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Emergency procedures are posted in all facilities, at all Columbia State locations. During emergency situations, students are expected to stay calm, listen for instructions, and follow the designated procedures.
For a complete listing of policies related to this area, please contact the Student Services office (931) 540-2570.
Columbia State Community College policy number 03-07 provides the guidelines for use of campus property and/or facilities by affiliated and nonaffiliated groups, organizations, and individuals. The policy adheres to Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) policy number 3:02:02:00, relative to Use of Campus Property and Facilities. Both the Columbia State policy and the TBR policy are on file and available for review in the Student Services office (931) 540-2570.
Inclement Weather Policy
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In the event that classes are dismissed, cancelled, or otherwise closed due to weather conditions, appropriate notification will be given to local television and radio stations, and on the college Web site at www.columbiastate.edu. Additionally, this information will be posted on the campus weather line at (931) 540-2515. Postings for extended campuses will be made available at the specific campus location. Students attending noncredit classes should contact the Center for Economic and Workforce Development at (931) 540-2660 for class cancellations.
In cases where Columbia State continues operations, students are encouraged to use their own discretion. If students are absent due to such conditions, they will be provided a reasonable opportunity to make up missed assignments.
Smoking/Tobacco Use Policy
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The following policy has been established relative to smoking/tobacco use in College facilities and vehicles:
Smoking and the use of tobacco products are prohibited in all buildings on the Columbia campus.
Smoking is permitted outside of buildings in designated locations. Areas where smoking is permitted will be designated by appropriate signage and ash urns will be provided in these locations. Generally, smoking is not permitted within ten (10) feet of any building entrance.
All students are expected to observe and respect “No Smoking” areas.
Smoking is prohibited in all College-owned vehicles.
Smoking at all extended campuses is regulated by the organization(s) controlling those individual facilities.
Smoking regulations will be enforced under the provisions of TBR Policy 3:02:00:01. This policy requires adherence to College and TBR regulations designed to protect the rights of all students from any conduct which constitutes a danger to any person’s health or well-being.
Violation of smoking regulations will be enforced through normal administrative student conduct policies.
No solicitation and/or sales related to or affecting students are permitted on the campus without securing prior approval from the associate vice president for student services or his/her designee.
Student Grievance Procedures
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An academic grievance is a difference of opinion or dispute between a student and a faculty member about learning activities as they affect the student. This may include grading, instructional procedures, attendance, instructional quality, and situations where the student believes he/she is being treated unfairly.
A nonacademic grievance is a difference of opinion or dispute between a student and instructor, administrator, staff member, or another Columbia State Community College student pertaining to the interpretation and/or application of the policies and procedures of the College and the Tennessee Board of Regents. In addition to the interpretation and application of policies and procedures, nonacademic grievances shall include all grievances except those pertaining to instruction and classroom management. They may pertain to student governance issues, student activities, arbitrary and capricious management decisions, or other concerns that students might present for redress.
The student should first discuss the matter with his/her instructor. If the matter is not resolved by this discussion, the student should bring the complaint, in writing, to the appropriate division dean. If the student is still not satisfied, the student may appeal in writing to the executive vice president - provost for academic and student programs and services. The executive vice president - provost will investigate and notify the student in writing of the outcome of the appeal. The executive vice president - provost may appoint a committee to review and resolve the issue.
The student should first address his/her concern to the staff member directly. If the student is not satisfied, the matter should be brought in writing to the staff member’s supervisor. If the student is still not satisfied, he/she should present the grievance in writing to the associate vice president for student services. If the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved, the associate vice president for student services may appoint a committee to resolve the matter. The committee’s decision may be appealed to the president. The president’s decision is final.
It is the policy of Columbia State Community College that substantive and procedural due process shall be applied in all matters pertaining to the rights of students. Substantive due process addresses the constitutional rights of the individual and procedural due process is an affirmation of this protection. Every effort will be exhausted to resolve student grievances in an amicable and due process manner.
Grade Appeal Process
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If a student believes the assignment of a course grade was based on discrimination, arbitrary or capricious action, or any reason not related to academic performance, a procedure exists whereby a student may appeal the grade.
The appeal must be initiated within one (1) semester following the term during which the grade was received. The appeal process includes the following steps that must be initiated by the student:
- Contact the instructor to ensure that no calculation or administrative error has occurred. If the student cannot schedule a meeting with the instructor, the student should contact the division dean who will schedule the meeting between the instructor and the student. (If the student is in an academic or health sciences’ program, the respective program director should be contacted before contacting the division dean.) The only exceptions to this procedure are when the instructor is no longer employed by the College or is unavailable so that it is impossible to complete this step within thirty (30) calendar days.
