The lexicon of enrolling for a course

What is the difference between being a non-admitted student and an audit student at Southern Oregon University? I noticed in the articles about the woman with Down syndrome that she enrolled as a non-admitted student and then, switched to an audit. What does that mean?

— Erin H., Ashland

A non-admitted student is someone who wants to earn credit for a class but does not seek to be admitted into a degree program. Eliza Schaaf, the 20-year-old woman with Down syndrome, enrolled as a non-admitted student in an Introduction to Ceramics class.

Schaaf became something of a cause célèbre when SOU essentially dropped her from the class midway through the term. The university said she was requiring too much of the instructor's time, at the expense of other students. Students in the class later said that was not the case and community members lobbied the school, to no avail, to allow her to finish the course.

If Schaaf had sought to be an admitted student at SOU, let's say in fine arts, she would have been required to to fill out an application, send in a high school transcript and go through other hoops in order to be admitted into the College of Arts and Sciences on a track toward a bachelor's degree.

As a non-admitted student, she still would have been expected to complete all coursework, and all of her coursework would have been graded. In the end, if she passed, she would have earned credit for the class, which eventually, if she so desired, could have used toward a degree.

Earlier in the term, at the school's request, Schaaf and her parents agreed that she would audit the class, rather than take it for a grade.

When a student audits a class, she or he is not required to complete the coursework. The work the student chooses to do is not graded, and no credit is earned for the class.

Interestingly, it costs the same to audit a class as it does to enroll as a non-admitted student. Eliza's family paid more than $700 for her participation in the class, according to Eliza's mother, Deb Evans. SOU officials have indicated they will refund that amount to the family.

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