Academic progress

Academic progress is the way the University supports students who are failing courses and not making satisfactory progress towards completing their program.

We know there are many reasons why it can be difficult to keep up with your studies. It’s important to remember that, throughout this process, there are many support services available to get you back on track, and people who can help you succeed.

Schools offer academic advice and support to students who meet criteria to be considered ‘at risk’ of unsatisfactory academic progress, to help them improve their performance. The University provides support services to students in difficulties or who need to improve their study skills.

The University has a responsibility not to allow students to go on studying if they continue to fail courses and don’t look like finishing their program in the required time-frame. This can seem harsh to some students but is necessary to ensure that students don’t continue to incur fees when it seems unlikely that they’ll complete their qualification. Students with unsatisfactory academic progress may also benefit from having time away from University to address the underlying issues impacting their performance.

From 2019, a two-stage at-risk model has been implemented at RMIT Vietnam to align with RMIT academic policy (previously, students who made unsatisfactory academic progress for the third time were considered to be at the final stage).

From 2019, there are two key stages in the management of unsatisfactory academic progress at RMIT, first stage and final stage. When students reach final stage, they may be excluded from their programs for two semesters. The Registrar notifies ‘at-risk’ students of their academic standing at the end of every semester after their grades become available and invites them to show cause why they should not be excluded from their program. A PAB meets to consider their performance in the program. Until a determination is made, students are permitted to continue attending classes for their enrolled courses. 

If you meet the criteria listed below, your school will identify you as being at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. This is known as unsatisfactory academic progress. 

  • Has failed 50% or more of enrolled course load in a semester. 
  • Has failed a course for a competency a second time.
  • Has failed to comply with conditions prescribed in an academic performance improvement plan.
  • Has demonstrated that progress through a program will not allow completion of the program in the maximum time allowed for that program.

The first time you meet one or more of the criteria above, you’re identified as being at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. 

Officially, this means you’re considered to be ‘first stage at risk’. If your academic performance continues to be unsatisfactory, you could be excluded from your program. 

The Registrar will contact you by email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) to notify you of this and to offer you support. This is a chance to get the help you need to get back on track with your studies. 

You’ll be given the opportunity to book a one-on-one appointment with an academic advisor. .. 

The appointment provides an opportunity for students to:

  • Understand the ‘at-risk’ process
  • Gain awareness of factors that might lead to the ‘at-risk’ status
  • Develop an Academic Performance Improvement Plan (APIP). This plan sets out the requirements you need to meet in the next teaching period to continue in your program.
  • Discuss how academic engagement can help improve performance
  • Understand and utilise support services offered by different departments on campus, such as Student Academic Success, Wellbeing and Career Services.

Your level of engagement with the PIP program can be taken into consideration if you reach final stage at risk and face possible exclusion.

If you make unsatisfactory academic progress for a subsequent time (meaning you again meet one or more of the criteria above) in the same program, you may be identified as final stage at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. 

If this happens, you’ll be emailed by the Registrar after results are released (or after a change to a grade) and invited to provide a written submission, called a ‘show cause’ submission, to the Program Assessment Board (PAB).

The show cause submission is a way for you to explain your situation to the PAB. The Board will meet and, based on the information in your submission, decide whether or not you can continue in your program. They’ll base this decision on whether you have a reasonable likelihood of future success.

Before preparing your submission, you may want to consider if this program is the right one for you, or if a break from the program would be beneficial.

If you decide to make a show cause submission, ensure you include the following information.

1. Explain why your academic performance has been unsatisfactory

For the teaching periods in which you’ve been identified as at risk, especially the most recent teaching period, you need to explain:

  • what went wrong and why (including both academic and personal circumstances that have impaired your performance)
  • how much time each week you’ve spent in class and studying, and how much time you’ve spent on other commitments such as employment
  • what you’ve done to resolve these issues, including any help you’ve sought
  • what you’ve done to carry out your Academic Performance Improvement Plan.

2. Explain how your performance will improve

For the next teaching period, you need to explain:

  • whether the issues that impaired your academic performance are still present, or your situation has improved
  • if the issues are still present, how you’ll minimise their impact on your performance
  • your short-term and long-term plans to improve your study skills and academic performance.

3. Provide supporting documents

The Board will expect independent supporting documentation of any circumstances outside your control that have impaired your academic performance. 

Typical supporting documents include:

  • a letter or report from a health practitioner or counsellor
  • a death certificate or funeral notice for a close relative
  • a police report of a crime against you
  • evidence of your use of support services recommended in your Academic Performance Improvement Plan.

The PAB may decide to:

  • allow you to continue in your program. 
  • exclude you from your program for 2 semesters, after which you may apply for re-admission.

If the PAB decides you can continue in your program, you’ll be sent a 'PAB decision' email. You’ll continue to be officially at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. 

You’ll again be given the opportunity to talk to an academic advisor and develop an APIP. You’ll need to continue to meet the requirements in your APIP. If you meet one of the academic progress criteria in any subsequent semesters in the same program, you may need to provide another submission to the PAB.

If you’re recommended for exclusion, the Registrar will notify you of the exclusion decision by email. The exclusion will be effective immediately and apply for two semesters. Your enrolment will be cancelled and any fees paid will be refunded.

Yes. The email from the Registrar will include information about how to appeal. You need to wait to receive this email before you can submit an appeal. 

If you can meet the grounds stated in the appeals section of the assessment processes (PDF 241KB, 45p) refer to 7.18; you might lodge an Appeal against Exclusion with the Registrar. You need to fill out and submit the Appeal against Exclusion form (PDF 75KB, 3p) within 20 working days from the date of the exclusion notification email.

You’re eligible to apply for re-admission to the program 2 semesters after exclusion. If you cancel your enrolment, you’ll still need to wait 2 semesters before applying for re-admission.

If you’re studying an RMIT program on a student visa, your visa may be cancelled if you’re excluded from your program for continued unsatisfactory academic performance. 

RMIT is required by law to notify the Immigration Office of excluded students. 

If you’re being excluded and you cancel your enrolment, transfer to another RMIT program, or transfer to a program at another provider, RMIT is still obligated to notify the Immigration Office. 

If you appeal the decision, we won’t notify the Immigration Office until the appeal process is completed (and then only if your appeal is unsuccessful).

If you’ve decided not to continue with your program, you must formally cancel your enrolment before the census or relevant withdrawal date. This will ensure you don’t incur fees or academic penalties. 

Contacts and help

If you’re finding it hard to keep up with your studies, there's help available. 

  • If you’re worried about your results and academic progress, we recommend first talking to staff in your school or college.
  • Student Academic Success can help you develop skills, strategies and knowledge about how to succeed academically.
  • Equitable Learning Service offers counselling and support for students with a disability, long-term illness and/or mental health condition.
  • Student Academic Success advisors can provide advice and help you prepare a show cause submission.

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