2018-2019 Catalog and Student Handbook 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Academic Information

Student Classifications

Undergraduate Degree Students

All undergraduate students admitted as credit students pursuing a degree or certificate are classified as undergraduate degree students. These students are either freshmen or sophomores 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 appear under Admission to the College  .

Non-Credit Students

Students enrolled in non-credit courses through Economic and Workforce Development 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 is maintained Online and is 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 of continuing education units. The permanent record is available through the Economic and Workforce Development Office.

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" and assigned to students, faculty, and staff to protect the individual's social security number. Students must disclose their social security number when applying 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 the 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 can complete their business with the College through myChargerNet by use of a user id and password, occasionally the social security number is required. Student identification numbers, whether a social security number or an assigned number, are for internal use within the College and 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 terms. 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, they can review information regarding the awarding of transfer credit by logging into their myChargerNet account and clicking on "View Transcript" to see their academic transcript.

For coursework completed but not already approved as equivalent, such as coursework at non-regionally accredited institutions, additional information will be required to evaluate the credit. The student must provide a copy of the course description or syllabus of the course to the Records Office. If approved the classes are posted as transfer credit on the student's record. The student will receive notice as to the outcome of the request.

Effective Summer 2015, equated transfer credit counts for all courses in which passing grades are achieved, including the grade of "D". For students enrolled prior to Summer 2015, only grades of "C" or higher can transfer.

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

External Credit (Columbia State Policy 02:10:00)

A maximum of 75% of total semester credit hours earned through any combination of external credit can apply toward a degree. A student must earn 25% of hours required for a credential in instruction delivered by Columbia State. Possible sources of external credit include (1) credit by examination, (2) military service/armed services schools, (3) specific high school courses, and (4) prior learning. None of these various sources of external credit will count toward the 25% minimum residency requirement.

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

  • Applicant must be admitted to Columbia State Community College
  • Students must consult with an advisor about the possibility and advisability of seeking external credit.
  • Students must have declared an academic program.
  • If a student is awarded external credit toward curriculum requirements for a particular program, a Change of Major necessitates reassessment of applicability of the credit.
  • Applicants must not have received any grade, with the exception of a "W", in similarly titled courses for which credit is awarded.
  • Credit is awarded only in areas offered in the current curriculum of the College and related to the student's educational program.
  • Credit is awarded only for learning experiences that document mastery of all learning outcomes for specific courses in an approved degree program.

Semester hours of credit toward graduation are awarded on the basis of these conditions, but no grades or quality points are awarded. These credits do not affect the academic grade point average.

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

  1. Credit by Examination
    1. 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 International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) or comprehensive subject examinations. Official documentation must come directly from the testing agency. Credit appears on the student's record after admission to the College.

      Students submit requests for all other external credit to the director of records after they have been admitted to the College and registered for courses. External credit is evaluated by the division dean 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 dean are forwarded, with recommendations, to the Records office. However, these exams cannot be taken until a student has earned 12 hours (excluding Learning Support courses) of resident credit at the College.
      1. CLEP®: Applications and information on the CLEP® are available at any Columbia State location or by accessing www.collegeboard.com. 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.
      2. CEEB: (College Board): Columbia State participates in the Advanced Placement Program of CEEB and awards appropriate credit in selected courses to qualified 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.
      3. ACT: Students whose standard score on the Enhanced ACT English test is 32 or above may receive credit for English Composition I and II (ENGL 1010  and ENGL 1020 ). Students whose standard score on the Enhanced ACT Mathematics test is 31 or above may receive credit for Precalculus Algebra (MATH 1710 ).
      4. (IAAP) International Association of Administrative Professionals Examination: Persons having successfully passed sections of the IAAP examination are eligible to receive 13 semester hours of credit at Columbia State as follows:

        BUSN 1310 - Business Communications 
        INFS 1010 - Computer Applications 
        BUSN 1380 - Supervisory Management 
        ADMN 1302 - Keyboarding/Formatting I 
        OFA 132 - Records Management

