Catalog and Student Handbook 2009-2010 
    Sep 21, 2018  
Catalog and Student Handbook 2009-2010 [Archived Catalog]

Academic Information

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Student Classifications


Undergraduate Degree Students

All undergraduate students who have been admitted as credit students and are pursuing a degree or certificate are classified as undergraduate degree students. These students are further classified at the freshman or sophomore level based on their level of progress or placement within a program of study.

  1. Freshman: A student with less than 30 semester hours earned toward a degree.
  2. Sophomore: A student with 30 or more semester hours earned toward a degree.

Non-Degree Students

Students earning credit but who are not presently pursuing a degree or certificate are classified as non-degree students. The classifications for these students are listed under Non-Degree Students on the Admissions page.

Non-credit Students

Students enrolled in non-credit courses through the Economic and Workforce Development office are classified as non-credit students.

Student Records


Permanent Student Records

The permanent record of a Columbia State Community College credit student shall consist of: student name, social security number or student identification number, courses enrolled each term, cumulative grade point average (gpa), term gpa, hours attempted, hours earned, grades, quality points earned, degrees and certificates earned, academic program(s), honors, academic status, and transfer credit. The permanent record will be maintained Online and will be available on campus in the Records office and viewed Online at various Columbia State locations by authorized personnel. Online processes are backed up nightly.

The permanent record of a Columbia State Community College non-credit, continuing education (CEU) student shall consist of: student name, student social security number or student identification number, courses enrolled in each term by course title, number and continuing education units.

Social Security Number Use

Columbia State requires assignment of an individual student number for internal identification of each student's record. The College began using the social security number as the student identification number prior to January 1, 1975 and the federal law allows continued use of this number. However, the primary internal identification for student records is a randomly selected eight digit number beginning with the letter "A" that has been created for students, faculty, and staff to protect an individual's social security number. A student is still required to disclose their social security number when they apply for admission on the application form. The social security number is then converted to the random number for privacy. If at the time of application, a student wishes not to disclose the social security number, the institution will assign a unique social security number for the student's use. Please note that if the student expects to receive federal and/or state financial assistance, the student may be required to disclose their social security number. For prompt and accurate retrieval of records, students and alumni may be required to give their social security number. While in most cases, current students will be able to complete their business with the College through myChargerNet by use of a user id and password, there may be occasions when the social security number may be required. Student identification numbers, whether a social security number or an assigned number, are used administratively within the College and are not given to third parties without the express consent of the student.

Acquiring Credit


Unit of Credit

The College offers instruction and awards credit on the semester hour basis, with the scholastic academic year consisting of two semesters, fall and spring. Semester hour credit is also awarded for classes offered during summer semesters. One semester hour of credit is based upon 750 minutes of class instruction per semester.

Prior to fall 1988, the College awarded credit on a quarter hour basis. In fall 1988, the quarter hours earned were converted to semester hours. One semester hour of credit is equivalent to one and one-half quarter hours.

Transfer Credit

Credit may be granted for courses completed at other institutions of higher education. Decisions concerning transfer work are based on (1) equivalence of course content and level of instruction to that provided by Columbia State and (2) appropriateness and applicability of credit to the student's program at Columbia State.

Once students are admitted to Columbia State, transcripts are evaluated and transfer credit is assigned. Once students receive their acceptance letter, information regarding the awarding of transfer credit can be accessed by logging into their myChargerNet account and clicking on "Academic Transcript."

Only grades of "C" or higher will be accepted for transfer credit. Credit is not awarded for grades of "D" or "S". Credit will only be given for grades of "P" if the course is comparable to a Columbia State course graded on a "pass/fail" basis such as co-ops and nursing clinicals.

Grades of transfer courses are not entered on the student's Columbia State permanent academic record. Transfer credit is not included in the calculation of the student's grade point average at Columbia State.

External credit received for advanced placement from a transfer institution for CLEP, CEEB, ACT, etc., may also be accepted and awarded for advanced placement at Columbia State upon receipt of official documentation (score reports, etc.) directly from the testing agency.

