Attendance Certification: Questions and Answers

How will I certify my students' attendance?

The Online Services class roster includes a column entitled “Certify Attendance.” All entries in the drop‐down field default to an initial entry of ‘Attended’ to begin with, and the drop down field must then be used to change the entry to “Never Attended” as needed. Important: A selection must be made for each student and you must check the Certify box and then hit ‘Submit’ at the bottom of the roster to have your certifications recorded.  If the certify box is not checked before you hit submit, your entries will NOT be recorded.

Do I have to certify all of the students in all of my class sections?

Yes. Students cannot be identified as financial aid recipients on the class roster due to financial aid confidentiality regulations. Additionally, with ongoing financial aid applications and awarding, students may receive financial aid throughout the semester. Attendance certification will assist with the accurate and timely awarding for all eligible students.

What is considered 'attendance' by the Department of Education and how is it defined?

The Department of Education has defined the following as acceptable academically‐related activities:

  • Physical class attendance where there is direct interaction between instructor and student
  • Submission of an academic assignment
  • Examination, interactive tutorial or computer assisted instruction Study group as assigned by school
  • Participation in online discussion about academic matters
  • Participation in the required online orientation for all Distance Learning section students

See Attendance Certification Requirements & Grade Submission Guidelines.

How is attendance defined for Distance Learning students?

Any of the activities listed above can be used for certifying attendance for Distance Learning students.

Does this change mean that ACC now has an attendance policy?

No. ACC does not have any formal attendance policies. All classroom attendance and related grade policies are determined solely by the instructor of each class.

Does this mean that instructors are required to take attendance?

Instructors are required to certify each student’s attendance as defined by the Department of Education. Taking attendance, or noting that one of the acceptable attendance activities (listed above) has occurred by the reporting date, is the only accurate means of verifying that the attendance certification is correct.

What is the certification deadline for each class roster?

The deadline for submitting certification is the official reporting date.

Admissions and Records will send each faculty member an email notification three business days prior to the certification date for each class section they are teaching. The notification will list the course section(s) for which the certification date is approaching, the certification deadline date and the link for Online Services. All certification deadlines end at 11:59 p.m. Please see Important Faculty Dates.

How do I know that I have successfully submitted my certifications?

You will receive an automated confirmation email each time you check the certify box and hit submit at the bottom of your roster.  Additionally, you will see the date that you certified at the top of your roster.  It is automatically updated with the current date each time you check the certify box and hit submit.  It will not update if you do not check the certify box before exiting your roster.   

What happens if I miss the deadline for certifying my class rosters?

Once the deadline has passed, you will receive an automated email notification.  Department Chairs and Deans are copied on the late submission emails.  After the deadline, all entries must be made manually by Admissions and Records staff.  An entry or change to ‘attended’ may only be entered if the student was actually in attendance before the certification deadline passed. To request manual entries of the late certifications or to change an incorrect entry, you will need to send an email from your ACC employee email account to, listing the student(s) name and ACC ID number as they appear on the roster and the certification status (attended, never attended) to be manually entered on the student record by A&R staff. All entries will be reflected on the roster and the student record in Online Services.

What are the implications for the student if I do not certify attendance by the official certification date?

The student will not receive financial aid for your class and possibly for other classes.

If I certify a student as 'never attended' but they later come to class, how do I change the certification?

If the change is being made before the official reporting date/ certification deadline has passed, you can change the status in Online Services. Once the deadline has passed, the system is locked down for all attendance certification and no entries will be made to the status.  If a student does not begin attendance before the certification deadline and you mark them as ‘never attended’ the student will be dropped from the class. 

If you wish to request that a student be reinstated after being dropped, please send your request to have your student(s) reinstated into your class along with all pertinent details including: student name, student ID number, your course section (e.g. ENGL 1301-001) and the semester, to He or she will need to speak to the Financial Aid staff to determine when, after the successful completion of the course, he or she will receive any possible financial aid for the course.

If I certify a student as 'never attended' on the roster, will they be withdrawn from the class?

Yes. Students are automatically withdrawn from classes at ACC when an instructor has certified them as ‘never attended’. If you have certified a student as ‘attended’, you are still able to subsequently submit an instructor‐initiated withdrawal for the student prior to the same withdrawal deadline; the decision to do so is solely at the discretion of the instructor. All withdrawals are submitted electronically by logging in to Online Services.

A student may appeal the non-attendance drop and request a reinstatement in writing within five (5) business days from the date they are notified.  The written appeal must be made to the course instructor, who must respond in writing within five (5) business days. The student may appeal the instructor’s decision in writing within five (5) business days to the appropriate Department Chair, then Instructional Dean, whose decision is final.

If you wish to request that a student be reinstated into your course after being dropped, please send all of the pertinent details (student ID, name, course rubric and section number) to reinstate the student into your class to

If I certify a student as 'never attended' does a grade have to be submitted?

No. All students who you certify as “never attended” are automatically withdrawn from the course and will not appear on your grade roster.

If a student stops coming to class after being certified as attended, do I change the attendance status?

No. No change needs to be made after the certification is submitted. If the student withdraws or is withdrawn, Financial Aid staff will calculate any possible repayment of funds as of the withdrawal date.

Is it acceptable to take attendance by passing around a sign‐in sheet?

Yes. This is an acceptable way of taking students’ attendance. If any additional personal information other than the name is requested, you should obtain agreement from all students that the information they are providing can be viewed by other students in the class. If it is not, please collect any additional information in a way that doesn’t compromise student information privacy.

How will students know if I have certified their attendance?

Students can log into their Online Services account and view their class schedule for each semester of enrollment. ACC has added a field for each section on the student record, which will reflect the status that you enter on your class roster.

Who do I have to enter a last date of attendance for?

You must enter a last date of attendance for any student you are giving a grade of ‘F’ on your final grade roster.

What happens if I don't enter a last date of attendance on the required 'F' grades?

You will receive an error message at the top of the final grade roster indicating that the date entry is missing and none of your final grades will be submitted until all required last date of attendance entries are made.

What happens if I enter a last date of attendance on any other student not earning a grade of 'F'?

No error will occur. The entry will be recorded on the student’s records but will have no impact on his or her Financial Aid or academic records.

How will I know if my final grades are successfully submitted and where can I see my entries?

You will receive a confirmation of successful grade entry after you hit ‘submit’ at the bottom of your grade roster. You can return to any of your grade rosters at any time (while still employed at ACC) and view all of your entries for any section you have taught at ACC.

Will students know or see the last date of attendance information I am submitting?

Students will not see or know this information unless they inquire in the Financial Aid or Admissions and Records office. This information is not displayed in Student Online Services.


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