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September 17, 2010

The Add/Drop Period

You may not realize it, but dropping a class can affect your student loans.

If you need to drop a class, it is important to do so during your school’s add/drop period. Schools base your amount of aid on your number of credit hours. If you drop a class after your school’s designated add/drop period, you may not be able to return the financial aid you received without penalty.

As a result, you may end up having to repay a prorated amount—if not all of the loan—for a class you didn’t complete. Therefore, when dropping or adding classes, it's important to check with the financial aid office to determine whether your financial aid will be affected.

Dropping a Class

Every school handles dropping a class differently. But typically you can drop a class through the last day of the add/drop period and receive a 100% refund for that class. The add/drop period usually begins on the first day of classes and ends around 2 weeks into the semester (check with the school registrar for more information). Most schools have an online registrar system, so dropping a class during your school’s add/drop period should be relatively easy.

“W” on Your Transcript

Classes dropped after the deadline established for the semester usually remain on your transcript with a “W” (Withdrawn) notation. While there is some debate on whether or not W’s are a bad thing, you should try to avoid having too many on your transcript. It may show a lack of interest in your course subjects or a pattern of getting failing grades (a common reason for withdrawal).