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Student Academic Consideration Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose of Policy

(1) The University supports students in managing unforeseen adverse circumstances that may impact on their academic progress. Academic consideration is a process intended to help minimise the impact of short-term compassionate, compelling or extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control which significantly impair a student’s ability to complete an assessment task on or by the due date, or to progress academically in a subject relevant to their course of study.

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Section 2 - Application and Scope

(2) This Policy applies to:

  1. all coursework students across all Australian and International UOW campuses with the exception of students enrolled at UOW Dubai who will follow the procedures as set out in the Special Consideration Policy and Procedure.
  2. short-term circumstances that are unexpected and beyond the student’s control and significantly affect student performance in assessment.

(3) Academic Consideration is not the primary support mechanism for students who have a disability or an ongoing medical condition (including a psychological condition) in managing the impact of that disability or condition on their studies. These students are supported by the Student Accessibility and Inclusion Team. (Student Access and Inclusion Website)

(4) The Academic Consideration process should not be used to request a review of mark or grade. This is within the scope of the Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Policy.

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Section 3 - Policy Principles

(5) The principles guiding this Policy are:

  1. Equity/fairness - decisions are made fairly and consider relevant circumstances consistent with the policy eligibility requirements.
  2. Transparency - both students and staff act transparently with regards to Academic Consideration applications, supporting documentation and outcomes.
  3. Timeliness – students must make applications within set time limits and University staff will assess applications within specified timeframes.
  4. Evidenced based - decisions will be based on evidence provided by students.
  5. Proportionate - applications will be assessed relative to the duration of the extension/consideration.
  6. Right of appeal - students have the right to appeal academic consideration decisions via the Review of Academic Decisions system.
  7. Attainment of Learning - To pass subjects, students must demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes specified in the Subject Outline, regardless of whether academic consideration has been granted.
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Section 4 - Submitting an Application for Academic Consideration

(6) Applications for academic consideration may be submitted where the:

  1. assessment task contributes to the final grade of the subject concerned; 
  2. subject has a compulsory attendance or participation requirement as indicated in the Subject Outline; or
  3. student has missed a workplace-based subject component and/or a clinical or teaching practicum (i.e. a subject taught in conjunction with a third party) and the placement conditions allow for rescheduling.

(7) For assessment tasks to which the academic consideration process does not apply, students who are affected by unforeseen adverse circumstances should contact their subject coordinator directly.

(8) academic consideration may only be granted on the basis of compassionate, compelling and/or extenuating circumstances, where those circumstances:

  1. are beyond the student’s control, not due to their action or inaction, and could not have been reasonably foreseen or avoided; and
  2. significantly affect a student’s ability to meet the requirements of a subject’s teaching/learning and/or assessment tasks as defined in the Subject Outline.

(9) Requests are based on an event and may apply to multiple subjects. The maximum length of consideration for a single event is limited to seven days. Where further time is sought, students must re-apply subject to clause 10.

(10) Students must apply before, or on the assessment/s due date. Where evidence is required, students must provide evidence no later than three working days after the assessable item’s due date for their request to be considered.

(11) Evidence requirements are outlined in section 4. Students must comply with the documentary evidence requirements as detailed in section 5 and in Schedule 1.

(12) Students cannot apply for academic consideration for an exam or assessment task after completing and submitting that exam or assessment task. Where a student has commenced an exam and had to leave before completion due to illness, they must inform the examiner immediately and may still apply for academic consideration in line with all conditions outlined in this policy. Exceptions will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis where it is clear that a student was unfit to make reasonable judgement on their fitness to undertake the assessment, due to mental illness or other extenuating circumstances, and this is supported by the subject coordinator.

(13) Requests for academic consideration submitted by students enrolled at onshore campuses will be reviewed by Student Administration Services Division who will make a determination of eligibility based on if the circumstance and evidence meet the policy requirements.

(14) Where an eligible academic consideration request is submitted in line with cluase 21 and 22, academic staff will determine the appropriate outcome and type of consideration to be applied as outlined in Section 8.

