Academic Policies

Academic Policies

It is the student's responsibility to understand and observe all academic regulations and policies outlined in this Bulletin, and in any supplements and revisions to this Bulletin that may be issued from time to time.

The academic policies and requirements of the University are intended to be firm, and the University seeks to administer them with consistency and evenhandedness. When exceptional circumstances require students to request waivers of normal academic policies and requirements, these requests should be addressed in writing with a student academic petition form. Variations in normal policies, requirements, and standards can be considered only when there is a strong rationale for divergence from the normal practice in a particular case; when there is no likelihood that the variation will set a precedent that could adversely affect the University's standards; and when in the judgment of the appropriate University authorities it is in the educational interests of the petitioning student, and not contrary to the interests of other students or of the University, that the waiver is granted. Accordingly, waivers are not considered for such fundamental University standards as credits, grades, or GPA requirements for graduation. Students' failures to plan or carry out their work appropriately or in a timely manner, or to acquaint themselves with applicable University regulations, do not constitute sufficient reason for waiver of a normal standard, regulation, requirement, or practice.

Academic credit at Fisk is given in the form of semester hours. One hour of class time per week for one semester is equivalent to one semester hour of academic credit. The typical Fisk course is for four semester hours of credit, although courses carrying other credits are offered.

Normal student course-load for undergraduates is sixteen semester hours. Twelve semester hours constitute a minimum for full-time student status at the undergraduate level; the maximum is eighteen semester hours per term. Approval to register for hours exceeding the maximum must be obtained from the Provost upon the written recommendation of the academic advisor. The permission to take an overload is restricted to students whose grade-point average was at least 3.0 in their most recent semester prior to requesting an overload, with the following exceptions: 1) Students expecting to graduate in the year in which the overload is requested, and 2) students whose suggested program plans, as printed in the Bulletin, suggest that more than eighteen hours be taken if timely graduation is to occur. Under no circumstances is the approval given for a schedule in excess of twenty-two semester hours per term. Credit-hours in excess of eighteen are assessed an overload fee for each excess hour.

It is the University's assumption that students, in registering for courses, accept significant obligations for out-of-class work. Normally students should plan on spending at least two hours of work and study time outside of class for every hour spent in class. Thus a sixteen-hour course-load is apt to amount to at least a 48-hour workweek for the student who keeps up appropriately with his or her studies. An eighteen-hour course-load entails a 54-hour workweek, and so on.

Auditing courses is permitted when the student files an application and pays the specified audit fee. An auditor does not take examinations nor receive credit for the course, nor participate in the class discussion unless invited to do so by the course instructor.

Repeat enrollment in courses is permitted in order to offer students the opportunity to improve their grade point averages or meet course requirements, following an unsatisfactory grade in the student's first attempt to complete a course. When students repeat courses, only the last course grade received is counted in computing grade point average__ though previous attempts to complete the course are shown, with the original grade received, on the cumulative record. Academic credit is awarded only for the last occasion on which a repeated course is taken; duplicate credit for a given course is never awarded. Students are cautioned to remember this policy when calculating total credit hours accumulated so that revisions of their study plans will be accurate and applications for degrees will not lead to last-minute disappointment.

Non-degree credit is given for certain courses. Intermediate Algebra (MATH 100) and anything over four semester hours of practicum and internship courses are examples. Courses designated for only non-degree credit are not counted toward the minimum 120 semester-hour graduation requirement, and students should take this restriction into account when planning their studies.


 

Satisfactory Academic Progress policy

Fisk University has the following Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for students who receive financial aid. These standards require that a student make progress toward an undergraduate or graduate degree during all periods of enrollment, including periods when a student did not receive financial aid. Fisk will be consistent in applying the SAP policies to full & part time, independent and dependent students.

Minimum Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Maintain required cumulative Grade Point Average(GPA) based on matrix below, or higher (a qualitative measure) and

Undergraduate Students:

 

Total Number of Credits Attempted Minimum Cumulative GPA
1-24 1.80
25-36 1.90
37 or more 2.0

Graduate Students:

  • Must maintain a 3.0 GPA for all coursework completed at Fisk.
  • Successfully complete at least 67% of the cumulative attempted credit hours(a quantitative measure) and
  • Make positive progress toward a program of study within 150 percent of the average published program length.

