For the spring 2021 semester, Cornell students will be able to drop any class by May 14, the last day of instruction, without receiving a “Withdrawn” on their transcript. The change was announced in a Tuesday email to the Cornell community from Lisa Nishii, vice provost for undergraduate education.
“In an effort to alleviate some of the academic stress students may be experiencing during this time, the colleges have collectively agreed to offer an unusual level of flexibility for students,” the email read.
The policy will apply to all Spring 2021 full semester courses, as well as 7-week courses that were offered in the second half of the semester. With a previous drop deadline of April 5, the announcement marks a two month grace period for students to decide if they want to drop a course.
Citing the recent death of first-year Shawn West ’24 as well as multiple national crises in the wake of the pandemic, including xenophobia and a national reckoning related to racial injustice, Nishii emphasized the need for this policy to help students cope with mental and emotional stress.
“We recognize the impact of these acute and cumulative stressors on one’s body, mind, and emotions and that each of you are navigating them through your own ways of coping.” the email read.
Despite the new policy, Nishii encouraged students to speak with their faculty or college academic advisor to discuss any long-term implications on their educational careers. Students who drop below 12 credits — the university-wide minimum — are still at risk of affecting their academic standing, financial aid, immigration status and/or athletic compliance.
Instead of using the student center, students are directed to use this form to drop their course.