ODOS / Student Assistance Center

About the Student Assistance Center

Absence Letter Policy Changes

The Student Assistance Center has revised our absence letter policy and the changes will take effect in summer 2015. Please review the links below so that you will understand the conditions under which students will be eligible to be considered for an absence letter from our office.

The Student Assistance Center Assistant Deans serve as the frontline Dean on Duty staff within the Office of the Dean of Students. Our role is to address students’ needs where possible or get them connected to other offices and programs within the Office of the Dean of Students and/or across the University of Illinois. We help students find their way!


The Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students seeks to support the academic and social development and retention of University of Illinois students.  Through our services and programs we: 

  • Enhance students’ knowledge of and access to University resources
  • Facilitate students’ ability to successfully navigate the various policies, procedures and processes of the University  
  • Support students experiencing unusually difficult life circumstances and crises
  • Empower students to develop effective communication and decision- making skills, personal responsibility and the ability to function autonomously


The Student Assistance Center advocates for a University community that actively nurtures the intellectual, social, and personal development of its student body. We aspire to create a University climate that challenges and supports students to develop the skills of critical thinking, self and other awareness, independence, and healthy lifestyle choices that will serve them across a lifetime.

Core Values

  • Excellence
  • Student-Centered
  • Collaboration
  • Respect
  • Equity, Fairness and Inclusiveness
  • Personal Responsibility and Accountability

Hours and Location

The Student Assistance Center office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am -5 pm.  We are located on the 3rd floor of the Turner Student Services Center in the Office of the Dean of Students. You may call our office at 217.333.0050. We are closed on University holidays.

Student Assistance Center Dean On Duty

During business hours, there is an Assistant Dean on Duty who is available to see students who walk in, call or email our office. We see students on a first come, first served basis.  If you have a more complex issue that will require more time or have limited time in your schedule to meet with us, you may call to schedule an appointment with one of our Assistant Deans.  The Dean on Duty also responds to e-mail inquiries to our Helpdean@illinois.edu. Please note that we do not respond to emails after business hours or on weekends.

The Dean on Duty assists students with a broad range of issues which may be impacting their academic and/or personal success.  Much of our work is related to helping students:  Understand and follow university policies and procedures; Learn about and get connected to campus resources; and Manage crises situations which are impeding academic success.  

Some of the common reasons students seek our services:
Absence or Notification Letters to Faculty
Withdrawing from University
Late Drops or Withdrawals
Medical Withdrawals
Interested in transferring to a new college or being reinstated after being dropped from a College
Poor academic performance due to health or mental health
To report a concern about the wellbeing or safety of another student or broader campus community
Not sure where else to go to address their concern

Our Voicemail Message

If you call our office when we are closed, you will receive the following message:

You have reached the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of Illinois. If you are experiencing a health or safety emergency for which you need immediate medical, fire or police attention, hang up and dial 911. For psychological emergencies, please call the crisis line at 217.359.4141. 24 hour Rape Crisis Services can be reached at 217.384.4444.

Please note that we will be unable to process requests left on voice mail. So you are encouraged to follow the procedures outlined in this message.  However, if you are calling because of a serious or urgent matter demanding an immediate university response such as the aftermath of a fire, flood or to report the serious injury of or concerns about the safety of a University of Illinois student, please phone the Emergency Dean who is on call, at home, at 217.649.4129. If you are unable to reach the Dean, please phone University Police at 217.333.1216

The Emergency Dean cannot assist you with absence letters or other notifications to campus personnel about illness or the need to be away from campus to tend to personal or family emergencies. These reports should be made to the Office of the Dean of Students during business hours.

If you are calling because you are ill and will miss class or because you have missed class, please hang up and send an email communication to your instructors to notify them of the absence. If your instructor requests an absence letter and you can provide us with documentation of an illness, accident or other emergency, call our office during business hours Mon-Fri 8:30- 5 pm to request the letter. Please confirm with your professor that an absence letter is required before making the request. And remember that the final authority for excusing absences or permitting make up work and exams rests with the individual instructor.

If you are calling due to another concern that does not require an immediate response and/or you would like to speak with a Dean, please e-mail us at: helpdean@illinois.edu. Be sure to leave your full name, UIN and a brief description of your concern and we will be in touch with you the next business day. You may also come into our office to meet with a dean during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am -5pm.


Effective summer 2015, the Office of the Dean of Students Absence Letter Policy will change. You can review some of the key changes now. To learn more about this new policy, refer to the Absence Letter Policy Changes text box near the top of this page. We encourage you to become familiar with these changes so that you are prepared to manage any future absences from class.

