University Policies

Class Attendance

Attending regularly scheduled and scheduled make up classes, discussions and recitations, laboratory sessions and other course meetings is a fundamental student responsibility. Faculty may use class attendance and participation as factors in determining course grades. The contributions of class attendance and participation toward course grades should be explicitly stated on course syllabi as should all factors used in determining these grades.

While it is expected that students will make every effort to attend classes, it is recognized that personal circumstances (e.g., religious observances, documented family and medical emergencies) and University-scheduled events (e.g., varsity athletic competitions, performances) will arise which preclude class attendance. In such circumstances, faculty and other instructors are expected to make appropriate accommodations (e.g., make up tests, adjusted due dates for papers and projects), such accommodations to be determined by the faculty member. The student is responsible for obtaining the materials presented in missed classes and for making up missed tests and other assignments. No academic penalty shall be imposed for class absences which are permissible in accordance with University policy.

It is expected that students will schedule classes in order to minimize the number of classes that may be missed. Further, it is expected that whenever possible, students will inform course instructors in advance of any absences related to scheduled events

Collection of Student Address Information

As ordered by the District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment, the University hereby adopts the following policies for the purpose of collecting more accurate information on the current local addresses of GW students:

Each undergraduate student at the University is required to report and update as necessary his or her "current local address." For purposes of this policy, "current local address" will mean the address at which the student, including students who commute, resides during the week while attending classes at the University. Failure to report a current local address accurately to GW or failure to advise GW promptly of a change in current local address will constitute a violation of this Policy and may result in the encumbrance of further registration.


The University will take reasonable steps to make students aware of this policy. Such efforts may include notification on the myGW Portal and informational e-mail messages. The University may also elect to use other mechanisms to collect and/or verify addresses from time to time.

  • In order to implement the collection of current local address information, the following procedures are hereby adopted:
    1. Each semester, undergraduates who are not living in University residence halls and not studying abroad will be required to provide a current local address. Students will be notified that they must update or confirm their current local address in the GWeb Information System. A pop-up screen soliciting address information will block student access to GWeb until data is entered in the current local address field. Students will be advised that the information will be audited and that if it is determined that a student has entered an address beyond the D.C. Metropolitan Area, a P.O. Box, a residence hall address or an address in care of another person, an encumbrance may be placed on further registration. If it is determined that a student has intentionally entered an inaccurate address, disciplinary action may be initiated.
      1. Each semester, prior to online registration for the following semester, undergraduate students who are not living in University residence halls and not studying abroad will be required to provide a current local address. Students will be allowed to proceed with registration after they have provided a current local address. Students will be reminded of the penalty for failure to provide current and accurate information.
    2. Only those zip codes within the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (approximately 75 miles from the Foggy Bottom Campus) will be accepted as current local address zip codes, unless specifically authorized by the University.
    3. The University will compare the current local address zip codes of all full-time undergraduate students not residing in University residence halls and not living abroad against the D.C. Metro Area Zip Codes to determine whether an address is outside the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.
      1. Any full-time student who provides an address outside the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area will be notified and asked to provide a current and accurate address. Any full-time student who fails to comply with or respond to the request for a current and accurate address may have an encumbrance placed on his or her record, blocking further registration until such time as he or she provides correct information. Any student who intentionally provides a false current local address will be referred to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities.
  • In light of legal constraints and privacy concerns, specific student addresses will not be made available by the University to government or other non-University entities or individuals. Rather, to the extent permitted by law, the aggregate number of full-time students living in each zip code in the Foggy Bottom/West End Area will be provided as required by BZA Order dated March 29, 2001.


Electronic Mail and Official University Communication

The university uses your GW e-mail address to communicate academic, administrative, and emergency information to you. Other e-mail addresses cannot be used by the system that GW uses to send important notices to all users. If you do not intend to check your GW e-mail account frequently, be sure to log in to the GW e-mail system and set up e-mail forwarding to an account that you do check.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement

The George Washington University does not unlawfully discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation. This policy covers all programs, services, policies, and procedures of the University, including admission to education programs and employment. The University is subject to the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

Inquires concerning the application of this policy and federal laws and regulations concerning discrimination in education or employment programs and activities may be addressed to the Chief Human Resources Officer, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. 20052, (202) 994-9600, to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, or to the Director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission/Washington Field Office.

