Although Grinnell College is noted for its open curriculum — consistent with our philosophy of self-governance — the College is not without a significant number of policies related to a student's academic life.

As a student you should know that often there is little or no flexibility within these policies and that, in some cases, not following them can have significant academic consequences. If you have questions about any of the following policies or other procedures at the College first consult the Student Handbook. Then bring your questions to the staff at the Academic Advising Office or speak with your faculty adviser. We can help you navigate.

Student Handbook Links

  1. Requirements for Graduation
  2. Class Registration Policies
  3. Honesty in Academic Work
  4. Individual Study and Internships
  5. Grades and Grading
  6. Transfer, Advanced Placement and Examination Credits
  7. Off-Campus Study
  8. Academic Review
  9. Leaves or Withdrawal from the College
  10. Phi Beta Kappa
  11. Students with Disabilities
  12. Student Records

Dropping Below Full-Time

Considerations if dropping below full-time enrollment status

  1. Students may withdraw from courses until the end of the 9th week of the semester with an endorsement of their faculty adviser. After the end of the 9th week and before final day of classes, students may petition to withdraw under the Emergency Course Withdrawal policy.
  2. No student may drop below 8 credits.
  3. There is no reduction in tuition cost. Students will pay the full semester’s tuition even if enrolled less than full-time. (The only exceptions are occasional 9th semester students who are allowed to complete their degrees while being charged per credit hour.)
  4. Students who do not make normal academic progress – i.e., earn fewer than 12 credits – during the semester will have their grades and credits reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing. If deficient, this can result in a student being warned, placed on academic probation or academically suspended.
  5. There may be implications for your Financial Aid. Talk with a staff member in the Financial Aid Office to review your situation, x3250.
  6. There may be implications for your health insurance. Grinnell College’s Student Assurance will allow you to be less-than-full time, but your personal policy (if you have one), may not allow this. Talk with your insurance carrier.
  7. If you are participating on a varsity athletic team, NCAA rules do not allow students who are less than full time to compete. Talk with your coach about this.
  8. To live in the residence halls, students must be full time. To have your situation reviewed, contact Andrea Conner, x3713.
  9. If you have been approved to study off campus in a future semester, you were approved on the basis of the four-year plan that you submitted when you applied, and changes to that plan may make you ineligible to participate in your off-campus program. Talk with the Director of Off-Campus Study to review your situation, x4850.
  10. If you are an international student holding F-1 status, a drop below full course load is allowed in limited circumstances only. It requires pre-authorization, so contact the OISA prior to a drop below full course load. Contact Karen Edwards or Brenda Strong, x3703, for more info.
  11. Students need to maintain full-time enrollment status – both before and after the summer internship – to be eligible to receive internship funding. Consult with the Megan Crawford at the Career Development Office, x4940 to discuss your situation, if this applies.

Emergency Leave of Absence

Students interested in seeking an emergency leave of absence should consult the Student Handbook for more information. The Leaves of Absence policy is stated there. Further information about taking a leave of absence can be found on the handout link below.

Students should then make an appointment to speak immediately with the Dean of Academic Advising. Call 641-269-3702 immediately to schedule an appointment.

Upon returning from a medical leave in the second year, a student from the class of 2013 reported:

"I have had a really great semester. I don't think it could have been better. I found adjusting to being back at Grinnell pretty seamless, probably mostly thanks to my friends. I've loved my classes and the Grinnell environment in general (much more than last year, which just shows how much I was already being affected by mental health problems then). I can say that for students who are thinking about taking a semester off or who have already decided to, getting my mental health in order has made all the difference to my college experience. I'm not taking it for granted, and still see a therapist every week, and I'm very conscious that brain chemistry is always changing and my medication may not always work as well as it does now, but at the moment I'm enjoying life at Grinnell a lot. I also would like students with mental health issues to know that taking a semester off isn't a sign of weakness. It's much wiser to take a little time off to get things straightened out than to just keep struggling through because you feel expected to."


Personal Leave of Absence

Students requesting a leave of absence should first consult the Student Handbook for more information. The Leaves of Absence policy is stated there. Further information about taking a leave of absence can be found on the Handout link below.

Students interested in applying for a leave of absence need to complete the Personal Leave Application form on the link below and submit it to the Dean of Academic Advising.

A brief interview with the Dean of Academic Advising is also required. Call 641-269-3702 to schedule an appointment.