Time Limits and Deadlines

Time Limits for Course Completion

Students enrolled in a self-paced online course must complete their course within 6 months of their enrollment date.

Required Hours of Study

You must allow a minimum of 2 weeks of study for each semester hour or certificate hour assigned. For example, 6 weeks are required for a 3 semester hour course. Each instructor has determined the number of assignments allowed in a time period, generally no more than 2 assignments in a 7-day period. Exceptions must be approved by the instructor.

Completing Courses Ahead of Graduation or Specific Deadline

If you need a grade posted to your transcript by graduation or another specific date, you must give your instructor sufficient time to grade your work. Plan to have all written assignments completed and the final examination taken at least 5 weeks before you need the hours on a transcript. Please remember you are not the only person taking the course and requesting the instructor’s attention. Only 1 unit of work may be submitted during a 1-week period. Permission to work faster must be secured by the supervisor from the instructor/grader.

Dropping a Course

You may drop the course and receive a full tuition refund within 40 calendar days of registration without any mark on your transcript. You are allowed one drop/transfer to a different course within 40 calendar days. If you do not complete your course within the time limit, you must formally withdraw before the expiration date to receive a W on your transcript. If you do not withdraw before the expiration date, you will receive an F. You may submit a withdrawal request in writing or send an email to cewww@colorado.edu.

Financial Aid for CU-Boulder Students in Self-Paced Courses

Students may receive financial aid for self-paced courses, with the following restrictions:

• For an Independent Learning course to count toward a student’s enrollment status for a semester, the course must be added prior to the add/drop deadline of that semester, based on main campus census dates.
• Students who receive aid for a self-paced course and drop the course after the census date will receive a “Withdrawn” for that course, even if it is within the 40 days we allow for a drop.
• Students who do not complete the course within six months and choose to extend will have a double impact to their financial aid eligibility. Both the “Withdrawn” designation and the “Incomplete” designation count against a student’s completion rate.

For more information, visit the financial aid website.

Disability Accommodation

If you need special accommodation, contact the Office of Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or (TTY) 303-492-5601.


We will not notify you when your course is about to expire. It is your responsibility to keep track of your expiration date. Self-paced online courses may be extended for an additional 6 months. Only one extension is allowed. There is a $65 per credit hour fee for extending your course.

Requests for course extensions must be received before the expiration date, or within a 40-day grace period for an additional charge. No extension is allowed after the 40-day grace period.

If you register for an extension, you will be enrolled in a separate extension section of the class. You will receive a grade of “Withdrawal” in the original section of the class and an “Incomplete” on your record in the extension section. The “I” will be replaced by the letter grade once you complete the course, but the “W” stays on your transcript.

Note: Students on academic suspension need to have at least 50% of the coursework completed to be eligible for an extension. If you do not have at least 50% of the coursework completed, you need to withdraw from the course to avoid receiving an F.

Fees for Extension

You may request an extension for a fee of $65 per credit hour; requests must be received before the expiration date. If you request an extension during the 40-day grace period following your course expiration date, Independent Learning will assess an additional $10 course reinstatement fee. You may either mail a written request with a check to the Continuing Education office or call to extend your course over the phone with a credit card.

Petitions for Additional Time

If you do not complete a class before your extension expires, you may file a petition for additional time to complete the class and you must furnish documentation demonstrating your need for additional time. The petition committee uses the same standards for granting and denying petitions as the main campus.

Contact Information

Independent Learning questions:

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