Withdrawal Without Academic or Financial Penalty


What does it mean?

If you successfully apply for withdrawal without academic or financial penalty, it means that you can remove units you have failed off your academic record, and remove the debt from your HECS balance. It is like you never undertook the unit.

Fail could mean subjects that you tried to complete but received a failing grade for, or subjects that you withdrew after the census date and therefore received a K for.

Who will be successful in such an application?

You may be successful if you can show that your poor performance in the unit was because of serious unexpected extenuating circumstances. These circumstances must have 1) been beyond your control; 2) had their full impact on or after the relevant census date for the unit; 3) made it impracticable for you to complete the unit.
Examples of circumstances that could qualify are:

  • Death or illness of someone close to you;
  • Sickness or injury;
  • Mental illness;
  • Financial stress.

How do I apply?

If you’re a domestic student, you need to fill out a Withdrawal Without Academic/Financial Penalty (RC) form.
If you’re an international student, you need to fill out a Withdrawal Without Academic/Financial Penalty (international students) (LI) form.

You must apply within 12 months of withdrawing from or finishing the units they were enrolled in. For example, the semester 2 2014 end of teaching period date would be 15/11/2014 – not the date results are released. Students can apply after the 12 months have lapsed if they can prove that special circumstances prevented them from applying within 12 months.

In a personal statement you will attach to the form, you need to tell the University about all your circumstances such as the ones above that impacted on your ability to do your best. You need to write about exactly how that affected your ability to perform academically.

Don’t forget things such as not being able to:

  • undertake the necessary study required, attend sufficient
  • lectures or tutorials, or meet other compulsory attendance requirements such as field trips.
  • complete the required assessment; or
  • sit the required exams.

You need to do this in detail. For instance, illness might have caused you to miss class. Don’t stop there! Write about how that disadvantaged you; for instance, it might have meant you couldn’t ask your tutors questions when you were confused about course content.

The last point is that you must show that there was a good reason that you didn’t simply withdraw before the census date. This could be that the circumstances occurred after the census date, or that you were so incapacitated by your circumstances that you couldn’t.

The last step is the most important one: documentation. You need to prove to the University that everything you’re saying is true. There’s no such thing as too much as long as it’s relevant. Make certified copies of all relevant documentation and attach it with your application.

Your application needs to be handed into the Student Centre.

What happens if my appeal is successful?

It means that the University may take the Ks off your record as though they were never there. They won’t be taken into account when calculating your GPA.

The University may also refund the amount that you paid for the unit, but this isn’t always done. Sometimes they may take the Ks away, but keep the money you paid for the unit.

On occasion, students may be refunded their tuition fees, but not have their grades removed – a situation like this may arise if the student’s circumstances worsened post-census (financial cut-off date) but the student didn’t withdraw prior to the academic census date (assuming they were able to).

What happens if my appeal is rejected?

When you receive the outcome, the letter will tell you why your application failed. Examples could be because you didn’t explain why you didn’t withdraw before the census date, or because you didn’t provide enough evidence.

You can write a letter to the Director of Student Business Services within 28 days of receiving the outcome, which supplements your original application. You need to address the reason that your application failed, and supply more evidence if required.

I’m thinking about writing an application, or my application was denied.

If you think you may be eligible to wipe fails off your record, contact the Guild’s Student Rights Hub. We can give you advice on whether we think you’re eligible, and help you write your application for the best outcome.

Also, if your application gets denied we may be able to help you appeal the decision.