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K-1: RE-ENROLLMENT AS A DEGREE CANDIDATE

  1. Context and Motivation

    A student’s progress toward an undergraduate degree may be interrupted for a variety of reasons. In order to return to the University as a degree candidate after one of these interruptions, former students must complete a two-stage re-enrollment process (Senate §§58-00, 56-00). They must (1) ask permission from the University to re-enroll as a student, and they must (2) ask permission from an enrollment unit – college or DUS – to enroll in an academic program. 

    This document specifies the steps involved in administering the re-enrollment process, and it articulates the principles that frame this administrative work.

  2. Principles and definitions

    The procedures outlined in §III below operationalize the Senate re-enrollment policy (provided for in policy sections §§54 and 56) in light of the following organizing principles and guiding definitions.

    1. Student support: academic recovery and student success are the primary goals, and the advising relationship is essential to the effective pursuit of these goals
    2. Clarity and communication: enrollment units will establish transparent criteria for re-enrollment, and will share these criteria with stakeholders at all relevant locations
    3. Realistic capacity management: effective policy implementation requires planning for predictable capacity constraints and strategies for increasing capacity
    4. Academic-geographic coordination: The dispersed-university structure requires cooperation between geographically and administratively distinct units. While the academic college or DUS is the formal unit of enrollment, the campus is often the more appropriate site for operations involving contact with students. For this reason:
      1. Enrollment units offering programs at multiple locations should work with campus authorities to achieve maximum clarity in relation to requirements, workflows, and decision rights.
      2. The goal should be to empower campus authorities to work with full information and system-wide support in guiding students through programs that are governed elsewhere.
      3. The resulting terms of cooperation should be codified and widely shared. At a minimum, unit-specific requirements should be made available on each college or campus website and communicated to other locations as appropriate via the College Contact and Referral Representatives (CCRRs).

    5. Definitions
      1. Enrollment unit: This locution refers both to the academic colleges and to the Division of Undergraduate Studies.
      2. Dean: Due to the diversity of organizational structures across the system, decision-making authority rests with people in different roles at different geographic and administrative locations. References below to the dean refer to the enrollment unit’s ACUE representative, acting on behalf of their unit’s dean, chancellor, or director
      3. Registrar: The Office of the University Registrar (OUR) functions as the campus registrar for the UP campus, but also has additional system-wide responsibilities. On the assumption that the system’s registrars will coordinate among themselves to apportion duties appropriately, this document will typically use the general expression “the registrar” to indicate the points at which one or another of these offices must take action. In cases clearly involving system-wide operations, more precise references to the OUR will appear.

  3. Procedure

    1. Re-enrolling in the University

      1. Any student who wishes to re-enroll as a degree candidate must complete an undergraduate re-enrollment application and submit a non-refundable re-enrollment fee to the campus of intended re-enrollment. This a one-time fee that applies for the duration of this attempted re-enrollment.
      2. The application is available at any campus Registrar’s office or on the Web at www.registrar.psu.edu.
      3. The student should submit the completed application and the re-enrollment fee as early as possible, and no later than two weeks prior to the start of classes in which the student wants to enroll. Exceptions after this deadline are at the discretion of the unit of enrollment.
      4. Submission of these materials does not guarantee approval to re-enroll.
      5. Once this first stage of the re-enrollment process is complete, students will take one of the paths discussed in the next section. The steps in this second stage of the process begin after the campus registrar records the re-enrollment request in the student information system.

    2. Re-enrolling in an Academic Program

    NOTE: At one time, students were able to request re-enrollment as bearers of “non-degree conditional” status. That status is no longer available. Students seeking re-enrollment in that status should follow the process for students returning from suspension.

    1. For students in good standing and re-enrolling in their previous enrollment unit:
      1. As per Senate policy (58-50), the registrar will immediately approve the student’s re-enrollment in the academic program and will notify the student of this action, unless the student requests enrollment in DUS or in a major with enrollment controls.
      2. If the student seeks re-enrollment in DUS or a controlled major, then:
        1. The registrar will forward the request to the relevant enrollment unit for review by the dean or dean’s designee.
        2. The enrollment unit will notify the campus registrar of its decision.
        3. The registrar will record the decision in the student information system and notify the student.

    2. For students in good standing and seeking admission to a new enrollment unit:
      1. Students may seek to re-enroll in a unit other than the unit of last enrollment. As these requests require a dean’s review, the campus registrar will forward the request to the relevant enrollment unit for review by the dean or dean’s designee.
      2. If the student seeks to change campuses, the unit will weigh the merits of the request against potential violations of the 2+2 principle.
      3. The unit of intended enrollment will consider the student’s academic needs and prospects for success. There should be a strong presumption in favor of granting the request.
      4. The enrollment unit will notify the campus registrar of its decision.
      5. The campus registrar will record the decision in the student information system and notify the student.

