From time to time circumstances may arise that make students unable to continue their enrollment as an ISU student for the remainder of the current term. If the timing of this occurs after the first day of the term or any point prior to finals week, students must initiate the withdrawal process in order to formally discontinue their university enrollment. This is a collaborative process that requires student responsibility, student affairs and academic affairs partnership, and central coordination.
Undergraduate, graduate and professional students seeking to withdraw from Iowa State University as defined by this policy must comply with the processes established by the Office of the Registrar. Withdrawal from the university is categorized in four classifications, each with distinct processes and documentation requirements. These classifications include: Standard Withdrawal, Medical Withdrawal, Out of Term Withdrawal, and University Initiated Withdrawal.
Further, additional guidelines for returning to the university may apply for students who repeatedly request withdrawal to ensure appropriate support services are in place to facilitate student success. The applicable procedures and processes for each withdrawal classification are maintained by the Office of the Registrar. See http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/students/withdrawal.
Cancellation of course registration prior to the first day of the term (“Course Cancellation” or “Withdrawal from Admission”) is not within the purview of this policy.
Students begin the withdrawal process in their college, typically with their academic advisor/major professor or student services office, where the Request for Withdrawal Form is completed. This form is then processed by the Office of the Registrar, with the student’s semester courses withdrawn based on the effective date on the form. Tuition and fees are adjusted, if appropriate, according to established policies approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. See http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/tuition-adj.
When students contact their academic college to initiate withdrawal, they should expect to discuss their situation with the appropriate college official. The purpose of this conversation is to consider options based on consequences of the withdrawal. When a late term withdrawal (Period Three) is determined to be the most appropriate option, documentation of extenuating circumstance will be required. Students should not expect to withdraw during final examination week. If the appropriate withdrawal process is not followed, students will remain enrolled in their courses, and the appropriate grades will be assigned at the end of the term.
The following processes have been developed to ensure that withdrawal from the university is navigated by both the student and university personnel who may be providing guidance. The responsibility for successfully navigating these processes ultimately lies with the student requesting the withdrawal. Important terms associated with the withdrawal process are defined in these procedures, as are the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders.
The withdrawal processes are then outlined in four categories: Standard Withdrawal, Medical Withdrawal, University Initiated Withdrawal, and Out of Term Withdrawal. Each withdrawal category has unique considerations that impact student success which must be balanced with the university’s administrative responsibilities. These processes provide consistency and also maintain an appropriately rigorous academic environment.
Standard Withdrawal is defined as dropping all classes for the current term after the semester/session has begun. Students who are considering withdrawal from the university should immediately consult their academic adviser to discuss reasons for the withdrawal and alternatives. The withdrawal procedures established by the Office of the Registrar must be followed otherwise course instructors will assign grades or marks they consider appropriate. Since these grades may be F’s, students are advised that failure to follow the prescribed withdrawal procedures may adversely affect their academic record.
Standard withdrawals occur in three periods during the typical 16 week fall and spring terms.
Period One – First 5 days of fall or spring semester, week 1.
Period Two – Weeks 2 – 10.
Period Three – Weeks 11 – 15. Period Three withdrawals are granted only for extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control that impacts the ability to remain enrolled and complete academic responsibilities. (Examples include, but are not limited to personal trauma, family emergencies, legal difficulties, etc.) Period Three withdrawals require a written petition be submitted to the college requesting permission to withdraw. (For students with multiple majors, withdrawal requests should be directed to the appropriate college official for the student’s primary major.) The college may require appropriate documentation to support the extenuating circumstances prompting the withdrawal request. Undergraduate students on probation who withdraw during Period Three will be subject to academic dismissal at the end of the term.
Finals Week - Students should not expect to withdraw during Finals Week. When a situation beyond a student's control precludes completion of final examinations requests should be made to course instructors for Incompletes rather than withdrawal during Finals Week.
The specific dates for the three withdrawal periods are adjusted on a prorated basis for non-standard term lengths, including summer sessions. All withdrawal dates are included on the University Academic Calendar. See http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/calendar for detailed information and specific dates by term.
