and Staff

We appreciate outreach from faculty and staff regarding students thinking of leaving. You can email with your concerns. Advisors, you can also note this in an Advising Note on my.SMU