September 21, 2023
Policy Updates

Notice: Incomplete for Special Circumstances Policy, Term

Please note that this policy is effective as of Nov. 14, 2012.

Columbia Southern University (CSU) recognizes students may encounter life situations that may impede academic progress toward degree completion. Students have the opportunity to request a standard course Incomplete (I), for the duration of forty-five (45) days, through the myCSU Student Portal. The Incomplete for Special Circumstances (ISC) is reserved for students requiring in excess of forty-five (45) days. The ISC is for students encountering an extenuating circumstance, through the duration of a course, which inhibits regular, on-time course completion. Under these circumstances, students may also elect to withdraw from the course if it is deemed circumstances may prevent successful course completion.  Academic and financial consequences should be noted for students who withdraw after week one of the course. Students planning to withdraw from any course should review the Course Drop/Withdrawal Policy. In addition, academic advisement should be sought to address all consequential actions prior to submitting the withdrawal request.  Students requesting consideration must meet all established qualifications for Incomplete for special circumstances approval.

The following are important facts concerning an Incomplete for Special Circumstances:

General Facts:

  • An Incomplete, up to 60 days beyond the original term end date, is available upon qualification and approval. The Incomplete for Special Circumstances Committee will determine the appropriate amount of time granted upon approval.
  • A maximum of two (2) Incompletes for Special Circumstances will be granted, upon approval, per calendar year. Students are not granted in excess of one (1) ISC per course.
  • ISC requests are not automatically granted and require committee approval; the committee is appointed by the President and includes the course professor as a voting member.
  • The decision to grant the request is based upon the student’s justified hardship.
  • Relevant support documentation may be required to substantiate the hardship.
  • Students approved for an Incomplete for Special Circumstances are not eligible to apply for a standard course Incomplete in the event additional time, beyond time already granted, is needed for course completion.
  • There is no fee requirement for an Incomplete Special Circumstances.

Academic Facts:

  • Students approved for an Incomplete for Special Circumstances forfeit the option to withdraw from the course.
  • A grade of “I” will be assigned to the course and may affect future course enrollments; please review the Course Load Policy for further clarification. In addition, the grade point average (GPA) and federal student aid (FSA) eligibility could be affected.
  • Assignments not completed by the granted Incomplete period will be assigned a grade of zero (0); the final course grade is calculated utilizing the weighted score assigned to each course assignment.
  • All course requirements must be satisfied within the allotted time period; additional time will not be granted.

The following qualifications have been established for an Incomplete for Special Circumstances application:

  • A documented extenuating circumstance will occur or has occurred during the duration of the course which will inhibit or has inhibited regular, on-time course completion. Examples of such circumstances may include but are not limited to: forward deployment, medical circumstances or surgery, natural disaster, family emergency, death in the immediate family, or job relocation.
  • Successful course progress, at the time of the request, is required. For the purposes of this policy, successful course progress is defined below. All listed criteria are required:
    • Maintaining a passing grade, defined as an average of sixty (60) percent in undergraduate programs and seventy (70) percent in graduate programs.
    • In the event the student does not meet the course progress qualification but presents a justified hardship, relevant documentation may be required to justify why this qualification has not been met.
  • The Incomplete for Special Circumstances request should be submitted prior to the course end date.. Requests made after the end date will be considered on the basis of the circumstance.
  • The Incomplete for Special Circumstances request should be accompanied by relevant support documentation substantiating the stated circumstance. Documentation must be dated and correlate with the hardship and time parameter in which the student is/was unable to complete coursework. Students should submit documentation within three (3) days of the request or notify of the date documentation will be available. The Special Circumstances Committee may request additional supporting documentation.  Students should report a quick response to request for documentation to substantiate their circumstance at the time of the request.
  • Required submission dates for all outstanding assignments are to be identified by the student when submitting the request. Individual assignment deadlines must be spaced apart, weekly, to allow adequate study and submission time.

Students meeting required qualifications may request an Incomplete for Special Circumstances through submittal of the online Incomplete for Special Circumstances  request form.  Upon receipt of documentation and individual assignment deadlines, the request will be sent to committee for a decision. A notification of the committee’s decision will be sent via email within five (5) business days of presentation before the committee.

All questions should be directed to the Student Services Department at 800.977.8449 ext. 6537, or by email at