Sometimes students experience personal or financial circumstances so extreme that they find it impossible to function academically at their usual level. Most of these students withdraw from the University until the situation improves, but others choose to continue in their classes, hoping they can manage to turn things around. Academic bankruptcy is designed to help those who have experienced circumstances and challenges beyond their control — and whose academic records are subsequently marred by a single semester of unusually poor performance due to devastating circumstances.
Benefits of Bankruptcy
Academic bankruptcy is complete, retroactive withdrawal from one semester. If you declare academic bankruptcy, your transcript will show a “W” for every course taken during the term to which bankruptcy is applied, regardless of the grades you actually earned, and those courses will no longer affect your GPA.
- Academic bankruptcy is never granted for the current or previous semester; typically, students apply for bankruptcy after completing at least two successful semesters beyond the term for which they desire academic bankruptcy.
- Academic bankruptcy can only be applied to one semester.
- You may apply for academic bankruptcy only once in your academic career at The University of Alabama.
- You cannot apply for bankruptcy if you have already graduated from the University.
- Your academic record must show a pattern of improved performance following the semester for which you’re declaring bankruptcy. (In other words, you need to be able to show that your performance during that semester was uncharacteristically poor.)
- Academic bankruptcy applies only to UA coursework.
- Your reasons for applying for bankruptcy must be unusual in degree, and you must be willing to discuss them with an A&S advisor.
- If you are approved for academic bankruptcy, you will lose all credits earned during the semester to which bankruptcy is applied. Be sure to consider the impact this may have on your progress toward a degree, as well as your financial aid status.
- Academic bankruptcy voids credits you’ve already paid for, and if you need those courses to graduate, you will have to pay to repeat them. Discuss this with your general advisor.
- While academic bankruptcy will improve your GPA, withdrawing from a number of courses may carry consequences if you receive financial aid.
- Academic bankruptcy will be noted on your academic transcript.
Applying for Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is granted by the dean’s office of the UA division you’re enrolled in — in your case, the College of Arts and Sciences.
Once you’ve been enrolled in A&S for two or more terms, you can apply for bankruptcy through the College of Arts and Sciences, even if you were enrolled in another division during the semester for which you’re seeking bankruptcy.
To find out whether academic bankruptcy may be granted in your specific situation, download and complete the academic bankruptcy policy and form (PDF), then make an appointment to talk to an A&S general advisor in the A&S Student Services Center, 200 Clark Hall.
As described in the University’s Student Handbook, cases of academic misconduct are handled by the dean’s office of the division in which the alleged misconduct took place. In the College of Arts and Sciences, the associate dean of the academic division in which the alleged misconduct occurred will process the case.
Academic Second Opportunity
If you have not been enrolled in The University of Alabama for at least three academic years, you can petition the College of Arts and Sciences for readmission to the University under a policy called “academic second opportunity.”
This petition must be submitted to the A&S Student Services Center after you have been readmitted through the UA Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
If your petition is approved, you’ll be readmitted to the University regardless of your previous academic performance.
Your previous coursework will remain on your transcript, but it won’t affect your GPA. In place of an A-B-C-D-F grade, your transcript will show a P (for “passing”) for any course you completed with a grade of C- or better during your earlier enrollment.
Although previously completed courses will be excluded from future GPA calculations, you’ll get to keep credit earned for those courses you passed with a C- or better. That credit can be applied toward major and general education requirements. All courses in which you received a D or F will be shown as W.
To apply for academic second opportunity, you must petition the College of Arts and Sciences, and you must meet a few eligibility requirements:
- You must have been separated from the University for at least three full academic years.
- You aren’t eligible if you have earned a college degree from UA, or anywhere else.
- Your separation from the University must not have been due to academic misconduct.
- You aren’t eligible if you’ve already been readmitted under this policy.
- Academic second opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime option — there’s no “academic third opportunity.” This means that while you may re-enroll to complete your degree, you can’t receive the GPA-improving benefits of this policy again.
- Because academic second opportunity excludes earlier academic work from GPA calculations, if you’re readmitted under this policy you won’t be eligible for honors designations (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) at graduation. If earning such a designation is important to you, talk to an advisor about your options.
- Academic second opportunity cannot be revoked.
For more information or to file a petition, talk to an advisor in the A&S Office of Student Services.
If your GPA dips below the Scholastic Progress Standard (SPS), you will be suspended, and the suspension will be noted on your permanent transcript. The University suspends students whose grades fall below the SPS at the end of the spring semester.
The first suspension is for one semester; subsequent suspensions are indefinite. You may be eligible to appeal your first or subsequent suspension, but the outcome of the appeal will not remove the suspension from your transcript. Submitting a petition does not guarantee approval.
Suspension means that you can’t register for classes at UA for the upcoming fall or spring semester, though you can sign up for summer classes or take classes at another institution. Be aware that grades earned at another institution will not affect your UA GPA or your suspension status.
An academic warning is an alert from the University that your GPA is close to the threshold for academic suspension.
The University of Alabama sends an academic warning to every student whose GPA falls below 2.0 but above the Scholastic Progress Standard (SPS). The SPS varies according to how many credit hours you’ve earned, as follows:
Credit hours earned, minimum UA GPA
An academic warning is intended as a wake-up call. It doesn’t mean you’re suspended, or that suspension is inevitable, and it will not affect your ability to register for the upcoming semester.
Instead, receiving an academic warning means that it’s time to identify and resolve factors affecting your performance. Maybe you need to manage your time more wisely or seek help with your coursework. It’s also possible that your major program isn’t a good fit for you. You might also simply be overwhelmed by competing demands of school, work, family, and social life.
Whatever the cause of your academic difficulties, you must talk to your academic advisor after you receive a warning — and we urge you to do this as soon as possible. When we meet, we’ll talk through the problem and help you determine how to solve it, and we’ll direct you toward any A&S and UA resources that might help.
Note that an academic warning is the first strike against your academic standing. Be sure to take advantage of your college advisor and other resources to improve your GPA.
The University of Alabama’s Suspension Policy will be strictly observed. However, students with exceptional circumstances may render an appeal for an exception.
If you have been suspended and can articulate extenuating circumstances, you may be eligible to petition for reinstatement. Eligibility to petition does not guarantee approval.
Your A&S college advisor can provide further information if you have questions. To request a petition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.