The acceptance of credit for courses taken in religious subjects will be limited to courses taught through a historical or literary approach. Courses dealing with specific areas of church work which may vary from one church to another will not be accepted for credit. In some instances the student may be required to provide course descriptions for the purpose of transfer evaluations.

External Credit

A maximum of 42 semester hours credit earned through any combination of external credit may apply toward a degree. Possible sources of external credit include (1) credit by examination, (2) military service/armed services schools, (3) high school articulated courses, (4) Tennessee Technology Centers and/or other noncollegiate institutions, and (5) prior learning.

To receive external credit, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Applicants must not have received any grade, with the exception of a "W", in similar titled courses for which credit is awarded.
  2. Credit is awarded only in areas offered within the current curriculum of the College and related to the student's educational program.
  3. Credit is awarded only for those learning experiences in which it can be documented that all the outcomes for specific courses in an approved degree program have been met.

Semester hours of credit toward graduation are awarded on the basis of these conditions, but grades or quality points are not awarded. These credits will not affect the academic grade point average.

Transfer of external credit to other institutions is at the discretion of the receiving institution.

1. External Credit by Examination

Students may earn college credit by examination for acceptable scores on College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Examinations, the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) Advanced Placement Examination, the Enhanced American College Testing Program (ACT), the Certified Professional Secretary's (CPS) Examination or comprehensive subject examinations. Official documentation must be received directly from the testing agency.

Requests for credit by examination are submitted to the director of records after the student has made application for admission and registered for courses. The test results, except for the comprehensive examinations, are evaluated by the director of records and, if credit is earned, recorded on the student's record. Comprehensive subject examinations are evaluated at the departmental level and with approval of the division chair are forwarded, with recommendations, to the Records office. However, these exams will not be administered until a student has earned 12 hours (excluding developmental studies courses) of resident credit at the College.

CLEP: Applications and information on the CLEP are available by writing the College Level Examination Program, Box 6600, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6600, by calling (609) 771-7865, or by accessing Prior to 2001, credit is awarded for acceptable scores received on subject examinations only. CLEP discontinued the classification of Subject exams and General exams with the transition to computer-based testing in 2001. Therefore, any acceptable test scores reported after 2001 will be reviewed for applicability to comparable Columbia State courses.

CEEB (College Board): Columbia State participates in the Advanced Placement Program of CEEB and awards appropriate credit in selected courses to qualified freshmen students who present an official record of a grade of 3 or above on the examination. The Advanced Placement Program of CEEB is coordinated by the high schools.

ACT: Students whose standard score on the Enhanced ACT English test is 32 or above may receive credit for Composition I and II (ENGL 1010 and 1020).

Entering freshmen students whose standard score on the Enhanced ACT Mathematics test is 31 or above may receive credit for Precalculus Algebra (MATH 1710).

Certified Professional Secretary's (CPS) Examination: Persons having successfully passed sections of the Certified Professional Secretary's examination are eligible to receive 13 semester hours of credit at Columbia State as follows:

BUS 111 Business Writing 3
CIS 109 Computer Applications I 3
BUS 242 Principles of Supervision 3
OFA 103 Keyboarding 1
OFA 132 Records Management 3

Award of credit for successful completion of the CPS examination is subject to change whenever (1) the content of the examination is changed so that it does not correspond to the content of the courses designated above or (2) content of the Columbia State courses designated above is revised to the degree that it does not correspond to the examination content.

Comprehensive Subject Examinations: Credit by institutional examination may be available for courses which the division chairs have determined can be passed by proficiency examination. Students who wish to take these exams must seek approval from the appropriate division chair prior to taking the exam. If an examination is available for the course, the student must see the instructor to discuss the course syllabus and text and decide whether to attempt the examination, and, if appropriate, schedule an appointment to take the examination.

Credit will be awarded provided:

  1. performance on the test is at least a "C".
  2. the student has earned 12 semester hours of resident credit at Columbia State (excluding developmental studies courses).