- If the student believes an appeal is warranted after consulting with the instructor, the student may appeal to the division dean. The division dean will attempt to resolve the grade conflict within fifteen (15) working days.
- If the appeal cannot be satisfactorily addressed at this level, the student may appeal in writing to the executive vice president - provost for academic and student programs and services within five (5) working days after notification by the division dean. This appeal should clearly state the basis for the appeal, the evidence for the appeal, and any supporting data. The executive vice president - provost will review the records and notify the student of the results of the review.
Visitors and Minors on Campus
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All nonstudent visitors to the College facilities must abide by the following regulations:
- Nonstudent visitors may not be in laboratories or other hazardous areas (as defined by the College or individual College personnel) at any time unless they are escorted by a member of the College staff for brief business visits.
- Nonstudent visitors may not be in any of the computer labs unless they are escorted by a member of the College staff for brief business visits.
- All nonstudents must have instructor approval prior to visiting classrooms.
- All nonstudents visiting the Columbia campus for two or more consecutive days should contact the Student Services office (Jones Student Center 164) for a visitor’s vehicle decal.
Nonstudents visiting any of the Columbia State extended campuses should notify the campus director or the administrative personnel, at that location.
Students and employees are not approved to leave minors unsupervised on Columbia State campuses. Minors are not allowed to accompany parents to class without the prior approval of the instructor.
In certain circumstances, minors may be on campus for classes held for their benefit (programs for the academically talented, field trips, etc.). At such times, it is expected that the instructor or responsible adult will await their parents’ arrival. It is the responsibility of the supervisor/instructor of these activities to explain these restrictions to the minors and to monitor the enforcement where feasible.
In all circumstances related to minors on campus, it is the expectation of the institution that good judgment be exercised in preventing disruption of the learning environment.
Columbia State is a state-funded, two-year college. Tuition and fees are governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. Fees are set annually at the June meeting of the Board and are announced by July 1 of each academic year. For the most recent fees, see the current College catalog.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
As outlined in College Policy 01-02, students who have been diagnosed as having Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), AIDS Related Complex (ARC), or a positive Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus (HLTV-III)/Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) antibody test, will be permitted to participate in classes so long as they are physically able.
Drug-Free Schools Policy
The following policy applies to all Columbia State Community College employees, including faculty and students, in compliance with the provisions of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 701, et. seq.) and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (20 U.S.C. 3171, et.seq.).
It is the policy of Columbia State to strictly prohibit the unlawful use and/or possession of alcoholic beverages and/or any drug or controlled substance (including any stimulant, depressant, narcotic, hallucinogenic drug or substance, or marijuana), or sale or distribution of any such drug or controlled substance on College-owned, controlled, or leased property. The unlawful use, abuse, or distribution and/or possession of alcohol or elicit drugs are prohibited during any College-related activity including off-campus trips. All employees and students are subject to applicable federal, state, and local laws related to this matter. Additionally, any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary actions as set forth in this handbook and/or the Columbia State Policies and Procedures Manual.
Various federal, state, and local statutes make it unlawful to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, sell, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or sell controlled substances. The penalty imposed depends upon many factors which include the type and amount of controlled substance involved, the number of prior offenses, if any, whether death or serious bodily injury resulted from the use of such substance and whether any other crimes were committed in connection with the use of the controlled substance. Possible maximum penalties for a first-time violation include imprisonment for any period of time up to a term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4,000,000 if an individual, supervised release, any combination of the above, or all three. These sanctions are doubled when the offense involves either:
- distribution or possession at or near a school or college campus, or
- distribution to persons under 21 years of age.
Repeat offenders may be punished to a greater extent as provided by statute. Further, a civil penalty of up to $10,000 may be assessed for simple possession of “personal use amounts” of certain specified substances under federal law. Under state law, the offense of possession or casual exchange is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor; if there is an exchange between a minor and an adult at least two years the minor’s senior, and the adult knew that the person was a minor, the offense is classified a felony as provided in T.C.A. 39-17-417 (21 U.S.C. 801, et. seq.; T.C.A. 39-17-417).
