Special Circumstances for Undergraduates

Flex Quarters and Leaves of Absence in 2020–2021

For the 2020-2021 academic year only, undergraduate students are expected to enroll for three of the four quarters (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer) and designate the remaining quarter as their Flex Quarter. Students who plan to attend for fewer than three quarters will need to request a Leave of Absence. Please review the detailed information on the Registrar’s Office website.

If you have borrowed student loans, please keep in mind that during your Flex Quarter you will not be enrolled at the half-time level or above, and therefore you will not be eligible for in-school deferment of repayment. If you remain in this status for the full length of your grace period (generally 180 days), you may be required to begin making monthly payments. Your loans can be returned to deferment status once you re-enroll at the half-time level or above. Be sure to notify your loan servicing agency of your enrollment plans.

Leaving Stanford


If you have borrowed one or more federal student loans and/or a Federal TEACH Grant while at Stanford, you will need to complete an exit counseling requirement. Most student loan programs offer a six-month grace period following graduation during which you are not required to make monthly loan payments. An exception is the federal Perkins loan program, which has a nine-month grace period. For more information, please visit our Loan Repayment section of this site.

Leave of Absence (Autumn/Winter/Spring Quarters only)

If you decide to take a leave of absence during the academic year, here are some primary steps to take:

Step 1

File a Leave of Absence Form with the Office of the University Registrar. In addition, we recommend that you notify Student Financial Services and Housing Assignment Services, and update your address in Axess.

Step 2

Submit an email to financialaid@stanford.edu indicating what quarter(s) you will be on leave, and what quarter you plan to return. We will adjust your award based on your change in enrollment.

  • We may apply your aid eligibility to a future quarter in the same academic year. For example, if you are on leave for winter, you may use your aid eligibility for summer of the same academic year.
  • If you file a Leave of Absence before the first day of classes, your charges and financial aid will be canceled for the quarter. If you file after the first day of classes and are responsible for a percentage of your charges, we will review your case to determine the amount of aid you are eligible for.

Step 3

Notify your student loan servicing agencies that you will be ceasing enrollment. Use the chart below to find the contact information for each loan servicing agency. If you expect to be out of school for longer than the grace period of your loan program, you must complete the exit counseling process, and you will need to begin making monthly payments when your grace period expires.

Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Federal Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans

Federal PLUS Loans

Log on to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) using your federal PIN.   Review the list of loans to determine the name and contact information of the servicing agency listed for each of your individual loans.

Federal Perkins Loans

Institutional Loans (borrowed directly from Stanford)

Contact Stanford’s Student Services Center at (650) 723-7772 or University Accounting Service at (844) 870-8701

Step 4

Reapply for aid for the next academic year. Application materials are available in January, and due in April. If you leave the University for a year or more, you will be subject to the aid policies in effect when you return.

Updated on May 18, 2021 2:19 PM