Senior Guest Auditor – Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for answers to your questions about Senior Guest auditing? You’ve come to the right place!

For our “Steps To Becoming A Senior Guest Auditor” see the Senior Guest auditor web page.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

What is the definition of Wisconsin residency in order to qualify as a Senior Guest auditor?

Please view section 36.27(2)(e), Wisconsin Statutes 2005, for specific information on how bona fide Wisconsin state residency is determined.

Do I have to be a UW–Madison alum to become a Senior Guest auditor?

Being an alum is not a requirement to become a Senior Guest auditor.  The only requirement is to be a Wisconsin resident as determined by the Office of the Registrar AND age 60 or older before the beginning of the term.

Do I need to have a post-secondary degree or have taken prerequisite courses to audit a course?

No, you do not need to have a post-secondary degree to be admitted as a Senior Guest auditor. Senior guests are not required to have taken prerequisite courses.

I am a Wisconsin resident but won’t turn 60 until after the start of the term. Can I audit a course?

In order to be eligible to audit courses cost free you must be a Wisconsin resident who is aged 60 or older before the start of the term. Those 59 or younger at the beginning of the term can apply as a Guest auditor and pay audit tuition. For more information see our Guest auditor webpage.

I have a disability and receive SSI and/or SSDI. Can I take a course cost free?

Wisconsin residents aged 59 or younger with a disability and receiving SSI and/or SSDI may qualify to audit courses free of charge. See our Guest auditor webpage and select “Guest auditing for individuals with disabilities” for more information.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

How do I get admitted as a Senior Guest auditor?

Where can I find help filling out the online application?

If you are having issues filling out the application, please review the application tips in the Apply for admission step on the Senior Guest auditor webpage. If you are having problems logging into the application as a new or existing applicant, please contact our office at or 608-263-6960 for further assistance.

If I was admitted as a Senior Guest auditor, but I did not enroll in the most recent term, do I have to reapply to become an active student for the following semester?

Your Senior Guest auditor status will remain active as long as you complete the entire enrollment process each fall and spring semester. Returning auditors who did not enroll in the most recent term must submit a new application. If you have applied using this application before, your user ID will be the email address you used when applying, NOT your NetID and password.  Make sure to select “Create New Application” after you log in.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Which UW–Madison courses can I audit?

Auditing is available only for lecture courses with the instructor’s approval and if space is available.

Courses NOT typically available for auditing include:

  • conversational languages, including American Sign Language (ASL)
  • studio and performing arts including music
  • writing, math, computer, and lab courses
  • independent study and directed study
  • seminar, research, and colloquial courses

Courses NOT auditable

  • First Year Interest Groups (FIGs)
  • Honors only courses
  • Spanish department language courses

History courses as a Senior Guest auditor

Are online courses auditable?

Some online courses are auditable although they are typically not conducive to passive learning. Permission to audit is not a given, and you will still need instructor’s permission to audit. Admitted Senior Guest auditors will need to request permission via the permission to enroll form found on the Senior Guest auditor webpage.

Can I audit a graduate level course?

It may be possible to audit a graduate level course but you will need to check with the specific academic department. The Department of History does not allow auditing of graduate courses. Please remember that auditing any class is contingent upon instructor consent or department policy.

Once I am enrolled in a class, how much/often can I participate? And in which ways?

This depends on the instructor. It’s important to have a conversation with the instructor about how much they would like you to participate. Some instructors might be comfortable if you participate in discussions, but this is the exception and not the rule. Thank you for clarifying instructors’ preferences prior to auditing a class and respecting their decision.

How do I know where my class is located?

You will find the building and room number for your class within the Course Search and Enroll app. Please note, if you are using a smartphone or tablet class locations are not visible within Course Search and Enroll. Class locations are visible only on a laptop or desktop computer.

Can I audit noncredit continuing studies courses administered by the Division of Continuing Studies?

Noncredit courses offered through UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) are not available to audit. If you have questions regarding noncredit courses offered through DCS, please contact the program assistant for the specific course.

Will I be graded for classes I take as a Senior Guest auditor?

Courses taken as a Guest auditor do not carry degree credit but will be noted on your permanent transcript as audits (AU). Audited courses are graded Satisfactory (S) if  attendance is regular. A grade of No report (NR) is given for nonattendance. Prior to enrolling, discuss with the instructor the standard for earning an “S” in the course.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

I have not received notification about permission for my course and classes are starting soon. What should I do?

  • For in-person courses, if you do not receive an email response to your permission request before the start of the term you may attend the first day of class. Let the professor know you did not hear back about your request and tell them what date your request was sent. You will still need to wait for a response, but if your request is approved you can enroll in the course.
  • For online courses, if it is less than a week before classes start and you still have not received a response to your request, please sit tight until you hear from our office or the department. Our office will follow up with instructors and departments about any outstanding requests 4 to 5 days before classes begin, and you will be contacted either way regarding your request.

We ask for your patience as we work through the over 1000 requests we receive each term.

Thank you!

If a course is stating it is full, closed, or waitlisted in Course Search and Enroll, can I still request to audit and enroll in the course?

It may be possible to audit a course even if its official status is full, waitlisted, or closed.  If there is space available after all credit students have been seated, the professor may give permission to audit. Receiving permission to audit will override any waitlist or closed enrollment holds allowing your enrollment to go through.

