Exceptional Circumstance Withdrawal (ECW)

Exceptional Circumstance Withdrawal Deadlines:

Spring 2024: Thursday, April 11, 2024

(Please contact The Dean of Students’ Office prior to applying for the ECW if your enrollment includes an intersession or mini-semester.)

COMPLETE WITHDRAWAL REQUEST PACKETS submitted are for ALL classes and should be submitted during the semester for which the withdrawal is requested and at least two (2) weeks prior to the first day of final exams. Applications received after the submission deadline may be considered if the student’s documents show that the failure to apply timely was beyond the control of the student.

Quality Reasons for an Exceptional Circumstances Withdrawal are:

  • Physical / Mental Illness or Injury: Illness of a student of such severity or duration, to preclude completion of all courses.
  • Death in the Family: Immediate Family Members ONLY - parent, step-parents, spouse, child, sibling, or grandparents (documentation required).
  • Involuntary call to Military Duty ONLY.
  • Primary Care-Giver to ill Immediate Family Member
  • Victim of Crime
  • Other

Required Documentation:

  1. Request for Exceptional Circumstance Withdrawal Form: Click Here for Exceptional Circumstance Withdrawal Form
  2. Letter of Explanation: A letter, written by the student, explaining the reason for the withdrawal request and signed by the student.
    • It is recommended that you address the following in your statement:
      - What did you experience that impacted you during the semester in question?
      - When did the presenting issues begin and how did they affect your academic performance?
      - What type of assistance or intervention did you receive? Please include treatment dates with your healthcare provider (if applicable).
  3. Release of Medical Information (Included with the Exceptional Circumstance Withdrawal Form)
  4. Acceptable documentation for one of the following circumstances (see below)

Acceptable documentation for one of the following exceptional circumstances:

Physical / Mental Illness or Injury: Click Here for Medical Certification Form

  • Physician/Clinician must complete the Medical Certification Form Provided by FAU. This form must be completed in its entirety for submission.
  • Physician/Clinician must state that condition prevents successful completion of ALL courses and the reason(s) why.

Death in Immediate Family:

  • Requires Death Certificate or a letter from the funeral director or obituary.


  • Requires a copy of Military Orders

Primary Caregiver to ill Immediate Family Member: Click Here for Primary Caregiver Form

  • Physician/Clinician of Family Member must complete the Primary Caregiver Certification Form provided by FAU. This form must be completed in its entirety for submission.
  • The reason(s) the family members condition prevents the student's successful completion of all coursework.

Victim of Crime:

  • Letter from Victim Advocate and/or Police Report.
  • The reason(s) the crime prevents the student's successful completion of ALL coursework.


  • On a per case basis


  • If the withdrawal is approved and the student resides on campus, they must move out within 48 hours of receiving the approval letter.
  • Completed forms will be submitted to the Exceptional Circumstances Withdrawal Committee (ECW) for review. The ECW Committee, which is made up of university employees and includes healthcare professionals, meets weekly and will determine if there is just cause for a withdrawal due to exceptional circumstances.
  • In ALL cases of Physical / Mental Illness or Injury Withdrawals, an administrative hold may be placed on the student's upcoming registration until clearance is given by the attending physician/clinician, in writing, indicating that the student is now well enough to return to school. The ECW Committee will review the documentation and determine whether or not the student can resume classes for the upcoming semester.
  • If the withdrawal is approved, a "WM" will replace the grades. Documentation must be in English, or be translated to English and the translator's signature must be notarized. The translator must be someone other than the student or a relative of the student.
  • Student Appeal Process: Students who are denied a Withdrawal for Exceptional Circumstances may appeal the decision to the Vice President of Student Affairs, in writing, within ten (10) days of receipt of the letter.
  • Please refer to the "University Regulation 4.013" for the complete policy on Withdrawals for Exceptional Circumstances.


Students who are denied Exceptional Circumstances Withdrawal may appeal the decision in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs, postmarked or received within ten (10) academic days of mailing of the ECW decision letter. The Vice President for Student Affairs may, within a reasonable timeframe, approve, modify, or reject the original decision. The Vice President for Student Affair's decision will be considered final agency action.

Instructions for ECW Appeal Form:

  1. The ECW Appeal form and any additional pages must be completed and typed by the student.
  2. The ECW Appeal form must be submitted and dated by the student.
  3. If appealing a decision made through the process the student must submit the ECW Appeal form electronically and will receive the appeal decision letter via your FAU email account.
  4. The ECW Appeal forms are submitted online at fau.edu/dean(Building 80, Student Services, Room 215)
  5. If you would like to submit additional documentations please attach it to your appeal form or send it to vpstudentaffairs@fau.edu.
  6. ECW Appeal forms should not be submitted to The Associate Vice President and Dean of Students office.
  7. The ECW Appeal form must be received in correspondence within ten(10) business days of the date of receipt of Notice of Decision. Late appeals with NOT be accepted.
  8. The appeal determination of the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee is final and binding on all parties. There are no further appeals within the University. The student has the right to appeal the University's final decision to an external judicial forum.

Completed forms with required documents must be returned to the:

Bldg. SS-8, Rm. 226