Withdrawing without penalty

Withdrawing without penalty

If you've experienced serious and unavoidable disruption to your studies you may apply to withdraw from units without academic and/or financial penalty.

Please make sure you are familiar with the withdrawal policy and procedure before you proceed.

Unavoidable disruption criteria

Macquarie University defines academic 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.

For an application to be considered, the timing of the impact of the event or circumstances must have been evident after Census date or become substantially worse after Census date such that it made it impossible to continue in your studies. The application must be submitted before the date for the final examination for that unit. If there is no final examination an application must 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 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Registrar may approve an application submitted at a later date.

Financial unavoidable disruption is defined as an event or circumstance that meets the criteria as contained in the Guidelines for Refund or Remission of fees in special circumstances.

Unacceptable reasons

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

  • Routine demands of employment
  • Routine family problems such as domestic tension with or between parents, spouses and other people closely involved with the student
  • Difficulties adjusting to University life and the demands of academic work
  • Routine need for financial support
  • Pre-planned travel
  • Demands of sport, clubs and social or extracurricular activities


Local or International students who have experienced serious and unavoidable disruption may use this application to request:

Students who should use this form are:

  • All undergraduate and postgraduate (coursework) North Ryde students
  • Open Universities Australia (OUA) students
  • Non-Award or Next Step students
  • Macquarie University International College (MUIC) students

Please do not complete this application if you are:

  • Studying at Macquarie as a Study Abroad student – contact your Study Abroad advisor
  • A postgraduate Applied Finance student – email studentsupport@mafc.mq.edu.au
  • A research student with the higher degree research office – call +61 2 9850 7987
  • Studying at Macquarie Graduate School of Management – log in and lodge your application here

If your special circumstances do not meet the criteria listed earlier but you feel that they should be considered, please lodge an enquiry . When submitting your enquiry, please ensure your subject line is 'unit withdrawal after census date'.

How to apply

There are two steps in assessing your application for withdrawal without penalty.

Step 1:  Your application will first be assessed for academic penalty.

Step 2:  Once your application has been finalised it will then be forwarded for assessment for financial penalty.

If you are a domestic fee paying OUA student, please ensure you have first received the outcome of your financial penalty assessment prior to submitting this form.

To make an application to withdraw without academic and/or financial penalty:

  1. Check that your circumstances meet both academic and financial definitions of serious and unavoidable disruption if you are seeking removal of both academic and financial penalty.
  2. Prepare the supporting documentation for your application (please contact Student Advocacy if you require assistance)
  3. Fill out the online withdrawal without penalty application form.
    If you are unable to complete this online form, please contact Student Connect (Ph: +61 2 9850 6410) to discuss alternative submission methods
  4. Include a detailed statement explaining how your circumstances meet each of the four criteria for serious and unavoidable disruption
  5. Attach independent supporting documentation:
    • All supporting documentation needs to be submitted at the time of application – it can't be added afterwards. If you are waiting on documents to become available, you will need to wait until you have them all before you apply
    • You must include independent documentation to support the circumstances you are claiming.
    • If you are applying due to Medical reasons your documentation must include:
      • the health professional’s provider number
      • the date of consultation(s)
      • Detailed statement from medical practitioner/s on how your circumstances impacted your studies, this must be specific to the session in which you are applying
      • the severity (serious/not serious) of the condition, and
      • the duration of the condition including the date it first became evident.
    • Note: it is not necessary for the University to know the specific nature or details of a medical condition, rather, how it has affected your studies.

    • Where the unavoidable disruption pertains to the unanticipated demands of employment, you must include a signed letter from your employer with the following:
      • the date when employment circumstances changed
      • the type of and impact that the change in circumstances may have had on your ability to continue tertiary study
      • the duration of the change in circumstances including the date it first became evident
      • contact details of your employer.
    • Other :  Where the unavoidable disruption is neither medical nor a consequence of employment, documentation must be attached to the application indicating:
      • the date these circumstances first became evident and made their impact
      • the type of and impact that the circumstances may have had on your ability to continue tertiary study
      • the duration of the change in circumstances.
    • Please note that a Statutory declaration may only be accepted in conjunction with independent supporting documentation.

      How will I be notified of my outcomes?

    You will receive two emails regarding the outcome of your application - an email to provide the outcome of your academic penalty and a separate email regarding the outcome of your financial penalty.

    Email notifications will be sent through your official Macquarie student email.

Support for students

Campus Wellbeing offers support and assistance to students through their medical, counselling, disability and welfare services. Students feeling in need of support are encouraged to seek assistance through these services.

Students who require assistance in preparing their application should not hesitate to contact Student Advocacy and Support Services for assistance.

How to appeal a decision

In exceptional circumstances a student may appeal their right for consideration of Withdrawal without Academic Penalty on the basis of the following grounds:

  • University policy and procedures were not correctly followed (appeal must address how they were not correctly followed)
  • New evidence is subsequently provided that may bear on the original decision

Your academic appeal must be submitted within 28 days of the date you are advised of the original decision.

In reviewing the appeal, consultation may occur with the relevant stakeholders of the University and a decision will be made against the criteria of unavoidable disruption.

Note:  Students are permitted to appeal an unsuccessful withdrawal without academic penalty request only once.

You may appeal the decision not to grant Withdrawal without Financial Penalty by following the steps outlined in the email containing your outcome.

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