Class Attendance Policy and ProceduresAttendance

Fisk University students are expected to maintain regular and successive attendance in all the lecture, laboratory, and seminar courses for which they have registered and are enrolled during a semester.  Class attendance is an essential part of the student’s intellectual development, success, retention and timely graduation .  The specific attendance policy for each course is stated on the course syllabus, which is distributed in each class during the first week of the semester.  It is, therefore, the responsibility of each student to know the attendance policy of each teacher in whose class she/he is enrolled. Failure to comply with the stated attendance policy will undoubtedly jeopardize the grade in the course.

In addition, Title IV federal guidelines mandate that institutions receiving federal aid regularly verify student class attendance to ensure that all awarded federal aid monies are used for educational purposes. It is the policy at Fisk University that faculty members verify and report student class attendance multiple times each semester using Banner Self Service. This reporting allows the University to identify students who: (1) are enrolled in classes but are not attending, (2) have officially or unofficially withdrawn from the University, (3) are attending classes for which they are not registered and/or (4) students who are erroneously enlisted in classes for which they did not register.  Students listed in any of the four categories will be contacted and adjustments will be made to financial aid packages and money returned to the federal government, as necessary.  Failure to report accurate data jeopardizes institutional eligibility for federal financial aid and Veteran services.

Policy Statement

Attendance in class is strictly required by University policy. In each course, students who miss more than ten percent (10%) of the scheduled class meetings (including labs) due to unexcused absences will be in danger of failing the course.  For a class that meets three times per week, the number of unexcused absences is five class sessions; for a class that meets twice a week, three class sessions; and for a class that meets once per week, two class sessions. More strenuous requirements can be applicable, as stated by individual instructors, in their respective course syllabi.  It is the student’s responsibility to understand each instructor’s requirements. The University administration, consistent with this policy, does not generally issue excuses from class.

Definition of Terms

(1) Attendance is defined in this policy statement as the physical presence (participation for distance education courses) of the student in the classroom for the entire scheduled class time.  Tardiness can be considered an unexcused absence. (2) Unexcused absences are all absences that have not been approved by a certified physician/nurse, the instructor in charge of the course, and/or the provost or his/her designee.


The Fisk Attendance Policy is applicable to all registered students.  Individual faculty members can choose to make the policy more rigorous but in no case should they be more lenient than the University policy stated above.  Occasionally, students may miss class due to an emergency (health, accident, etc.) or, other compelling circumstances beyond their control. Such students must justify, with appropriate documentation, unplanned absences no later than 48 hours upon return to the campus. In addition, there are occasions when students may be absent from campus in connection with sanctioned University activities such as athletic competitions, academic competitions, concerts or conference presentations. In such cases, students are required to notify their faculty instructor prior to the scheduled class that they will miss and make up for work missed. In all cases, the Provost may, at his/her discretion, issue a memorandum to faculty members to permit students to make up missed work. In such cases, instructors can assign reasonable and relevant compensatory work for excused absences at a time mutually convenient to both the student and the instructor.  Such memoranda however, do not constitute excuses from class and students remain bound at all time by the absolute maximum of ten percent (10%) absence rate in any particular class.


Exceptions to the ten percent (10%) absence rate policy may only be made by the Provost in consultation with the course instructor.  Exceptions may only be considered when the student is performing at a high level of competence in the course, and when the reasons for excessive absences (e.g., hospitalization, family emergency, etc.) are such that it would clearly not have been possible for the student to attend the required ninety percent (90%) of class meetings.