To request disability accommodations, students should contact the Office of Disability Support Services, (202) 994-8250 (TDD/voice), and employees should contact the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, (202) 994-9656 (voice) or (202) 994-9650 (TDD).

FERPA and the release of Student Information (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

The University may release the following directory information upon request: student's name; local address (including e-mail); telephone numbers; likeness used in University publications including photographs; names and addresses of emergency contact; dates of attendance; school or division of enrollment; enrollment status; field of study; class; credits hours earned; degrees or certificates earned; honors received; participation in University recognized organizations and activities (including intercollegiate athletics); and height, weight, and age of members of athletic teams. Date of birth will be considered directory information only for the purpose of complying with applicable laws.

Any student who does not wish directory information released must file written notice to this effect in the Office of the Registrar using the Confidentiality Request form.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s education record within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the University Registrar, Dean, Head of the academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the University official to whom the request was submitted does not maintain the records, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want to be changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. University Procedure for Requesting an Amendment to Student Records
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Complaints should be filed in writing to the following address: 

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920

Final Examination Conflicts

The administration has accepted a resolution of the Faculty Senate regarding final examination conflicts. The Senate recommended:

1. There must be written regulation affirming the University policy to have one final examination rescheduled if a student has three or more final examinations scheduled on the same day.

2. To the greatest extent possible and without interfering with the integrity of the exam, students who are observing a religious holiday during the final examination period shall be allowed to have any examination rescheduled that conflicts with their day(s) of religious observance. In the case that a student is observing a religious holiday that coincides with the entirety of the examination period, the student shall be allowed to reschedule necessary examinations to alternative days/times to eliminate the need to take more than one final examination in a given day.

3. The rescheduling must take place at least three weeks prior to the last day of classes and, whenever possible, the make-up examination be rescheduled during the examination period.

4. The rescheduling must be achieved in consultation with the instructors involved and, whenever possible, the student selects which examination to reschedule.

Undergraduate Academic Forgiveness

Undergraduate students are eligible to repeat for credit and grade forgiveness three undergraduate level courses taken at GW in which they received a grade of D+ (1.3) or below (except if the failing grade was due to a violation of GW’s Code of Academic Integrity). With the approval of their academic advisor, a student may repeat a course under this policy at any time during their enrollment at GW; however, a course is not eligible for this policy if the student has taken a subsequent course for which the initial course is a prerequisite. The student’s registration, including the repeated course, may not exceed 18 credits in the semester in which the course is repeated; students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science may not exceed 19 credits. In the case that a student wishes to repeat more than three courses for academic forgiveness, they must first receive approval from the chair of the department under which the course is housed.

  • Both the original course and the repeat must be taken in residence at GW.
  • The original grade remains on the transcript until the student repeats the course.
  • The repeat attempt must be the same subject and course number as the original. In the case of Special Topics courses the topic must also be identical.
  • The repeat attempt must be taken under the same grade mode as the original.
  • Once the course is repeated, a permanent notation of RP replaces the grade for the first attempt of the course in the semester in which it was taken. ‘RP’ is not factored into the student’s cumulative grade-point average and any credit hours earned for the original attempt will no longer count.
  • The grade earned in the repeated course appears on the transcript in the semester in which the course was repeated.
  • The grade for the repeat attempt is the final grade for the course, regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the original.
  • Academic forgiveness repeat requests will be processed starting in the fifth week of the semester. Should the repeat attempt be dropped during the first four weeks of the semester, the original grade will remain on the transcript.
  • A course in which a grade of ‘W’ or ‘Z’ was recorded may not be repeated under the forgiveness policy.
  • Courses failed due to academic dishonesty may not be repeated under the forgiveness policy.
Graduation Retention Information

As required by the Student Right-to-Know Act, The George Washington University makes available to all students and prospective students the graduation rates of undergraduates who started as full-time freshmen at the University. Information regarding retention and graduation rates is available from the Office of Institutional Research & Planning. You may go online to view the information in the Factbook, or you can contact the Office of Institutional Research & Planning at (202) 994-6506.

