Admissions and Standards Committee


Hardship Withdrawal Policy

Motion:

Additions
Deletions

Students may be granted hardship withdrawals when non-academic emergency situations occur which prevent them from completing their course work occur after the midpoint of the semester (e.g., severe medical problems, traumatic events/circumstances that cause them to miss numerous classes). Hardship withdrawals are subject to the following restrictions:

1. Students are not eligible for hardship withdrawals in any course in which they have completed the course requirements (e.g., taking the final exam or submitting the final project).

2. Students must initiate an application for a hardship withdrawal no later than one academic year after the semester in which the courses were taken.

Hardship status normally applies to all the courses a student took in a semester but in some cases may be granted for some of a student's courses. Students requesting a hardship withdrawal in some but not all of their courses must provide documentation to justify such a partial withdrawal. If a student is granted a hardship withdrawal, the instructors of the courses from which the student is withdrawing must award a grade of W or WF, depending on whether the student was doing passing work as of the effective date of the hardship.

Hardship Withdrawal Process:
All hardship withdrawal requests are submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Decisions regarding hardship withdrawals requested within the same semester of enrollment and prior to the administration of final examinations or final projects, shall be made, in the first instance, by the Dean of Students or designee. The Dean of Students is not authorized to grant exceptions to the two restrictions above.

Decisions regarding hardship withdrawals requested within one academic year after the semester in which the courses were taken shall be made by a Hardship Withdrawal Committee consisting of one faculty selected by the Chair of the Senate Committee on Admissions and Standards as well as two academic advisors (one from the Student Advisement Center and one from a college Office of Academic Assistance) and one staff member from Enrollment Services, selected by the Associate Provost for Academic Programs. The Dean of Students designee shall serve as Chair but shall not have a vote. A decision to grant a hardship withdrawal must be supported by three of the four voting members of the Hardship Withdrawal Committee. The Hardship Withdrawal Committee is not authorized to grant exceptions to the two restrictions above.

Hardship Withdrawal Appeals/Petitions:
If the student or the faculty members involved in a case wish to appeal the decision of the Dean of Students or the Hardship Withdrawal Committee, or if the Dean of Students feels that an exception to the two restrictions above is justified, the student's case shall be considered by the Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee. If the Hardship Withdrawals Appeals Committee is considering granting an exception to the two restrictions above, In these instances, the instructor of the course(s) in question shall be contacted by the Office of the Dean of Students in advance of the Committee's meeting and offered the opportunity to write a letter to the Committee stating anything the instructor feels is relevant to the case. Appeals of the decisions of the Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee may be initiated by either the faculty or the students involved in the case and shall be heard by the Provost.

The Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee shall be composed of two faculty selected by the Chair of the Senate Committee on Admissions and Standards and two individuals chosen by the Vice President for Student Services. The Dean of Students shall serve as Chair but shall not have a vote. The University Attorney shall be an ex-officio member of the Committee but shall not have a vote. A decision to 1) override the decision of the Dean of Students or the Hardship Withdrawals Committee, or 2) to grant an exception to the two restrictions above, must be supported by three of the four voting members of the Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee.

This motion takes effect immediately.

Rationale:

The Senate Committee on Admissions & Standards appointed a subcommittee to review the Hardship Withdrawal policy. The subcommittee recommends the following policy changes:

1. Hardships considered before the midpoint: Remove the time limitation of granting hardship withdrawals only for non-academic emergencies occurring after the midpoint. This change will align the Hardship Withdrawal Policy with the new Withdrawal Policy which indicates that hardship withdrawals do not count against a student’s limit of six withdrawals with a grade of “W.” (This change would also align us with UGA’s hardship withdrawal policy.)

2. Hardship Withdrawal decisions: Enhance the Hardship Withdrawal review process to place specific retention-focused interventions at appropriate points during the student’s experience:

3. The Office of the Dean of Students would continue to review all hardship withdrawal requests by students within the same semester. Rather than just reviewing the paperwork submitted, however, a staff member would now meet individually with each student requesting a hardship in close proximity to the time of their emergency and provide appropriate student assistance (e.g., counseling referrals, support and guidance) in addition to (or, if appropriate, in place of) processing their hardship withdrawal application.

4. A new Hardship Withdrawal Committee would be established to review all hardship withdrawal requests that are submitted within one year of the semester in which the hardship occurred. In order to effectively address the greatest need of students who submit hardship requests within this timeframe (e.g., academic advising and/or financial assistance advising), this committee would consist of two academic advisors, one enrollment services staff member and one faculty member. This would be particularly helpful in cases when students do not meet the hardship criteria, but need assistance and guidance in order to continue their enrollment.

5. The Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee would continue to review appeals of hardship decisions (by ODOS or Hardship Withdrawal Committee) and continue to review petitions to grant exceptions to the policy.

6. Faculty Input: The Office of the Dean of Students would now contact professors directly for feedback in accordance with the policy. This would respond to concerns raised in the past regarding students distributing and handling faculty input forms.

7. Basic wordsmithing throughout (e.g., inserting examples of the types of occurrences that constitute “non-academic emergencies” for clarification of hardship criteria).


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Revised 4/19/00