Withdrawal without Financial and/or Academic Penalty due to Special Circumstances
Please note: As per the COVID-19 Student Update Number 2 from the Provost on 26/03/2020, please complete the ‘Notification of Extenuating Circumstances’ self-declaration in place of seeking supporting documentation from health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. When you have submitted the self-declaration, please SUBMIT YOUR COPY of the self-declaration in your ‘Withdrawal without Financial and/or Academic Penalty due to Special Circumstances’ application so that Student Finance and the Divisions can use this as supporting documentation in our assessments.
This message relates to students affected by the COVID-19 situation for SP1, SP4, SP82 in 2020. Further study periods in 2020 will be included as we progress through these unprecedented times.
Withdrawal without Financial Penalty:
You are financially liable for any subject you are enrolled in after census date. You can apply to have the subject fee remitted where the fees have been deferred to HELP or refunded where upfront payment has been made if, due to special circumstances, you:
- have withdrawn from a subject after the census date, and
- have not successfully completed the requirements for the subject.
Please note for SSA Fees - In accordance with the Student Services and Amenities Fee Payments and Refunds Procedure, any up-front payments or SA-HELP debt for the SSA Fee for a subject approved under the application for withdrawal without financial and/or academic penalty due to special circumstances will not be refunded after the applicable census date
Withdrawal without Academic Penalty:
You can apply to have the academic penalty removed if, due to special circumstances, you:
- have withdrawn from a subject after the last date to withdraw without academic penalty, and
- where the special circumstances are not related to the student’s academic ability or diligence.
- If you withdraw from subjects or discontinue after the financial census penalty date for the relevant teaching period you will remain financially liable for the cost of those subjects.
- If you withdraw from subjects or discontinue after the academic penalty date for the relevant teaching periods you will receive a fail for the subjects you were enrolled in.
- If you can demonstrate ‘special circumstances’ you may be eligible for withdrawal without incurring a fail and/or with remission of fees (including a refund of your student contribution amount if you have paid upfront or remission and re-credit of you HECS/FEE-HELP debt.)
- Note: You are NOT eligible to apply for withdrawal without penalty if you have successfully completed the unit of study.
How to apply
Complete the online application form for
- withdrawal without financial penalty OR
- withdrawal without academic penalty OR
- withdrawal without financial AND academic penalty
and include the following information to support your application:
- A detailed student statement (included in the application) AND
- Third-party independent supporting documentation (attached to the application)
A completed application consists of both a student statement and independent supporting documentation.
Assumptions about the special circumstances will not be made and the University has no obligation to seek additional supporting information. Applications submitted without supporting documentation will NOT be considered as an assessment of the application is based on the statement and documentation provided.
The supporting documentation should include:
- the date your circumstances first began;
- whether the circumstances changed after the census date, and if so, when they changed and to what extent;
- how your circumstances affected your ability to study, and
- the date that it became apparent you could not continue your studies.
If you know your JCU login please click on the above link to access the secure online form.
If you do not remember your JCU login details, please contact the Student IT Helpdesk on +61 7 4781 5500.
If you require further assistance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a timeframe within to apply?
Students have up to 12 months after the date of withdrawal, or, if not withdrawn, 12 months after the end of the study period for the subject to make their request and provide appropriate evidence to support their case.
Please note: A lack of knowledge or understanding of requirements for applying for withdrawal without financial and/or academic penalty is not a valid reason for applying outside of this timeframe. James Cook University has the discretion to waive the 12 month time requirements if they are satisfied that the applicant has supplied sufficient evidence to determine that the application could not be made within the time limits.
What are "Special circumstances"?
As per Commonwealth Government legislation (The Higher Education Support Act 2003), James Cook University must be satisfied that special circumstances applied to the student. This includes the:
- special circumstances were beyond the student’s control
Circumstances are beyond your control if a situation occurs, which led to your withdrawal or inability to complete the subject requirements, that would be considered by a reasonable person not to be due to your action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which you are not responsible. This situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal.
- special circumstances did not make the full impact until on or after the census date;
To meet this condition the special circumstances must have occurred:
- before the census date, but deteriorated significantly after the census date; or
- before the census date, but the full effect or magnitude did not become apparent until on or after the census date; or
- on or after the census date.
- Pre-existing conditions: the application must be accompanied by third party documentary evidence that the pre-existing worsened or made full impact after census date.
- special circumstances made it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements
To meet this condition the student would need to demonstrate that it was impracticable for them to complete the subject requirements for the study period of enrolment, for example, the student was unable to:
- undertake the necessary private study required, or attend sufficient lectures or tutorials or meet other compulsory attendance requirements in order to meet the compulsory subject requirements; or
- complete all assessments, tasks and/or examinations and any special subject requirements.
Special circumstances do not include:
- Lack of knowledge or understanding of census date or withdrawal procedures;
- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the HELP scheme or an inability to repay a HELP debt;
- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the last date to withdraw without an academic penalty or other academic policies and procedures.