(15) In deciding whether or not to grant a request for academic consideration, and in deciding what form of academic consideration, if any, may be appropriate, regard is given to:

  1. whether the academic consideration sought would compromise the learning outcomes of the course or subject;
  2. whether the circumstance significantly impacts the student’s ability to meet the requirements of a subject’s teaching/learning and/or assessment tasks as defined in the Subject Outline;
  3. whether the student complied with timeframes for submission of their application and documentary evidence or had extenuating circumstances for not doing so.

(16) Students who experience three or more adverse events in a session for which they have applied for academic consideration, or where the circumstance is of a more serious or long-term nature, will be referred by SASD to the Head of Students of the Faculty for academic advice or to UOW support services. The University will not determine any further application for academic consideration until the student has met with the relevant Head of Students or Student Support Coordinator.

(17) While students may request a particular type of consideration during their application, academic staff may determine that an alternative form of consideration is more appropriate to meet the criteria outlined in clause 39.

(18) In the event of a high risk incident, an authorised UOW staff member may manage the academic consideration application process on behalf of a student or group of students.

(19) Guidelines for using and applying this policy correctly are available for students online, and for academic and professional staff via the UOW intranet.

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Section 5 - Documentary Evidence Requirements

(20) Students requesting short extensions of time to submit individual written assignments (assignment, essay, portfolio, professional task, project, proposal, reflection, report, thesis) due to short-term, acute illnesses or short-term unforeseen circumstances are permitted to self-certify the event in the following circumstances:

  1. the request is the student’s first application within a session (including a single application applying to more than one subject); 
  2. the duration of the request does not exceed three calendar days;
  3. the circumstances meet the policy requirements; and
  4. the request is made at least one day before the assessment deadline.

(21) Any subsequent requests within the same session, or requests of a duration longer than three days, require evidence to support the application.

(22) Where the request does not meet the self certification criteria outlined in clause 20(a to d)(for example the assessment type is not an individual written assignment e.g., exam, presentation, lab/prac/simulation, performance, placement, quiz, or group work assessment) or the request relates to attendance or participation requirements, evidence is required to support the application.

(23) Students must comply with the documentary evidence guidelines for medical and non-medical grounds as outlined in Schedule 1.

(24) Student Administrative Services Division may approve an exemption of the timeframes specified in Clause 10, provided a student’s documentary evidence shows that exceptional circumstances prevented the student from adhering to the timeframe/s. Examples of exceptional circumstances justifying an exemption may include, but are not limited to, an accidental injury or sudden illness requiring the student’s immediate hospitalisation without access to a computer.

(25) Documentary evidence must be written in English or be a certified translation.

(26) Collaborative Delivery Partners are responsible for establishing appropriate criteria regarding documentary evidence in accordance with this Policy, appropriate to the local regulations, and approved by the relevant Academic Unit.

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Section 6 - Eligible Circumstances

(27) Compassionate, compelling, or extenuating circumstances may include (but are not limited to):

  1. Compassionate or compelling circumstances, as outlined in the Compassionate or Compelling Circumstances Guidelines such as medical illness or injury, bereavement or funeral attendance, an adverse experience (witnessing a serious accident, eviction notice, housing insecurity, natural disaster ,being the victim of crime) or where the student is unexpectedly required to care for a close family member or is the primary carer for a member of their household.
  2. Extenuating circumstances such as substantial unplanned carer’s responsibilities, legal commitment, simultaneous in-session tests, military service, one-off unusual work commitments, participation in sporting events at state, national or international level with an official sporting body, religious or cultural obligations and events, for technical issues experienced at the time of assessment which can be substantiated or where changes to assessment due dates are made after the release of a subject outline and this has caused an adverse circumstance which did not exist before.
  3. For international students, additional circumstances apply such as major political upheaval or natural disaster in a student’s home country, visa delays affecting commencement dates or changes to family circumstances resulting in a student’s ability to pay tuition fees or reasonable personal living expenses.

(28) Students who have alternative arrangements with the Student Accessibility and Inclusion Team should use Academic Consideration when applying for circumstance/s which are not outlined in their approved access plan documentation. Applications for these circumstances are treated as a normal Academic Consideration and are bound by all conditions outlined in this Policy.

