Senate Document Number 5004S

Date of Senate Approval 04/08/04

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

APC Document 24:         Changes in the Course Withdrawal Policy

Effective Date:   Spring semester 2004

Delete:     On pg. 33, all four paragraphs under Withdrawal from a Course.

Add:         On pg. 33, the following text under Withdrawal from a Course.

A student may withdraw from a semester course up to the end of the ninth week of class, and a Term I or Term II course up to the end of the fifth week of the class. A student who withdraws in this way will receive a grade of W for the course. W hours count as Attempted Hours. Withdrawal for non-attendance is processed only at the instructor's request. It is the responsibility of students to process the proper forms and paperwork for all schedule changes after the Registration period in the Office of Advising and Registration Services.

A student who wants to withdraw from a course must meet with his or her advisor to review the student's record, future plans and possible effects upon graduation date, eligibility for financial aid, veteran's benefits, intercollegiate athletics and tuition surcharge. The recorded withdrawal date is the date on which the student submits the Permission to Withdraw from a Course form, signed by the student and his/her advisor, to the Office of Advising and Registration Services.

Requests for withdrawal after the deadline will be considered only for documentable emergencies beyond the student's control. Students requesting Withdrawal after the Deadline must obtain the proper forms from the Office of Advising and Registration Services and submit the completed forms with appropriate documentation prior to the final two weeks of the semester. Final approval rests with the Enrollment Services Committee and/or its designee. When the student's situation is unusually severe, or an emergency, the committee may consider petitions that are retroactive for a prior semester; however, proposals will not be considered if submitted one calendar year beyond the date the initial grade was earned.

Students who withdraw from all of their courses are exiting from the university. There are special procedures for doing this. See the section on Exiting from the University.

Since Fall of 1995 there have been approximately 12,000 individual grades of W assigned. Of these, approximately 8200 were within the defined withdrawal period (first six weeks of the semester) and 3800 were approved after the withdrawal deadline. This translates to a total of 5280 students who received grades of W, with 4285 students withdrawing within the six week period and 2071 withdrawing after the first six weeks. (Approximately 1050 students received W's within both time periods.) Graph 1 shows the trend over time per semester, with a noticeable increase in the number of late course withdrawals during the past five semesters. There is also a corresponding sharp increase in the number of students receiving late withdrawals in the same time period. (Graph 2)

UNCA's current Withdrawal policy cites "extenuating and documentable circumstances" as justification for receiving late withdrawals. The intent of the policy was to allow students with emergency situations a means of exiting from their courses. It was never intended as a means of avoiding D's or F's - the Repeat Course policy provides for that situation. Over the past six semesters, an average of 22% of late withdrawing students have withdrawn from all courses, 78% have withdrawn from selected courses. The question of why an extenuating circumstance would affect a student's ability to complete only one or two of his/her courses is appropriate. The Enrollment Services Committee is concerned that the current policy is administratively difficult to enforce and allows students to selectively apply extenuating circumstances to courses in which they may be experiencing academic difficulties. Further, many students repeatedly receive late withdrawal grades over several semesters. Since 1995, approximately 300 students have received multiple late W grades during two or more semesters.

The Enrollment Services Committee feels that the new policy will be more enforceable and will encourage students to make decisions regarding their course status prior to the Deadline to Withdraw. Extending the deadline to the ninth week is in line with other UNC System schools - the dates range from 6 - 9 weeks. The language in the new policy attempts to be clearer about what situations merit consideration for late withdrawals.


[Graphs are not available on the Faculty Senate website.]