        Award of credit for successful completion of the IAAP examination is subject to change whenever (1) the content of the examination changes so that it does not correspond to the content of the courses designated above or (2) content of the Columbia State courses designated above changed to the extent that it does not correspond to the examination content.
      5. DANTES Subject Standardized (DSST): Students may earn college credit for acceptable scores on the DANTES Subject Standardized Test based on Columbia State or TBR policy, or students can earn credit based upon the credit recommendations and minimum scores evaluated by the American Council on Education. Students should submit an official DANTES transcript for review.
    2. Columbia State Challenge Examination Credit: Institutional examinations may yield credit for courses as determined by division deans if a CLEP® examination is unavailable or as specified in a Dual Credit agreement with local high schools.
      1. Students must see the instructor of the course to discuss the course syllabus and text and decide whether to attempt the examination, and, if appropriate, schedule an appointment to take the examination. Students who wish to take an exam must complete and obtain the instructor's signature on the Application for Permission to Take Credit by Examination.
      2. Prior to taking the examination, the student must seek approval from the appropriate division dean and obtain the dean's signature on the Application for Permission to Take Credit by Examination.
      3. The student must then take the form and payment to the Business Services Office, Pryor Administration Building 114. The student must pay the $25 fee established for "credit by examination."
      4. 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
      5. The instructor must submit the Credit by Examination Grade Report and the photocopy of the receipt to the appropriate division dean.
      6. Upon approval by the division dean, the Credit by Examination Grade Report and the photocopy of the receipt are submitted to the Records Office.
      7. Credit will be awarded provided the student's performance on the test is at least a "C" and the student has earned 12 semester hours of resident credit at Columbia State (excluding Learning Support courses). Semester hour credits apply toward graduation based these tests, but no grades or quality points are awarded, and the academic grade point average is not affected.
      8. Credit awarded prior to the last day of final exams is 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
    1. Proper documentation supporting service related educational experience must be provided to the director of records and to the Veteran's Affairs certifying official before the end of the second term of enrollment. Credit awarded to students who are veterans or military service members are based on documentation from the Joint Services Transcript (JST), DD-214 and /or transcripts from the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), and Coast Guard Institute (CGI). The Institution will use the American Council of Education (ACE) for awarding credit for military experience, educations, and/or training obtained during military experience. If military experience, education, and/ or training are equivalent to a course that fulfills a general education or degree program requirement, the course credit will count towards graduation. Otherwise, appropriate course credit will be granted for elective credit. Credit that may not be captured through ACE recommendations may also be considered for Prior Learning Assessment by contacting the Retention Coordinator for Science, Technology and Mathematics to obtain a "Request for Prior Learning Credit Portfolio Consideration Form (See External Credit for Prior Learning).
    2. Students must follow the parameters of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for Federal Financial Assistance (see Financial Assistance ) in regard to military credit and excessive hours applied to their academic record, which may affect student eligibility for financial aid.
  3. Dual Credit for Specific High School Courses
    1. A student who has completed a career/technical secondary course of study or certain other high school courses which have been articulated with the College or through the State of Tennessee (Dual Credit), 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 career courses may receive credit for those courses through the Columbia State Community College articulation process. This postsecondary credit will be granted upon successful admission to Columbia State. Transfer of articulated career/technical credit from Columbia State to other institutions is at the discretion of the receiving institution.
    2. Columbia State and each participating high school must have a process for establishing common learning outcomes for specified courses articulated. Competency lists and syllabi of the courses from the institutions involved must be maintained and documented.
    3. Credit awarded must be for specific courses and must be awarded only on the basis of the petitioning student successfully passing a challenge examination or competency-based assessment procedure for which the proficiency standards are approved and accepted by the receiving college
    4. Students wishing to participate in the articulation program must:
      1. Meet all regular admissions requirements of Columbia State as published in the Columbia State Community College Catalog.
      2. Provide official transcript of courses completed at the high school.
      3. Attend the Columbia State Community College testing day and complete a comprehensive subject assessment for each requested course or meet assessment requirements as stated.
      4. Pass the assessment requirements for each course for which credit is requested.
      5. Enroll at Columbia State within two years of the date of graduation from high school.
      6. Contact the Science, Technology, and Mathematics Division at Columbia State to request the credit.
  4. External Credit for Prior Learning
    1. A currently enrolled student at Columbia State may demonstrate college-level knowledge of a subject acquired outside a traditional college classroom (work, community service, licensure/certification/diploma/apprenticeship programs or other experiences) through the development of a portfolio. Credit awarded under this provision uses a recognized guide or procedure as detailed below.

