Hardship Withdrawal Policy
A Hardship Withdrawal is an exception that permits a student to withdraw from all courses after the official Drop/Add period during the semester. It is intended for the student who has experienced an acute, traumatic event that prevents him/her from completing the semester. That same event also makes it impossible for the student to take an Incomplete and finish the work the next semester. Thus, the Hardship Withdrawal is based on unusual or emergency circumstances beyond the student’s control. Such circumstances are categorized as follows:
Examples include bodily injury or invasive surgery resulting in prolonged absences from class, or unexpected physical disability preventing completion of course work. Necessary documentation to support such claims would include a physician's report, including name, address, phone, nature of illness or accidents, dates of treatment, prognosis, and recommendation.
Examples include extreme mental duress suffered from traumatic experiences, of the severity and frequency to prevent completion of course work. Necessary documentation to support such claims would include a memo from a Counseling Center counselor that includes dates of treatment and a clear recommendation of whether a hardship withdrawal be given.
Examples include significant change in financial status or personal tragedy such as the death of a loved one or domestic disruptions, to the degree to prevent completion of coursework. Necessary documentation to support such claims might include copy of divorce papers, financial statements, police reports, obituaries, or other pertinent documents.
The following list is illustrative of invalid reasons for a hardship withdrawal. A request using these reasons will not be approved.
- Poor performance in one or more courses
- Registration for the wrong course
- Preference for a different professor or class section
- Failure to drop course during the drop/add period
- Failure to withdraw by the published deadline using normal procedures
Under what conditions may a Request for Hardship Withdrawal be approved?
A Hardship Withdrawal is intended as relief for extreme circumstances and is granted only in special instances. The following conditions apply:
- Students may request a hardship withdrawal after the official Drop/Add deadline published in the semester term calendar until the Friday immediately prior to the final week of the term. Hardship Withdrawals requested after the Friday immediately prior to the final week of the term will be treated as a Retroactive Hardship Withdrawal.
- Retroactive Hardship Withdrawals will not be approved if the student has completed all course requirements such as a final examination and/or a final project.
- Retroactive Hardship Withdrawals will not be approved for terms occurring more than six months prior to the time the request is made.
- The student must withdraw from all classes during the current term, and may not select only certain classes from which to withdraw.
- Under unusual circumstances, a student may be granted a hardship withdrawal from only one class, while being allowed to remain in others.
- An example of unusual circumstances would be a student who is passing an applied piano course and injures a finger, thus being unable to play the piano the rest of the semester. A student would be allowed to complete other courses being taken concurrently.
- The student should follow Steps 1-6 below, with emphasis on providing documented evidence in support of the claims warranting the request.
Steps for Requesting a Hardship Withdrawal
In steps 1-6 below, the Dean may designate an Associate Dean to act on his/her authority. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs may designate the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs to act on his/her authority.
- The student completes the "Request for Hardship Withdrawal" form found online at http://www.westga.edu/vpaa/index_5879.php. The student should be prepared to provide documented evidence to substantiate the hardship being claimed.
- The student submits the completed Request for Hardship Withdrawal form and documented evidence to Health Services (HS) or the Counseling Center.
- The HS or Counseling Center professional staff will interview the student, review the documented evidence, and recommend to support or not support the request for Hardship Withdrawal. HS or Counseling Center professional staff will send the request form and a letter, which explains the recommendation, as a confidential document to the appropriate unit within Academic Affairs. HS or Counseling Center professional staff will retain the documented evidence in their confidential files.
- For students with a declared major, the form and letter will be sent to the Dean of the College where the major department is housed.
- For undeclared students, the form and letter will be delivered to the Dean of the Honors College.
- The Dean has the final authority to approve the Request for Hardship Withdrawal.
- If the Dean approves the request, the student will receive a W for each course.
- The Dean’s Office will notify the Registrar of the grade change/s to W.
- The Dean’s Office will notify the student that the request was approved.
- If the Dean does not approve the request, the Dean’s Office will notify the student of the denial.
- The student may appeal to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- The Dean will forward the form and letter to the Provost upon receiving notification from the student that s/he intends to appeal. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Dean that s/he intends to appeal to the Provost.
- The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has the final authority to grant the appeal for the Request for Hardship Withdrawal.
- The Provost will grant or deny the appeal and notify the student of the decision.
- If granted, the Provost’s Office will notify the Registrar of the grade change/s to W.
Students should be aware of the following three points when a hardship withdrawal is approved:
- A hardship withdrawal does not remove courses from the academic record. Course grades are converted to W’s for the hardship withdrawal semester.
- The W grades do not count against the overall grade point average.
- The W grades trigger a Financial Aid Warning, because none of the courses in the hardship withdrawal semester are completed. See the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for financial aid eligibility at http://www.westga.edu/financialAid/index_2959.php for more information.