New policy limits course drops

By Matt Daray


Students will now have to be careful about the number of courses they drop in a semester.

A new policy, effective this summer, allows undergraduate students to drop a maximum of six credit hours or 50 percent of total semester enrollment, whichever is greater, in any given semester with a three-hour limit for summer semesters. The policy, which will be implemented Monday, limits students to a maximum of 12 dropped credit hours over 60 hours of enrollment.


Any course dropped after the official date to receive a full refund is defined as a dropped course. Courses dropped as a full withdrawal for a term are not affected and are not counted in the total allowed withdrawals.

Jim Allen, associate provost for academic programs, said the purpose of this policy is to retain the number of students enrolled in classes at the university and discourage them from dropping all their classes.

“Its primary focus was on what we’ve learned what happens to students who drop all their courses from a semester,” he said. “We find out people who do, don’t come back.”

While the reasons for departure may vary, students who drop all their courses usually don’t return to the university for an extended period of time, Allen said.

He said the policy was also put in place to allow students who are giving up on a semester to retain their passing grades and provide less schoolwork to receive their degrees should they return.

Allen said while the policy may seem strict, it is meant to help students succeed in their academic efforts.

“It’s our commitment to student success and it may seem odd by imposing a restriction like this on how many hours a student can drop,” he said. “But we find in the long-term interest, they improve, they give (classes) a good shot.”


Rod Sievers, university spokesman, said one of the main reasons for the policy is because when students drop classes, it could affect their financial aid.

“Many students were dropping classes without regard or without thinking about the impact of their financial aid,” he said. “A lot of financial aid requirements say you have to take so many hours, you got to have a certain grade and grade point average.”

Sievers said the policy only affects undergraduate students because graduate students do not drop as many classes since they are already in their fields of interest.

The idea for the policy came from the academic policies task force; a group formed by Chancellor Rita Cheng to investigate what policies could be used to promote academic success, Sievers said. He said the group is also working on other policies to be implemented in the future, including the number of times a student can take a class.

Some students have varied opinions on the drop policy but don’t think it would affect them much.

Trey Brown, a junior from Carbondale studying science, said he thinks the policy is fair for all students.

“If a student starts something and doesn’t want to, I guess you could put a limit on how many times they can start something and finish it,” he said.

Janelle Johnson, an undecided sophomore from Chicago, said the policy is fair but does put a restraint on students.

“I think it’s half and half,” she said. “I understand why they put a limit because some people do go overboard with how many classes they drop and not taking as many classes as they should, but I also feel that it should be up to the student because it’s their money.”