Office of the RegistrarOffice of the RegistrarDepartment of Enrollment ManagementUniversity of Cincinnati

Office of the Registrar

Class Participation and Title IV Compliance

Confirming Minimal Participation

Defining Minimal Participation


Confirming Minimal Participation or Non-Participation

To achieve compliance with Title IV federal financial aid regulations, instructors must confirm participation or non-participation after a student withdraws from a class.  Instructors will provide this affirmation via the Online Class Grading application. 

Frequently check your UC email account.  An email notification will be sent to your UC email account when a student withdraws from your class.  This notification will be sent to you whether the student withdrew using the online registration system or via the traditional paper process.  However, this notification will not be sent to you if the student dropped your class during the first 15 days of the term.  Students who drop classes during the first two weeks of the termwill see their tuition and aid adjust as dictated by the refund schedule and the student's aid package.

Link to Online Class Grading from the email.  From the email a direct link will take the instructor into Online Class Grading where the withdrawn students needing participation confirmation will be presented for grading.  Participation should be affirmed and a final grade submitted as soon as possible once the notification email is received by the instructor.

Affirm participation and grade withdrawn students.  An abbreviated grade list containing only withdrawn students will present to the instructor with radio buttons to capture the "yes" or "no" decision regarding participation.  An EW mark will continue to be displayed to differentiate students who had withdrawn via the web versus the traditional paper process.  The instructor must record the Final Grade as either:

"W" to indicate an Official Withdrawal with Participation

"WX" to indicate an Official Withdrawal without Participation

"F" to indicate an Official Withdrawal Failure

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In Autumn Quarter 2005, UC introduced the "X" and "WX" grades specifically to denote a student's non-participation.

Instructors record an "X" on the final grade roster for students who never officially withdrew, never attended any classes, and did not submit any assigned work.  The "X" grade appears on the transcript and carries zero (0.00) quality points; it is computed into the GPA like the grades of "F" and "UW".

Instructors record a "WX" for those students who officially withdrew from the class but who never attended any classes and did not submit any assigned work.

By definition, all other grades specifically denote that the student achieved minimum participation.

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"Minimal Participation" for Department of Education Title IV Compliance

According to the U.S Department of Education, a student achieves minimal participation for a class by committing just one participatory action.  Though just one instance of verified class attendance will satisfy the requirement, this action need not be satisfied exclusively by class attendance.  The act of participation must be specific to the learning of course content.  The student “earns” his or her aid money for that class by committing that one act of learning.  The question that the instructor must answer is: did the student take any action at all as an active member of that class — even if only one time?  If so, then the student "minimally participated."

Attending just one class meeting does qualify as "participation."  Beyond attending one class meeting, a student will have minimally participated by:

  • Submitting one class assignment, essay, quiz or exam. Note: how the assignment will contribute to the student’s final grade — if at all — is the instructor’s decision;
  • Participating in one Blackboard on-line discussion; or
  • Downloading Blackboard course content (not just the syllabus)

There may be other actions beyond those listed above that would constitute participation.  If a student takes a small step in the learning process, that act is just enough to make him an actual class participant for Title IV purposes. 

The best faculty can do is to make a reasonable effort that is appropriate to each as individuals to know if the student has or has not minimally participated.  But if the instructor does not have records indicating that a withdrawn student has participated, then by default the student has not participated.  In these cases, the instructor should affirm “no participation” in Online Class Grading

If the instructor affirms non-participation and the student can produce no evidence convincing the instructor to reverse the designation, then the non-participation stands.  The offices of Student Accounts and Student Financial Aid will accept the instructor’s designation as absolute.  

One other point: the offices of Student Accounts and Student Financial Aid are not at liberty to interpret an instructor’s non-response as meaning that the student did not participate.  The Department of Education will not accept the absence of a response as the instructor’s affirmation of non-participation.  From the Department’s point of view, a non-response is too ambiguous fails to affirm non-participation by the student.