3.06 Class Attendance and Make-up Work


It is the expressed focus of the University of Northern Iowa to further the educational development of each of its students. On occasion events will necessitate a student’s absence from class. This policy delineates the responsibilities of faculty members and students relating to class attendance and make-up work.


The term “faculty member(s)” when used in this policy includes all regular, full-time faculty and all part-time course instructors, regardless of any other University employee classification which applies to the individual who teaches on a part-time basis.

Policy Statement

A. General Provisions

1. Faculty members who choose to have policies related to attendance and make-up work must distribute those policies by the end of the first week of instruction.

2. Students must adhere to each faculty member’s policies regarding attendance and make-up work.

3. Faculty members who require attendance at activities or events that may conflict with a student’s otherwise regularly scheduled classes are expected to be reasonable in setting these requirements. If a faculty member will require student attendance at an activity or event outside of the regularly scheduled class period, the affected students must be provided with written notice at least 10 university class days in advance of the event during the fall or spring semester and by the third day of the course for any summer term class. The faculty member must provide each student with a notice that can be given to the faculty member who instructs another course affected by the required attendance of the student. It is then the student’s obligation to notify the other faculty member. In the case of extracurricular activities, a semester-long schedule should be prepared and distributed to the participating students at the beginning of the semester. It is the student’s obligation to provide the schedule to their other faculty members. A student may not be penalized for missing a course activity which is outside of their regularly scheduled class time and conflicts with their other scheduled courses.  If a faculty member has course activities which require attendance outside of scheduled class time, that faculty member must either provide the student an opportunity to make up the missed activity or event, or have in place a make-up policy that does not unjustly penalize a student for the missed activity or event.

B. Absences

Occasionally, students will have reasonable cause to miss class. In order for both faculty members and students to plan effectively for these absences, the following procedures have been developed. Faculty members are encouraged to take into account the reason for an absence and make appropriate accommodations.   Students are still responsible for demonstrating achievement of course learning goals, even when absences are necessary or reasonable.  In situations with many absences, it may be most appropriate for the student to withdraw and retake the course in a future semester.

1. In the case of mandatory excused absences, students must be allowed to make up missed work, complete an equivalent assignment, or the professor and the student may mutually agree to waive the assignment without penalty.  Faculty members have the discretion to determine what constitutes an appropriate make up work assignment.  Some course requirements may not require a make-up, such as in cases where the class work has a very minimal point value or where the course requirement of minimal point value is a part of a series of dropped assignments. 

  1. The following absences must be excused:
    • Required university related absences, including but not limited to athletic games/matches/meets or their equivalents.
    • Absences due to military duty or veteran status, including service-related medical appointments where failure to appear might result in a loss of benefits.
    • Absences because of pregnancy or childbirth for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences medically necessary.  When a student returns to school, the student must be allowed to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before the medical leave began. (See Title IX and related information.)
    • Legally mandated absences such as jury duty or court subpoena.
    • Absences on a day the provost has declared a severe weather day per policy 4.07.
    • Religious observances.

b. Students participating in or involved with an excused absence listed in section B.1.a. above must inform each faculty member of their known and anticipated absences as far in advance as possible.  Such information or notice is not required in situations involving a severe weather day per policy 4.07.   Failure to inform faculty beforehand, when it is clearly possible to do so, may be treated as an unexcused absence.

c. Faculty are not required to offer make-up work for extra credit tasks or assignments.

2. Except as outlined in B1, faculty members have the discretion to determine the reasonableness of absences due to extenuating circumstances, either predetermined or unexpected.  Such absences include but are not limited to:  non-university sanctioned educationally appropriate events and activities (e.g. attendance at a professional conference, lecture on campus); illness; significant personal emergency; bereavement; etc. 

a. When an absence is deemed “reasonable”, the faculty member provides the student an opportunity to make up missed work, or has in place a make-up policy that does not unjustly penalize a student for the absence.

b. Remedies for missed work due to a “reasonable” absence include but are not limited to replacement assignments; policies which may allow students to drop a certain number of assignments or exams; policies which might average a score for a missed exam or account for it in other ways; etc.

c. In each of these remedies, a “reasonable” standard should apply.  In determining whether a remedy is reasonable, consideration should be given to the published syllabus.

C. Make-up Work Grievances Arising from Absences

Should a faculty member refuse to allow a student to make up missed work, the faculty member’s decision can be appealed by the student using the grievance process outlined in Section 7 of 12.01 Student Academic Grievance Policy.

Faculty Senate, approved February 2021
University Council, approved April 4, 2022
President and President’s Cabinet, approved August 2022
[Last reviewed and/or updated 8/2022, 3/2014]