Student Petitions

What is a student petition?

A student petition is a formal request for a waiver of a Senate Policy. Waivers would include Senate policies listed in Policies and Rules for Undergraduate Students. The most common petitions are retroactive withdrawals and retroactive late drops.

What types of petitions have students submitted in the past?

View the most recent Summary of Petitions Report on academic exceptions presented by the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education.


Preparing a Petition

IMPORTANT: STUDENTS, please DO NOT send petition materials directly to the Faculty Senate office. It will cause a delay in the process.

Students initiate a petition by speaking with an adviser at their college/campus advising center.

STUDENTS, please make a copy of all documents that are included in your Senate petition prior to your college/campus representative submitting to the Senate office. If students are working with a Penn State office, such as the Office of Student Aid for an Academic Progress Appeal or the Office of the Bursar for a tuition adjustment, documents from a petition may be released directly to the Penn State Office with a student’s permission.

For students enrolled at University Park:

  • Students enrolled in a college will submit their petitions through the Dean’s office of the college in which the student is enrolled.
  • Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and degree-seeking students conditionally enrolled in DUS will submit their petitions through the Division of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Students in Academic Warning or Academic Suspension status will submit their petitions through the Dean’s office of the college in which the student plans to enroll.
  • Non-Degree Regular and World Campus students planning to enroll in a degree program will submit their petitions through the college/campus in which they plan to pursue a degree. Students who are not pursuing a degree at Penn State or are undecided about a college will submit their petitions through the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). View University Park Petition Contacts

For students enrolled at another campus:

Student petitions are always submitted through the college/campus in which the student is currently enrolled, no matter where the student attended during the time of the request. Students are responsible for obtaining documentation from another college/campus if applicable. Students who are not currently enrolled will submit their petition through the college/campus in which they were last enrolled.


Time Frame for Submitting Petitions

There is no time limit for submitting a student petition. Occasionally students may even submit valid retroactive requests post-graduation. However, prompt resolution of transcript discrepancies is encouraged for the best outcome. When submitting a petition post-graduation, students should carefully review their academic record to ensure that removing credits (via retroactive late drop or retroactive withdrawal) will not compromise their degree conferral.


Translation of Petition Documentation

In the event that students provide petition documentation that is written in a language other than English, students are required to have the document translated before submitting. Students may use a translation service, which will provide a cover sheet with verification of translation. Students may know or be directed to a Penn State faculty member who speaks the language and request translation. In this case, the faculty member should include a cover letter with letterhead and signature verifying the translation. Either way, the document(s) need to be translated before the petition is submitted to the Faculty Senate Office.


Review of Petitions

The Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards reviews petitions continuously throughout the academic year, including summer terms, and petition reviewing is not coordinated with plenary meetings of the University Faculty Senate. Student petitions are reviewed at the college/campus level and submitters will make a recommendation of support or non-support to the Senate Committee. The petition will then be forwarded to the Faculty Senate Office where it will be reviewed by the Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards.


Denied Petitions – Appeal Petitions

If a petition is denied, students may appeal the decision one time, and only one time, and only if they can provide new, additional information and documentation to support their case. Prior to beginning the appeal petition process, students should contact the Faculty Senate office by phone at 814-863-1203 or by email to determine why their original petition has been denied, and to get suggestions for what may be helpful to provide in an appeal petition. Students must work with their academic unit to prepare their appeal petition. The Senate processing time for an appeal petition is the same as with the original; three to five weeks from the time the petition is received in the Senate office. If an appeal petition is denied, this is the end of the Senate process, and no further action can be considered.


Time Frame for Senate Decisions

After a petition is submitted, students can expect a decision from the Senate committee within three to five weeks from the time the petition is received in the Senate Office.


Financial Issues

The student petition process does not include the handling of tuition adjustments or any other financial concerns related to a Senate petition. These matters need to be addressed through the Office of the Bursar.