Attendance & Academically Related Activities
Students are considered 'Present' if they participate in academically related activities.
Guidance from the Federal Student Aid Handbook regarding attendance for both traditional and online courses (FSA Handbook. Volume 5, Chapter 2, p. 5-64-5-66.):
Academically related activities include but are not limited to
- physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
- submitting an academic assignment;
- taking an exam, completing an interactive tutorial, or participating in computer-assisted instruction;
- attending a study group that is assigned by the school;
- participating in an online discussion about academic matters;
- initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.
Academically related activities do not include activities where a student may be present but not academically engaged, such as:
- living in institutional housing,
- participating in the school’s meal plan,
- logging into an online class without active participation,
- participating in academic counseling or advisement.
Participation in academic counseling and advising are not considered to be academic attendance or attendance at an academically related activity.
Documenting attendance when students are enrolled in distance education courses
In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity. Examples of acceptable evidence of academic attendance and attendance at an academically related activity in a distance education program include:
- student submission of an academic assignment,
- student submission of an exam,
- documented student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction,
- a posting by the student showing the student’s participation in an online study group that is assigned by the institution,
- a posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the student’s participation in an online discussion about academic matters, and
- an email from the student or other documentation showing that the student initiated contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.