some, military service means early end to semester
studies professor Barbara O’Connor has seen five of her students
trade in their book bags for duffel bags this semester and put their
education on hold to help out in the war against Iraq. For many
it is a proud, but anxious and bewildering time in their lives.
“They’re asking ‘What happens to me now? How do
I finish my degree? How do I cope with this?'” she said.
For some the answer is withdrawing from classes. Overall, more than
two dozen service men and women have opted to withdraw from the
University, and that number is expected to rise.
“It will be interesting to see what those numbers are like
in another month,” said Tom Griffith, director of academic
The University, he said, provides a simple withdrawal process that
allows any student to withdraw, no questions asked, up to three
weeks before the end of classes. The deadline this semester is April
“Generally, the University reasons that when a student wants
to get out of all their classes, they are having a major crisis
in their life,” Griffith said. “For that reason the
University makes it as easy as possible.” For students who
withdraw after the second week of classes there are steps to follow
such as paying processing fees and meeting withdrawal deadlines.
“The one exemption is a student who has orders to active duty,”
Under federal guidelines, those students are exempt from some of
the rules. They receive a full refund of fees regardless of when
they withdraw, they do not have to pay the processing fee, and they
can withdraw up to the last day of classes.
Griffith said that advisers suggest that those seeking a withdrawal
for military reasons consider taking an academic leave of absence
as well. This allows a student to take up to two years off and still
return and complete their degree under their current catalog year.
This allows them to avoid any new University or department requirements
that may have been imposed in their absence.
Although the withdrawal process is easy, it does mean that a student
must start the semester over from scratch when they return from
“Many of them don’t want to withdraw,” O’Connor
said. “They don’t want to waste the time and effort
they’ve already put in this semester.” As a result they
are asking professors for incompletes and trying to find ways to
complete the coursework outside of class.
“It’s a dilemma,” she said. “How do you
agree to something like that not knowing when they’ll ever
be able to complete it?”
For more information about student withdrawals, visit www.csus.edu/acad.