Withdraw from units without academic 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 your circumstances were:

  • beyond your control,
  • did not make their full impact until after the census date,
  • made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements of the unit

The application must be received:

  • within 12 months of withdrawing from the unit, or
  • if you did not withdraw from the unit, within 12 months of the 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If you are approved for Withdrawal Without Penalty for a unit that does not already have a status of ‘Withdrawn’ (W), your final result will be updated to Withdrawn.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.

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 Fit to Sit model states that by completing your assessments, you are declaring you are fit and able to do so. If you have completed all assessed tasks in a unit and/or completed the final examination, you will need to demonstrate the following to be eligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty:

  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 impacting an assessment task or exam, you can consider applying 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.


To apply for Withdrawal Without Academic 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.