SSPC Systems Information

Graduate Online Withdrawal System Information

To download a PDF copy of the instruction manual, click here.


The Graduate Online Withdrawal System, developed jointly by the Office of the Registrar, the Financial Aid Office, and the Graduate Division, was implemented in order to comply with federal Title IV regulations. Compliance with these regulations is necessary for the University to maintain its institutional eligibility to disburse federal Direct Student Loans and federal work-study awards to students. The system meets these regulations by ensuring that withdrawal and cancellation transactions, including any refunds to the student, are processed in a timely manner.

The approval of the Graduate Division for graduate students to withdraw or cancel their registration for the current semester is not required; however, approval of the student's department chair or graduate adviser is required. Paper forms are not required or necessary for the Office of the Registrar, given that all processing is done electronically. At its discretion, the department may develop its own withdrawal data worksheet for internal use. A sample worksheet with the necessary fields is available here.

The Graduate Online Withdrawal System affords several beneficial features and advantages compared with the previous paper withdrawal process. Chief among them for the student is a reduction in processing time. Once a withdrawal or cancellation transaction is entered, the system is designed to process the transaction (including any refunds owed to the student) within the federally mandated 30-day period. This was not always possible with the paper-only process.

Adjustments of registration fees, including any refunds owed to the student, are calculated and processed automatically according to the date the transaction was entered in the system (the "effective date"). This ensures that the student's fees are assessed properly and that other, internal processes are handled in a timely fashion, in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations.


A withdrawal occurs when a registered student* initiates a leave from the university on or after the first day of instruction for the semester. The amount of registration fees for which the student is responsible is prorated according to the effective date of withdrawal and is determined by federal guidelines and policies. The prorated fee amounts are indicated (as percentages of a student's total fees assessed) in the Fee Adjustment Schedule.

A cancellation occurs when a student--registered or unregistered--initiates a leave from the university before instruction begins for the semester. A cancellation is also processed if an unregistered student terminates attendance at any point in the semester. (Registered students who terminate attendance after the start of instruction are processed as withdrawals.) Cancelled students are not responsible for any registration fees assessed; however, a $10 processing fee is charged to the students' accounts.

When processing a student's leave request using the online system, you do not need to indicate whether the transaction should be recorded as a withdrawal or a cancellation; the system will determine the proper transaction and process it accordingly.

*In order to be "registered," a student must (1) be enrolled in at least one class, (2) pay at least 20% of his/her assessed registration fees, and (3) have no active registration blocks.

Key Operational Highlights

When entering transactions, departments are required to enter the reason for a student's withdrawal as indicated below. The Graduate Division will use this information to assess a student's normative time if applicable for fellowship determination or other purposes.

    • Medical (to be verified by Student Health Services)
    • Parental leave
    • Reservist called to military duty
    • Research
    • Personal
    • Other

Rescinding of a withdrawal or cancellation is possible within 10 days should the student change his or her mind.

If a student is receiving financial assistance, the appropriate category and the awarding agency name should also be entered in the appropriate fields.

No additional or follow-up processing is required once the transaction is entered into the system.

Withdrawal or cancellation transactions can be verified on the system immediately after entering. In addition, verifications are sent automatically by e-mail to the department, the Graduate Division, and the Office of the Registrar after the transactions have been entered.

In instances where online processing of a withdrawal or cancellation is not possible or practical, the department can notify the Office of the Registrar directly. If instruction has not yet begun for a semester, remember that students can cancel their registration themselves, either via Tele-BEARS or by returning their CARS billing statement with the appropriate box checked.

For step-by-step instructions, please download a copy of the manual.


Please note that you cannot enter an effective date of withdrawal prior to the current date (backdating). In many cases, backdating is not desirable and may in fact penalize the student. In rare instances, however, students may have legitimate reasons for requesting that their withdrawal be backdated. If the request is due to medical reasons, the student should be directed to University Health Services; the student may be asked to submit documentation in such cases. Requests to backdate a withdrawal for non-medical reasons will be approved only in very exceptional cases. Students desiring a backdated withdrawal should request their department to send a memorandum signed by the head graduate adviser, addressed to Associate Dean Joseph Duggan. This memorandum should be faxed to Graduate Degrees at 510.643.1524 to expedite the review.

