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Enhanced Extenuating Circumstances procedure for 2020-21

An enhanced Extenuating Circumstances Procedure will apply during 2020-21


This may be subject to change if there are significant, unforeseen developments in the Covid-19 pandemic. Any changes will be notified to students as far in advance as possible.


Self-isolation policy

UCL’s primary objective is to support students. We recognise that self-isolation/quarantine is not a carefree ‘holiday’ and can be distressing or disruptive for some students, while others will be largely unaffected and able to continue their studies as normal. If a student is required to self-isolate, we will not automatically assume that they need an extension or deferral. Students can make the decision to apply for extra support via the Extenuating Circumstances process if self-isolation is having a significant impact on their ability to study or complete assessments.


Self-certification policy

UCL recognises that students will not be able to obtain evidence for self-isolation, and that we risk placing undue pressure on the NHS and other health services if we require evidence for minor ailments or short illnesses. However we also recognise that an open self-certification policy can encourage students to submit ‘just-in-case claims’, and can focus support away from those students who are vulnerable and most in need of help. For 2020-21, UCL will therefore permit self-certification for up to 14 calendar days, within the parameters outlined below.


Revisions to the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure for 2020-21:

1. If a student has ECs for up to 14 calendar days they can submit a self-certified claim to cover any assessments – coursework and/ or exams – falling within that period.

2. Students can self-certify for up to two, separate, 14-day periods within the 2020-21 academic session. Normally, these periods must be 14 calendar days apart, although Faculty EC Panels can use their discretion to accept self-certified claims within a shorter interval if, for example, a student has two self-isolation periods close together.

3. Students can self-certify for any valid Extenuating Circumstance, not just those related to Covid-19. Students must still explain on their form why their circumstances are sudden, significantly disruptive and beyond their control, and are expected to only submit self-certified claims that meet the criteria set out in the UCL Academic Manual, Annex 4.1.1 Grounds for Extenuating Circumstances. Students who submit fraudulent claims may be subject to UCL’s Academic Misconduct Procedures.

4. Self-certified claims can be submitted up to two weeks in advance of the affected assessment(s). If a student wants to submit earlier, they will be required to provide supporting evidence. As with the standard procedures, students must submit claims no more than one week after the EC has taken place.

5. Where students self-certify, mitigation will be limited to the following:

  • Coursework extensions up to 14 calendar days
  • Suspension of Late Submission Penalties for coursework submitted up to 14 calendar days late
  • Deferral without Tuition to the next normal occasion (typically the Late Summer Assessment Period)

6. Students must still submit evidence for the following:

  • Coursework extensions of more than 14 calendar days
  • Suspension of Late Submission Penalties for coursework submitted more than 14 calendar days late
  • A Deferral without Tuition beyond the next normal occasion
  • A Deferral with Tuition (a postponement of the whole component or module, including all learning and teaching activities and the assessment, usually to the following year)
  • Deferrals associated with an Interruption of Study
  • Exclusion of an assessment component or module
  • Alternative methods of assessment
  • Any other form of mitigation in Chapter 4, Section 6.9.2

7. Under the standard procedures, Faculty EC Panel Chairs can use their discretion to waive the need for evidence. This will continue to be the case. Faculties may consider accepting alternative forms of evidence – for example a letter from the student’s Programme Leader or from UCL Student Support and Wellbeing, or evidence of their role as a frontline health worker.

8. If students are having difficulties obtaining evidence, they are encouraged to get in touch with their Department as soon as possible for advice. Help is also available from the Students’ Union Advice Service and from UCL Student Support and Wellbeing - go to askUCL and log an enquiry.