It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport (unless in the course of his employment), or consume alcoholic beverages, wine or beer, such offenses being classified Class A misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for not more than 11 months, 29 days, or a fine of not more than $2,500, or both (T.C.A. 1-3-113, 57-5-301). It is further an offense to provide alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21, such offense being classified a Class A misdemeanor (T.C.A. 39-15-404).
The offense of public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or a fine of not more than $50, or both (T.C.A. 39-17-310).
Columbia State will impose the appropriate sanctions on any employee or student who fails to comply with the terms of this policy.
As a condition of employment, each employee, including student employees, must abide by the terms of this policy and must notify their department head/supervisor of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five (5) days after such conviction. A conviction includes a finding of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere or imposition of a sentence by any state or federal judicial body. Possible disciplinary sanctions for failure to notify of conviction, may include one or more of the following:
- mandatory participation in, and satisfactory completion of a drug/alcohol abuse program or rehabilitation program;
- recommendation for professional counseling;
- referral for prosecution;
- letter of warning; and/or,
Students - Possible disciplinary sanctions for failure to comply with the terms of this policy may include one or more of the following:
- mandatory participation in, and satisfactory completion of a drug/alcohol abuse program or rehabilitation program;
- referral for prosecution;
- warning; and/or,
Health Risks Associated with the Use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol
A cursory description of the health risks associated with the use of beverage alcohol and illicit drugs are as follows:
Use or abuse of alcohol is the most neglected health problem in the United States today. Alcoholism is a complex, progressive disease in which the use of alcohol interferes with health, social and economic functioning. Untreated, alcoholism results in physical incapacity, permanent mental damage, and/or premature death.
Alcohol is involved in one-third of all suicides, half of all murders, half of all traffic deaths, and one-fourth of all other accidents, and is involved in over 50% of all arrests. Alcohol is the third leading cause of birth defects involving mental retardation. Use during pregnancy may cause spontaneous abortion, various birth defects, or fetal alcohol syndrome. Drinking is implicated in cancer, heart disease, liver disease, gastrointestinal disease, and other illnesses. Alcoholism reduces life expectancy by twelve years. Beverage alcohol can damage all body organs, leading to liver, heart and digestive problems, circulatory system interference, personality disorders, reproductive problems, and central nervous system disorders such as poor vision, loss of coordination, memory loss, loss of sensation, mental/physical disturbances, and permanent brain damage. The physical and psychological changes that occur as a result of addiction to alcohol can pave the way for addiction to pharmacologically similar (mood-altering) drugs.
Illicit drugs are natural and synthetic chemical substances used to affect body processes, like the mind and nervous system. The use of illicit drugs results in many of the health risks that are involved with alcohol use. However, specifically, the illicit use of drugs increases the risk of: mental deterioration, death from overdose, physical and mental dependence or addiction, hepatitis and skin infections from needle use, psychotic reactions, inducement to take stronger drugs, brain damage, danger of “flashback phenomenon,” hallucinations, unconsciousness, deep depression, distortion of time and space, permanent damage to the lungs, brain, kidneys and liver, death from suffocation or choking, anemia, amnesia, AIDS, and other infections. If used excessively, the use of alcohol and drugs singly or in certain combinations may cause death.
Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Treatment, Rehabilitation Programs, and Employee Assistance Programs
The director of student success counseling will counsel students and/or employees who now have or have had a drug and/or alcohol problem. The procedures are:
- To encourage the individual with a problem to seek the assistance of a qualified drug/alcohol therapist or seek treatment from a drug treatment center or mental health center;
- To provide information to the individual regarding treatment resources in the surrounding area and how to secure their services. Description materials are provided when available detailing the facility, length of stay, cost, etc.;
- To assist the student and/or employee in making the initial contact with an outside agency or to provide ongoing emotional support.
Several public and private drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are located in the Columbia State service area. They provide medical treatment if indicated and include individual, group, and family counseling.
Equity in Athletics
All coeducational institutions of higher education that participate in any federal student financial aid program (i.e., Federal Pell, Federal SEOG, and Federal SSIG Grants; Federal Work Study; and Federal Family Education, Federal Perkins, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans) and have intercollegiate athletic programs under the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act of 1994, Section 360B of Public Law 103-382, are required that certain equity in athletic information, based on the previous reporting year, be available for inspection by students, prospective students, and the public by November 1 of each year.
This information is available in the Student Services office (Jones Student Center 164) or the Athletics office (Webster Athletic Center 212).
