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Academic Standing Appeals

Academic Standing

A student’s academic standing is calculated at the end of each academic term. It is an indication of overall cumulative academic performance in a program of study.  

An academic standing appeal is a request for a standing of Required to Withdraw (RTW) or Permanent Program Withdrawal (PPW) in the case of undergraduate students, and Withdrawn in the case of graduate students, to be reviewed or changed based on the grounds for appeal and evidence supplied by the student to support their. case.

What to consider before appealing academic standing

  • In a standing appeal, the burden of proof is on the student to show that, on a balance of probabilities, it is more likely than not that the decision relating to academic standing is incorrect. More specifically, that their current academic standing should be changed; as academic standing is determined by a students’ overall cumulative academic performance; students must provide substantial reasons why their current standing is not appropriate.
  • It is a student’s responsibility to try to resolve all standing-related issues with their Program Administrator as soon as they occur and if needed, with the Chair/Director of the teaching department/school/program. 
  • A standing appeal is often the result of one or more grade issues and may be submitted with a corresponding grade appeal(s) to address the grade that caused the change in standing.  A successful grade appeal(s) may render the standing appeal resolved (see Policy 168, Procedures Section 10 (opens in new window)  for the sequence of appeals).
  • Before submitting a standing appeal, students are strongly encouraged to communicate with the teaching or program department as soon as circumstances arise within a semester that are likely to affect academic performance.  Failure to do so may jeopardize the appeal.

Students may begin the standing appeal process when they have a standing of Required to Withdraw (RTW) or Permanent Program Withdrawal (PPW) for Undergraduate Students, Withdrawn for graduate students and Failed for law students and when all options for an informal resolution have been exhausted.  

Grounds for an academic standing appeal

Students may only appeal their academic standing if one or more grounds for appeal exist (see Policy 168: Grade and Standing Appeal (opens in new window) s-section 6 for details on Grounds).  The four (4) grounds for appeal are

Course Management (not available for undergraduate or law students) 

For undergraduate and law students, Course Management may be considered as a ground for grade appeals, but not for appeals of academic standing.

For graduate students, the grounds of Course Management includes the management of non-course program requirements by the supervisor and/or Graduate Program Director.

Extenuating Circumstances 

Appeals may be filed on the ground of Extenuating Circumstances when students believe that there have been occurrences of reasonable significance that: 

  • are outside a student’s immediate control
  • could not have been reasonably foreseen or avoided; and
  • significantly impact the student’s ability to fulfill their academic requirements

Procedural Error

Appeals may be filed on the ground of Procedural Error when it is believed that there has been an error in the procedure followed in the application of either this policy (Policy 168) or any applicable policy of the University that has impacted a student’s grade or standing. Appeals granted on this ground will resolve the procedural error. 


Appeals may be filed on the ground of Prejudice when it is believed that that the student’s standing has been impacted by prejudice based on a ground protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code (external link, opens in new window) .  Students who believe their academic standing has been adversely affected by another form of personal bias or unfair treatment, unrelated to a protected human rights ground, may appeal under the ground of Course Management.

Note:  Personal bias or unfair treatment are not considered to be the same as Prejudice as defined under the Ontario Human Rights code. 

NOTE: if prejudice is selected as a ground, a copy of the appeal submission will automatically be forwarded to Human Rights Services (HRS).  After Human Rights Services has received a copy of the student’s appeal and confirmed receipt via email with them, the student must then contact the Human Rights Services Office within ten (10) business days to consult with them regarding their appeal on the grounds of prejudice (see Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy).  If Human Rights Services determines that it will proceed with a complaint resolution process, then the student’s appeal will be put on hold until this process is completed.

Levels of Appeal

There are three (3) levels to which an undergraduate and graduate student can progressively appeal a standing. A student may only appeal to the next level if they disagree with the decision of the previous level and if grounds for appeal exist or if they do not accept the remedy proposed by the previous level decision maker.

1 st Level - Department/School/Program.

All appeals start at the Department/School/Program Level.

2 nd Level - Faculty.  

Students who wish to appeal the decision of the Department/School/Program must do so to the Dean of the Faculty.

3 rd Level - Senate. 

Students who wish to appeal the decision of the Faculty must do so to the Senate Appeals Committee. Decisions of the Senate Appeals Committee are final.

Note: For students from the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, there are two (2) levels to which a student can progressively appeal a final grade or their academic standing: Faculty and Senate.

Appeal Submission Process

An appeal submission should be directed to the appropriate decision making level (e.g. Department, Faculty, Senate) 

Academic standing appeals for all levels of appeal must be submitted via the online Appeal Submission Portal

It is a student's responsibility to submit a complete appeal within policy timelines that includes all relevant documentation (evidence) to support their claims. 

Appeal Submission

Students should create their appeal submission including detailed and well reasoned answers to:

  • Outline the actions that were taken to deal with situations that arose during the semester that had a serious impact on the ability to meet academic obligations.  Provide specific dates and details of when such actions. were taken (e.g., contacted the instructor, submitted a health certificate, requested or received some form of consideration, etc.) 
  • Detail the outcome (or “remedy”) that is being requested through this appeal, keeping in mind that all remedies must follow TMU, Faculty and/or Department policies. For standing appeals, the typical requested remedy is a change in standing from RTW or PPW to Probationary or from Withdrawn to Provisional.

Evidence/Supporting Documentation

All claims made in support of an academic standing appeal should be documented and copies of all documents should be uploaded to the appeal submission. Examples may include: health certificates, travel documents, email communications, grade or standing reports, progress reports, assignment or test results, course outlines, rubrics, graded coursework, final grades showing satisfactory course progress.

Important: Failure to provide supporting evidence/documentation may jeopardize the success of an appeal. 

Timelines for submitting an appeal and receiving a decision 

It is in the best interest of the student and the University for the timely resolution of any appeals under this Policy. Both the University and the student must work together to ensure the timely resolution of any appeals.

Students have ten (10) business days from the date of receiving their official academic standing to submit the 1st Level appeal. All other levels of appeal must be submitted within ten (10) business days of receiving the decision letter. 

The decision maker at the department or Faculty level of appeal (or their designate) will respond to the student in writing within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the appeal with a decision. If the decision maker is unable to respond to the student within this time, the student must be notified of when they can expect a decision.

For Senate level appeals, The Secretary of Senate or designate will respond to the student in writing within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the appeal submission to advise if the appeal meets the grounds as outlined in Policy, Section 6 to proceed to an appeal or if a dismissal is being recommended.

Students may continue in their program and can be registered in courses on the basis of a probationary contract (undergraduate) or provisional plan (graduate) for up to one term while their standing appeal is being considered. Exceptions may be made when the decision timeline is delayed due to the University.

Students on a probationary contract or a provisional plan and are appealing their academic standing, must pay all appropriate fees. If the standing appeal is denied and the student remains RTW/PPW or Withdrawn, they will be given a full refund of the fees charged for the courses in which they enrolled in that semester. Refunds will not be considered for past semesters that have already been completed.

Important: Late or incomplete appeals may not  be accepted.

Relevant University Policies 

Policy 166: Course Management (opens in new window) 

Policy 168: Grade and Standing Appeals (opens in new window) 

Policy 170(a) Undergraduate Course Grading, Academic Program Standing and Eligibility to Graduate (opens in new window) 

Policy 170(b) Graduate Status, Enrolment and Evaluation (opens in new window) 

Policy 170(c) Lincoln Alexander School of Law: Grading, Promotion and Academic Standing (opens in new window)