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Extenuating circumstances

Extenuating Circumstances (EC) and personal matters that may impact your learning

The University recognises that from time to time you may experience personal circumstances which will make it difficult for you to attend class or submit your assessments on time.

Those circumstances may be short term or longer term and the University has a number of ways it can help you.

It is vitally important that you let us know you have problems as soon as possible so that we can advise on the best course of action for your particular circumstances. We cannot normally take retrospective action; so telling us about your problems at the end of the year, or after your results have been released, is too late for us to help you. Make sure you speak to someone at the Student Hub as soon as you think you might be having difficulties. They will be able to guide you to the appropriate support.


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The following are the main ways in which the University can offer help to students who are experiencing personal problems that affect their ability to study:

Extenuating circumstances

The University defines extenuating circumstances as: ‘Significant, unforeseen and normally short-term matters that result in a major impact on a student’s ability to be able to complete, or submit, or attend an assessment’.

EC can be requested to receive a 14 day extension without penalty or to submit the work during the next opportunity without penalty (known as a deferral). Please note that there is no late submission for resit work except where a late submission on the grounds of EC has been accepted, any pass grade achieved of above 40% would still be capped at 40% due to being a referral.

EC is an evidence based process – no evidence = no EC accepted.*

*Exception – medically related EC requires no evidence

It is very important to remember that the Extenuating Circumstances policy can only be used for personal matters that are short term and where you do not miss too much learning. This policy is therefore only for issues that do not last longer than 20 working days (25 working days where there is a compelling reason). If you are experiencing long term issues please refer to the suspension section at the bottom of this page.

You also need to be aware that we operate a ‘fit-to-study’ policy, which means that you are responsible for deciding that you are fit to submit an assessment or take an examination. So if you sit an exam you cannot also submit an EC claim to say that you were not well and that you wish your illness to be taken in to account when marking. If you have taken the exam, or submitted a piece of work, then you have declared yourself fit to do so; your work will be marked and your EC claim disregarded.

Extenuating circumstances forms must be submitted to the Student Hub or by email to as soon as possible after the event/illness. Your EC form will be considered by the University’s EC panel.

Decisions of the EC Panel will be emailed to you at your Solent email address. If you wish to appeal the decision of the EC panel you must do so within 10 working days of receiving your EC outcome, please refer to the complaints, conduct and appeals portal page for the academic appeals policy and form.

Further details and guidance regarding the University’s Extenuating Circumstances policy and procedural guidelines and the submission form can be found below or can be obtained from the Student Hub.

Please read the Extenuating Circumstances case studies.

If you are experiencing difficulties that are not covered by the extenuating circumstances procedure, please contact the Student Hub who will be able to advise you.

Suspension of studies

If you are absent from studying for more than 20 working days the University will normally advise that you suspend your studies and start again the following academic year at the stage that you suspended.

This is because of the amount of teaching you will have missed. This may also provide the time you need to resolve all personal difficulties and commence studying without worry. You will then be in the best position to do as well as possible. Suspension means that you will keep all the marks you have achieved up until the point you suspend and when you return you will simply continue to complete the outstanding units and assessments. You cannot undertake any study whilst you are suspended from the course.

If you think you may need to suspend your studies you speak to someone at the Student Hub who will advise you and may direct you to further support where needed. You will then be provided with all the advice and guidance you need about the timing of your return to your course.

Page last updated on Monday 20 April 2020 at 10.58am.


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