Withdraw from units without academic or financial penalty

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

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

Students who are seeking withdrawal after the last withdrawal date via eStudent who have not experienced a 'serious and unavoidable disruption' can request withdrawal via the withdrawal form.

If you have experienced serious and unavoidable disruption to your studies and have received academic and/or financial penalty for a unit(s), you can apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty.

Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty (WWAP) and Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty (WWFP) are assessed independently (as two separate procedures) and have separate criteria.

For an application to be considered for Withdrawal Without Penalty, the condition or circumstances must have been first evident after the census date or become substantially worse after the census date, such that it made it impractical to complete the unit.

In submitting an application for withdrawal without penalty, you must demonstrate your level of competence has been impaired to a significant level where it is impractical to complete studies in the designated unit(s), and have this supported by an independent professional.

'Passed' and 'Enrolled' units are not eligible for withdrawal without penalty. To be eligible to apply, the unit(s) must have a grade of either F, FA, FW, SC or W.

WWAP process diagram

A student will submit one application to be assessed for both WWAP and WWFP.

General information

Students are able to withdraw from a unit(s) via eStudent until the last date to withdraw from the study period. The timing of a unit’s withdrawal will determine whether academic and/or financial penalty will apply.

If you are considering withdrawing from a unit, please refer to the University's important dates for the relevant census date and/or the last date to withdraw without academic penalty.

If you have been substantially impacted by a "serious and unavoidable disruption" during the study period, please refer to the WWAP section of this page.

Ongoing and pre-existing conditions

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.

Fit to Sit

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 the unit(s) and/or completed the final examination, you will need to demonstrate the following to be eligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty:

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

Special consideration

Where you have experienced a short term disruption to your studies impacting assessment task(s) or exams, you can consider applying for Special Consideration.

You may be recommended to apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty because of your Special Consideration application. If you wish to seek this remedy, 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.

Any documentation that a student wishes to be considered as part of a Withdrawal Without Penalty application must be submitted with their application.

iLearn

If you are self-withdrawing from a unit by the Last Date to Withdraw via eStudent, your access to iLearn will be removed for the unit(s) that you withdraw from. It is your responsibility to download any materials you wish to keep from the unit(s) iLearn site prior to withdrawing.

Academic standing

Where applicable, an approved application for Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty may result in a change to the academic standing for a student. This will be communicated to a student with the final outcome of their application.

Withdrawal without Academic Penalty (WWAP)

Students who have been substantially impacted by a serious and unavoidable disruption during the study period may apply for Withdrawal without Academic Penalty (WWAP). The timing of the impact of the event or circumstances must have been evident after the census date or become substantially worse after the census date, such that it made it impossible to continue in your studies. You must be able to demonstrate an attempt at completing the unit up until the disruption made it impractical to continue.

Macquarie University defines serious and unavoidable disruption as an event or circumstance that meet the following criteria:

  1. Could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student, and
  2. Was beyond the student's control, and
  3. Caused substantial disruption to the student's capacity for effective study and/or the completion of required work, and
  4. Occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three consecutive days in duration, and/or
  5. Prevented completion of a final examination.

Circumstances often encountered by students that are not considered serious and unavoidable grounds for withdrawal without penalty include:

  • Routine demands of employment
  • Family or customary obligations
  • Routine need for financial support
  • Pre-planned travel
  • Childcare
  • Demands of sport, clubs and social or extracurricular activities
  • Was not aware of the important academic dates that impact their enrolment/withdrawal
  • Did not follow the recommended academic advice.

For a request to Withdraw Without Penalty to be considered, the application should be submitted before the date for the final examination for that unit. If there is no final examination an application should be submitted before the date of the final assessment item.

Once a grade has been ratified by the Academic Senate it will not be changed. In exceptional circumstances, the University may approve an application submitted at a later date.

If you are applying after the official release of results for a study period, you must address why you were unable to apply earlier as part of the application and how your circumstances should be deemed exceptional.

The following must be addressed in your application:

  • If you have successfully met the learning outcomes for your unit(s) within the same study period that you are applying to withdraw from, you must explain why the unit(s) that you passed were not similarly impacted?
  • If you have completed all assessable tasks in the unit(s), that you are applying, and/or completed the final examination you will need to demonstrate, with supporting documentation, that you were unfit to sit. Further information on the Fit to Sit model can be found in the Special Consideration Policy.

Below you will find example scenarios of serious and unavoidable disruption where students are eligible to apply to WWAP:

Health reasons

Where your health condition existed prior to the census date, continued past that date and deteriorated to the extent that you are unable to continue your studies OR your medical condition only became known after the census date.

Examples:

  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

Due to unforeseen personal/family reasons that are beyond your control, you are unable to continue with your studies.

Examples:

  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

Where your employment status or employment arrangements change unexpectedly after the census date due to circumstances beyond your control and you are unable to complete your studies.

Examples:

  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.

Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty (WWFP)

The Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty (WWFP) process is for students who wish to be considered for one of the following:

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

Make sure you have read the Guidelines on Remission and Recrediting for WWFP before applying. These guidelines are independent from the academic penalty guidelines/assessment as they are formed on legislation from the Department of Education.

Your application will first be considered for Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty. Once you have received an outcome for Academic Penalty, your application will then be considered for Financial Penalty.

Important

  • Statutory Declarations or personal statements alone will not be considered as acceptable independent supporting documentation for WWFP. This includes for students withdrawing due to COVID-19 related reasons.
  • Once a remission/reversal of fees has been approved there can be no changes towards the academic grades for the unit(s).
  • Students will retain either their F, SC, W status. Please make sure you finalise your academic penalty outcome within the timeframes advised as no changes can be made after your reversal of fees has been approved.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

If you withdrew from a unit(s) 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.