Withdrawal from Courses @ VCU

With the rapid approach of mid-term (yikes–where the hell has the term gone?!), I’m anticipating a few questions on this topic. Many of you have heard me deliver this schpiel before–especially my first-years who’ve heard it in class very recently–but I felt a re-post wouldn’t be a bad idea.

As you may or may not know, a “W” is considered a grade at VCU. This, in combination with the fact that you’ve already paid for the class, means there are no ramifications concerning housing or meal plans if that withdrawal means you’ll earn fewer than 12 credit hours this term—we still consider you a full-time student. However, financial aid can be a factor if you withdraw too soon or from too many courses. The two scenarios are these:

1. If you withdraw from a course and it drops your potential earned credit hours below 12 too early in the term, the Federal Student Loan Program may ask for a partial refund of the money loaned based on a full-time course load. The best practice in the case that you must withdraw (i.e. you’re not going to be able to “salvage” an acceptable grade), is to wait until the tenth week of class and withdraw then. The deadline for withdrawal is the end of the tenth week—so as long as you do it within that time frame, you’ll be OK.

2. If you’ve withdrawn from (or not passed with a grade of “D” or higher) more than 33% of the courses you attempt in AN ENTIRE ACADEMIC YEAR. The Federal Student Loan Program stipulates that you must complete with a passing grade, 67% of the courses you attempt receiving federal aid—so too many withdrawals (in combination with any “F” s or the retake of any courses) may result in your being ineligible for financial aid the following academic year.

Sooooooooooo, there are the facts. It’s always advisable to meet with your advisor (in most of your cases it’s me) before you make changes to your schedule!!! Now at least you can go into that conversation with a little more knowledge and allow your advisor to simply double check your well-reasoned decision.

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About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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