In order to register for classes students must first accept their offer of admission by the university. Registration and the payment of assessed fees are required of all who attend classes. Enrollment is not complete until fees are paid, including room and board fees for those living in residence halls.
Registration is a process by which students become officially enrolled in classes for a given term. The process involves consultation between the student and the student's academic advisor. All undergraduate students are assigned an academic advisor based on their major/curriculum. A new advisor assignment is made when a student changes majors/curricula.
Students who attend classes must complete registration and pay their assessed fees. Registration is not complete until all fees are paid, including board and room fees for those living in residence halls.
Disabled students who need assistance with any phase of registration should contact the Student Disability Resources office.
To validate their enrollment in each course at the beginning of the semester, students must attend the first or second meeting (first meeting if the class meets only once a week). Students who add a course after the term begins must attend the next class meeting. The instructor has the option to offer a registered place in the course to another student when a registered student fails to attend and has not obtained prior approval of the instructor. Students who do not validate their enrollment must drop the course or they will receive an F grade.
Enrollment status is defined for certification purposes as either full-time or half-time.
Full-time status, fall or spring semester
Undergraduates: 12 credits
Graduates: 9 credits
Three-quarters status, fall or spring semester
Undergraduates: 9 credits
Graduates: 7 credits
Half-time status, fall or spring semester
Undergraduates: 6 credits
Graduates: 5 credits
Summer status depends on the number of weeks a student is enrolled. Always contact the Office of the Registrar to verify a student's status for a summer session.
With the exception of enrollment certification for veterans' benefits, credit hours are rounded up to the next whole number. For example, credit load of 11.5 credits is rounded up to 12 credits. Contact the Office of the Registrar for more information.
The registration process includes advising, enrollment in courses, and schedule changes. In addition to the student, this process may involves the student's advisor; the student services staff of the student's college; and the dean of the college. Each is responsible for knowing and following the academic policies and procedures.
- knowing and adhering to university policies and procedures that apply to registration and schedule changes
- checking the accuracy of his/her schedule on AccessPlus, including schedule adjustments (i.e., adds, drops, section changes)
- knowing the degree requirements of his or her major and/or curriculum
- planning course schedules to meet those requirements; and monitoring the accuracy of the degree audit.
- consulting with advisees during the advising/registration period
- providing information about student’s major and curriculum requirements
- providing guidance in the student’s course selection
- assisting in monitoring the degree audit for accuracy
- notifying the college student services office with corrections to the degree audit.
College Student Services Staff
- assisting new and reentering students with the registration process
- resolving unusual scheduling problems
- updating the degree audit or solving problems concerning the degree audit.
- making decisions with respect to requests for deviations from university policies, deadlines, etc.
Students and staff should check with the college office to find out who is authorized to grant approvals or exceptions on behalf of the dean.
Class Schedule Planner
The Class Schedule Planner is an application that allows students to plan their schedules using courses displayed in the Schedule of Classes. Students can select courses and/or sections they want to take for a particular term, as well as block out unavailable class days and times. Based on those selections, Class Schedule Planner can return all possible schedules to the student in a color coded grid format.
Though it is a Web-based application, the Class Schedule Planner does not require authentication (no user ID, PIN, or password). Therefore, it is essential that students understand this is a planner and as such, it does not register them in courses and cannot be used to complete their registration. The application requires that the user have Java on their computer. The first screen of the Planner provides information about how to use the planner and simple instructions for downloading the Java application. A useful Help link also has been provided. The Class Schedule Planner is available at http://classes.iastate.edu/planner.
Using AccessPlus Registration
Students enter the system via AccessPlus by using university ID and password. A registration access number (RAN) also is needed, if required by their college.
The registration system provides messages after each entry indicating whether each request has been processed. Students also may review their current schedules at any time during registration. Students are held accountable for all changes made to their schedules.
All students are encouraged to register for courses through the AccessPlus registration system. However, students who are unable to use the system may register in person by processing their signed Registration Worksheet in the Registrar's Student Scheduling Office, 10 Enrollment Services Center.
Registration System Abuse
Using the AccessPlus registration system is a privilege, which may be revoked if abuse is detected. Abuse includes, but is not limited to, creating and using an automated program to search for course openings and/or enrolling in a section with the intent of reserving space in that particular section for another student. The Office of the Registrar, college office, and/or advisors have the right to determine abuse and revoke privileges for any type of registration system abuse.
To register for classes, students need the following materials and information:
- Registration Worksheet, available for download at www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms/.
- A RAN (registration access number) if required by their college.
- Course information from the Online Schedule of Classes at http://classes.iastate.edu/.
