Faculty Senate Petition Support

Faculty Senate petitions are for students who are deserving of amendments to their academic records via retroactive actions, such as retroactive withdrawals or late-drops, retroactive late-adds, or any other retroactive academic administrative actions. In all cases, the petitions must be based on extenuating circumstances outside of your control.

There two most common two types of Senate petitions are:

  • Retroactive withdrawal for a past semester (or semesters)
  • Retroactive late-drop of a course (or courses) from a current or past semester

How to submit a Faculty Senate petition?

The first step is to email Mary Sergeant ( with the following attachments:

  • Your letter of explanation (petition letter). Please limit to one page.
  • Documentation to support the excuse given such as:
    • Supporting letter(s) on appropriate letterhead or an email (sent to from a counselor, academic adviser, instructor/other — preferably not family members or friends
    • Supporting letter on business letterhead for a medical excuse
    • Obituary or other documentation to support a death in the family excuse

Mary Sergeant will review these materials and request additional information as needed prior to submission of the Faculty Senate petition

Important tenets of a successful petition

  • Brevity: concise and brief; grammatical correctness
  • Supporting documentation (letters, emails, medical documents, other)
  • A viable and reasonable case that is founded on extenuating circumstances outside of your control

Reasons that will jeopardize approval for a petition

  • The course was too hard"; "I was not mature enough to appreciate my education"; "I just stopped attending class"; "I don't need this class to graduate"; "this impacted my GPA negatively"; "I need to raise my GPA"
  • An excuse for which you have no tangible written proof; a case that is solely about lost scholarship support with no extenuating circumstances present; unjustifiable request for removal of poor work from years past

Acceptable reasons for retroactive requests

  • Death in the family
  • Personal or family crisis/situation
  • Emotional upheaval/breakdown
  • Financial worries/burdens
  • Illness or disability (either mental or physical)

Forms Needed for Retroactive Withdrawal

Petition Letters

For instructions on drafting a student petition letter, please visit

How to Submit

Please submit all materials to:

Mary Sergeant

She will provide your academic transcript, plus the needed Penn State forms for withdrawal or add/drop and will proxy your signature. (The $6 late add/drop fee will be deducted from your student account, if a late drop or late add petition is granted.)

DO NOT submit your petition materials directly to the Senate.

Submitting to Faculty Senate will greatly impede the process.

Other Petitions

  • Retroactive Registration (for an entire semester--often the result of failure to pay a semester bill) does NOT require a petition unless it has been more than nine months since the requested semester is over or you did not schedule any classes or you cancelled your registration. See the Registrar's website for details:
  • Retroactive Late Add (usually granted): The student must provide a formal petition letter and an email from the course instructor citing the grade earned. I will supply both the Grade Change form and Add-Drop form. Your letter will need to explain why you did not register for course in the given semester.