We are allowed to drop students who miss more than a week of class, if we have it in our syllabus. The student gets a W grade for withdrawal. I’ve rarely done so, because I feel the student’s transcript should represent what he has done. The F says the student flunked or didn’t care enough to withdraw. The W might be because he had issues that had nothing to do with the particular class. For example, his job might require him to work when class met.
Students who are on visas or receiving financial aid usually need to be full time students. The student who disappears after a few weeks of class might be fooling the someone about his status. Although we report the last day a student attended, a student could appear in class at the end of the semester. His record wouldn’t show that he missed months of class.
By not dropping them, we are fooling the government agency that issues visas or the source of the financial aid. The financial aid situation is clear cut. If the student doesn’t get financial aid, it will probably go to someone else. If the ones who cheat are eliminated, there is more room for the ones who actually benefit from it. The visa situation is harder, since many students need full time jobs to support their full time education.
Some students are simply fooling their parents, who think they are spending their time in college. I’m not all that concerned about that, although I feel sorry for parents who pay for college and get partying.
Should I drop students who stop showing up? I don’t know.