      Course Equivalency Credit: Prior learning which is assessed based on the documented achievement of course specific learning outcomes will be transcripted as that course. Prior learning will be assessed based on a pass/fail evaluation and will be assigned a "TP." Because no grade is assigned other than "TP," no Quality Points will be awarded to count toward GPA.
    2. The total amount of credit awarded cannot exceed 75% of the requirements for the degree or certificate. The credit will be identified as experiential credit on the transcript.
    3. Students seeking prior learning credit should first contact the retention coordinator for the Science, Technology, and Mathematics division to complete a Request for Prior Learning Credit Portfolio Consideration Form.
      1. The completed request form will be reviewed by a faculty member in the discipline for which credit is sought and the division dean.
      2. If the Dean and faculty member agree that the prior learning experiences may justify granting course credit, the student will be asked to provide a portfolio of relevant experiences. The website Learning Counts (www.learningcounts.org) provides more information on the options and costs of creating a portfolio.
    4. The submitted portfolio will be evaluated by one or more trained assessor(s). The assessor must provide reasoning for the number of credit hours awarded or a written explanation provided for evaluation of portfolio regardless of outcome.
    5. If the student is awarded credit then the faculty member will complete an Approval of Course Credit for Prior Learning form and forward the form for approval by the division dean and vice president of academic affairs.
    6. The credit will be posted after the student has paid the applicable fees, listed in the current college catalog, and has successfully completed twelve (12) semester credit hours at the College. Credit awarded for prior learning will not apply toward meeting residency requirements for graduation.
  5. External Credit for Occupational and Workplace Training Credit awarded for completion of workplace (corporate, volunteer, government, etc.) training may be awarded based on recommendations by nationally recognized college credit recommendation services or by the individual evaluation and determination of the College. A letter grad of "TP" will be assigned for credit granted. Because no grade is assigned other than "TP," no Quality Points will be awarded to count toward GPA.

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 or through the online transcript request. Telephone requests are not accepted and electronic mail (e-mail) requests are only accepted if the student scans and emails the signed request form. 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 originating 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 Learning Support course requirements, and
  2. have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

To request an overload complete the Overload Request form (available on myChargerNet) and obtaining an advisor's signature and the approval of one of the following: an academic division dean, extended campus coordinator, vice president for Williamson Campus, associate vice president for faculty, curriculum and programs, or the regional services and southern campuses dean.

Registration Procedures

Students must observe registration procedures and complete registration on the dates posted (see Important Dates ) in the catalog or on the Columbia State Web page. 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 the division dean. Students are not officially enrolled until all registration requirements are completed and all fees are paid.

For eligible students, online registration is available through myChargerNet, which is accessed from www.columbiastate.edu. Columbia State conducts Priority Registration (pre-selection of classes) for current students. Registration information is emailed to all current students to inform them of their day to priority register. Students have an assigned advisor who will assist in course selection. Registration for first-time and readmitted students occurs during the open registration period as listed (see Important Dates ) Student orientations are scheduled before the Fall and Spring semesters to assist new and transfer students in registering for classes. The Columbia State web site each semester also has information on applying for admission or readmission, testing requirements, paying fees, and dropping or adding classes.

Change of Registration Status

Students are advised to carefully read the following regulations and procedures applicable to 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 must 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 apply when a student wishes to change one or more class(es). If the student wishes to drop all classes, the "withdrawal" procedure applies. 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 his/ her schedule by accessing the student's myChargerNet account or the emailed canceled class listing.

Dropping a Class

Dropping a class can occur through the "last day to drop a class or withdraw" for the regular/full semester. (See Important Dates ) Additional drop dates apply for other short term session courses and appear on the Columbia State web page at www.columbiastate.edu/refunds-drops-withdrawals.

Students may drop most classes by using myChargerNet. However, to drop under the following circumstances students must email records@columbiastate.edu from their student email account or come in person to the Records office or to one of the College's campus locations:

  1. to drop a course after the last official date to drop (includes TN eCampus courses).
  2. to drop any course which the student is auditing.
  3. to drop when the student's account has a hold flag or encumbrance.

Students who need to drop any course after the last official date to drop must complete a form and follow these procedures:

  1. Obtain the Late Drop/Withdrawal form and enter required information. This form is available at all College campus locations, and on the college's web page, www.columbiastate.edu/records/forms.
  2. Acquire applicable signatures:
    1. instructor if dropping after the last official date to drop (includes TN eCampus courses) or an email from the instructor for TN eCampus courses.
    2. TN eCampus Contact if dropping after the last official date to drop.
    3. Division Dean
    4. Financial Aid
    5. Records

Adding a Class

Adding a class is permitted through the "Adjustment Period for Registered Students," for the regular/full semester. (See Important Dates ) Additional add dates apply for other short term session courses and appear on the Columbia State web page at www.columbiastate.edu/refunds-drops-withdrawals. Students may add most classes by using myChargerNet. However, to add a course under the following circumstances students must email records@columbiastate.edu from their student email account or come in person to the Records office or to 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. (See Important Dates ). This may be done by emailing records@columbiastate.edu from the student's Columbia State email. The student must include their name and student number along with the course(s) that are to be changed from audit to credit. 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 by emailing records@columbiastate.edu from their Columbia State email account with information that includes their name, student number, and the course(s) to be changed from credit to audit.


