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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Variance Process

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Minnesota State University, Mankato has a commitment to a respectful learning environment. Students have the right to seek a remedy for a decision they believe a campus office/department has made is unfair, arbitrary, or capricious.  

The variance process is designed to formalize the method by which a student may appeal a decision relating to knowledge, skills, dispositions, or program requirements. The Professional Education Policy, Procedure, and Review Board, representing the professional education unit evaluates each request on an individual basis. The Board will also hear cases of students who may be placed on non-continuance, expulsion or reported professional communications if candidates wish to appeal them.

The Board is established each academic year and consists of representatives from each professional education department in the College of Education. When a student from a major outside the College of Education has an appeal before the committee, a faculty member from the student's department may also serve on the committee if requested.

Students interested in submitting a variance request, should log into Student Information Management System - SIMS, complete the on-line form and submit it.  In completing the request, students must identify the type of variance they are requesting and include a letter of rationale.

Types of Variances - There are three types of variance requests: (1) Provisional admittance into Professional Education, the Block or a Program; (2) Continuation or Completion of a Program, Student Teaching, or an Internship; and (3) Admission or modification of Student Teaching or an Internship

Letter of Rationale - Students need to describe the nature of the problem, what is being requested, relevant information which supports the variance request, and the remedy sought.  In the letter identify specific factors/circumstances that contributed to the need for a variance request. 

Note: Please be sure to fill the form out completely and attach any supporting documents. Action on the variance request will not be taken until the form is completed.

Advisor/Faculty Statement - Your advisor or concerned faculty member will need to write a letter explaining the problem (this may or may not be a letter of support).  You will need to know their name (last and first) to complete your request; without this letter, your request will be delayed.  

Action on the request will not be taken until the Variance Request is complete.

Upon receipt of a Variance Request, the chair will call a meeting of the Board to review the request. In addition to cases relating to professional concerns or program requirements, the Board will review cases in instances where students perceive that a decision was unfair, arbitrary or capricious and may result in hardship or injustice. The Board may take the following considerations into their decision:

  • Would granting the variance be consistent with past practice?
  • Would granting the variance set a new precedent?
  • Is there truly a demonstrated need for the variance?
  • Is there evidence of diligence on the part of the student?
  • Is there evidence of neglect on the part of the student?
  • Are there variables that were out of the student’s control that contributed to the situation?

The Board makes every attempt to meet within two weeks of receipt of the variance although this may be shorter or longer depending upon the semester schedule.  Following the Board review, the candidate will receive a letter (copied to the candidate’s advisor, department chair, Academic Advising Office, and others as needed), stating the action taken by the Review Board and including a suggested course of action. Candidates’ may appeal all decisions to the College of Education Dean. 

Authority/Reference: This policy follows the guidelines stated in the Minnesota Statutes 14.055 and 14.056 Discretionary Variance Requests.


For additional information please contact the Advising office, Armstrong Hall 117.