If a student has a significant psychiatric or psychological problem that has substantially interfered with their ability to meet academic responsibilities, they may be eligible to apply for academic relief. Through the academic relief process, students may drop a class or an entire semester’s classes.

We understand that students may be involved in many situations that are stressful or distracting. These can include a death in the family, ending a significant relationship or anxiety about family problems or major life decisions. On many occasions these can interfere with studying and academic efficiency, leading students to seek counseling. However, these issues do not guarantee that a student will qualify for academic relief. Students are expected to use their nine hours of course withdrawals in these situations.

In order to qualify for a recommendation, students must have documentation showing that he or she has a significant psychiatric or psychological problem that has substantially interfered with meeting their academic responsibilities.

Possible justifications for academic relief include:

  • Extended illness with evidence of psychiatric or psychological treatment on or off campus
  • Periods of hospitalization for psychiatric treatment
  • Evidence of psychiatric illness with related treatment by a qualified health professional

Receiving academic relief may have consequences in other aspects of students’ lives including, but not limited to, residential life on campus, financial aid and health insurance. Please contact the appropriate department to discuss these implications.

Students who withdraw from all or multiple courses from a semester will be expected to "sit out" (not be enrolled at Virginia Tech) for the following semester. After engaging in treatment targeting the conditions that created the academic difficulties, they may submit an application for re-enrollment. A recommendation from a health or mental health provider must be submitted to the Director of Cook Counseling Center for permission re-enroll in classes at Virginia Tech. 

Academic Relief Forms

The deadline for applying for academic relief is one week before the last day of classes. Under most circumstances, recommendations for retroactive course drops or resignations are not considered. However, the committee will consider circumstances where a student was hospitalized or otherwise disabled at the time when this decision would have been made and missed the application deadline during the previous semester.

Students can apply for retroactive academic relief within 30 days of the beginning of the subsequent semester or 30 days after the they return to the university. Former students who do not plan to return to Virginia Tech can also apply for retroactive relief.

The committee will review records at Cook Counseling Center—any documentation from off-campus professionals should be provided to the Chair of the Academic Relief Committee for consideration prior to the committee meeting. Applicants may be interviewed by the committee to clarify information in their request or to consider other alternatives.

If the committee decides that the student qualifies for academic relief, a recommendation letter will be written to the student’s dean. The committee may offer suggestions as to what action the might take, such as dropping a course, being allowed to take incompletes, delaying exams or, in some cases, resigning from the university. The final authority and decision for academic relief remains with the dean.

Steps to Apply for Academic Relief:

  • Students may pick up an academic relief packet at the front desk of Cook Counseling Center or from an academic advisor or dean from your college or department. This information can also be downloaded via this site.
  • Read the policies and guidelines for academic relief in full before filling out the application forms.
  • Have the Advisement for Academic Relief form within your Academic Relief Request Packet signed by the associate dean of your college. If you are an international undergraduate student, you must also obtain a signature from Cranwell International Center. If you are an international graduate student, you must obtain a signature from an international advisor at the graduate school.
  • Fully complete the Academic Relief Request Form within the Academic Relief Request Packet
  • Submit the completed packet to Cook Counseling Center, including the signed Advisement for Academic Relief form and your Academic Relief Request form.

Students will be mailed a letter regarding the outcome of their application after the committee meets for review. If the student is granted a withdrawal from all classes, your dean will place a hold on their registration. If you have documentation from an outside provider that you wish to submit in support of your application, you may ask your provider to complete the Form for Outside Provider and either include it in your packet or have the provider send it to our office directly.

If a student is granted a withdrawal from all classes, a “hold” will be placed on their registration. Prior to returning to the university the student will need to submit the “Physician or Mental Health Professional’s Assessment and Recommendation Regarding Patient’s Readiness for Virginia Tech Reenrollment” form to the Cook Counseling Center two weeks before the start of the semester you wish to enroll in.

A student’s request for reenrollment and documentation from a mental health provider, including the Form for Reenrollment will be reviewed by the Director of the Cook Counseling Center for approval. Based on the recommendations of the mental health provider and the decision of the Director of the Cook Counseling Center, the student may be asked to continue with mental health services when returning to school after a medical withdrawal, on an individual basis.

If permitted readmission, the block will be removed from the student’s schedule.