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The Financial and Registration Committee (FRC) reviews appeals from students who are seeking exceptions to a current course registration status after the respective term registration deadline.

General Information

Financial and Registration appeals are available for any student who missed a registration deadline or is unable to complete a course for an extenuating or compelling reason. The Financial and Registration Committee is authorized to review the following appeal requests for retroactive registration changes:

  • Drop Course(s)
  • Late Withdrawal
  • Late Add
  • Switch Courses
  • Credit Status Change
  • Reinstate in Course(s)

*Note – change in registration status via appeal may cause change in tuition

Complete appeals are reviewed by the Financial and Registration Committee to determine if the extenuating circumstance merits a retroactive change in course registration as an exception after the deadline. Appeals should be submitted as soon as possible after encountering unexpected and extenuating circumstances.

Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval. The Committee takes numerous factors into consideration when reviewing submissions, including but not limited to:

  • Student appeal statement and extenuating circumstances
  • Supporting 3rd party documentation
  • Timely submission of appeal
  • Academic standing and overall engagement in the term

Appeal requests to Drop Course(s) or Late Withdrawal must be submitted within 180 days from the final day in the relevant course term. Appeal requests to Add, Reinstate, or Change Credit Status must be received within the term — see appeal request type for more details.

Once a course is completed, regardless of circumstance encountered, the Committee is not authorized to approve a registration change. Courses are considered complete when a student starts a final exam or if efforts are made to complete the final written work for a course grade.

Appeal Request Types

Appeal request types refer to the specific registration change requested after a semester deadline. Review the individual appeal request type for more information.

Drop Course(s)

This request is to Drop (remove) a course from the student schedule. Students are requesting a change from their current registration status (registered or withdrawn) to the ‘dropped’ status.

  • Drop approval results in the removal of the course from the academic transcript and course history record.
  • A tuition refund is required when a course registration status is ‘dropped’. Students may not request a drop without a refund, nor can tuition credit be deferred for a future term. TAP fees are non-refundable.
  • Dropped courses do not count toward attempt limit or other HES degree program requirements.
  • A drop action is different than a Withdrawal. Students who request to drop a course after the withdrawal deadline may be approved for a late withdrawal instead, depending on the timing and engagement in a term. See the Late Withdrawal section for more information.
  • It is expected that the extenuating circumstance that necessitates a drop appeal request is severe enough that a student is no longer capable of engaging in the course. If not able to continue in the course regardless of appeal outcome, students are encouraged to withdraw while a drop appeal request is pending. Ongoing engagement after the circumstances are encountered may be considered as part of the Committee review.
  • Students using VA funding, Financial Aid, or other tuition benefits should consult the appropriate financial support staff before withdrawing.
  • Degree candidate hopefuls and matriculated degree students should consult their respective advising team for questions on program withdrawal limits.

Late Withdrawal

This request is to Withdraw from a course after the withdrawal deadline. Students are requesting a change from registered in a course to ‘withdrawn’ as an exception after the semester deadline.

  • Withdrawal registration status will result in a final “WD” grade notation for the course; the course will remain on the Harvard DCE transcript and student course record.
  • Withdrawn courses do not result in any tuition refund. Students using VA funding, financial aid, or other tuition benefits should consult the appropriate financial staff for questions on a withdrawal and how it may impact their financial aid.
  • Withdrawn courses count towards attempt limits for relevant courses. Degree programs have a limit on withdrawal courses within the program requirements. Consult the appropriate advising office for questions related to course withdrawal and academic goals.
  • A withdrawal and a drop are two different registration statuses. Students that appeal to Drop a course may instead be approved for a Late Withdrawal as an exception. Students do not need to appeal for both a drop and a late withdrawal for the same circumstances.

Students with a registration impacting hold that wish to withdraw before the term deadline can file an appeal to request their registration status be changed as an exception to the registration impacting hold. If received prior to the respective term deadline, the appeals team will process this request without committee consideration. Note — students will be held responsible for resolving the hold before further registration actions are possible.

Late Add

For students that are currently registered in a respective term, specifically, this request is to Add a new course to their term schedule. Students are requesting to go from an unregistered status to registered as an exception after the course change period.

  • First time registration in the respective term is not allowed. Students must complete pre-registration and have an active registration status in an alternate course for the respective term.
  • The course must have seats available; a waitlist for the course is not considered to have seats available.
  • The credit status requested must be offered for the requested course.
  • Late add appeals will not review students who are dropped for non-payment, did not meet immunization requirements, or did not complete ‘Before you Register’ actions for the term prior to the registration deadline.
  • Students who are dropped from a course due to a time conflict, course overload, or other enrollment policy are not eligible for an appeal for the same respective courses. Students should read all emails during the early part of the term, pay attention to any messages during the registration process, and act on their registration accordingly when notified.
  • Timely submission for this request is necessary — the Committee makes every effort to prioritize late add appeal reviews; committee members endeavor to review late add appeals within 3-9 business days. The Committee cannot review late Add appeals after the term has progressed beyond a reasonable point. For full-term (16-week) courses, the Committee stops reviewing Late Add appeals roughly 4 weeks into the term.

