MSU's Suspension Policy
Students who develop a pattern of low academic achievement risk being suspended from MSU. After a first suspension, you may not enroll in classes for the next semester; with Spring suspensions, this means both Summer and Fall. Following a second suspension, you may not enroll for a full academic year. Details of MSU's suspension policy are found here in the undergraduate catalog.
For complete information from the Provost Office about suspensions, please go to this web site: http://www.montana.edu/wwwprov/Suspension%20Appeals.html.
The Impact of a Suspension
Being suspended from MSU may be both traumatic and problematic for you. However, by no means does a suspension necessarily indicate that you will not be successful in college. Many MSU students have difficulty establishing good academic habits. A suspension period out of school often provides students motivation to focus appropriately on their academic life. In addition, the money saved by working during this time can help with the cost of college.
Extraordinary Circumstances Around Your Suspension
Sometimes a student is suspended for low academic performance in a given semester during which there were extraordinary circumstances beyond their control: a significant illness near the end of the semester, a traumatic event from which the student was unable to recover, an ongoing medical condition, etc. If you believe your academic performance in the semester for which you were suspended was due to circumstances like this, you can appeal your suspension. (Note that circumstances such as too many morning classes, needing to go to a friend's wedding, noisy roommates, not going to class, working too many hours, brief illnesses, not being motivated, too much skiing/ snowboarding or partying, etc., do not qualify as extraordinary circumstances.)
Appealing a suspension by no means assures being reinstated. The hearing board will weigh all the factors and make a determination.
How to Appeal a Suspension
- Locate the Suspension Appeal Form that came with your suspension letter. (If you can't find it or if you are out of town, your department can fax a form to you.) Or you can go to the Provost's web site for complete info on suspensions at: http://www.montana.edu/wwwprov/Suspension%20Appeals.html.
- Fill out all the information on the front of the form. (Note: "GID" means "generated identification number," i.e., your MSU student ID.)
- Review the Required Documentation on the back of the form. (Notes: The "Academic Plan" portion should be discussed with an academic advisor. The rest of the documentation in the "1. Academic Purpose/Potential" section is covered in the Suspension Appeal Personal Statement (see below). If the "2. Conduct Record" section applies to you, be sure to supply that information. Review closely the "3. Personal Extraordinary Circumstances" section, and use the Suspension Appeal Personal Statement to supply the appropriate information if this applies to you.
- Fill out, print out, and sign the Suspension Appeal Personal Statement.
- Describe the extraordinary circumstances that explain your low academic performance in the semester for which you were suspended. (Note: Read carefully the information under 3 on the back of the Suspension Appeal Form to help you prepare this.)
- If you have received any Ds or Fs in prior semesters at MSU, explain the reasons for those grades and for any general problem of low academic performance on your part.
- Discuss the changes in circumstances and in your overall strategy that will help you be academically successful in the future at MSU if your appeal is successful.
- Provide the name, contact information, and course of a faculty member who can speak on your behalf. You may want to contact them ahead of time to notify them that you are using them as a reference. (Note: To find contact information for the faculty member, contact the faculty member's department).
- Gather any other documentation that you believe will help your case, e.g., memo from a doctor, disability test results, medical or psychological evaluation, etc. Include only essential materials, please. If you plan to include documentation of a disability, go here for information.
- Bring, mail, or fax your appeal package (Suspension Appeal Form, Suspension Appeal Personal Statement, and any supporting documentation) to your appropriate College. Students in University Studies should send their package to: University Studies, PO Box 173000, 130 Gaines Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-3000, fax: 406-994-6049. Be sure to get your package in before the deadline. Deadlines change every semester and can be determined by contacting the MSU Provost's Office at 406-994-2371.
Returning to MSU After Being Suspended
Once your suspension period is over, you are automatically reinstated at MSU. However, there are two things you must do before you can register for classes. It is strongly recommended that these items be taken care of at least three weeks before the beginning of the semester in which you plan to take classes:
1. All students must submit an "Intent to Register" form to the Registrar's Office. This should have been included in the suspension notice you received from the Office of the Provost. It can also be found at this link: and
2. Students in University Studies should schedule a "Must See" appointment by contacting the University Studies office at 406-994-3532. Please specifiy when you are making the appointment that you are returning to MSU following a suspension period. (Students in other majors should contact their departments to determine the proper procedure for registration.)
When you meet with your department, you will discuss specific strategies for your academic success in the future. You will be on probation for your first semester back at MSU, but as soon as your semester and cumulative GPAs are at 2.0 or higher, you will once again be in "Good Standing" academically at MSU.
Note to Pre-University Studies students: First-time suspension rules are more stringent for you because your admission was provisional; if your GPA after your first semester is below 2.0, you are automatically suspended. To find out if you are a Pre-US student, check the "Major and Department" listing on your online transcript. If you are a Pre-US student, you may still appeal your suspension. Contact Janet Heiss Arms at 406-994-5536 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.