Student Appeals & Complaints
Appeals for major extenuating circumstances may be made in the following cases:
- Serious illness or injury
- Unforeseen emergency or natural disaster
- Death of an immediate family member (parent/legal guardian, sibling, spouse/partner, or child)
- Non-voluntary military activation
- Other extraordinary circumstance
Contact the Question & Answer Center in the case of events such as child care issues, transportation issues, employment changes, normal pregnancy, incarceration, disagreement with instructor teaching method, difficulty learning the course material, college disciplinary actions, or judicial sanctions. These situations are not typically considered extenuating circumstances for college appeals, but we want to help you navigate life's hurdles.
Things to consider before submitting an appeal.
- If you withdraw early, you may be required to pay back all or some of your financial aid.
- Bright Futures Scholarship: need to complete at least 12 credits a year.
- Veteran’s benefits: may have a financial impact if classes are droped or withdrawn.
- Classes taken for a fourth time are charged full-cost tuition.
- If you have a loan in deferment, you need to maintain half-time status.
- You may need to remain full-time to maintain for medical insurance purposes.
Appeal Criteria Defined
Serious illness or injury
Serious illness or injury to student or immediate family member (parent, spouse, sibling, and child) that required extended recovery time.
A detailed explanation along with a physician's statement of the medical circumstances including the date of occurrence, duration, and how it negatively affected your coursework is required. If the student is caretaker for an immediate family member, the physician's statement should name the student as such.
Unforeseen emergency or natural disaster
Unforeseen emergency/natural disasterthat prevents you from completing the course(s).
Provide a detailed explanation regarding the specific circumstances of your situation. Please be sure to include dates and what you have done to overcome this condition. Supporting documentation from a third party (physician, social worker, psychiatrist, police, etc.) also must be attached.
Death of an immediate family memeber
Death in the student's immediate family (parent, spouse, sibling, and child).
Documentation must include copy of the obituary, notice of the funeral, or death certificate and documentation showing the relationship to the student.
Non-voluntary military activation
Non-voluntary military activation (activated within the same semester).
Documentation must include military activation papers with date of activation. Scheduled mandatory training or voluntary enlistment does not meet the criteria for an appeal.
Other extraordinary circumstance
Other extraordinary circumstance that prevents you from completing the course(s).
In rare situations, you can appeal using the reason of other extraordinary circumstance. A detailed explanation of the circumstances and how they negatively impact your academic progress is required. Official support documentation substantiating your circumstances must be provided. Support documentation supporting that your circumstances have been either been resolved or are being managed will also be required.
Your written personal statement is an important component of the appeal process. Include as many relevant details as possible, and be clear and concise. Take time to think about your statement and write it well. Turn it in, with relevant supporting documentation of the circumstances, before the appeal deadline. We encourage you to consider the following guidelines for an effective personal statement:
- Share what factors beyond your control contributed to your academic situation.
- Explain how things are different now.
- Describe the action you took at the time to address your academic issues.
- Describe the action you are taking now to address the issue, and your plan going forward.
- If you are appealing for suspension, your statement must include a detailed plan of action for how you will return to good academic standing.
- Lack of awareness of policies or unpreparedness for college coursework will not be accepted as reasons for the purpose of an appeal.
- The committee understands that students who are appealing want to stay on in school, feel that losing academic eligibility will be very difficult, and believe academic success means a lot to you and your family. Do not spend a lot of time discussing these factors in your statement.
Supporting documents from medical providers or other third party professionals are required to verify the reasons for your appeal. Letters from family and friends supporting your claim are not acceptable documentation. You must submit originals of all documentation. It is your responsibility to keep copies for your records. Due to privacy protection, please do not submit personal medical records or other private confidential information. We encourage you to include the following supporting documentation:
- For illness/injury or medical emergency – provide a letter(s) on official hospital letterhead signed by the attending physician explaining how your condition will prevent you from completing the course(s) you are attempting. The statement should also include the illness/injury and the services provided to the student, as well as related dates. The illness/injury must have occurred during the term for which the appeal is sought. If you are the caregiver of an immediate family member that sustained an illness/injury, a letter from the attending physician assigning you as primary caregiver must also be submitted.
- For unforeseen emergency/natural disaster – provide a letter(s) on official letterhead signed by attorneys or other third party professionals to document and explain how that circumstance prevented you from completing the course(s), as well as related dates. If you suffered an accident, an official report of occurrence, such as a police report, should be submitted. The incident must have occurred during the term for which the appeal is sought.
- For non-voluntary military activation – provide a copy of military orders specifying a report to duty date. Date must occur during the term in which the appeal is being sought.
- For death or an immediate family member – provide a copy of the obituary/death certificate naming the deceased and proof of the student’s relations, such as a birth certificate. Date must occur during the term in which the appeal is being sought.
If an issue cannot be resolved internally, you may file a complaint with the State of Florida.
Licensing Agency: Florida Department of Education
Florida Department of Education
Division of Colleges
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1544
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Accrediting Agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
Distance Education students, who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process, may appeal complaints to the FL-SARA PRDEC Council. For additional information on the complaint process, please visit the FL-SARA Complaint Process page.