Military Duty

Any student who is a member of a military reserve unit or the National Guard and is activated or called to active duty early in a semester or summer session will automatically be entitled to a full refund of all tuition and fees that he or she has paid toward the expenses of that academic term. If the notification of the call to active duty comes after the mid-term examinations or after other substantial graded work has been completed, the student will have the option of either taking a full refund of tuition and fees or taking an Incomplete in his or her courses with the privilege of returning to complete all required coursework at some future date without payment of any further tuition and fee charges. It is the responsibility of the student to present evidence of his or her activation to the Office of Student Accounts and to request the appropriate refund.

Should a degree student called up for active duty find it necessary to interrupt active pursuit of the degree, he or she may petition the Dean for a leave of absence for a specific period of time, generally limited to one calendar year. Deans are encouraged to grant any request to extend the leave of absence for longer than the customary period should military service require an absence of more than one year.

All students on active duty will be exempted automatically from the request for a fifty dollar voluntary library contribution without requiring any communication from them.

Police Statement

With over 100 sworn officers, the George Washington University Police Department (GWPD) protects the community twenty four hours a day, every day of the year. In addition to providing patrol services to the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses, GWPD provides crime prevention education to the community, oversees security at GW’s satellite campuses, and coordinates safety and security for a variety of special events that effect campus security throughout the year. These include visits by dignitaries, commencement, and citywide celebrations.

Since 1970, the men and women of the George Washington University Police Department have served the largest university in the nation’s capital. We are proud of the protection and the services that we provide to the community.

The Annual Security and Fire Safety report contains information and crime statistics for the three previous calendar years regarding crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by GW; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible to the campus. The report also contains information regarding campus security and personal safety topics such as crime prevention, fire safety, university police law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, disciplinary procedures and other information related to safety and security on campus. This information is provided by the GW Division of Safety and Security, University Police Department and in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 1990.

You may request a copy be mailed to you by calling 202-994-6948. A copy of the report can also be obtained from the GW University Police Department at Rome Hall 101, 801 22nd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20052 or online.

Religious Holidays

The Faculty Senate has set guidelines pertaining to the observation of religious holidays. These have become university policy and are as follows:

  • Students must notify faculty during the first week of the semester as early as possible, but no later than three weeks prior to the absence, of their intention to be absent from class on their day(s) of religious observance. If the holiday falls in the first three weeks of class, the student must inform the faculty within the first week of the semester that they are enrolled in the course.
  • To the greatest extent possible, faculty must continue to extend to these students the courtesy of absence without penalty on such occasions, including permission to make up examinations.
  • Faculty who intend to observe a religious holiday must arrange at the beginning of the semester to reschedule missed classes or to make other provisions for their course related activities.
  • Prior to each semester, the administration must circulate to faculty a schedule of religious holidays most frequently observed by GW students.
  • Student members of all religious groups are entitled to the same courtesies and accommodations.
  • The administration conveys this policy to students by including it in the Schedule of Classes and other places deemed appropriate.
Request to Amend Student Records

A student has the right to request that the University amend information in his or her record that the student believes has been inaccurately recorded. Upon receipt of a properly-written request, the University will consider the request and respond within a reasonable time not to exceed thirty days. The student will be notified in writing that the amendment has occurred or that the request is denied. A letter denying the request will state the reasons for the decision and notify the student of the right to request a hearing.

University Procedure for Requesting an Amendment to Student Records

Student Consent Form

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, seeks to guarantee both a student’s right of access to records and the confidentiality of student information. A student’s record may be released to parents only if one of the following conditions has been met:

  • The student has provided consent through the Student Consent form.
  • In compliance with a subpoena
  • In connection with a health or safety issue
  • Submission of evidence that the student was declared a dependent on the most recent Federal Income Tax forms, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, Section 152, through the Financial Dependency form

If you have any specific questions regarding this process, please contact the Office of the Registrar at (202) 994-4900 or [email protected].

Student Identification Number (GWid) and Social Security Number

The George Washington University uses the GWid, a randomly assigned 9 character alphanumeric value, as the primary identifier for records pertaining to individual students. The GWid is required in order to use GW’s information systems and to access certain electronic resources.

Social security numbers must be collected for any student applying for financial assistance. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service requires the University to file and report a student’s social security number and other information such as the amount paid for qualified tuition, related expenses, and interest on educational loans. This information is used to help determine whether a student, or a person claiming a student as a dependent, may take credit or deduction to reduce federal income taxes.