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Taking Time Away from the College

There are a variety of reasons that a student may leave ESF, either for a short time or permanently. Students who are exploring this option or have decided to withdraw must first meet with a staff member from the Office of the Dean of Students to learn more about the process.

NOTE: Not registering for classes will not officially withdraw a student from the College.

Absence Notification

As stated in the ESF Academic Catalog, students are expected to adhere to the attendance policy stated by each course instructor. However students may find themselves missing classes for a variety of reasons. The Office of the Dean of Students can assist in navigating options related to student absence.

When a student, family member, or faculty/staff member makes a notification to Student Affairs regarding a student’s absence for a period of time (generally two consecutive days or more) due to hospitalization, emergency, or other critical incident, the Dean’s Office can provide appropriate notification (College Memo) and support services as requested by the student and/or College community.

The Absence Notification Process is designed to provide:

  • a central point of contact for students who need assistance with or are unable to notify faculty of their absences
  • information for faculty to anticipate an absence and when to expect a student to return
  • a written reminder that students must work directly with their faculty to determine possible arrangements to complete missed coursework

Responsibilities of Students
Students who are absent for non-emergency reasons are encouraged to directly communicate with their faculty per their established attendance policy. (Examples of non-emergency situations are one-day absences, doctor’s appointments, pre-planned travel, etc.)

  • The student is responsible for communicating directly with their faculty when they are going to miss or have missed class. When possible, students finding it necessary to be absent from class should make arrangements with their instructors prior to being absent.
  • The student is responsible for contacting each faculty member in a timely manner to discuss any late assignments/missed work. There is no College policy related to missed work. This decision belongs to the faculty member. If granted extensions/make-ups/incompletes, it is the responsibility of the student to complete the work in the agreed upon timeframe.
  • If a faculty member requires absence verification of a non-emergency absence, students should be prepared to provide documentation to their faculty when they return. The Division of Student Affairs will not provide verification or proof of legitimacy for a non-emergency absence.
  • Students can contact the Division of Student Affairs upon return to campus to review any additional support resources that may be needed to assist in the transition back to campus.

Responsibilities of Faculty
Faculty should address absences directly with individual students per their established attendance policies. If a student is unaccounted for over a period of time that is of concern without any prior communication, notification should be made to the Division of Student Affairs as soon as possible.

  • It is the faculty member’s decision to determine whether any excused absence and extensions/make-ups/incompletes are given.
  • We encourage faculty to keep in mind that students who use the Absence Notification Process are typically recovering from a crisis or critical incident and would benefit from consideration.
  • If a faculty member prefers/requires absence verification, it is their prerogative to request that from the student.
  • If a faculty member feels a student is chronically absent, abusing the attendance/absence policy, or needs particular attention related to their absence, they are welcome to refer a student to the Office of the Dean of Students, who will follow up with both the faculty member and student to assist in resolving these concerns.
  • If faculty have questions regarding the enrollment status of a student, contact:
    • the Registrar’s Office for questions regarding withdrawal from an individual course
    • Division of Student Affairs regarding withdrawal from the College

Responsibilities of the Division of Student Affairs
Student Affairs will encourage students and faculty members to deal directly with one another for non-emergency absences. When the Dean's Office receives a request for an Absence Notification:

  • The Assistant Dean of Students (or designee) will collect specific information, including the anticipated return date.
  • If the circumstances are not considered an emergency or critical incident, a student will be directed to review the established attendance policy set in their course syllabus.
  • The Assistant Dean will determine with the student who needs to be notified and will send a College Memo (instructors, advisors, department chairs, coaches, College employers, etc.). The student will be copied on this email.
  • Depending upon the circumstances of the situation (including length of absence), the Assistant Dean (or designee) may inquire on behalf of the student about options, including whether a withdrawal from the course may need to be considered.
  • Upon a student’s return, the Assistant Dean (or designee) will attempt contact with the student inquiring about their situation and reviewing any follow-up resources available.

When Student Affairs receives a report of concerning absence, the Senior Assistant Dean will gather the necessary information to determine whether that student is missing.

  • If it is determined that there is potential that the student is missing, the appropriate protocol will be followed to determine the wellbeing of the student.
  • When some level of a determination is made, staff may be able to share with the reporter what findings they can with respect to the situation/privacy rights of the individual under FERPA.


Voluntary Withdrawal

Students who may need to take a temporary pause in their education or are leaving the College indefinitely must contact the Office of the Dean of Students to schedule an appointment to obtain the information related to leaving the College and complete required paperwork.

  • Voluntary withdrawal can be temporary or permanent.
  • There are different implications to consider if you are leaving in the midst of vs. at the end of a semester (including academic, financial, and/or readmission eligibility).
  • Refer to the Bursar’s Office and Financial Aid for information related to any financial implications resulting from a voluntary withdrawal.

Administrative Withdrawal

Students who fail to register for classes by the last day to add classes each semester and who do not inform the Registrar’s Office of their plans will be administratively withdrawn from the College. Students whose academic or personal conduct on/off campus is determined unsatisfactory or detrimental to the best interest of the College may be administratively withdrawn. We strongly encourage that students initiate the voluntary withdrawal process to avoid any unforeseen financial implications when separating from the College.


Academic Suspension from the College

A student may be academically suspended from the College for two successive semesters without achieving a 2.00 cumulative grade point average. Students who have been suspended for unsatisfactory academic performance may not enroll in any courses at ESF or Syracuse University until at least one semester has elapsed.

  • If suspension occurs following a spring semester, suspended students may not enroll in a summer program at ESF or SU.
  • Students who wish to be reinstated must apply for readmission through the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • Students suspended for a second time for unsatisfactory academic performance without successful appeal will be dismissed from the College permanently.

Disciplinary Suspension from the College

A student suspended from the College for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct may not participate in classes or other College activities during the identified period of suspension. Suspension extending beyond the semester in which action is taken shall consist of full semesters and/or summer sessions. Conditions for readmission may be specified in the disciplinary outcome letter.


Returning to ESF

Any formerly matriculated student who wishes to re-enroll must complete an application for readmission. Undergraduate applications can be obtained from and submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students at least45 days before the start of each semester. Graduate applications can be completed and submitted online through the Graduate Student Applicant Portal.

Readmission is not guaranteed, however it is generally a pro-forma decision for students who leave in good academic standing (with a cumulative GPA above a 2.00), and for fewer than 2 years. A student’s academic, disciplinary, and financial record will be reviewed as a part of the readmission process. Outstanding disciplinary action or sanctions prior to a student’s departure must be completed for readmission consideration.  Students who departed for health-related reasons will be asked to submit documentation regarding satisfactory progress to return from their care provider(s). Note: Students with additional outstanding disciplinary action must reconcile these charges/sanctions prior to readmission.


Returning from Academic Suspension

Students returning from an academic suspension will be placed on Academic Probation for the initial semester with additional conditions to be met during that first semester. These conditions may include:

  • The establishment of minimum cumulative GPA requirements for the first semester
  • A limit of credits to register for the first semester
  • A meeting with the Assistant Dean of Students (Student Support) within the first week of the semester
  • Meetings throughout the semester with the Academic Success and Coordinator. The initial meeting should be set up by the first week of the semester.

Returning from Disciplinary Suspension

Students returning from disciplinary suspension with required sanctions must complete the terms of these sanctions prior to the submission of a readmission application. Documentation of completed sanctions will be required. Questions about appropriate documentation should be directed to the Coordinator of Student Conduct.