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College Catalog

General Academic Policies

Attendance policy. Pellissippi State expects students to attend all scheduled instructional activities. As a minimum, students in all courses (excluding distance learning courses) must be present for at least 75 percent of their scheduled class and laboratory meetings in order to receive credit for the course. Individual departments/programs/disciplines, with the approval of the vice president of Academic Affairs, may have requirements that are more stringent. In very specific circumstances, an appeal of the policy may be addressed to the head of the department in which the course was taken. If further action is warranted, the appeal may be addressed to the vice president of Academic Affairs.

Attendance recording. Financial aid recipients are advised that attendance must be reported by the instructor for each course in which the student is enrolled before the student may pick up a financial aid check. Attendance for veterans receiving benefits is reported during the add period and monthly thereafter. Students enrolled in distance learning courses must meet instructor requirements for communication and completion of assignments to be reported as attending. (See also Return of Title IV Funds in the Financial Aid section of this Catalog and Handbook.)

Grading system. Grades become available as they are received and processed. Letter grades are used to indicate quality of work achieved by a student, knowledge of the subject, ability to apply this knowledge, and work habits and practices.

Grade      Quality Points Awarded Per Semester Hour
A 4.0
B + 3.5
B 3.0
C + 2.5
C 2.0
D 1.0
F 0.0

The academic standing of a student is expressed in terms of a grade-point average (GPA). The GPA is determined by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of credit hours attempted. Grades described below are not included in the standard calculation of GPA:

E (Extension). The grade of E is used for learning support courses only and does not count as hours attempted in determining the GPA for the semester in which the grade is issued. The extension allows the student to re-enroll in the course in the subsequent semester. When the student re-enrolls in the course, the final grade is issued for that semester and the previously awarded E grade remains unchanged.

I (Incomplete). An Incomplete or I grade indicates that a student was passing a course at the end of the semester but was unable to complete all the requirements due to uncontrollable circumstances. It also indicates that the instructor approved the student’s request to complete the remaining requirement(s) on or before instructor-specified dates. The instructor and the program coordinator must approve the assignment of an I grade in a learning support course. Instructors elect to assign I grades only in highly unusual situations; I grades cannot be assigned to allow students to raise deficient grades by submitting additional work or by repeating any part of a course.

Incomplete grades are replaced with earned course grades when students fulfill instructors’ expectations for course completion; otherwise, students whose academic performance is judged as unsatisfactory by the instructor or who do not submit required assignments in a timely manner are assigned F grades. Unless the I is changed by the instructor prior to the date published in the Catalog and Handbook, the I converts to an F grade. Spring and summer Incompletes must be removed by midterm of the following fall; fall semester Incompletes must be removed before midterm of the following spring. The instructor has the prerogative to limit the time allowed for completion. Incompletes also become F grades if students enroll in the same course in the semester after an I is received unless the course is dropped before registration ends. An I grade is not counted in the student’s GPA at the time it is received. The grade replacing the I is included in the GPA. Warning to financial aid recipients: The I grade is considered an F in determining financial aid eligibility.

AU (Audit). This grade indicates the student elected to enroll in the course for no grade and no credit. Audits do not replace grades previously issued, and learning support courses cannot be audited. Audit students are expected to attend class. A student can change from audit to credit or credit to audit through the last day to add a course. (See the Academic Calendar in the front of this Catalog and Handbook.) To audit a course, the student must so indicate on the registration or drop/add form.

W (Withdraw). A grade of W indicates a student has officially withdrawn from a course after the deadline to drop a course without a grade of W as published in the Academic Calendar. A student may officially withdraw from any course during the first two thirds of the term. The deadline to drop a course with a grade of W is also published in the Academic Calendar. A W grade will not be computed in the GPA. See Drop, Add and Withdrawal Standards in the Admissions and Registration section of this Catalog and Handbook.

P (Pass). This grade indicates a student successfully completed and has been awarded credit for a course. This grade is not computed in the GPA.

NP (No Pass). This grade indicates a student did not successfully complete a course and was not awarded credit. This grade is not computed in the GPA. Repeat. This indicates the student is repeating a course for the purpose of increasing the mastery necessary for successful performance in a later course or for the purpose of increasing his/her GPA. In computing the GPA of a student who has repeated one or more courses, Pellissippi State will count only the last grade received in the repeated course or courses and count hours attempted only once, provided the number of repeats in any single course does not exceed two (three attempts). In the event a student repeats a course more than twice, the grade in the third and later attempts shall be used in determining the GPA. 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 of Academic Affairs. Veterans or other eligible people repeating courses for which they have passing grades (D or higher) and for which they have been paid are cautioned not to claim these courses for pay.

Academic awards and honors. Students graduating with the following grade point averages in college-level courses will receive an honors designation on their diplomas:

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

In addition to graduation honors, Pellissippi State recognizes outstanding college-level students through the dean’s list (3.50-4.00 GPA). Students are eligible for the dean’s list upon completion of 12 college-level hours per term of Pellissippi State coursework.

Other significant recognition is presented to outstanding graduates as selected by faculty. Learning support courses are not considered in determining eligibility for academic awards, honors or dean’s list.

Course waiver and substitution. Under special circumstances, a course may be waived by the dean with approval from the vice president of Academic Affairs (except learning support courses). Waivers are granted when necessitated by course deletions or other curriculum changes. Since no credit is awarded for a course waiver, a course of equal or greater credit must be substituted for a course that has been waived. The student’s academic advisor gives primary consideration to courses from the same discipline as the course waived in identifying an appropriate substitute.

Maximum load. The normal load for a full-time student per semester during the academic year is 15-20 credit hours, with 20 credit hours being the maximum. Any student requesting a course load above 20 hours must have dean approval. Students in Career Programs should see the dean responsible for their major. Students in University Parallel programs should see their assigned academic advisor’s dean.

Independent study. Generally only courses that are not offered in the regular class schedule and are required for graduation within one term may be considered for independent study. Students who can prove to the satisfaction of faculty that they are capable of independently mastering the content of a course may be eligible to enroll in a course on an independent study basis. Permission must be granted by the instructor and the dean responsible for the course. Fees for independent study courses are the same as those assessed for traditional courses. Students are given one semester to complete a course taken as independent study.

Examinations will be given by the faculty member as the student progresses through the assigned material. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with the faculty member to provide progress reports and to arrange examinations throughout the semester to complete the course material.

If the independent study course is passed, the student is awarded full course credit. If the course is failed, the student may not subsequently request another independent study of that course. Grades of A, B+, B, C+, C, D, F, W or I are assigned.

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