- Other departmental information applicable to their curriculum, available from their advisor.
Students are expected to do the following in the advising and registration process:
1. Meet with their advisor, who will provide the following:
a. degree audit
b. guidance in course selection
c. Registration Authorization form, with RAN, if applicable.
2. Choose specific sections of each course. Students are responsible for choosing their course sections. In most cases advisors will not be involved in selecting meeting times.
3. Review their registration start date/time information and any registration hold information on AccessPlus, under Current Information. Students in those colleges which require a four-digit registration access number (RAN) should meet with their advisor in advance of their start date, to obtain their Registration Authorization Card on which the RAN is printed.
4. Register for courses using the AccessPlus registration system.
Making Schedule Changes
Students may make most schedule changes through the first five days of class using the AccessPlus registration system. For courses with permission requirements and/or after the first week of classes, a Schedule Change form will be needed.
The Schedule Change form can be found in AccessPlus, under the Student tab, within Registrar Forms located in the menu on the left column.
Procedures for schedule changes vary by the time period of the semester. The effective date of a schedule change is the date when the change is entered into the registration system.
Schedule change periods for full term courses are as follows:
Period 1 ends on the fifth day of classes in the fall and spring semesters. Schedule changes during period 1 do not require advisor signatures. Instructor or departmental approval may be required for adds or section changes for some courses during period 1. Course drops during this period do not count toward a student's ISU course drop limit, and will not appear on a student's permanent record. Schedule changes during period 1 may be processed through the AccessPlus registration system or by submission of a digital Schedule Change form.
Period 2 ends the Friday of week 10 in the fall and spring semesters. It is important for students to make well-informed decisions when adjusting their course schedules, particularly because such decisions often have financial and/or academic implications. To best support students' decision-making process, period 2 schedule changes require signatures of advisor and instructor and are processed utilizing the digital Schedule Change form.
For students who wish to add or change sections of a course, or adjust course credit hours, the signatures grant permission for a student to make the requested change.
In most cases, the decision to drop a course rests with the student; as such, this signature is not one of permission, but rather to indicate a conversation has occurred between the student and the advisor and instructor.
Course drops after period 1 count toward a student's ISU drop limit and appear as an X on the permanent record. A section change does not require a drop.
Drops and other schedule changes that are judged to be beyond the student's control may be processed as administrative actions if approved by the college dean. Administrative drops do not count toward a student's ISU drop limit and do not appear as an X on the permanent record. The effective date of an administrative action is the date it is approved by the college dean or authorized representative.
Period 3 is anytime after period 2. Schedule changes during this period are permitted only for extenuating circumstances, may require a written statement of support from the instructor and the student, and must be approved by the dean of the student's college or authorized representative.
Half-Semester and Partial Term Courses
Specific deadlines for adding and dropping half-semester courses are published in the university calendar. Prorated adjustments to add and drop deadlines are made for other partial term courses. To find out specific deadlines for partial term courses, contact the Registrar's Student Scheduling Office, 10 Enrollment Services Center, 294-2331.
R-Credit Courses (required courses)
Processing a scheduling change for a required course is usually considered administrative. There is no fee for administrative schedule changes. Administrative drops do not count toward a student's ISU drop limit and do not appear as an X on the permanent record. To make a Period 3 R-credit drop administrative requires approval of the college dean.
Dates and Deadlines
Students are assigned a registration start date and time, which is the first day and time they can use the registration system. Registration start dates are assigned based on projected year in school classification (computed by combining total credits, current term credits, and current term test out credits). Then specific start dates within projected year in school are established by using the sum of total credits and current term test out credits.
Students may choose to delay their registration until a later date; however, courses will begin to fill on the first day of registration. Any delay in registration may reduce course selection options. A list of start dates by classification is available at http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/calendar/registration-start-dates.
Continuing students register for the following term during the middle of the current term. For example, registration for spring term begins the middle of fall term; registration for summer session is completed during the previous spring at the same time as registration for fall semester.
A late registration fee is assessed for registration initiated on or after the first day of classes for fall and spring terms. This fee is not charged for the summer term. If registration is not initiated by the end of the fifth day of classes, students must obtain written permission from their advisors, the instructors for the courses they plan to take, as well as approval from the dean of the college in which they are registered. During the summer session, these approvals must be obtained in order to register after the third day of classes.
Students may not enroll in courses with time conflicts without the approval of the instructors concerned.
Students who participate in off-campus experiences for which they receive Iowa State University credit must register for that credit during the term when the experience is taking place, whether or not they are taking courses on campus during that time.