When a student initiates a withdrawal from the university prior to the end of Period Two (the 10th week of classes during a standard 16 week semester) at a minimum the following steps are required:
• Contact/meet with the primary academic adviser to discuss withdrawal.
• Complete a “Request for Withdrawal” form http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms.
• International Students must also meet with an adviser in the International Students and Scholars Office prior to submitting the Request for Withdrawal form to the college office.
• Submit completed Request for Withdrawal form signed by the student and the adviser to the college student services office for student’s primary major.
If the withdrawal request is approved the student is eligible to return to the university for a future term with the same academic status that the student held at the beginning of the withdrawal term.
Late-term Withdrawal (Period Three) due to Extenuating Circumstance
When a student requests withdrawal from the university during Period Three (weeks 11 – 15 during a standard 16 week semester) the student must provide documentation establishing an “extenuating circumstance” that prevents the student from fulfilling their academic responsibilities. An extenuating circumstance is a situation that is beyond the control of the student. It may have developed after the end of the 10th week, or it may have become more serious since the 10th week. Poor academic performance alone is not an extenuating circumstance. To request a late-term withdrawal the following steps are required:
Contact/meet with the primary academic advisor to discuss withdrawal, as well as other possible options.
Complete a Request for Withdrawal Form.
Write a petition explaining the extenuating circumstance and asking permission to withdraw. Appropriate documentation of the extenuating circumstance must be provided in addition to the student’s statement.
International Students must also meet with an advisor in the International Students and Scholars Office prior to submitting the Request for Withdrawal form to the college office.
Submit the petition, documentation, and the completed Request for Withdrawal Form signed by student and advisor to the college student services office.
Requests must be submitted prior to the beginning of the final exam period each term.
The college will determine whether to approve or deny the request for late term withdrawal. Appeals may be made to the college student services office.
Undergraduate students on academic probation who are granted withdrawal during Period Three will be subject to academic dismissal at the end of the term. Appeals may be made to the college Academic Standards Committee.
Additional Considerations for Standard Withdrawal
Before withdrawing from the university, a student should carefully consider all the potential effects of such a withdrawal. Considerations should include, but are not limited to:
The student is withdrawn from all courses based on the withdrawal date on the form, and tuition and fees are adjusted, if appropriate, according to established policies approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. See http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/fees/tuition-adj. Questions about tuition assessments should be directed to the Office of the Registrar.
- Students utilizing Financial Aid who withdraw should consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid before completing the withdrawal process to discuss the impact that withdrawal will have on the student’s financial aid obligations. Federal regulations and university policy may require the repayment of a portion of the financial aid funds the student received.
Graduate students’ tuition, assistantship and fellowship support may be impacted by a withdrawal.
Students who receive Veterans Benefits, may be required to repay all or a portion of the tuition benefits they received for the term.
Students living in on-campus housing or who have a campus meal plan, may be responsible for prorated housing and dining charges based on the date of their withdrawal.
Students who withdraw are also responsible for charges assessed for any products and services associated with their enrollment, such as text books, health insurance, athletic tickets, etc. Students should consult with Accounts Receivable to determine the amount owed to the university at the time of withdrawal.
International students who withdraw should consult with the International Students and Scholars Office before completing the withdrawal process. A withdrawal may affect an international student’s immigration/visa status.
Students who develop a pattern of withdrawing (for example, a student submitting a Period Three withdrawal request for two consecutive semesters, or withdrawing repeatedly each Spring semester) may have a Dean of Students Office Hold (R) placed on their record by the college at the time of withdrawal. To initiate this process, the College Official completing the Request for Withdrawal Form should request the DSO place the Hold by sending a summary e-mail to email@example.com. The staff in Student Assistance will contact the student to offer guidance at the time of withdrawal, and facilitate the student’s successful return to the university. This is part of the university’s commitment to the student’s academic success. Working with the Dean of Office is designed to guide students to more sustainable and productive academic and personal success strategies, and reduce the likelihood of a continued pattern of academic difficulty.
