The University of Exeter has recently announced changes to their mitigation and extension policies. Key changes include the change to a 72-hour period for self-certified assessment extensions. This is when you do not need to provide any evidence to get an extension.
I was involved in working on these policies, following on from work completed by my predecessor, Stevie Preece, President Exeter 2021/22.
It’s important to note that the changes to the mitigation and extension policies have some real positive outcomes for students.
You can now use evidence from University staff to support evidence-based mitigation. Previously, evidence had to be collected from third parties, such as medical professionals.
The University has completed an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) to mitigate impact on students with Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) and consider other students who are protected under the Equality Act.
My involvement and contribution
As part of working with the University, I highlighted the importance of the Cost-of-Living crisis and the detrimental impact the crisis is having on students’ ability to engage with learning due to financial issues and extra responsibilities when working alongside studying.
Finance was added to the mitigation policy as a reason for mitigation through my involvement. However, I am still lobbying the university to include working students in the mitigation policy as it is becoming increasingly difficult to complete your studies while relying solely on student loans.
Self-certification mitigation has been reduced to 72 hours for everybody, changing from 1 week in previous policies. Students are still eligible for up to four self-certified extensions in a rolling 12-month period (from the first time one of these was used). Both Stevie and I highlighted the issues for students in changing the time frame available. Since the new policy has been in place, I have received messages from students impacted by the changes and will continue to advocate for what is right for you.
Student’s with ILPs have an unlimited amount of self-certification extensions of 72 hours. ILPs still count as evidence for longer mitigation but the length of time that you can have has been reduced from 3 weeks to 2 weeks. This has understandably raised concerns, despite the EIA, and I will continue to raise your concerns with university leaders at Education Board to make sure this policy works for every student.
Alongside the changes, I have made suggestions related to the communication of the updates to our community. I want to see clearer and more accessible communications about the changes, including outlines on how the new policy will support specific student experiences so you know exactly what you need to do and how it will impact your academic experience. If you’ve not heard much about these policies yet, please visit the University's FAQs and mitigation policy changes.
What happens next?
With more feedback from students, I can continue lobbying the University to consider further changes that reflect your needs. I need your thoughts to take to upcoming Education Board and University Council meetings to advocate for the best option for students. Please email me directly to share your thoughts on the new mitigation and extension policies.