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Section 7 - Non-Eligible Circumstances

(29) Academic consideration will not be granted for common occurrences which interfere with daily life.  These non-eligible, common occurrences include, but are not limited to: 

  1. usual or routine work commitments;
  2. issues with transport to campus;
  3. where a student has failed to back up their work;
  4. multiple exams within a time period which do not clash with each other;
  5. multiple assessment tasks due in a period;
  6. usual or routine family commitments;
  7. clashes with usual recreational activities;
  8. lack of knowledge of requirements of academic work or due dates;
  9. anticipated changes of address;
  10. recreational travel (domestic or international).
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Section 8 - Types of Consideration Which May be Requested

(30) Extension of time to submit an assessment task beyond the due date specified in the subject outline.

(31) Permission to undertake a deferred assessment task or in-session test beyond the date specified in the subject outline. The Subject Coordinator will determine the nature, date, time and venue of an approved deferred in-session assessment task or in-session test.

(32) Permission to undertake a deferred end-of-session exam during the supplementary exam period as outlined in the UOW Key Dates. Students intending to graduate should be aware that an approved deferred end-of-session exam will impact their eligibility to graduate in that session, as results may not be released in time for graduation cut off dates. Students approved to undertake a deferred end-of-session exam will be advised of the details at least three working days prior to the commencement of the supplementary exam period and their grade recorded as Withheld Deferred (WD).

(33) Consideration for compulsory attendance or participation, where the subject outline clearly states that attendance or participation has an effect on a subject’s final grade.

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Section 9 - Responses to Applications and Outcomes of Academic Consideration

(34) For onshore students, SASD will assess the eligibility of applications. Where an application is deemed eligible, the student and the relevant subject coordinator will be notified.  

(35) Where evidence is required, Subject Coordinators, Head of Students', Associate Deans, or Faculty Assessment Committees will determine the appropriate type of consideration to be awarded as outlined in Section 8 and must provide details to the student on the type of consideration to be granted in addition to any dates of deferrals or extensions.

Applications Denied

(36) Denied applications shall include the reason/s why the application has been denied. A denied application is not an indication that UOW staff do not believe their circumstances are genuine, but that their application and/or documentary evidence do not meet the criteria outlined in this Policy.

Request for Additional Evidence and/or Information

(37) A student may be asked to provide additional evidence and/or information if the assessor of the application believes the application to be incomplete as determined by the criteria of this Policy. In these instances, the assessor will provide the student with a deadline for providing this information. If the additional evidence and/or information is not received by the deadline, application/s will be declined. Where additional evidence and/or information is provided by the deadline, the application will be assessed in line with the criteria outlined in this Policy.

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Section 10 - Requests for Further Consideration

(38) Where a student has been approved to sit a deferred or supplementary end-of-session exam and is subsequently unable to attend on the scheduled day, a second deferred or supplementary exam may be approved by the delegated authority on rare occasions, provided the request meets all other eligibility criteria outlined in this policy. A third deferred end-of-session exam will not be considered. 

(39) For further requests for consideration types other than a deferred end-of-session exam, if a request still meets all other eligibility criteria outlined in this Policy, an academic assessor may in rare circumstances approve further consideration in the form of one of the following:

  1. additional time to submit an assessment task beyond the date of the original approval;
  2. permission to undertake a deferred in-session exam on a later date to the original approval; or
  3. an alternative form of assessment task, other than what is specified in the subject outline or original approval.

(40) Requests for further consideration are bound by all other conditions outlined in this Policy.

(41) Where requests for further consideration are not considered or approved, the student may be offered the opportunity to discuss alternative appropriate options with the Head of Students, or may be awarded a zero grade for the assessment item in question.

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Section 11 - Appeal Against a Decision on Academic Consideration

(42) If the student believes that the outcome of their application is not in line with the rules of this policy, they may request a review of the decision via the Review of Academic Decisions Policy.

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Section 12 - Responsibilities

(43) The University has a responsibility to:

  1. assess applications in accordance with the policy principles;
  2. provide and communicate the guidelines for using and applying this policy concisely and clearly for students and staff;
  3. manage an academic consideration process application, in the event of a high-risk incident, on behalf of a student or group of students;
  4. offer appropriate learning and other support to students identified as at risk of not achieving satisfactory academic performance;
  5. ensure that this Policy and its guidelines are implemented and applied consistently across all faculties and academic units.

