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College Hardship Withdrawals with a Sample Hardship Letter

written by: Erik Hinrichsen•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/8/2011

There are many reasons for requesting hardship withdrawals from college, such as illness or the death of a loved one. These sorts of problems come up frequently enough that most colleges have an established process for requesting a withdrawal. What are your rights?

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    Many students have to withdraw from college due to unforeseen circumstances. It is always best to request a hardship withdrawal rather than simply withdrawing from courses, as the latter can result in failed courses. Note that hardship withdrawals generally do not apply for academic problems.

    According to one college's website, students can receive hardship withdrawals if they suffer from an emergency which prevents them from being able to complete the course. There are three different types of hardships: medical, personal, and financial. Hardship withdrawals are almost always complete (meaning you must withdraw from all courses); though in some cases a partial hardship may be offered. These are very rare, and the student typically must submit strong evidence supporting his claim that the hardship affected only some of his studies.

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    Hardship Withdrawal Process

    The process for requesting hardship withdrawals for college may vary from school to school, but it usually follows the process outlined here. Typically, the withdrawal request must be submitted to the office of the Dean of Students. The generally required documents are a form requesting a hardship withdrawal status, a personal statement of hardship, and any supporting documents. Of course, you should contact your school to find out its particular requirements for withdrawing before submitting your application.

    Medical Documentation

    The supporting documents required will vary depending on the reason for the hardship request. Medical withdrawals, which can include either physical or psychological issues, require signed letters from the physicians providing care. These letters must specifically state the dates of office visits, the way in which the illness impacted your ability to complete your studies, and a name and phone number at which the doctor can be reached.

    Personal Emergency Documentation

    Any personal emergency hardship withdrawal request should include official forms from state agencies or businesses. If, for example, a family member passes away, the request should include a death certificate or obituary showing the name of the person who died.

    Financial Documentation

    If the reason for withdrawal is financial, a signed statement from the student's employer (or parent's employer, as the case may be) is required. Valid reasons for financial hardship withdrawal include the loss of a job and mandatory cuts in hours. The statement must include a summary of the change, the date on which the change occurred, and the contact information of an employee who can verify the information.

    There are some restrictions on hardship withdrawals for college, however. If you have already taken the final exam or turned in the final paper, you may not request a withdrawal. There is also a time limit; most colleges require students to submit hardship requests within one academic year of the semester from which they wish to withdraw.

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    Sample Hardship Letter to College

    Dear [Name],

    I am writing to request a hardship withdrawal from [school]. I was in a bad car accident on October 23rd which resulted in serious injuries and required a lengthy hospital stay. I sustained broken arms and a severe concussion from the accident, which affect both my ability to write and to concentrate. Because of my broken arms, I am unable to complete my coursework. Because of the extent of my injuries, my doctors have determined that I should not leave my home for at least a month, which will prevent me from coming in to school. I am also unable to write due to my broken arms, which prevent me from taking written tests or writing essays.

    I have included letters from my doctors stating the extent of my injuries and why, in his opinion, I am unable to complete my coursework. These letters also include the date of my accident and a phone number you may verify the information included in this letter. Thank you for your consideration in this trying time.

    Sincerely,

    [Name]

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    The information included in this article should be adequate to complete your hardship withdrawal. However, it is vital that you communicate with your school's Dean of Students to ensure that you have submitted all the required materials.

    Sources

    http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwdos/hardship.html

    http://catalogs.rutgers.edu/generated/nb-ug_0507/pg21021.html

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