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Dropping and Withdrawing

During the first two weeks of class, you may drop one or more classes using self-service registration on MyCSULB Student Center.

Starting the third week of class, if you wish to withdraw from a class, you must complete the online withdrawal request on MyCSULB Student Center.

When you no longer plan to complete a class that you are enrolled in, you must drop or withdraw from the class. The process to drop or withdraw varies depending on when you decide to do so. The deadlines to drop or withdraw are available at Key Dates and Deadlines.

  • During the first two weeks of class, you may drop one or more classes using MyCSULB Student Center.
  • Starting the third week of class, you will need to request a withdrawal.
  • If you must withdraw during the final three weeks of the semester (or proportionate for winter or summer terms), you may petition for a Catastrophic Withdrawal. Catastrophic Withdrawals are only granted when a student is prevented from completing their classes due to serious and extenuating circumstances.
  • If you are withdrawing for medical reasons, you may request a medical withdrawal.
  • If you are withdrawing for service in the armed forces, you may request to withdraw for military leave.

Guidelines

You may request to withdraw from specific classes or all classes in a given term (fall, winter, spring, or summer). Withdrawing from all classes in a given term does not necessarily involve withdrawing entirely from CSULB. In most cases, if you withdraw from one term, you are still eligible to enroll for the next term. Please be aware that:

  • It is your responsibility to drop or withdraw by the deadline to be eligible for a full or prorated refund. Do not assume the university will remove you from a class for non-payment of fees or that the instructor will remove you for non-attendance.
  • If you fail to withdraw, you may receive a grade of WU or F in all of your classes and forfeit any or all deposits. See Understanding Grades and Grading for more information about the marks assigned for withdraws.
  • If you are currently receiving financial aid or have received aid previously, you may be responsible for paying back some or all of the aid. If you are unsure about your financial aid status, contact Financial Aid and Scholarships for information.
  • International students should contact International Student Services (CIE-Student@csulb.edu), as withdrawals can affect an international student’s visa status.
  • You may withdraw from a maximum of 18 units throughout your entire CSULB undergraduate career (see Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit for more information).

Instructions

Drop (Weeks 1 and 2)

The difference between dropping a class and withdrawing from a class is based on the timing of your decision to stop participating in a class and when you take action on that decision. Dropping occurs when you take appropriate action to remove the class(es) from your academic record before the end of the second week of instruction (or proportionate for winter or summer terms).

Dropped courses no longer count toward your attempted units for a given term and do not count toward the Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit (PDF). Dropping may affect your status as a full-time student, your tuition calculation, and your financial aid eligibility.

To drop a class:

  1. Use self-service registration on MyCSULB Student Center before the end of the second week of instruction.
  2. Courses dropped before the deadline to drop without a W will not appear on your transcript. 

Withdrawal (Weeks 3 to 12)

Withdrawing occurs when you remove yourself from class after the second week of instruction (or proportionate for winter or summer terms). Before withdrawing, you should consider the consequences of such an action and consult with your academic advisor since it will generally impact your progress towards your degree, future course enrollment, and financial aid eligibility. 

If your withdrawal request is approved, you will receive a W on your transcript for the class. The W indicates that you attempted the class but eventually withdrew before completing it for a letter grade. Withdrawn classes are included in the tuition calculation.

Withdrawals are subject to CSULB's Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit and are permissible only for a serious and compelling reason. Withdrawing requires approval from the instructor and chairperson of the department offering the class.

To request a withdrawal, you will need to:

  1. Complete the online withdrawal request to withdraw from one or more classes. (See “Request to Withdraw.”)
  2. Provide a serious and compelling reason on your request form.
  3. Continue attending class until your request is approved.
  4. If your request is approved, you will receive a W on your transcript. W grades are not included in your GPA. W grades may negatively affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and your financial aid eligibility.

During the final three weeks of class (or proportionate for winter or summer terms), withdrawals are only granted when students are unable to complete classes due to serious and extenuating circumstances beyond their control. See the information below about Catastrophic Withdrawals.

Catastrophic Withdrawal (Final 3 Weeks)

Withdrawal during the final three weeks of instruction (or proportionate for winter and summer terms) is not permitted unless there are serious and extenuating circumstances beyond your control that prevent you from continuing in your classes and Incompletes are not possible. Such withdrawals are considered Catastrophic Withdrawals and require approval from the instructor, the chairperson of the department offering the class, and the associate dean of the college in which the class is taught. Final approval can only be granted by the Withdrawal Appeals Committee.

Poor academic performance, lack of attendance, and desire to avoid a low grade are not considered compelling reasons for withdrawal. In most cases, catastrophic withdrawals involve withdrawal from all classes for the term and are not intended to be made more than once during your CSULB undergraduate career.

To request a Catastrophic Withdrawal, you will need to:

  1. Complete the online withdrawal request to withdraw from all classes. (See “Request to Withdraw.”)
  2. Upload thorough and credible documentation as attachments to your request form.
  3. If approved, a symbol of WE will be assigned for every class in the term in most cases. WE grades are not included in your GPA. The withdrawn units will not apply toward CSULB’s Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit.
  4. If your request to withdraw is approved but does not meet the definition of a Catastrophic Withdrawal, a symbol of W will be assigned for every class and the units will count towards CSULB’s Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit. W grades may negatively affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and your financial aid eligibility.
  5. If your request to withdraw is not approved, you must initiate the Incomplete process, if applicable, or complete the class(es). If you cease attending class, you may be assigned a WU or F (a WU is treated as an F for GPA calculation).

