While Columbia College is committed to helping students be successful in their courses and remain on track to complete their educational goals, on occasion it might be in the best interest of the student and/or the College community that a student withdraw from or be withdrawn from a course or from courses prior to the end of the course(s). The purpose of this policy is to define the withdrawal policy and procedures.
The policy applies to all College students.
Withdrawal from a course
Students taking classes on the traditional campus may withdraw from a course(s) with a grade of “W” between the end of the drop period and prior to the end of the 12th week of the semester. Students taking classes online, in the evening or at a nationwide venue may withdraw from a course(s) with a grade of "W" between the end of the drop period and prior to the end of the sixth week of the session. Provided a Withdrawal form is received no later than Friday of the 12th week of the semester or sixth week of a session, no punitive grade will be issued. Students do not receive grade points for Withdraw (W) grades, but a notation appears on the transcript. Financial liability is not reduced when a student withdraws from a course.
Once enrolled in a class, a student is considered a member of that class until he or she officially drops or withdraws in accordance with institutional policy. A failure to attend class, or advising a fellow student, staff, or adjunct faculty member of an intent to withdraw from class does not constitute official drop or withdrawal. Withdrawals become effective the date the appropriate form is received by the College.
Students taking classes during the day, evening or graduate-level courses must complete the withdrawal process by submitting the completed Withdrawal form to the Enrollment Service Center. Students taking classes online or at a nationwide venue may submit a Course Withdrawal Form through CougarTrack. Requests to Withdraw from a course will not be accepted by telephone. Students are required to personally complete, sign and date all withdrawal information. Signed fax withdrawal forms are acceptable. Confirmation of receipt is the responsibility of the student.
Should circumstances prevent a student from physically completing the withdrawal information, the student should contact their venue director immediately (nationwide), Academic Advisor (online) or course instructor (main campus). Directors or other college personnel reserve the right to request substantiating documentation to support the student’s inability to complete the withdrawal process in person.
The withdrawal period begins the same date the session starts, which is not necessarily the first day a particular class begins. When a student stops attending class and does not submit the Withdrawal form or paperwork as required, a grade of F will be awarded.
Students who receive any form of Federal Title IV assistance and who withdraw may be required by federal regulations to return some or all of the federal aid received. This includes the Federal Pell and SEOG grants, and the Stafford and PLUS loans. See the Return of Title IV Funds Policy for additional information.
Withdrawal after the published last date to withdraw
After the last date to withdraw (according to the academic calendar) students will not be allowed to withdraw without extraordinary circumstances. In such cases a withdrawal excused (WE) request must be submitted prior to the end of the term (see below for criteria). In the rare situation when a student can substantiate the inability to contact the campus, in any manner, prior to the end of the term, a WE will be considered but only within 60 days of the end of the term. Students should be aware that requesting a WE after the published date to withdraw does not guarantee that the student will be withdrawn nor does it eliminate the possibility of a punitive grade and/or financial obligation. A student may also request a grade of W (withdrawn) from their instructor; however, the instructor is under no obligation to grant the request and the student is not guaranteed a grade of W. The request must be made prior to the end of the term and the student remains financially liable for all tuition and applicable fees.
Total withdrawal from Columbia College (main campus only)
The Dean for Student Affairs establishes the official date of withdrawal for day students based upon the date the student initiates the process by contacting Student Affairs. Information regarding academic and financial liability is available in the Student Affairs Office.
All withdrawals by Day students for extraordinary circumstances must be approved by Academic Affairs. Requests for approval must be submitted in writing when withdrawal procedures are initiated. A request for a grade(s) of WE (Withdrawal/Excused) must be accompanied by a letter from the student explaining the circumstances with substantiating documentation. Grades of WE may be requested through the last day of class (finals week excluded). It is not automatic and is subject to review and approval. A WE grade cannot be granted unless all courses in which the student is enrolled are dropped.
