Revision of Undergraduate Complete Withdrawal Policy

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Revision of Undergraduate Complete Withdrawal Policy

To: Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Advisors


George Gehrels, Chair, Undergraduate Council (UGC)

Celeste Pardee, Assistant Director for Academic Policies and Organizations

Subject: Revision of Undergraduate Complete Withdrawal Policy

Date: May 23, 2014

In November 2013, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Gail Burd’s Ad Hoc Committee on Withdrawal Policies submitted recommendations to revise the Complete Withdrawal Policy to the Undergraduate Council for consideration. Council members approved modifications that affect a couple Catalog policy pages (see below). UGC’s Complete Withdrawal Policy proposal was approved by all appropriate UA committees, concluding with the Faculty Senate on May 5, 2014. The policy revisions apply to all enrolled undergraduate students as of Fall 2014. 

Complete Withdrawal Revision (and rationale):

See Complete Withdrawal from the University

See Grades and the Grading System

Complete withdrawals can be initiated from the first day through the last day of classes of a regular semester.  If a student withdraws from all classes before the end of the second week of the semester (the first drop deadline), all classes are deleted from the student's permanent record for the term.  If a student withdraws from the University after the second week of classes and before the final exam period, a “WC” grade is awarded to all classes processed in the complete withdrawal, regardless of whether the student is passing at the time of withdrawal. The WP/WF grades are confusing to faculty and students alike, and the WF is rarely awarded. The WC grade will differentiate complete withdrawals from single course drops on the transcript. The WC grade will be awarded regardless of the reason for withdrawing and regardless of the student’s class performance. The Registrar’s Office is able to process the 300 – 400 complete withdrawals that are filed each semester, including 10% of those in the final week, so there is no need for a 13th-week deadline, as applies to single course withdrawals.

Retroactive Withdrawal Revision (and rationale):

See Retroactive Withdrawal/Leaving the University

See Grades and the Grading System

If a General Petition for a complete retroactive withdrawal is approved, the “WC” grade will be awarded for all classes included in the retroactive withdrawal.  A consistent neutral grade will be used for current and retroactive complete withdrawals, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.

Management of the Complete Withdrawal Policy:

Students are encouraged to consult with their college advisor prior to filing the online withdrawal request to discuss the consequences of leaving the University, but this isn’t mandatory.

As part of the online withdrawal request process, students are queried on the reason for withdrawing. The Registrar’s Office compiles data on the demographics of withdrawing students and the reasons for taking this action.

Complete withdrawals are manually processed and recorded on the student’s academic record by the Registrar’s Office.

The student’s course instructors and college advisors will be automatically notified by the UAccess system as the withdrawal is processed [pending system modifications].

The 18-unit cap on W grades does not apply to complete withdrawals (WC), nor does the $25 per course penalty apply to a complete withdrawal.

Questions about the revised Complete Withdrawal Policy may be addressed to Celeste Pardee, Curricular Affairs, at 621-5375, or at

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