Inactive enrollment status for withdrawn students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 Coach
Community Coach

I think for me, the difference between these two requests is that I don't want to disable or deactivate the user/student as a whole. I just need the students to appear as "inactive" and show in the "prior enrollments" for the courses they have either dropped or withdrawn from.

It's possible that a student will withdraw only from one class but still be active in his/her other four classes some of which might still be in that same sub-account.

Community Coach
Community Coach

This was one of the items our previous LMS did that we really miss in Canvas. Especially with the financial aid policies as a student's last day of activity might not be the same if they are withdrawing from multiple courses. Also, the grade at time of withdrawal is important (passing/failing).

Community Member

Very relevant issue for our school.  @millerjm ​, you offer a good solution to the problem that occurs whenever students withdraw from classes.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you for the detailed research that has been done around this issue (  @millerjm  ). I have a developer that will be research the implications of making small changes and using the "inactive" status that is already in the code to support this use case. I will provide an update to this discussion when I have more information about the feasibility of that solution.

Community Novice

We need this too. Ideal would be to see the student in the gradebook, perhaps showing a grade of "dropped" or "withdrawn". We need to still be able to see the student's activity at the instructor and managed account level. But the student should not have access to the course, particularly to discussions. Right now our choices are to make it look like the student was never there or to allow the student ongoing access.

Community Explorer

This is definitely something that is needed! Our faculty and admin still need the ability to see student data for that particular class, but the student does not need access. This is a common request from my faculty.

Community Novice

I agree. This is a huge issue for us. Blackboard and D2L already do this and we had become accustomed to it. Right now, we have to manually add students after they have been withdrawn if there are any issues. I would vote a thousand times in agreement if I could.

Community Novice

I'm curious to find out how many of you are using Banner SIS and what enrollment status is in the XML. 

Community Novice

Yes, I would like to have this feature added

Community Participant

We would love to see this feature, as currently anyone we have who withdraws disappears, and that causes a lot of problems as several people have stated above.