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Coterm FAQs

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On this page: Coterm Enrollment FAQS • Coterm Application Process FAQS • Coterm Tuition Group, Billing and Financial Aid FAQS • Coterm Exceptions FAQS • Coterm Graduate Assistantships FAQS • Housing FAQS • Leave of Absence FAQS • Graduation FAQS

Coterm Enrollment FAQS

Q: Axess permitted me to enroll in more than 20 units now that I am a coterm. Do I still need to submit a request for an exception to exceed maximum units?

A: Yes. If you are a coterm student in the undergraduate (UG) tuition group and have enrolled in or plan to enroll in up to 23 units, you must submit a request for an exception to exceed maximum units, even if Axess already allowed enrollment in over 20 units. The Request for Exception to Exceed Maximum Units (Coterm) eForm can be found on Axess. The eForm requires an Academic Advisor's signature. Your Undergraduate Advising Director, UAD for Student-Athletes, or the UAD for Coterminal Advising can sign this form. 

If you are in the UG tuition group and exceed units without approval, an enrollment hold is placed on the record in week 4. Note that if you are a coterm in the graduate (GR) tuition group, you do not need approval (up to 24 units), though you will be charged for each additional unit over 18 units. 

Q: Do I need to enroll in courses on both transcripts/careers?

A: No. You have the flexibility to enroll in courses that may apply to your undergraduate career and/or courses that may apply to your graduate career within the same quarter.

For each quarter you have both careers open prior to undergraduate degree conferral, you may enroll in either or both careers based on your needs. There is no university policy requiring coterms to enroll in units applicable to the graduate career (or the undergraduate career) while both careers are open.

Q: How many units are required for academic progress?

A: This depends on your student tuition group. If you are in the undergraduate tuition group, as are many newly matriculated coterms, you will still be required to enroll in at least 12 units on either or across both transcripts per term. If you are in the graduate tuition group, you may enroll in 8-10 units or 11 or more. See Coterminal Academic Progress for more details.

You move to the graduate tuition group automatically ONLY if your UG degree is conferred or once you reach the 13th quarter. The registrar’s office outlines all ways students move tuition groups and has helpful details about how quarters are counted for tuition assessment and how to determine your tuition group.

Coterm Application Process FAQS

Q: Do I need the GRE and/or prerequisites?

A: You should refer to the website for the specific program, bulletin, and/or Student Services Officer, Program Manager, or the program’s Admissions staff.

Q: Do all my recommendations need to be from faculty?

A: It is generally preferred that recs be from faculty that have taught you in a class, particularly if you are only submitting two, though it is not always essential. Each program’s website will have specifics about acceptable recommendations.

Q: Questions about the likelihood of acceptance. (e.g. What is the acceptance rate?)

A: Some programs are more competitive than others, and no one can predict the applicant pool for any given cycle. Some programs have general minimum GPA preferences, while others do not. There are many factors when it comes to coterminal admission. You may wish to approach determining possible outcomes by focusing on the characteristics of a successful applicant for any particular program.

Q: What types of opportunities will this degree help me secure? How does this degree help me in the job market?

A: This is an important question that requires multiple conversations and resources. It is important to understand the job market for certain fields in general. Career minded resources like Career Education and Computer Forum can help you understand the best tools to find this type of information and often make employment connections. You should also speak with faculty in the potential graduate program, people in positions similar to those you find compelling (informational interviews), and consider coursework and programming opportunities that assist with career and personal value exploration. (See below for more resources.)

Q: What are other students in this degree program doing after graduation?

A: The availability of this information depends on a program’s connections with alumni and how they view their role in preparing students for life after graduation. Many programs are able to connect students with alumni and other students about to graduate who may have helpful information. You should check out the alumni database.

Q: Are there any timing considerations for when I should apply?

A: You should be aware that if you plan to move units from one career/transcript to the other, that you are only eligible to do so within a specific time frame designated by your department. This is called the quarters back rule. The registrar’s page on coterm course transfer is the best resource for details regarding how many quarters back you can go before matriculation to bring units from your undergraduate degree into your graduate degree.

Q: Is applying to a coterm allowed while I am on a leave of absence?

A: In general, yes, though some departments do not allow it. You should make sure to consult the academic program before applying.

Coterm Tuition Group, Billing, and Financial Aid FAQS

Q: How can I check my tuition group?

A: You can review your tuition group on your transcript.

Q: How/When do I change tuition groups? How can I check my current billing group?

A: Coterm Tuition Assessment

Q: What will I be charged once I change tuition groups?

A: Tuition, Fees & Housing Overview

Q: Will I stay in the UG tuition group as long as I have UG financial aid?