- A student forgetting they are enrolled in a subject or forgetting to drop a subject;
What third party independent supporting documentation may be considered?
Supporting documentation may include:
- Medical Circumstances: a statement from a doctor stating:
- the date your medical condition began or worsened; and
- how your condition affected your ability to study; and
- when it became apparent that you could not continue with your studies.
- Family/Personal Circumstances: A statement from a doctor or counselor stating:
- the date your personal circumstance began or changed; and
- how your circumstances affected your ability to study; and
- when it became apparent that you could not continue with your studies.
- Employment-Related Circumstances: A statement from your employer stating:
- your previous work hours and location; and
- your current work hours and location; and
- the reason for changed hours and location.
Note: The change in employment must be beyond your control.
- Course Related Circumstances: A statement from your College/Division stating:
- that you have been disadvantaged by changed arrangements to your subject/course and that it was impossible for you to undertake alternative subjects or courses.
- Technology: A statement from your College/Division stating:
- screenshots of the confirmation message in eStudent, including the date that you withdrew prior to census date from a subject; or
- email requests from yourself requesting to be withdrawn prior to census date and any confirmation that your request was actioned; or
- written confirmation of a network outage from the IT-Helpdesk team at JCU, and confirmation from your emails/screenshots that you tried to withdraw on that date.
What happens after you apply?
- Once the application is lodged you will be sent an acknowledgment email to your student email address (if you are a current student) or the email address supplied on the application form (if you no longer studying at James Cook University). This email will be confirmation of receipt and will outline the timeframes for the application.
- You may receive an additional request by email to supply further supporting documentation to assist with the assessment of your application.
- Once the application is ready for assessment, the application and supporting documentation will be assessed by the Student Finance team for withdrawal without financial penalty and sent to the relevant Division for the assessment of the withdrawal without academic penalty. Please note: Subjects with a WD grade will not be sent to the Division as there is no academic penalty allocated to the subject.
- Please note: The application for withdrawal without financial penalty and the application for withdrawal without academic penalty are assessed separately. The approval of one application does not mean the other application is automatically approved. Each application is assessed in line with individual circumstances and in adherence to the ‘special circumstances’ consideration as outlined above.
- The application will be considered with the third party independent supporting documentation provided.
a) For withdrawal without financial penalty: You will be notified of the outcome within eight weeks of receipt of the application or if requested within eight weeks of when all additional documentation is received.
b) For withdrawal without academic penalty: You will receive a separate email to notify you of the outcome within 20 University working days of when Student Finance has sent the application to the Division.
- The decision will always be communicated to you via email
- For withdrawal without financial penalty:
a) If approved, the HECS/FEE-HELP debt you have incurred for the subject will be remitted/removed from your HELP debt and/or any amount you paid up-front will be refunded.
b) If declined, the reason for the decision will be provided in the Notice of Decision letter and your subject fee will not be remitted/refunded. Details on how to request a review of the decision will be provided in this letter.
- For withdrawal without academic penalty:
a) If approved, the grade that you have received for the subject will be removed and amended to a WD grade.
b) If declined, the reason for the decision will be provided in an email and your grade for the subject will not be amended.
If you feel you have reasonable grounds, you can request a review or appeal the decision.
Assistance and support available
A JCU Student Association Student Advocate , who provides a free and confidential service that is independent of JCU, can support you with completing the application. Contact the JCU Student Association by email email@example.com , or by freecall on 1800 330 021.
Please see the Student Support webpage for all the support services available at JCU.
Withdrawal without Financial Penalty
Section 12 of the International Tuition Fee Payment and Refund Procedure
University policy and procedure stipulate that, under special circumstances, International students may apply for a refund of student contribution amounts and tuition fees, if paid up-front.
Section 6 of the Domestic Fee Payments and Refunds Procedure
Commonwealth Government legislation (The Higher Education Support Act 2003) and University policy stipulate that, under special circumstances, Domestic students may apply for a remission of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt (FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP) and/or, refund of student contribution amounts and tuition fees, if paid up-front.
Census date: Date when your enrolment in a subject is finalised and you are financially liable for the subject
Financial Penalty: If you withdraw from a subject after the census date due to special circumstances you can apply for withdrawal without financial penalty. An approved application will remove the financial liability. If not approved, you remain liable for the cost of the subject/s.
Last date to withdraw without academic penalty: Date on which your academic participation in a subject is confirmed. This is the last date you can withdraw from a subject without incurring academic penalty (Fail – WF grade). If you withdraw after census date, but before this date you will receive a WD grade.
Academic Penalty only: If you withdraw from a subject after the last date to withdraw without academic penalty date due to special circumstance you can apply for withdrawal without academic penalty.
Financial and Academic Penalty: Depending on when your special circumstances started, how this affected you and you have not completed the requirements for the subject, you can apply for withdrawal without Financial and/or Academic Penalty.