Frequently Asked Questions

Will credits I earn from ODL transfer to another college or university?
The University of Minnesota is fully accredited. As such, courses taken through ODL are considered as University of Minnesota courses and are recorded on an official transcript. If you want to transfer credits to another program or degree, speak with an academic adviser (or registrar) at that college or university before registering. Only the college being asked to accept the credits can approve whether the transfer meets degree requirements.

Do I need to be admitted to the U of M to take ODL credits?
No. The College of Continuing Education provides access to courses to a broad range of individuals, including students registered in other colleges and universities and people not currently affiliated with any educational institution. If you want to transfer credits earned to a program or degree, speak with an adviser at your college or university before you register. For more information on taking courses as a non-admitted student, see Taking Credit Courses.

Are online courses right for me?
Taking online courses requires discipline and motivation. If you have some college experience, a B or above grade point average, and can manage your time independently, you will do well. To determine if this learning style works for you, we suggest that you register for only one online course at a time. For more information about online courses, visit the U of M online site.

What is the senior citizen discount?
If you are 62 or older and are a resident of Minnesota, you may audit courses free of charge. Or, you can take courses for credit at $10 per credit whenever space is available after the first day of class. For details about the Senior Citizen Education Program (SCEP), including registration schedules, visit the One Stop SCEP page.

Can I audit a course?
In some cases, you can choose to audit a course, but you will not receive credit or a grade. You should consult with the instructor before registering as an auditor. If you are 62 or older and a Minnesota resident, you may audit a course free of charge; otherwise, you pay the same tuition and fees. Although you do not receive credit for the course, the credit value counts in determining the credit total for the Student Services Fee. Visit changing your grading options for information and deadlines.

What is the 13-credit rule?
The University's 13-credit rule requires admitted undergraduate freshmen or transfer students beginning at the U of M to register for a minimum of 13 credits each semester. However, part-time students can petition the College of Continuing Education for part-time status. For more details on this rule, visit One Stop.

When can I register?
Registrations are accepted daily for extended-term courses, and new sections begin every month. On-campus and term-based courses have fixed semester terms and registration periods that match the University's regular academic calendar.

What happens after I register?
Soon after you register, you will receive a welcome packet in the mail detailing how to initiate your email account, the technical requirements required for your course, what to do if you need technical assistance, how to access your course, etc.

Will I get credit for my online or distance course?
The grade and credits that you earn will appear on your University of Minnesota transcript and will count the same as course credits that you earned on campus.

How will I get my textbooks?
You can order textbooks online or at one of the bookstores. It is crucial to use the right textbook and edition specific to your course. If you prefer to use a different bookseller or library, be sure to find the correct edition as specified for your course.

If you want to buy and sell course textbooks from other students, you can do so through the University of Minnesota Textbook Exchange. It's easy and it's free to all U of M students. U of M Bookstores also has a book rental program (as does the Dinkydome's Student Bookstore). The rental fee for students is about one-third the cost of a new textbook, but the student has to return it after the semester is completed. For some courses, the bookstore also offers e-books which are significantly less expensive.

Will these courses apply toward my degree or transfer to another institution?
Check with your college (or prospective college) adviser to verify that a course meets the specific requirements of your program or degree. Prospective University of Minnesota undergraduate students can contact the Office of Admissions.

Is it possible to earn a degree entirely through online and distance courses?
Individual courses can apply to a number of U of M degrees. If you're an advanced college student, you may be able to earn all or part of an individualized degree online through a bachelor's degree in multidisciplinary studies. Visit the Multidisciplinary Studies Program website for details.

When do I pay for my course?
Please do not submit any money with your registration form. Your account details, including current charges and payment deadlines, will appear on your password-protected student account page.You should access your online account soon after you register and check it regularly to find out about any additional charges.

Is financial aid available?
There are no restrictions on financial aid for term-based courses. Extended-term courses, which allow nine months for completion, are not eligible for Office of Student Finance-administered aid. To find out about other types of aid that may be available; visit the College of Continuing Education's Financial Aid website or contact your financial aid program. If you are not admitted to the University, please refer to One Stop's financial aid page for non-admitted students.

What if I want to drop a course or I can't finish it?
If you intend to drop out of a class, you must cancel your registration officially to avoid receiving a grade of F or N. The conditions of your cancellation depend on how much time has expired since the start of your course term. See Changes and Cancellations for more information. If you wish to complete the course work but won't be able to do so during your term, you must contact your instructor before the term ends to request an incomplete. Your instructor, however, may or may not agree to an incomplete. If the instructor denies your request for an incomplete, the course will appear on your University of Minnesota transcript with a grade of F or N.