    3. For students returning in academic warning and seeking to re-enroll in the original enrollment unit:
      1. The campus registrar will immediately approve the request.
      2. The registrar will notify the student of this action.
      3. The registrar will place a registration hold in order to ensure that the proper advising recommendations occur.
      4. The enrollment unit will lift the hold after a satisfactory advising encounter has taken place. What counts as a satisfactory advising encounter is up to the enrollment unit, which may specify its own processes for certifying the quality of the encounter.
      5. The author of the advising recommendations will record the recommendations and any other salient information in Starfish.

    4. For students returning in academic warning and seeking admission to a new enrollment unit:
      1. The registrar will forward the request to the relevant enrollment unit for review by the dean or dean’s designee.
      2. The enrollment unit will notify the registrar of its decision.
      3. The registrar will record the decision in the student information system and notify the student.
      4. The unit may ask the registrar to place a registration hold in order to ensure that the proper advising recommendations occur. The unit will lift the hold after a satisfactory advising encounter has taken place.

    5. For students returning from academic suspension (via AAPP I-1):
      1. Units may encourage students to confer with an academic adviser or other unit designee prior to completing the first stage of the re-enrollment process (the application and non-refundable fee), in order to gauge the appropriateness and viability of their plans for re-enrollment.
      2. After the student completes the first stage of the re-enrollment process the registrar will forward the request to the appropriate enrollment unit for review and decision.
      3. Enrollment units will seek to determine whether the student has addressed the issues that led to the suspension. The mechanism for this evaluation may vary with the needs and capacities of the enrollment unit. Possible mechanisms include but are not limited to the following:
        1. Academic action plan: Ideally, suspended students will have met with an adviser or other designee of the enrollment unit at the time of the initial suspension notice to develop and record a realistic academic action plan. In these cases, evaluating the re-enrollment request will mean determining whether the student has met the conditions set out in the plan.
        2. Student statement: If there was no immediate post-suspension meeting, then the enrollment unit may require that the student submit a statement explaining their past difficulties and their current readiness to return and succeed.
      4. The enrollment unit will notify the registrar of its decision.
      5. The registrar will record the decision in the student information system and notify the student.
      6. If the enrollment unit approves the re-enrollment application, then
        1. The student will return to the University as a degree-seeking student in academic warning status, with their former CGPA and a registration hold in place.
        2. An adviser or other unit designee will inform the student of the need to schedule a meeting to plan a responsible course of study before registration.
        3. The unit will lift the hold after a satisfactory advising encounter has taken place.
      7. If the enrollment unit denies the re-enrollment application, then
        1. An adviser or other unit designee will inform the student of the need to schedule a meeting to consider next steps.
        2. If in the judgment of the designee re-enrollment remains a plausible option for the near future, then the purpose of the meeting will be to develop a revised academic action plan leading to another request for re-enrollment. The applicant must submit a second re-enrollment application but will not be charged a second re-enrollment fee.
        3. If the designee determines that re-enrollment is not a plausible near-term option, the purpose of the meeting will be to review other options, such as academic renewal.
      8. A student can be academically suspended from the University two times.  If the student fails to achieve at least a 2.00 semester GPA in their first semester after returning from the second academic suspension, the student can be dismissed (Policy 54-50).  Once dismissed, the student may not take courses at any Penn State campus for four years.  After this four-year period of time, dismissed students may apply for academic renewal (Policy 54-90).

  4. Special circumstances

    1. Attendance at another institution
      1. A former Penn State student who has attended another accredited college or university must indicate in the appropriate place on the re-enrollment application that they have attended another institution.
      2. The student must also arrange to have a transcript sent to the Undergraduate Admissions Office (UAO). (The application will prompt them to do this.)
      3. After approving the student for re-enrollment, the registrar will notify the UAO that a student indicating non-Penn State enrollment has been approved, and will ask the UAO to add transfer credits to the student’s record.

    2. Adult learners
      Special accommodations are extended to adult learners. An adult learner who wants to return to the University after a period of non-enrollment or withdrew from the last enrolled semester, must complete the Returning Adult Learner Form, if all of the following criteria apply:
      1. The period of non-enrollment has been less than three years, and;
      2. The student is seeking entrance to a major in which they were previously enrolled, and;
      3. The major has been authorized by the academic college to be eligible for this accommodation. Those programs that have been authorized are listed at http://www.registrar.psu.edu/adult_learners_majors/MajorsforAdultLearners.cfm. The OUR will work with the ACUE leadership to ensure that this link remains up to date.

      If an adult learner seeks to re-enroll in a different major, after suspension, or in warning, the normal rules of re-enrollment apply as indicated above.

Senate Policy:  58-50, Conditions for Re-enrollment as a Degree Candidate

Undergraduate Advising Handbook: Re-Enrollment Exception for Adult Learners

Approved: ACUE (11-16-78)
Revised: ACUE (7-30-97)
Revised: ACUE (8-4-05)
Revised: ACUE (6-4-15); Effective Fall 2016
Revised: Editorial (4-6-17)
Revised: ACUE (10/5/17)
Revised:  ACUE (3/1/18)
Revised: ACUE (5/3/18)