Tuition Refund Appeal Committee

Grand Valley State University students are responsible for knowing university academic policies as outlined in the University Catalog as well as the academic calendar. The University does recognize that there are times when a student experiences an extenuating or unexpected emergency or hardship that interferes with the student’s ability to attend and/or successfully complete classes that may warrant an exception or appeal. In unique circumstances, these situations may also justify consideration for a tuition refund. It is important that students understand that these appeals must be submitted in a timely manner as soon as possible during or after the semester in which the incident or situation occurred and must include supporting documentation. Tuition refunds will not be granted for courses in which a passing grade was earned. Requests for refunds for multiple semesters are rarely considered or approved. Students are responsible for taking the appropriate steps necessary to mitigate the need for tuition refunds for any future semester.

For questions, please contact [email protected] or 616-331-3327. 

Process and Guidelines

Step One

GET an Application for Tuition Refund form from the Registrar’s website.

FILL the form out completely

  • Include the specific semester and courses for which the appeal is being requested
  • Fill out a separate form for each semester if multiple semesters are to be considered
  • Include course numbers, titles, and CRN’s, if known
  • Appeals should be filed as soon as possible after the extenuating circumstances occur and, except in unusual circumstances, by the end of the semester after the semester for which the appeal is being requested.
  • If your appeal includes a previous semester, documentation is particularly critical and should directly address the timeline and circumstances addressed in the appeal.

Step Two

DRAFT a personal statement, addressed to the Tuition Refund Appeal Committee. Guidelines for items to be included in the statement are listed in the FAQs below.

  • Appeals without a personal statement will not be considered
  • Appeals with only a parent statement will not be considered

Step Three

OBTAIN copies of any supporting documentation, including, but not limited to:

  • Signed and dated letter of support from doctor or medical official on letterhead 
    • Submit the Medical Provider Documentation Form to your provider to release medical records to GVSU. Letters should be uploaded as documentation to the appeal before submission.
  • Letters of support from instructor(s), if applicable
  • Letters of support from professional advisors, if applicable
  • Any other documentation pertinent to the appeal

No appeal will be considered without written support or documentation. 

Step Four

  • You will be notified, in writing (or by phone depending on the time of year), of the decision of the Committee.
  • A 100% refund is not guaranteed.
  • 100% refunds are most likely when the circumstances were outside of your control and the documentation clearly supports that you were unable to complete the semester.
  • Approved appeals may include:
    • No refunds but grades changed to "W" only
    • Refunds may be prorated based on portion of semester completed

Important Items to Consider

Appeals will be considered by the committee in the following instances as long as the appropriate supporting documentation is provided:

Physical or mental illness of the student (including hospitalization) documented by a signed and dated physician’s statement that details the inability of the student to successfully complete courses for the given term. Please do NOT include medical records.

Physical or mental illness of the student’s immediate family member (including hospitalization) who is dependent upon the student for support documented by a signed and dated physician’s statement or other medical support on official letterhead. Please do NOT include medical records.

Death of a student’s immediate family member (parent, spouse, children, sibling) with a  copy of death certificate or a link to an obituary.

Military deployment documented by commanding officer.

Administrative errors related to advising, transfer credit assignment, or internship placements with supporting documentation from university personnel on official letterhead.

The committee will not consider appeals in the following instances:

Personal errors in judgement or irresponsibility involving transportation, availability of finances, academic ability or time management.

Non-qualification, late application, or loss of eligibility for financial aid or scholarships.

Misinterpretation or lack of knowledge of university policies or procedures as published in the university catalog or other university publications.

Dissatisfaction with course content or delivery of instructions (complaints of this nature should be addressed to the instructor and, as needed, the unit head).

Dissatisfaction with academic progress in the course.

Non-attendance or minimal attendance in a class.

Inadequate investigation of course requirements prior to registration and attendance.

Changes to work schedule or other activity impacting ability to attend class.

Request to remove any passing grade from a student’s transcript, regardless of the reason.