A: Financial aid and Tuition have separate policies and are overseen by two different offices. Most of the policies align so that eligibility to be in the UG tuition group is available for the financial aid time period with the following exceptions:

  • If you earned units in high school and matriculate in to a coterm: Though dual enrollment units earned in high school typically do not reduce the number of quarters of financial aid eligibility, every 15 units of high school transfer credit on the Stanford transcript is counted as one of the quarters you may remain in the undergraduate tuition group. You are eligible for UG tuition for 12 quarters (or 15 quarters if pursuing dual BA and BS degrees) and move to the graduate tuition group upon completion of those quarters. For example, if you had 25 units of transfer credit earned in high school, this would count as one of your quarters of UG tuition eligibility. Thus, you would move to the graduate tuition group after 11 quarters of autumn, winter, or spring enrollment at Stanford. If you have not used all of your UG aid quarters, it is possible to have UG financial aid after moving to the graduate tuition group, though you should speak to financial aid about any additional implications.
  • Summer units: Though summer enrollment* does not impact the number of quarters coterms are permitted to remain in the UG tuition group, if financial aid is used for summer enrollment (as opposed to VPUE-funded or self-funded experiences), then it would reduce the number of aid quarters moving forward. You should always consult with the Office of Financial Aid for questions about how enrollment impacts aid.
  • *Summer 2021 will count as a quarter in the UG tuition group if enrolled full-time.

Q: What does it mean to be in the graduate tuition group if I still have UG financial aid?

A: You can be a coterm in the graduate tuition group and receive undergraduate financial aid. You would still need to enroll in the minimum number of units required to receive your financial aid. If your tuition increases, as is typical for engineering coterms enrolling in 11 or more units, note that your financial aid would not increase. You will want to plan for the cost of any additional tuition. Please double check with the Office of Financial Aid if there are any questions about how your tuition group or enrollment would impact financial aid.

Q: Can I keep my UG Financial Aid and have a Graduate Assistantship?

A: Yes, but you should consult with Financial Aid because your UG aid will be adjusted/decreased.

Q: Can I apply for 13th quarter aid?

A: Coterm applications for additional quarters of aid are generally not approved, particularly if you have taken any units for the coterminal degree. You should speak to financial aid about the ramifications of matriculating into a coterm if you plan to request additional aid for undergraduate purposes.

Coterm Exceptions FAQS

Q: How do I request an exception to academic policy, such as a late change in enrollment, or late change of grading basis?

A: If the course is on the UG transcript, then you should submit a request for exception form to the Office of Academic Advising.

If the course is on the graduate transcript, you would submit an enrollment change petition. Note that it is not possible to request a late change of grading basis after grades post.  To request an enrollment change on your graduate transcript, visit the eForms portal on Axess and search for Enrollment Change Petition - GR.

If the request involves two linked requests for exceptions where a course in question one is on the GR transcript and another is on the UG transcript, work with a coterm advisor in Academic Advising.

Q: Do I still need to submit a request for exception to exceed units if Axess let me enroll in more than 20?

A: If you are in UG billing group, then you need to submit a Request for Exception to Exceed Max Units (Coterm) eForm to exceed max units, or you will have a hold placed on your record. This eForm will be available starting on the first day of the quarter.  The eForm requires an Academic Advisor's signature. Your Undergraduate Advising Director, UAD for Student-Athletes, or the UAD for Coterminal Advising can sign this form..

Coterm Graduate Assistantships FAQS

Q: Can I have an Assistantship and take more than 10 units?

A: Only graduate assistants with 40% assistantships or less may enroll in more than 10 units per term. If you have a 50% assistantship (20 hours a week) or have reached the same percentage when adding multiple assistantships together, you must limit yourself to 10 units per quarter. See:

Q: Does my coterm program offer assistantships, what kind/percentage, and how do I apply?

A: You should reach out to the student services officer/manager or program manager for these details.

Housing FAQS

Q: Can I graduate early/before the 12th quarter and remain in undergraduate housing?

A: Yes, if you are continuing to enroll on your graduate career, pending availability. Mid-year UG degree conferral does not necessarily mean you will have to leave campus or move before the end of the academic year. Make sure you speak to housing and understand that the outcome can depend on when you are asking.

Q: Can I live on campus after my guaranteed UG housing status ends (usually at the end of the 4th year/12th quarter)?

A: Coterms are eligible to live on campus as “returning” graduate students. Coterms in the 5th year (based on freshman matriculation year) do not have automatic guaranteed undergraduate housing. While there is likely to be space in graduate housing, since there is no guarantee, you should apply early for the best chance to secure a spot in graduate housing. If you apply after the draw you will go to the end of the waiting list. You should speak with housing if you feel your situation warrants an exception.

Q: If I leave my UG degree open beyond the 12th quarter, can I maintain my guaranteed housing like other undergraduates who need more time because of the pandemic?

A: While coterms in the 5th year (based on freshman matriculation year) do not have automatic guaranteed undergraduate housing, the policy for coterms who enrolled during 2020-2021 academic year is reviewed each year, depending on space.

Q: If I am a senior in UG housing, not graduating after 4 years of housing, and need to be on campus over the summer, should I apply to live in UG or GR housing for summer?

A: Remember the academic year is September-September. If you just completed your 12th full-time quarter, then you would apply for undergraduate housing for the subsequent summer and graduate housing for the following autumn (if applicable).