(44) Students have a responsibility to meet deadlines as set out in the Subject Outline. Students who cannot meet such deadlines because of circumstances outlined in Section 6 of this Policy, and who are seeking academic consideration must ensure they:

  1. make reasonable efforts to minimise the impacts of compassionate, compelling and/or extenuating circumstances on their academic performance;
  2. seek help from appropriate staff when they become aware of compassionate, compelling and/or extenuating circumstance which may affect their academic performance;
  3. ensure applications are timely and the reason for consideration is clearly explained;
  4. ensure applications are supported with evidence, where required, and
  5. behave ethically and honestly in all respects when applying for academic consideration.

(45) Designated Professional staff with access and authority to process documentary evidence have a responsibility to:

  1. ensure that documentary evidence meets the criteria outlined in Section 5 and Schedule 1 of this Policy; and
  2. assess and be satisfied with the authenticity of the documentary evidence prior to processing; and
  3. escalate any documentary evidence identified as fraudulent to the delegated authority in SASD; and
  4. refer students to the Review of Academic Decisions Policy in the circumstances outlined in section 13 of this Policy.

(46) Professional staff at partner institutions are respoponsible for establishing appropriate procedures approved by the relevant Academic Unit in accordance with this Policy.

(47) Subject Coordinators have a responsibility to:

  1. ensure consistent application of this Policy and its guidelines so that all students are treated fairly and equitably as far as practicable; and
  2. implement considerations to enable completion of the assessment task.

(48) The Head of Academic Unit (or academic nominee) has a responsibility to:

  1. ensure every subject has an assigned Subject Coordinator specified in the subject database; and
  2. ensure that all applications for academic consideration are dealt with according to the provisions of this Policy.

(49) The Head of Students has responsibility to:

  1. provide academic advice to students in matters relating to their applications for academic consideration where required and;
  2. act as assessor for escalated applications, following the assessment guidelines as outlined in this Policy.
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Section 13 - Privacy and Confidentiality

(50) All staff designated to access information contained in applications for academic consideration are obliged to preserve confidentiality in accordance with the Privacy Policy,the University Code of Conduct and other relevant privacy legislation.

(51) Records relating to academic consideration applications will be retained and disposed of in accordance with the State Records Act 1998, General Retention and Disposal Authority-Higher and further education GA-47, and the Records Management Policy.

