UW Graduate School

Petition for Reduced Enrollment

Minimum Enrollment Policy

A general requirement for all graduate students holding Academic Student Employee appointments, fellowships or traineeships is that they register in 10 credit hours or more applicable to the degree, during fall, winter, and spring Quarters. In summer quarter the requirement is two credits. Even if an appointment is less than 50% FTE or less than five out of the six pay periods and does not provide benefits, the 10 credit minimum applies.

In exceptional cases where the 10 credit minimum is not feasible, the student may submit this petition for review by the Graduate School. If approved, the student is eligible to be employed and/or receive benefits for the stated appointment while registered for less than 10 credits.

This petition process is ONLY for eligibility to work as an RA/TA/SA/Predoctoral Instructor or receive a stipend as a fellow or trainee.

Please note this petition process IS NOT for part-time enrollment approval in other areas, such as

  • financial aid eligibility
  • loan deferral eligibility
  • international student visa eligibility
  • certain University programs eligibility (e.g., Childcare Assistance Program, University housing)

Criteria for Approval

Petitioner must meet one of the following:

  1. The student has health problems which warrant a reduced  credit load.
    • A statement (signed, on letterhead) from a health care provider must be included. Details of the care/illness are not necessary; it needs to indicate that the provider is treating the student and recommends a reduced course load for X quarters. This letter should be sent directly to the Fellowships and Awards office at gradappt@uw.edu.
  2. Financial Hardship.
    • Appointee will experience financial hardship if required to enroll in 10 credits (i.e., the appointment does not provide a tuition waiver or GAIP benefits because it is less than 50% FTE and/or less than five out of six pay periods OR is a fellowship/traineeship that doesn’t provide such benefits).
  3. Academic program in which the appointee is enrolled is specifically designed to be a part-time curriculum (documentation required from chair, GPC or GPA).  (This criteria does not apply where student has taken all coursework and doesn’t need any more.  It is only when the program curriculum is set up to be part-time.)
  4. Appointee will graduate this quarter and does not require full-time credits in order to graduate. This condition may only be used once in a student’s academic program tenure.
  5. Student has been approved by the Office of Disability Resources for Students (DRS) to take a reduced credit load.
    • A letter or email from DRS is required. The letter should be sent directly to the Fellowships and Awards Office at gradappt@uw.edu.
  6. Student is impacted by the current COVID-19 public health crisis.

Department Approval

How to Request Waivers


  1. Information to gather before you begin the process:
    • Quarter(s) in which you are requesting reduced enrollment.
    • Numbers of credits in which that you will enroll.
    • The type of appointment you will have (e.g., TA, RA, SA, Fellowship, Traineeship).
    • Name and email address of the official in your academic department who will be approving your request (must be Graduate Program Advisor [GPA], Graduate Program Coordinator [GPC] or Chair).
    • If ASE (TA, RA, SA), the name of the unit where you are employed.
    • Brief statement explaining how one of the listed criteria fits your circumstances.
    • Communicate with your academic department to confirm they have no objection to your petition.
  2. Complete the survey.
  3. You will receive an email with a copy of your responses. You must provide this email with your petition responses to your department official for their review.


  1. Review student’s petition statement
  2. Log into Department Approval of Petition >
  3. Approve or deny the petition


Petitions are reviewed approximately once a week. The student and the department official will receive an email with the results of the petition process.

  1. If the petition is approved, the Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Awards will:
    • Notify the Benefits Office of eligibility for GAIP coverage (where appropriate)
    • Notify Professional and Continuing Education office of eligibility for department payment of course fees (where appropriate: fee-based students with eligible ASE appointments).
    • Confirm payment of tuition waivers (where appropriate: ASE appointments or trainee/fellowships that should have non-resident waiver and/or resident waiver). If the student account is not correct within two days of approval of the petition, please contact Fellowships and Awards.
  2. If the petition is not approved:
    • The student needs to enroll in 10 or more credits


Any questions can be directed to the Office of Fellowships and Awards at gradappt@uw.edu or 206.543.7152.