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Programs Leaving graduate school for a semester?

  1. Jun 4, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I have a couple of questions. I'm an incoming graduate student starting in the fall, and working with a group at my future graduate school this summer. I do not want the pity of anyone in my department (especially as a new student) so I'm aware that the answers I get here may be pretty general.

    I moved across the country a month ago today, and found out today that my mom's cancer has returned with vengeance. I need to entertain the possibility of going home for a semester - this may not happen, but it's a "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" kind of scenario. All of my fellowships and support are on a semester-by-semester basis, so taking a semester off should not pose any issues in that regard. I do have two questions though.

    1) Will I be able to return to the university after a semester off, or will I need to re-apply?
    2) This is more for anyone who has ever done this... how on Earth did you afford it? Even if I can manage to find a subleaser for my apartment for a semester, my loans will no longer be deferred and I cannot afford to make loan payments for a semester without having any income.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2016 #2
    Ask the university not us.

    As for the second question I sort of did it. I understand your problem. At the end of my first year of graduate school far from my home my father having just retired had a serious medical problem. Guilt at being so far from home at this time and for the foreseeable future caused me to made the decision to change schools at the end of my second semester. I probably lost a year because of that alone. However I entered a situation that I would not have had if I didn't change schools that unexpectedly cost me several more years (my fault). I eventually got my degree but those last several years changed my career outlook/opportunities. I think It will affect your future but how or to what extend no one can tell.
  4. Jun 4, 2016 #3


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    Gold Member

    Sorry to hear the news about your Mom. I hope it turns out ok.

    I did it twice as a grad student at Berkeley, albeit early on in the program (after the qualifying exams and before research). There was simply paperwork to sign.

    I left to go back to a very lucrative job, so money wasn't the issue. Are there special conditions for deferment for personal reasons? You should talk to your loan officer - better to have the conversation than avoid it (from personal experience).
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