U Senate votes down 12-credit course withdrawal limit

Brad Ellingson

A University Senate committee voted down a proposal Wednesday to prohibit students from withdrawing from more than 12 credits throughout their University careers.

Craig Swan, vice provost for undergraduate education, presented the proposal to the Senate, citing a correlation between graduation rates and the number of dropped classes.

“I am disappointed in the recommendation of the committee,” Swan said.

He said a limited number of withdrawals would keep students on the graduation path, while the current system allows them to stray.

After six years at the University, students with more than seven withdrawals have an 82 percent likelihood of never graduating, according to a report Swan presented to the committee.

Committee members voted against the proposal to limit withdrawals and another requirement mandating adviser and professor approval before dropping a course.

As the current policy stands,
students can drop an unlimited number of courses between the third and eighth weeks of each course without instructor or adviser approval.

Students can drop classes online.

After the eighth week, students can each use a one-time withdrawals at their discretion.

Mary Ellen Shaw, a Senate committee member and advising coordinator in General College, said the University should look at holding students to taking a set number of credits for a year instead of implementing a 12-credit withdrawal limit.

“I don’t think students cancel lightly,” Shaw said. “I don’t think they do it frivolously.”

Dan Kelly, Minnesota Student Association president and a member of The Minnesota Daily’s Board of Directors, said he agreed with the committee’s decision against changing the current withdrawal policy.

“If they’re looking at improving graduation rates, there are other things they need to be looking at,” Kelly said. “I think if a student wants to withdraw from a class, they should be able to withdraw from a class.”