A withdrawal from a course or from the institution may be initiated by a student during the first twothirds of the semester or an equivalent period for courses meeting less than a full semester. (See academic calendar for specific dates).

A withdrawal grade of “W” will be recorded for students who officially withdraw from a course or from the university prior to the published deadline. A “W” grade is not used in the grade point average (GPA) calculation, but is counted toward hours enrolled.

Administrative Withdrawal

Buena Vista University expects students to actively engage learning in their courses, defined as attending each and every class meeting and diligently completing all learning activities (daily assignments, quizzes, papers, problem-sets, etc.) for each enrolled course. The administrative withdrawal policy was created to assist students in establishing good academic engagement and attendance habits. Failure to routinely complete daily and major assignments or attend class places students in jeopardy of being administratively withdrawn from any or all courses at any time during a semester or term. Undergraduate students may be administratively withdrawn regardless of class level. Administrative withdrawals may affect a student’s financial aid awards, residential status, and/or student visa status when the withdrawal results in a full-time student losing full-time status or a residential student losing residential status. The policy will be applied in a student-friendly manner holding students accountable for appropriate attitudes and actions demonstrating a seriousness of purpose about academic engagement and learning. 

The Policy

The University administration has the authority to withdraw a student from a single course, multiple courses, or the University, and to revoke that student’s registration at any time during a semester or term for failure to comply with academic requirements including, but not limited, to:

  • being absent from any course for the first two days of the class in a term or semester without prior written approval. Written approval, generally via email, may be granted by individual faculty members or the Associate Dean of Faculty.
  • demonstrating unsatisfactory academic and course engagement at any point in the semester/term defined by one or more of the following as: 
  • having missed an excessive amount of scheduled class time as defined by individual faculty members’ syllabi, excluding absences for college-related activities for which the student has communicated appropriately with each faculty member involved prior to the absence, arranged for the missed class time/assignments, etc. Students involved in collegerelated activities (i.e. athletics competitions, field-trips, etc.) are advised to carefully monitor the number of missed classes in a given semester. In cases where the instructor allows a certain number of excused absences, absences for college-related activities are included in the allotted number of excused absences.
  • being mathematically unable to pass the course due to missed material which might be the result of assignments not turned in or assignments not completed with sufficient academic achievement as a result of poor attendance patterns—i.e. missing too much material and/or too many inclass opportunities to earn points.
  • having failed to complete sufficient scheduled opportunities (i.e. tests, papers, assignments) to demonstrate effectively that meaningful learning has taken place and has been sustained over time, in accordance with the course’s learning objectives, or showing no record of academic engagement noted by completion of course work with passing grades in faculty grade records for a period of 3 weeks at Storm Lake or 2 weeks for Professional & Online Studies students.
  • failing to maintain routine log-in and academic engagement activity during each week for online courses.
  • violating learning contracts for students on academic probation

Students who do not fulfill their obligations through appropriate academic engagement risk being administratively withdrawn from any, or all, courses in which this failure to engage occurs. Withdrawals will not occur without sufficient warning and due notice to students.Students who are administratively withdrawn from a single course or all courses in a semester/term:

  • are responsible for all debts and other charges related with the course
  • are not eligible for a tuition refund for the course
  • receive a “WA” grade notation if the withdrawal occurs prior to the final date for withdrawal in a term/semester. The “WA” grade does not affect a student’s grade point average. Administrative withdrawals after the final date for withdrawal in a term/semester will be recorded as “FA” for any course which has a letter grade option even if the student may have elected P/NC grading. An “FA” grade notation does affect a student’s grade point average as any other F grade does. An “FA” is recorded in the event a student who is administratively withdrawn was enrolled in ACES. Administrative withdrawal from courses which are only graded as P/NC will be recorded as “NCA.” No other grades, such as NRR or IP, may be assigned.
  • may lose their eligibility for residential status or athletic competition if the withdrawal drops them below full-time status.
  • may experience changes in financial aid eligibility as a result of the withdrawal. Because financial aid eligibility is based on many factors, financial aid changes related to a withdrawal will vary. Students are responsible to know the effects poor choices related to their academic engagement may have on their financial aid eligibility and status.

If faculty members have reason to inquire about specific cases of administrative withdrawal, they may inquire with the registrar or associate dean of faculty. In certain cases, the student’s right to confidentiality may not permit full disclosure of the circumstances.

Because the University affords students the right to appeal academic decisions, it is essential that instructors maintain accurate and consistent records of academic engagement from students throughout the semester/term.

