You are here: American University Admissions First-Year Students Deferral Policy

I was admitted to AU, can I defer?

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, world travel, or a structured gap year program like the American University Gap Program or a program with our partner Global Citizen Year. 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

The deadline for requesting a deferral is July 1. Students who are interested in deferring must contact the deferral liaison in Undergraduate Admissions, Mary Ann Hollander, who will provide the official deferral request form.

Please note that the deferral request form must be submitted by the deadline 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. Students will be notified by email regarding the status of their request.

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.

Can I Earn College Credit While Deferred?

Deferring your enrollment at American University does not permit you to study at another institution as a degree-seeking student. You may, however, 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 advanced approval for course work in excess of six credit hours may nullify your deferral status and require that you reapply as a transfer applicant. Please note that if you complete any college credits during your time of deferment, you will have transfer student status upon matriculation at AU.

If A Deferral Is Approved

Deferred students will be required to reconfirm their intention to enroll at AU no later than February 15. An email will be sent to your AU email account in early February with more information on how to complete this step.

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.

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 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.

Special Programs Status

AU Honors: If you were selected for AU Honors Program, we will hold your space for your new term. If you were not selected for or did not previously apply for AU Honors, you may submit a new AU Honors application for your new term.

Three-Year Scholars: If you were selected for Global Scholars, Public Health Scholars, or Politics, Policy & Law Scholars we will hold your space for your new term. If you were not selected for or did not previously apply for a Three-Year Scholars program, you may submit a new program application for your new term.

Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS): If you were selected for CBRS, we will hold your space for your new term. If you were not selected for or did not previously apply for CBRS, you may submit a new CBRS application for your new term


We regard an admissions deferral as a mutual commitment. We agree to hold a spot for you at AU, and you agree to enter at the time of your new start term. Students planning on applying to other colleges during their deferment period should not seek an admissions deferral.


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American University Gap Program

The AU Gap Program is your gateway to professional and academic success. AU Gap is your opportunity to learn, work, and explore DC through our academic seminars and internships. Our flexible approach provides you with a unique opportunity to be part of a global network of doers, thinkers, innovators, and changemakers.

Learn More about AU Gap