Withdrawing without penalty
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, please navigate to our dedicated Coronavirus FAQs page.
Withdrawal Without Penalty is available for students who have experienced serious and unavoidable disruption to their studies and who have received academic and/or financial penalty for a unit(s).
If you have experienced serious and unavoidable disruption to your studies and have received academic and/or financial penalty for a unit(s), can apply for Withdrawal Without Penalty.
Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty (WWAP) and Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty (WWFP) are assessed independently (ie. 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 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.
A student will submit the one application to be assessed for both WWAP and WWFP.
Students are able to withdraw from 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 Important Dates for the relevant census date and/or 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 webpage.
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 Student Wellbeing website.
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 assessable tasks in the unit(s) and/or completed the final examination, to be eligible for Withdrawal Without Penalty, you will need to demonstrate:
- You were unfit to make 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.
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.
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.
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. You can find more information about Academic Progression on our website.
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.
Serious and unavoidable disruption criteria
Macquarie University defines academic serious and unavoidable disruption as an event or circumstance that meet the following criteria:
- Could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student, and
- Was beyond the student's control, and
- Caused substantial disruption to the student's capacity for effective study and/or the completion of required work, and
- Occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three consecutive days in duration, and/or
- Prevented completion of a final examination.
Circumstances that are not considered serious & unavoidable
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
- 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 recommended academic advice
Timing of WWAP application
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 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.
Example scenarios of serious and unavoidable disruption
Below you will find examples of scenarios where students are eligible to apply to WWAP:
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.
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.
Your health condition only occurs after the census date and prevents you from being able to successfully complete your studies.
Due to unforeseen personal/family reasons that are beyond your control you are unable to continue with your studies.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 to note:
- 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.
Before applying for Withdrawal Without Penalty please make sure that you have read the information provided on this website and understand the criteria for both academic and financial penalty.
Once you feel you are ready to apply you can refer to the below checklist to ensure that you are ready to submit an application.
Check that your circumstances and supporting documentation meet academic and/or financial definitions of Serious and Unavoidable disruption and Special circumstances if you are seeking removal of both academic and financial penalty.
If you are still enrolled prior to the Last Withdrawal Date submit a late withdraw request from the unit you wish to apply to withdraw without penalty from (for OUA students via the OUA Student Hub).
Prepare a detailed statement explaining how your circumstances meet the criteria for serious and unavoidable disruption (WWAP) and Special Circumstances (WWFP) for the study period you will be applying to Withdraw without Penalty from.
Prepare the supporting documentation for your application – See the “Documentation” tab for more information on what will be required.
If you are applying to withdraw without penalty for units after the release of results, you will need to prepare a statement that demonstrates how your circumstances were exceptional in order to be considered for a late application.
Important: If you have successfully met the learning outcomes for unit(s) within the same study period that you are applying to withdraw from, you will need to provide an explanation as to why the passed unit(s) were not similarly impacted?
For example: Your circumstances took place during the final examination period and the unit(s) that you passed did not have final examinations and you had already submitted all assessable work for those unit(s) prior to your circumstances taking place. You must have been successfully attempting and passing the unit prior to the special circumstance to be eligible to apply for withdrawal without penalty.
Log in to eStudent and send yourself a copy of your current transcript ready to upload to your application.
Once you have complied your statement and have your supporting documentation for Withdrawal Without Academic and Financial Penalty simply click on the “apply” button below.
If you are unable to complete this online form, please contact Student Connect (Ph: +61 2 9850 6410) to discuss alternative submission methods.
After you apply
Once you submit your application you will receive a confirmation which will outline the expected timeframe for the WWAP process.
This email will also include a unique link in order for you to access your application, upload any further documentation or to add any notes to your application if you need to ask a question or respond to the University.
Sometimes you may be contacted for further supporting documentation if on review of your application your supporting documentation is deemed not to meet the Serious and Unavoidable Disruption requirements for WWAP.
Failure to provide sufficient documentation at this stage may result in an unsuccessful WWAP.
Once an outcome is available for WWAP you will receive an email confirmation.
Where an application is unsuccessful at this stage, a student will be provided with an opportunity to appeal within 28 days. The grounds for an appeal will be outlined in the outcome email. Note that you only have one opportunity to appeal the outcome of your WWAP application.
Once this date has passed, the application will subsequently be sent to be reviewed for Special Circumstances (WWFP).
Your application will undergo an independent review for WWFP, an outcome emailed to you.
Sometimes you may be contacted for further supporting documentation if on review of your application your supporting documentation is deemed not to meet the Special Circumstances requirements for WWFP.
Failure to provide sufficient documentation at this stage may result in an unsuccessful WWFP.
Where an application is unsuccessful for WWFP, a student will be provided with an opportunity to appeal within 28 days.
Important: All communication will only be sent to your student email and will also be available when you log in online to view your application.
Guidelines for supporting documentation
It is the responsibility of a student to provide supporting documentation that they wish to be considered as part of their application to withdraw without penalty.
The supporting documentation must meet both sets of criteria for academic and financial penalty if you wish to be approved for both.
Where a student has previously submitted documentation to the University as part of a separate application, and where this documentation may assist with an application to withdrawal without penalty, a student will be required to attach this to their application to withdraw without penalty.
The below guidelines have been put together to assist students with what independent supporting documentation will be required with their application. 'Independent' means it cannot be from your family or friends.
Applying due to:
Durig the COVID-19 pandemic and until a date determined by Academic Senate, evidence required is at the discretion of the Faculty Student Centre or the Unit Convenor, but may include one or more of the following:
New or ongoing medical condition
A Professional Authority form, medical certificate or official letter or from an independent registered *Health Professional that must include:
A Professional Authority form, medical certificate or official letter or from an independent registered Health Professional that must include:the date your personal circumstance began or changed; and
Or, where relevant
Where a student is unable to provide supporting documentation from a Health Professional, we may accept a letter from an Independent Community Member (ie. Minister of Religion, Lawyer, Accountant, Police Officer etc) explaining the above points.
Employment related reasons
a signed letter from your employer with the following:
Course related reasons
Where the unavoidable disruption is neither medical nor a consequence of employment, documentation must be attached to the application, indicating:
Documentation that you should not include as part of your application:
- Photos of injuries
- Medical reports
- Pathology reports
- Statutory Declaration (unless supplemented by additional independent supporting documentation)
Please note: the University will not contact a Health Professional or other agents on a student’s behalf in order to obtain supporting documentation.
All documentation relating to Withdrawal Without Penalty applications will be treated in accordance with the University’s Privacy Framework.
Supporting documents should also:
* Please note that medical documentation will normally be required to be completed by a registered health professional registered with a National Board of Australia that is accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
The following is a list of registered health professionals:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice
- Chinese Medicine
- Medical Radiation Practice
- Nursing and Midwifery
- Occupational Therapy
- Social workers
Verification of Documentation
The University reserves the right to request and retain the originals of supporting documentation and will conduct regular audits of supporting documentation submitted electronically.
You must retain all original documentation provided in your withdrawal application for a six (6) month period and must supply original documents to the University within ten (10) working days of such a request being made.
Where documentation is believed to be fraudulent, it may be referred for disciplinary action.