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Important Information Regarding COVID-19

See the Registrar's COVID-19 and Academic Continuity page for information for students, faculty, and staff relevant to classes and academic activities and administration. (updated August 21, 2020)

Undergraduate Enrollment Framework for Academic Year 2020-21

This page reflects policies and processes specific to academic year 2020-21 as the University navigates the pandemic, and are subject to change or revision.

Undergraduate Student Populations

Frosh & New Transfers

  • Students are expected to enroll in 3 quarters full-time; students will have 1 Flex Term

  • A leave of absence (LOA) would be filed if taking any quarters off beyond the Flex Term

  • Must attend Autumn or defer one year

  • Flex Term may be Winter, Spring, or Summer

Continuing Undergraduates

  • Students are expected to enroll in 3 quarters full-time; students will have 1 Flex Term

  • A leave of absence (LOA) would be filed if taking any quarters off beyond the Flex Term

  • Flex Term may be any quarter during the 2020-21 academic year

Frosh (International)

  • Students are required to enroll in 3 consecutive, full-time quarters while on campus to maintain their F-1 visa status

  • According to immigration regulations, students who enroll for 3 consecutive quarters in F-1 status do not need to enroll in a 4th quarter. They are permitted to remain in the US during the 4th quarter during which time they are not enrolled.

  • Students are expected to enroll full-time in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters; if students complete those 3 full-time quarters then Summer would be the student's flex term 

Continuing Undergraduates (International)

  • Students are required to enroll in 3 consecutive, full-time quarters while on campus to maintain their F1 visa status

  • According to immigration regulations, students who enroll for 3 consecutive quarters in F-1 status do not need to enroll in a 4th quarter. They are permitted to remain in the US during the 4th quarter during which time they are not enrolled.

  • Students are expected to enroll full-time in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters; if students complete those 3 full-time quarters then Summer would be the student's flex term

Flex Term

Effective academic year 2020-21, undergraduates are expected to enroll in three of four quarters during the academic year, with the remaining quarter considered the Flex Term. If students are unable to or elect to not enroll in three quarters, they must apply for a leave of absence for those quarter(s).

Traditionally, students are required to enroll in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters, with Summer being an optional quarter for enrollment.

For 2020-21, undergraduates  will have one flex quarter in which they are not required to enroll in classes and in which a leave of absence form is not required. After the flex term concludes, the student will either enroll in classes the following term or file a LOA eForm if planning not to enroll. If a student fails to enroll or file a LOA form in the following term, the student will be discontinued for no enrollment.

Students will designate the Flex Term as part of the Quarterly Check-In process.

During a Flex Term, undergraduates and coterm students on undergraduate billing are eligible to enroll up to a maximum of five (5) total units. All of these five (5) units are considered free and there is no tuition charge for the enrolled units. However, fees will still apply for Music courses taken during the Flex Term as free units because fees support instruction for music lessons; these are tied to enrollment (and not tuition). There is sliding-scale aid for these fees available to all students taking lessons; students should contact the Music department <rleigh@stanford.edu> for more information.

A student will elect to use their flex term before the term begins via the Quarterly Check-in in Axess; after classes have begun and if a student is enrolled (full-time or flex term) in classes, they must file a leave of absence to withdraw from the term. See further below for Timing of Enrollment during the quarter.

If a student is not enrolled in classes and has not used their Flex Term, and the student fails to acknowledge their plans in the Axess check-in, then this quarter will be designated the student's flex quarter.

If a student elects to take their flex quarter and then needs to take an additional quarter away, the student must file a leave of absence.  

If a student elects not to enroll in three quarters during the academic year, the student may choose to file a leave of absence for their first term away and save the flex term for a future quarter in the 2020-21 academic year. No retroactive leaves of absence or requests to retroactively designate a flex quarter will be permitted. 

For further information, see Flex Term FAQs

Timing of enrollment

Open enrollment window

The open enrollment windows will be slightly shorter for academic year 2020-21 to provide students additional time for planning for the quarter ahead. Enrollment will still be open for a minimum one month prior to the start of the term and during the first three weeks of the quarter. See the academic calendar for open enrollment dates. 

