Flexible and Variable Academic Calendars

Summary

This research explores why administrators offer flexible and variable academic calendars and how they structure these calendar options. We also consider how administrators manage the impact of flexible and variable academic calendars, particularly with respect to students’ financial aid eligibility.

Key observations from our research

1. Flexible and variable academic calendars include half-term courses (i.e., courses that are half the length of semesters) and carousel scheduling (i.e., courses with overlapping start dates).

2. Profiled institutions transitioned to flexible and variable academic calendars to provide more enrollment options to students.

3. To introduce new academic calendars, administrators organize calendar committees and update databases with codes for all academic terms.

4. Administrators communicate withdrawal deadlines to students (e.g. academic advisors clarify deadlines) and inform students of any impact on their financial aid eligibility.

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Adapting and Introducing Academic Calendars

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