Withdrawal of Admission to the University
New undergraduate students who wish to withdraw their admission to the university prior to the first day of classes must initiate their withdrawal by completing the Admissions Office’s Application Change Form: https://www.admissions.iastate.edu/forms/change_application.php.
Cancellation/Withdrawal - Currently Enrolled Students
Students who decide not to attend classes before the date class work begins must cancel their registration to avoid tuition and fees assessment. Students who decide not to attend classes beginning the first day of class or later must withdraw from the university.
Prerequisite. A prerequisite indicates the specific academic background or general academic maturity considered necessary by the faculty for the student to be ready for maximum success in the course. For more information, see Information About Courses, Course Prerequisite.
Permission Required courses/sections. To register for these sections, students must obtain authorization on a Request for Schedule Change or Restriction Waiver form and process the approved form in the Registrar's Student Scheduling Office, 10 Enrollment Services Center.
Restricted courses/sections. Some courses or sections are restricted to students who meet specified criteria including curriculum/major, college, and/or year in school. In addition, some sections may be restricted to new students to ensure that sufficient spaces are available when new students register during summer orientation. A department may waive a restriction for a student who has extenuating circumstances. The student must obtain the authorization from the department on a Request for Schedule Change or Restriction Waiver form. The form is processed in the Registrar's Student Scheduling Office, 10 Enrollment Services Center.
Classrooms are listed for each course in the Online Schedule of Classes at http://classes.iastate.edu/ and on the student's class schedule on AccessPlus, beginning approximately 3 weeks prior to the start of the term.
Cancelled courses/sections. In some cases, courses or sections may be cancelled due to low enrollment or departmental staffing considerations. Students who are registered for a cancelled course or section will be notified by the Office of the Registrar, the department, and/or on their AccessPlus schedule.
Textbook information. A link to textbook information, including the ISBN and retail price for assigned textbooks, is available from the Schedule of Classes. Textbook information for Iowa State University courses is posted as close to the start of registration as possible. Students may purchase textbooks from any source they choose.
For fall and spring semesters, the credit limit is 18 credits for undergraduates and 15 credits for graduate students. For summer session, the limits are 12 credits for undergraduates and 10 credits for graduate students. A student may be required to drop credits before adding another course. In some cases, the college dean may approve a higher or lower credit limit for individual students. Students may request a change in their credit limit by contacting their advisor. Advisors should notify the student's college student services office if the credit limit needs to be changed.
Students with holds on their registration will not have access to registration until the initiating offices have released the holds. Those who attempt to register before the holds have been released will receive a message indicating which offices have placed holds on their registration. Prior to their registration, students may check for holds on AccessPlus.
Students are limited in the number of courses they may drop during their academic career. (This refers to drops processed after the fifth day of classes of each semester.) Students who entered Iowa State University as freshmen are allowed to drop a maximum of five courses during their undergraduate career. If they entered at a level above freshman classification or in the College of Veterinary Medicine, they are allowed to drop a maximum of four courses. Courses dropped during their first term at Iowa State are not included in this limit, nor does the summer count as a first term for this purpose. Students who enroll at Iowa State University as undergraduates after receiving a bachelor's degree are permitted four drops.
Exceptions to the drop limit may be made for courses that must be dropped for reasons beyond the student's control. These exceptions are granted only by the dean or other authorized person in the student's college.
The number of drops students have left is indicated on their grade report (available on AccessPlus) each term. Students are responsible for not exceeding their limit. At the instructor's discretion, students who attempt to drop a course beyond the limit without special permission by the dean of the student's college will continue to be enrolled in the course and will receive a grade at the end of the term.
To audit a course means to enroll in the course without receiving credit for the course. The instructor of the course approves the audit request.
Students are assessed tuition and fees as though they are taking the course for credit, but the audited course does not count in determining full-time student status. However, an audited course does count towards the maximum allowable credits per semester. Audited courses do not apply toward V.A. benefits.
Graduate students: An audited course counts as one credit in the graduate student's allowable course load; however, tuition and fees will be assessed for the full number of credits for the course. See Graduate College.
Changing status to audit: Changing a course from credit to audit requires dropping the course for credit and adding it as an audit on a schedule change request form. After day 5 of the semester, the drop will count toward the total allowable ISU drops. See Making Schedule Changes. The drop appears on the student's permanent record.
Rights and privileges: Once enrolled in an audited course, auditors have the same rights and privileges as any student taking the course for credit. Their names appear on the class list with a notation that they are auditing the course. Audited courses do not appear on the student's permanent record except by special request from the student. A request form can be downloaded from the Office of the
Registrar website at www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms.
Audit Deadlines and Required Signatures
In addition to the deadlines provided below, note that instructors must approve all audits.