Prior to taking the examination, the student must complete an Application for Permission to Take Credit by Examination request (available in the division offices) and pay the Business Services office the fee established for "credit by examination." Upon offering the examination, the instructor must photocopy the receipt for payment of the fees and attach it to the Credit by Examination Grade Report. Upon evaluation of the examination, the instructor must submit the Credit by Examination Grade Report and the photocopy of the receipt to the appropriate division chair. Upon approval by the division chair, the Credit by Examination Grade Report and the photocopy of the receipt are submitted to the Records office.

Credit awarded prior to the last day of final exams will be posted in that semester. Credit awarded after the last day of final exams will be posted in the following semester.

2. External Credit for Military Service/Schools

Up to two hours of physical education credit will be awarded for active military service provided that the DD-214 form is submitted to the Records office. The DD-214 must verify that a minimum of six months of active duty was served before one semester hour of physical education credit is awarded.

Credit may be awarded for attendance at military schools and job classifications based upon recommendations from the Office of Educational Credit of the American Council on Education. Military service credit is awarded provided that proper documentation supporting service-related educational experiences is presented to the director of records before the end of the second term of enrollment and information is submitted to the Admissions office.

3. External Credit for Specific High School Courses

A student who has completed a secondary course of study and has received a regular high school diploma, has enrolled in a postsecondary institution within two years of graduation, and who demonstrates attainment of equivalent learning outcomes for specified courses may receive credit for those courses through the Columbia State Community College articulation process as of spring 2008. This postsecondary credit will be granted upon successful completion of 12 semester hours of resident credit at Columbia State (excluding developmental studies courses). Transfer of articulated credit from Columbia State to other institutions is at the discretion of the receiving institution.

Students wishing to participate in the articulation program must:

  1. Meet specific performance requirements as outlined in the articulation agreements.
  2. Attend the Columbia State Community College testing day and complete a comprehensive subject assessment for each credit requested or meet assessment requirements as stated.
  3. Pass the assessment requirements for each course for which credit is requested.
  4. Enroll at Columbia State within two (2) years of the date of graduation from high school and successfully complete 12 semester hours of resident credit (excluding developmental studies courses).
  5. Contact the Business and Technology Division at Columbia State to request the credit.

For more information about the articulation program, consult a high school guidance counselor or the Business and Technology division chair at Columbia State.

4. External Credit through Tennessee Technology Centers

Students who have completed a diploma program consisting of at least 900 contact hours at a Tennessee Technology Center within the last three (3) years may receive credit hours toward the General Technology Major, A.A.S. degree. This credit may count toward the A.A.S. degree but will carry no quality points and will not count in the calculation of the grade point average. Transfer of articulated credit from Columbia State to other institutions is at the discretion of the receiving institution.

Credit will not be awarded by Columbia State until students have successfully completed fifteen (15) hours of college-level work at Columbia State and all required developmental studies courses. Students should contact the Business and Technology division chair for more information.

5. External Credit for Prior Learning

A currently enrolled student at Columbia State may request credit through documented work experience or life experience in the field in which a degree or certificate is being pursued. The credit may be granted for specific course credit in current Columbia State courses or as elective credit in a discipline taught at Columbia State. Credit will be granted only for documented prior learning experiences that demonstrate achievement of the student learning outcomes for the course(s) for which credit is sought. Credit will not be given for RODP courses. Credit for prior learning will not be given for credit that duplicates credit already awarded or for courses for which a CLEP exam is available. If courses for which prior learning credit has been granted are taken at the College at a later date, the credit for prior learning will be revoked.

The total amount of credit awarded cannot exceed 25% of the requirements for the degree or certificate. The credit will be identified as experiential credit on the transcript and may not be accepted for transfer by other institutions. Determination of transferability will be made by the receiving institution.