Financial Aid Statuses

  • Eligible – Student is meeting the minimum academic standards or has no academic history. Fully Eligible for financial aid.
  • Warning – Student did not meet minimum standards for cumulative GPA and/or 67% completion rate in the previous evaluation period. Student is still Eligible for financial aid, but must reach all minimum standards by the end of the next evaluation period to maintain eligibility.
  • Ineligible – Student has failed to meet minimum standards for cumulative GPA and/or 67% completion rate SAP at the end of the evaluation period. Student is Ineligible for financial aid.
  • Timeframe – Student has attempted at least 180 credit hours toward a Bachelor’s Degree. Graduate students must earn their degree within the timelines set by the Graduate School per their graduate program. If a student exceeds these credit hour limits, they are not making progress toward a degree within the 150% federal requirement. Student is Ineligible for financial aid.

When is Academic Progress Evaluated?

A student’s satisfactory academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester (Fall, Spring and Summer). Students will not be eligible for federal funding during this time if in an ineligible SAP status.

Successful completion of a class

is defined as earning a grade of A, B, C, D, or Pass (plus and minus grades may be attached to letter grades) and will be used to determine cumulative GPA, Completion Rate and Timeframe.

New Financial Aid Students with prior academic history:

Fisk students with prior academic history will be evaluated at the time they apply for financial aid. They will receive one of three financial aid statuses.

  • Eligible – Student is meeting the minimum academic standards or has no academic history. Fully Eligible for financial aid.
  • Warning – Student is below minimum standards in his/her previous academic history. Student is still Eligible for financial aid, but must reach the minimum standards at the end of the next evaluation period to maintain eligibility.
  • Timeframe – Student has attempted at least 180 credit hours for toward a Bachelor’s Degree. Graduate students must earn their degree within the timelines set by the Graduate School per their graduate program. If a student exceeds these credit hour limits, they are not making progress toward a degree within the 150% federal requirement. Student is Ineligible for financial aid.

Transfer Students and Transfer credit hours:

Students transferring to Fisk are required to have all prior college transcripts evaluated for transfer credits. All credit hours accepted by Fisk will be used to determine 67% completion rate and maximum timeframe of 150%.

Academic Reset:

A student is allowed one academic resets. This means that a student can change their Major once after they have attempted 30 credit hours toward any Major. If the student changes a Major after the first reset, all credit hours that have been attempted in the 1 reset, plus any taken toward the second Major change will be used toward determining their maximum timeframe.

Non-Passing Grades:

Unsuccessful grades of E, F, W, WD, WF, WP, NG or I will be used in determining completion rate and timeframe. Letter grades of E and F are used toward the completion rate and cumulative GPA.

Repeat Courses:

Students repeating courses, for the first time only, can receive aid for that repeated course. All repeat courses will be used in determining completion rate and timeframe. Actual letter grades are included in the cumulative GPA.

Audited Credit Hours:

Courses taken on an audit basis are not counted when determining the completion percentage or for purposes of determining your cumulative GPA.

How to Re-establish Eligibility?

  • A student must bring his/her GPA and completion rate up to the minimum standards of the required cumulative GPA, per matrix, and 67% completion rate. A student will be Ineligible for financial aid and cannot be reimbursed during this time.
  • Mitigating Circumstances: If a student has experienced mitigating circumstances (illness, family illness, change of major) during the most recent evaluation period, they may submit an Appeal to reinstate financial aid eligibility. The student must explain, in the appeal, what has changed that will now allow them to meet the SAP requirements. The student must also submit supporting documentation with the appeal. If the request is granted, the student will be placed on one of two Financial Aid Eligibility Statuses:
  • Probation – The student is expected to improve to minimum standards by the end of the next evaluation period. The student is Eligible for financial aid, but must meet minimum standards by the next evaluation period. A student cannot be on probation for two consecutive semesters.
  • Academic Success Plan – The student cannot be expected to improve to minimum standards by the next evaluation period. The student and Fisk have agreed to a success plan to allow the student to meet minimum standards within a fixed number of evaluation periods. The student is fully Eligible for financial aid as long as they are strictly following the success plan. If at any time the student stops following the success plan and they are not meeting minimum standards they will become Ineligible for financial aid. If a student meets minimum standards at any time while on a success plan their Financial Aid Eligibility Status will be updated to Eligible.