Acts of Intolerance

The University's ongoing effort to create an environment that respects the rights of individual free speech and thought while valuing individual difference is essential to fostering an engaged community. The Office of the Dean of Students facilitates awareness of bias incidents and hate crimes and encourages all members of the University to report acts of intolerance.

For more information about Acts of Intolerance or to Report and Act of Intolerance, go to: http://www.odos.uiuc.edu/tolerance/index.asp

Alcohol and Other Drug Referral

If there is a concern about the effects that alcohol or other drugs has on a student, the Office of the Dean of Students may make a referral to the Alcohol and Other Drug Office (AODO) for an assessment. Located in McKinley Health Center, the AODO’s goal is to “provide focus and structure to facilitate appropriate efforts in order to assess and address problems and drug use on campus with the intent to protect the students' health, safety, and academic success.”

For more information about AODO, go to: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/Units/Health_Ed/aodo/aodo.htm Please note: A referral to AODO does not have to come from the ODOS; anyone can make a referral to AODO.

Contact Student Due to Emergency

The Office of the Dean of Students will attempt to locate a student if an emergency such as family death or sudden hospitalization for serious illness or accident occurs. We can also attempt to reach a student’s emergency contact if warranted by medical or safety professionals.

Death of a Student

In the event that a University of Illinois student dies, notification should be made immediately with the Office of the Dean of Students. The Dean on Duty will gather the necessary information, inform the appropriate University officials, and provide support and resource information to the family and friends.

Please note: the Office of the Dean of Students is not responsible for any financial expenses that academic units, students or families may incur during this time.


The University believes no student or employee shall be denied fair treatment, academic freedom, equal opportunity, employment, and access due their religion, sex, national origin, race, ancestry, age, color, marital status, disability, sexual orientation including gender identity, unfavorable discharge from the military, or status as a disabled veteran. If you have concerns about discrimination, please contact:

Office of Student Conflict Resolution
(217) 333.3680

Office of Equal Opportunity and Access
(217) 333.0885

Fires in Student Residences

If a student is displaced or injured due to a fire in his/her residence, the Dean on Duty is available to respond to any needs that may arise including but not limiting to following-up with medical personnel on the status of injured students, assisting with the contact of family members, securing temporary/permanent housing, and issuing absence letters if appropriate.


The University does not tolerate verbal, written, physical, and/or any other form of harassment which threatens or endangers students’ or employees’ safety, performance, or environment. Harassment also includes implicit and explicit forms of unsolicited sexual conduct or requests as means to secure or comply with status, activity, employment, or performance. The University does not support such behavior on or off-campus and has a set of procedures in place to apply appropriate sanctions. If you have concerns about harassment, please contact:

Office of Student Conflict Resolution
(217) 333.3680

Office of Equal Opportunity and Access
(217) 333.0885


The University does not condone any form of activities that degrade, humiliate, and/or harm students psychologically, emotionally, and/or physically. Regardless of willingness, if a student is in an environment where they are expected to comply with such activities in order to gain access, membership, or status into military, sports team, Greek organization, or any other association they are encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students. If you have concerns about hazing, please contact:

Office of Student Conflict Resolution
(217) 333.3680

Office of Equal Opportunity and Access
(217) 333.0885

Health and Safety

Major health threats to the student body should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students. Examples of such threats may include but are not limited to reports of meningitis, smallpox, the plague, massive food poisoning, and chemical/biological spills. The Dean on Duty will ensure that all appropriate units are notified of the health threat.


All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign-up for Illini-Alert. The Illini-Alert service sends email and text messages in the event of a campus emergency. These messages are sent by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in order to communicate information as quickly as possible. For more information or to sign-up for this service, go to: https://emergency.illinois.edu/.


Please contact the Dean on Duty if you are aware of a student who has been hospitalized for injury, illness, alcohol or drug overdose, or mental health issues. The Dean on Duty will contact the hospital staff to determine the student’s condition and provide support and resource information for the student and family.

Immunizations (Exemption Petition)

All University of Illinois students must show proof of immunity to certain vaccine-preventable diseases as defined by state law. Students must submit a completed Immunization Information Form and return it to McKinley Health Center. Failure to do so will result in being prohibited from future registration.

If a student wants to be exempt from such immunizations, the Immunization Exemption Petition (PDF) must be completed and turned in to the Office of the Dean of Students. Once a decision is made about the petition, the student will be notified and the document will be maintained at McKinley Health Center. For more information, go to: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/.

Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal violence may include such things as domestic violence, mutual combat, or assault. If you or someone you know has been involved in such an act, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students. The Dean on Duty will gather information and offer assistance. Resources that may be involved are the Women’s Resource Center, University Police, University Housing, Trauma Response Team, Office of Student Conflict Resolution, and Student Legal Services.

Mass Demonstrations

The University warrants students and groups the freedom to inquire and express themselves publicly and in private as long as it is done so without disrupting the operations of the university or interfering with the rights of others. In cases where a student or employee feels threatened by a demonstration, riot, strike, or other activity they are encouraged to report it to the respective building or area manager, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or appointed representative.

Media Coverage

There may be events on campus that warrant media coverage. If you are contacted by the media, you may talk with them but are not obligated to do so. If you have questions regarding media contact and coverage, please contact: Public Affairs (217) 333.5010 http://publicaffairs.illinois.edu/index.html

Mental Health Concerns

It is not uncommon for students to experience stress while enrolled in a university setting. This stress may be fleeting such as preparing for final exams or it may become more pervasive and affect areas of your life in a more intense way. Signs that a student may be in distress can be as follows:

  • Behaviors which become disruptive to an academic and/or living environment
  • Excessive absences that are not easily justified
  • Serious academic performance issues, especially if there is a marked change from past performance
  • Student appears depressed or manic; change in personal hygiene

If faculty, staff, parents, or fellow students have concerns about a student’s mental health, you should contact our office immediately. We will follow-up with the student, consult with mental health professionals, and refer students to appropriate supportive resources.

You may also contact the following offices directly:

McKinley Health Care/Mental Heath Clinic:
(217) 333.2705

Counseling Center:
(217) 333.3704

Crisis Line (after 5pm):
(217) 359.4141

Please note: If you feel that the student’s behavior poses an immediate threat to themselves or others, call 9.911 (on-campus) or 911 (off campus)

Missing Student

We can assist locating a student if an academic department, parents, or others who have a concern have been unable to locate the student. Due to FERPA regulations, we cannot provide or verify contact information for those not affiliated with the University. We will, however, attempt to contact the student asking that student to contact the person trying to locate him/her. If the situation warrants, we will involve the police departments for assistance in performing a welfare check on the student.

Registration/Enrollment Issues Cancellation

The cancellation of classes can only occur if the student completes/submits a Withdrawal/Cancellation Form by 5:00 p.m. of the last business day before the first day of instruction for the term. All tuition and fee charges will be cancelled assuming that no services were used. By cancelling registration, you lose access to all services that would normally have been covered by student fees.

How do I cancel my registration?

Any undergraduate student who needs to cancel registration for the term needs to complete the Withdrawal/Cancellation Form (see below). Your college office and the Office of the Dean of Student must sign the form (and the International Students and Scholars Services if an international student). Graduate students must complete the Withdrawal/Cancellation Form (see below) and have your college and the Graduate College sign the form (and the International Students and Scholars Services if you are an international student).

For more information, please go to:

Withdrawal/Cancellation Form:


There are some University offices that are authorized to place holds on student records. The hold may prevent you from registering, adding/dropping classes, receiving transcripts, receiving grades or processing graduation requirements. You may view a description and reason for each hold, as well as instructions on how to remove the hold, on the View Holds page of UI2 Self-Service. Students must contact the respective office for encumbrance removal.

Please note: failure to address certain holds before 5:00pm on the first day of class may mean losing your academic class schedule.

For more information about holds, go to:

For Hold removal, contact the below office depending on the type of hold on your account:

Advising Your College office http://illinois.edu/colleges/colleges.html

Discipline or Non-Compliance with Program
Office of Student Conflict Resolution
(217) 333.3680

Financial or Financial Counselor
UIUC Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations
(217) 333.2180

McKinley Health Center Immunization and Travel Clinic
(217) 333.2702

New Student Advising
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
(217) 333.0302

Non-Compliance with Housing
Office of the Dean of Students
(217) 333.0050

Incomplete (I) Grades

If a student does not feel that he/she can complete a course by the end of the semester due to illness, family emergency, or some sort of issue beyond their control, the student should first talk with their college* about being assigned an Incomplete (“I”) grade.

The Dean on Duty can assist the student by explaining the process and possibly providing an absence letter or letter of justification if there are extenuating circumstances to support the assignment of an Incomplete grade. If the assignment of an “I” is granted, the student should work with their college to determine when the coursework will be completed in order to receive a regular letter-grade.