Students seeking prior learning credit should first contact the appropriate division chair to obtain a Request for Prior Learning Credit form. The completed request form will be reviewed by a faculty member in the discipline for which credit is sought and the division chair. If they agree that the prior learning experiences justify granting credit, the student will be asked to provide documentation of the experiences. After verifying the documentation, the faculty member will complete a Granting of Credit for Prior Learning form and forward it for approval by the division chair and executive vice president - provost for academic and student programs and services. Upon approval, the executive vice president - provost will submit the form to the director of records for posting of the credit into the student's academic record. The credit will be posted after the student has paid the applicable fees (see "Credit for Prior Learning Fee," on the Institutional Fees and Refunds page) and has successfully completed twelve (12) semester credit hours at the College and will not apply toward meeting residency requirements for graduation.

Transcript of Credits

Students who attend Columbia State may request a copy of their permanent academic record (transcript). There is no charge for transcripts; however, the Records office may set a limit on a reasonable number of copies that may be processed at any time and may also establish a nonrefundable charge for the cost of producing transcripts in excess of that number. All transcript requests must be made in writing by mail or fax. Telephone and electronic mail requests are not accepted. Students may also call the transcript information line at (931) 540-2550 for instructions on obtaining transcripts. No transcripts will be released for or to a student who has any financial obligations with the College or who has not completed all admissions requirements.

The Records office does not issue or reproduce transcripts from other institutions of higher or secondary education. Requests for transcripts or work taken at other colleges, universities, or high schools must be directed to the institution concerned.

Registration for Courses


Full-time Student Semester Hour Load

To be classified as a full-time student, students must register for at least twelve (12) semester hours credit. Sixteen to eighteen (16-18) credit hours is the regular or normal load per semester. Nineteen (19) hours is the maximum load. Any student desiring to register for more than 19 credit hours must have:

  1. completed all developmental studies course requirements, and
  2. have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

An overload may be requested by completing the Registration and Overload Request form (available at all campus locations) and obtaining an advisor's signature and the approval of one of the following: an academic division chairperson, extended campus director, advising and career planning director or their designee, or the associate vice president for faculty, curriculum and programs.

Registration Procedures

Students whose applications were submitted by the priority processing application deadline for any given semester will receive, prior to registration, notification of registration procedures. The deadline is posted on the Columbia State Web page at each semester. Students must observe registration procedures and are expected to complete registration on the dates posted on the Columbia State Web page. Students will be assigned an advisor who will assist in course selection. Students must observe registration procedures and are expected to complete registration on the dates listed on the Columbia State Web page, see "Academic Calendar" under helpful links. Students who register after the official registration period must pay a late registration fee. Registration following the period established as the last date to register and last day to add a class (adjustment period) is permitted only in exceptional cases and requires the approval of the instructor, curricular coordinator or division chair. Students are not officially enrolled until all the requirements of registration are completed and all fees are paid.

Change of Registration Procedures


Students are advised to carefully read the following regulations and procedures which apply to either drop, add or withdrawal. Registration for courses implies that the student has entered into a contract to complete each course's requirements. Should conditions make it necessary for the student to leave any class or leave the College completely, the student is required to officially change his or her registration status. Failure to do so will result in a failing grade, "F," on the student's permanent record.

The "Dropping a Class" and "Adding a Class" procedures are used when a student wishes to change one or more class(es). If the student wishes to drop all classes, the "withdrawal" procedure is used. A student who only informs an instructor that he or she can no longer attend class without also completing the required procedure has not officially dropped or withdrawn.

Cancellation of Scheduled Classes

Columbia State reserves the right to cancel any scheduled class. When this occurs, it is the student's responsibility to check their schedule in Self-Service or the emailed canceled class listing.

Dropping a Class

Dropping a class is permitted through the "last day to drop a class or withdraw" (see "Academic Calendar").

Students may drop most classes by using Self-Service. However, to drop under the following circumstances students must come in person to the Records office, Advising and Career Planning, the Evening and Community Services office, or one of the College's campus locations:

  1. to drop any health science course (see instructor or program director).
  2. to drop a course after the last official date to drop (includes RODP courses).
  3. to drop any course which the student is auditing.
  4. to drop when the student's account has a hold flag or encumbrance.

