Attendance Verification

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How-To Guide


While Sam Houston State University is not required by any accrediting agency to take attendance, federal guidelines demand that we must be able to verify that financial aid recipients are eligible for the financial aid that has been awarded and disbursed to them (Department of Education Federal Student Aid Handbook).

This is why attendance feedback from instructors is mandatory. If we cannot verify students’ academically-related participation in a class, they will lose financial aid eligibility, and the Institution will be required to pay back the financial aid.

In an effort to provide support for this process, SHSU has created step-by-step guides that outline how and where to report attendance.


Academically-Related Activity

A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically-related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a courserelated question.(FSA Handbook 2013‐2014, Volume 5, 5‐60)


How to Document Attendance

Manually enter attendance in the "Attendance Tracker" tool.

  • Information on how to access the Attendance Tracker is available here:

    Attendance Tracker

More on Federal Regulations

On Campus Courses

Academically-related activities for on campus courses include, but are not limited to —

  • submitting an academic assignment;
  • physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
  • taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction;
  • attending a study group that is assigned by the school;
  • participating in an online discussion about academic matters, and/or
  • initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course. 

Online Courses

In the context of distance education, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate attendance. Students must have participated in one of the following “academically-related” activities in order to be counted present:

  • Student submission of an academic assignment,
  • Student submission of an exam,
  • Documented student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction,
  • A posting by the student showing the student’s participation in an online study group that is assigned by the institution,
  • A posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the student’s participation in an online discussion about academic matters, and
  • An e-mail from the student or other documentation showing that the student initiated contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

Special Note

Whether on campus or online, academically-related activity does NOT include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged, such as —

  • logging into an online class without active participation;
  • participating in academic counseling or advisement;
  • living in institutional housing, or
  • participating in the school’s meal plan.