Skip to Content

Academic Advising

Hardship Withdrawal

If a mental health, medical, or personal crisis prevented academic success during a past semester or the Withdrawal Fail (WF) period of a current semester, students may be interested in petitioning for a hardship withdrawal.

Announcements

  • If you are looking to withdraw from full-term Fall 2019 classes, the hardship withdrawal process is not necessary. Please visit our Leaving USC webpage and consult the withdrawal checklist. To determine Withdraw Fail (WF) dates for classes that are not full semester, visit the Registrar's website
  • Before submitting a petition, please review the criteria and process updates below. Students will receive deadline information after applications are submitted.
  • This process is for undergraduate students only. If you are a graduate student, please contact your program coordinator about withdrawal.


About Hardship Withdrawals

Under the University’s withdrawal policy, if a student is experiencing a significant personal hardship that has prevented academic success during a past semester or the Withdrawal Fail (WF) period of a current academic term, the student may be eligible to withdraw from courses for the semester of concern. Students are required to review all information on this page before submitting a petition. Petitions are only accepted from students, and there is no appeal process for denied or approved petitions. 

As you consider submitting a petition, please note that the hardship withdrawal process is not a means to:

  • drop courses after the Withdrawal Fail (WF) deadline of a semester 
  • remove or prevent unwanted grades, or
  • avoid or resolve academic, financial aid, or conduct-related consequences

Hardship Withdrawal Criteria

Before you submit a petition, please review the criteria below. If a student's circumstance does not fall within the hardship withdrawal guidelines, they are encouraged to reach out to their academic advisor, academic coach, or professor/instructor about degree progression and alternative grade options.

  • Unforeseeable, acute, severe illnesses or injuries that incapacitate the student
  • Chronic conditions generally do not qualify unless the student has been stable for a sustained length of time and the condition is complicated by a sudden unexpected change in status
  • Preventable health care conditions or failure to comply with medical advice may also not qualify
  • Illness severe enough so as to warrant hospitalization and/or treatment and multiple sessions of counseling, psychotherapy, or psychiatric consultations. 

Supporting documentation is required to verify every statement of hardship listed in online applications. As you consider submitting a petition, please evaluate whether you're able to supply the following required documentation types.

Students may ask their healthcare providers to submit documentation on their behalf.  Healthcare notes must be sent directly from providers. Students are advised to obtain copy of the letters that are sent to the Office of the Dean of Students to ensure the provider met the criteria listed below.  

Clinicians should provide a treatment summary letter, which must include the following:

  1. Provider's name (if off-campus: state license #)

  2.  Diagnosis (including date of original diagnosis and/or time of symptom onset)

  3. Type of service(s) provided

  4. Specific dates of services

  5. Medication (if applicable)

  6. History of Presenting Problem including detailed information regarding symptoms during the semester of concern.

    • Did the issue affect academic performance?

    • Was there an acute exacerbation of symptoms?

    • Was the condition, illness, or injury life-threatening?

    • Was there an impairment in functioning?

Please do not send entire medical records. Use the treatment letter format below in guiding your records request. If other types of supporting documentation are required, you will be contacted.

On campus providers: please consult with your Medical Records department for submission guidelines. 

Off-campus providers: please fax your patient's documentation to 803-576-6775 or email it to withdrawal@sc.edu

It is the student’s responsibility to notify providers of the expectation(s) for both submitting their letter and the petition deadline, as committee members do not reach out to providers. All documentation is subject to verification by the University of South Carolina, including but not limited to class attendance, class participation, or supporting documentation. If false documentation or misrepresented information is submitted, students will be referred for alleged violation of the USC Honor Code and the Hardship Withdrawal request will be denied.

Personal crises, which include:

  • Personal trauma

  • Death of a parent, child, sibling, or caregiver

  • Caregiver for ill parent*

  • New diagnosis of documented learning disability

  • Natural disaster recovery

  • Extreme, acute financial hardship (i.e. loss of job)

*Documentation from parent's physician must indicate the necessity for their care of their parent.

Supporting documentation is required to verify every statement of hardship listed in online applications. As you consider submitting a petition, please evaluate whether you're able to supply the following required documentation types.

  • Verification that the student communicated with professors to discuss options before petition.

  • Legal paperwork (e.g. police report, attorney, etc.)