Students who need to drop any developmental studies or health science course or who need to drop any course after the last official date to drop are required to complete a form and must follow these procedures:

  1. Obtain the Change of Registration form and enter required information. This form is available in the Advising and Career Planning office, the Student Information Center, at all College campus locations, and on the College's Web page.
  2. Acquire applicable signatures:
    1. instructor or division chair of developmental studies courses (this approval is not required during the first week of classes).
    2. instructor or division chair of health science courses.
    3. instructor if dropping after the last official date to drop (includes RODP courses).
    4. RODP contact if dropping after the last official date to drop.
  3. Present form to the Records office.

Adding a Class

Adding a class is permitted through the "Adjustment Period for Registered Students," see "Academic Calendar".

Students may add most classes by using Self-Service. However, to add a course under the following circumstances students must come in person to the Records office, Advising and Career Planning office, or one of the College's campus locations:

  1. to add a course when the student's account has a hold flag or encumbrance.
  2. to add a course which the student wants to audit.

Change To or From Audit

Qualified credit students who register for audit may change to credit prior to the end of the adjustment period. This may be done on a Change of Registration form by marking "Change from Audit to Credit" and submitting the completed form to the Records office or any of the College's campus locations. Students cannot change from audit to credit after the adjustment period.

Any time prior to the deadline for dropping or withdrawing, students may change from credit to audit in lieu of dropping a course. This may be done on a Change of Registration form by marking "Change from Credit to Audit" and submitting the form to the Records office or any of the College's campus locations.


Students who stop attending all classes without officially dropping all courses have not withdrawn from the College and will receive a failing grade of "F" in each class. Withdrawal through the "last day to drop a class or withdraw" is permitted when the student has met all obligations to the College.

Most students may drop all classes (withdraw) by using Self-Service. However, to withdraw under the following circumstances students are required to complete a form and must come in person to the Records office, Advising and Career Planning office, or one of the College's campus locations:

  1. to withdraw when enrolled in any health science courses (see instructor or program director).
  2. to withdraw after the last official date to drop (includes RODP courses).
  3. to withdraw when enrolled in an audit course.
  4. to withdraw when the student's account has a hold flag or encumbrance.

Students who need to drop all courses (withdraw) including developmental studies or health science courses or who need to withdraw after the last official date to drop are required to complete a form and must follow these procedures:

  1. Obtain the Change of Registration form and enter required information.
  2. Acquire applicable signatures:
    1. instructor or division chair of developmental studies courses (this approval is not required during the first week of classes).
    2. instructor or division chair of health science courses.
    3. instructor if dropping after the last official date to drop (includes RODP courses).
    4. RODP contact if dropping after the last official date to drop.
  3. Financial Aid.
  4. Business Services.
  5. Present form to the Records office.

Students who are unable to process their withdrawal in person may submit to the Records office a signed letter requesting withdrawal. In the event a student is incapacitated, their designee should provide proper documentation for withdrawal of the student.

Grades for Withdrawals and Drops

Following the last day of the registration adjustment period, and not later than two-thirds into the semester (see "Academic Calendar"), a student may officially drop a course(s) or withdraw from the College and receive a "W". A "W" means that no hours were completed and the grade point average will not be affected. Students who drop a course or who withdraw from the College after two-thirds of the semester is complete will receive a "W" in the course(s) they are passing. Students will receive a failing grade, "F", in the course(s) they are not passing unless it can be clearly demonstrated that an unusual circumstance or hardship exists. (See "Guidelines for Permitting Late Withdrawal" below.)

Guidelines for Permitting Late Withdrawal

Circumstances which directly hinder a student's pursuit of a course and which are judged to be out of the student's control may be a justifiable reason for permission for late withdrawal from the College.

Students who leave the College under mitigating circumstances without officially withdrawing may later appeal to the instructor for a late withdrawal. This will be permitted only if students can show that withdrawal was under conditions where they could not have been expected to officially withdraw and the student's records are free of any encumbrances.

