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Student Affairs and Academic Support

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 & Reminders

  • Before submitting a petition, please review the Hardship Withdrawal Criteria to ensure your petition meets all necessary requirements. 
  • 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

Does your Circumstance meet the Hardship Withdrawal Criteria?

Accepted petitions must meet the criteria for either category below. *Please note: petitions can only be submitted for up to two years from the semester of concern as determined by the last day of class. Changes to your transcript cannot occur if you have already graduated. If your circumstance does not fall within one of the categories below, you should reach out to your academic advisor, academic coach, or professor/instructor about degree progression and alternative grade options. 

  • Unforeseeable, acute, severe illnesses or injuries that incapacitate the student
  • Illness severe enough so as to warrant hospitalization and/or treatment and multiple sessions of counseling, psychotherapy, or psychiatric consultations. 
  • New diagnosis of documented learning disability
  • 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

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

Personal Crises which include: 

  • Personal trauma
  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Caregiver for ill parent (Documentation from parent's physician must indicate the necessity for their care of their parent)
  • Natural disaster recovery
  • Extreme, acute financial hardship (i.e. loss of job)

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 required documentation.

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 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 information is shared regarding an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, 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.

Submit a Petition

If your circumstance meets the criteria above, please submit an online petition to begin the hardship withdrawal process. 

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