The Not Attending Report

Per federal regulations, schools are required to review students who received federal financial aid and did not pass any classes.  An assessment must be made to determine whether the student earned the non-passing grades while attending classes or stopped attending classes but did not officially withdraw.  Students who stopped attending classes may be required to repay a portion of the federal financial aid for that semester.  If it is determined that a student never began attendance in some or all classes, aid may be cancelled completely.  The Office of Student Financial Aid uses the attendance reports to make aid adjustments sooner rather than later in the semester and to provide critical outreach to students at risk of losing their financial aid.

Each semester and for each class, the UI Registrar requires all instructors to verify, through Maui, after the tenth day of the semester that a student attended class or participated in an academic activity by submitting a not-attending  report (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education) on any day since the beginning of the class.  The University REQUIRES 100% completion of the tenth day attendance report by faculty and instructors in order to comply with federal financial aid regulations.  The UI Registrar also asks faculty and instructors to verify academic activity at midterm each semester.  We request that all faculty and instructors complete these verification forms for every class.

Academic activity is defined by the U.S. Department of Education, and includes:

  • Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students
  • Submitting an academic assignment
  • Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer assisted instruction
  • Attending a study group that is assigned by the institution
  • Participating in an online discussion about academic matters
  • Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course

Academic activity does NOT include:

  • Logging into an online class without active participation
  • Academic counseling or advising

If a student is identified as not attending one or more courses on the Not Attending Report, they are contacted by several offices and colleges.  Each academic college sends outreach to students, as does the Office of Student Financial Aid, The Center for Diversity and Enrichment, International Student and Scholar Services, and Academic Support and Retention.  The Not Attending Report allows these offices and colleges the opportunity to identify and outreach to students who may be struggling.  Making connections with these students is important so faculty and staff can work with students to make decisions (e.g. dropping individual courses) that are in the best interest of each student.

Important Policies Related to Student Absences

  • Individual instructors, course supervisors, and/or departments determine the policy on class attendance. This policy must be clearly stated on the syllabus. If an issue arises, University College first uses the stated policy within the syllabus to help adjudicate a problem.
  • University policy requires that students be permitted to make up examinations missed because of illness, mandatory religious obligations, certain University activities, or unavoidable circumstances. All instructors must comply with this policy. The attendance policy must provide options for making up exams missed due to one of these excused absences. 
  • Students participating in authorized activities may be expected to give each instructor a statement before the absence, signed by a responsible official, that specifies the dates and times the student will miss class. Authorized activities include participation in intercollegiate athletic teams, marching band and pep band, attendance at events scheduled by recognized University groups (such as mock trial competitions) as well as participation in University field trips, service with the National Guard, and jury duty.
  • Attendance policies should be discussed with students during class and throughout the semester as needed, but especially before the due dates of major assignments and before exams.

The College relies on the professional discretion of each instructor to be fair, consistent, and compassionate while holding students to a high standard of integrity and performance.

Documentation of Student Absences

Any pattern of absence beyond 3 or 4 missed days of class may be treated as a long term illness (see below). However, a high degree of professional discretion is required when making judgments about particular situations. Please note the student's overall performance in the class and any pattern of missing exams or important due dates. Any such patterns or concerns should immediately be discussed with the student. Students with ongoing health issues should be referred to Student Disability Services to screen for possible official accommodations. 

Short-Term Absences

  • Instructors should be aware that students with the flu, colds, or other viruses are encouraged by the health care community to stay home and not to seek care since viruses spread quickly in public places. UI Student Health and Wellness no longer provides documentation to students for short-term illness; do not refer students to Student Health for that purpose.
  • Since medical documentation is not generally available for short-term illnesses, most instructors do not ask for documentation for a short-term health issue but instead use an alternative strategy for encouraging attendance.
  • Instructors often see a correlation between students struggling in class with absences on days that key assignments are due. These instructors discuss the situation with a student individually, especially before an important due date, referring the student to available resources or suggesting other solutions. Once the student feels a  personal responsibility to an instructor or class, the chance of academic misconduct can at times, though not always, diminish.
  • Some instructors, particularly those teaching larger numbers of students, give students a certain number of excused absences to be used when the student is ill. After those absences are used, the student may be asked to provide documentation for an absence or is held to the consequence of missing class (with exceptions still made for a crisis or dire family emergency or UI activity, if necessary). The student's privacy is protected legally concerning health issues and you may not request medical records. If a personal crisis affects a student's ability to complete a course or affects an entire semester's registration, the student should be referred to the Dean of Students Office, the Office of the Registrar, or Academic Support & Retention.

Instructors are encouraged to consult with their departments, colleagues, supervisors, the College, and the Center for Teaching to find a method for dealing with student absences. Approaches will vary, depending on the course size, the discipline, the instructor's pedagogy, the profile of the students, and other related issues.

Long-Term Absences

  • A student with a long-term illness (or generally those who miss more than five days of classes) should be able to provide a record of appointments or documentation from a health care provider, such as a note stating the student has been under the doctor's care. Do not request medical records from students. 
  • Students who visit Student Health and Wellness or UIHC have access to their electronic medical records through MyChart. If they have activated this service, they are able to print off a summary of their appointment dates and times from MyChart. Faculty wishing for documentation for a long-term illness should accept a student's summary of visits as adequate documentation. Student Health is encouraging all students to activate their MyChart account during office visits and summer orientation. Never ask to see a student's specific medical records since they are covered by privacy laws and can easily be mishandled.
  • Instructors should remind the class that a student who is absent for more than five days due to an emergency or an illness may request the Registration Center (17 Calvin Hall or registrar@uiowa.edu) to generate a Leave of Absence notification to their instructors. 

Other Situations

  • A student may have a chronic illness that necessitates special arrangements; many such students are already registered with Student Disability Services, with their SARS form providing the required documentation. At the beginning of the semester, ask to be notified privately of any such condition.
  • A student may have an underlying condition (such as anxiety disorder, panic disorder, attention deficit disorder, depression, or alcohol or drug dependency) that is exacerbated by illness. The student may not be willing to disclose this information when asking for a medical accommodation. Never ask to see a student's medical records since they are covered by privacy laws. Instead, accept a MyChart (or other) summary of medical visits or a general note from a doctor.
  • Students with chronic issues or serious emergencies may qualify for a grade of Incomplete for the course, given by instructor discretion, if all other conditions for granting an Incomplete have been fulfilled. 
  • In very serious situations, a student might also be awarded the grade earned before the illness or the crisis occurred. In this situation, please consult with University College administration.