What is an academic appeal?
An academic appeal is a procedure that permits a university or college to review a decision relating to your academic progress. It is used to resolve conflicts that arise when students report academic dissatisfaction or unfairness at a higher education institution. The option to appeal, or make a complaint, exists in the majority of schools nationwide. However, complainants are only recommended to submit an appeal when they can provide evidence that justifies their need for one.
Types of academic appeals
There are a variety of academic appeals that may be submitted for review:
- Grade appeals;
- Probation appeals;
- Academic suspension appeals; and
- Academic dismissal appeals
Grounds for an academic appeal
Students cannot appeal an academic decision merely because they are displeased or do not agree with one. They have to provide a valid reason, or grounds, in order for a school to adhere to their complaint. In most schools, there are only two permissible grounds for an appeal: improper conduct and extenuating circumstances. A student must prove that at least one, if not both, are applicable in their case.
Students appeal on this ground when coursework mistakes have been made by school staff or academic guidelines have been incorrectly applied in your cases. Errors that occurred during the setting and grading of an exam, attendance, an essay or any other forms of marked work count as grounds for improper conduct, as well as the decision to put you on suspension or dismiss you from a particular degree program.
Figuring out whether or not this ground applies in your situation may be difficult. But the advice of a legal professional can help steer you in the right direction.
Students appeal on this ground in cases when unpredictable events occur in their lives that hinder academic progression. This could be a range of situations, ranging from a death in the family, to a sickness that you acquired that kept you out of school. As long as this situation has had an adverse effect on your academic performance, it may be considered an extenuating circumstance.
However, before an appeal is granted, a student must determine if their extenuating circumstances will be validated and possibly elaborate on a few details to ensure they are. It's important to note that the circumstance mentioned in an appeal must be one that the university or college was not already aware of. For example, let's say you get a deadline moved back due to an illness you acquired. You can no longer use this illness as the basis of a successive appeal.
In cases when an appeal is submitted weeks or months after these extenuating circumstances occurred, a student will likely have to explain why they waited so long to inform the university of your condition. If you missed an exam due to a family crisis, for example, it is common for students to inform their professor around the time it is occurring. If you can't provide a convincing reason as to why you chose not to, a school will not grant an appeal.
Pennsylvania & New Jersey Student Rights Attorney
A failed class, a suspension, probation or a dismissal is devastating when you have invested tens of thousands of dollars into your education. When your college or university makes a decision that you believe is unfounded, you have every right to appeal that decision. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented a wide range of students in all stages of their educational journey, from undergraduate students to masters and doctoral students, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide. Contact him today to maximize your chances of being granted an appeal.