What Happens If You Are Expelled From College?


College expulsion

Last Updated on August 20, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

Expulsion from a college or university should be avoided if at all possible. But what if a postsecondary student is actually expelled from their school? What happens now?

Exclusion From College And System

If a student is expelled from a college in the CSU (California State University) system of the UC (University of California) system, such as UC Davis (UCD), usually the expulsion is from all entities in that group, e.g. all CSU colleges or all UC colleges. So, an expulsion from UCD means an effective expulsion from UCLA (UC Los Angeles), UCSC (UC Santa Cruz), and all other UC colleges.

If a college is a stand alone college, the expulsion likely would only impact that college.

Graduation Plans Stopped

Any graduation plans at the college a student is expelled from stop and cannot move forward due to the expulsion, a permanent removal from a college. This is true even if a student is in their last week of college prior to graduation when expulsion occurs.

college graduation plans fail on expulsion
Student graduation plans stop moving forward when a student is expelled from a college.

Permanent Black Mark

A student expelled from college suffers a negative record which never goes away. The expulsion record will be noted on the student’s college transcript, and will be passed on if the student applies to another postsecondary institution.

If Entities Ask About It, It Must Be Revealed

Although the Common College Application reportedly removed the question about punishments from its initial college application, it is unclear how this will impact mid-college transfer applicants using the Common College App.

Additionally, other college application companies and individual colleges may still ask about student punishment. It is up to individual colleges whether they ask about prior student punishment.

Some employers may ask about prior discipline, such as the military, law enforcement or otherwise.

Grades Impacted

When a university student is expelled, grades for the classes they are enrolled in are impacted as the student cannot complete the classes. Additionally, if there are academic dishonesty allegations, a professor may fail the student in the class or on a test or assignment, even if a class is concluded prior to student expulsion.

Career Paths Foreclosed

If there is a will there is a way, as the old saying goes, so if a student is very determined to pursue a certain career, likely they can find a way. However, if a student is expelled, this may present an ethical black mark on their records, which could come up when they are seeking to become a licensed member of certain professions after graduation.

Nursing school expulsion
Expelled students may lose nontransferable credits or be foreclosed from certain licensure later in life due to expulsion fallout

So, if an expelled student later completes their law degree and applies to become a licensed attorney, due to the fact attorneys have to pass a moral application and review prior to becoming licensed, they may be denied licensure.

Relocation & Out Of State Tuition

Also, if a student cannot find e.g an adequate medical college in California, after being expelled from the UC system, they may have to move out of state to find a college where they could attend, and this can mean hefty out-of-state tuition.

Degree Revocation

Sometimes, universities may strip a student of a degree previously earned due to expulsion or bad acts later in life.

Credits Lost

Already earned credits which are nontransferable may not transfer to another postsecondary college. Or, even if transferable, if the new college post-expulsion won’t accept transfer units from a prior college or school, the student will be out of luck.

The student would then have to start over in their education with new tuition expenses and a longer runway prior to graduation.


Michelle Ball, is a lawyer for college and university students in expulsion, suspension and discipline proceedings. As a student attorney, Michelle Ball can assist throughout California, in Davis, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Chico, Fullerton, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Irvine and many other locations.