If the request is not granted, the student will remain Ineligible for financial aid until they meet all minimum standards.

  • Timeframe Mitigating Circumstances: If a student has not completed their program of study within the 150% timeframe and there are mitigating circumstances (illness, job related, family illness, change of major), they may submit an Appeal to reinstate financial aid eligibility. If this application is granted, the student will be placed on the following Academic Eligibility Status:
  • Timeframe Academic Success Plan – The student and FISK have agreed to a success plan. The student is fully Eligible for financial aid, as long as they are strictly following the success plan. If at any time the student stops following the success plan, they will become Permanently Ineligible for financial aid.

If the request is not granted, the student will be Ineligible for financial aid. All students are limited to one Timeframe Academic Success Plan.

STUDENTS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL, OF THEIR SAP STATUS, AT THE END OF EACH SEMESTER

NOTICE TO APPLICANTS
Student Financial Assistance Programs Disclosure of Social Security Account Number

Section 7(a) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5U.S.C.552a) requires that when any federal, state, or local government agency requests an individual to disclose his or her Social Security Account Number, that individual must also be advised whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority the number is solicited, and what use will be made of it. Accordingly, applicants are advised that disclosure of the applicant’s Social Security Account Number (SSAN) is required as a condition for participation in student financial assistance programs sponsored by the federal government, state, or the local government, in view of the practical administrative difficulties that would be encountered in maintaining adequate program records without the continued use of the SSAN. The SSAN will be used to verify the identity of the applicant and as an account number (identifier) throughout the life of the loan or other type of assistance in order to report necessary data accurately. As an identifier, the SSAN is used in such program activities as determining program eligibility, certifying school attendance and student status, determining eligibility for deferment or repayment of student loans, and for tracing and collecting in cases of defaulted loans. Authority for requiring the disclosure of an applicant’s SSAN is grounded on Section 7(a)(2) of the Privacy Act, which provides that an agency may continue to require disclosure of an individual’s SSAN as a condition for the granting of a right, benefit, or privilege provided by law where the agency required this disclosure under statute or regulation prior to Jan. 1, 1975, in order to verify the identity of an individual.

Coursework Policy

Coursework taken at other institutions while the student is a candidate for a Fisk degree will not normally be accepted toward graduation, unless such work has been approved in advance by the Provost. Normally, courses in a student's major discipline, cognates, and Core courses cannot be taken elsewhere. Courses approved to be taken elsewhere must be equivalent in character and quality to those offered at Fisk, and grades earned must be "C" or better. Specific regulations governing credit for study in institutions other than Fisk are:

1. There must be strong justification for taking courses at other institutions for Fisk credit. The equivalent course and school must be approved in advance (in writing) by the Provost, who acts on the recommendation of the appropriate academic units. Normally, permission would be granted in case of unavoidable scheduling problems or illness that prevented adequate opportunity to take a needed course at Fisk, including both discipline and cognate courses, which may not be taken from an institution other than Fisk, unless recommended in advance (in writing) by the appropriate department.
2. Any student failing in a major course or a University required course will have one chance to take an equivalent course (at the same or higher level) in a summer school other than Fisk. Students who, by reason of illness, unavoidable scheduling problems, or other good reasons, have not had an appropriate opportunity to take a needed course at Fisk may be permitted to do so in a summer school other than Fisk. In these cases the usual prohibition against taking courses in the major, cognates, and Core courses at other institutions may be relaxed.
3. Twelve semester hours of work taken in summer schools other than Fisk will normally be the maximum accepted toward the Fisk baccalaureate degree. Under exceptional circumstances the twelve-hour limit may be exceeded, with approval by the Provost. Students are strongly advised to enroll in no more than six credit-hours in a single summer.
Forms are available in the Office of the Provost and in division offices for requesting permission to study away from Fisk. For summer studies, the deadline for filing is the last day of classes in each spring semester.