If a student is administratively withdrawn from school, the withdrawal date will be established by the office responsible for the action. Tuition, room and board will be prorated according to the Total Withdrawal Time Frame Schedule on the Main Campus Day Tuition and Fee Structure page. No credit will be given for nonrefundable deposits, laboratory or course fees, etc.
Students may request a withdrawal excused (WE) when extraordinary circumstances prevent them from completing a term; all courses in which the student is enrolled (both land-based and online) must be included in the request. Extraordinary circumstances are narrowly interpreted to mean the development of unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include serious illness, death in the immediate family, significant change in the location and/or conditions of employment, or an unexpected call to active military duty or extended periods of TDY. Mere inconvenience and/or discomfort with the academic workload, minor schedule changes in employment, connectivity issues, etc. do not meet the definition of extraordinary, mitigating or extenuating circumstance.
A student may request a WE at any time during a semester or session. Day students should follow the Total Withdrawal guidelines in order to pursue a WE. Request for a WE must be submitted in writing or through CougarTrack at the time withdrawal procedures are initiated. A letter from the student with substantiating documentation of the extraordinary circumstances must be provided (to appropriate personnel depending upon program) by the last day of class (excluding finals week for main campus students). Students should be aware that a refund is not automatic; requests for financial consideration are subject to review and approval by the appropriate Dean (depending upon program). WE requests submitted during the regular published withdrawal period will be processed with a grade of W immediately; the grade will be changed to WE if/when approval is received. Withdrawal requests submitted after the end of the withdrawal period will not be processed unless WE approval is received from the Academic Affairs Department (main campus) or the Vice President of Adult Higher Education (Evening and AHE).
A student receiving any form of Federal Title IV assistance who withdraws from a course(s) with extraordinary circumstances, even with the College’s concurrence, may be required by federal regulation to return some or all of the federal aid received. The College follows federal guidelines concerning Return of Title IV Funds and does not have any authority to waive the rules regarding the return of federal assistance, even in extraordinary circumstances. This includes the Federal Pell and SEOG grants and the Stafford and PLUS loans. See the Return of Title IV Funds Policy and contact the Enrollment Service Center for additional information.
Withdrawal excused appeal
Students disagreeing with the decision regarding their excused withdrawal (WE) request should first discuss those concerns with the original reviewer (the school dean for Main Campus Day students and the Director, AHE Student Academic Support for Main Campus Evening, Online and Nationwide). Students who remain unsatisfied with that decision may appeal the outcome of an excused withdrawal request by submitting a formal appeal to their school dean. That appeal should directly address why the initial decision was in error and the student’s desired outcome.
In extraordinary circumstances, the College reserves the right to request or require that a student withdraw from the College. In this event, if a student declines to voluntarily withdraw, the College may determine that it is in the best interest of the student and/or of the College community that a student be administratively withdrawn.
A student may be administratively withdrawn by the College from all courses, including, but not limited to when a student’s behavior poses a health or safety risk to a member of the College Community or where the student’s behavior unduly disrupts and/or interferes with the College’s learning environment or other activities. When the College becomes aware of behavior that may possibly warrant an administrative withdrawal, the Student of Concern Action Team (SOCAT) will meet to discuss and review the situation. The College will make an individualized assessment of the student's behavior and, where applicable, the nature of the risk posed. The SOCAT may recommend to the Dean for Student Affairs or other appropriate administrator that the College impose interim restrictions upon a student up to and including an interim suspension. Interim restrictions may be imposed if the SOCAT believes that such interim restrictions are advisable to protect the College community, or to ensure safety maintenance of order of the College.
A student referred to the SOCAT for behavior that may warrant an administrative withdrawal will be invited to provide additional information to fully assess the situation. The Dean for Student Affairs, or designee, will contact the student via written communication to schedule a meeting.
During the meeting with the student, the Dean for Student Affairs, or designee, will discuss the situation and talk about potential appropriate courses of action given the individual circumstances, which may include an administrative withdrawal.
