New academic participation assignment for students

March 13, 2023

Dear UC Berkeley Instructors,

In compliance with federal requirements established by the Department of Education, the campus will implement a new system at the start of the Fall 2023 semester to guarantee that all undergraduate and graduate students receiving financial aid are participating in the courses for which they registered.

To satisfy this federal requirement, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office will verify student participation in courses via an assignment deployed through bCourses. This assignment requires students to tick a simple check box to confirm they have read and intend to observe the UC Berkeley Honor Code. The Honor Code check box function is a proxy that can be used across a variety of courses to demonstrate students know how to access and engage with class materials found on bCourses and/or sent to them by the university.

All classes that are in bCourses for the Fall 2023 semester will have this new assignment automatically added to the bCourses site for the class. For all classes that are not in bCourses for the Fall 2023 semester, students will instead be sent a direct email from the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office with a link to the assignment.

The assignment will be required of all students regardless of financial aid status, since their status can change throughout the year. Students in independent study courses, honors thesis courses, or research courses will also be required to complete the assignment. No information about students’ financial aid status will be shared with instructors during this process.

Instructors will have an opportunity to opt out of the bCourses integration. However, students whose instructors opt out of the bCourses assignment will be contacted via other channels, requiring more time and work from students and from financial aid staff.  We hope that this option will be used sparingly to provide a consistent experience for students. More information on the opt-out process will be shared closer to the start of the Fall semester.

It is essential for us to comply with these requirements to ensure that our Berkeley students receive their full financial aid awards. If the financial aid office is unable to confirm that a student is participating in courses, there is a risk that the student’s financial aid award could be reduced. Financial aid is critical to supporting our students’ success and ability to reach their educational goals.

If you have questions related to how this new process will be implemented within bCourses, please reach out to Erfan Mojaddam, Director of DevOps and Learning Spaces at For information related to the Department of Education requirements and potential impact on student financial aid, you may reach out to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office at

We appreciate your partnership with us as we work to distribute financial aid to students in a timely manner and continue to make it possible for exceptional students of all income levels to attend Berkeley!


Oliver M. O'Reilly, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Lisa García Bedolla, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division
Mary Ann Smart, Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate
Stephen C. Sutton, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

This message was sent to all instructors, department chairs, deans, and graduate student instructors.