Policies and Procedures

Academic Calendar & Final Exams

Calendar Year

NDSU operates on a semester system consisting of two standard 16-week fall and spring semesters, plus a final examination week. A 12-week summer semester is also offered. In all semesters, variable-length, short-session courses are available, and meet the same total contact (class) hours as in a standard semester. See definition of an academic credit.


The mid-term point of a standard semester is approximately 40 class days after the standard semester start. See mid-term grading.

Summer Semester

The 12-week summer semester is designed to provide coursework within various time intervals called sessions. Summer classes carry full credit because classes meet the same number of contact hours as in the standard fall or spring semester. Students should refer to the Dates and Deadlines webpage on the Registration and Records website for session start and end dates, as well as the drop/add deadlines for the summer semester.

Each college or department determines its summer offerings, based upon previous enrollments, programmatic needs, and special requests. Special effort is made to offer courses approved for fulfilling general education requirements. For information on summer school, please refer to the summer session website.

Final Examinations

The schedule for final examinations is determined and published by the Office of Registration and Records.

Final examinations (NDSU Policy 336) in one-credit or variable length short courses are usually given during the last regular class period. Final examinations for all other courses may not be rescheduled during the final examination period. According to State Board of Higher Education policy, the final examination period is instructional time and, if an examination is not given, some instructional use of this period is expected. Final examinations for summer school and distance and continuing education classes are arranged by the instructors.

No student shall be obligated to take more than three final examinations scheduled for the same calendar day. In the event that a student has four or more final examinations on the same calendar day, the student shall notify the instructor(s) from the highest numbered course(s) no later than two weeks before the last day of class to schedule a make-up examination to be administered at a mutually acceptable time.

Dead Week

Only one exam or quiz per course may be given during the last two weeks of the semester (prorated accordingly for variable length courses), which includes finals week. Exceptions include summer classes, self-paced/correspondence courses, make-up exams, courses in which laboratory is incorporated with a lecture, one-credit courses, and quizzes that account for less than 5% of the students' overall grade. If a professor chooses to give an exam during the last week of classes, he/she is expected to make some instructional use of the final examination time.

Course Add Deadline

All undergraduate and graduate students are expected to have added their courses via Campus Connection one week from the start of the semester. After one week, departments/instructors must provide student(s) with a course permit to add course(s). Instructors are under no obligation to add a student to a course after the course add deadline one week into the semester.

Please note: All full-semester course registration is officially closed as of the fourth week of the semester.

Appeal Process

After the add period is over, a student may have a course added to their schedule after the fourth week of the semester by following these steps:

  • Submit an electronic Class Permit. Instructor or department will initiate permit to be routed to student for signature.
  • An instructor must write a memo (on departmental letterhead with instructor signature) approving the late registration and include the reason for allowing the late add and a plan for how the instructor will help the student to catch up with the rest of the class. Memo should be emailed to Registration and Records at ndsu.registrar@ndsu.edu.
  • The paperwork should be submitted (by the instructor or department) to the Office of Registration and Records in Ceres 110.
  • The request will be reviewed and processed if approved. The instructor and student will receive notification of the decision.

Dead Week Policy

Approved by the University Senate on February 14, 2005.

A dead week would allow for only one exam or quiz to be given, per course, during the last two weeks of the semester, which includes finals week. If a professor chooses to give an exam during the last week of classes, she/he must make some instructional use of the final examination time as required by policy of the State Board of Higher Education.

A list of exceptions to this rule should include:

  • Summer classes
  • Self-paced/correspondence courses
  • Make-up exams
  • Courses in which a laboratory is incorporated with a lecture
  • One-credit courses
  • Block-taught courses
  • Quizzes that account for less than 5% of the students overall grade

A "make-up exam" should be defined as any exam that is not given to the entire class, and is used to give a student, or group of students a chance to improve the overall grade of individual students. This is intended to allow professors both the option to give a makeup exam for missed exams, and also to offer an exam during the last week of classes that can help the grade of students who wish to participate, but not hinder the grade of the students that choose not to participate.

Based on the recommendation of Student Senate, University Senate approved the implementation of a “dead week” on a permanent basis effective Fall 2005.

Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy

Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

The Department of Education requires NDSU to maintain and publish a written policy regarding federal financial aid recipients who withdraw or otherwise fail to complete the term for which their financial aid was disbursed.

Federal financial aid funds (Title IV Funds) are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, they may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that they were originally scheduled to receive.

The law specifies how your school must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supple­mental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs) and Federal Perkins Loans.

When you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment, the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be re­turned by the school and/or you.

The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a Post-withdrawal disburse­ment. If your Post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, your school must get your permission before it can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. Your school may automatically use all or a portion of your Post-withdrawal dis­bursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs your permission to use the Post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission (some schools ask for this when you enroll), you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.

However, there are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements.

If you receive (or your school or parent receives on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, your school must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
  2. The entire amount of excess funds.

The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.

If your school is not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an over-payment. The maximum amount of a grant over-payment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant over-payment if the original amount of the over-­payment is $50 or less. You must make arrangements with your school or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that your school may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Your school may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. If you don’t already know what your school’s refund policy is, you can ask your school for a copy. Your school can also provide you with the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from school.

If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Federal Student Aid Infor­mation Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at StudentAid.gov.

