Home Education Options Program Hold: What You Need to Know before You Start One
Program Hold: What You Need to Know before You Start One

Program Hold: What You Need to Know before You Start One

Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

By Erin Kelley-Bannister
Academic Advisor, APUS

When students enroll in college, they usually plan to continue until they earn a degree. Sometimes, however, life intervenes and even the best students withdraw from school for a while. Whether it’s a family tragedy, a lack of funds or just a need to stop and re-ignite a diminished enthusiasm for learning, most institutions will keep the door open for a student’s return.

After all, professors take sabbatical breaks. So why shouldn’t students do the same if necessary?

As Mary Pat Seurkamp, former president of the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, wrote in University Business, “University faculty and administrators are acutely aware of the increasing pressures and distractions students today bring to the campus: inordinate work commitments, lack of parental social support and college familiarity, family obligations requiring their attention, to name only a few.” These demands often translate into having to leave college before completing a degree.

In this age of adult learners, colleges and universities are aware of an increase in student breaks for career and personal obligations. That is why American Military University and American Public University designed a “program hold” that facilitates student hiatuses and subsequent return to class.

What Are the Benefits of a Program Hold?

A program hold freezes your academic program during which you will remain enrolled even though you are not taking classes. Your current program requirements remain the same until you are ready to return.

However, there is a two-year time limit on the hold. It is important to take advantage of the program as soon as you decide to opt out for a while.

If you remain out of school beyond the two-year hold and decide later to seek readmission, your program will need to be updated to meet the most current catalog requirements for your degree. You could lose credits if the catalog has undergone changes since you first enrolled.

How to Request a Program Hold

It’s quick and easy to request a program hold:

  1. Visit your Academic Plan & Forms drop-down menu at the top of your ecampus home page.
  2. Select the “Program Hold Request Form” from “University Forms.”
  3. Choose a time period of six to 24 months for your hold. If you are unsure of the amount of time you will need for the hold, select a longer period of time to be safe.

Once you are ready to return to school, submit the “Program Hold Return Request Form” to regain your active status. Be sure to submit the form before your program hold ends.

What to Consider Prior to the Program Hold

One thing to keep in mind when you consider a program hold is the program deadline. It is determined by the date you began your first course and your planned degree.

The hold does not freeze the degree program completion deadline, however. So if you have only two years remaining before your scheduled deadline and you request a hold for two years, your program may need to be reset when you return.

If you are unsure about any aspects of the program hold option, reach out to the Academic Advisors for assistance. You can reach your academic advisor by emailing counseling@apus.edu or calling 877-755-2787. We will be glad to discuss the program hold option with you and help you map out a plan for program completion.

Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

About the Author

Erin Kelley-Bannister has worked at APUS for seven years as an Academic Advisor for the Schools of Arts and Humanities and Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and enjoys helping students as they work on their college education.



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