Following are some general categories of mitigating circumstances (this list is not all inclusive):

  1. Serious illness of the student.
  2. Serious illness or death in the student's immediate family.
  3. Immediate family or financial obligations which require a change in terms, hours or place of employment which prevents completion of a course.
  4. Late withdrawal from a course due to unsatisfactory achievement may be considered a mitigating circumstance if (a) the student can demonstrate good faith effort in the course up to the point of withdrawal; (b) the student can submit evidence that tutoring was sought and a counselor, advisor, or the instructor of the course was consulted regarding an attempt to remedy the unsatisfactory work; (c) the student attempted to drop or withdraw prior to the deadline but was encouraged to continue or was denied approval for withdrawal; or (d) it is determined that the course will not be repeated by the student without successful remedial study to prepare for completion of the course.

Classroom Behavior


The faculty member teaching the class has the primary responsibility for control over classroom behavior in that class.

Faculty are expected to maintain academic integrity and an environment conducive to learning within the classroom. In doing so, they are expected to adhere to College definitions for academic dishonesty and academic misconduct and with the procedures to be followed in the event a student is accused of either (see "Student Conduct and Discipline" in the Student Handbook under Student Rights and Responsibilities).

Class Attendance Policy


Records of attendance are maintained by the instructors beginning with the first class period. Unless prevented by circumstances beyond their control, students are required to attend all classes for which they are registered on a regular basis. Regardless of the cause or nature of an absence, students are responsible for all class work covered or assigned during the absence. Policy for evaluating attendance as a part of the course grade and the procedure for making up class work missed during an absence is developed by each instructor. Whenever possible, students should make arrangements in advance for scheduled examinations or class work that will be missed during an anticipated absence.

Institutional Absence


Students may be granted administrative or "institutional" absence when the student represents the College at a public event which is in the interest of the College or is engaged in an activity such as a field trip which contributes to the education of the student. In granting an administrative absence, the College disclaims any liability which may occur from the loss of instruction.



Grading System

At the end of each semester the quality of students' work is evaluated by the instructor. Grades are indicated by letters and based on a four quality point system.

Interpretation and quality points for each letter grade are:

Grade   Interpretation   Quality Points Per
Semester Hour Credit











  Inferior but passing  









  Pass (awarded only to COP classes and nursing clinicals)  



  Progress (not a grade). Awarded only in developmental studies courses.  



  Withdrew (not a grade). Used when withdrawal is on or prior to last day to drop or withdraw. Withdrawal permitted after the official drop period may reflect a W only if the student is passing at time of withdrawal.  



  Not a grade. Used only when grades are turned in too late to meet processing deadline. (Later changed to reflect a grade.)  



  Not a grade. (Assigned to official audit.)  


The grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of quality points acquired by the total number of grade point hours. Repeated courses are excluded from this calculation (see "Course Repeats"). Credit hours in courses from which a student officially withdraws in good standing (see "Change of Registration Procedures") are not considered quality hours attempted.


An incomplete grade is given when a student fails, due to extenuating circumstances, to complete all of the requirements for a course. It is interpreted as an "F" until the "I" is replaced with a passing grade.

An incomplete must be removed during the following semester, excluding the summer term. If the incomplete is not removed, the "I" will continue to be computed as an "F". Students must request and complete the assignments required to change the "I" to a grade. Should this not occur in the following semester, the instructor is no longer obligated to accept the work. The instructor may, at his or her discretion, accept the work later and forward a grade change to the division chair for approval, but there is no obligation under policy to do so.

Academic Standing


Transfer Students

Transfer students must be eligible to reenter the school from which they are transferring. Any transfer student on active/current academic dismissal/suspension at another college will be admitted to Columbia State on probation.

At the end of the term, transfer students must achieve a 2.0 semester GPA (cumulative GPA does not apply) or they will be placed on academic dismissal from Columbia State for one year. Students may not appeal this dismissal from Columbia State.

Upon successful completion of the term, the student will be placed in academic good standing with Columbia State. Should the student wish to continue with Columbia State they must comply with the retention standards listed below.

Retention Standards

Dual Enrollment students see "High School Students" on the "Admission to the College" page for retention policies related to the Dual Enrollment program.

