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Fellowships and Funding Leave of Absence (LOA) Policies

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Advisers in the Office of Fellowships and Funding are happy to talk through any LOA situation with students. Please feel free to make an appointment or send an email to

This page was last updated on July 15, 2020 for the Academic Year 2020-21


International Study Award (ISA)

1.   Students who take a leave of absence for one semester (either fall or spring) of the academic year preceding their summer experience  are eligible for International Study Award (ISA) funding. Their ISA eligibility will be calculated based on their Yale Scholarship for the semester they attend during the academic year.

2.   Summer 2021 only: students who take a leave of absence for the entire academic year 2020-2021 may apply for ISA funding to support a summer 2021 experience abroad under the following circumstances: 

  • Students must meet all other ISA eligibility requirements.  
  • Students must have been eligible for a summer 2020 ISA.
  • Yale Scholarship amounts from AY 2019-2020 will be used to calculate the 2021 ISA award amount.

3.   Students planning to take a Leave of Absence the Fall semester following their ISA-funded experience are still eligible to receive ISA funding provided that they meet all ISA eligibility requirements. Summer 2021 only: students wishing to use ISA for a summer 2021 experience after a year-long leave of absence in 2020-2021 must return to Yale in fall 2021.

National/External Awards

Taking a leave of absence may impact eligibility for national awards that are only open to members of certain class years (e.g. sophomore, junior). Below you will find a summary but please be sure to carefully review each award’s formal eligibility policies before applying. Here are some questions that may help you: 

  • Does the award determine class year by time since beginning college, time remaining to graduation, or some other factor?
  • Does the award require applicants to be full-time students at the time of application? 
  • Does the national application deadline fall in a different semester than the campus application deadline? 
  • Does the award have any special rules in place for 2020-2021 applications due to COVID-19?

Goldwater: For 2020-2021 only, students are not required to be enrolled full-time in order to apply. Sophomore or junior standing is determined by semesters remaining until graduation. National application deadline is in spring term.

Truman: Students on leave of absence are eligible as long as they certify they will return to Yale to complete their degree. 'Junior' here means a student who plans to continue full-time undergraduate study and who expects to receive a baccalaureate degree between December 2021 and August 2022. National application deadline is in spring term.

Fulbright: Students are required to complete a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of the grant. For most students, this means graduation in May 2021. December 2021 graduation could be possible provided the specific country has a grant type beginning January 2022 or later. National application deadline is in fall term.

Udall: Sophomores and juniors on leave of absence are eligible to apply as long as they will return to Yale in the term following their award. Udall considers both terms of full-time study completed and remaining to determine class standing: applicants must have completed at least 3 semesters and have at least 2 semesters remaining to graduation. Students may only apply twice for the Udall. National deadline is in spring term.

Beinecke: Juniors on leave of absence are eligible to apply. Beinecke defines “Junior” as a student who plans to continue full-time undergraduate study and who expects to receive a baccalaureate degree between December 2021 and August 2022.

Marshall/Mitchell/Rhodes: Students are required to complete a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of the grant. For most students this means graduation in spring 2021. Graduation in December 2021 would require applicants to apply in summer of 2021 for entry to degree programs in fall 2022.

Yale Internal Fellowships

FAQ: Are there fellowships that I can apply for to support my Leave of Absence for the fall of 2020 or spring of 2021?

Unfortunately, we do not have any fellowships available to support a Leave of Absence for fall 2020 or spring 2021.

FAQ: I was awarded a fellowship for summer 2020. Can I ask for more money from that fellowship to support my leave of absence for the fall?

In the unexpected and difficult circumstances of spring 2020, we did our best to support as many students as possible for the summer of 2020. All available fellowships were allocated for summer 2020.

FAQ: I plan to take a Leave of Absence in the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021. Will I still be eligible to apply for summer fellowships for summer 2021?

Yes, you can apply for summer fellowships for summer 2021 if you are on a Leave of Absence, as long as you plan to return to Yale in the fall of 2021 or spring of 2022. You may not apply for Yale fellowships if you are withdrawn for any reason.

FAQ: Can I apply for a Light Fellowship while on a Leave of Absence?

Yes – you may for a Light fellowship and any other internal fellowship while on a Leave of Absence. You may not apply if you are withdrawn for any reason.

FAQ: There are some fellowships which are only for certain class years. If I take a leave of absence would I be eligible for these fellowships twice?

For the summer fellowships, you may apply for the fellowships you are eligible for.

FAQ: What about students graduating in December who are interested in applying for a Yale College Postgraduate Fellowship or other internal fellowship?

Students who graduate in December may apply for spring-deadline Yale Postgraduate Fellowships either in the preceding spring competition cycle (delaying the start date of the funded activity until January after graduation) or in the spring competition cycle following their graduation in December. In fairness to other applicants, such students must choose one or the other competition cycle and may not participate in both. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with a CIPE Fellowships Program adviser for guidance regarding their particular case.

FAQ: When will fellowship competitions open for summer 2021?

We expect summer fellowship applications to open in early 2021 with deadines in February, as usual. However, this is subject to change.

FAQ: Will I be allowed to travel for my summer 2021 fellowship?

We don’t yet know the answer to that. As with so many things at the moment, only time will tell.

Making the Most of a Leave of Absence

While we do not have fellowships available to support students on a leave of absence, your time away from Yale can be a great opportunity to reflect and recalibrate. Try to get creative about making this time count. Here are some ideas and resources: 

  • Do some good! There are many opportunities to volunteer, including virtually. Dwight Hall lists some opportunities here.
  • Reflect on your journey so far and your priorities for the future, then take action. The Office of Career Strategy has lots of resources here to help you think through your values and priorities as they relate to your professional life, and to help you take that next step. COVID-19 changed a lot of summer plans this year, and OCS advice about coping with that uncertainty can be helpful for the academic year as well.
  • Many gap year opportunities have historically been geared toward the year before starting college or the year after graduation, gap year programs could be a good option for anyone taking a year off.
  • Talk to people. Whether your research is on hold, your internship fell through, or you’re questioning your path more generally, low-stakes conversations with people (even strangers) whose work you admire can help you make strategic decisions for your future. 
  • Apply for fellowships – or plan to! Each fellowship has its own guidelines about applying while on a leave of absence, but waiting until you are back on campus means you might lose out on valuable opportunities. Deadlines happen throughout the year, so be sure to read our newsletter and explore external awards  to see what might be a good fit for your goals and interests. No matter how you decide to spend your leave of absence, you should be prepared to talk about why you made that decision and what you learned from it in an application.