Medical

You may request to withdraw for medical reasons when a serious medical condition—such as an illness, accident, or mental health condition—prevents you from continuing in your classes and Incompletes are not possible. In most cases, medical withdrawals involve withdrawal from all classes for the term.

Medical withdrawals require that your physician or health care provider submit documentation that includes the date of onset for your medical condition, dates of medical care, and information about how the condition prevented completion of classes.

To request a medical withdrawal, you will need to:

  1. Complete the Catastrophic Withdraw – Medical form (PDF), which will require documentation from your physician or health care provider.
  2. If approved, a symbol of WE will be assigned for every class in the term in most cases. WE grades are not included in your GPA. The withdrawn units will not apply toward CSULB’s Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit.
  3. If your request to withdraw is approved but does not meet the definition of a Catastrophic Withdrawal, a symbol of W will be assigned for every class and the units will count towards CSULB’s Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit. W grades may negatively affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and your financial aid eligibility.
  4. If your request to withdraw is not approved, you must initiate the Incomplete process, if applicable, or complete the class(es). If you cease attending class, you may be assigned a WU or F (a WU is treated as an F for GPA calculation).

Please be aware that you may be required to obtain clearance from an appropriate medical professional before enrolling in a subsequent term.

Military Leave

Military leave is granted to students to serve in the armed forces of the United States if the absence is due to serving in the armed formes for more than 30 days and the cumulative length of all absences for service does not exceed five years.

To withdraw from classes for military leave:

  1. If you are requesting your leave before the end of the second week of class, drop your classes using MyCSULB Student Center.
  2. If you are requesting your leave after the second week of class, complete the online withdrawal request to withdraw from all classes. (See “Request to Withdraw.”)
  3. Submit your Application for Military Leave (PDF) to the Veterans Services office.

Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit

Policy

You may withdraw from a maximum of 18 units throughout your entire CSULB undergraduate career, including special sessions, Center for Professional and International Education (CPIE) enrollment, and re-enrolling after separation from the university. Once the limit is reached, you can no longer withdraw and must remain enrolled. Your instructor(s) will assign the appropriate grade(s).

You may review your courses and number of units applied to the Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit by accessing your MyCSULB Student Center and selecting Withdrawal/Repeats from the pull-down menu in the Academics section.

Exceptions to CSULB's Undergraduate Withdrawal Limit include:

  • Dropping a class during the first two weeks
  • Courses you withdrew from before Fall 2009
  • Courses in which you received a symbol of WE

If you have reached the 18-unit withdrawal limit and request a withdrawal, the Office of Enrollment Services will be unable to process your request. See the information about appeals below.

Appeals

If you have reached the 18-unit withdrawal limit and request a withdrawal, the Office of Enrollment Services will be unable to process your request. You must complete the class or initiate the Incomplete process, when appropriate. If you simply cease attending class, you may be assigned a WU or F (a WU is treated as an F for GPA calculation).

Exceptions to the withdrawal limit will be considered only in rare cases of extraordinary need and documented circumstances and must be requested in a Petition for Exception to Academic Policy.

Withdrawal due to circumstances beyond your control in which a serious personal life situation, illness or accident prevents you from continuing in your classes and Incompletes or other arrangements with instructors are not possible may qualify as a Catastrophic Withdrawal. See the information above about Catastrophic Withdrawals for more information.


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I submit my request before the final three weeks of the semester, but it doesn’t get reviewed until the final three weeks of class? Will I need to submit a new request form for a Catastrophic Withdrawal?

No. Your request is approved or denied based on the date you submitted the request, not on the date it is reviewed.

Why do I need to submit documentation during the final three weeks?

When you submit a withdrawal request during the final three weeks of instruction (or proportionate for winter and summer terms), you will need to upload documentation of serious and extenuating circumstances beyond your control that prevent you from continuing in your classes. Documentation must be thorough and credible. You will not be able to submit your withdrawal request without uploading documentation. Poor academic performance, lack of attendance, and desire to avoid a low grade are not considered compelling reasons for withdrawal.

How long will it take for my request to be approved or denied?

In most cases, withdrawal requests are reviewed within 7 to 10 business days. However, because requests for catastrophic withdrawal are reviewed by the Withdrawal Appeals Committee—which meets once per month—such requests may take more time to review.

Who reviews my request?

Your request must be approved by your course instructor and the department chair for the course. If you submit your withdrawal request during the final three weeks of class, your request will additionally need to be approved by the associate dean of the college that offers the course as well as the Withdrawal Appeals Committee.

Why was my request denied?

The most common reasons for a request to be denied are:

  • You will exceed the 18-unit maximum for W grades
  • You have an in-progress academic integrity case for the class
  • Your documentation did not meet the committee's threshold for serious and extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control

If you request a Catastrophic Withdrawal but have previously received WE grades, your request may be denied because such withdrawals are intended to be granted during only one term throughout your CSULB undergraduate career.

Why isn’t there a checkbox next to the class I want to withdraw from?

A checkbox will not appear next to a class if you have already submitted a withdrawal request for that class.

How do W grades impact my financial aid eligibility?

Grades of W count toward your attempted credits calculation for determining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

What is the difference between a W and a WE grade?

A W grade (Withdrawal) is granted for approved withdrawals and does not affect your GPA. You may withdraw from a maximum of 18 units during your CSULB undergraduate career.
 
A WE (Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances) grade is granted for approved medical or catastrophic withdrawal. If a medical or catastrophic withdrawal is approved, it will generally result in WE grades in all classes for the term. Such withdrawals are not intended to be made more than once during your CSULB undergraduate career.

If you do not withdraw from a course and do not complete it, you may be assigned a WU grade (Unauthorized Withdrawal) or F grade.