St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

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Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Effective Date:

Last Updated: 08/17/2023

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff

Responsible University Officer: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policy Owner: Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs

Policy Contact: Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs


St Cloud State University requires students to attend classes to benefit from the educational experience but acknowledges that absences from class for legitimate reasons may be unavoidable. The University is committed to providing accommodations for absences in specific circumstances to foster student success.


When a student requests an absence from a class meeting(s) for one of the following reasons and has provided notice according to this policy, they must be allowed to make up academic work or hours missed:

  • Funeral/bereavement of close family member
  • Long-term medical issues of the student or a student’s dependent
  • Family emergencies
  • Childbirth/pregnancy/adoption (see supporting URLs for information on Title IX protections)
  • Required court appearances
  • Military service (see Supporting URLs for Minnesota State Board Policy)
  • Religious observances (see related St. Cloud State University Policies section)
  • University sanctioned events as determined by the Office of Academic Affairs including but not limited to participation on university athletic teams, student government, choir, pep band, cheer team, dance team, band, theater, field trips, internships, field placements and study abroad, including reasonable travel time for these events.
  • For all other absences not listed above, including brief illness of the student or a student’s dependent, the instructor shall decide on a case-by-case basis if there is a legitimate cause or unavoidable circumstance for the absence.

Certain exceptions for unique circumstances may apply (see Exceptions section).

Students are expected to complete all course requirements and meet all student learning outcomes, regardless of whether or not they are able to attend all class meetings. Student work that is made up in compliance with this policy will be graded as though completed and submitted on time. While a student may not be penalized for the absence and having to make up the work, they are still subject to any penalties outlined in the syllabus related to quality of work, completeness of work, meeting the make-up work deadlines in the written arrangements made with the instructor, or any other penalty that would normally be applied to the work had it been completed at the originally scheduled time.

If an instructor has specific expectations for how students are to provide their written report of an absence, the course syllabus must include those detailed instructions. Course instructors are encouraged to consider all possible options for student make up whenever possible to support student retention and success. This may include providing the opportunity to submit assessment/class activities/exams/or other grade materials early. It may also include designing comparable work as an alternative when the course element cannot be completed in the exact manner in which it was originally presented. If an instructor is concerned that a student absence may be due to distress or is a sign of on-going distress, the instructor can seek support from the Behavioral Intervention Team (see supporting URLs).

If too many components of a course will be missed and there truly is no way to find substitutions or makeup work alternatives, a student may want to explore other options, such as withdrawing from the class. A student should not withdraw until they have been advised on such consequences as impact to credit completion ratio, financial aid, and possible need to repeat the course to complete a degree requirement.


Due to pedagogical requirements of certain courses, or for condensed or abbreviated courses, instructors may have additional attendance or leave request expectations clearly stated in their syllabi/student handbook for those courses.

In such courses, if the need for absence is known in advance, the student should be advised about alternative classes, schedules, or methods of attendance. If an acceptable alternative does not exist, or the need for absence is not known in advance, instructors should make every effort, when possible, to work with the student for a solution on a case-by-case basis for absences outlined in this policy.



Students must provide written notice (letter, email, within the learning management system, etc.) and make arrangements for makeup work/hours with the instructor prior to their absence whenever possible. It is understood that some circumstances, such as family emergencies, cannot be planned for in advance. When this is the case, students must provide written notice and make arrangements as soon as possible when circumstances allow. In nearly all student leave circumstances, the request for absence shall only be between the student and the instructor. In cases of emergencies, life altering circumstances, or significant challenges, however, a student may request assistance from Division of Student Affairs in notifying an instructor about an absence.

If the absence will be caused by a University Sanctioned Event that has a pre-determined schedule, the student shall provide the schedule at the beginning of the semester or as soon as it becomes available. The schedule should indicate whether travel time is needed for the events; an estimate or exact travel time should be provided, if known. Changes to pre-determined schedules, for example, athletic events rescheduled due to weather, shall be reported as soon as possible. This is especially important when the absence impacts assessment and grading activities.

Students should also understand and follow any additional directions about absences provided in the syllabus. Students are responsible for completing the written arrangements for make-up work according to the deadlines established in those arrangements. Students must provide additional documentation regarding their absence as requested by the instructor if such documentation exists. The same procedure applies to each student who takes online or blended classes.


The instructor will determine the nature of the make-up work, and the time and manner to perform or submit the work. It is recommended that, whenever possible, the instructor and student communicate and collaborate to establish a plan together. Arrangements to make up missed work must be in writing (letter, email, within the learning management system, etc.) and may include provisions to complete work early or include other realistic deadlines. The written arrangement should be made in advance of the missed class when possible.

While it is the student’s responsibility to understand the assignments and deadlines, instructors are encouraged to ask discovery questions or provide additional dialogue to ensure they comprehend all of the requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does an instructor always have to provide an option to make up work or hours?

A. Certain courses, such as condensed course, internships, or courses where a large portion of the grade is derived from participation, may not have an option for make-up work. This policy expects instructors for such courses to seek solutions, when possible, but there may be times when an adequate solution cannot be found (see Exceptions section).

Q. Do I have to provide a doctor note every time I am sick?

A. Students do not have to provide a note from a medical provider to follow this procedure. Instructors are encouraged to accept student reports of illness and are discouraged from asking for medical information.  If a student seems to be abusing this policy the instructor may address this with the student, refer the matter to a Student Relations Director, Husky Coach or to Division of Student Affairs for resolution using the Code of Community Standards.

Q. If an instructor learns or concludes that a student is abusing this policy, what action should be taken?

A. The instructor may address this with the student or/and refer the matter to Division of Student Affairs resolution using the Code of Community Standards.

Q. What if I need to take an extended time away?

A. This policy is not designed for extended leaves. If you will need to be away for a majority of a semester or need to stop out for multiple semesters, you should speak to your advisors. If you will be away for more than three years, you should refer to the Readmission policy and the Academic Forgiveness policy (see related SCSU policies).


Q. Does participation in groups or events such as SCSU sport programs (clubs/intramurals/extramurals/e-sports), residential living/learning communities, student organizations, or Huskies Advance activities qualify as a university sanctioned event or other allowable absence?  

A. These opportunities are voluntary and generally not directly associated with a sanctioned event, however, they are encouraged for a well-rounded SCSU experience. Participation in such groups should be organized in such a way that missing classes and/or labs is minimized or unnecessary. In rare circumstances when a student needs to be absent to participate in these types of activities, the student should make every effort to have early communication with the instructor. Instructors are encouraged to support student participation when possible.

Q. Who should instructors contact if they have concerns about student well-being or support services?

A. Instructors can use the referral form for student support on the Division of Student Affairs, Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) website (see Supporting URLs) to help connect students to resources. This form can be used to refer students for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Emotional distress
  • Grief and loss
  • Concerning behaviors

Related St. Cloud State University Policies

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes


Responsible University Officer
   Zink, Abbey L.
   Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
   Panicker, Ajaykumar P.
   Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs
   Panicker, Ajaykumar P.
   Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs

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