University extends withdrawal deadline

Under a plan approved by Provost David Stamps last spring, the deadlineto drop a course, or withdraw from the university without academicpenalty has been extended from the end on the ninth week of classes tothe end of the tenth week starting fall 2001.

The deadline change will allow students to get their midterm grades, andthen decide whether to drop the course or not, according to CurtisWienker, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies.

“Many students were not receiving their midterm grades prior to thisdate,” Wienker said. “They will now have a clearer idea of what theirgrades are.”

University officials hope the change will have three primary effects.First, students will have additional time for grade feedback, allowingthem to have a better understanding of their academic standing and willbe able to make a better informed decision about dropping a course.

Second, freshman students who receive their midterm grades by mail,should receive these reports by the new deadline, and will have a bettergrasp of their academic situations.

Finally, students receiving certain types of financial aid may not befinancially penalized for dropping a course on the last day the optionis available.

Weinker said prior to receiving the provost?s approval, the proposedchange was discussed with the associate deans of the university?svarious colleges and satellite campuses. The deadline change wasdiscussed by a number of collegiate committees, such as the Council onAcademic Advising, which includes members from several student serviceoffices.

“This issue received feedback from almost every office dealing withstudent services,” Wienker said.

Under the present system listed in the 2000-2001 College Catalog,students receiving financial aid who drop a course prior to completing60 percent of the course must repay a portion of their aid, determinedby the Federal Formula for Return of Title IV funds.

According to Steve Runion, assistant director for Financial Aid, the newdeadline will affect most federal financial aid programs, including PellGrants, Stafford Loans, Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students andSupplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. The deadline change willnot affect the Federal Work-Study Program, Runion said.

“With a nine-week deadline, students dropping on the last available daywould only have completed 56 percent of the course, and be liable torepay a portion of their federal financial aid,” Runion said.

However, under the new ten-week system available next semester, Runionsaid students dropping a course on the last available day would have 62percent of the course completed, and would not owe a repayment for theirfederal financial aid.

USF will now have one of the latest dates for withdrawal in comparisonwith other state universities. According to the University of Florida?sWeb site, UF has the longest length before the drop deadline, with adeadline at the end of the 13th week of classes, compared to USF?s dropdate at the end of the tenth week. Florida State University has thestrictest approach to dropping courses, with the cutoff being the end ofthe fourth week of classes.

Under the new ten-week deadline for withdrawing from classes, the newrelevant deadlines for the 2001-2002 school year are 5:00 p.m., November2, 2001 for the fall 2001 semester, and 5:00 p.m., March 22, 2002 forthe spring 2002 semester.