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System Status: 

Commencement of Academic Activity

Information on how to verify students academic activity in courses

Beginning in Summer Session 1 2022, UC San Diego will begin tracking the commencement of academic activity for all undergraduate level, graduate level, and professional level students. The Department of Education requires that we track that that a student has commenced academic activity in a class for that class to be counted towards eligibility for Title IV aid.  

Because we are not an institution that requires instructors to take attendance, we have implemented a process for instructors to document that their students have commenced academic activity in their classes. Commencement of academic activity must be documented during each academic term, for each student, in each class. Our goal in designing this process has been to make it as easy and nonintrusive as possible. We expect that it will take about 5 to 10 minutes per quarter for an instructor.  

Please certify whether the students have commenced academic activity (Yes or No) by the end of week two (week one for summer terms) for students in the courses you instruct.

Student records are defaulted to Yes, and can be changed to No where appropriate.

Manual certification through CAA Application

The application can be found here: (system not live yet)

Student records are defaulted to Yes, and can be changed to No where appropriate.

Automated certification through Canvas

Information coming soon



When do I need to do this during the term? 

We ask that instructors certify the commencement of academic activity by the end of the second week of instruction in fall, winter, and spring (and by the end of the first week of instruction in summer terms). After the second week of instruction, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will follow up with students and faculty as needed.  

What happens if the commencement of academic activity is not certified for a student? 

If the commencement of academic activity is not certified, the student’s financial aid package will be adjusted, leading to a partial or complete loss of funds and the student being billed.   

What counts as “academic activity” for this requirement? 

Academic activity includes: 

  • Attending class  
  • Submitting an assignment  
  • Taking a quiz or an exam  
  • Participating on a discussion board, or  
  • Talking with the instructor about the class or subject matter  

How do I certify that a student has commenced academic activity in my class? 

You can certify activity in your classes using either of two methods. The first method is through the Academic Activity Tracking System ( Using this system you may easily certify the commencement of academic activity for students in all of your classes. The second method is to assign a #FinAid activity in Canvas. When a student completes a #FinAid assignment the requirement will be automatically satisfied for the class. You do not need to do both methods.  

I have opted to certify academic activity via a #FinAid assignment. Can I also use the Academic Activity Tracking System ( 

Yes, you may use both methods for the same class. Please note that Canvas activity does not currently update the AATS and so students certified via a Canvas assignment are not indicated in the tool. This will be addressed in a future enhancement. 

Do I need to grade a #FinAid activity or incorporate a #FinAid activity into my grading for the class? 

No. A #FinAid activity does not need to be graded to count for this requirement. 

Can my teaching assistant or departmental support staff certify this for me? 

The commencement of academic activity can only be certified by the instructor of the course.  

Does the student work need to be of passing quality for this requirement? 

No. The quality of the student work does not matter for this requirement as long as the student is participating. As far as the regulation is concerned, participation counts, even if it is at a failing level.  

If a student stops participating in my class, do I need to go back and de-certify them? 

A student only needs to be certified once per course, per term. This requirement only requires we document that academic activity has commenced. If a student participates one time and then does not participate again, the requirement has been met. 

What if a student enrolls in my course late in the term? 

If a student enrolls late and the course is required to be certified for the student’s financial aid package, they may contact you. If you are manually certifying activity using the Academic Activity Tracking System ( then you can look them up in that system and certify them. If you have assigned a #FinAid activity in Canvas and that assignment is still open, you may direct them to complete that activity. 

I oversee students doing research or other non-classroom unit-bearing activity that is not easily captured or documented.  

Conducting research, speaking with the instructor about the content of the activity, writing a thesis or dissertation may all count towards this requirement. Such activity can be certified in the Academic Activity Tracking System (