Withdrawal from the University
During a semester or session of enrollment, withdrawal is the appropriate action if a student wants/needs to drop all the credits he/she has scheduled in resident instruction, Continuing Education, and World Campus (even if his/her credits are in only one course). Withdrawal drops all courses (current and future semesters) through all delivery systems.
Before the first day of classes, withdrawal is not necessary. Instead, a cancellation of registration may be processed. After the semester begins, if the student has not attended any classes the procedure for administrative course cancellation may be followed.
A student who has scheduled courses but has not completed the registration process by paying tuition is in scheduled status. When a student is not registered, he/she cannot withdraw. Students in scheduled status who decide not to attend should contact the Registrar's office to cancel their semester/session registration.
A student who stops attending classes without officially withdrawing may receive grades of F in all courses scheduled for that semester or session.
- Impact on the Student's Record
- Impact on Future Enrollment at Penn State
- Alternatives to Withdrawal
- Student Action
- Disciplinary Withdrawal
- Medical Withdrawal
- Military Withdrawal
A withdrawal can be processed until 5:00 p.m. on the last day of classes (before the final exam period begins). On eLion a student can withdraw up to the time indicated as the deadline for the transaction. If the student is unable to be on campus to process a withdrawal and cannot process the withdrawal using eLion, he/she should complete a withdrawal form and send it to the appropriate dean's office to initiate the withdrawal process. (If mailing the form, it is advisable to do a phone follow-up to be sure the form was received and processed.)
Because the decision to withdraw has far-reaching ramifications, the student should receive advising when considering withdrawal.
In addition, students identified below MUST consult with the indicated office prior to withdrawing:
Athletes (Intercollegiate, University Park) must meet with their academic counselors in the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes prior to withdrawing; current and future eligibility for intercollegiate athletic competition will be affected. To determine whether a student is classified as a student-athlete, advisers and students can use Academic Summary on eLion.
Student financial aid recipients must contact the Office of Student Aid, 314 Shields Building, University Park, by email or at 814-865-6301, or the student aid representative at his/her Penn State campus. Current and future financial aid may be at risk. How Withdrawing from School Effects Your Financial Aid and Tuition Adjustment Policy provide details.
International students must contact the Directorate of International Student Advising, 410 Boucke Building, University Park, 814-865-7681. Immigration status is at risk. To determine whether a student is classified as "international," authorized advisers can use ISIS screen AURU (press F9) and check the code in the "RES" field at the top right.
Veterans benefit recipients must go to the Office of Veterans Programs, 325 Boucke Building, University Park, or the veterans contact at other Penn State campuses. Veterans risk losing their benefits and may incur costs.
When considering withdrawal, all students should consult with campus resources if appropriate, e.g., Disability Services, Adult Learner Programs & Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Multicultural Resource Center.
Official withdrawal results in a W symbol recorded on the student's transcript for courses in session on the date of withdrawal. No credit is earned. The student's grade-point average is not affected. In cases where a course was completed (e.g., a part-semester course) before a withdrawal was processed, a grade or the appropriate symbol is recorded. When a student processes a military withdrawal, "Military" is recorded.
A student who has late dropped a course or courses and then withdraws in the same semester is still assessed the fee for late drop, but withdrawal supersedes late drop, and the late dropped credits are not recorded on the student's transcript. However, if the course that was late dropped ended before the withdrawal was processed (e.g., a part-semester course), then late drop credits are used, and the late drop symbol is noted on the student's record.
Any classes for which the student has registered in future semesters/sessions are canceled when a student withdraws (except in the case of a summer-only withdrawal). If the student plans to resume degree candidacy after withdrawing, he/she should understand the re-enrollment procedure. Re-enrollment will be necessary unless the student withdraws for the summer session only.
If students withdraw from Maymester or the first summer session it will result in a withdrawal from all scheduled summer sessions courses (including those scheduled for sessions that have not yet begun). Students enrolled in overlapping classes (e.g., Maymester and the first session) are withdrawn from their in-progress summer session courses and any courses they scheduled for upcoming sessions.
If a student who withdrew from one summer session chooses to enroll in a session offered later in the summer he/she can register (or re-register) for the session.
A student who completed course work in one summer session may withdraw from a later session. Course grades or the appropriate symbols for the courses the student completed in the earlier session are retained.
Processing Summer Session(s) Withdrawal
When processing a summer session withdrawal, students have two options:
Continuing Enrollment: A "summer-only withdrawal" can be processed. If a student wants to enroll in courses offered in a later summer session, he/she must register/re-register for them. Courses scheduled for the fall semester can be retained. No further action is required to continue enrollment. (Re-enrollment is not required.)