Under certain situations where a student’s health or well-being prevents continued enrollment the student may initiate medical withdrawal procedures. Students may indicate a medical rationale when completing the Request for Withdrawal form.
Students may voluntarily initiate a medical withdrawal during any standard withdrawal period: Period One, Period Two, or Period Three. Undergraduate students on academic probation who are granted medical withdrawal during Period Three will be subject to academic dismissal at the end of the term. Graduate and professional students seeking a medical leave of absence should contact the Graduate College or College of Veterinary Medicine student services office as appropriate for guidance.
A Medical Withdrawal requires the following additional guidance for those administering the withdrawal request, and the student’s consequent return to Iowa State University.
Medical Hold - Students who indicate a medical rationale when completing the Request for Withdrawal Form will have a Medical Hold (M) placed on their future registration by the Registrar at the time of withdrawal. The Registrar’s Office sends daily notification of all withdrawals to necessary offices (examples include, but are not limited to, Dean of Students, Department of Residence, and Office of Student Financial Aid). When the Dean of Students Office is notified a medical withdrawal has been processed, staff in Student Assistance will contact the student to offer guidance at the time of withdrawal, and facilitate the student’s successful return to the university. A Medical Hold may also be put in place when students disclose a medical rationale for withdrawal at any stage of the withdrawal process, including tuition and fee appeals.
Return from student initiated Medical Withdrawal - When the student initiates Medical Withdrawal from the university, requests to return will initially be reviewed by Student Assistance to clear the Medical Hold. Students will need to provide the following information to Student Assistance to clear the Medical Hold:
Documentation from a licensed medical provider indicating the following.
Description of what medical condition(s) prompted the withdrawal and what treatment(s) occurred while away from Iowa State;
A professional opinion regarding the student's readiness to resume the rigors and stresses associated with the higher education environment;
A professional opinion regarding the student's fitness and capacity to succeed in the anticipated degree program; and
A professional opinion regarding any conditions, and/or continuity of care plans, if any, that are recommended upon return to the campus environment.
Guidance for students and providers, including a sample letter, is available on the Medical Withdrawal Sample Provider Letter webpage.
To provide ample time for consideration, this process should be initiated by the student at least 30 calendar days prior to the start of the term students wish to re-enroll.
Student Assistance staff will review the documentation provided and undertake an individualized assessment to determine if additional documentation or further review is required. A decision to clear the Medical Hold will be made based on a reasonable judgment that relies upon the totality of relevant information available, including the information provided by the student and their treating professionals.
If no further documentation or review is required, the Medical Hold will be lifted and the student will be referred to the appropriate academic College Official. (Students wishing to change majors upon return will be referred to their current college to start the major change process.) Notification when Medical Holds are released will be sent by the Dean of Students Office to the appropriate College Officials.
If further review of the student’s medical situation is needed, the student may be required to attend a re-entry meeting with the Withdrawal Consultation Committee.
Students returning from a medical withdrawal should contact Student Accessibility Services if they have any questions or want to initiate a request for reasonable disability accommodations.
3. Retention of Confidential Student Records - medical documentation provided at the time of withdrawal will be considered a part of the student’s education record and forwarded to Student Assistance in the Dean of Students Office. Any medical records submitted when students request to return will also be retained by Student Assistance.
University Initiated Withdrawal (UIW)
The university may initiate the involuntary withdrawal of a student if it is determined that the student:
i. poses a credible substantial risk of harm to the health, safety, or well-being of individuals within the university community or the university community as a whole; or
ii. poses a credible substantial risk of harm to the property rights of individuals within the university community or to the university community as a whole; or
iii. substantially disrupts the educational processes or other activities or functions of the university, or the lawful activities of other members of the university community; or
iv. is unable to engage in basic required activities necessary to obtain an education; or
v. violated the university’s Student Disciplinary Regulations (SDR) and the applicable sanctioning range includes suspension or expulsion. (The Student Disciplinary Regulations govern these matters and nothing in this policy or procedure guide should be read to conflict or supersede the SDR with respect to student disciplinary violations).