Withdrawal Procedure and Withdrawal Date

Students who wish to withdraw from all courses after the semester start date must officially withdraw to zero credits. To withdraw, complete the Withdrawing to Zero Credits Form. Campus Connection does not allow you to drop your last or only class. If you live in a residence hall, check out with your hall director and submit the appropriate forms to the Office of Residence Life prior to submitting the Withdrawal form. Students in university apartments should contact the Office of Residence Life directly.

The date of withdrawal for financial aid purposes, will be the date you begin the withdrawal process or the date, as determined by NDSU, you notified NDSU in writing or verbally, of your intent to withdraw to zero credits.

Distribution of Unearned Title IV Aid

In compliance with federal regulations, a school must return Title IV funds to the programs from which the student received aid during the payment period or period of enrollment as applicable, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  • Unsubsidized Direct loans (other than PLUS loans)
  • Subsidized Direct loans
  • Federal Perkins loans
  • Federal PLUS loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • TEACH Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Federal Work-Study funds paid to recipients will not be included in the computation of earned Title IV aid, nor will these funds be refunded to the federal account from which they were paid.

Unearned Title IV grants and loan funds due from NDSU will be repaid to the federal accounts for the specified semester. Unearned portions of Title IV grant aid due from the student will also be repaid to the federal accounts by NDSU. All repayments made by NDSU pursuant to this policy will be charged to your student account.

Unofficial Withdrawals

In the absence of an official withdrawal and the student ceases attendance, the following procedures will apply.

  1. A list of students who received all FN’s, FNN's, UNN's, UN's or W’s for a term (period of enrollment) will be extracted from the Registrar’s Office records which contains the last known date of academically related activity for the student, i.e., an exam, daily assignment, attendance in class, etc.
  2. If the latest date any instructor can document is after the 60% point in the enrollment period, the student is considered to have earned 100% of their financial aid funds and no further action will be required. If the latest date is before the 60% point in the term, the latest documented date or the 50% point in the term (whichever is later) will be used as the last date of attendance for the student. If documentation indicates no attendance in any class, the student will be deemed ineligible for financial aid per federal regulations and required to repay all aid received for that semester.
  3. Based on the last date of attendance, a Return of Title IV funds calculation will be processed to determine the type(s) and amount(s) of financial aid to be returned.
  4. All financial aid funds to be returned will be the responsibility of the student. The institution will not refund any tuition, fee, and room or board charges.
  5. A letter including a link to NDSU’s policy on unofficial withdrawals will be e-mailed and postal mailed to the student notifying them of their obligation at the time the institution returns the financial aid funds.
  6. Customer Account Services will place a hold on the student’s record at NDSU. Institutional collection procedures will be followed in accordance with NDSU Policy 513.
  7. Students will also be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification following the term in which they receive all F’s, I’s or U's.

Faculty Resources

Information about Last Date of Academically Related Activity or Attendance (LDA) requests can be found at here.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

SAP requirements apply to all students (including non-aid recipients) and are monitored after grades are posted at the end of each semester (including summer). Students who do not meet SAP are notified via their NDSU email and are given the reason for not meeting SAP as well as appeal options.

more information on SAP

Student Privacy Policy (FERPA)

Students will log into Campus Connection and click on the eForms tile as shown below to access the FERPA Release Form. Click on FERPA Release Form on the left side of the page. Students should monitor their NDSU email for any communication about the completion of the form.

more information about FERPA

Repeated Coursework and Financial Aid

All students should be aware of financial aid implications with regard to repeated coursework. Beginning July 1, 2011, federal regulations state that students may only receive federal financial aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course.

"Passed" means a course was completed with a grade of "D" or higher, "S" (Satisfactory) or "P" (Pass).

This regulation applies to all students regardless of any policy within an academic program requiring a higher grade in the course.

Students registered for a second retake (third enrollment) of a previously passed course, even if your most recent attempt resulted in an "F" or "U" (Unsatisfactory) will not be eligible for federal financial aid to pay for the class. Additionally, the course will not count in the student's total enrollment for federal aid eligibility and may result in adjusting the financial aid award if exclusion of the repeated course changes the student's enrollment status (see below).

For federal financial aid purposes, enrollment status is defined as:

  • Full-time - 12 or more credits
  • 3/4 time - 9 to 11 credits
  • 1/2 time - 6 to 8 credits
  • Less than 1/2 time - 1 to 5 credits

Note - The student is still responsible for paying for the course if federal financial aid does not cover it under the Repeated Coursework Policy.

Repeated courses (along with the original attempt) ARE included as attempted credits for the purpose of determining Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Utilize the Repeated Coursework Flow Chart to help guide you in determining if a repeated course will be eligible for funding or not.

Please contact One Stop if you have any questions regarding this regulation.

Repeated Coursework and Academic Record

At NDSU, repeating a course is defined as retaking the same course on a student's NDSU academic transcript in an attempt to improve a grade. The course repeat option to improve one's academic record is available to students who have not graduated. Repeats are processed at the end of a semester after grades have been posted to academic records. Exceptions to repeated courses cannot be considered due to the GPA impact on student records. Visit the NDSU catalog for more information on repeated courses in regards to your academic record.

Consumer Information

An updated page of consumer information is now available at www.ndsu.edu/onestop/about/consumer.