Student Absences

Class Absences


Elon’s policy is to urge students to attend class meetings on a regular basis, recognizing that such attendance is an integral part of learning. With this policy in mind, the following procedures and guidelines have been adopted by the Elon faculty:

  • Each department should establish a policy on class attendance. Policies should address excused absences due to official institutional functions. Each faculty or staff member who is in charge of an official institutional program that will require a student to be absent from class is required to file with the Registrar’s Office a notice of students in the program.
  • Faculty members should inform each class of the absentee policy in effect. This policy should be incorporated into the class syllabus.
  • Excused absences may also include absences when the faculty member is satisfied that each absence is due to illness, emergency, a job interview, graduate school admittance interview, or similar reason with prior approval of the faculty member concerned.
  • Before a student exceeds the absence criterion established for that class, the faculty member should make an attempt to contact the student, either through e-mail, through the student's advisor, or through counseling services to determine the reason for the excessive absences. Faculty members should report students having a high number of absences by using the University’s online e-warning system. If the student persists in being absent, the faculty member should notify the school/college Dean and recommend that the student be dropped from the class.
  • Students should be apprised that they are responsible for material and assignments whether or not the absence was excused.

Religious Holidays


Elon University embraces the mission of an academic community that influences and transforms mind, body, and spirit. The following policy for the observance of recognized holidays is consistent with and complementary to the University’s mission.


In recognition that observance of recognized religious holidays may affect students’ classroom attendance and the submission of graded work in courses, Elon University has established procedures to be followed by students for notifying their instructors of an absence necessitated by the observance. This policy reflects the University’s commitment to being responsive to the institution’s increasing diversity and to encourage students’ spiritual development. In accordance with the policy, students who miss classes to observe a specified religious holiday are required to discuss with their instructors when and how any missed assignments will be made up. The student should consult his or her academic Dean if an instructor is unable or unwilling to grant the request. Absence from class due to observance of a religious holiday is excused according to University policy.


The religious observance notification procedure is based on the operating principle that students will act in accordance with the Elon University Honor Code. This procedure can only be used to notify an instructor of an absence from class necessitated by observance on a religious holiday.

Students who will miss classes in order to observe a religious holiday must notify their instructors in advance of the holiday and within the first three weeks of the semester by completing the secure online Religious Observance Notification Form. Students are required to send an additional notification to the instructor at least one class before each absence.

Students are required to make prior arrangements with the instructor for completion of any work missed during their absence. Since the instructor may want to use the same exercise that the rest of the class has completed, students who are absent are obligated to avoid obtaining any information about that graded exercise that would provide them an unfair advantage over other students taking the course.

Note: When students submit the Religious Observance Notification Form, the instructor will be notified by email, and copies will be sent to the student and to the student’s academic Dean. In completing the form, students may find it useful to consult OnTrack, where they may view their class schedule to obtain the name and the number of the course and the name of the course instructor. The student’s actual or electronic signature on the form affirms his or her compliance with the Elon University Honor Code.

Given the time limitations inherent in completing end-of-semester assignments or making up a missed final exam, this procedure cannot be used during the final exam period. All students are expected to take final examinations at the scheduled times and to complete end-of-semester work by the deadlines set by the instructor. In the event that a religious holiday should fall during exam week, students should contact their academic Dean as soon as possible, before the scheduled assignments or exam. There may be certain circumstances (a concert or a performance for example) which cannot be made up. In this case, the student may be advised to take that specific course during another school semester.

Missed Tests and Examinations


Missing or Rescheduling a Test

When a student misses an announced test during the semester/term, he/she must secure permission from the professor to make up the test. Individual instructors are authorized by faculty vote to use retest programs (for tests other than the final examinations) tailored to their individual courses. Each professor should make clear the departmental policy and outline the procedure to be followed in validating the reasons for missing a test. This information should be carefully explained at the beginning of each semester and included in the course syllabus.

Missing or Rescheduling One or More Final Examinations

If a student misses final examinations during a semester/term, the student must secure permission based on the following reasons for missing:

Multiple Final Examinations on One Day

If a student has three exams scheduled for the same day, he/she may secure a Change Request Form from the Registrar’s Office. This Change Request Form must be completed and returned to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. no later than the last day of classes before final exams.

Medical Reasons

Medical Emergency. Students who have completed sufficient work to complete a course but who become ill or injured just prior to or during the final exam period should visit Elon’s Health Services or contact the Office of Student Health and Wellness to submit healthcare provider verification. Provider documentation must include the date of most recent appointment and dates of recommended absence. Students may choose to utilize the healthcare provider form located at: Verified medical issues will be communicated to the assistant provost for communications and operations who will notify instructors of the student’s situation. As soon as they are able, students should contact individual instructors to discuss arrangements for completing their work. In cases where the instructor is no longer employed at Elon after the end of the semester, the student should contact the Department Chair.

Medical Withdrawal (“WD”). If a student has a documented medical condition that has impacted his/her ability to complete course work and take exams, the student should consult with the Office of Student Health and Wellness in the Ellington Center to request a medical withdrawal. Requests for medical withdrawals much be received, processed and the student withdrawn from classes on or before the last day of the last full week of classes. If granted, a medical withdrawal will remove the student permanently (with grades of WD) from all classes. Medical withdrawals are not granted from selected courses. Students with medical withdrawals will not be permitted to complete courses and must reapply for admission.

Other Documented Excuses for Missing Final Exams

Occasionally, a student will find him/herself in a situation that may be best resolved by not taking one or more final examinations as scheduled. Justifiable reasons for such absences may include school-sponsored representation at events, but will generally not include travel arrangements, starting a job or an internship, or participation in family events such as weddings and graduations.

Missing or Rescheduling ONE final exam only per semester. Requests by a student to miss or reschedule only one final exam during a semester must be made to the appropriate Department Chair. When the Chair agrees that the reason for missing is justifiable, the student is responsible for working with the faculty member to complete the work for that course.

Missing or Rescheduling MULTIPLE final exams in one semester. Requests by a student to miss or reschedule more than one final exam during any given semester must be made to the Assistant Provost for Academic Operations and Communications. Because of the burden on faculty to revise or recreate and administer additional final exams, such absences are not commonly approved. If absence is approved, the Assistant Provost for Academic Operations and Communications will notify instructors that appropriate verification has been received. Students should, as soon as they are able, contact individual instructors to discuss completion of course work.

Students who misrepresent their requests to miss or adjust final exams will be charged with violating Elon’s Honor Code.

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