Grade Change Requests & Appeals

How to change or appeal a grade

Although the Student Advocates Office doesn’t have the power to change grades, our Student Advocates can help you navigate the process of appealing a grade or requesting that a grade be changed to a W.

Appealing a grade

If you feel that you’ve been graded unfairly in a course, you have the option to appeal that grade. Each IU Bloomington school sets its own policies, procedures, and deadlines for grade appeals—check your school’s academic bulletin for details. Your Student Advocate can help you understand your school’s policies and procedures and help you prepare your appeal.

Requesting a grade change

If there are compelling circumstances—for example, serious illness or a death in your family—that prevent you from completing a course, you have the option to request that your grade be changed to a W.

Grade change requests are considered only in extreme circumstances. Grades cannot be changed to:

  • Increase your GPA
  • Prevent you from being dismissed from IU
  • Help you qualify for financial assistance
  • Allow you to join a sorority or fraternity

Things to consider

Changing a grade to a W may affect your academic progress or your eligibility for financial aid. Contact Student Central for more information.

If you are an international student, changing a grade to W will reduce your number of credit hours for the term, which could affect your visa status. Contact the Office of International Services for more information.

Grade change request policies

  • Only the course instructor (or, in the absence of the instructor, the department chair) has the authority to initiate a request for a grade change. If the instructor is unwilling to consider a request to change the grade, that decision is final.
  • If the instructor agrees to initiate a grade change request, it must be approved by the department chair and then by the dean of the school in which the course is offered.
  • A grade change for one course is rarely considered if you are passing all your other courses.

Your personal statement is your opportunity to present your case for changing your grade to a W. Be sure to write your statement in a Word document and send it to your Student Advocate via email. Do not use Google Docs.

Your statement should be:

  • Approximately one page
  • Typed (single spaced)
  • Free of grammatical and spelling errors
  • Concise and readable
Contact information

Provide your name, student ID number, phone, email, and the date in the upper right or upper left corner.

Opening paragraph

State what you are asking for:

“I am working with the Student Advocates Office to request that my grade be changed to a W in the course listed here.”

List courses in this format: Fall 20XX – Course number – Class number – Title – Instructor

Example: Fall 2018 – BUS-A 100 – 1152 – Basic Accounting Skills – Vivian Winston

Additional paragraphs

Provide an explanation of the circumstances that led to your inability to complete the course (e.g., serious illness, a death in your family) and the approximate date you stopped attending classes. Include a timeline of relevant events (e.g., medical treatment, hospitalization, court hearings).


Thank the instructor for considering the appeal.

Your grade change request should include documentation of the circumstances that caused your inability to complete the course.

If you were unable to complete the course due to medical reasons, you must provide official documentation from a health care provider that includes the time period of the illness/injury and treatment, a brief description of the illness/injury, and a statement confirming that the illness/injury was serious enough to have prevented you from completing the course.

If you were unable to complete the course due to personal reasons such as divorce or a death in your family, you must provide official documentation related to the event (e.g., court documents, an obituary).

Submitting your grade change request

After your advocate reviews your request, he or she may have you make revisions to your personal statement or gather additional documentation. When your request is complete, it will be submitted to the director of the Student Advocates Office for approval. Upon approval, it will be submitted to the instructor, department chair, and dean in a secure manner.

After your request has been submitted

Instructors, department chairs, and deans are under no obligation to notify you of their decision regarding your request. You may need to follow up and inquire about the status of your request.

Be aware that if you are requesting grade changes in multiple courses, the length of the process may vary by course—in other words, you might hear back about some courses before others.

If your request is approved, it will take between four weeks and six months for the Office of the Registrar to process the change to your academic record.