  • Death certificate or obituary notice from newspaper or from funeral home. Ceremony programs

  • Verification letters from appropriate campus partners (e.g. Student Disability Resource Center)

  • Letters from employers, rental agents, or other business/university officials on letterhead

All documentation is subject to verification by the University of South Carolina, including but not limited to class attendance, class participation, or supporting documentation. If false documentation or misrepresented information is submitted, students will be referred for alleged violation of the USC Honor Code and the Hardship Withdrawal request will be denied.

 

Things to Consider Before You Submit a Petition

Approved petitions may have financial aid or tuition and fee implications, including Satisfactory Academic Progress issues that may impact registration ability. The student submitting a petition agrees to contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to inquire about how an approved Hardship Withdrawal Petition may affect their current and future financial aid before they submit a petition.

The hardship withdrawal process only affects academic grades. Therefore, if a petition is approved, there is no automatic refund or pardon of fees. To request a refund, a student must submit a request and a petition to the Tuition Refund Appeal Committee at regapeal@mailbox.sc.edu. Refund requests must occur within the same academic year of the withdrawn semester. For more information on important payment and refund dates, visit the website for the Bursar's office

Before you submit a petition, we encourage you to consult with your academic advisor about degree progression and readmission requirements, which may differ per major. At times, students are not able to progress in their chosen major as they wait for a petition decision.

In accordance with the provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and University policy, if sexual misconduct information is included in a student’s petition, the Office of the Dean of Students and/or the Hardship Withdrawal Committee is obligated to report the matter to USC’s Title IX coordinator.

Semester withdrawals may affect immigration status. Before submitting a petition, contact International Student Services at 803-777-7461.

A student must re-apply for admission to the University if there is no record of enrollment (e.g. a course grade, "W", etc.) for a major semester (Fall or Spring) directly preceding the semester the student would like to return. For example, if a student's transcript shows they were not enrolled for courses during the Fall 2018 semester and they would like to take courses in Spring 2019, they must reapply. Readmission is not automatic and is based on the student's academic record. Students must meet major and/or transfer requirements to be readmitted. For additional information, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 803-777-7700.

The Petition Process 

 

Step 1: Submit the Online Application

Students requesting a hardship withdrawal are required to first submit the online application. After submission, students will be contacted by a representative of the Hardship Withdrawal Committee regarding whether the petition will receive further consideration and/or next steps. Please do not send supporting documentation until you receive this notification.

Step 2: Provide Supporting Documentation

For petitions that will be considered, students will submit supporting documentation aligned with the hardship withdrawal criteria and documentation guidelines listed above under the "Hardship Withdrawal" section. If additional information is needed from a student, they will be contacted by withdrawal staff from the Office of the Dean of Students.

Information requested does not guarantee petition approval.

Students will be notified by USC email when petitions are ready for committee review and regarding decision deadlines.

Step 3: Receive Petition Decision(s)

Students will receive petition decisions by USC email.

If a hardship withdrawal is approved, W’s will appear as placeholders for the withdrawn courses on the student’s transcript. W’s do not affect a student’s GPA, but students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor about degree progression before they submit a petition.

Hardship withdrawal staff may communicate with other campus entities about a student's total educational record, as well as consider the student's withdrawal history.

Decisions are within the following categories:

Student's petition was approved. Please allow up to seven days for transcript updates. The Office of the Dean of Students or Hardship Withdrawal Committee will determine the date of withdrawal.

Student's petition was not approved. Decisions are final, and there is no appeal process for petitions.

A decision could not be made with current petition materials. The student is given a deadline to submit requested additional information.


Types of Hardship Withdrawals & Online Application

Before you submit a petition, please review the types of withdrawals and the risks associated with each decision.

A full hardship withdrawal is defined as withdrawing from all courses for the semester of concern. Submit a petition for full withdrawal.

A partial withdrawal is defined as withdrawing from one or more classes, but not all classes. They are granted under exceptional circumstances. Academic difficulty of your selected course(s) will not be considered. Examples of academic difficulty include, but are not limited to: frequency of assignments, class attendance requirements, not meeting deadlines, etc.

To qualify, you must demonstrate how your hardship is affecting only the class(es) you are petitioning. (For example: you took yoga, broke your collarbone mid-semester, and need to withdraw from that one course).

Students are highly encouraged to exhaust the following options before submitting a partial request:

Students cannot change the type of withdrawal they are requesting after petition decisions are made.

 Submit a petition for partial withdrawal.

Questions?

If you have questions about the hardship withdrawal process, please email us at withdrawal@sc.edu 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©