Credible substantial risk is defined as the high probability of harm to the health, safety, well-being, and/or rights of individuals or to the university community as a whole, and not just a slightly increased, speculative, or remote risk of such harm.
Reports of conduct that may necessitate the application of this policy/procedure may be made to staff in Student Assistance and/or Student Conduct in the Dean of Students Office. Student Assistance may also receive information through SAFE-T. Student Conduct may also receive information through reports of student disciplinary violations under the Student Disciplinary Regulations. The ISU Police Department should be contacted in all emergency situations.
Once a report is received, an appropriate Dean of Students Office Administrator will initiate a review process as appropriate to the specific circumstances, document the information found, and make reasonable efforts to discuss the report with the student involved. All information relating to reports under this policy will be handled in a confidential manner, with information disclosed only on a need-to-know basis in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. In determining whether any of the criteria listed above is present, the Administrator will make an individualized assessment based on a reasonable judgment that relies upon the best available information to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that potential harm will occur; whether the student substantially disrupted the educational process or other services or functions of the university; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures would reasonably and sufficiently mitigate the risk. In making this individualized assessment, the Administrator may consult with SAFE-T, the WCC, or other necessary administrators. As detailed below, as part of this individualized assessment, the student may be required to undergo an evaluation, including a medical or psychological evaluation, by an independent and objective treating professional designated by the university.
Student conduct, academic, equal opportunity related, and other investigations and proceedings may continue even when a student is subject to a withdrawal pursuant to this policy.
Interim Medical Suspension Order - The Dean of Students, the Student Conduct Administrator or the Student Assistance Administrator may order the interim suspension of a student in appropriate cases. The Administrator may order that a student be immediately excluded from classes and university facilities (including university housing) when, in the professional judgment of the Administrator, and considering all reasonably available information, it is determined that one or more of the criteria identified above (i-v) is imminently present.
Interim Restrictions Order - The Dean of Students, the Student Conduct Administrator or the Student Assistance Administrator may allow a student to continue participating in classes but restrict, on an interim basis, a student’s access to university housing, access to other specific university facilities, and/or the ability to participate in specific university activities and programs when, in the professional judgment of the Administrator, and considering all reasonably available information, it is determined that one or more of the criteria identified above (i-v) is imminently present and an interim restriction is deemed more appropriate, based upon the totality of the circumstances, than an interim suspension.
Initiation and Review of Interim Orders - The Administrator initiates the interim actions process by providing the student a Notice of Interim Action Order. When a student is subject to an interim action under this policy, the Dean of Students will schedule a hearing to review the interim action. The student will receive a written notice stating the reasons for the interim action and the time and place of the hearing to be held within two (2) business days. The hearing will be before the Withdrawal Consultation Committee (WCC). At the time of the hearing, the university shall show probable cause why interim action is warranted, and the student shall have the opportunity to challenge the interim action. At the WCC’s discretion, the WCC may require an independent professional assessment (see below). Following the hearing, the interim action may be upheld, modified, or withdrawn by the WCC.
The WCC’s decision may be appealed in writing within five (5) business days to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs.
Independent Professional Assessment
The Withdrawal Consultation Committee may order the student to be referred for an individualized and objective assessment by a licensed treating professional of the university’s choosing when a reasonable basis for University Initiated Withdrawal exists. The Referral Notice must be sent to the student and notify the student of the scheduled assessment. The university will cover the cost of the assessment. The student may also be required to execute necessary releases so that the report from the evaluation may be provided to the appropriate administrators. If a student fails to complete the assessment, the university may maintain the interim action until the assessment is completed and reviewed by the university. This assessment will be an individualized and objective evaluation based on current applicable professional knowledge. In certain cases, at the WCC’s discretion, existing independent and applicable professional records may be utilized in lieu of or in addition to a newly required independent assessment.