Prior to open enrollment or not enrolled in classes

  • Students would not have to file a leave of absence in their first term away from Stanford; this quarter would be considered the student’s flex term. Students would declare this 'flex term' in the quarterly student check-in process in Axess. If students do not declare in Axess and take one term away, by default this will be considered the student's flex term.

  • After the flex quarter concludes, the student would either need to enroll in classes or submit a leave of absence (if not planning to return); failure to do either would result in discontinuation after the subsequent term’s final study list deadline

  • Example: A student enrolls and completes Autumn quarter; the student can elect to take Winter as their flex term (no LOA required); the student would then be required to enroll in Spring or file a LOA eForm (if the student plans to take Spring off) as Spring would be the student’s second term away from Stanford.

  • If the student has previously used their flex term, then a LOA form would be required if not planning to enroll in the term.

From open enrollment to the day before classes start

  • After Axess opens for enrollment through the day before the start of term, undergraduate students will be able to add classes and drop down to 0 units for the quarter.

  • If the student is not enrolled in classes (or has dropped all their classes) before the start of the term, the student would not have to file a leave of absence in their first term away from Stanford; this quarter would be considered the student's flex term - the student would also update their intentions in the Axess quarterly check-in.

  • If the student has previously used their flex term, then a LOA form would be required if not planning to enroll in the term.

First day of classes through the final study list deadline

  • If a student is enrolled in classes (either full-time or in the Flex Term) and wishes to withdraw from the quarter, the student must file a LOA with the last date attended. The student may not drop down to 0 units after classes have started for the quarter. Once the LOA is approved, the student would have their classes dropped from their record and be placed on a leave of absence for the quarter. For more information, see the Leave of Absence section in the Bulletin

  • If a student is not enrolled in classes and has not used their flex term, the student does not need to enroll or file a LOA in their first quarter away from Stanford. This term will be considered the student's flex quarter. The student will also indicate this selection in the Axess quarterly student check-in.

  • If a student has elected to use the flex term, the student can enroll in up to a maximum of 5 free units until the add/drop deadline at the end of week 3. 

  • If a student is not enrolled in classes and has previously used their flex term, then the student must file a LOA form for the quarter to avoid becoming discontinued after the final study list deadline.

After the final study list deadline

  • If a student is enrolled in classes (full-time or flex term) and wishes to withdraw from the quarter after the final study list deadline, the student must file a LOA with the last date attended. Once the LOA is approved, the classes will show as withdrawn on the student's record and be placed on a leave of absence for the quarter. For more information, see the Leave of Absence section in the Bulletin.

  • If a student is not enrolled in classes and has not used their flex term, this quarter will be considered the student's flex quarter.

  • If a student is not enrolled in classes and has previously used their flex term, the student will become discontinued if they did not file a LOA for the quarter. For more information, see the Leave of Absence section in the Bulletin.

Leave of Absence

Undergraduates are expected to enroll in three of four quarters during the academic year, with one quarter considered the Flex Term. If students are unable to or elect to not enroll in three quarters, they must apply for a leave of absence for those quarter(s).

Undergraduates may take one quarter away from Stanford (flex term) without having to file for a leave of absence (LOA). If students take more than one quarter away from Stanford, then a LOA form is required or the student would be discontinued for no enrollment.

Students who fail to be enrolled by the final study list deadline  or who fail to submit a Leave of Absence petition petition by the published deadline in a quarter after use of the Flex Term, will be discontinued and must apply for reinstatement through the Request to Return and Register in Undergraduate Study.

For further information, see Leave of Absence for Undergraduates (Academic year 2020-21)

Discontinuation Process

In academic year 2020-21, a student's active status in their academic degree program may be discontinued if the student:

  • fails to be enrolled by the study list deadline of their second term away from Stanford; or

  • fails to be approved for a leave of absence by the start of the term of their second term away from Stanford; or

  • fails to enroll by the study list deadline, or fails to file and be approved for a leave of absence in a subsequent quarter, after use of the Flex Term

  • voluntarily terminates undergraduate studies; or

  • is dismissed for academic reasons; or

  • is expelled from the University.

  • Students who become discontinued must apply for reinstatement through the Request to Return and Register in Undergraduate Study.

  • This policy is applicable to the four quarters in academic year 2020-21 only; additional policy guidance will be published prior to academic year 2021-22.