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Section 14 - Definitions

Word/Term Definition (with examples if required)
Academic Decision A decision made by a member of University staff or a University committee, normally under the University's rules or policy, which affects a student's academic progress in relation to their coursework studies or research candidature.  Students can refer to the Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Policy for further details.
Academic Consideration Academic Consideration is intended to help minimise the impact of compassionate, compelling or extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control, which significantly impair a student’s ability to complete an assessment task on or by the due date as stipulated in the Subject Outline; or which affects Academic Progress in a subject relevant to their course of study. Academic consideration may be granted on the basis of compassionate, compelling circumstances and/or extenuating circumstances.
Academic Progress Successful completion of subjects towards a degree within established time limits.
Academic Staff Staff of the University who carry out teaching responsibilities under the authority of the Head of an Academic Unit.
Academic Unit Faculty, School, Unit, Program or Discipline.
Academic Unit Assessment Committee The Academic Unit Assessment Committee is as described in the Finalisation of Student Results Policy
Assessment Work which a student is required to complete to provide a basis for an official record of achievement or certification of competence in a subject. This may include summative and/or formative forms of assessment. Examples of assessments include, but are not limited to: examination, test, take-home examination, quiz, assignment, essay, laboratory report, thesis, demonstration, performance, tutorial presentation, class participation, practicum, clinical placement, and work experience.
Compassionate or Compelling Circumstances Circumstances that are beyond the student’s control and have a direct impact on the student’s course progress or wellbeing.
Course A program of study consisting of a combination of subjects and other requirements, whether leading to a specific higher education award or not.
Authorised UOW Staff Authorised UOW staff are:
  1. Student Support Co-ordinators/Managers
  2. Director, Student Administration Services Division. 
  3. Associate Director, Student Service; or
  4. Manager, Student Service;
  5. Accessibility and Inclusion Specialists
  6. Safe and Respectful Communities Coordinators
  7. University Counsellors
  8. Critical Incident Coordinators/Managers
Deferred assessment An assessment taken by an eligible student as a result of an approved Student Academic Consideration application. Deferred assessment includes in-session or end-of-session assignments and examinations and can be administered by the faculty or centrally.
Disability Disability in relation to a person includes one or more of the following:
  1. total or partial loss of a person’s bodily or mental functions;
  2. total or partial loss of a part of the body;
  3. the presence of a body of organisms causing disease or illness;
  4. the presence of a body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness;
  5. the malfunction, malformation, or disfigurement of a part of a person’s body;
  6. a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction;
  7. a disorder or illness that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions, or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour.
And one which:
  1. presently exists;
  2. previously existed but no longer exists;
  3. may exist in the future;
  4. is imputed to a person.
Examiner A person or persons with responsibility for the assessment of work in
any subject.
Head of Students An academic staff member with nominated responsibility for providing academic advice and decisions for a particular faculty.
High Risk Incident High Risk Incidents include, but are not limited to:
  1. Sexual Assault;
  2. Group Thematic trends (affecting more than 10 students);
  3. Singular Thematic trend (i.e. domestic violence); or
  4. Other Critical Incident (determined by authorised UOW staff).
Collaborative Delivery Partner Another institution or organisation (typically another higher education provider) with which the university has a partnership arrangement. This includes affiliated entities under the management of UOW Enterprises (UOWE): UOW Dubai (UOWD), UOW College (UOWC) and Community College of City University in Hong Kong (CCCU).
Access Plans Alternative arrangements that are made to ensure that students with a disability and students who are associates of persons with a disability are able to undertake their study and complete their course requirements without disadvantage.
Registered Medical Practitioner A medically qualified person registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA) as a medical practitioner to practice in Australia.
Registered Psychologist A qualified person registered with Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA) as a psychologist to practice in Australia.
Session A period in which subjects may be offered. Standard sessions are defined as, Trimesters, Autumn and Spring..
Student Support Co-ordinator (SSC) Members of the DVCA portfolio who provide support to students with complex, sensitive student issues.
Student A person registered for a course or enrolled in subject/s with UOW.
Student Services The service centre responsible for the provision of guidance, enrolment management support and services for all UOW students and external clients.
Student Administration Services Division The Unit responsible for policy, governance and the management of core student administrative functions.
Subject Coordinator An academic staff member with nominated responsibility for a particular subject.
Subject Outline The document governing content, delivery and assessment of material for a subject.
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Section 15 - Schedule 1 – Academic Consideration Supporting Evidence


(52) This Schedule provides guidance to professional and academic staff engaged in the process of determining whether a student’s circumstances or events affecting assessment should be regarded as being:

  1. beyond the student’s control, not due to their action or inaction, and could not have been reasonably foreseen or avoided; and
  2. significantly impact a student’s ability to meet the requirements of a subject’s teaching/learning and/or assessment tasks as defined in the Subject Outline.
  1. It also establishes minimum standards regarding the documentary evidence required to substantiate such case which must comply with the general evidence requirements outlined in Section 6 of the Academic Consideration Policy.
  2. This Schedule is relevant for situations where the self-certification provisions outlined in clause 6.1 do not apply.

Documentary Evidence Requirements

(53) Documentary evidence must indicate the following information:

