By Arielle Sniffin
Since 2004, undergraduate students who leave KU in good academic standing and put their education on hold have been able to utilize the university’s Academic Forgiveness Policy, which erases their previous GPA but includes previously completed credits towards graduation.
Over the past five years, 48 students applied for ‘Academic Forgiveness’ from the Registrar’s Office and 39 of those were granted it, according to records obtained from the university’s Open Records Office through a Right-to-Know Law request.
All applicants who earn a 2.0 GPA while taking a minimum of 12 credits during their returning semester will be granted forgiveness so long as they were separated from the university for at least four years, says Lori Lentz, KU’s Assistant Registrar.
“We love to have students come back,” Lentz said.
“The only reason students are ever denied,” Lentz said, “is if they were not separated for a four-year period, or they applied for forgiveness and never actually returned to KU.”
KU created this policy with the understanding that a variety of reasons can affect a student’s academic experience, including academic readiness and other situational factors. Students are able to seek readmission to KU without applying for the academic forgiveness policy, but the policy benefits students who wish to build their GPA from the ground up a second time around, officials said.
The ultimate goal of the policy is, “to have students return [to KU] after they’ve got a new set of goals that they want to accomplish,” said Lentz, who decides if students who left the university in good standing are granted or denied forgiveness.
The four-year rule allows students to gain maturity, create a game plan, and return to KU for a successful academic experience, according to Lentz.
“Originally, I did not want to go to the university,” said Sarah Miller, a returning KU student, “I absolutely hated school.”
Miller attended KU fresh out of high school with an undeclared major and withdrew after two semesters. She was granted academic forgiveness and was then able to declare her current Professional Writing major.
“It’s awesome to be able to get a second chance, because not everyone is ready [for college] straight out of high school, or academically inclined,” Miller said. “If you don’t know yourself, you’re going to have a hard time [in college].”
During her almost ten years away from the university, Miller competed as a track cyclist in the U.S. and Canada, lived in Europe and New Zealand as an au pair, and worked as a social media specialist in Allentown, Pa.
“The second time around I was able to pick things up so much quicker,” Miller said. “I’m so much more organized, and my grades are ten-fold better this time around.”
Returning students are required to be readmitted into their major at the time of their separation from KU. Upon returning, these students are able to switch their major by talking to the department of their choosing, and can declare a new major so long as they meet prerequisites for that particular program, Lentz said.
The process of applying for Academic Forgiveness is filling out a one-page application form and sending it to the Registrar’s office. The process is purposely simple because KU wants past students to return when ready, according to Lentz.