Dropping a Course

You can drop a course before the regular drop deadline or the late drop deadline, with certain requirements and restrictions. Note that if you plan to drop your only course or all your courses for a semester, you will need to withdraw from the semester.

Before you decide whether to drop a course, it is important to work with your academic adviser to understand the impacts and how changing your schedule will fit into your academic plan. Contact your adviser before making any registration changes.

Course Drop Deadlines

There are two course drop deadlines each semester: the regular drop deadline and the late drop deadline.

For standard semester-length courses, you can find these deadlines on the Academic Calendar. You can find the specific deadlines for your courses in LionPATH.

Regular Drop Deadline

For standard semester-length courses, the regular drop deadline is six calendar days after the semester begins. There is no limit to the number of courses you can drop before this deadline, and courses you drop before this deadline will not appear on your academic record.

Late Drop Deadline

The late drop deadline for each course is on the day when approximately 80 percent of the course is complete. There is no limit to the number of courses you can drop before this deadline. Courses you late drop will be entered with a notation of the late drop on your academic record. In addition, a $6 fee will be charged for each course that you late drop.

Deciding to Drop a Course

Your Penn State World Campus academic advisers recommend you review these considerations when deciding if you should drop a course.

  • Ask for feedback: If you are receiving lower grades than expected, reach out to your instructors for feedback. They may be able to help you improve your work or find additional resources to supplement your course.
  • Know your degree requirements: It’s important to know what grade you need to earn in the course for it to count toward your degree requirements. Some courses require a C or higher, while others may allow for a passing grade. Before dropping a course, you may want to know if the grade you need is still achievable.
  • Consider how far you are in the course: How early in the course did you realize that you need some help or support? The sooner this need is identified, the better chance you have to recover and complete the course.
  • Assess your time management: A general rule for 15-week courses is that three to four hours of work are required per week for each credit that you have on your schedule. Your academic adviser can discuss time management skills and help you create a plan.
  • Think about your time commitments: There may be unforeseen circumstances taking more of your time away from your courses. If so, you may need to reduce your course load so you can devote more time to the remaining courses.
  • Review available course resources: There may be tutoring, note-taking and studying techniques, library services, disability services, and other resources that can help you. Your course may include virtual review sessions or other ways to improve your learning. Review the Academic Success Kit or contact your adviser to see what resources are available.
  • Check your academic progress: Some courses are entrance-to-major requirements or prerequisites for other courses. Have a conversation with your adviser to understand how this may impact future scheduling or when you can expect to finish your degree. Knowing the course impact may also help you decide between dropping two courses if one has more of an impact on your progress.

Important Financial Considerations

Changing your overall number of credits after your course begins can have financial implications. Your individual financial implications may depend on several factors.

  • Tuition adjustments: The Tuition Adjustment Policy determines the percentage of tuition you will be charged if you drop a course after the regular drop deadline. The longer you stay in the course, the higher the percentage of tuition you will be charged.
    • You can find tuition adjustment timing and percentages for your classes in LionPATH by selecting Enrollment and then Drop Classes, and then selecting the $ symbol in the "Tuition Calendar" column for each class.
  • Full-time or part-time student status: Whether your bill is adjusted for a dropped course, and the amount it may be adjusted by, will depend on whether you are in full-time or part-time status.
  • Financial aid: Dropping a course may affect your financial aid, which may then affect any adjustments to your bill.

Additionally, the University charges a $6 per course processing fee for any course that is late dropped.

You can find out more about your individual circumstances and the financial implications that dropping a course may have for you by contacting us:

  • If you are using financial aid, you can contact the Penn State World Campus Financial Aid Office at 814-867-4244 or [email protected]
  • For billing questions not related to financial aid, you can contact the Penn State World Campus Bursar Office at 814-863-8300 or [email protected]

How to Drop a Course

You can drop a course in LionPATH until the late drop deadline for the semester. Visit the LionPATH Support page to view tutorials about dropping a course and other important actions.

Withdrawing from the Semester

If you are planning to drop your only course or all your courses for the semester, you will need to withdraw from the semester. You will need to follow the withdrawal process and keep several considerations in mind, including the academic and financial impacts of a withdrawal. Find more information about withdrawing from the semester.