Students are responsible for any course material missed prior to registration; makeup of missed work is up to the instructor’s discretion.

Switch Courses

For students that are currently registered in a course and want to drop their current course and simultaneously add a different course to their current schedule. This exception request combines the Late Add and Drop Course(s) registration requests — students appealing to Switch Courses should review both the Late Add and Drop Course(s) appeal request type details.

  • Appeals to Switch Courses will consider each request — the add course and the drop course — independently before a decision is issued in full. The Late Add request will be reviewed first as the priority. If the Late Add cannot be supported, the Drop request will still be considered as an option for the student appeal decision.
  • If approved to switch courses and the tuition for the original course is different than the Added course, tuition charges will be reconciled. If the Added course has a higher tuition cost, students are responsible to provide additional tuition payment; Added courses with lower tuition cost will result in a partial tuition refund.
  • Most often, this appeal request type is used to move into a higher or lower-level course or to switch into an alternate section of the same course after the course change period.

Credit Status Change

For students that are currently registered in a course and require a change in course Credit Status after the course change period. Credit Status Change appeals are a request to change the credit status selected during course registration to an alternate available credit status.

  • This appeal request type is intended for students who were registered incorrectly due to a Harvard DCE administrative error, though exceptions may be granted in cases of student error when identified early in the semester.
  • The desired credit status must be available in the respective course.
  • Credit Status for a student record is intended to represent a student’s level of engagement from registration through course completion; request to change to Noncredit status due to encountered hardship is not eligible for review. Students should instead appeal to Drop course(s) or Late Withdrawal.
  • Timely submission within the term is necessary — Credit Status appeals are reviewed per the Committee discretion after the respective mid-point of the course. Credit Status Change appeals are not often approved after the midpoint of the term and will not be eligible for review after the course withdrawal deadline.
  • If approved to change credit status, tuition cost provided originally will be reconciled. This may result in a refund or tuition charges. The appeals team will communicate any change in tuition and student responsibilities with the appeal decision.

Reinstate in Course(s)

For students that Dropped or Withdrew from a course inadvertently and wish to re-register in the course. Students are requesting a change from the Dropped or Withdrawn status back to Registered in the course.

  • The Committee may issue an immediate one-time approval as an exception to permit reinstatement in the original course for appeals received within 24 hours. Note — further appeals to reinstate after a one-time exception is granted will not be approved under the same circumstances.
  • Timely appeal submission is required for Reinstate in Course(s) appeals. Appeals received more than a week after the drop or withdrawal action are not eligible for review.
  • Delayed feedback or faculty response regarding academic progress in the course is not considered an eligible reason to reinstate in a course; students are responsible to act based on their current needs and progress in the course.
  • Reinstatement is not eligible for students who were removed from a course due to an administrative process or enrollment policy (such as non-payment, course overload, or immunization compliance), or disciplinary action.
  • Reinstatement in Course(s) is not eligible if there are no seats available in the course. The Committee cannot support an exception that supersedes waitlists or overrides enrollment limits in a course.

How to Submit an Appeal

  1. Login to MyDCE
  2. On your MyDCE dashboard, select the “My Courses” link
  3. In the Resources section, select the “Registration Appeal Form” link

Complete the appeal form in full and upload supporting documentation for the appeal review. Once submitted, students will receive a confirmation email with their appeal case number for reference.

The appeal form must be submitted by the student for consideration. Emails or other requests cannot be considered as an official appeal submission.

Contact the Financial and Registration Appeals staff directly if you have questions about the appeal process or need assistance with the appeal form submission:

Preparing Your Appeal

Student financial and registration appeals are submitted through MyDCE. Students will be asked to complete the online appeal form, which includes entering course information and selecting the type of appeal you are submitting, writing a full appeal statement, and uploading supporting documentation.

What does “compelling and extenuating circumstances” mean?

Compelling and extenuating circumstances refer to situations that have a major impact on a student’s life and are beyond everyday life situations. Compelling and extenuating circumstances should be detailed in the student appeal statement, and students should be able to provide supporting documentation to corroborate the circumstances. The Financial and Registration Committee does not consider workload, software or hardware difficulties, financial constraints, minor illness, unsatisfactory academic progress, failure to meet course requirements or prerequisites, lack of preparation, negligence, or vacations and personal travel to be extenuating circumstances.

Can I appeal courses taken in a previous term?

