Mitigating Circumstances Procedure for Applicants and Offer-holders

Purpose

Mitigating circumstances are defined as circumstances that have caused significant educational disruption or disadvantage for a student, which are beyond their control. It may then be appropriate for their educational provider to complete and submit the Mitigating Circumstances Form with supporting evidence for assessment.

Overview

The information provided within the Mitigating Circumstances Form will be used to help assess an applicant’s/offer-holders academic performance in light of their mitigating circumstances. Submitting an Mitigating Circumstances Form does not guarantee that the University will make an offer, or that we will accept a student if the conditions of an offer are not met.

Scope

This policy applies to UK applicants and offer-holders of the Coventry University Group and should be read in conjunction with the University’s Undergraduate or Postgraduate Admissions Policy.

The Policy

1. When mitigating circumstances will be considered

If an applicant/offer-holder wishes the RAO to consider any mitigating circumstances relevant to their future or existing qualification results, the RAO will provide the offer-holder with the Mitigating Circumstances Form for their educational provider to complete and return to us. 

If an education provider contacts the RAO directly with information regarding mitigating circumstances, we will ask that they refer the applicant/offer-holder to us. Subject to a request from the applicant/offer-holder we will provide the Mitigating Circumstances Form for their education provider to complete and return to us.

 If at initial assessment an applicant is not eligible for an offer, and we are then asked to take mitigating circumstances into account, we will provide the Mitigating Circumstances Form to the applicant for completion and return by their education provider.

Mitigating circumstances will only be considered alongside the application once the form has been satisfactorily completed and returned prior to the publication of the results to which it refers and all outstanding qualification results relevant to the application have been received by the RAO. This will enable a holistic assessment to be made on the strength of the application.

2. Which circumstances to consider

Examples of the types of mitigating circumstances normally considered are:

  • The onset or worsening of a serious or chronic mental or physical health condition.
  • Significant caring responsibility, family breakdown or the recent bereavement or serious illness of a close relative or friend.
  • Significant disruption to educational provision. 
  • Being the victim of a serious crime or significant involvement in an on-going court case. 

The following would not normally be accepted as mitigating circumstances:

  • Failure to read the examination timetable or coursework deadline properly. 
  • Pressure of work.
  • Failure to save work properly or any IT issues. 
  • Minor illnesses or self-induced conditions (colds, hangovers etc.). 
  • Religious festivals.  
  • Domestic or personal disruptions which may have been anticipated (e.g. moving house, holidays etc.). 
  • Sporting fixtures.
3. Submitting the form and supplying evidence

It is not enough for an applicant/offer-holder to just tell us that they believe their assessment performance has been affected by mitigating circumstances; applicants/offer-holders must also ask their education provider to submit the Mitigating Circumstances Form and supply the relevant supporting documentation as evidence of the mitigating circumstance.

The evidence must explain:

  • What the circumstance is.
  • Exactly how it affected the applicant in relation to their studies/assessment. 
  • Precisely when (i.e. identifying which assessments were affected). 
  • What action the student has taken in an attempt to address the problem (e.g. interaction with Personal Tutor or Pastoral Support). 
  • Details of whether the applicant has explored alternative options, for example return to school/college to complete their qualifications, or apply for a course with lower entry requirements such as a Foundation Year.

The applicant/offer-holder is responsible for obtaining the appropriate documentary evidence; the RAO will not seek documentary evidence on the student’s behalf. Only evidence written in English can be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain and submit a verified translation if the original evidence is in another language. The examples below are indicative:

Examples of evidence of mitigating circumstances
Example Evidence

Serious physical illness 

Medical certificate/hospital report/report from qualified medical practitioner 

Psychological illness 

Report from a psychiatrist, psychologist or Student Counselling Service

Severe personal difficulties 

Report from Student Counselling Service, Student Welfare Service or another qualified professional 

Serious illness or death of an immediate family member or close friend

A medical report from a qualified medical practitioner or a copy of a death certificate accompanied if necessary by formal documentation confirming relationship with deceased 

Sudden deterioration in a long standing medical condition or disability 

A medical report from an appropriate qualified medical practitioner 

Being the victim of a serious crime

Crime report and number

Legal proceedings requiring attendance at court 

Documentary evidence from the court or a solicitor 

Alternative Options

Statement from school/college confirming that further study cannot be completed there or funding is not available for other study options. 

4. RAO consideration process

Once received by the RAO receipt of the form will be acknowledged via an email sent directly to the applicant/offer-holder. If necessary the applicant/offer-holder will be informed if anything further is required to be added to the form. The form, along with the supporting evidence, will be attached to the application.

Once all relevant results have been received the application will be reviewed holistically by the RAO Admissions Manager and RAO Deputy Director (Admissions Operations). This will normally take place during the Confirmation stage of the admissions cycle.

If RAO staff are unable to make a decision they will refer to the Course Director/Head of School. If deemed necessary to the decision-making process the applicant/offer-holder may be required to attend an interview.

The RAO Admissions Manager will record the decision on the Mitigating Circumstances Decision Form and attach it to the application. The applicant/offer-holder will then be informed of the decision and either a course offer issued or an existing course offer confirmed or rejected.