Catalog Policies

Withdrawal from the Institute

Withdrawal Form 

Any non-graduating students who terminate their enrollment at CalArts during or at the end of any semester must complete a Withdrawal form in the Office of the Registrar.

Students who choose to formally withdraw during the Add/Drop period will have all in progress courses dropped from their transcript.  Students who formally withdraw during the Withdrawal period will be assigned “W” notations for all in progress courses.  Students who withdraw after the Withdrawal period or after the end of the semester will receive the grades assigned by their faculty.  Students who fail to enroll from one semester to the next, or who do not return from an approved leave as expected, will be automatically withdrawn from the Institute by the Office of the Registrar.

Students who have withdrawn from the Institute may request readmission by submitting a new application through the Admissions Office.  It is at the discretion of the School and Program to determine specific portfolio requirements for individual students requesting readmission; Schools are not required to readmit withdrawn students.  In order for transfer credit to be applied to the CalArts degree, transcripts for all work completed since leaving CalArts must be presented at the time of readmission.

All withdrawn students readmitted to the Institute will be subject to current policies governing degree requirements and catalog rights.  Students who withdraw while on academic warning or probation must meet the terms of their warning or probation, if readmitted.

Administrative/Unofficial Withdrawal

An “unofficial withdrawal” occurs when a student stops attending all classes and stops participating in any academic activities beyond the date they last attended classes. Students may be administratively withdrawn from the Institute in cases where their non-attendance (unofficial withdrawal) has been confirmed by all currently assigned faculty. The decision to administratively withdraw a student is made by the Vice President for Student Experience (or designee), in collaboration with the student’s School and the Registrar.

  1. Determination of Actual Unofficial Withdrawals

Faculty and/or Mentors can submit Care Reports for students who have ceased attending classes or participating in academic activities, and/or contact the Director of Care and Well-being or Office of the Registrar directly. The Director of Care and Well-being in partnership with the Registrar, will conduct an attendance audit with the faculty and School. The student’s last date of attendance will be confirmed by the Registrar, and the student will be administratively withdrawn.

B. Determination of Potential Unofficial Withdrawals

At the end of the semester/session when final grades have been recorded, the Office of the Registrar will run a report to identify students whose grades for the term are all NC, I or a combination of NC, I, and W grades. At the end of the semester the CalArts Financial Aid staff will review the list and evaluate each student to determine whether the student should be considered to have unofficially withdrawn. Follow up with the faculty and/or Registrar may be required to determine whether or not a student ceased attendance in all classes.

C. Last Date of Attendance

  1. The last date of attendance for W grades is generally the withdrawal date. When a NC grade is recorded, the faculty must supply the last date of attendance.
  2. Faculty are to participate in the Registrar’s attendance audit. This allows the registrar to maintain accurate records while complying with federal financial aid requirements.

Unless otherwise specified by the Vice President for Student Experience (or designee), any decision to administratively withdraw a student will take immediate effect. However, this decision is subject to automatic review within seven days by the Provost (or designee), including the Institute Diversity Officer.  Should students choose to challenge the administrative withdrawal decision, they may do so through the Student Grievance Procedure, but the initiation of a grievance will not delay the effective date of the withdrawal.

Students who are administratively withdrawn may pursue readmission under the same guidelines detailed above.

If you need to withdraw from all of your classes, you should to speak to a financial aid advisor before doing so to determine how it may affect your financial aid and your Satisfactory Academic Progress. If you have any questions about your Title IV program funds, contact the CalArts Financial Aid Office.

Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

Unofficial Withdrawals and how it impacts your Financial Aid

Per federal regulations, schools are required to review students who received federal financial aid and did not pass any classes. An assessment must be made to determine whether the student earned the non-passing grades while attending classes or stopped attending classes but did not officially withdraw. Students who stopped attending classes may be required to repay a portion of the federal financial aid for that semester. If it is determined that a student never began attendance in some or all classes, aid may be canceled completely. The review process must be completed within 30 days after the end of each semester.

If a student follows Institute procedures and withdraws, they will have an official withdrawal date and their financial aid refund calculation will be completed according to the CalArts Return to Title IV policy.

At the end of each semester, all federal financial aid recipients who receive no passing grades will be reviewed to determine if the non-passing grade was earned while attending or due to no longer attending class. The CalArts Financial Aid office receive the Last Date of Attendance from the Registrar to determine how much aid needs to be returned.

Any refund owed to a federal financial aid program is the student's responsibility and will appear as a charge on the student's next CalArts bill.

The bottom line is to make sure you attend and participate in your classes! If you have any concerns about your courses please be sure to contact your academic advisor.

This policy is in accordance with Federal financial aid regulations published in the November 1, 1999 Federal Register, volume 64, number 210, section 668.22 and DCL GEN-04-03 Revised published November 2004.


Policy Category:
Adopted Date:
Oct 2016
Revised Date:
Dec 2016
Revision History:
Revised 2016-2017