Appeals are reviewed for the current term or a term that has ended within the past few weeks. It is the Committee’s discretion whether they are able to review appeals for previous terms. Students who complete a course (take a final exam, submit a final paper, etc.) may not be eligible for any registration changes in that course. If you are appealing a registration change from a previous term, it is recommended that you contact Academic Services before submitting to discuss your situation.

What if I have more than one appeal to file?

If you are submitting the same request for more than one course, you can use the “Add Additional Course(s)” link on the appeal form. If you are requesting different types of appeals, you should submit multiple appeal forms.


A student requesting to late add for two courses will only submit one appeal form, with each course listed on the same form.

A student requesting to be reinstated into a course they have already dropped AND change the credit status for that course should file two appeals — one for reinstatement and one for credit status change.

Supporting Documentation

As part of the appeal submission, you will be required to upload official supporting documentation to the Student Appeal Form.

Documentation should be official, written on letterhead (when relevant), be written in English, and corroborate the details of your appeal statement. Documentation should include pertinent details of your situation, including a brief description of the extenuating circumstances, the time under which the situation occurred, and any additional restrictions that impact your enrollment or engagement in the course.

Students should provide at least two forms of documentation to support an appeal. The exceptions to this are an official letter from a doctor in medical situations or submitting official military orders.

What documentation should I provide to support my appeal?

Documentation should support the extenuating circumstances described in the student appeal statement. Documentation should provide details pertaining to the extenuating situation and be written on official letterhead (when relevant) for the Financial and Registration Committee to review. Different situations will require different types of documentation.

The following are examples of documentation that has been provided for different appeal situations. The list is meant to be a guide and is not an exhaustive list of circumstances or documentation.

If you do have any questions about providing documentation, contact Academic Services.

Appeal Circumstances Possible Documentation Options
Medical Situation Note from licensed medical practitioner, written on official letterhead and signed by care provider
Weather or Natural Disaster Notice of canceled travel arrangements due to inclement weather, proof of residence and dated news article of related weather incident and impact, notice of internet or power outages, etc.
Unexpected changes in employment Official letter from supervisor with dates and anticipated changes, travel itinerary with date of travel and date of booking arrangements, etc.
Technical connection issues Notice of internet or power outages, email communication or ticket number for communication with Harvard IT support

Documentation is reviewed by the appeals staff upon submission of an appeal. Students who submit vague or incomplete documentation may be asked to provide updated documentation before an appeal is reviewed.

I do not have any documentation. Can I still appeal?

Documentation is critical for each appeal to receive a fair and thorough review and corroborate the student statement. Students who do not have documentation are still eligible to appeal, and will need to provide a secondary statement indicating if they have any pending documentation or if they already have documentation on file with the Accessibility Services office. Appeals without supporting documentation may be canceled without review.

Appeal Submission and Processing

Every appeal submission is initially reviewed by the appeals staff. Students will be notified via email if any additional information or documentation is required before the appeal can be reviewed by the Financial and Registration Committee.

Once the appeal is reviewed by the Committee, decisions are sent to the email address associated with your student record. Students can confirm their email address in MyDCE.

What will happen after I submit my appeal?

Students who successfully submit the appeal form will receive a confirmation of submission screen and email notification. If you do not receive this email, please confirm your email address in MyDCE. We recommend that you keep a copy of the appeal submission email for your records.

The appeals staff aims to have all completed appeals reviewed within 2-3 weeks of submission. Appeal reviews may be delayed if supporting documentation is not received or if information is not clearly listed on the appeal form. Additionally, the appeals staff may need to communicate with the instructional staff for information pertaining to your appeal.

How do I make changes to my appeal or cancel a submitted appeal?

Students can email any changes or updated documentation to Be sure to include the following information when contacting appeals:

  • Your full name as listed in your MyDCE account.
  • Send your request from the Student Email Address listed in your MyDCE account.
  • Include the case number for your appeal (the case number can be found in the confirmation email received when the appeal was submitted).
  • Clearly indicate what you wish to update in your appeal in the body of the email.

How likely is it that my appeal will be approved?

Appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis with many factors taken into consideration. As such, it is difficult to provide insight into whether your appeal will be approved. Students who submit an incomplete appeal or appeal without supporting documentation are more difficult for the Financial and Registration Committee to consider.

End of Term Appeal Circumstances

Most often at the end of the term, students are appealing to change their current registration status from Registered to Drop or Withdrawn, or from Withdrawn to Drop in a course. Other appeal types are unlikely to be relevant as the term ends. Information in this section references end of term appeal circumstances that may arise, frequently asked questions, and managing a pending appeal with end of term deadlines. Students may view their course schedule and registration status in MyDCE by selecting the MyCourses section in the MyDCE dashboard.

When will my appeal be reviewed?

The volume of Registration appeals increases at the end of every term and may take longer in review than anticipated. To prevent any delays — students should submit official documentation with the appeal submission. In the interim, the appeal will be incomplete and not eligible for review. Appeals that remain incomplete, often because of missing or incomplete supporting documentation, may be cancelled without review.