Firearms/Weapons on Campus
In accordance with Tennessee State law, all firearms, including hunting weapons or weapons typically displayed in vehicle windows, shall be prohibited on school property; persons carrying or possessing a weapon of any kind shall be subject to felony charges. This provision does not apply to officers in the county, city, or state charged with the enforcement of the laws of the state when in the discharge of their official duties.
Columbia State Community College will not condone sexual, racial, or other forms of harassment of students, employees of the College, or applicants for employment.
Sexual harassment and racial harassment have been held to constitute a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VI, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. Other types of harassment are prohibited by applicable law.
Generally, sexual harassment may be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the following criteria is met:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment or of the individual’s status in a program, course, or activity;
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions, a criterion for evaluation, or a basis for academic or other decisions affecting such individual; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance/educational experience, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work/educational environment.
Generally, racial harassment is defined as any person’s conduct which unreasonably interferes with an employee’s or student’s status or performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment. Harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin, includes offensive or demeaning treatment of an individual, where such treatment is based typically on prejudiced stereotypes of a group to which that individual may belong. It includes, but is not limited to, objectionable epithets, threatened or actual physical harm or abuse, or other intimidating or insulting conduct directed against the individual because of his/her race, color, or national origin.
Generally, harassment on the basis of religion, handicap, or other protected status includes any conduct which has the purpose or has the reasonably foreseeable effect of interfering with an individual’s academic efforts, employment, or participation in institutionally-sponsored activities. Such harassment also includes any activity which creates an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment.
In situations that require immediate action, because of safety or other concerns, the institution can take any disciplinary action which is appropriate, e.g., suspension with pay, pending the initiation of the investigation by the affirmative action officer. Individuals who feel they have been harassed are encouraged to contact the director of human resources (Pryor Administration Building 116). Students who feel that they have been harassed as a result of the actions of another student should contact the associate vice president for student services (Jones Student Center 164).
Information Security Plan
This plan is designed to set standards for developing, implementing, and maintaining reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of customer information. The purposes of this plan are:
- to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information;
- to protect against anticipated threats to the security and/or integrity of customer information;
- to guard against unauthorized access to, or use of, customer information that could result in harm or inconvenience to any customer; and
- to comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the related rules put forth by the Federal Trade Commission.
Students with questions about this plan should contact the director of financial aid (Jones Student Center 120).
Information Technology Resources at Columbia State
The Information Technology office at Columbia State supports computing and information technology resources across all campuses. Information Technology resources include hardware, software, user accounts, electronic mail, local and wide area networks, connectivity among all campus sites, and access to the Internet. Information Technology (IT) also provides a help desk service during normal class hours from 7:45 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Helpdesk is located in the basement of the Finney Memorial Library, on the Columbia campus. The IT office administrates the functions of the general purpose computing labs, as well as the Lab Monitor program. For more information on the Helpdesk, the general purpose computer labs, or the Lab Monitor program, call the Helpdesk at 931-540-2650, or email email@example.com. You may also find information on IT and locations of the computer labs at www.columbiastate.edu.
General Purpose Computing Labs and Columbia State User Accounts
The general purpose computer labs are open to all Columbia State faculty, students, and staff on a first-come first-serve basis during open lab periods. Please check the Web site for the schedule of classes, as students in time-scheduled courses have first priority on the equipment during their assigned class periods. Students are assigned an account for their use while attending Columbia State. Accounts are to be held private and credentials such as usernames and passwords may not be shared with others. This account will provide the user with access to electronic mail and computer resources at Columbia State. This account is also used for access to Online Campus courses offered through Columbia State.
Guidelines for Student Use of Information Technology Resources
The primary purpose of Columbia State Community College’s Information Technology resources is to support the educational mission of the College. Information Technology staff members are responsible for maintaining a stable operating environment for all users, and provides security for access to all programs and files residing on Columbia State computers. Cooperation in the form of ethical and responsible behavior is required at all times so that resources may be shared freely and equitably.
The following rules and regulations are to outline all users’ limitations. These rules are separate and apart from the code of conduct as approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents. The policies of the Tennessee Board of Regents are to be followed by each student. A copy of this policy may be found at the Tennessee Board of Regents Web site at http://www.tbr.edu/policies/default.aspx?id=4862.
Any violations shall be termed “computer misuse” and the offender shall be referred to the respective College office for appropriate disciplinary actions.
- Allowing access to your account to another individual is not allowed. The account may not be used for any other purpose outside of College educational or administrative purposes. A user may not attempt to gain access to another’s account, or alter, or destroy files belonging to others.
