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Academic Absence Verification

Time and again, research on student performance affirms that consistent class attendance is the number one predictor of academic success.

It is to be expected then that the university and its faculty take your presence and participation very seriously. Each instructor’s course syllabus is expected to explain the attendance policy as it applies to that course, so be sure to read and become acquainted with the “rules” for each of your courses.

Class Attendance Regulation

The Class Attendance regulation ( provides some parameters and guidance for instructors and students to consider in determining whether a class absence is excused. 

Other than in a couple of exceptional situations, essentially the judgment of whether a life event warrants missing a class is in the hands of the instructor. The instructor’s attendance/absence policy as stated in the course syllabus can help determine whether an absence is excused or unexcused.

The only mandated accommodations of an absence are for religious holy days (N.C.G.S. § 116-11(3a)) or when a student has a court order requiring attendance.

The University’s Attendance Regulation refers to absences in two broad categories: anticipated and unanticipated.

  • Anticipated absences include such events as mandated court appearances, required days of religious observance, and participation in an official university function. Because these events are known in advance, instructors are to be informed well ahead of their occurrence so arrangements for submitting coursework, or possibly scheduling a make-up test, can be made.
  • Unanticipated absences include such events as illness, the death of a family member, or a natural disaster. Once the event is known, communication with instructors as soon as possible is expected and in everyone’s best interest.

Reasons for an Absence

Below is a list of circumstances that allow for excused absences. Please provide documentation if it is available.

  • Medical
  • Death in the Immediate Family
  • Military Orders
  • Legal Obligations

Religious Observances

If you plan to miss class for a religious holy day, you must submit a request to the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED). If approved, you will receive a letter via email to give to your professor to be excused. Please note that festivals, church retreats, etc. do not qualify for excused holy day absences. Also, please note that these requests should be made at the beginning of each semester or no later than two weeks before the day you plan to be absent. 

Unanticipated Life Events

There are, of course, unanticipated events that are less significant which may also result in a class absence (e.g., flat tire, internet outage, etc.). Whether such a “life event” is considered excused is up to the instructor’s judgment. Again, it is recommended that the student reviews that part of the instructor’s syllabus regarding attendance requirements at the start of each semester before any potentially interfering event occurs.

On rare occasions, an extended absence or a series of absences, even when verified, may collectively interfere with the successful completion of a course. In such extreme circumstances, the student’s academic advisor is the best person to work with the student to determine whether dropping the course, requesting an “incomplete” as a temporary grade, or even withdrawing from the semester are options to be considered.

The following circumstances are NOT addressed through this process:

  • Co-curricular activities – Sponsoring faculty for the activity should provide the student with documentation for the student to share with their faculty to review and approve at their discretion.
    • Conferences 
    • Field trips
    • Club sports
    • Dance teams
    • NC State Fair participation
    • 4-H participation
  • Travel
  • Weather – The University informs students when weather issues will impede classes.
  • Work

What should you do if a class absence cannot be avoided?

  1. In most situations, if you anticipate needing to be away from class, or something has just occurred that has resulted in a class absence, speak directly with the instructor of the affected class(es). Most cases are resolved by providing an explanation and discussing how you can make up missed work or tests. Most instructors work directly with the student, and involvement by a staff member to verify the absence isn’t needed.
  2. Excuses for unanticipated absences must be reported to the instructor as soon as possible but not more than one week after the return to class. Absence verification requests received over one week from the submission date will not be verified.
  3. However, sometimes objective verification, especially in complicated situations, might be helpful to both the student and the instructor.

The Submission Process

Per university regulation, we only do absence verifications for deaths, legal obligations, military duty, and serious illnesses like surgery and hospitalizations. For any other absence requests, you need to work with your instructors per the attendance regulation.

As stated in the course syllabus, the instructor’s attendance/absence policy provides details on how absences will be handled for that course. Absences are approved at the discretion of the instructor.

Before proceeding with the submission of a request:

  • Discuss your absence with your instructor before initiating this process. Instructors have much broader latitude in approving absences.
  • Verify that your situation meets the specific cases defined in attendance regulation.

Once the request has been submitted:

  • Verifying an anticipated or unanticipated class absence is done in the form of some objective document(s) such as a legal note or hospital discharge instructions.
  • If the request meets criteria for verification, a message will be sent to the student, and the instructor(s) for the class(es) missed. A copy will be sent to the academic advisor if needed.
  • Once a student situation that will result in or has resulted in class absence(s) is verified and communicated, the instructor typically provides needed support to make up missed coursework or tests consistent with the course and/or department policy.

NOTE: Only an NC State student or employee can submit a form via our online process.

Submit an Absence Verification Request

Please, no walk-in appointments.