How do I handle graduations, student exits, and leaves of absence?

This article describes how to handle various situations in which students leave your school: graduations, withdrawals, discipline cases, and leaves of absence. After recording the exit, you may also want to consider whether to remove the student's user access.

The student role: make inactive or delete?

When someone with the Student role is no longer a student at your school, you have the option to set her student role to inactive or remove it altogether. While both are possible, 99.9999999879% of the time, you'll want to set the role to inactive rather than remove it. Some notes on this:

  • Approximately 0.0000000121% of the time, you may want to remove the Student role because you either like to be annoyed or like to annoy others. Some examples of annoyances include not being able to export transcripts and not allowing the student to request a transcript.
  • Setting the Student role to inactive prevents you from recording new academic information about the person while also making her existing academic information easy to access and export.
  • Most of the student exit methods described below have an option to automatically deactivate the student role. If you're doing things manually, it makes no difference which option you choose provided the student's academic information is tied to an academic program.
  • Whatever you do, don't delete the student's profile! Inactive student records don't cost your school anything, and it'll just make everyone's life harder if you delete them.

Granting a degree

To graduate a student, you simply grant their degree. After checking her Degree Audit to see whether she has fulfilled your degree requirements...

  1. Click next to the degree you wish to grant and choose Edit Degree.
  2. Change the degree's status to granted.
  3. Enter the granted date.
  4. Check whether to make the student role inactive. Doing so will prevent further modification to her academic information, but will not affect her user status or other items in Populi (financial, library, etc.).
  5. If she has a specialization connected to the degree, you can enter a completed date.
  6. Finally, click Save.

Once you save...

  • The student is now an alumni and gets the corresponding system tag.
  • The program connected with the degree becomes inactive (unless the student is still pursuing a degree in that program).
    • The student's graduation date appears under that program as the Exit Date; the Exit Reason displays as graduated.
  • The student role becomes inactive (if you checked to do so).
  • The student's status is updated in various reports and statistics throughout Populi.


To withdraw a student, you simply set their Student role to inactive. (This is different than withdrawing a student from a single course—that is done by changing her enrollment status on the Course Roster.)

  1. Click edit roles under the student's profile picture.
  2. Uncheck the box next to Student. Some new fields will appear...
  3. Enter the exit date.
  4. Select an exit reason. These are the official IPEDS exit reasons (you can also add custom exit reasons in Academics > Settings > Exit Reasons). If you don't see the exact reason you'd like to add, select Unknown or Other. If the student is withdrawing for disciplinary reasons, see "Discipline cases", below.
  5. Finally, click Save.

Once you save...

  • The student is withdrawn from all of her unfinalized courses.
  • The student's programs and degrees become inactive.
    • The exit date and exit reason under the program(s) are updated with your selections.
  • The student's status is updated in various reports and statistics throughout Populi.

Program withdrawals

If a student withdraws from a particular program, you can note that by editing the program details on her profile.

  1. Click next to the program you wish to change and choose Edit Program.
  2. Set the program status to Inactive.
  3. Select an exit reason.
  4. Edit any other pertinent fields.
  5. Click Save when you're done.

Now that the student is withdrawn from the program:

  • Any degrees in that program will be set to Inactive.
  • The student's status is updated in various reports and statistics throughout Populi.

Discipline cases

If the student is leaving because of a disciplinary action, you can include a discipline record(in addition to withdrawing the student).

  • In the right column of the student's profile, click add a disciplinary action.
  • Select the action.
  • Enter a start date. Check if there's an end date and enter that ( Expulsion prompts you for a readmitted date).
  • You can also add comments and attach files.
  • Click Add.

After adding the discipline record, you may also need to withdraw the student from courses (see above).

Leaves of absence

When a student takes a leave of absence (LOA), she is temporarily pausing her studies with the intent to resume them within a certain timeframe. To properly record LOA and ensure it is included in the appropriate reports, use the built-in student information field.

  1. In the right column, click edit next to Student Information.
  2. Check the box next to Leave of Absence.
  3. Enter the starting and anticipated return dates.
  4. Click Save.

Now that you've put the student on leave of absence:

  • To end a leave of absence, just un-check the box next to Leave of Absence.
  • She'll have the Leave of Absence system tag.
  • You can retrieve the student from the Data Slicer by searching for LOA Anticipated Return Date, Days Since LOA Start Date, and LOA Start Date.
  • She'll be marked as LOA on the Clearinghouse report.
  • Her Student role will remain active. If you set her Student role to inactive, that exit date/reason data will over-ride the LOA information. So, don't deactivate the Student role!
  • If the LOA lasts longer than 180 days, certain financial aid regulations sometimes require that the student be listed as Withdrawn. Check the rules for any private, State, or Federal financial aid to see whether you should take any additional action.
  • Registrars will be notified by email when students are LOA for 60, 120, and 170 days.
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  • 1
    Jeremy Smith

    When you say it renders all academic info inaccessible is that inaccessible to the student, or to the school (i.e. academic admin, registrar, etc.) as well?

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell


    That means, "Inaccessible to everybody, including the higher-ups, admins, what-have-you." It doesn't get erased; if you add the student role back in, all their historic student info will show up in the Student tab...

  • 0
    Robert Murphy

    Is this the same thing as "turning off" the student's e-mail, or is that a separate thing? 

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell


    It isn't. We don't have a way to "turn off" student email (that's something you could manage in Google Apps, I believe... which y'all aren't using at this time). The best way to remove the student's email access is to remove him as a user then add him right back in with the same username (he'll have to re-set his password, though). Doing this also deletes his old email.

  • 0
    Robert Murphy

    Thanks Brendan. I think I'll just give you guys a quick call. I'm trying to resolve an issue and create protocol for exiting students. Thanks again!

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell


    It's always best to just hit us up at!

  • 0
    Robert Murphy


  • 0
    Bev Atwood

    Grade reports are one thing that students no longer have access to, once their status as student is made inactive.  It seems that they could still have access to that without hurting anything. 

    We had one class that added course comments after grades had been finalized and the term was wrapped up.  I had inactivated all non-returning students and had to reactivate them in order to see their grade reports -- now I need to remember to deactivate them again within a reasonable amount of time.  It would be so much nicer to not lose this option in the first place. Another reason not to turn it off would be for those students who are out of e-mail contact, or have no ability to print, say they are on vacation or honeymoon, etc. right after school ends. When they return and want to print, they can't.

    Thanks for considering this change.

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell
  • 0
    Jennifer Mast

    What role does a user need to deactivate a student’s role in Populi?

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