Extenuating circumstances such as family emergencies and serious illness must be documented and may be taken into account. Students participating in intercollegiate athletics and academic field trips are advised to complete all assignments in an appropriate manner for each class, monitoring any absences in addition to these events carefully.

Procedures for administrative withdrawal:

Students are responsible to know the expectations for course-work requirements, including how attendance may affect their grade, for each course in which they are enrolled. Faculty are responsible to provide clear information to students in writing about their academic engagement expectations, including attendance expectations if using an attendance standard, whether on their initial syllabus or addenda via assignment sheets and the like.

In the event that students have not fulfilled their obligation in appropriately completing coursework and/or meeting attendance standards if used, the following steps may be taken:

  • Faculty at Storm Lake complete an Early Alert notice detailing the specific circumstances of the student’s performance in a course. For Professional & Online Studies faculty, an email message is sent directly to the site director detailing the student’s performance. Note: Prior to using the Early Alert process at Storm Lake or involving the site director of Professional & Online Studies, faculty members should have written email documentation showing they have communicated their concern(s) directly to the student in question. Because students have the option of appealing an administrative withdrawal, written record of notification directly to the student is essential. This written record to the student and to the Early Alert system or site director must contain the last date of any recorded academic engagement for the student in question. This record may indicate the date of the last assignment received and/or the last date of student attendance in the course, if attendance is used as a standard in the course.
  • The Early Alert Processing Team (for Storm Lake students) or the site director (for Professional & Online Studies students) reviews the record and communicates a warning to the student as appropriate. This warning will be in writing via email detailing that the student must respond within 4 working days that the situation has been rectified or face withdrawal from the course.
  • After a student receives a warning from the site director (for Professional & Online Studies students) or by the Associate Dean of Faculty (for Storm Lake students), the situation must be rectified or the student faces administrative withdrawal. If the situation is rectified, the faculty member confirms with the site director (for Professional & Online Studies students) or the Associate Dean of Faculty (for Storm Lake Students) that the situation is rectified. The site director or Associate Dean of Faculty places a note to the student’s permanent file.• If the situation has not been rectified within four working days, the student will be administratively withdrawn and notified via email by the site director (for Professional & Online Studies students) or by the Associate Dean of Faculty (for Storm Lake students). The notification of withdrawal will inform the student of the steps necessary to exit the class.
  • In the most unfortunate of situations, students may be administratively withdrawn from the university if they fail to engage appropriately in their academic work in all of their classes during a given term of enrollment. In the event that withdrawal from the university is the result of  students’ lack of attention to the seriousness of their academic disengagements, instructions will be provided in writing to the student regarding the steps to be taken with each course and with appropriate university offices. When the administrative withdrawal occurs in all courses in a given enrollment period, the student is notified, with copies to the Office of Financial Assistance, the Registrar, Information Technology, and the Associate Dean of Students (for Storm Lake students only), and the Associate Dean for Professional & Online Studies (for Professional & Online Studies students only). 
  • Copies of any notice of administrative withdrawal will become a part of the student’s permanent file in the registrar’s office.

Student Appeals of Administrative Withdrawal: 

If a student takes issue with the warning from an instructor regarding his or her attendance or academic engagement, the student must discuss the problem with the instructor involved. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, the faculty member proceeds with informing the University of the need to administratively withdraw the student, and the student is notified from the Associate Dean of Faculty (for Storm Lake students) or the site director (for Professional & Online Studies students) that s/he is being administratively withdrawn. The student has a right to appeal the withdrawal. 

The following guidelines govern the appeal process:

  • The student must initiate the process of appeal within three business days of the date of the receipt of notification of withdrawal from the Associate Dean of Faculty (for Storm Lake students) or the appropriate site director (for Professional & Online Studies students).• For Storm Lake students, the appeal must be made in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, with copies of the appeal to the instructor and Associate Dean of Faculty. For Professional & Online Studies students, the appeal must be made in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, with copies of the appeal to the instructor, site director, and the Associate Dean for Professional & Online Studies. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will base the appeal decision on some or all of the following: 
  • Review of the student’s overall participation and performance in the course.
  • Review of the instructor’s adherence to protocols.
  • Meeting(s) with both the student and the instructor.
  • The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is communicated to the student, the instructor involved, the Office of Financial Assistance, the Registrar’s Office, Information Technology, the Associate Dean for Students (for Storm Lake students only), the Associate Dean of Faculty (for Storm Lake students only), the site director (for Professional & Online Studies students only), and the Associate Dean for Professional & Online Studies (for Professional & Online Studies students only), in writing via email within three business days of receipt of the appeal. 
  • The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.

During the appeal process the student has the right, and obligation, to continue attending the class(es) in question.