• Full semester courses:
Adding an audit−day 10 deadline:
−Through day 5 of classes: instructor approval required.
−Day 6-10: instructor, advisor approval required.
−After day 10: only with extenuating circumstances, instructor, advisor, college approval required.
Changing status, from credit to audit−day 10 deadline:
−Through day 5 of classes: instructor approval required.
−Day 6-10: instructor, advisor, college approval required.
−After day 10: only with extenuating circumstances, instructor, advisor, college approval required.
Changing status from audit to credit−day 5 deadline:
−Through day 5 of classes: instructor approval required.
−After day 5: instructor, advisor, college approval required.
• Partial semester or summer courses:
Deadlines are determined based on the length of the course. For deadlines concerning partial term or summer courses, contact the Scheduling & Fees Office, 515-294-2331.
The procedures delineated in this section apply to students who were dismissed from Iowa State for academic reasons. Students who left Iowa State in good academic standing and who are seeking reentry should see Index, Reentry for more information.
- Reinstatement is not automatic. Students who have been dismissed for academic reasons should contact the dean's office in the college they wish to enter for instructions specific to that college.
The college Academic Standards Committee reviews each petition and other relevant information, and reinstatement is based upon that review. As part of the petition process, students must submit a plan for academic success that identifies the causes of their poor academic performance and demonstrates that they have taken actions to avoid or eliminate these causes.
- Students can only be reinstated after at least one academic semester has elapsed since they were academically dismissed. The summer session is not a semester for the purpose of being out of school one semester.
- Students who have been dismissed from enrollment two or more times are not eligible for reinstatement until at least two academic semesters have elapsed since their last academic dismissal. The summer session is not a semester for the purpose of being out of school one semester.
- Students who were dismissed by one college and subsequently reinstated by another college cannot transfer back to the original college unless permission is granted by the Academic Standards Committee of the original college. This procedure applies regardless of the student's academic standing when the transfer is requested.
- To be considered for reinstatement to the university, students must submit a petition to the Academic Standards Committee of the college in which they desire to enroll at least 45 days before the beginning of the semester. Students who have not been enrolled for a period of 12 or more months or who are international students must also file a reentry form prior to their return. For more information see the Reentry web site at http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/info/reentry.html. (Students dismissed for the second time and requesting reinstatement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must submit their petition 70 days before the beginning of the semester.)
- Juniors and seniors with extenuating circumstances may request a waiver of their required semesters of absence as identified in number 2 and 3 above. The petition requesting early reinstatement must be submitted through procedures specified by their college's Academic Standards Committee.
- As a condition of reinstatement, students will reenter on academic probation and must accept whatever additional requirements are stipulated by the college Academic Standards Committee. Examples include full- or part-time status, specified credit hours, specific courses, specific GPAs, restriction on choice of major, and required counseling.
Students may appeal a decision regarding their academic status if they believe that new information can be provided or extenuating circumstances exist that would alter the application of any rule in this section. The appeal should be made in writing to the Academic Standards Committee of the college in which the student is enrolled. The written appeal must include the reasons for the appeal and the evidence to substantiate these reasons.
The student should initiate the appeal process by contacting the secretary of the college Academic Standards Committee in the administrative office of her or his college immediately upon receipt of notification of the committee's action, and at least ten calendar days before the beginning of the semester. The secretary will then inform the student of the deadline for submission of the written appeal.
If the student is dissatisfied with the committee's action, he or she may submit an appeal in writing to the dean of her or his college within seven calendar days after they are notified of the committee's action. The dean must respond in writing within seven calendar days of receipt of the appeal.
If the issue is not resolved within the college, further appeals may be made in writing to the provost and subsequently to the president of the university. Appeals beyond the college level will, however, be considered only if based on one or both of the following contentions: (a) appropriate procedures were not followed at the college level; (b) academic rules were not applied correctly at the college level.
Students who are returning to Iowa State University to pursue an undergraduate degree after an extended absence may request permission to remove one or more of their complete academic terms from future degree and GPA considerations.
- Eligibility. To be eligible for academic renewal consideration, students must meet these requirements:
- Students must not have enrolled at Iowa State University for four or more consecutive calendar years.
- Students must not have graduated from Iowa State University.
- Students must have demonstrated satisfactory academic performance as evidenced by earning a GPA of at least 2.00 over a minimum of 12.00 credit hours taken after returning to the university. If more than one semester is taken to reach 12.00 credit hours, the combined GPA of all semesters/terms of enrollment after returning to the university must be 2.00 or greater.
