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CSU-Pueblo drops absent students

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Colorado State University-Pueblo dropped more than 40 students who did not attend classes during the first two weeks of school, based on a new process created to monitor attendance. 

Photo courtesy of annistonschools.com.

The new process required faculty to report whether a student attended all the classes by the end of the second week through an attendance form online, said Peter Dorhout, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at CSU-Pueblo.

The new process is responding to a policy announced last year by the Federal Pell Grant Program, Dorhout said.

The FPGP, which provides need-based grants to low-income students in order to create access to higher education, required universities to keep track of whether or not students who received the grants and failed their classes were actually attending, Dorhout said.  

“They worry about students who attempt and sign up for many classes but then withdraw after they receive their financial aid,” Dorhout said.

When grant recipients do not attend classes, the university is asked to pay the grants back to the federal program. This means a loss of revenue for the university to support students, Dorhout said.

This process is also in response to the accurate census required by Colorado’s College Opportunity Fund program, which provides Colorado residents with financial aid.

“We are trying to be accessible as possible to students who will be successful in our academic programs but the challenge is financial aid,” Dorhout said. “We can only do that in partnership with funding from the federal government and from the state government in order to meet our mission of access to higher education.”

The reasons why students don’t attend classes vary and the university will not drop students without contacting them. After the regularly absent students are identified, the university will contact them by email or phone to find out the reasons.

Among the students dropped from the university this fall, some were enrolled but decided to not attend and some decided to go to another university but forgot to withdraw themselves, Dorhout said.

By contacting the identified students, it helps to remind them to drop the classes they didn’t intend to take, and avoid additional tuition charges caused by missed deadlines. It also prevents those students from taking seats in classes so that people who really want to register for them cannot.

“By finding the students early, we are able to alert them,” Dorhout said. “We really do care about the success of our students.”

An early alert system will also be sent to the faculty in the fourth week of class asking them to identify students who are struggling with classes, which includes regular absences and bad performance.