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.


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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 select “Guest Auditor” on our 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. Please follow this link: and select “Guest auditing for individuals with disabilities” for more information.


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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 found on our webpage, please review the step-by-step application instructions listed here. If you are having issues logging into the application as a new or existing applicant, please contact our office at 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. Please apply using this 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.


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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:

  • physical education activity classes
  • conversational languages
  • studio and performing arts
  • writing, math, computer, and lab courses
  • independent study, directed study, and other courses ending from -90 to -99
  • 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

Please call the Adult Career and Special Student Services office for questions or clarification.

Are online courses auditable?

Online classes are typically not conducive to passive learning. If you find an online class that will work for you, you will still need instructor’s permission to audit.

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 on the first day when they sign your permission slip 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.

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

Noncredit courses offered through UW-Madison 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. Contact information can be found at:

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 your attendance is regular and assigned work, if any, is completed. A grade of No report (NR) is given for nonattendance and failure to complete assigned work. Prior to enrolling, discuss with the instructor the standard for earning an “S” in the course.


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If a course is stating it is full, closed, or waitlisted in Course Search & 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 guidelines for classes which typically cannot be audited (under Step #1 of Steps to becoming a Senior Guest auditor). 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 & Enroll. What should I do?

If you are an admitted auditor, have submitted your professor approved and signed permission-to-enroll form to the department office, 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 when enrolling, here are some additional troubleshooting tips:

  • The permission form you handed in may not have been entered yet. Contact the department office where you submitted your permission form and ask when they will be able to enter your permission. For a history course, Sophie in the Department of History will contact you via email once the permission has been entered. You may also contact our office at 608-263-6960 to verify whether or not your permission has been entered. Please note our office cannot actually enter the permission.
  • The permission to enroll may have expired. Permissions typically expire by the second Friday of the term. Contact the department office of the course to find out if it has expired and request to have it extended.
  • You may have selected the wrong discussion associated with your permission. Select the DIS (discussion) you received permission for. Even though you will not be attending the discussion, you must select one in order to enroll in the lecture.

If none of the options above are working, you can contact the Help Desk at or 608-264-4357, or check out The Enrollment Help Desk here

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 attend the first day of class, receive permission to audit, but I am no longer interested in enrolling 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

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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.  Go to 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.


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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 training course to help you become familiar with logging in and using Canvas:

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

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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 Guest Audit Student Membership to use campus recreational facilities. Click HERE for prices and additional information.

Do Senior Guest auditors have access to the libraries?

Yes. Here is information about accessing libraries and collections:

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. UW–Madison Guest Audit gym membership is available for a fee.

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 at

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 (pdf).

Fees and billing

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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 Adult Career and Special Student Services.

Text books and eTexts

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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) and Senior Guest auditors will be automatically opted-out of these materials. If you do NOT want to be opted-out and wish to purchase the eText, contact to have the opt-out reversed. The eText charge will  be billed and you are responsible for paying.