  1. the name of the student which matches the name on their UOW record;
  2. the date the certificate, Professional Authority Form or document was completed and signed;
  3. for medical certificates or professional authority forms, the health practitioner’s details as below:
    1. the Medicare provider number (for eligible health professionals recognised for Medicare services);
    2. ii. the AHPRA Practitioner Registration number or ARCAP Register Number (for social workers and counsellors)
    3. iii. telephone contact and address details of the health practitioner;
    4. iv. severity and impact on ability to complete an assessment /exam.
  4. the start and end date for which the student’s circumstances are covered by the document, and which match the student’s request for academic consideration; and
  5. any additional information which may assist the student in obtaining academic consideration such as how the circumstances have affected the student’s ability to study and/or the relationship of the student where the document refers to family member/s.
Eligible Circumstances Documentary Evidence Requirements
Short term illness, injury or health related matter (medical grounds)
  1. Medical certificate from a registered health practitioner*; or
  2. Professional Authority Form; or Absence from Work Certificate;
  3. Hospital Medical / Attendance certificate if you were unable to attend an assessment task due to hospital attendance / admission. Please note that this is not the same document as a hospital discharge referral.
*Registered health practitioners include general practitioners, pharmacists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, registered psychologist, social workers and counsellors (for personal or family problems only).
Difficult Personal Circumstances such as: natural disasters (e.g. fire, floods, earthquakes), housing insecurity, victim of domestic or family violence or abuse, and or family or relationship breakdown, e.g. divorce, separation.
  1. Medical certificate or
  2. Professional Authority Form or 
  3. NSW Statutory Declaration Form. It must be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace or an authorised witness.
To verify natural disasters, secondary evidence should be sourced from the range of departments listed on the Resilience NSW website.
Loss or bereavement
  1. Professional Authority Form; or
  2. death certificate, death notice or funeral pamphlet; or
  3. formal letter (on official letterhead) from a funeral director confirming the date of the funeral and the relation to the student. 
  4. International students may submit statutory declarations where they are unable to obtain evidence from their home country.
An adverse experience (witnessing a serious accident, eviction notice or being the victim of a serious crime)
  1. Police or Fire Officer report or event number; or
  2. Eviction notice; or
  3. Professional Authority Form.
Unavoidable commitments such as:
  1. One-off unusual work commitments that cannot be changed;
  2. Weddings that can be expected and anticipated may be considered for assessments that are held in person on the same day but are unlikely to be considered for assessments such as assignments where students can plan for this event occurring.
  3. Significant Religious commitments.
  4. Unavoidable medical appointments.
  5. Legal commitments or jury duty.
  1. Letter from an employer on an official company letterhead
  2. NSW Statutory Declaration Form. It must be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace or an authorised witness.
  3. Letter from a minister of religion (or the like) on an official letterhead confirming the nature and date of your religious commitment.
  4. Professional Authority Form - Jury notice letter from a relevant authority; or
  5. Copy of a summons, subpoena, court order and police reports.
Unexpected carers duties for a close family member or household members for whom the student is the primary carer.  
Simultaneous in-session tests UOW subject outline or exam timetable, where assessable tasks are scheduled at the same time.
Technical issues experienced at the time of assessment which can be substantiated (interruptions in online exams refer to the instructions within the Online Exams Procedures, Section 11). Timestamped screenshot or photo evidence and proof of help request.
Military or emergency services e.g. Active Service, ADF Reserve, SES. Letter from the armed forces or SES on official letterhead.
Participation in sporting events at state, national or international level with an official sporting body. Selection confirmation on the letterhead of the state, national or international sporting body.

Statutory Declarations and Secondary Evidence

(54) Where it is not reasonable for a student to provide documentary evidence (for non-Medical Grounds) as outlined above, or where the nature of the circumstances and how they have affected the student are not obvious in the document, a student may be permitted to provide a statutory declaration to accompany secondary forms of evidence.

(55) Secondary forms of evidence may include flight tickets, photographs, receipts or any other form of document which supports a student’s eligibility for academic consideration.

(56) Except in the cases noted above, a statutory declaration will not be accepted as documentary evidence without some form of secondary evidence.

(57) A statutory declaration will not be accepted as documentary evidence for medical grounds, regardless of whether it is accompanied by secondary evidence.

 Verification of Documentary Evidence

(58) Once submitted, documentary evidence will be verified by Student Services.

(59) In submitting documentary evidence for verification, students consent to UOW contacting the issuer of the document/s to confirm their legitimacy. Students consent to the release of information to relevant third parties for the purpose of verifying document legitimacy.

(60) The submission of fraudulent documentation will be regarded as serious misconduct and will be managed in accordance with the Student Conduct Rules and associated procedures. The matter may also be referred to the State or Federal Police.