Late Course Work Policy

Late Course Work Policy


This policy governs the acceptance and grading of late work (including assignments, quizzes and exams, and discussion posts) in Excelsior University courses.  The intention of the policy is to promote consistency and academic rigor in Excelsior University courses, while also providing faculty with the flexibility to respond to students experiencing extenuating circumstances. 

a) Students are expected to submit work for Excelsior University courses by the due date stipulated in the course.   

b) Students who are unable to submit course work by the due date because of an extenuating circumstance should contact their instructor prior to the due date to request an extension for the work.  If it is not possible to contact the instructor prior to the due date, they should do as soon after the due date as possible.  

Extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • an illness or injury 
  • a death of a family member or significant other 
  • a significant change in employment or military status
  • a trauma in the student’s life 
  • technical issues 
  • a natural disaster (see Policy 153) 
  • other significant unplanned events

c) Instructors have the discretion to offer an extension or to accept late course work without penalty based on their assessment of a student’s circumstances.  Documentation of extenuating circumstances may be required. 

d) Unless otherwise stipulated in the instructions or grading rubric, the following penalties will apply to late course work that has not been granted an extension by the instructor: 

  • Course work submitted less than a week (seven calendar days) after the due date will be subject to a 10% penalty (10 points out of 100); 
  • Course work submitted more than a week after the due date will receive a zero.

e) Discussion posts will receive a zero after the due date for the discussion without prior permission from the instructor. 

f) Course work submitted after the final day of the term will receive a zero unless an official course extension has been granted. (See Policy 133: Courses and Examinations Extension Policy). 

g) At the discretion of the provost, Excelsior may waive the requirements in this policy for students experiencing a disaster or emergency.  See Policy 153: Assistance to Students in Disaster and Emergency Areas. 

h) Students may appeal the decision of their instructor by contacting the school offering the course.  Contact information for each of the schools is located below. 


Guidance for Instructional Faculty: 

The ultimate goal of the late course work policy is to support student success, and this should be the guiding principle when making decisions about how to apply it in practice. The policy empowers instructional faculty with broad authority to accept late course work when they believe it is warranted by a student’s circumstances. 

Excelsior expects students to make a good faith effort to submit course work on time and to promptly notify their instructor if they are unable to meet a deadline.  Submitting course work late is disruptive to the student learning experience and places an additional bookkeeping burden on faculty.  

At the same time, Excelsior recognizes that students face multiple competing priorities—balancing school with work, family, and other considerations—and that there are legitimate reasons why students may fall behind on their course work.  For example, a student may experience a medical emergency, a personal or family crisis, a significant change in their work schedule or responsibilities (such as an unplanned military assignment), or be impacted by a natural disaster.  Faculty are encouraged to exhibit empathy, compassion, and flexibility, working with students to help them succeed in the course. Instructors should contact their FPD if they have questions about whether a specific circumstance merits an extension or the acceptance of late course work. 

It is important to recognize that students experiencing extenuating circumstances may be too overwhelmed by their circumstances to initiate outreach to their instructor. If a student does not submit a major assignment by the due date or appears to be falling behind in a course, instructors should reach out to the student to find out what is causing the delay.  Instructors may also request that the student’s academic advisor initiate outreach. 

If a student does not contact an instructor about late course work, the instructor should enter a provisional zero in the gradebook, rather than leaving the cell blank, along with a note to the student encouraging them to contact the instructor with an explanation of their circumstances. 

Note: When penalizing late course work, instructors should be sure to note any deductions and the reasons for them in their feedback to students.  In addition, the notes function in the Canvas gradebook can be used to easily track late course work without having to pull up individual student grade feedback.