Q&A for Administrative Drop Policy for Online Students

Why Is This Necessary?

Students must attend class in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. Federal Student Aid documentation guidance states that in a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question[1].

We do not want to disperse aid to students with no intention of actually participating but we also do not want to delay getting students who need their aid those funds in a timely fashion. As a result, we are asking for your support in ensuring we can make administrative drop determinations at the end of the first week of the session.

As a Faculty Member Teaching Online What Do I Need to Do?

  • Have activity in the first week of your course that requires students to submit something by 11:59 pm on the seventh day of the first week of class. This is best practice in an eight-week class and might be something as simple as a quiz that assesses whether a student has read the syllabus or a short response paper.
  • Your assignment does not need to be graded but it should be submitted through Blackboard. If your assignment is a discussion board post please ensure that the forum is marked as gradable. The default is “no grading in forum.” You can find instructions on how to do this here or you may contact Jim Dugan (jdugan@loyno.edu) or Eric Wiltz (erwiltz@loyno.edu) for assistance.
  • Reach out to your students and remind them of the importance of completing the first week activities you have designed.
  • Check that your Blackboard roster matches your LORA roster and make adjustments as needed.

An aggregated report of student activity in Blackboard can be automatically generated by the Online Learning Team and IT.  This report will be shared with Student Records and Online Technical Advisors who will administratively drop students, inform the student of this action, and share this information with the Office of Financial Aid.

How Will Students Know About This Policy?

The Office of Student Records contacts each student in advance of the start of the session with a reminder about this policy. This information will also be displayed in Blackboard and LORA and shared by advisors. It is currently posted on the Academic Affairs Policies and Procedures page and will be included in the next Academic Bulletin.


[1] /See section 5-61, page 923 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook https://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1718FSAHbkActiveIndex.pdf