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CFA Program Deferral Policy

Last updated 14 June 2024

Our exam pass rates show that candidates who defer their exam registration TO A LATER EXAM CYCLE perform significantly BELOW THE AVERAGE SCORE on their next exam attempt. We urge candidates to remain registered and stay on schedule with their studying if at all possible. 

August 2024 Candidates:
The deferral request window will open 1 August and close on 3 September at 11:59 PM ET.
All other registered candidates: Continue to check back for form availability closer to your exam window.

Exam Deferral Types

For registered candidates who cannot sit for their scheduled exam and want to move to a new exam window, we provide the following options. 

Paid Deferral

(Available once per paid exam registration.)

Candidates may purchase a USD 399 deferral up until the deadline. When you purchase a deferral, you may postpone your exam appointment for up to 12 months, depending on your exam level and appointment availability. See the table below  for eligible exam windows. Registration and scheduling deadlines apply.

Once you purchase the deferral, your registration and scheduled appointment will be cancelled immediately. Please note that your decision is binding. Only one paid deferral is permitted for each paid registration. You will not be able to defer a second time unless you pay for a new registration. No refunds will be available.

Emergency Deferral

Scheduled candidates may request an Emergency Deferral until the deadline. You are eligible for a free emergency deferral if you are experiencing a:

  • life-threatening illness (candidate or immediate family member)
  • death of a candidate’s immediate family member
  • mandatory military deployment (candidate only) during the exam window
  • pregnancy (candidate only). Please note the candidate may request only one pregnancy deferral per level.
  • rescheduled exam by Prometric within 30 days of the start of the exam window  and after contacting Prometric, you are unable to find a new acceptable appointment date.

You must provide documentation to support your claim for an emergency deferral. Once the deferral is approved, you may defer your exam appointment for up to 12 months, depending on your exam level and appointment availability. See the table below for eligible exam windows. Registration and scheduling deadlines apply.

If you do not qualify for an emergency deferral, or do qualify but cannot provide the proper documentation, then you are not eligible for an emergency deferral and your request will be denied. However, you may purchase a deferral before the deadline.

Completion of the emergency deferral form represents your consent for CFA Institute to use the information provided by you to verify your eligibility for an exam deferral and monitor exam deferral volumes. All deferral requests are subject to the terms of the Candidate Agreement, up to and including review by our Professional Conduct department.

Please allow up to seven weeks for us to validate the documentation you provide and to complete processing of the emergency deferral requests. 

CFA Institute has received numerous false Emergency Deferral requests. Providing false documentation is a serious violation of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. If we suspect your documentation is false, your request will be denied and you will be referred to our Professional Conduct department for disciplinary sanctions, including possible restriction from the CFA Program exams. 

If you do not qualify for an Emergency Deferral, purchase a deferral instead. Do not risk disciplinary sanctions by falsifying documentation.

Professional Conduct at CFA Institute has discovered that some candidates have been providing the usernames and passwords of their CFA Program accounts to third parties unaffiliated with CFA Institute, who are often using that information to provide false deferral information on behalf of these candidates. As a candidate, you are responsible for keeping your account safe, private and secure. Candidates who permit third parties to have access to their accounts will be held responsible for any falsified or misleading information provided, and may receive a sanction (including suspension or prohibition from participation in the CFA Program) for such activity. We remind all registered candidates to read and uphold the CFA Institute Code and Standards, and to abide by all terms outlined in the Candidate Agreement.”

Eligible Exam Windows for Deferred May 2024 Candidates

You may be eligible to register for one of the following windows depending on your level. Registration and scheduling deadlines apply. If registration has already closed for a window, you will not be permitted to register.

   
Aug – Level I November 2024 or February 2025 or May 2025, or August 2025
Aug – Level II November 2024 or May 2025 or August 2025
Aug – Level II February 2025 or August 2025

Beginning with the November 2024 administration, we will charge a USD 100 processing fee for all approved emergency deferral requests. This fee is to cover the administrative costs associated with canceling your registration.