- Copying programs or data belonging to Columbia State for one’s personal use is strictly prohibited and may violate copyright or license agreements.
- A student may not tamper with or alter any settings on any Columbia State computer, nor may a user tamper with or disconnect any existing computer from the Columbia State network.
- Any non-productive work (games, chat rooms, etc.) will be restricted by Information Technology staff. A user may not monopolize a resource to the extent of denying others fair access.
- Installation of software or connection of hardware to any Columbia State computer is restricted to Information Technology staff. Use of computer resources to interrupt normal College operations and networks, including the introduction of viruses, electronic mail spam, sending chain letters, or monopolizing or intentionally damaging equipment is prohibited.
- The unauthorized downloading, copying, or distribution of materials (i.e., proprietary music, video, software, or database information) via Information Technology resources is prohibited.
- Student users should be aware that course instructors have primary responsibility for the maintenance of academic integrity. Cases involving academic dishonesty (i.e., plagiarism, cheating, etc., and/or facilitating such an act) should be reported to the Associate Vice President for Information Technology.
- Computer and Information Technology resources must not be used for any unlawful purpose. Use of unlicensed software on Columbia State computers is strictly prohibited. It is not acceptable to transmit or receive threatening, obscene, or harassing materials.
Intentional failure to observe policies governing the use of Information Technology resources can result in suspension of user privileges, or other disciplinary actions. In addition, violations may result in referral for prosecution by federal, state, or local authorities.
It is the policy of Columbia State Community College to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which is designed to protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable educational records of students. The student has the following rights: the right to inspect and review his/her educational records within forty-five (45) days of the day the College receives a request for access; the right to request an amendment of his/her educational records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading; the right to consent to disclosures of personal identifiable information contained in his/her educational records except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Columbia State Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Under the provisions of FERPA, the College may disclose directory information to any person requesting it without the consent of the student. Directory information may include the student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, enrollment status (full-time or part-time) major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and most recent previous educational institution attended. Examples of such disclosures include, but are not limited to, play-production programs, honors recognition lists, graduation programs, and athletic activity sheets and programs.
Students may request that "Directory Information" be withheld from anyone except Columbia State school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Columbia State Foundation; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.
Students wishing to refuse disclosure must submit a request for Non-Release of Directory Information to the Records office (Jones Student Center 101), after registering for classes. This request will remain in effect until the student signs a form to cancel the request.
Sex Crimes Prevention Act
The federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act and the Tennessee College and University Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2002 require that whenever a sex offender becomes employed, enrolls as a student, or volunteers at an institution of higher education in the State of Tennessee, he or she must complete or update the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) sexual offender registration/monitoring form, and deliver it to TBI headquarters in Nashville.
As defined in section 40-39-102 of the Tennessee Code, a "sexual offender" means a person who is, or has been, convicted in this State of committing a sexual offense, or who is or has been convicted in another state or another country, or who is or has been convicted in a federal or military court of committing an act which would have constituted a sexual offense if it had been committed in this State. A "sexual offense" means the commission of acts including, but not limited to, aggravated and statutory rape, sexual battery, sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated prostitution, and kidnapping.
Both acts designate certain information concerning a registered sexual offender as public information and therefore amend and supercede the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other federal and State laws that previously prohibited the disclosure of such personal information. Since the laws require the publication of information pertaining to sexual offenders employed, enrolled, or volunteering at an educational institution, said publication does not constitute grounds for a grievance or complaint under institutional or Tennessee Board of Regents policies or procedures.
In compliance with the federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act and the Tennessee College and University Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2002, members of the campus community may obtain the most recent information received from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) concerning sex offenders employed, enrolled, or volunteering at this institution in the Campus Security office. Information is also available on the TBI’s Web site listing of sex offenders located on the Internet at http://www.ticic.state.tn.us/sorinternet/sosearch.aspx.
Student Consumer Rights Information
The financial aid applicant is responsible for obtaining, completing, and filing each year the proper financial aid application on a timely basis. The applicant has the right to seek and receive full information and counsel from the director of financial aid (Jones Student Center 120), in regard to any financial aid matter. The applicant must, without exception, report any of the following changes to the Financial Aid office: withdrawal from the college, transfer to another college, name change, or address change of student or parent if applicable.
If student loans have been received, an exit interview must be arranged with the Financial Aid office when graduating or withdrawing from the college. Failure on the aid recipient’s part to do exit counseling will result in a hold being placed on the student’s record and refusal of future financial aid awards.