Inactive enrollment status for withdrawn students

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas


We are a new Canvas customer and still in the implementation phase.  We are struggling to find a system that would allow us to completely remove the ability for a student to access a site but allow the instructors to view the activity.


Due to Federal financial aid policies, our financial aid office needs the last date of attendance for students who withdrew themselves from classes in 2013-2014.  This has put a huge burden on our faculty and our elearning department, who must research this last date of attendance on behalf of the faculty because the students are no longer enrolled in the class in the LMS. We need to be able to empower our faculty and academic deans to be able to go into the courses and be able to easily figure out what a student did during the semester, what grades were earned, and any communication that occurred during the course.  These issues are not unique to our institution – because it is a federal financial aid issue, it probably affects most higher-ed institutions in the US.  We have spoken to a number of other institutions using Canvas and so far everyone has had the same dilemma.


Currently, there are the following enrollment statuses documented and easily available in Canvas, according to the SIS API documentation:

  1. Active
  2. Deleted
  3. Completed


There was a related posting in the old community from January 29, 2015 from Scott Finkeldei:



In the full API documentation available at: , There seems to be a few other states that can be chosen for an enrollment.  I cannot find any other information about the “inactive” status. When I used SIS import to change an enrolled student to “inactive,” it was successful and changed the state to "inactive."  However, the user disappears from the roster and gradebook in the course.



I did some testing, and this is what happened with the Completed and Inactive states:


Completed:  Student still had access to some parts of the course, and could post new discussion messages.  The student could see assignments and submissions.  It also logged activity when accessing the course with the “completed” status.  The instructor was able to see the student’s activity accurately under “View Prior Enrollments.”  I attempted to create a new section with a past date on it and checking the boxes to not allow access.  This removed the ability for the student to access the course but the activity reports did not appear correctly because technically the course was only running for one day.


The completed students also show in the Gradebook if “show Concluded enrollments” is chosen. 



Inactive:  Student had no access to anything in the course, as desired.  The student did not appear under “View Prior Enrollments” but the activity did show up in the admin screen under the user details for Page Views.


We would like to limit ALL access to the course for the “inactive” student like seems to be happening now, but leave this activity and gradebook data in the course for the instructor to see. This would greatly simplify the process of obtaining the Last Date of Attendance.


  Comments from Instructure


For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-01-09)


Inactive Enrollment Type

Community Champion

I agree! This is sorely needed! We currently delete students who drop mid-semester so all of their information is removed from the course so instructors do not have access to this information. They must come to us to add the student back in the course just so they can see the data. There are several reasons why it is necessary to have this inactive role.

  • Student drops but was doing quite well in the course. Now the instructor wants to review the student's work and contact the student to find out why they dropped.
  • Instructor doesn't record assessment data for student before the student is removed from the course and now needs to view the student's work in course.
  • Student files a complaint after they drop a course and administrators need to review the student work in the course.

Hello Joni,

Thank you for taking the time to submit to the feature ideas forum.

I just now updated your idea submission to the queue that will open for vote on May 5th.




This feature is so desperately needed.  We have a virtual program and students have a 28 day grace period in which to drop a course with no penalty, so we have many students pick up courses, do work, and, then drop within the first four weeks.  We still need to keep their work around for the record (or in case they decide to rejoin later) but don't feel right "deleting" them -- even though technically if you bring them back, you can see their work.  So we conclude them and then you can't tell the difference between a student who completed and a student who dropped.  For the purpose of looking at analytics, it makes it really hard to use the data.  We HAVE to have a status between active and deleted.   The description in this request is stellar and describes the issue perfectly.

Community Contributor

Yes, Yes, Yes. 

Having to conclude an enrollment and then go back in and add them back when I want to see their progress is a royal pain.  A toggle that allowed to switch between showing and hiding concluded enrollments would be perfect.  That way, if you want to see them in the gradebook you can and if you don't you wont.

Community Coach
Community Coach

YES!!!  I've been bringing this up to my CSM almost every time we talk.  I even brought it up to some developers at InstructureCon last year.  I think adding a status is probably a big undertaking, but we really would like to see this implemented as well.


This comes up all the time.  As others have already mentioned, there are many situations where a student should not have access to the course anymore but the teacher or admins need to view the work and activity.

Community Contributor

Instructors often complain when they notice students they have withdrawn continuing to access the course, even if the access is read only. 


Just FYI, there is a similar, although not identical request over at

Community Novice

We sorely need this at the very least to manage drops.

Community Member

I agree - especially on the Last Day of Activity side for financial aid purposes.  A general report that could be pulled per term would be useful for a last day of activity occurence.