University Initiated Withdrawal Hearing
A University Initiated Withdrawal hearing will be scheduled before the Withdrawal Consultation Committee (WCC) to review and consider the information presented by the Administrator, any information presented by the student, and any applicable professional assessment to determine whether the University Initiated Withdrawal is warranted. (The Student Disciplinary Regulations (SDR) apply in all cases where violations of the student code of conduct may result in the suspension or expulsion of a student and nothing in this policy and procedure should be read to conflict or supersede the SDR with respect to student disciplinary violations)
The student shall have at least two (2) business days to review any independent assessment and other information prior to the hearing. The withdrawal hearing should be set in an expedited manner that allows for all participants to present complete documentation regarding the issues involved.
The student and the Administrator will present rationale challenging or supporting University Initiated Withdrawal. The student may be assisted by any two individuals of their choice in any hearing or appeal. The student may present any relevant information to the WCC, including but not limited to a medical or other professional evaluation by a treating professional of the student’s choice. Following the University Initiated Withdrawal Hearing, a written decision shall be rendered by the WCC stating the reasons for its determination. This decision may be appealed in writing within five (5) business days to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs.
In rendering its decisions, the WCC will make an individualized assessment based on a reasonable judgment that relies upon current medical or other specialized information or the best available information to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that potential harm will occur; whether the student substantially disrupted the educational process or university service or function; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures would reasonably and sufficiently mitigate the risk. In making this individualized assessment, the WCC may seek the assistance of other resources, as needed, to determine if the student is a qualified individual with a disability and whether a reasonable accommodation will allow that student to meet their essential academic and community responsibilities, while reasonably abating the risk of harm and maintaining a safe environment for all students. This determination will also evaluate whether such accommodation can be provided without fundamentally altering the essential functions of the educational program provided by the university, or lowering academic standards, and/or creating undue hardship to the university.
When the university initiates and subsequently determines that there are sufficient grounds to withdraw a student, notification will be sent by the Dean of Students Office to the appropriate College Official, and an appropriate registration hold will be placed on the student’s registration. The student may not reenter the university without following the re-entry procedures detailed below.
Re-entry following University Initiated Withdrawal
A student who has been withdrawn under the University Initiated Withdrawal (UIW) process and seeks to resume enrollment at the university must apply for re-entry following the standard admissions process, if eligible. Prior to registration for courses, the student will also be required to meet with the Withdrawal Consultation Committee (WCC) to clear the applicable hold. The student will begin this process by providing current documentation from a licensed treating professional that indicates the risk of harm necessitating the UIW has been sufficiently and reasonably abated, and that the student has the capacity to independently succeed in a rigorous higher education environment. The WCC will review this documentation to determine if the student may return to the university. Prior to any re-entry decision, the university may also require the student to undergo an independent assessment by a licensed treating professional of the university's choosing to confirm the documentation provided by the student. This independent assessment will be at the expense of the university and will occur prior to a re-entry meeting before the WCC. The specific re-entry process and re-entry decision or conditions in each case will be based on an individualized assessment based on a reasonable judgment that relies upon current medical or other specialized knowledge or the best available information.
When an independent assessment is required to return to the university, the student will be provided at least two (2) business days to review the independent assessment and other documentation prior to the reentry meeting with the WCC.
A Re-entry Meeting will occur between the student and the WCC. The student may be assisted by any two individuals of their choice in any meeting or appeal. The student may also present any medical or other relevant information to the WCC, including but not limited to a medical, psychological or other professional evaluation by a treating professional of the student’s choice, regarding the risk of harm necessitating the UIW being sufficiently and reasonably abated, and the student’s capacity to independently succeed in a rigorous higher education environment.
Following the Re-entry Meeting, a written decision shall be rendered by the WCC stating the reasons for its determination and setting forth any re-entry conditions.
Effect on Pending Student Conduct Charges
A University Initiated Withdrawal (UIW) under this policy is not considered a disciplinary action. The UIW process is independent of and does not preclude the application of the university’s disciplinary system to address conduct that may also violate the Student Disciplinary Regulations (Code of Conduct).
