Withdraw from units without penalty due to special circumstances

Withdrawal Without Penalty is available for students who have experienced serious and unavoidable disruption to their studies after census date.

Some changes have been made in response to the challenges students may be facing due to COVID-19. For the university's response to COVID-19 and questions around your study options, visit our COVID-19 Information page.

Information about how to self-withdraw from units and the implications of withdrawing can be found on the withdrawing from units page. If you are considering withdrawing from a unit and need to confirm the census date or last withdrawal without fail date, please refer to the University's calendar of dates.

If you feel in need of any additional support, Macquarie University offers several personal support services that you can reach at any time.

Withdrawal Without Penalty eligibility

You can apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty if you have experienced circumstances that have prevented you from successfully passing or completing a unit and you wish to be considered for one of the following:

  • remission of a HECS-HELP debt and/or refund of upfront student contribution,
  • re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance,
  • remission of a FEE-HELP debt, OR
  • refund or reversal of tuition fees

Withdrawal Without Penalty will be granted where the University is satisfied that the circumstances:

  • are beyond your control
  • do not make their full impact until on, or after, the census date for the unit of study, and
  • made it impracticable to complete the requirements for the unit during the period for which the student undertook, or was to undertake, the unit.

The application must be received:

  • within 12 months of the date of withdrawal from the unit, or
  • if you did not withdraw from the unit, within 12 months of the study period result publication date

If you are approved for Withdrawal Without Penalty for a unit that does not already have a status of ‘Withdrawn’ (W), your final result will be updated to Withdrawn.

Passed units are not eligible to be considered for Withdrawal Without Penalty. Any passed unit where the final mark does not reflect your usual standard will not be considered for Withdrawal Without Penalty.

All applications must be submitted with appropriate independent supporting documentation. Supporting documentation must include enough information to allow an assessment to be made against the University’s criteria. If insufficient information is provided, an application is not able to be assessed against the criteria and will be cancelled.

Beyond your control

Circumstances will be considered beyond your control where a situation occurs which a reasonable person would consider is not due to the person's action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which the person is not responsible. This situation must be unusual, uncommon, or abnormal and have been unexpected and unavoidable. A lack of knowledge of the administrative processes of Macquarie University or of tuition fees is not considered beyond a person's control.

Did not make their full impact until on, or after, the census date

The circumstances occurred within the study period and:

  1. Before the census date, but worsened on or after that day;
  2. Before the census date, but the full effect or magnitude did not become apparent until on or after that day; or
  3. On or after the census date.

If you experience a significant disruption prior to a study period's census date and do not believe you will be able to complete a unit, you are able to self-withdraw without penalty  via eStudent. Otherwise, to be eligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty, your application must be clearly demonstrate that you were either unable to withdraw or that you were able to study prior to the census date but your circumstances unexpectedly worsened or changed at a later time.

Note: students who are unfit to study prior to a study period's census date but choose not to self-withdraw are ineligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty.

Made it impracticable to complete the requirements of the unit

Circumstances will be considered to have made it impracticable to complete the requirements of the unit where they prevented the ability to attempt or complete:

  1. Necessary private study, attend sufficient lectures or tutorials, or meet other any compulsory attendance requirements;
  2. Required assessable work;
  3. Required examinations or any other course requirements.

It must be clear that the period of disruption is the sole reason for the inability to pass the unit. Consideration will be given to whether, at the time the circumstances became evident, it was already not practicable to meet the requirements of the unit. This situation may arise where progressive requirements relating to assessments and/or attendance are not being met prior to the circumstance’s occurrence. For example, students who have failed all assessments attempted prior to becoming too unwell to study would be ineligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty.

Consideration may also be given to performance in other units within the same study period or previous attempts of a unit which have been unsuccessful for the same reason. If other units have been successfully completed within the same study period, it must be clear why the unit in question was specifically affected by the circumstances.

Health reasons

  1. Your health condition existed prior to the census date. Your condition continues past the census date and worsens to such an extent that you cannot continue with your studies.
  2. Your health condition only occurs after the census date and prevents you from being able to successfully complete your studies.

Family/personal reasons

  1. A member of your family suffers from a severe medical condition, which is either diagnosed OR worsens after the census date and requires you to provide full-time care and, as a result, you are unable to continue with your studies.
  2. A member of your family or close friend passes away and you are affected to the extent that you are unable to continue with your studies.
  3. You or your family's financial circumstances change unexpectedly after the census date to such an extent that you are unable to continue with your studies.

Employment related reasons

  1. You are engaged in employment out of necessity and studying. Your employer unexpectedly increases your hours of employment after the census date, in circumstances where you are unable to object. As a result, you are unable to continue with your studies or complete your course requirements.
  2. You are engaged in employment out of necessity and studying. After the census date, your employer directs that you be transferred to a different state. Your institution does not offer distance education and, as a result, you are unable to continue with your studies or complete your course requirements.

For pre-existing or ongoing conditions or circumstances, there must be a clear demonstration of unforeseen deterioration, exacerbation, or worsening on or after the census date of the study period, to such an extent that it prevented successful completion of the unit.

The University has services available for students with a disability or an ongoing condition. For information on support available or to register for accessibility support please refer to the accessibility page.

The Macquarie University Fit to Sit model states that by completing an assessment, you are declaring that you are fit and able to do so. If you have attempted any assessment tasks or a final examination during your documented period of disruption, to be eligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty, supporting documentation must be provided that demonstrates one of the following :

  1. You were unfit to make a reasonable judgement on your fitness to undertake the assessment, due to mental illness or other exceptional circumstances; or
  2. You were taken ill during the assessment (in the case of an examination or test) and this can be independently corroborated.

Where you have experienced a short term disruption to your studies which will impact an assessment task or exam, you may wish to apply for Special Consideration.

It may be recommended that you apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty as an outcome to your Special Consideration application. If you wish to pursue this, you will need to submit an application for Withdrawal Without Penalty and meet the requirements to be considered. Receiving an outcome of 'recommendation to withdraw' as part of a Special Consideration application does not mean that you will automatically be approved for Withdrawal Without Penalty.

Where applicable, an approved application for Withdrawal Without Penalty may result in a change to your academic standing.

If you withdrew from a unit after the census date, you remain liable for the Student Services and Amenities Fee as its liability is based on your enrolment load at census date. This applies even if a refund has been given for withdrawal due to special circumstances.
If you wish to have this fee refunded, please withdraw from the unit(s) via eStudent by the relevant study period census date.

If your fees are paid upfront to OUA or you are a FEE-HELP student

For applications submitted before the Last Withdrawal date, please also withdraw from your unit through the OUA Portal. Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty will be assessed by OUA so you will need to submit a Special Circumstances request directly through OUA. Information about this process can be found on the OUA Special Circumstances page.

For applications submitted after the Last Withdrawal date please apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty directly with Macquarie University to be assessed for Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty and for Special Circumstances via OUA to be assessed for Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty.

If you are in a Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS-HELP)

Please apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty directly with Macquarie University. For applications submitted before the Last Withdrawal date , please also withdraw from your unit through the OUA Portal.

Apply

To apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty, please submit the online form. It is important that all supporting documentation is included with your application when you submit.

Apply now

If you are unable to complete this form, contact Student Connect on +61 (2) 9850 6410 to discuss alternative submission methods.