Freshman Deferral Policy

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  • Undergraduate Admissions
    202-885-6000
    Fax: 202-885-1025
    admissions@american.edu

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Deferrals are intended to be granted for intentional occasions in which the student chooses not to begin his or her studies at American University in the term for which he or she was admitted.

Examples of intentional deferrals may include, but are not limited to: a religious activity, community service project, teaching English, political campaigning, or world travel. Deferrals are not granted for financial reasons. Deferral requests are evaluated on their merits, and are not automatically approved simply because they were submitted on time.

Deadline and Instructions

Admissions will only consider deferral requests if they are submitted by July 1 (for students who initially applied for the fall semester) and by December 1 (for students who initially applied for the spring semester). 

A student who is interested in deferring must contact the deferral liaison in Undergraduate Admissions, Emily Stuhan, who will provide the official deferral request form.

Please note that the deferral request form must be submitted by the deadlines referenced above. In addition, a deferral request will not be considered unless the student has submitted the enrollment agreement and deposit. We will review all requests received by the deadline as soon as possible.

Submission of a deferral request by the deadline is not a guarantee of approval. If a deferral request is denied, a student has the option to either withdraw and reapply for a future semester, or commence studies in the semester to which he or she has been admitted.

Deferring admission does not permit you to study at another institution as a degree-seeking or non-degree student. You may enroll in up to six semester credit hours as a non-degree student without obtaining prior approval. If your deferral plans include earning college credits in excess of six semester credit hours (for example, as part of a gap-year or study abroad program), you must note this in your deferral request form. Failure to obtain advance approval for course work in excess of six credit hours may nullify your deferral status and require that you reapply as a transfer applicant.


If a deferral is approved:

Financial aid: If you are interested in need-based financial aid, you will need to reapply for aid for the new term by completing the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 202-885-6500 for more information.

Merit scholarships: If you received a merit scholarship, your award is guaranteed for the new term. If you did not receive a merit scholarship, you will not be reconsidered for awards in the next term alongside the new applicant pool.

Course work: You must maintain a 3.0 GPA and have an official transcript sent to us for any course work taken during the deferral period.