Leave of Absence FAQs

Q: Am I allowed to take a leave of absence (LOA)?

A: UG students are allowed 2 years of leave. Coterms do not have any additional leave, but may still use any remaining UG leave if the coterm program allows leave.

Leave policy varies by program. You may only request one year at a time, but may renew after a year if you have not maxed out their time. Some programs may not be able to accommodate leave. 

See Voluntary Leaves of Absences for Coterminal Students and Taking a Leave of Absence

Depending on your plans for undergraduate graduation, there are several additional policies you must review if you are considering LOA before your undergraduate degree is officially awarded. In particular, all students need active registration to apply for degree conferral/graduation. Please note, LOA is not considered active registration. Please see Active Registration and Special Registration Statuses below for more details.

Q: How do I apply for a leave of absence (LOA)?

A: Taking a Leave of Absence outlines extensive information. Coterms taking leave from both the UG and GR careers may apply for up to one year of leave via the Coterminal Leave of Absence eForm. If you have had your UG degree awarded and your degree will be posted before the start of your leave term, you should complete the Graduate Leave of Absence Form.  

Q: Can I matriculate while on leave?

A: In general, yes, though many departments do not allow it. Sometimes this means you should defer matriculation IF the program is flexible about when students matriculate. Sometimes this means you have to reapply. Remember, you must matriculate and have an overlap quarter before UG degree conferral.

Q: What if I run out of leave?

A: If you run out of leave, you will become discontinued for both your UG and GR careers. Like other discontinued undergraduate students, you are still welcome to reactivate your UG career after submitting a Request to Return and Register. Graduate students have their own Program Discontinuation and Reinstatement Policies. Discontinued coterms who wish to reactivate both the graduate and undergraduate careers must complete both processes. See returning to Stanford for more essential information.

Graduation FAQs

Q: Do I have to apply to graduate when I have completed all of my undergraduate requirements?

A: No, once you have completed your undergraduate requirements, you may apply for undergraduate degree conferral at any point before or when you also apply for graduate degree conferral. Housing implication: If you finish your undergraduate requirements prior to your 4th year, then you may wish to delay applying for undergraduate graduation so as not to disrupt your undergraduate housing eligibility for your 4th year.

Q: If I apply for undergraduate graduation early, will it mess up my housing?

A: If you are a junior, then early conferral would end eligibility to apply for undergraduate housing the following year. See Housing FAQs above.

Q: If I delay undergraduate graduation, will I be able to stay in undergraduate housing and/or extend my financial aid?

A: Coterms in their 5th year (based on year of freshman matriculation) are not guaranteed undergraduate housing unless they have been granted an exception. See housing and financial aid FAQs above.

Q: Can I delay applying to graduate just in case I want to transfer units between my undergraduate and graduate careers or for any other reason?

A: Yes, you have the option to keep your undergraduate career open, but there are several additional policies of which you must be aware, depending on your plans.

Please note the following:

  1. All students need an active registration status to apply for graduation, this mean being enrolled in courses or having an equivalent special registration status. See Active Registration and Special Registration Statuses below.
  2. Coterms with active undergraduate careers may not use the graduation quarter special status unless conferring both degrees. See Active Registration and Special Registration Statuses below.
  3. Coterms with open undergraduate careers do not qualify for the TGR special registration status.
  4. It strongly recommended that you discuss your plans with an advisor if you plan to take a leave of absence before applying for undergraduate degree conferral

Active Registration and Special Registration Statuses

Everyone needs active registration to apply for degree conferral/graduation. Please note that students who do not enroll over the summer do not have an active registration status. A leave of absence is not considered active registration. Active registration means being enrolled in courses for the current term or having been approved for a special registration status for the purposes of graduating. Special registration statuses allow you to take less units than what is typically required.

For students having already completed all necessary units, the graduation quarter special registration status is for the purpose of degree conferral and to close the active academic career(s). If you are a coterm with both an active undergraduate and graduate career, you are only eligible for the graduation quarter special registration status if you are closing all active careers by conferring both degrees (see Special Registration Statuses for Coterminal Students for more details).

If you are a coterm with both an active undergraduate and graduate career and on a leave of absence, graduation without enrollment requires one of the following: a) applying to have both degrees conferred via the “graduation quarter” special registration status, b) withdrawing from your graduate program in order to qualify for “graduation quarter” for the undergraduate career, or c) filing a Last Units Out of Residence request in order to complete up to 15 final units at another institution

Other considerations regarding coterm degree conferral

  • You have 3 years from the matriculation quarter to complete the graduate degree. Students may request an extension via the graduate program.
  • Stanford's study abroad programs require undergraduate status.
  • You may not transfer units after undergraduate degree conferral
  • If you are an athlete, check with your UAD for Student-Athletes about whether degree conferral affects eligibility.
  • If you are an international student, check on the visa and/or OPT implications with Bechtel
  • Any students planning to apply to the part-time graduate student option through the SCPD honors cooperative program must have the undergraduate degree awarded before they can begin in addition to the other admission requirements of that program.