Deferral Info and FAQ

Learn our policies and procedures for first-year and transfer deferrals (including for international students), and find answers to related questions.

Deferral policy and protocol

For first-year students

You may defer your admission for one year pending the approval of the Admissions Office. Deferrals are granted from fall semester to fall semester; it is not possible for first-year students to start in the spring.

You may take college courses during your one-year deferral, but you may not matriculate full-time to an institution and/or complete the equivalent of a full year of college coursework (approximately 24–30 credits). If an admitted student completes more than 21 credits during their deferral they need to re-apply to RISD as a transfer applicant, and their admission is no longer guaranteed.

To request a deferral of admission, you must first submit their non-refundable enrollment deposit by the deposit deadline. Once submitted, you should access your applicant portal and follow the prompts to defer admission. The request must include a brief statement about your plans during the deferral period.

The deferral request can be submitted after May 1, but needs to be received before June 30. Deferral requests made after June 30 will still be considered and should be submitted using the applicant portal. The request will be evaluated by the Admissions Office and the outcome of the review will be emailed to the admitted student.

For transfer students

Transfer admission is predicated on space availability by major. Consequently, the general policy is that admitted transfers are not able to defer their enrollment. This is almost always the case.

In very rare circumstances, however, admitted transfer students may be able to defer their enrollment. All transfer deferral requests should come to Admissions first. Similar to first-year students, you must pay a deposit before the request can be approved. Admitted transfer students should indicate a desired start term (spring or fall) and plans during their deferral.

Two-year deferrals

While we typically only grant one-year deferrals, in the case of extenuating medical circumstances or compulsory military or religious commitments, we may grant a two-year deferral. The maximum deferral for any incoming student is two years. Admissions must review and approve all requests.

For currently deferred students

We cannot approve a second deferral request. Please contact us at if you have questions or need to update your record.