Retroactive Transactions

If the student wishes to withdraw or cancel for a semester retroactively, i.e., after the semester has ended, approval from the Graduate Division is required. Retroactive transactions cannot be done on the online system. Students wishing to withdraw or cancel retroactively must submit a Request for Retroactive Withdrawal/Cancellation petition to the Graduate Division, in care of Graduate Degrees, accompanied by a memorandum of support from the student's head graduate adviser for review by Associate Dean Joseph Duggan. If it is approved by the Graduate Division, the request is sent to the Office of the Registrar for processing. Note that the effective date for all retroactive withdrawals is the last day of the semester.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon should I enter a withdrawal transaction in the system?
The transaction should be entered as soon as the student first notifies you of his or her intention to withdraw or cancel. The system has been designed to complete all necessary processing within 30 days of entering the transaction. (Federal regulations require the University to complete a withdrawal or cancellation transaction, including the processing of any refunds that may be due to the student, within 30 days after the student first notifies a University official of his or her intention to withdraw or cancel.) The system will determine whether a student's departure is categorized as a withdrawal or a cancellation; the department does not need to make that determination.

When does the system process a transaction after I enter it?
Students are allowed 10 calendar days to reverse their decision to withdraw or cancel. Though the "clock starts ticking" the day you enter the transaction, the system does not actually proceed with the process until the end of the 10-day waiting period. However, in situations where you wish to expedite the process, you can select the "Release Now" feature to bypass the 10-day period and process the transaction that evening.

How do I undo a transaction?
You can undo a transaction within 10 days of entering it. (See the manual for instructions.) However, once a transaction has been processed (i.e., after the 10-day waiting period), the student is required to file a Reinstatement Petition (fee: $10) with the Office of the Registrar to be reinstated for the semester.

Is there anything an international student should be aware of regarding withdrawal?
Before a withdrawal transaction is processed, it is essential that international students in F and J immigrant status consult with the Berkeley International Office to ascertain whether or not withdrawing will jeopardize their immigration status and their permission to be in the United States. Before a withdrawal can be processed, international students must obtain the signature of a Berkeley International Office adviser on the Withdrawal Data Worksheet, indicating that the Berkeley International Office had been consulted and approves the withdrawal. Some students who withdraw may face deportation and exclusion from re-entry.

Can I enter a transaction for a future term?
Yes, but remember that future term transactions are not processed until after the current term is over. Future term transactions will be stored in the system, and then will be visible as completed transactions after the current term has expired.

Should I cancel students for the future term if they're on the degree list for the current term?
It is not necessary to cancel a student for the future term if they're receiving a degree at the end of the current term and not returning afterwards. The Graduate Division notifies the Office of the Registrar of degree-listed students and they are automatically cancelled for the future term.

Are there other types of "automatic" cancellations?
The Office of the Registrar automatically cancels unregistered students if they are not enrolled in at least one class by the end of the eighth week of instruction, regardless of the students' registration fee payment status. These transactions are known as "administrative cancellations."

Do I need to know whether the transaction is a withdrawal or a cancellation?
The online system automatically makes this determination during the transaction. Whether the transaction is a withdrawal or a cancellation is indicated immediately on IDMS, which is accessible to staff in the Graduate Division and the Office of the Registrar.

How do the Graduate Division and/or the Office of the Registrar know that I've processed a transaction?
The system also sends an electronic notification to the Graduate Division's internal database system. In addition, key staff in the Graduate Division and the Office of the Registrar receive daily e-mail messages indicating all transactions entered and processed the previous day.

How can I be sure that a transaction was processed?
The transaction will be indicated on the online withdrawal screen as well as on the Registration Status screen on IDMS. You will also receive an e-mail message with this information.

Do I need to maintain paper records of the withdrawal/cancellation transaction?
No. It is at the discretion of the department whether or not to require paper records of these transactions, as well as how these records are to be maintained in the department. For your convenience, we have provided a sample worksheet that can be used for this purpose. Such records, however, should not be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar or the Graduate Division.

Are there any fees that are not prorated?
Students who withdraw are responsible for 100% of the health insurance and Class Pass fees; the remaining fees are prorated according to the Fee Adjustment Schedule. Cancelled students are not responsible for any assessed fees. (However, a $10 cancellation fee is charged to registered students who cancel.)

The system is down or otherwise not functioning. What do I do?
If you are unable to log on to IDMS, contact the CCS Trouble Desk 510.642.4920 to report the problem. If you are able to log on to IDMS but the Graduate Online Withdrawal System is not functioning or behaving erratically, contact Russell Low in the Office of the Registrar 510.642-7009. If you need to have a withdrawal transaction processed immediately and you are unable to use the system, contact Lillian Otsuka 510.643.0425 or Russell Low 510.642.7009 in the Office of the Registrar.


This page was last updated on Thursday, April 05, 2012