With the semester heating up, students are scrambling to submit assignments before their due dates. But what if you are unable to finish your assessment on time due to extenuating circumstances? Fortunately, at ANU, students can apply for special considerations in these situations.

For students, there are two types of consideration plans that they can apply for, depending on their situation: Special Considerations or an Education Access Plan. Whilst special consideration only applies for matters arising before and during an assessment item is due, an Education Access Plan is a long-term provision that applies to a student’s academic life whilst at the University. Both have differing application processes and outcomes.

Nonetheless, the process of applying for special considerations remains a difficult and hard to navigate process for ANU students. Whilst the ANU outlines under what circumstances students can apply for special consideration, the university’s different colleges delineate diverging processes on their Wattle pages. 

Special Considerations

The ANU states that “special considerations is the process by which an examiner takes extenuating circumstances into consideration during the marking of an assessment item.” Extenuating circumstances are defined as circumstances that are unavoidable and beyond your control.

The ANU explains that extenuating circumstances pertain to: “unexpected illness / or the exacerbation of an existing illness, misadventure, trauma, the illness or death of a family member and being a victim to a crime.”

Students are advised to apply for special considerations through an online form, if any of the circumstances listed above apply to them. The ANU requires that students applying for special considerations attach supporting documents to their application. 

Special consideration requests will not be considered if the submission does not include copies of the important supporting documents. The granting of special considerations is not guaranteed and Colleges hold discretion in accepting them.

However, the ANU Colleges have differing acceptance measures and there is inconsistency amongst special consideration processes and applications. For instance, some course conveners provide delayed exams, whilst others extend exam times. 

Though the special considerations process is established so that students can have an equal and fair assessment of their assignments and exams, ANU policy gives course conveners the choice “to not make any adjustments to their [student’s] marks or provide them with a supplementary assessment.” 

An ANU spokesperson commented on the special consideration process acknowledging that “ANU is currently reviewing the policy and procedures for special consideration, deferred examinations and assessment extensions by benchmarking with other universities and considering best practice.”

Furthermore, the University spokesperson stated that, “If any student has concerns about their application or access to special consideration, they can raise these with the Associate Dean of Education in their academic college or with the Dean of Students.  

Education Access Plan   

What is an Education Access Plan?

An Education Access Plan (EAP) establishes practical alterations to support students while studying at the ANU. An EAP will not appear on your academic transcript or record as the information will remain confidential. Students that require an EAP must notify Access & Inclusion services for every new course enrolment. If students do not inform A&I or renew their EAP information they will not have the support and reasonable adjustments required for their courses. There are differing time frames depending on the nature of the medical condition and disability as well. Students that have a condition that varies or is treatable must restate their registration and provide renewed medical evidence after six to twelve months. 

Where can you get support?

Students at the ANU whose academic studies are affected by learning and physical disabilities as well as, short term conditions/illnesses, chronic medical and mental health conditions can receive support from Access and Inclusion (A&I) support services.  

What do they do?

According to  ANU Access & Inclusion, they provide evidence-based support, advice and adjustments to reduce the effects on a student’s study. The advisors assist students with participation efforts in their program of study as well as achieving academic success through the EAP.  

Eligibility for an EAP

Students, including international students, who are currently enrolled at the ANU, and who have a medical condition, disability or are a primary carer of a person with a disability are eligible to register for an EAP. The Access and Inclusion website follows the definition of disability as consistent with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992.

How do you apply for an Education Access Plan?

For students considering applying for an EAP, they must register with an A&I team member and attend a meeting with the DisAbility and Equity Advisor (DEA) in order to establish a tailored Education Access Plan. Students must provide and disclose the nature and scope of their medical condition or disability.

If you need assistance in applying for Special Consideration or an EAP, ANUSA and PARSA offer support. If you are an undergraduate student, ANUSA offers support to students through their student assistance officers who can be contacted by emailing sa.assistance@anu.edu.au. Postgraduate students can seek help from the PARSA student assistance team at parsa.assistance@anu.edu.au.

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