Kicked Out of College for Failing? Say What?

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It’s that time of year. The end of the semester is creeping up on us, and students are freaking out about their failing grades.You may be wondering how many classes you can fail in college before you get kicked out. I will cover that in this post along with other things you may be wondering about.

Can you get kicked out of college for failing a class?

Unfortunately, this is not a simple answer. While it’s unlikely you will be kicked out of college for failing a single course, there are other scenarios where failing a course may negatively impact your eligibility to remain in college.

NOTE: The #1 reason my students failed classes was due to lack of time management. Pick up this weekly planner or daily planner to help with that. In the future, I will have a custom resource to help you, but these are great until then!

How many classes can you fail in college before you get kicked out?

I hate to tell you this – because we all like definitive answers – but there is no cut and dry answer to this question. The number of classes you can fail before getting kicked out of college is entirely dependent on your institutions policies and your individual academic record.

Contrary to what some students believe, institutional academic policies are separate from federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards, so the requirements may not be aligned with one another.

So, don’t get confused. Academic eligibility to remain enrolled in college is not the same as Satisfactory Academic Progress, which is connected to federal financial aid. There are some students who may lose federal financial aid due to not meeting SAP, but they could still be eligible to remain enrolled at the school. Confusing, right?! And I told you to not get confused… Higher education will really work your brain! 😉

In general, it is a good idea to speak with an academic advisor or someone in the registrar’s office at your college if you are concerned about failing classes. He or she can provide you with specific information about your school’s policies and help you understand what you need to do to avoid getting kicked out of college.

Meeting Institutional Academic Requirements

As I said in a previous post, What happens if you fail a class in college?, there could be financial implications of failing a course, but that is going to depend on different factors related to your Satisfactory Academic Progress.  

  1. If the failing grades drop your cumulative GPA below a certain threshold, as determined by your institution, you may receive a warning or end up on academic probation. It’s highly dependent on the school.
  2. If the failing grades drop your successful completion percentage below your institution’s threshold, this is another scenario in which you may end up with a warning or on academic probation. Yes, this seems similar to SAP standards, but I promise you they are two totally different things. Many institutions do not have a completion percentage requirement to maintain academic eligibility.
  3. If you are already on academic probation and fail to meet your probation requirements, this may result in being academically dismissed because of continued poor academic performance. 

If you’ve only failed a few courses, I recommend talking with your advisor. However, if you’ve failed an entire semester of classes, it’s time to talk to the financial aid office and your college’s registrar’s office.  If you do happen to maintain academic eligibility but lose your financial aid eligibility, and you’re unable to pay out-of-pocket for tuition, the last thing you need is to be rudely awakened by a massive tuition bill you weren’t expecting. 

Always be proactive with your education, not reactive. Don’t wait for a dismissal email or letter in the mail to come – seek out your answers and stay on top of things. I cannot stress this enough!

Can you get kicked out of college for failing a semester?

Short answer: It depends, but most times, you won’t get kicked out of college for failing a semester – especially if it’s the first semester you’ve failed and had decent grades up to that point.

Failing your first semester in college

If it’s your first semester of college, and you end up failing or withdrawing from the entire semester, you will most likely be put on financial aid probation. See my Satisfactory Academic Progress post for more details about that.

All institutions are different, but chances are, you’ll be put on academic probation as well as financial aid probation if you fail an entire semester. As I explained above, there are institutional GPA requirements that you will need to meet in order to maintain academic eligibility to remain at that college.

If you are already on academic probation and then fail to meet whatever requirements are needed to remain at your current institution, then yes, you can be kicked out of college for failing a semester.

What happens if you’re kicked out of college?

If you are asked to leave your college due to continued poor academic performance, it doesn’t have to be the end of your entire college career. It just means that you are unable to return to that specific college for the time being. 

Being kicked out of college is definitely not fun. You may be able to appeal for a second chance.

Can I appeal my academic dismissal?

Usually, yes. There is typically a process in place where you can appeal the institution’s decision to academically dismiss you. Talk with your advisor and/or registrar’s office about your options and what your next steps should be. 

Final Thoughts 

To summarize, you generally won’t be kicked out of college for failing a single course, but that’s not always the case. Failing a class or two will usually not put you at risk of being dismissed from college. It’s dependent on a lot of factors.

You need to be proactive with things like this – academic eligibility as well as financial eligibility. 

Because I was a proactive advisor, my students weren’t blindsided by things. If your advisor has more than 150 advisees, chances are, he or she won’t be able to stay on top of everything like I was able to with my students. 

This is what motivated me to start this website. I want the nuts & bolts of college information to be accessible to as many students and parents as possible. 

Is there something about college that confuses you? Send me a message!  Or – better yet – ask your college advisor!