Academic Suspension Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is Academic Suspension?

Academic suspension is an official notification that a student has earned a semester grade-point average of less than 2.00 while on academic warning. A student who has been academically suspended may not schedule courses at the University for a minimum of two consecutive semesters (Note: Summer session is equal to one semester and includes all courses offered after Spring semester and before Fall semester).  When necessary, or appropriate, students may stay away longer from Penn State. A student returning from academic suspension must apply for re-enrollment and returns to the University in warning status, with his/her former cumulative grade-point average, and with a hold placed on the registration.  The student must receive written support obtained in the college/major (or DUS) the student intends to pursue.

A student who returns from academic suspension and does not achieve at least a 2.00 semester GPA is subject to academic dismissal and is no longer permitted to take courses at the University. Students with 18 or fewer recovery points may petition the dismissal through the Faculty Senate. Petitions will not be automatically granted.

Q2. What are consequences of Academic Suspension*?

  • You cannot take Penn State courses at any location for two semesters (summer counts as a semester).
  • If you accepted a Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract to live on campus, the HFS Contract will either be cancelled or inactivated, depending upon the semester and duration of the suspension. The HFS Contract may be cancelled during the suspension, and then re-activated upon your return to the University. The Assignment Office can confirm the status of your HFS Contract.
  • If you have a lease for living arrangements off campus, you will most likely be responsible for fulfilling your contractual agreement with the landlord.
  • If you have any type of student aid, you may have to begin making payments on loans after 6 months away from college.
  • If you do return in a future semester, but once again fall below the 2.0 semester grade-point average while still in warning, you will be placed in Academic Dismissal.
  • Veterans, dependents and/or reservists using GI Bill benefits will not be certified for the suspended semesters and therefore will not receive tuition/fee funding or housing/book stipends during this time.

* There may be other consequences of Academic Suspension of which we are not yet aware.

Q3. How do I begin the process of returning to Penn State after Academic Suspension?

The first step to return to Penn State after suspension is to contact your DUS adviser and let them know you plan to return. Your adviser will help you develop an action plan to accomplish while you are on suspension. Your adviser also will need to know how to stay in touch with you while you are away from campus. If you don’t know who your DUS adviser is, call 814-865-7576 and speak to the DUS receptionist if you are a University Park student. Contact information for all other Penn State Campuses can be found on the DUS Advising Center page.

Q4. What is the procedure for returning to Penn State after Academic Suspension?

Your DUS adviser will ask you to reflect on your academic struggles and determine actions for the time you are off that should help with a successful transition back into the University. These activities will depend on the issues you have determined were detrimental to your success at Penn State and will vary for each student. You also will be asked to write a reflection letter as part of your request for re-enrollment. In this letter, you will need to discuss your situation and why you feel you are ready to return to Penn State.

You should begin this process as soon as possible so you have time to work on the issues you have experienced thus far. The deadline to complete 1) your letter of reflection and request to return; 2) any required activities; and 3) an official request to the Registrar’s office for a spring semester is December 1 of the previous year; for the summer semester, the deadline to apply is April 1o of that year; and the deadline to apply for return in a fall semester is July 15 of that year. Essentially this means that the sooner you are in touch with your adviser to develop and complete a plan while on Academic Suspension, the better your chances of completing all requirements and returning prepared to succeed.

Here is the timeline for re-enrollment activities for each semester for students below a 2.00 GPA at University Park. Each campus may have its own timeline for re-enrollment, so please check with your campus for that information.

Re-enrollment into DUS after Academic Suspension or on Academic Warning
Activity Fall Spring Summer
Contact the Registrar to indicate desire to re-enroll January - June May - October September - March
Complete re-enrollment activities assigned by DUS Adviser January - July May - November September - April
Deadline to submit re-enrollment request to Registrar’s Office July 1 November 1 April 1

*Though these are suggested deadlines to officially apply for re-enrollment, the request will most likely be denied if the student has not completed any mitigation activities required for approval by this date.

We are anxious to help you achieve your academic goals at Penn State. We hope you will continue to stay in touch with your DUS academic adviser to plan your return to Penn State.