Deployment & Military Drill

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Many students choose to serve while pursuing their degrees. Illinois accommodates your continuing service. Your choice to serve should not negatively affect your academic progress at the University of Illinois. If you’re one of the many students in the National Guard, Reserve, or inactive reserve components, Illinois recognizes that there’s a chance you might be mobilized or recalled to active duty, or that there may be times when you need to miss class because your drill weekend is extended beyond your control.

Students are responsible for keeping their course instructor(s) informed of all military-related absences, but per campus policy, you may be eligible for accommodations in these circumstances.

This section outlines your rights and responsibilities under campus policy and the appropriate steps to follow should you miss class due to military service.

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to receive appropriate credit/grades and avoid negative impacts to their record, students ordered to active duty during the semester are encouraged to officially withdraw from the University following established withdrawal procedures.

If you withdraw from the University due to being ordered to active duty after completing the seventh week and before completing the twelfth week of the semester, you may be entitled to receive credit for one-half of each course in which you have attained a standing of C- or better at the time of withdrawal. Full credit is given if the withdrawal occurs after completing the twelfth week of the semester. For more information please refer to this relevant section of the Campus Code of Policies and Regulations.

Students who wish to officially withdraw from the University due to military orders must follow established withdrawal procedures. The following checklist is a guide to help you through the process.

Students must complete a Withdrawal from the University form which should be obtained from the Dean’s Office in your College or Graduate Department. The form requires the student to obtain signatures from several campus offices and then submit a copy of the form to the Office of Student Financial Aid (OFSA) along with a completed VA Form 21-4138 (Statement of Support of Claim) (pdf) indicating the reason for the withdrawal.

If you are close to graduation when you receive orders calling you to active duty, there are two ways you may still be eligible to graduate.

  1. First, if you already meet all requirements for graduation (including minimum scholarship requirements), except those that you would normally fulfill by completing the courses for which you are registered at the time of withdrawal from the University for active duty orders, you will receive full credit in those courses and may be recommended for a degree provided:
    • You have been at the University for a minimum of two full semesters at Urbana-Champaign
    • You have completed the seventh week of that semester (sixth week in a twelve-week term or fourth week in an eight-week session)
    • You have standing in the courses for which you are registered that, if maintained to the end of the semester, would satisfy the requirements for graduation.
    If the withdrawal occurs before the completion of the seventh week of the semester (sixth week in a twelve-week term or fourth week in an eight-week session), you may be recommended for a degree upon passing examinations covering the first half of the subject matter of the courses in which you are then registered.
  2. Second, if you are a senior eligible for continuing enrollment and you leave the University to enter military service during any semester of enrollment or interim between successive semesters, you may be recommended for a degree, at the discretion of your college and on approval of your major department, provided:
    • You have progressed satisfactorily during your University registrations (according to the administrative officers in your college)
    • You lack no more than one-sixteenth of the total credit hours required for a degree (typically about 7 or 8 credit hours, but depends on your degree requirements)
    • You have been making continuous progress toward your degree.
    You will not be considered eligible for this privilege if you have acquired hours under the provisions of the first case listed above.

If you have direct loans that are in an in-school status, an in-school deferment status, or in a grace period status, you should call the Direct Loan Service Center at 1-800-848-0979 and request a "Military Grace Program" deferment. This option can extend the grace status of the loan up to three years and is only available to students withdrawing as a result of being recalled or deployed.

Per campus policy, Annual Training (AT) and other normal training orders are treated differently from mobilization or recall to active duty orders. If these orders interfere with your normal progress during the semester, you are encouraged to formally request through your chain of command postponement of your orders until the summer or the end of the semester so that you can complete the courses in which you are enrolled. If your request for postponement is denied, then you may be eligible for credit/grades under the campus policy for military withdrawals.

Students who are members of the Active Reserve Forces (including the National Guard) called to active duty under normal training orders will not be granted academic credit for courses in which they are enrolled unless they have requested a postponement of such a period of active duty for training until the summer, and unless the University has received a verification that such a request was officially denied.

This requirement, however, does not apply if you are called to active duty as a result of national emergency or as a result of the mobilization of the Reserve Forces (including the National Guard).

For members of the National Guard and Reserves, there may be times when you miss a class or two due to a weekday drill or similar military training. If orders are not issued, the student must contact the Office of the Dean of Students and bring a signed letter (usually from the unit CO) that specifically outlines the date(s) on which the student was in a military status. The Office of the Dean of Students, upon verifying the letter, will complete an “Absence Letter Request” and email it directly to the student. The student will then submit the letter to the instructor, either in person or through email.

Withdrawing for Military Duty

If you withdraw from the University due to being ordered to active duty, you are eligible for accommodations and protections if you follow the proper procedures. For more information please refer to this relevant section of the Campus Code of Policies and Regulations.

Students who wish to officially withdraw from the University due to military orders must follow established withdrawal procedures. The following checklist is a guide to help you through the process.

  • If your orders are for Annual Training (AT), first officially request postponement of the orders until summer. If the request is denied, obtain a letter from your Commanding Officer verifying the denial.
  • Obtain a copy of your military orders or a letter from your Commanding Officer
  • Complete a Withdrawal from the University form which should be obtained from the Dean’s Office in your College or Graduate Department.
  • Meet with your College Advising Office and provide them with a copy of your military orders. Based on specific course(s) in which you are enrolled and the point in the semester when the activation occurs, you may be advised to discuss incomplete contracts or independent study options.
  • Notify the Veterans Support Services Coordinator (jsakowsk@illinois.edu) of your plan to withdraw due to military orders. The Veterans Support Services Coordinator may also be able to help you through the withdrawal process if you are having difficulty.
  • Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFAVeterans@illinois.edu). Submit a copy of the Withdrawal from the University form to OSFA along with a completed VA Form 21-4138 (Statement of Support of Claim) (pdf) indicating the reason for the withdrawal.
    • If you were recalled and have already departed campus after completing the withdrawal process, you should e-mail the following information to OSFAVeterans@illinois.edu. OSFA will acknowledge your e-mail and forward the withdrawal to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for processing.
      • Your full name and social security number
      • The date of withdrawal listed on your withdrawal form
      • Your military unit designation
      • A brief statement indicating the reason for the withdrawal
  • If you need to break your lease due to activation or recall, be sure to contact the following:

VA Form 21-4138

The Withdrawal from the University form (obtained from the Dean’s Office in your College or Graduate Department) requires the student to submit a copy of the form to OSFA along with a completed VA Form 21-4138 (Statement of Support of Claim) indicating the reason for the withdrawal. Download VA Form 21-4138 below.

VA Form 21-4138 (Statement of Support of Claim) (pdf)

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