The FRC reviews complete appeals on a rolling basis and meets once a week during the end of the term to review appeals and issue decisions. The FR appeals staff endeavors to have appeals reviewed within 2-3 weeks from submission but anticipate a longer review at the end of the term. Complete appeals will be reviewed for a limited time after the term unless the student ‘completes’ the course.

What is the likely outcome of a drop appeal?

The FRC considers extenuating and documented circumstances (see documentation section) — these are often acute and occurring on or around the missed deadline. Appeals in which a student remains in a course after circumstances are encountered, or who are managing ongoing personal or professional responsibilities throughout the term, are unlikely to be approved — these circumstances, while often impactful, are considered known in the FRC review. Students with ‘known’ circumstances have options to act on their registration ahead of the deadline, and therefore have this weighed with the appeal circumstances.

The FRC looks to make a fair and equitable decision on all requests for retroactive registration changes (such as a retroactive drop or withdraw). Most often when a FR appeal is approved, it is approved for the most recent registration change deadline. Meaning — if a student appeals for a drop after the semester withdrawal deadline, and that student has been engaged and active in the class for the duration of the term, it is unlikely that a drop and tuition refund can be approved since the academic integrity and engagement in the term is an equal consideration in the FRC review. Instead, case depending, the FRC may approve a retroactive withdraw in the course.

My appeal is pending. Should I withdraw by the deadline?

A student that is still registered in a course and waiting on their appeal for a late drop to be reviewed will need to plan on how to proceed at the withdrawal deadline. The student should make an appropriate choice based on their circumstances and goals at present. Note, the Financial and Registration Committee may not be able to review an appeal ahead of a registration deadline. Similarly, they may not offer a retroactive option to withdraw if the deadline is missed while the appeal is pending.

Students may want to consider their ultimate goals in the course and decide how to continue assuming the appeal is not an option. Meaning — If a student knows they are unable or unwilling to complete the course for a final grade, the student may want to withdraw before the deadline passes. In this case, the student should be aware of the withdrawal option and WD grade issuance but should make the best choice for them on how to act at the deadline. Students that remain registered, if the appeal is cancelled or denied, may not have the opportunity to retroactively withdraw; students registered after the withdrawal deadline will be issued a final grade.

If a student decides to withdraw, and the FR appeal is approved after the withdrawal deadline; the drop will be processed — the WD grade and course would be removed from your academic record and the appropriate tuition refund would be issued.

Should I take my final or wait for my appeal review?

FR appeals are not a guarantee of approval — if an appeal is pending, students will need to make a choice on what is best for them when assessing end of term appeal options. Students should take time to assess their engagement and progress in the course throughout the term and determine how they feel about completing a course vs. waiting for an appeal decision.

Note — if a student completes a course when a FR appeal is pending, that course is no longer eligible for retroactive changes. A course is considered ‘complete’ when a student completes a final deliverable in the class. Completing a course may include sitting a final exam (including if it is started and time runs out), submitting a final paper, completing an individual or group project or presentation, or completing the final end-of-course assignment.

When making any decision of this nature, students may wish to speak with a Pre-Admission advisor or, for admitted degree candidates, their Academic Advisor to discuss how the grade (either letter or WD) may impact their academic progress and goals.

Tuition Payments and Refunds

Tuition payment is required in full before students can be officially enrolled in any course. This includes approved appeals for credit status changes if the new credit status has a higher tuition cost than the original tuition paid at registration.

Students will be notified of the exact payment amount needed and how to submit payment, if and when their appeal has been approved by the Financial and Registration Committee.

How can I tell if the credit status or course I am appealing to add has a greater tuition cost than what was paid at registration?

Students should review our course catalog to determine the cost of tuition for the desired credit status or the course you wish to add. Students can compare the difference in cost on the course catalog to the tuition paid at registration to determine if additional tuition payment is needed.

Will my appeal include a tuition refund?

Any appeal that is approved for a late drop will include a tuition refund. Refunds are issued for 100% or 50% of tuition paid.

Credit status changes and add/drop appeals may also include a refund. If the desired credit status or course added is of lesser cost in tuition, and the appeal is approved, students will be refunded the difference in the tuition cost.

Tuition refunds are processed by Student Financial Services within 3-5 business days of the appeal approval and will be issued back in the same manner by which the student paid tuition.

TAP tuition will not be refunded. Students who receive third-party tuition payments, veterans’ benefits, or are receiving financial aid should contact Student Financial Services directly for more information on tuition refunds.

Can my refund be deferred or used as a credit for a future semester?

Unfortunately, our administration is not able to defer tuition for a course in a future semester. Payment that exceeds the cost of tuition and fees will result in a credit balance. The credit balance will be refunded and may not be held and applied as future payment.