Withdrawing without academic penalty

If you choose to withdraw from registered subjects after the census date of the teaching term, you will automatically receive an E grade on your student record. An E grade is regarded as a fail.

If you had to withdraw after the census date because of extenuating circumstances, you may be eligible for your E grade to be changed to a Withdrawal without academic penalty grade (called a W grade) and to have your tuition fee for the subject/s refunded.

Extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are considered to be unusual or abnormal events or circumstances that are beyond your control. Your actions must not have contributed, directly or indirectly, to these circumstances.

These events or circumstances must not fully impact you until on or after the census date. This means the situation must have occurred either:

  • after the census date or
  • before the census date, but worsened after that day or
  • before the census date, but the full effect did not become apparent on or before that day

As a result of these events or circumstances, it must have been impractical/impossible for you to complete the program requirements, that is, you were unable to do any of the following:

  • Undertake the necessary private study required
  • Attend sufficient lectures, tutorials or meet other attendance requirements in order to meet your compulsory requirements
  • Complete the required assessable work
  • Sit the required examinations
  • Complete other course requirements because of your inability to meet the above

You will need to be able to prove your claim for extenuating circumstances by providing appropriate supporting documentation. Please see the supporting documentation webpage for what is accepted.


You must complete a Withdrawal without academic penalty/financial penalty (W grade) form and lodge it along with supporting documentation that provides evidence of your extenuating circumstances through WesternNow.

You must submit your application within twelve months of the final date of the teaching term in which you withdrew from the subject/s. If your application is received after the final date for submission, you will be notified in writing that your application is not eligible for consideration.

Applications will be assessed and processed by a specialist officer in the Enrolments Unit. You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your application.

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Successful applications

Withdrawal without academic penalty grade

If you select 'Withdrawal without academic penalty' on the form and your application is successful, you will be awarded a ‘W grade – no academic penalty’ for the subjects listed on your application. You will still have to pay the tuition fees for the subjects and your Student Learning Entitlement will not be changed.

Withdrawal without academic penalty grade and remission of fees (Tuition)

If you select ’Withdrawal without academic penalty and remission of fees (tuition)’ and your application is successful, you will be awarded a ‘W grade – remittance’.

Depending on the circumstances, the University will tell the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to remove any HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP debts for the relevant subject/s or the University will organise for you to receive a refund according to current refund policy and procedure for any upfront Student Contributions or Tuition fees you paid.

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Unsuccessful applications

If your application is not successful, we will send you an outcome letter to let you know the outcome of your application in writing. The letter will also explain your right to appeal the decision and what you need to do if you wish to appeal.

Please note: students are only able to submit one request for withdrawal without academic penalty per subject attempt. If new or additional documentation can be provided to support an application after it has been declined, students must submit an appeal.

If you wish to appeal the decision, you must lodge your appeal within 28 days of the date on your outcome letter. Once your appeal has been assessed, we will send you a letter to let you know the outcome of your appeal.

If your appeal has been unsuccessful, the letter will also explain your right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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