- Conditions. Academic renewal is based on the following conditions:
- All courses and credits that were taken during the chosen terms will be removed from consideration for GPA and degree requirements. Students may not combine courses from multiple terms to comprise the semester(s) or quarter(s) dropped. Degree requirements met during the dropped terms will ordinarily have to be repeated.
- Renewal may be applied only to academic terms completed prior to the students' extended absence.
- All courses and grades for the chosen terms will remain on the students' academic record.
- Designated repeats, drops and P/NP options will be reinstated for the terms dropped.
- Students who have used all of their drop options will be given one extra drop.
- Students may be granted only one academic renewal.
- Students should discuss their desire to pursue academic renewal with an advisor in the college they wish to enter.
- The student must complete the Academic Renewal Petition form available from www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms .
- After the form is signed by the student and academic advisor, it is submitted to the Records area in the Office of the Registrar, 214 Enrollment Services Center.
Returning/Reentry to the University
U.S. students who have been absent from Iowa State University less than 12 months may be admitted as a returning student. If more than 12 months have elapsed since last enrolled, a U.S. student must apply for reentry to the university. All international students must apply for reentry regardless of the time away from the university.
U.S. undergraduate and U.S. non-degree undergraduate students planning to return to Iowa State University after an absence of less than 12 months do not complete a reentry form; however, international undergraduate and international non-degree undergraduate students planning to return to Iowa State University after an absence of less than 12 months must complete a reentry form.
Returning U.S. students and graduate students should contact the Office of the Registrar at 515-294-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org to have their records updated and registration access created. Students should contact their advisors to select courses and begin the registration process.
International students must complete a reentry form regardless of the length of their absence. Forms are available from http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms/ . International Students must also complete the Returning to ISU electronic form for the International Students and Scholars Office in order to receive their new I-20 or DS- 2019. The form can be found under the F-1 or J-1 Student Services tab in Cystart at https://cystart.its.iastate.edu. If you have questions or concerns in regards to your documents, please contact the International Students and Scholars Office at 515-294-1120 or email@example.com.
Returning students who want to change their curricula should follow the same procedure as in-school students. Students who were dropped from enrollment at Iowa State University must obtain reinstatement by the Academic Standards Committee of the college that they wish to reenter. (See Reinstatement/Renewal for policies that apply to requests for reinstatement).
Undergraduate and nondegree undergraduate (special) students who plan to attend Iowa State University after an absence of twelve months or more must complete a reentry form. Forms are available from http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms/.
Students with a bachelor's degree who plan to take supporting graduate level coursework prior to applying for graduate degree admission should request a nondegree graduate admission application.
Students who have previously attended Iowa State University only as nondegree (special) students and who now seek to earn an undergraduate degree should request an undergraduate application.
International Students must also complete the Returning to ISU electronic form for the International Students and Scholars Office in order to receive their new I-20 or DS- 2019. The form can be found under the F-1 or J-1 Student Services tab in Cystart at https://cystart.its.iastate.edu. If you have questions or concerns in regards to your documents, please contact the International Students and Scholars Office at 515-294-1120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reentry form should be completed and returned to the Office of the Registrar, 10 Enrollment Services Center, well in advance of the term of reentry. Students who have attended another college or university since enrollment at Iowa State University must have an official transcript(s) of all course work attempted sent to the Office of Admissions, 100 Enrollment Services Center.
Reentering students must also contact their departmental office/advisor to prepare a class schedule. Reentry must be approved prior to registration.
Iowa State University requests the information on the reentry form for the purpose of making a reentry decision. The university reserves the right not to approve reentry if the student fails to provide the required information.
Returning graduate students that have been enrolled in the last 24 months and are looking to continue in the same program, should contact the Office of the Registrar at 515-294-2331 or email@example.com to have their records updated and have registration access created. Students should contact their major professor to select courses and begin the registration process.
Reentering graduate students that have not been enrolled in the last 24 months, or are looking to come back in a different program than previously enrolled, please go to the Returning Graduate Students website and follow the instructions for your specific situation. Please contact the Graduate College at 515-294-4531 if you have question on returning to the Graduate College.
International students also need to contact International Students and Scholars Office, 3248 Memorial Union, Ames, IA 50011-1130, phone: 515-294-1120, fax: 515-294-8263, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out any steps that need to be taken prior returning.
Reentry Approval Process
Generally, a request to reenter Iowa State University will be approved within the Office of the Registrar. However, the Office of the Registrar will refer the reentry form to the college to which a student plans to return if the student: (a) desires to change curriculum; (b) has a previous Iowa State University cumulative grade point average below 2.00; (c) was dropped from the university for unsatisfactory academic progress or was not otherwise in good standing; or (d) since leaving Iowa State University, has completed additional college study with less than a 2.00 grade point average.