Student Petition Process


How is a Student Petition Initiated?

  • Students initiate the petition process by speaking with an adviser at their college/campus advising center.
  • Occasionally, the college/campus will submit a petition on behalf of a student. This may occur when:
    • For some reason the student cannot submit the petition themselves. (examples: incapacitating illness, military deployment)
    • An administrative/college/campus error is found.

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.

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.

Non-Degree Students

  • Non-Degree students planning to enroll in a degree program, will submit their petition 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 petition through the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

Student Request Letter

Students should prepare a brief, factual letter (see sample letters below) that includes the following:

  • Date the petition is submitted,
  • PSU ID Number,
  • Current address,
  • Current phone number,
  • Email address (PSU email preferred),
  • Addressed to the Senate Committee on Education,
  • A clear statement of the requested action,
  • A description of the extenuating circumstances that warrant an exception, and
  • A reason University policies/procedures could not be followed in a timely manner (see examples of appropriate and inappropriate requests below).

Examples of Appropriate and Inappropriate Requests

Examples

Sample Petition Letters

Samples


Petition Documentation

It is to the student’s advantage to submit a complete, well-documented petition. In a petition, students must describe extenuating circumstances beyond their control that affected their academic performance, and establish why they did not follow existing University policies/procedures before the established deadline.

Along with the student request letter, students should provide documentation of the extenuating circumstances that they claim justify an exception to University policies. Some examples of documentation are hospital records, letters from physicians, statements from counselors, or court records. If circumstances relate to a death, an obituary or death certificate should be submitted with the petition.

  • 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.
  • Once submitted, the petition and supporting documents become a part of a student’s educational record.

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.
    • Documents need to be translated before the petition is submitted to the Faculty Senate Office.

Documentation for Different Types of Petitions

  • The Senate Subcommittee on Undergraduate Petition Review requires specific documentation for each petition type.
  • Please follow the guidelines on the Student Petition Types page.

Trauma Petitions

  • Trauma drop/withdrawal procedures should be followed when a student’s circumstances require unusual confidentiality (e.g., the victim of a sexual assault or violent crime). This procedure is streamlined to reduce the number of people involved in processing.
  • At University Park, a trauma drop/withdrawal is initiated by the student in consultation with the following people:
    • If the student has not met with a counselor at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the student should consult with Margaret Lorah, Director, Gender Equity Center, 204 Boucke Building, 814-863-2027.
    • If the student has met with a CAPS counselor, the student should consult with this counselor; or the Trauma Drop Coordinator for CAPS, 501 Student Health Center, 814-863-0395.
  • At non-University Park campuses, a strong letter of support from a staff member, petitioning for trauma drop/withdrawal may be forwarded to the appropriate contact for processing. The appropriate contacts are:
    • If the student has not met with a counselor at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the student should consult with Margaret Lorah, Director, Gender Equity Center, 204 Boucke Building, 814-863-2027.
    • If the student has met with a CAPS counselor, the student should consult with this counselor; or the Trauma Drop Coordinator for CAPS, 501 Student Health Center, 814-863-0395.
  • A student letter is not required. The appropriate University form must be submitted with this request.

World Campus Involvement

  • Petitions involving World Campus course work must have a review at the World Campus in addition to the college/campus review before being submitted to the Senate Office.
  • After review at the college/campus, the petition should be forwarded to the World Campus. A World Campus adviser will provide a letter with enrollment history and information relevant to the student’s petition.
  • The college/campus is always the submitter of the petition.
  • View the World Campus website.

eLion/LionPATH Involvement

  • When students indicate failure of the eLion or Lion PATH system as the basis of their petition, a summary of actions within the system will be attained from the Office of the University Registrar.
  • eLion/LionPATH logs show the date, time and action for all activity. (For example, the log will show the date and time a student attempted to late drop a course and whether she/he completed all the necessary steps.)
  • An eLion/LionPATH summary is included with the petition which is then reviewed by the Senate Subcommittee on Undergraduate Petition Review.

Office of Student Conduct Involvement

  • If a student petitions for a retroactive late drop, withdrawal, or any other request that would involve changing or removing a grade, verification is done through the Office of Student Conduct to determine if there are academic integrity violations in the referenced course(s).
  • Students with violations that resulted in an academic sanction for a course or courses will not be permitted to retroactively remove a grade for the course(s) being petitioned.

Time Limit 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.

 Review of Petitions

  • The Senate Subcommittee on Undergraduate Petition Review has the authority for reviewing all petitions, and reviews petitions continuously throughout the academic year, including summer terms.
  • Petition reviewing is not coordinated with plenary meetings of the University Faculty Senate.
  • Student petitions are first reviewed at the college/campus level and authorized 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.
  • The Senate committee reviews each petition individually, and evaluates it based on its unique circumstances and supporting documentation.
  • There are no guarantees of approval of any petition.

Reviewing Process

  • First committee member reviews the petition.
    • If reviewer decides to approve, the petition is officially approved.
    • If reviewer decides to deny, the petition is forwarded to a 2nd Reviewer.
  • Second committee member reviews the petition.
    • If reviewer decides to deny, the petition is officially denied.
    • If reviewer decides to approve, the petition is forwarded to a 3rd Reviewer.
  • Third committee member reviews the petition.
    • If reviewer decides to deny, the petition is officially denied.
    • If reviewer decides to approve, the petition is officially approved.

Petition Process Timeline

  • After a petition has been submitted, students can expect a decision within three to five weeks from the time the petition is received in the Senate Office.
  • If there is a valid reason for a petition to be expedited, (such as quickly approaching graduation), petition submitters should note this by marking the check box designated “Expedited Review” on the Petition Cover Sheet.
    • We are aware that all students/submitters would like their petitions to be processed as quickly as possible. Please use the Expedited Review option only when there is a legitimate reason for the petition to be processed faster than normal (i.e., Quickly approaching graduation, Visa issues, Student Aid issues, etc.)

Notification

When a decision is rendered, a letter indicating if a petition has been approved or denied is sent via United States Postal Service (USPS) from the University Faculty Senate Office to the student.

  • At the same time, if the petition is approved, Senate Office staff will send a copy of the decision letter and registrar forms for processing to the Office of the Registrar.
  • A copy of the decision letter will also be sent to the Office of the Bursar if a student’s account must be billed tuition and fees resulting from an approved retroactive action (such as in the case of a retroactive registration or retroactive late add). Tuition and fees are based on the current tuition rates.

Denials – 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.

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.


Senate Contact Information

For additional information or specific questions concerning the student petition process, please contact:

Anna Butler
University Faculty Senate
101 Kern Graduate Building
Phone: 814-863-1203
Email: afb11@psu.edu