Refunds will not be granted to undergraduate students who dropped a class or classes and remained within the 12 - 15 credit block rate for tuition.

Multiple semester refund requests are rarely considered and must include significant documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Medical
    • Dated and signed letter on letterhead by a medical professional explaining your illness and limits to class participation.
  2. Death in the Family
    • A death certificate or obituary must be provided.  Death must be in your immediate family
  3. Deployment
    • Deployment papers must be provided and state that you are on active duty.
  4. University Error
    • Memo on university letterhead from the appropriate administrator stating the error.

In developing your personal statement to the Tuition Refund Appeal Committee, you will need to provide detailed, specific, and oftentimes, personal information regarding your specific circumstances. This should include information on what steps you have taken to ensure that future appeals will not be necessary.

By responding to the following questions, you should be able to develop a thorough appeal letter that provides all background information needed by the Committee.

1. What circumstances have caused you to be in this appeal situation?

  • Be specific.  The Committee recognizes that this may require you to share personal information.  You can be assured that this will be kept confidential.
  • Are you aware of the course withdrawal deadlines? What necessitates an exception to those posted deadlines?
  • It's assumed that you will be honest. If you made some mistakes, admit this and let the Committee know that you accept the responsibility and consequences of those mistakes.
  • Do not use this letter to blame others for the situation.

2. What steps have you taken to ensure that future appeals will not be necessary?

  • Detail what you plan to do if your appeal is approved. How will you prevent the same situation  from occurring in the future?
  • What support services at GVSU will you use to support your success: tutoring, writing center, math/statistics lab, Counseling and Career Development Center, Disability Support Resources, etc.
  • In particular, if you withdrew from all your classes for a current semester, how will you decide when you are ready to begin classes again? What will you do to ensure you are successful?

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) policy states that students who register for classes for any given semester may be obligated to pay all or a portion of tuition and fees for that semester. If you begin classes at GVSU, receive financial aid, and then withdraw, your financial aid will be adjusted based on the following policy, per federal regulations.

Withdrawing from credits may cause you to fall below the financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. As such, we strongly suggest speaking with the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships prior to making any adjustments to your enrollment to discuss how your aid may be affected.

Please view the withdrawal and refund policy.

Housing and Residence Life administrates a housing-specific appeal process. Contact Housing and Residence Life at 616-331-2120 or [email protected] for additional information.

An approved appeal can certainly help your GPA and may even raise it above the dismissal level.  However, in order to be reinstated at GVSU you must complete a petition to return

If your tuition refund appeal is approved, your transcript will be adjusted accordingly and your tuition refund will be processed as soon as possible. In particular,

  • For a partial tuition refund (50% or 75%), the course(s) will be marked as withdrawn (W) and will remain on your transcript.
  • For a complete tuition refund (100%), the course(s) will be completely removed from your transcript.

For additional information regarding tuition refunds please go to Refunds - Student Accounts - Grand Valley State University (

Financial aid eligibility will be reevaluated and may be adjusted accordingly and in accordance with federal, state, institutional, and third-party regulations and/or policies. Financial aid funds may be required to be returned to the appropriate awarding institution, which may result in an outstanding balance owed to the University. If approval for a tuition refund appeal results in a credit balance, and you are a student loan borrower, you may contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships for assistance with returning any loans to your lender.  

If you appeal is denied, there will be no changes to your transcript.  We encourage you to reach out to your academic advisor and The Office of Financial Aid to help you determine appropriate next steps.

Multiple appeals will be considered only in truly extenuating circumstances and are unlikely to be approved unless the student has taken the appropriate corrective actions to address the initial conditions that initiated previous appeals.

About Us

The Tuition Refund Appeals Committee includes members from the following departments: 

Dean of Students Office

Disability Support Resources 

Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships 

Registrar's Office 

Student Academic Services & Advising
(College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) 

Other Resources

Page last modified May 28, 2024