If there are seats availabe in a class, does that mean I can audit the class?

Not necessarily although sometimes this is the case. Even if there is still space after all the degree/credit students have taken their seats, the decision to let you audit a class is ultimately up to the instructor of the course. Creating a learning environment that is productive for the objectives of degree-seeking students isn’t always about physical space. The instructor of a course could have seats available in their classroom and still not give you permission to audit.

Please review our Established Rules and Requirements for classes which typically cannot be audited. Thank you for respecting the instructor’s authority to determine whether you are able to audit a particular class.

I am having issues enrolling in my course via Course Search and Enroll. What should I do?

If you are an admitted auditor who has received permission to enroll and it is on or after your enrollment date and time, you should be able to enroll in your course. If you are still receiving an error message while trying to enroll, here are additional troubleshooting tips:

  • You may have selected the wrong course when trying to enroll.  Remove the course from your cart and use these specific instructions to try enrolling again.
  • Your permission to enroll may have expired. Permissions typically expire by the second Friday of the term. Contact our office to find out if it has expired and if so, we will contact the course department to have it extended.

If these options aren’t working, you can contact the Help Desk at or 608-264-4357.

Do I have to enroll in a class for summer term to maintain my Senior Guest auditor status?

Auditors do not have to take a class in summer term to maintain their student status.  However, if you skip a spring or fall term, you will need to reapply for the following term you would like to audit.

What if I receive permission to audit but am no longer interested in enrolling in or attending the course?

You are not obligated to audit a course, even if you received permission. If you enrolled in the course, you can drop/withdraw from the course following these instructions. Please let the instructor know if you do not plan on continuing with the course.

Keep in mind that if you are not enrolled in at least one course for a fall or spring semester, you will have to reapply to become an auditor for the next semester you wish to attend.

NetID, Campus ID (Wiscard), and Email

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

I forgot my NetID or password and/or I am having issues logging in using my NetID and password. Who should I contact?

Our office is unable to assist with NetID/password recovery. Visit the IT Help Desk webpage for assistance.

If I am a current or former UW–Madison faculty, staff, or emeritus, will I be assigned a new NetID and email if I apply as a Senior Guest auditor? Do I need to get a new Wiscard?

No, you will keep the same UW NetID and email.  Once you have applied to become an auditor, you will see student related apps in your MyUW portal such as Course Search and Enroll, Student Center, Academic Navigator, etc.

Obtaining a Wiscard is not necessary if you already have a valid, current faculty, staff or an emeritus ID.  However, your student ID and employee ID numbers are different. Please make sure to use your student ID number when completing your  permission-to-enroll form or for anything academically related.

I would like to forward my email to my personal email. Is that possible?

Yes, but please read “Forwarding of email” on the registrar’s website prior to doing so. Here are instructions for forwarding your email.


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

What is Canvas and do I need access to the content for my class?

Canvas is a cloud-based digital learning management system. Instructors may use Canvas in their courses to deliver additional course content to students. As a Senior Guest auditors you can access Canvas so you don’t miss any important class content.

How do I access and utilize Canvas?

There is a Canvas training course to help you become familiar with logging in and using the platform.

I don’t see my course when I log into Canvas (located in MyUW under Learn@UW). Who should I contact?

If you recently enrolled in your course, it could take up to four hours to see your course in Canvas.  If you do not see your course after 24 hours, please contact the instructor of the course or IT support at 608-264-4357 or

Campus services and parking

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

What campus services are available to me as a Senior Guest auditor?

Auditors have access to campus libraries and computer labs, however because they do not pay segregated fees, they do not have access to a free bus pass, University Health Services, or recreational facilities.

It is possible to purchase a Community Membership to use campus recreational facilities.

Do Senior Guest auditors have access to the libraries?

Yes. Here is information about accessing libraries.

Can I get a bus pass, tickets to athletic events, or a gym membership as an auditor?

Student bus passes and student tickets to athletic events are only available to credit or degree students. It is possible to purchase a Community Membership to use campus recreational facilities.

How do I find parking information or bus route maps?

The best resource for finding parking or campus bus routes is the UW–Madison Transportation Services webpage.

If I have a disability can I get accommodations for my course?

If you require accommodations for a disability, see Reasonable Accommodations and Guest Auditor/Senior Guest Auditor Students.

Fees and billing

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Are there any fees associated with auditing?

The only potential fees associated with auditing would be a lab. If the course you plan on auditing has a lab associated with it, you may be automatically charged the lab fee. Please make sure to contact the department office of your course to discuss waiving the lab fee.

I received an eBill notification and don't think I owe any tuition or fees. What should I do?

If you receive an eBill notification or you see an eBill in your student center and don’t think you owe any tuition or fees, please contact us at or 608-263-6960.

Text books and eTexts

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Do I have to buy books or supplies as a Senior Guest auditor?

You are not required to buy textbooks or supplies, although you may if you wish.

Some courses have Digital Course Materials (eTexts) for an additional cost. Senior Guest auditors will be automatically opted out of these materials. There is not an option to opt in, however you may independently obtain the materials in an alternative version.

Information for Faculty and Staff

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

I am UW–Madison faculty or staff and have questions about Senior Guest auditors.