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AA/PPS 02.02.21 - Limiting the Number of Course Drops for Undergraduate Students at Public Institutions of Higher Education in Texas (SB1231)

Limiting the Number of Course Drops for Undergraduate Students at Public Institutions of Higher Education in Texas (SB1231)

AA/PPS No. 02.02.21 (4.14)
Issue No. 1
Effective Date: 6/16/2016
Next Review Date: 3/01/2019 (E3Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing


    1. In 2007, the Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1231 which provides that, except for several specific instances of good cause, undergraduate students entering as first time freshmen at a Texas public institution of higher education in the fall of 2007 or later will be limited to a total of six dropped courses during their undergraduate career.

      Under the new law (Texas Education Code, Sec. 51.907), “an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education.” The law applies to courses dropped at public institutions of higher education in Texas, including community and technical colleges, health science centers that offer undergraduate programs, and universities.


    1. Grade – “Grade” is usually a letter such as A, B, C, D, F, or PR, I, RP, U, N, and CR. “Grade” indicates that the student remained enrolled through the end of the semester and either successfully completed requirements of the course and is awarded credit, or did not successfully complete and will not be awarded credit.

    2. Dropped course – Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has clarified the definition of a dropped course to exclude any reference to the add/drop period. A course drop is a credit course not completed by an undergraduate student who:

      1. is enrolled at the Official Date of Record (ODR) in a course that is (or will be) recorded on the official transcript;

      2. will not receive a grade (as defined);

      3. will not incur an academic penalty; and

      4. does not withdraw from the institution by dropping all courses.

    3. Withdraw – The definition of “withdraw from institution” implies that the student drops all courses enrolled for the term.

    4. Family member – THECB has specified “family member” to include spouse, child, grandchild, father, mother, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, first cousin, step-parent, step-child, or step-sibling.

    5. Sufficiently close relationship – THECB has defined this relationship to include a relative within the third degree of consanguinity plus close friends including, but not limited to, roommates, housemates, classmates, or others identified by the student and approved by the institution.

    6. Other good cause – TEC 51.907 allows institutions the prerogative to grant exceptions to the six-drop limitation. The law offers several examples and the Texas Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (TACRAO) has offered additional suggestions. Texas State University’s list of exceptions appears below in “Exceptions to the Six-Drop Limit.”


    1. Some courses will not count against the six-drop limit. These include courses dropped at independent or private institutions in Texas, courses dropped while the student is still enrolled in high school, developmental courses, non-funded courses or courses dropped at colleges in other states.

    1. The law also provides that exceptions to the six-drop limit are permissible provided there is “good cause.” These exceptions are established and monitored by the individual colleges and universities. When students reach the six-drop limit, they will be required to certify that they are eligible to drop additional courses. For Texas State, the list of exceptions or waivers includes the following:

      1. a severe illness or debilitating condition;

      2. providing care for a sick, injured or needy person;

      3. death of a family member or personal friend;

      4. active duty service for Texas National Guard or Armed Forces of the United States for either you, a family member or personal friend;

      5. change in work schedule beyond student’s control;

      6. change of major or minor;

      7. institutional error;

      8. prerequisite course not completed;

      9. incompatibility with faculty member;

      10. transportation problem;

      11. financial hardship; or

      12. received prior credit or test results after drop deadline.


    1. Students who feel they have extenuating circumstances, not addressed in the exceptions listed above, may appeal to the academic department chair/school director for the course they wish to drop. If approved by the department/school, they will be given an override and can go online to drop the course.

    1. If a student is not granted an appeal to drop a class, but is granted an administrative “W” grade appeal by the dean, after grades are posted, the drop will not count against the student’s six drop limit.

    1. The Registrar will develop a web-based method of certifying exceptions/waivers for students who have more than six drops. The Registrar also will report to THECB the number and type of exceptions granted under this statute.

    1. Reviewers of this PPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing March 1 E3Y

    This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Academic Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing; senior reviewer of this PPS