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

Most students may drop all classes (withdraw) by using myChargerNet account. However, to withdraw under the following circumstances students must email records@columbiastate.edu from their student account or come in person to the Records office or to one of the College's campus locations:

  1. to withdraw after the last official date to drop (includes TN eCampus courses).
  2. to withdraw when enrolled in an audit course.
  3. to withdraw when the student's account has a hold flag or encumbrance.

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

  1. Obtain the Late Drop/Withdrawal form and enter required information.
  2. Acquire applicable signatures:
    1. instructor if dropping after the last official date to drop (includes TN eCampus courses).
    2. TN eCampus contact if dropping after the last official date to drop.
    3. Division Dean
    4. Financial Aid
    5. Records

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, a 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 Important Dates ) a student may officially drop a course(s) or withdraw from the College and receive a "W" which means that no hours are completed and the grade point average not affected. Students who drop a course or who withdraw from the College after two- thirds of the semester is complete will receive with appropriate signatures 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 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 provide documentation showing that withdrawal was under conditions where they could not have been expected to officially withdraw and if the students have no encumbrances on their financial records.

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.

Class Participation Policy

Instructors determine and publish in the syllabus their class attendance policy. Beginning with the first class, faculty record attendance to verify enrollment and eligibility for financial aid. Unless prevented by circumstances beyond their control, students should regularly attend all classes for which they are registered . 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
A Excellent 4
B Good 3
C Average 2
D Inferior but passing 1
F Failure 0
FA Unofficial Withdrawal Used to designate those students who stopped attending and did not complete the course. Faculty must indicate the date the student last participated in course-related activities. 0
I Incomplete 0
P Pass (awarded only to Cooperative education classes, clinicals and labs) 0
W 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. 0
X Not a grade. Used only when grades are turned in too late to meet processing deadline. (At which are later changed to reflect the earned grade.) 0
AU Not a grade. (assigned to official audit) 0

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 Status".) are not considered quality hours attempted.

Incomplete Grade

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 dean for approval, but there is no obligation under policy to do so.

Academic Standing

Transfer and Transient Students

All transfer/transient students must be eligible to reenter the college from which they are transferring. A student who is on active/current academic dismissal/suspension at another college will be admitted to Columbia State on probation.

Since Admission policy allows transfer students to be admitted with a "partial" transcript and transient students to be admitted with a "Transient Student Approval Form" (i.e. not all final grades are present or known), Students continuing beyond the initial academic term with Columbia State must provide the final transcript from the home institution. If the student was in fact dismissed, the student will be held to the following dismissal/ retention standards.

At the end of the term with Columbia State, the student must have achieved a 2.0 semester GPA (cumulative GPA does not apply) otherwise, the student will be placed on retroactive academic dismissal from Columbia State for one year. Students may not appeal this dismissal from Columbia State.

Having successfully completed the term with a 2.0 semester GPA, the student will be placed in academic good standing with Columbia State. Should the student wish to continue with Columbia State, the student must comply with the retention standards listed below.

Retention Standards

Dual Enrollment students should see "High School Sudents " 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" 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  1.0
26.1 - 40.0 grade point hours 1.4
40.1 - 48.0 grade point hours 1.7
48.1 - 56.0 grade point hours 1.9
56.1 and above grade point hours  2.0

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/transient 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.

Current Columbia State 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 Policies and Appeals Committee. The committee may either sustain the 8 hour limit or allow registration for more hours with one or more of the following stipulations:
    1. require the repeat courses in which the student 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 Registration 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 vice president for academic affairs 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 all grades received in the third and all subsequent times 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 grade 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. When transfer coursework involves course repeats, awarding of transfer credit will follow the above process. The most recent grade earned must be a passing grade for coursework to be considered for acceptance.

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 division dean and can not be processed through Self-Service but requires entry by Records Office personnel. However, Learning Support may not be taken for audit. 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. Students enrolling in regular college classes on an audit basis are required to pay the same fees as those enrolling for credit, except those 60 years or older and/or totally disabled persons. (See, Expenses ).

Academic Fresh Start

Any person who has not been enrolled in a college or university for a period of four years may, upon enrolling or reenrolling at Columbia State or transferring to Columbia State, petition to have failing grades on all prior Columbia State coursework disregarded in calculating his or her cumulative grade point average. Courses with "D" grades can be excluded if the major specifies a grade of "C" is required for the course. Previously satisfied Learning Support courses will not be forfeited.

