Schedule Changes

Students may make most schedule changes through the first five days of class using the AccessPlus registration system. Procedures for schedule changes vary by the time period of the semester. The effective date of a schedule change is the date when the change is entered into the registration system.

For courses with permission requirements and/or after the first week of classes, a Schedule Change form will be needed. The Schedule Change form can be found in AccessPlus, under the Student tab, within ‘Registrar Forms’ located on the left column.

Please note: Adding or dropping classes may cause your status to change from part-time, half-time or full-time and may affect your academic or financial aid status. Please speak with your advisor and financial aid office if you have concerns.

Veterans: Making schedule changes may affect your military education benefits. Before making schedule changes, please check with a V.A. certifying official. Contact information

Schedule Change Process- Instructions

  • Prepare a digital Schedule Change form, found in AccessPlus, under the Student tab, within ‘Registrar Forms’ located on the left column.
  • Enter the Full Iowa State email address of the instructor (or department contact) for the course.
                Note: Only for College of Business Undergraduate Course Add or Section Change requests - please reach out to the Ivy Undergraduate Programs Office.
  • Enter the Full Iowa State email address of your assigned advisor (undergraduates), major professor or program staff person (Graduate students).
  • Fill out the requested fields and submit the form, which will route to your instructor.
  • Once approved by the instructor, the form will route to the advisor. The advisor is responsible to verify the requested schedule change has been discussed with the student, that any credit limit or allowable drop issues have been addressed.
  • The advisor will then digitally sign and submit the form, which will route to the Registrar's office for final processing.
  • The Schedule Change is not complete until reflected on the student's record. Any issues that arise in processing the requested schedule change will be communicated to the student and/or advisor, and will remain pending until resolution is provided.

Schedule Change Period Definitions for Full-Term Courses

Period 1/First Week

Ends on the fifth day of classes in the fall and spring semesters.
Schedule changes during period 1 are free and do not require advisor signatures. Instructor or departmental approval may be required for adds or section changes for some courses during period 1. Course drops during this period do not count toward a student's ISU course drop limit, and will not appear on a student's permanent record. Schedule changes during period 1 may be processed through the AccessPlus registration system or by submission of a digital Schedule Change form.

Period 2

Sixth day through the Friday of week 10 in the fall and spring semesters.
During this period, schedule changes require signatures of advisor and instructor and are processed on a Schedule Change form. Course drops after period 1 count toward a student's ISU drop limit and appear as an X on the permanent record. A section change does not require a drop.

Period 3

Anytime after period 2.
Schedule changes during this period are permitted only for extenuating circumstances, may require a written statement of support from the instructor and the student, and must be approved by the dean of the student's college or authorized representative. Drops other than administrative go on the permanent record and count toward drop limit.

Additional Schedule Change Information

Administrative schedule changes

Drops and other schedule changes that are judged to be beyond the student's control may be processed as administrative actions if approved by the college dean. Administrative drops do not count toward a student's ISU drop limit and do not appear as an X on the permanent record. The effective date of an administrative action is the date it is approved by the college dean or authorized representative.

Auditing Courses

To audit a course means to enroll in the course without receiving credit for the course. The instructor of the course must approve the audit request. Students must register for audits by the 10th day of the semester for full semester courses. Students are assessed tuition and fees as though they are taking the course for credit, but the audited course does not count in determining full-time student status. However, an audited course does count towards the maximum allowable credits per semester. Audited courses do not apply toward V.A. benefits. More information

Half-Semester and Partial Term Courses

Specific deadlines for adding and dropping half-semester courses can be found on the university academic calendar page and by clicking on "Details" for the desired semester. Prorated adjustments to add and drop deadlines are made for other partial term courses. To find out specific deadlines for partial term courses, contact the Registrar's Student Scheduling Office, 10 Enrollment Services Center, 515-294-2331,

Instructor acknowledgement/permission

It is important for students to make well-informed decisions when adjusting their course schedules, particularly because such decisions often have financial and/or academic implications. To best support students' decision-making process, students need to obtain signatures from their academic advisor and course instructor on a Schedule Change form.

For students who wish to add or change sections of a course, or adjust course credit hours, the signatures grant permission for a student to make the requested change.

In most cases, the decision to drop a course rests with the student; as such, this signature is not one of permission, but rather to indicate a conversation has occurred between the student and the advisor and instructor

Restriction Waivers

Enrollment in some courses is restricted to certain student populations. To waive a restriction, permission from the instructor or department that offers the course will be necessary. There must also still be a seat available in the course at the time of processing this type of schedule change.

R-Credit Courses (required courses)

Processing a scheduling change for a required course is usually considered administrative. Administrative drops do not count toward a student's ISU drop limit and do not appear as an X on the permanent record. To make a Period 3 R-credit drop administrative requires approval of the college dean.

Registration Holds

Students with holds on their registration will not have access to register until the initiating offices have released the holds. Those who attempt to register before the holds have been released will receive a message indicating which offices have placed holds on their registration. Prior to their registration, students may check for holds on AccessPlus.

Pass/Not Pass Grading

Students may choose to take a maximum of 9 semester credit hours on a Pass-Not Pass basis, meaning that only a P or NP will be recorded as their final grade in the course. The purpose of P-NP grading is to encourage students to broaden their education by taking courses outside the usual program of study for their major and minor disciplines. More information

Summer Term Courses

Because the summer term is condensed and offers a variety of course start and end dates, it is best to contact the Office of the Registrar Scheduling area,10 Enrollment Services Center, for deadlines.

Credit Limit

For fall and spring semesters, the credit limit is 18 credits for undergraduates and 15 credits for graduate students. For summer session, the limits are 12 credits for undergraduates and 10 credits for graduate students. A student may be required to drop credits before adding another course. In some cases, the college dean may approve a higher or lower credit limit for individual students. Students may request a change in their credit limit by contacting their advisor. Advisors should notify the student's college student services office if the credit limit needs to be changed.

Drop Limit

Students are limited in the number of courses they may drop during their academic career.  Exceptions to the drop limit may be made for courses that must be dropped for reasons beyond the student's control. These exceptions are granted only by the dean or other authorized person in the student's college. The number of drops students have left is indicated on their grade report (available on AccessPlus) each term. Students are responsible for not exceeding their limit. 


Canceling your registration means you are dropping ALL your courses before the first day of the term. Other deadlines apply for some courses, such as second half-term courses.


Withdrawing from the university means that you are dropping ALL your classes on or after the first day of the term.

Questions concerning the above information?

Contact the Registrar's Student Scheduling Office, 10 Enrollment Services Center, 515-294-2331,