Deferral FAQs

Why can’t I defer my February 2024 exam before my exam appointment? 

We are making some enhancements to the deferral request process and will not be able to accept requests until the form is available. Registered candidates will still be able to submit their request online after their appointment has passed as long as they did not attend their exam appointment.

I know that I want to defer my February 2024 exam. Should I call Prometric to cancel my exam appointment? 

No. You do not need to cancel your exam appointment. You may disregard any emails that you receive related to your exam appointment if you do not plan to attend your exam appointment. 

I want to purchase a deferral for my February 2024 exam and register to take my exam in May. Will I be able to register for May 2024?  

No. Registration for May 2024 closes on 6 February and we can’t make exceptions for candidates who wish to defer to this window. We strongly urge you to sit as scheduled in February if this will disrupt your timeline for completing the CFA Program. 

What is the difference between an emergency deferral and a paid deferral?

We understand the need to provide flexibility for candidates. Those in situations involving qualifying major hardships, and can provide the required documentation, are eligible for an emergency deferral.

We also understand that sometimes life just gets in the way. If for any reason you feel it is necessary to defer your scheduled exam, we now offer an option to defer for a fee.

Why does the paid deferral fee cost USD 399?

CFA Institute contracts with our exam administrator and incurs extra expenses anytime a candidate changes their plans. We pay for your absence from an expected exam and the cost to arrange for seating for a future exam, as well as the cost of extending your Learning Ecosystem access.

I have decided I want to defer my exam. What can I expect next?

If you are eligible for an emergency deferral, it will take up to seven weeks for us to review and process your request. You will receive an email containing your registration voucher code for your next exam. Your voucher code will also be available in your Candidate Tile.

If you pay to defer your exam, your registration and scheduled exam appointment will be cancelled immediately. You will receive an email containing your registration voucher code for your next exam. Your voucher code will also be available in your Candidate Tile.

Where do I find the deferral form?

Candidates registered for an exam can find the deferral form on this page when it is available for their exam window. You must wait until the deferral form is available for your window to submit your deferral request.

What if my emergency deferral request is denied but I already missed my exam appointment? 

We cannot guarantee that your emergency deferral request will be approved. We encourage attending your exam if possible and only request an emergency deferral if you have no other option. Emergency deferrals are only considered on a case-by-case basis for select situations and are evaluated based on the documentation provided. If your request is denied after your exam appointment has passed, you may be eligible to purchase a deferral. If you are not eligible to purchase a deferral then you will need to pay the registration fee for a new exam once results are released. 

Who is considered immediate family?

CFA Institute defines the candidate’s immediate family as only the candidate’s parent, sibling, spouse/domestic partner, or child. For the purposes of deferrals, grandparents are not considered part of a candidate’s immediate family.

What is included in my paid deferral?

When you purchase the deferral, your registration and scheduled appointment will be cancelled. Purchase of the paid deferral allows you to move your exam appointment for up to 12 months, depending on your exam level and appointment availability. Once your deferral is processed, you must register and schedule your exam appointment. Please note that registration must be open for your chosen exam window. If registration has already closed, you will have to select another exam window. Refer to the table above for available exam windows.

Please note that your decision is binding. No refunds are available. Only one paid deferral is permitted for each paid registration. You will not be able to defer a second time unless you pay for a new registration.

Will I continue to have access to the Learning Ecosystem?

You will continue to have access to your Learning Ecosystem account throughout your deferral period. If you register for an exam in a future calendar year, your LES will be updated at that time with the new curriculum.

What if I buy a deferral but need to change my plans again?

Only one paid deferral is permitted for each paid registration. Once the initial deferral is purchased, you cannot defer again. If another change is required, you must pay for a new registration.

What if I buy a deferral but then decide that I can sit for my exam after all?

Choosing and paying for a deferral cancels your registration and scheduled exam appointment (if applicable). It is a binding decision and cannot be changed. Refunds are not available.

What if I need to change my exam appointment within the same exam window?

The fee to change your scheduled appointment within the exam window is USD 250.



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