To remain in academic good standing, students must meet the following retention standards:

  1. attain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) for the current semester (see "Grading System," above for instructions on calculating GPA), or
  2. meet minimum cumulative GPA as shown below:

    0 - 14.0 grade point hours


    No minimum

    14.1 - 26.0 grade point hours



    26.1 - 40.0 grade point hours



    40.1 - 48.0 grade point hours



    48.1 - 56.0 grade point hours



    56.1 and above



Failure to meet one of the above retention standards for the semester will result in academic probation. Failure to meet the above retention standards following academic probation will result in academic dismissal from the College.

Academic Dismissal

Students placed on a first academic dismissal are suspended for one term (not including summer) and are eligible to reenroll on probation as follows by completing an Application for Admission/Readmission:

  1. first dismissal at the end of fall semester: eligible to reenroll the next summer semester
  2. first dismissal at the end of spring semester: eligible to reenroll the next spring semester
  3. first dismissal at the end of summer semester: eligible to reenroll the next spring semester

Students placed on academic dismissal for the second or more times will be suspended for a period of one year (three terms including summer). Students who have served the designated terms of dismissal will be readmitted to the College on probation with no need to appeal.

Early Readmission for Students on Academic Dismissal

All students (including transfer students) who have been dismissed for successive (back to back) terms are not eligible for early readmission and may not appeal. They will remain on dismissal for a period of one year.

Students with first or non-subsequent dismissals who wish to return early have the following options:

  1. Students who believe that their circumstances have improved, and they can now be academically successful may continue on probation and register for a maximum of 8 semester hours. They do not have to appeal but they must notify the Records office in writing of their intention to continue.
  2. Students who wish to take more than 8 semester hours must submit the Academic Dismissal Appeal for Additional Hours form to the Admissions and Retention Committee. The committee may either sustain the 8 hour limit or allow registration for more hours with one ore more of the following stipulations:
    1. require the student to repeat courses in which they earned a failing grade.
    2. recommend academic or career counseling.

Students should explain on the appeal form any unusual hardships that they wish the committee to consider in its deliberations. Students must outline the actions they will take to ensure their academic success.

The appeal form must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to the committee's final meeting. Permission to take more than eight hours will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances. The committee's decision is final.

If the academic calendar is such that a student registers before the official dismissal lists are communicated to all concerned, the student's current registration will be canceled and all paid fees refunded.

Course Repeats


Students are permitted to repeat courses in which their final grades are "C" or lower. Students may be permitted to repeat a course in which a grade of "B" or higher was earned only with the approval of the executive vice president - provost for academic and student programs and services as an exception to this policy.

Upon repeating a course the original credit earned and any quality points acquired are excluded from the cumulative totals on the next grade report. In the event that a student repeats a course two or more times, all grades received in the second and subsequent repeats will be included in the grade point average.

Time in Course   Grades Included in Computation
1st   Original grade earned
2nd   Only the grade earned the 2nd time
3rd and subsequent   Grades earned in the 3rd and all subsequent times are calculated in the quality point average.

The student's record will continue to reflect all grades earned even if a course has been repeated and excluded from grade/hour totals.

Official Audit of a Course


Students may register in a course for the purpose of audit. Permission to audit is given on the basis of space available and/or discretion of the instructor and can not be processed through Self-Service but requires entry by Records office personnel. Audit students may or may not be required to do all the work assigned; however, they do not take the final examination. Students auditing a course do not receive credit for the course, and a grade is not assigned. Grade reports will carry the symbol "AU" reflecting no credit attempted and no quality points earned. Fees for audit students will be assessed on the same basis as fees for credit students.

Academic Fresh Start


Any person who has not been enrolled in a college or university for a period of four years may, upon reenrolling at Columbia State or transferring to Columbia State, but prior to the completion of 15 hours of degree coursework, petition to have grades on all prior Columbia State coursework disregarded in calculating his or her cumulative grade point average. Students choosing this option should be aware that all previous courses, both passed and failed, will be forfeited for degree or certificate purposes. However, previously satisfied developmental studies courses will not be forfeited.

