October 4, 2023

Policy Update: Incomplete for Special Circumstances for Per-Course Programs

Please note that CSU’s policy regarding incompletes for special circumstances in per-course programs will be effective Feb. 5, 2014 and will be updated in the CSU Student Handbook.

Per-Course Programs

Columbia Southern University recognizes students encounter life situations that may impede academic progress toward degree completion. The Incomplete for Special Circumstances (ISC) is reserved for students who encounter an extenuating circumstance, during 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, as well as the Withdrawal for Special Circumstances 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 ISC, up to 120 days beyond the original course end date, is available upon qualification and approval.  The amount of time granted is contingent upon the student’s documented circumstance..
  • Successful course progress may be taken into consideration when reviewing the request.
  • An ISC request should not be submitted for a course in which assignments need to be re-submitted or if all assignments have been submitted. Refer to the Assignment Make-up Policy for further information on assignment re-submission.
  • A maximum of two (2) ISC’s 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 approval.
  • The decision to grant the request is based upon the student’s justified hardship.
  • Relevant support documentation should be provided to substantiate the hardship.
  • Students approved for an ISC are not eligible to apply for a standard, paid Incomplete in the event additional time, beyond time already granted, is needed for course completion.
  • There is no fee requirement for an ISC.

Academic Facts:

  • Students approved for an ISC forfeit the option to withdraw from the course, under the Course Drop/Withdrawal Policy; however, students may refer to the Withdrawal for Special Circumstances Policy should further extenuating circumstances prevent course completion.
  • 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.
  • The ISC 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 ISC 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. Additional or alternate documentation may be requested for verification purposes.
  • Required submission dates for all outstanding assignments are to be identified by the student when submitting the request. Individual assignment deadlines should be spaced apart, weekly, to allow adequate study and submission time.

Students meeting required qualifications may request an ISC through submittal of the online Incomplete for Special Circumstances Request Form. Upon receipt of all documentation and individual assignment deadlines, the request will be reviewed and a decision will be reached within five (5) business days.

All questions should be directed to the Student Services Department at 800-977-8449 ext. 6537, or by email at