Note for first-year students: A first-year student admitted in the summer may not process a summer-only withdrawal. The student must process a regular withdrawal, which would also cancel his/her fall schedule. To request to return to degree status, the student must contact the Registrar's office to request re-enrollment.
- Maintaining Withdrawn Status: Withdrawn status is maintained when a student does not register for any Penn State classes in the fall semester. If the student scheduled courses for the fall, he/she should process a cancellation of registration. To return to degree status, the student must re-enroll.
Summer session withdrawals cannot be processed on eLion. See Student Action below.
During fall and spring semesters, there are two options for processing a withdrawal: either receive expert advising and process a withdrawal through eLion, or follow the steps below. To withdraw from a summer session, follow the steps below (summer withdrawals cannot be processed on eLion).
- Contact an academic adviser to discuss the impact of withdrawal on your future academic plans and the possibility of alternatives to withdrawal.
- Consult with the appropriate offices.
- Contact the Bursar regarding any outstanding account balances.*
- If you have a housing contract, cancel it by contacting the Housing Assignment Office at your campus.**
Print a withdrawal form or obtain it from the appropriate academic unit:
Where to obtain a withdrawal form from: Student Status Academic Unit Undergraduate degree: College dean or director of DUS Undergraduate degree-seeking provisional: Director of DUS Non-degree-conditional: Dean of college in which student wishes to enroll Non-degree-regular: Registrar's office
- Submit the completed form to the Registrar's office by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of classes in the semester from which you are withdrawing.
*Students who withdraw receive a tuition adjustment in accordance with Penn State's Tuition Adjustment Policy. Adjustments are made to tuition only; the information technology, activities, facilities, and international undergraduate student fees are nonrefundable.
**Students who live in the residence halls must vacate their rooms within twenty-four hours of filing the official withdrawal form and must check out of the hall before leaving. The Housing Assignment Office, 814-865-7501, will determine the amount of the refund if any is owed to the student.
At the written request of a student, the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct may approve a disciplinary withdrawal in cases when the student is charged by the University and is (or may be) criminally charged for the same incident. A disciplinary withdrawal will be approved, if appropriate, to delay the University's hearing or deposition until the pending criminal matter has been resolved. The disciplinary withdrawal may include a specific time limit so that the University's discipline process will not be jeopardized. When a request for a disciplinary withdrawal is approved, the student may not register for or attend classes, reside on campus, or use or visit University facilities on any Penn State campus. A hold will be placed on the student's registration for the period of the disciplinary withdrawal and will be noted on the student's transcript. The student may not re-enroll until the hold is removed. For more information, contact the Office of Student Conduct, 814-863-0342, at University Park or the Office of Student Affairs at other Penn State campuses.
Students withdrawing for medical reasons do not need any special verification to do so, but must use the withdrawal form. Medical withdrawal is not used for the illness of a family member. When processing a medical withdrawal, the student should check the box titled "Medical" on the withdrawal form. Students processing a medical withdrawal can petition the Bursar's office for a possible tuition waiver. In some cases, when there is significant concern about individual or community health, the director of University Health Services (or designee) can require students who have processed a medical withdrawal to obtain medical clearance for re-enrollment.
Military withdrawal is available only to students who are actively serving members (Active Duty and Reserve Duty Components) of the U.S. armed services (not a contractor or civilian working for the military) who are unable to meet class requirements (attendance and other participation requirements, including web-based activities) due to orders to relocate.
A student enrolled in a semester or session who qualifies for a military withdrawal should contact his/her campus Registrar and present a copy of his/her military orders with formal correspondence on unit letterhead signed by the commander requesting military withdrawal from Penn State due to orders. The formal correspondence must include the unit commander’s contact information and verification of duration and location of the student’s pending assignment.
Students will complete a withdrawal form citing "Military" as the reason. The student's transcript will indicate "Military" as the reason for withdrawing. In addition to the offices normally contacted by the Registrar when a withdrawal is processed, the Office of Student Aid and the Office of the Bursar will be notified. If timing does not permit a student to complete a withdrawal form and present his/her military orders to the Registrar's office prior to leaving campus, the student may withdraw by sending a personally signed written request for a military withdrawal to the Registrar's office by mail or fax (814-863-1929). A copy of his/her military orders and formal correspondence, as described above, must accompany the request.
Tuition and Housing Fees
Students processing a military withdrawal will not be charged tuition and fees for the semester/session for which the withdrawal was processed. Students who reside on campus will only be charged for room and board expenses incurred prior to withdrawal.
Student financial aid and costs for students who process a military withdrawal will automatically be adjusted, as appropriate.
Students processing a military withdrawal are eligible for military re-enrollment.
Reviewed: July 2015
Last Update: June 2012