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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 there are a number of ways the University can help you.

It is vitally important you let us know you have problems as soon as possible so 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.

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.

Students can request their EC are accepted to receive a seven calendar day extension without penalty or to submit the work during the next opportunity without penalty (known as a deferral). Please note, there is no late submission for resit work except where a late submission on the grounds of EC has been accepted and in this case marks will be capped at 40%.

Dependent on the timing of an Extenuating Circumstances Panel you may not know if your EC submission is approved in advance of any submission deadline. If you are seeking an extension to a submission deadline then you may have to submit your work late without knowing if the EC request for an extension is approved. Any penalties applied will be removed if your application is successful.

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 and contact the Student Hub for further advice.

We’ve updated our EC Policy for the 2023/24 academic year – what’s changed?

You can submit an EC application for a maximum of two assessment submissions in any semester by ‘self-certifying’ and therefore without further evidence for an extension of up to seven calendar days for course work or to defer an exam to the resit period; self-certification will not be accepted if you wish to defer coursework. If you wish to self-certify, you must submit an EC claim in the usual way. Any additional applications or to request to defer a course work assessment must be supported by evidence as outlined in Annex A of the Policy.

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

Extenuating circumstances applications must be submitted through the Student Gateway as soon as possible after the event/illness. Applications will be considered by Student Registry and you'll be advised of the outcome as soon as practicable.

The outcome of your EC application will be emailed to you at your Solent email address. If you wish to appeal the decision you must do so within 10 working days of receiving your EC outcome. You can submit your appeal against the EC decision through the Student Gateway. If you are appealing after your overall results have been formally releases, you should follow the academic appeals policy. Please refer to complaints, conduct, and appeals for the academic appeals policy and form.

Final year students who defer all assessments in a module are then unable to achieve an Honours or Ordinary Degree until after the assessment has been completed and considered by the resit Progression and Award Board, will therefore not be eligible to attend the Graduation ceremony until the following year, when they have been awarded their target degree, diploma or certificate.


Further details and guidance regarding the University’s extenuating circumstances policy and procedural guidelines, as well as the submission form, can be found below or can be obtained from the Student Hub.

Medical evidence template

Extenuating circumstances Gateway application

Extenuating circumstances policy

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 while you are suspended from the course.

If you think you may need to suspend your studies you can 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.

Case studies

Extenuating circumstances

Student A

Student A is taken ill on the day of an examination and is taken to hospital as a precaution. He recovers fully and is able to take the rest of his examinations later in the week.

The student submits an EC form together with the hospital discharge note which details his submission. This is approved by the EC panel and the student is able to take his missed examination at the next available opportunity without any penalty.

Student B

Student B has been in bed with flu for ten days. He sees his GP who gives him a medical certificate confirming that he was unfit to work/study for that period of time.

Seven calendar days after his recovery the student is due to submit an assessment. He has not been able to work on the assessment while ill, although he had completed more than half the work up until the point of becoming ill. The student thinks he could finish the work if he had just a little bit more time and therefore submits an EC form requesting an extension up to seven calendar days after the deadline.

The student hands in the work three days after the deadline date. His EC submission for an extension is approved because he has medical evidence that confirms the dates of the illness. Therefore the student’s work is accepted as being on time and does not receive a late penalty mark deduction.

Student C

Student C is dyslexic and struggled with the completion of one of her assessments. She submitted an EC application together with the statement confirming her dyslexia and requested an extension.

The student’s application was rejected on the basis this was not valid EC. The student had been diagnosed with dyslexia for some time and provision for support was arranged by the University as part of the admissions process. This was not a short term unforeseen event; the student would need to manage her dyslexia for the duration of the course.

A meeting was arranged for the student with Access Solent staff to ensure the student fully understood the support available and was continuing to use it.

Student D

Student D's Grandmother passed away on 1 May with the funeral being held on 7 May.

The student had an assessment to submit on 1 June which they wish to delay taking until the next available opportunity. The student submits an EC form, a copy of the death certificate and a copy of the order of service.

This is not approved by the EC panel as the death occurred over ten days prior to the assessment deadline. Therefore the student gets an opportunity to submit the assessment at the next opportunity but because this is then a resit (referral) the mark would be capped at 40% and the student would be charged a re-assessment fee.


Student A

Student A is contacted by the School student achievement officer due to a very poor attendance record after returning from Christmas holidays.

The student advises that he has been receiving counselling for a personal problem and that this is on-going. At the moment he feels unable to attend class regularly and to work on the three assignments due in over the next 5 weeks. He asks to submit an extenuating circumstances form to request to submit them during the resit period.

The SAO reminds the student that EC is only for short term matters and the student is suffering from an on-going personal matter that they are receiving help for but have not yet resolved. Special action is not appropriate because the student cannot commit to attending any additional learning support sessions.

The student is advised that it is in his best interests to suspend his studies until he has resolved his personal problems; he will then be able to recommence his studies to cover any of the missed learning and take his assessments when he is best placed to do so.