Student Handbook

Student Conduct

Student conduct codes maintain general welfare of the university community by promoting individual responsibility and personal development. Continuing Education’s student conduct policies follow university standards. Visit the Honor Code and Academic Dishonesty page for specific information about online courses.

Student Conduct Resources:

Office of Student Conduct — administers student conduct policies and procedures.
Honor Code — violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.
Classroom and Course-related Behavior — students and faculty have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment.

Email Policy

The University’s method of communication to you is via your Colorado.EDU email account. It is essential that you activate your Colorado.EDU email account in order to receive up-to-date announcements about your class(es), tuition account statements, course changes, new offerings, changes in processes/procedures/policies, news/events, etc. After you have activated your Identikey, please visit the CU Boulder email set up page for more information.

Add, Drop, and Withdrawal Info

Enrolled students must add or drop courses by the dates and deadlines listed in their program’s academic calendar. You may add, drop, or withdraw via Buff Portal or Class Search using the instructions outlined under Review Your Registration Actions. You may also submit an online withdrawal form or send an email to

If you fail to drop by the deadline you may receive a grade of F and you may be liable for any tuition and fees. You may withdraw from a credit course after the published drop deadline. Withdrawals will result in a W on your academic record.

Administrative Drop Policy

If you do not attend your courses regularly during the first week through the last day to drop, you may be administratively dropped. Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal. If you have questions, check with your instructor or contact us.

Grading System and Grade Appeal

Continuing Education follows the CU Boulder grading system which can be found in the University of Colorado catalog. Please note that faculty determine the grading policies for their courses.

You may take courses pass/fail. For all credit courses the deadlines for requesting pass/fail vary. To change the grade mode of an individual class, follow the instructions detailed under Grade Mode (Letter Grade or Pass/Fail). Be sure you have checked with your academic advisor to ensure that credit will be granted to you for courses taken pass/fail.

Grade Appeal

Grade disputes between students and individual faculty member are usually resolved in conversation between the student and faculty member. In those rare instances when a resolution cannot be reached, an appeals process provides a hearing for both student and faculty member.

The grade appeals process is determined by individual schools and colleges. Generally, the process is as follows:

See more

If you believe that a grade has been improperly assigned, the first step is to discuss the concern with the faculty member. If you or the faculty member is not on the Boulder campus, you may request a mutually convenient time to talk on the telephone. Conversations may be by email, but telephone is preferred. If your conversations with the faculty member do not resolve the problem:

1. You have the option of making a formal written appeal to the Department Chair. The appeal must specify the remedy desired by you and it must be submitted within 45 days of the end of the academic term in which the course was taken. For Online Flexible classes, the student will have 45 days after the grade is posted on the Student Information System to make an appeal.

2. The Chair or designee will meet or talk by telephone (together or separately) with you and with the faculty member who taught the course.

3. If a mutually acceptable solution is not agreed upon, then the Chair shall appoint an ad hoc Grade Appeals Committee, which will review the dispute. The Committee shall consist of at least three impartial faculty members competent in the subject matter of the course in question. The Committee will be provided with the student’s appeal and a written response from the faculty member.

4. Within 45 days, the Committee will submit a report and recommendation to the Chair, and the Chair will recommend to the instructor either that the originally assigned grade stand or that a new grade is assigned. If a change of grade is recommended and the instructor does not wish to accept the recommendation of his/her colleagues, the Chair shall forward the written materials associated with the appeal to the Dean of Continuing Education and the Dean of the College for final determination.

Academic Standing

Academic standing is a measure of a student’s academic success at CU Boulder based on CU GPA. Academic standing is processed in fall and spring terms, and considers all CU Boulder coursework, including both main campus and Continuing Education courses.

Nondegree Students

Nondegree students are subject to the Continuing Education academic standing policies. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative 2.000 GPA after completion of any semester will be placed on Academic Warning. During this semester the student may take Evening Credit, Online Credit, Applied Music, or ACCESS courses in an effort to reach a 2.000 cumulative GPA. Students who earn a 2.300 or higher term GPA while on Academic Warning can continue on Academic Warning for an additional semester. If the student fails to receive a 2.000 cumulative GPA by the end of their Academic Warning standing, the student will be placed on Academic Suspension. Students on Academic Suspension may only take Evening Credit, Online Credit, Applied Music, or Summer Session courses and must maintain a 2.500 term GPA or reach an overall cumulative of 2.000 in order to avoid Academic Dismissal. Students on Academic Dismissal are ineligible to enroll in any CU Boulder fall or spring coursework.

Continuing Education does not run academic standing at the end of the summer, and academic standing does not impact a student’s eligibility to enroll in summer coursework. Students who achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.000 at the end of the summer may return to taking courses during the fall and spring semesters.

Degree-Seeking Students

Degree-seeking students are subject to the academic standing policy outlined in the CU Boulder Undergraduate Catalog. Please see the Registrar’s Office website for more information, or schedule an appointment with an academic advisor to explore your options.