*Please note: undergraduate students must receive permission from their college, not the instructor, in order to receive an Incomplete grade for a course.


A withdrawal must occur if the cancellation deadline has passed and if the student has accessed any University services. The amount of refund depends on the withdrawal dates (for specific rates, go to: http://www.registrar.illinois.edu/staff/records/tuition.html). By withdrawing, you may be able to receive certain refundable fees (http://registrar.illinois.edu/financial/tuition_details.html). You still have access to McKinley Health Center and the Counseling Center services. Since these fees are not refundable, students can still have access to these services even if they have withdrawn for the term.

How do I withdrawal?

1. The withdrawal process is initiated in the college office. The college dean will determine if there are any conditions placed on the student's return to the University. A withdrawal/cancellation form must be completed: http://registrar.illinois.edu/staff/pdf/records/Withdrawal.pdf

2. International Students must then go to the International Students and Scholar Services located on the 4th floor of the Student Services Building.

3. If an undergraduate student, you must then go to the Office of the Dean of Students located on the 3rd floor of the Student Services Building and complete additional requirements. If you are a graduate student, you must obtain a signature from the Graduate College.

4. Once the withdrawal/cancellation form is complete it is then turned in to the Office of the Registrar.

Involuntary Withdrawal

A student who is deemed as unable to function by a mental health practitioner at McKinley can be withdrawn involuntarily from the University.

For more information, refer to the Student Code, Section 2-104: http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/

Retroactive Withdrawal

If a student wishes to withdraw from a class or semester after the final examinations and/or grade submission, they must file a petition within their respective college, provide proper documentation, and follow corresponding procedures. Students who drop below full-time (12 hours) need permission from a college dean. For more information, please contact your College.

Unofficial Withdrawal

Students who stop attending classes without following the appropriate withdrawal process will be placed under an “unofficial withdrawal” by the Office of Student and Financial Aid (OSFA). Students who do not pass at least one class each semester will be identified by OSFA and their respective academic departments to identify the last day of attendance. This information will then be used to assess the Return of Refunds calculation.

For more information, please go to: http://www.osfa.uiuc.edu/process/withdrawal/index.html

Sexual Assault

In the case of a sexual assault, the student should immediately seek medical attention and report the assault to one of the following offices:

Emergency Assistance: 911 (off-campus); 9.911 (campus)

Office of the Dean of Students: (217) 333.0050

Rape Crisis 24-Hour Hotline: (217) 384.4444

The Women’s Resource Center: (217) 333.3137

University of Illinois Police Dept: (non-emergency) (217) 333.1216

These offices can talk with you about your decision to report the crime and locate various resources that you may need. Whether or not legal charges are filed, a student accused of sexual assault or abuse may be subject to disciplinary actions from the University.

For more information about services, visit: http://studentaffairs.illinois.edu/diversity/women/index.html

Suicide Threats, Gestures, Attempts

Whenever a report is received that a student has made a suicide threat, gesture, or attempt, it is always assumed that the student has an increased risk of committing suicide. This means that swift intervention should occur in order to assure the safety and well-being of the student.

If the student is talking about committing suicide or indicates thinking about committing suicide, the Office of the Dean of Students or the Counseling Center should immediately be contacted. If the student has attempted to commit suicide, 911 (off campus) or 9.911 (on-campus) should be called.

Depending on the action and established level of suicide risk, the appropriate action will be implemented.

For more information, contact:

Counseling Center: (217) 333.3704

Suicide Incident Report Form — SIRF (pdf)
(please complete this form to the best of your ability and send to the Counseling Center)

Crisis Line (after 5pm): (217) 359.4141

Office of the Dean of Students: (217) 333.0050

Verification of Education/Student Disciplinary Form

Thinking about transferring to another University, applying for a graduate program, or looking for a job? Most Universities and employers require verification of your educational record that included dates of attendance, academic standing, disciplinary history, and awarded degree. The Office of the Dean of Students provides this verification. In order for us to assist you, please do the following:

  1. Complete the Authorization to Release Information Form.
  2. Complete your section of the form that you need completed by us.
  3. Turn in the completed/signed Authorization to Release Information Form and other forms that you need us to complete.
  4. While not required, it is helpful for you to provide self-addressed stamped envelopes for where you need the form(s) mailed.

Please note: allow 4 weeks for the Office of the Dean of Students to complete the forms; neither completed forms nor copies will be returned to the student. For questions, please contact our office at (217) 333.0050.