Hardship Withdrawal

If a student encounters an unforeseen extraordinary situation such as a serious illness or injury or some other significant personal situation, which prevents the student from being able to successfully continue in their classes, they may submit a request for a Hardship Withdrawal from the semester. The student is encouraged to work with their professors to discuss possible alternatives to withdrawing.

Under most circumstances, a Hardship Withdrawal is a complete withdrawal from the semester, rather than withdrawal from one or two courses. All requests for a Hardship Withdrawal require thorough, credible and verifiable documentation. Applications for less than a complete withdrawal from the semester may be considered provided they are exceptionally well documented to justify the exception to a full semester withdrawal, and thus will be held to a higher standard of review to qualify for this exception. Depending upon the nature of the circumstances of the withdrawal, return criteria, including the semester a student is permitted to return, may be placed on a student prior to their being allowed to re-enroll.

Criteria for a Hardship Withdrawal

A student may request consideration for a Hardship Withdrawal when unforeseen, extraordinary circumstances arise that prevent the student from successfully continuing in their classes. Examples that may warrant consideration are:

  • serious illness
  • major physical health issues
  • injury or accident which results in significant medical complications
  • profound mental health difficulties which prevent the student from successfully continuing in their classes
  • death in a student’s immediate family
  • a significant family trauma
  • the need to care for a seriously ill immediate family member
  • COVID-related hardship

Procedure for Requesting a Hardship Withdrawal

A student wishing to request consideration for a Hardship Withdrawal must submit the following to the Academic Success Center (CPO 1580, 1 University Heights, Asheville NC 28804 or ASC@unca.edu):

  • Hardship Withdrawal Request form, which includes a narrative of the reason for the request. This should include the specifics of what transpired over the semester, how the unforeseen issue impacted the student’s ability to be academically successful for the semester, and what efforts the student has made to manage/resolve the issues, such as conversations with faculty, and any campus resources the student utilized to assist with management or resolution. The narrative should include what has now brought them to the point of requesting the withdrawal, and why the withdrawal is necessary. The narrative should also provide some information on what the student will do in the time they are away from the university which will manage/resolve the issue and thus allow for a successful return in the future.
  • Supporting documentation (see below). In all cases, the last date of class attendance must be included.
  • Any additional documentation the student feels provides necessary information related to the withdrawal request.

The Hardship Withdrawal request will be reviewed by the Enrollment Services Committee and a determination will be made as to whether the request meets the criteria. If the withdrawal is granted, the student will receive grades of W for their classes. A determination also will be made if return criteria will be placed on the withdrawal, and what the criteria will be. A representative from the Enrollment Services Committee will communicate the decision via UNC Asheville email to the student. Providing false information on a Hardship Withdrawal petition may result in its denial, reversal and/or a violation of the Student Conduct Code.

Appropriate Documentation for a Hardship Withdrawal

Requests for withdrawal due to medical reasons will require documentation from a healthcare provider(s) and should include:

  • the general nature of the medical issue and how/why it has prevented the student from successfully completing their coursework;
  • the date of onset of medical issues;
  • dates medical care was received;
  • the follow up that is necessary for the student to successfully return to school, and the general timeframe of the anticipated return
  • any other relevant information

This information may be submitted on the Medical Statement form or on the health care provider’s letterhead. Either must be signed by the provider.

The documentation needed for other significant personal emergencies is dependent upon the nature of the extenuating circumstances. Students are asked to use their best judgment on providing verifiable documentation. Verification for significant personal emergencies may include:

  • obituaries
  • death notices
  • police reports
  • documentation from an immediate family member’s medical provider

Important considerations prior to requesting a Hardship Withdrawal

Rationale for withdrawal

The hardship withdrawal policy exists to help students in serious, unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances. Students who have found themselves academically unsuccessful or significantly challenged due to common transition and life issues are not considered for this process. Students are encouraged to speak with their faculty to try to work through academic issues, as well as utilize campus resources such as the Health and Counseling Center (828-251-6520), Academic Success Center (828-350-4501, asc@unca.edu) or their Community Director (if they are a resident student).

Return Criteria

Depending upon the nature of the extenuating circumstances surrounding a withdrawal, return criteria may be placed on a student prior to their being permitted to return to the university.

Significant medical/mental health issues normally require a minimum of a full semester absence from the university in an effort to adequately address, resolve and prepare for a successful return to the University.

Return documentation may include evidence of successful compliance with treatment directives, evidence of ability to be successfully reintegrated into campus life and recommendations for follow up. The student will need to agree to follow the terms of re-enrollment (which normally includes necessary medical/mental health follow up and utilization of student support services).

Financial Impact of a Withdrawal

Refund of tuition from the point of withdrawal will follow the published refund schedule. Additionally, depending upon the financial aid a student receives, they may have to reimburse the University for a percentage of their aid package. The student is strongly encouraged to consider this in advance as part of the overall decision to withdraw from the university and speak with a representative in the Financial Aid office (828-251-6535, finaid@unca.edu) in order to fully understand the financial impact of withdrawal.

Academic Impact of a Withdrawal

Withdrawing from courses has an impact on your academic progress. Students are highly encouraged to discuss their withdrawal and how it will impact their academic plan with their academic advisor or the Academic Success Center. While hardship withdrawals will not count toward the student’s withdrawal limit, they do still count towards attempted hours, which are included in calculating academic standing and financial aid eligibility.

International Students

International students with an F1 or J1 visa must consult with the Study Abroad Office to discuss how withdrawal can impact the student’s immigration status and ability to remain in the US and/or return for study.

Residence Hall Impact of a Withdrawal

Students must be enrolled and attending classes to remain in the residence halls. Upon withdrawal, a student is expected to vacate their residence hall space within 24 hours unless other arrangements have been made with Residential Education (828-251-6700, reslife@unca.edu).