Accuracy in reporting enrollment data is critical to Virginia Tech. The official university enrollment data are the census date data. Therefore, graduate students need to be enrolled prior to the University census date for the semester. Students who are not admitted and enrolled by the census date are not included in the official data submitted to the state. Therefore, faculty should make sure that all students attending their classes are registered in those classes by end of the first week of classes (i.e., by the end of the formal add period).

VT has a continuous enrollment policy. This means that any student working on his/her degree (including working with his/her advisor on the thesis, dissertation, or project and report) should be registered for the minimum of 3 credit hours/semester of the appropriate "research" course. Summer registration is not required unless the student is taking the preliminary exam or defense during a summer session. The advisor must insist on enrollment/registration at the beginning of any semester when he/she is actively working with the student. If the student has completed the thesis/dissertation by the beginning of the fall or spring semester and is defending early (i.e. within the first three weeks of the semester), he/she can request Qualifying for Start of Semester Defense Exception (SSDE; 1 cr). SSDE enrollment can be used by students defending at any time during the summer sessions. Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they graduate.

Late admission of new students: If a student applies close to the beginning of the semester, departments may consider accepting the student to Commonwealth Campus (CC) to facilitate rapid admission. The student must give his/her permission for the change to CC before the request for rapid handling of admission by the Graduate School. These late admissions must be completed and the student enrolled in classes by the census date for the semester.

Readmissions (students who are returning from a Leave of Absence or who have not been enrolled for more than a calendar year): For readmissions close to the beginning of the semester, the department should request expedited handling by the Graduate School.
Note that students can reenroll themselves after absences of less than a calendar year. To be readmitted, the student's department must review the student's progress and determine whether the Plan of Study needs changes. The department then recommends readmission with or without changes in the Plan of Study and any other conditions for degree completion or the department may decline readmission. Readmission is not required for a student submitting their ETD and other final documents in a semester following the one in which the student defended.

In rare cases students may add research hours after the add period (within the same semester): If a student who is not enrolled first contacts the advisor late in the semester for the purpose of continuing work on the research or project, the department should Late Add the student electronically (minimum of 3 credits of research) and have the advisor send an email to the Graduate School explaining the extenuating circumstances that led to the late enrollment.

Late Adds after the semester in which the course was offered are not permitted except under extenuating circumstances that are beyond the control of the student and the advisor. Such adds must have a Graduate Dean's permission based on a written appeal by the advisor and an explanation from the instructor of why a student who wasn't enrolled was permitted to participate in the course.

Drops and Withdrawals:
Electronic "withdrawals" from individual courses within the drop period are done by the student and the course disappears from the transcript. This process is identified as Drop. The tuition refund rules apply (see Bursar's webpage).

"Withdrawals" from courses after the drop period are identified as Graduate Withdrawal. These carry a WG designation on the transcript and do not affect the GPA. This process requires the use of the Graduate Course Withdrawal Form which must be signed by the student, the instructor , and the student's advisor or departmental graduate coordinator. WG must have a graduate dean's approval. Withdrawal from courses after the semester is over is not permitted.

Withdrawal of registration for the semester requires the Student Resignation/Withdrawal Form from the Registrar's office. To drop all classes for the semester by the first day of classes, only the student's signature is required. To withdraw from all classes after the first day of classes, the student must officially "resign" or withdraw. This requires a graduate dean's signature. Withdrawal/resignation from all courses for the semester will result in the designation of WG for the semester and the removal of the courses from the transcript. The tuition refund rules apply (see Bursar's webpage). Retroactive resignation or withdrawal after the semester is over is not permitted.