Approved by: Northeastern State University Executive Cabinet
Responsible Official: Academic Affairs
History: Adopted – December 19, 2017
Additional References: Argos
The attendance reporting policy articulates the importance of NSU’s attendance reporting processes and the roles of faculty, the registrar, and Student Financial Services in collecting accurate attendance information required for financial aid distribution. Failure to report attendance in an accurate and timely manner impacts all students who receive federal financial aid and puts NSU at risk of violating federal and state laws. Students’ federal and state aid must be adjusted when their attendance is not documented.
Federal Financial Aid regulations (Title IV) require that institutions verify attendance to ensure that funds are not distributed to students who never begin attending classes. If a school disburses funds but the student does not begin attendance, the school must adjust and/or return PELL, SEPG, OTAG, and direct loan funds credited to the student’s account. A student is considered not to have begun attendance if a school is unable to document the student’s attendance in any class. (Federal Student Aid Handbook, 2016-17. Washington, DC: US Department of Education).
As part of the accreditation process, the Higher Learning Commission requires that NSU communicate its policies regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress and Attendance Policies to students. NSU must complete a Federal Compliance Filing Form and be in compliance with all federal requirements related to Title IV funding to maintain its accreditation.
ATTENDANCE REPORTING PROCESS
The attendance reporting process collects attendance data to ensure accurate distribution of student financial aid funds according to federal regulations. It applies to undergraduate, graduate, and professional-level classes and students. Attendance reporting is a separate process from the administrative withdrawal process.
Attendance data are collected every semester, at the beginning of the semester, and periodically throughout the semester for partial term courses. The registrar and the Student Financial Services office determine the attendance reporting periods relative to financial aid distribution dates and federal guidelines. The registrar’s office also works with Information Technology Services (ITS) to ensure that the reporting software is ready to accept instructor attendance reports.
- Prior to the opening of the reporting window, Academic Affairs notifies instructors by email of the reporting window dates and distributes reporting instructions prepared by the registrar’s office.
- When the reporting window opens, all instructors must submit attendance reports for ALL classes.
- For online, blended, and partial classes, instructors must ensure that some type of student engagement in the class occurs the first week. Engagement includes activities such as completing an assignment or participating in a discussion board. Simply logging into the course is not enough to qualify as attendance.
- The registrar’s office monitors attendance reporting response rates and sends periodic reminder emails to instructors whose reports are not complete as the deadline approaches.
- Faculty must report attendance for all classes by the date and time indicated. Failure to report attendance will result in a hold on financial aid disbursement for ALL students in unreported classes.
- Based on attendance reports, Student Financial Services will calculate students’ financial aid disbursements and make adjustments as needed for non-attending students.
Timely and accurate attendance reporting is critical to students who depend on financial aid to attend NSU classes. Faculty who fail to report attendance as required put their students at risk. Therefore, deans and department chairs will be notified of any instructors who do not report attendance within the specified time frame. Reporting attendance is considered a professional duty and responsibility. Negligent or chronic failure to report attendance will be noted and considered in the faculty member’s next review. RUSO policy states that substantial or repeated failure to fulfill professional duties is cause for disciplinary action or dismissal. (RUSO Policy 3.4)