Online and Distance Education Student Complaint Resolution

The University of Colorado Boulder encourages students initially to address complaints and grievances relating to academics, consumer protection, or other University policies with the specific individuals or units most directly connected with the issue at hand unless there are good reasons for not doing so such as a desire to maintain anonymity. Current University policies and procedures on Student Appeals, Complaints, and Grievances can be found in this guide

Students located outside of Colorado: If a student located outside of Colorado has a complaint that involves distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of SARA, the student must file a complaint with the institution first to seek resolution. If the person bringing a complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the University’s internal processes, a complaint may be filed with the University’s SARA portal entity at the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Examples of types of student complaints that may be brought to the SARA portal entity include veracity of recruitment and marketing materials, job placement data, accuracy of information about tuition, fees, and financial aid, accuracy of course transfer information. Complaints and appeals involving grades or student conduct violations will not be reviewed by the SARA portal entity.

Although the SARA state portal entity is the correct location for out-of-state students to file a complaint, the University of Colorado Boulder also provides the list of all state contacts for filing complaints should the student wish to inquire there.

Further information on SARA and the SARA complaint process:

If all other avenues provided have been exhausted, unresolved complaints may be filed with the Higher Learning Commission, the University’s regional accreditor.

Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone: 800-621-7440

State Authorization Regarding Online and Distance Education

The following information explains the University of Colorado Boulder’s status with regard to offering online education to students located outside of Colorado. Currently, students located in any state may now enroll in all online courses, programs, certificates or degrees offered by the University of Colorado Boulder.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) – In February 2015, the University of Colorado Boulder became an official member of the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and began participating in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). A “State authorization reciprocity agreement” is an agreement between two or more States that authorizes an institution located and legally authorized in a State covered by the agreement to provide postsecondary education through distance education (online) or correspondence courses to students in other States covered by the agreement.

Out-of-State Educational/Field Experience – Courses and programs incorporating a “supervised field experience” are also covered by the provisions of SARA. Under SARA a “supervised field experience” means a student learning experience under the oversight of a supervisor, mentor, faculty member or other qualified professional, located in the host state, who has a direct or indirect reporting responsibility to the institution where the student is enrolled. Examples include practica, student teaching, or internships.

NC-SARA Member States, District & Territories

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Non-Participating SARA states: California.

The University of Colorado at Boulder may offer online and supervised field experiences & activities to students in California. The California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education does not regulate out-of-state public institutions, thus Bureau approval for the University of Colorado Boulder to offer educational activities in California is not required.

International Students: International Students are advised to understand and be apprised of the rules, regulations, and requirements related to online distance education programs in their country of residence, particularly:

  • If the country will recognize an online certificate or degree;
  • Whether the program meets licensure or certification requirements in the country; and
  • If the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.

International students are encouraged to contact the International Student and Scholar Services in the Office of International Education if they have any questions.

Further information on SARA and the SARA complaint process:

Professional Licensure Disclosure
While at this time, the University of Colorado Boulder does not offer any programs, certificates or degrees online that lead to professional licensure, prospective and current students should understand their state licensing board’s requirements prior to enrolling in courses that could eventually lead to licensure. SARA does not provide reciprocity for state professional licensing requirements. Academic programs and individual graduates must meet standards set by that state’s licensure requirements in order for a graduate to be eligible for a license.

Students are advised to contact Erika Swain, Assistance Director for Compliance and Authorization about information regarding their specific state of current or intended residence should they have any questions.

Nondegree Advising

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 in order to continue enrolling in Continuing Education course work. Students who have not maintained a GPA of 2.0 after completing one semester will have an academic advising hold placed on their records. These students will be ineligible to enroll in additional course work until they consult with an academic advisor and have the hold lifted.

Regardless of GPA, all nondegree students who have earned 15+ credit hours are encouraged to meet with a Continuing Education advisor regarding their academic goals.

Schedule an appointment with an Academic Advisor.

Petitioning for Exception to Deadlines and Rules

The petition process is designed to provide students who experience unavoidable, extenuating circumstances, the opportunity to waive a University policy that, if enforced, would result in unsatisfactory academic progress or financial consequences. A committee of Continuing Education staff reviews petitions on a regular basis. For more information, please contact the petition coordinator at or 303-492-9881. You can also watch our How to Petition Anything webinar to learn more.

Students also have the right to appeal to the Dean of Continuing Education any decision made by the petition committee. Contact the Division’s enrollment services staff for more information.

Consecutive Semester Withdrawal

Nondegree students in Continuing Education who withdraw from two regular semesters in a row will have a dean’s stop placed on their registration. Summer Session is not counted as a regular semester. They will not be permitted to enroll at CU Boulder before one full academic year has elapsed (not including their semester of withdrawal).

Excused Absences for Religious Observance

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to reasonably and fairly deal with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments, or required attendance. Visit the CU-Boulder Policies website for a complete version.

Confidentiality of Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords you certain rights with respect to your education records. The CU-Boulder Registrar’s Office website has information on the guidelines for the release of student information under FERPA.


The University of Colorado Boulder does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation or political philosophy, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. The university takes affirmative action to increase ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity; to employ qualified disabled individuals; and to provide equal opportunity to all students and employees.

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


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