There may be specific circumstances where there is evidence that a student’s conduct is the result of medical reasons. Under these circumstances, it may be in the best interest and safety of the student and the university community to enact a non-disciplinary withdrawal process. If a student has been charged with violating the Student Disciplinary Regulations, but evidence supports that the conduct is the result of medical reasons, a non-disciplinary withdrawal process may be activated prior to issuance of a determination in the conduct process. If the student is withdrawn from the university, such action suspends the pending disciplinary action. If the student is found not to be subject to UIW under this policy, conduct proceedings may be reinstated at the discretion of the Dean of Students..
Any decision of the WCC may be appealed to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs (SVPSA). An appeal, stating the reasons why the decision is not reasonable or is contrary to law, must be filed in writing within five (5) business days of the decision at the Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. The SVPSA will notify the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students of the appeal and the WCC will have five (5) business days from the receipt of the student’s appeal to review the appeal statement and respond in writing to the SVPSA. The SVPSA will determine whether to uphold, modify, or reverse the decision within ten (10) business days of receiving the supplemental statement from the WCC. The SVPSA’s decision is the final decision of the university on the matter.
Tuition and Fees Adjustments for University Initiated Withdrawals
Students may appeal a tuition and fees assessment following a University Initiated Withdrawal following the standard tuition and feel appeals process. Exceptions may be made for instances beyond the control of the student.
Out of Term Withdrawal
Out of Term Withdrawal is a request to withdraw from a prior term due to significant extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student. Specifically, the significant extenuating circumstance must have prevented the student from initiating a standard withdrawal during the applicable term(s). The student must provide appropriate documentation of significant extenuating circumstances when requesting an Out of Term Withdrawal. Out of Term Withdrawals are only permissible within two years from the end of the term from which the withdrawal is requested; for example, if you are requesting to withdraw from the spring semester 2015, you must submit a request to withdraw prior to the end of spring semester 2017.
Requests for Out of Term Withdrawals are held to a higher standard because these requests alter an established academic record and may significantly impact financial aid eligibility, academic status, and capacity for future success. As such, special consideration and coordination is required beyond the college level.
The Out of Term Withdrawal Committee (OTWC) is a centralized university committee charged with authorizing a student’s petition to withdraw from a prior term. The OTWC is comprised of representatives from the College Student Services Directors, Office of Student Financial Aid, the Dean of Students Office, Thielen Student Health Center, Accounts Receivable, Student Counseling Services, and the Office of the Registrar.
To initiate an Out of Term Withdrawal, a student must:
Contact the Student Services Office of the college of the student’s primary major to discuss the request and explore other possible options.
Students who want to proceed with an Out of Term Withdrawal must submit a petition to the Out of Term Withdrawal Committee for consideration. A complete petition consists of four components:
A completed and signed Withdrawal Request Form.
A written statement explaining the circumstances beyond the student’s control that prevented the student from withdrawing during the applicable term(s).
A formal statement from an appropriate third party (for example, Multicultural Liaison Officer, or licensed treating professional) documenting the extenuating circumstances.
A written statement from the student’s academic advisor/major professor. The student should request the advisor/major professor submit this statement directly to the Out of Term Withdrawal Committee by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete petitions will be reviewed at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the committee. Students requesting Out of Term Withdrawal should allow at least 60 calendar days for a decision related to any withdrawal petition.
The Out of Term Withdrawal Committee will determine whether to approve or deny the request, and determine appropriate academic record and/or financial adjustments. Any potential subsequent changes to a student’s academic standing will be determined by the college Academic Standards Committee for the student’s primary major.
The decision of the Out of Term Withdrawal Committee will be communicated in writing to the student, and the appropriate College Official(s) within 60 calendar days. If an Out of Term withdrawal is approved, the student’s record will be updated to reflect the committee’s decision.
Any decision of the Out of Term Withdrawal Committee (OTWC) may be appealed, in writing, to the Associate Provost for Academic Programs. An appeal, stating the reasons why the decision is not reasonable or is contrary to law, must be filed within ten (10) business days of the committee’s decision with the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs will notify the Office of the Registrar and the OTWC of the appeal, and the OTWC may respond in writing to the Associate Provost for Academic Programs. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs will determine whether to uphold, reverse, or modify the decision within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the written appeal. The Associate Provost’s decision is the final decision of the university on the matter.