Warren Wilson College News

How does taking a leave of absence affect your financial aid?

If you are considering participating in a study abroad program or taking time off from Warren Wilson College for personal reasons but plan to return, you may want to talk to the Registrar about taking a Leave of Absence (LOA).

Taking a LOA is basically a way to “hold your spot” at Warren Wilson College. It means that you will be able to register with your class for the semester when you plan to return. It also means that you if you receive WWC scholarships, you will be eligible to continue to receive them if you meet the Academic Requirements (outlined in the initial scholarship letter) when you return.

However, one impact of a LOA that students sometimes don’t consider is how it will affect your student loans. If you receive Federal Student Loans, your loans will enter a six month grace period as soon as you begin your LOA. Once that grace period ends, you will have to start repaying those loans. If you become at least a half time student again when the grace period ends (by returning to WWC or being registered at another college), you can defer the payments on your student loans until you finish school. But when you graduate, are no longer enrolled, or drop below half time status, you will have to begin repaying your loans immediately and will no longer have the grace period for repayment of loans taken out prior to the Leave of Absence.

To sum it up, if you are taking a LOA and have federal student loans, remember:
* You will use the six month grace period during your LOA.
* You will begin repayment after six months, though you can defer it if you are enrolled as at least a half time student.
* You will have to begin repayment on the loans taken before your LOA immediately after graduating or dropping below half time status.

If you have any questions about your financial aid, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

The Financial Aid Office staff
Warren Wilson College


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