If the request is granted, the earlier coursework will not count toward meeting requirements for graduation but would appear on the student's transcript. The student must maintain a 2.00 grade point average and complete 15 semester hours of degree credit coursework before the student's permanent record will be modified to indicate a "fresh start" was granted. A student will only be approved for the academic fresh start one time. For information on applying for a fresh start, contact the Advising and Career Planning office or the Records office.

A student who plans to transfer to another college or university should contact that institution to determine the impact of academic fresh start prior to implementing the program at Columbia State.

Availability of Grades


Students may review their grades for a particular semester by accessing Self-Service on the Columbia State home page at



President's List - 15 credit hours (excluding developmental studies) with 3.90 - 4.00 semester average.

Dean's List - 12 credit hours or more (excluding developmental studies) with 3.50 or higher semester average (not to include those on President's List).

Graduation - Degree students graduating with the following grade point averages will receive the corresponding honor designations on their diplomas:

  3.90 - 4.00   Summa Cum Laude
  3.70 - 3.89   Magna Cum Laude
  3.50 - 3.69   Cum Laude

Students who graduate Summa Cum Laude are awarded gold cords to wear at Commencement. Certificate students are not eligible for Summa, Magna, and Cum Laude honors.

Honors (President's List, Dean's List and Graduation) are based on degree credit courses only; however, the combined average that might include a developmental studies course must be equal or higher.

Policy on Awarding of Degrees


Columbia State awards four degrees: the Associate of Arts (A.A.), the Associate of Science (A.S.), the Associate of Science in Teaching (A.S.T.), and the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.).

Students may not graduate before completing all developmental studies course requirements as determined by their placement scores.

The College will not award the A.A. or A.S. degree to persons who already hold an A.A., A.S., A.S.T., baccalaureate, or higher degree. Students holding advanced degrees may be awarded the A.A.S. degree provided they meet the stated requirements. Eighteen (18) hours toward those requirements must be earned through instruction by Columbia State.

Multiple Degrees and Certificates

Students may earn an A.A., A.S. or A.S.T. degree (designed for transfer) and an A.A.S. degree (not designed for transfer) by completing the curriculum prescribed plus 16 semester hours over and above the total number of hours required for the first degree.

Students who have been awarded an A.A.S. degree who complete a different major which includes 16 semester hours over and above those required for the first A.A.S. degree will have reflected on their Columbia State transcript only that a second major was completed. Additional A.A.S. degrees/diplomas will not be awarded.

Students will not be awarded more than one degree that is designed for transfer (A.A., A.S. or A.S.T.).

Students will not be awarded a second technical certificate.



The certification of graduates and posting of degrees and certificates is the responsibility of the Records office.

Students are encouraged to monitor their progress towards graduation by consulting with an advisor and by accessing the degree audit on the College's Web page under Self-Service.

Students are allowed to graduate by the requirements of the catalog under which they entered or any subsequent catalog, provided the catalog containing the program being followed is not more than six years old based on the date of completion of graduation requirements. Students may not elect a catalog from years that they were not enrolled at least one term. Students who have been separated from the College for at least six years but wish to complete their degree by transfer credit or by reenrolling must follow the current catalog.

All students who plan to graduate with a degree must take a general education examination as well as any other examination required by the College or the Tennessee Board of Regents. Students who fail to do so may have their diplomas withheld.

Columbia State holds one graduation ceremony in May of each year. Students who plan to complete the requirements for graduation must file the Intent to Graduate form prior to the published deadline (See "Academic Calendar"). A $25 processing fee is required at the time the Intent is filed.

Students who are enrolled spring semester in the courses they need for graduation will be permitted to participate in the graduation ceremony, but will not be awarded the degree until after grades are received and degree requirements have been confirmed as completed. Students who have registered for summer and who are scheduled to be enrolled in the final courses needed for graduation may also participate in the graduation ceremony. Even though these students participate in the ceremony, the degree will not be awarded until all courses are satisfactorily completed.

Faculty Award


The faculty award is given at the Student Awards Convocation to recognize the graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty, has contributed most to the advancement and betterment of Columbia State. The Jo L. Hutton Prize and an appropriately inscribed plaque are awarded to the student.