During the process, the College may also request that the student submit information or other documentation that may help in determining an appropriate course of action. In addition, the College may require a student to undergo an evaluation by a licensed professional of the College’s choosing at the College’s expense. If requested, the student must submit the requested documentation within 5 business days or provide an explanation of any delayed submission. If a student chooses not to submit requested documentation or to participate in the meeting, the SOCAT will make a decision without the benefit of that input after 5 days of the initial request, unless other arrangements have been made.
Upon receipt of the requested documentation or an alternative time period established to submit documentation, the SOCAT will convene to review all information gathered and decide on the appropriate outcome. When conducting an assessment about potential risk posed by a student, the SOCAT will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence. Where applicable, the SOCAT will ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk and the probability that the potential injury will actually occur. When considering the behavior of a student with a disability, the SOCAT will also consider whether reasonable modifications of polices, practices or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids and services will mitigate the risk.
Students will be notified of the SOCAT’s decision in writing, within 3 business days of deadline for submitting the requested information and/or documentation, and the SOCAT will make the necessary referrals for action regarding the student.
Administrative withdrawal appeal
If the SOCAT’s decision is to initiate an administrative withdrawal, a students has the right to appeal that decision. If a student chooses to appeal, they must contact the Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs via written communication within 3 days of receipt of the SOCAT outcome letter and clearly set forth the basis and grounds for their appeal. Additional or clarifying information may be requested from the student before making a decision. Appeal decisions will be made by the Provost and the Vice President for Student Affairs and are final and not appealable.
Students wishing to return to the College following an administrative withdrawal should contact the Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs in advance and must follow the readmission process. Additional information may be requested from a student prior to readmission depending on the nature of the circumstances that gave rise to the administrative withdrawal.
Administrative withdrawal for non-attendance
Students may be administratively withdrawn from all courses for non-attendance. Non-attendance is considered 14 consecutive calendar days of non-attendance in all courses. An early alert notification will be made to the student after the first week of non-attendance. If, in fact, the student did attend during the week referenced in the alert, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor immediately to change the attendance record. Once a student has been absent two weeks, they will be administratively withdrawn with no further warning.
Tuition, room and board will be prorated according to the Total Withdrawal Time Frame Schedule, if applicable. No credit will be given for nonrefundable deposits, laboratory or course fees, etc. Tuition refunds will be assessed according to each venue’s standard refund policy.
An administrative withdrawal will result in a non-punitive grade of “W”, if classes are withdrawn in the time between the end of the drop period and prior to the end of the 12th week of the semester or sixth week of the session. Students do not receive grade points for Withdraw (W) grades, but a notation appears on the transcript.
Administrative withdrawal for non-attendance appeal
If an Administrative Withdrawal for Non-Attendance is not the result of an error in attendance records, students may appeal the withdrawal if extraordinary circumstances prevented them from attending all courses in which they were enrolled. Extraordinary circumstances are narrowly interpreted to mean the development of unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include serious illness, death in the immediate family, significant change in the location and/or conditions of employment, or an unexpected call to active military duty or extended periods of TDY. Mere inconvenience and/or discomfort with the academic workload, minor schedule changes in employment, connectivity issues, etc. do not meet the definition of extraordinary circumstances.
An appeal of an Administrative Withdrawal for Non-Attendance should be submitted by the student to the Dean of the appropriate school. The Dean will review submitted appeals, and has the final authority to approve an appeal. The likelihood of passing the course(s) if re-enrolled in the course(s) will be considered in the review of the appeal. See the Dean’s Office for additional information.
International students withdrawing from classes
If an emergency develops and an international student must withdraw from the College prior to completing the program, the International Center must update SEVIS to indicate that the student has been authorized for early withdrawal. Once the SEVIS record is updated to reflect the withdrawal authorization, the student has a “grace period” of 15 days within which to depart the United States. Without DSO approval for early withdrawal, the student has no grace period and must depart immediately. For more information on the Total Withdrawal process, please see the section of the catalog Grading and Academic Standing and click on Withdrawal.