During a Health Leave of Absence

guy napping beneath a tree

“I learned not to compare my life to others. It doesn’t matter what your peers do in life. Focus on finding out more about yourself and how to reach your potential given what you have. It’s your life that you’re living. You have to live it in the way that works for you.”

Accessing university services while on a Health Leave of Absence

While you are on an HLOA, you will not be a registered student. This will have an impact on your access to university services, but there are some resources, particularly on the Ithaca campus, that students on HLOA can continue to use. 

Staying in touch with staff, faculty, and other students can help you maintain your ties to Cornell and prepare to resume your studies. The Health Leaves Coordinator (healthleaves@cornell.edu) and your college student services office or Graduate Field Assistant are key resources to help you stay connected and find answers to your questions. You may also want to refer to this list of Academic Advising and Student Support Resources for more information about the offices that can provide assistance during and after a leave of absence. Cornell Tech students may wish to stay in touch with Cornell Tech Health & Wellness.

If you need to send medical records to Cornell Health, please use myCornellHealth, a platform that provides secure, confidential communication between providers and patients/clients. Please note that email is not a secure method to relay private health information.

Campus activities

Students on the Ithaca campus are permitted to attend Cornell events that are open to the public. However, students on HLOA are not considered part of the active Cornell community and may not serve as an officer of a student organization. You may be able to participate as a volunteer. 
If you are a Cornell Tech student, your student ID will not allow you access to student spaces in academic buildings. You will be able to enter spaces that are open to the public.


Your Cornell email address will remain active for five years after the date when your HLOA begins. All communication from Cornell will come to your cornell.edu email address. If you have an alternate email that you would like to use in addition to your Cornell email, please inform your college student services office or Graduate Field Assistant.

Employment on campus

While on leave you can apply for a position at Cornell through Cornell Employment, which lists jobs that are open to both Cornell students and the local community. While on leave, you will not be eligible to apply for jobs posted through Student Employment.

Fitness centers & athletic facilities

While on HLOA, you will not have access to fitness centers and athletic facilities on the Ithaca campus.

Health care

Students who are on a health leave of absence are not eligible to use Cornell Health services (including both medical and mental health services), except for pharmacy.  If you elect to go on a health leave of absence, Cornell Health will be able to aid in transferring care from Cornell Health to other providers in the community and beyond. This is true for all students on a health leave regardless of individual health insurance plan.


Only registered students can live in Cornell-owned housing. If you are living on campus and you request an HLOA to begin during a current semester, you will need to move out of the residence hall in Ithaca or The House at Cornell Tech.

If you are a student on the Ithaca campus and you plan to remain in Ithaca, you may wish to contact the Off-campus Living Office for information and support with finding housing off campus.

ID card access

Because students on leave are not registered with the university, your Cornell ID will not provide swipe access to dining facilities, residence halls, and academic buildings. You will be able to access university buildings that do not require a student ID to enter. If you are a Cornell Tech student, your ID card will not authorize you to access student spaces in academic buildings.


You may use the Cornell Library buildings while you’re on leave. If you wish to borrow a library item, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Graduate students can submit the Library Privileges Application along with payment of $200/6 months to retain full library access.
  • New York State residents can get a free library card from Mann Library to be used at the state libraries only (Mann, ILR, Vet, Ornithology and Library Annex). With this card, library patrons are allowed to check out up to 20 items at a time for 4 weeks. See information at Library Access.
  • Anyone can purchase a library card for $25/month or $250/year. Like the state resident card, this card allows library patrons to check out up to 20 items at a time for 4 weeks, and it can be used at any library on campus. If you wish to apply for a library card, call Olin Library, 607-255-5069.

Transfer credit

Undergraduate students are welcome to take classes at institutions other than Cornell while on an HLOA. If you want to transfer academic credit back to Cornell, speak to your college registrar prior to enrolling in courses for assistance with the credit transfer process. Be sure to ask the following questions: 

  • Will Cornell accept transfer credit from the institution and for the particular course?
  • How many transfer credits will you earn for the course? 
  • What degree requirements, if any, will the course fulfill?