  1. Retained grades will be calculated in the Fresh Start QPA/GPA.
  2. Courses with "D" or "F" grades must be repeated at the institution when they are required in the student's current major. All remaining courses for the current degree objectives must be completed at the institution. No transient credit will be accepted after invoking Academic Fresh Start.
  3. The application of retained credit toward degree requirements will be determined by the requirements currently in effect at the time the academic renewal status is conferred on the student. Specific program regulations must be met.

If the request is granted, the earlier coursework will not count toward meeting requirements for graduation but would appear on the student's transcript. A student will only be approved for the academic fresh start one time. For information on applying for a fresh start, contact a college completion specialist, division dean or extended campus coordinator.

A student who plans to transfer to a non TBR college or university should contact that institution to determine the impact of academic fresh start prior to implementing the program at Columbia State. Also, this policy is independent of financial aid regulations. Financial Aid requirements at the time of application will apply. Therefore, a Fresh Start applicant should check with his/her financial aid counselor for guidance.

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.

Availability of Grades

Students may review grades for a particular semester by accessing their myChargerNet account on the Columbia State home page at www.columbiastate.edu.


President's List and Dean's List

At the end of the fall and spring semesters a list of honor students known as the President's List and the Dean's List are published to recognize scholarly achievements.

President's List - To qualify for the President's List students must earn 15 credit hours for the semester (excluding Learning Support) with a semester GPA of 3.90 - 4.00.

Dean's List - To qualify for the Dean's List students must earn 12 or more credit hours for the semester (excluding Learning Support) with a semester GPA of 3.50 or higher (not to include those on President's List).

Graduation Honors

Degree students graduating with the following grade point averages will receive the corresponding honor designations on their diplomas and Columbia State transcript:

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.

Graduation honors are based on degree credit courses only; however, the overall combined GPA that might include a Learning Support course(s) must be equal to or higher than the overall GPA.

Policy on the Awarding of Degrees

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

Students may not earn a degree or certificate before completing all Learning Support competencies as required by their program of study.

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., A.F.A., Individuals holding a Baccalaureate degree or higher without an A.A., A.S., A.S.T. or A.F.A. degree may be awarded an Associate degree designed for transfer if the degree sought has a different concentration from the major of the advanced degree(s). 

Multiple Degrees and Certificates

Students may be awarded the A.S.T. if they have been awarded an A.A. or A.S. degree previously; however, students previously awarded the A.S.T. degree are not eligible for the A.A. A.S. or A.F.A. degree.

Students hold advanced degrees or a transfer Associate's degree may be awared the A.A.S. degree or Technical Certificate provided they meet the stated requirements.

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 earn a second degree.

Students completing a degree must take a general education exam as well as any other examination required by the College or the Tennessee Board of Regents.  Students who fail to do so will not graduate.  Students who have previously graduated from Columbia State or who have earned a Bachelor's degree are exempted from the general education exam.

Students may earn multiple technical certificates as long as 25% of the required hours were not required for previously earned certificates.


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 online degree audit on the college's Web page under myCharterNet.

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 will not graduate and their diplomas will be withheld. Students who have previously graduated from Columbia State Community College or who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher are exempted.

Columbia State hosts three commencement ceremonies annually to celebrate student success and program completion. One ceremony in December and two in the spring. The spring exercises in May are for students who complete degree requirements in May. Both ceremonies are held on the same day. The reason to hold two ceremonies is to accommodate all of the students, as well as their families and visitors. Students who finish in summer or fall participate in the December ceremony. Even though students participate in the ceremony, the degrees will not be awarded until all courses are satisfactorily completed and all graduation requirements are met.

Students who plan to complete the requirements for graduation must file the Intent to Graduate or Request for Technical Certificate form prior to the published deadline (See Important Dates ).

Outstanding Student Award

The Outstanding Student award is presented at Student Honors Convocation to recognize the graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty, has outstanding academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and service to Columbia State and the community. An appropriately inscribed plaque and monies are awarded to the student.

Jo L. Hutton Prize

The Jo L. Hutton Prize was established in 1991 to honor Mr. Jo L. Hutton, the founder of Middle Tennessee Bank. The Jo. L. Hutton Prize criteria include a student who has graduated from a Maury County High School, earned the highest grade point average while attending Columbia State Community College, and will be transferring into a baccalaureate degree program at a university.