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III. STUDENT RECORDS

Access to Student Records/Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (PL93-380), or FERPA, provides that all records pertaining to a student which are maintained by the College must be open to inspection by the student and may not be made available to any other person, except parents/guardians who can prove that a student is a legal dependent for tax purposes, without the written authorization of the student. A "student" is defined as a person who has registered and paid for one or more credit or continuing education courses and who is enrolled in and actually attends the College. The Act further provides that certain portions of the student record are deemed directory information, and under some circumstances may be released without the student's written permission. Directory information includes name, current address and telephone number, major, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received and dates granted, most recent educational institution(s) attended, and eligibility and participation in officially recognized activities and sports. Directory information may be released without student consent unless a written request not to release is filed with the Registrar's Office. The request may be canceled only upon receipt of the student's written authorization.

Requests for release of student information or verification of enrollment should be directed to the

Registrar's Office.

Additional information concerning FERPA may be obtained from the Registrar's Office or the SWTJC Catalog.

Change of Name

Students are required to use their LEGAL name for all student records. Any change of name should be reported to the Registrar's Office immediately. An official document supporting the name change (i.e., marriage license, adoption decree, divorce decree, Social Security card, or valid driver's license) is required.

Student Address & Contact Information

Students must provide the College with correct and current contact information including: mailing address, phone number, and personal email address. This information must be confirmed/updated each semester a student is enrolled and/or a change occurs. 

A system-assigned email address is provided to each student to enhance communication of important announcements and information. Any communication from the College that has been mailed to the name and address or SWTJC email address or posted on a College bulletin board is considered to have been properly delivered, and the student is held responsible for the information.

Use of Student Identification Number

The automated student information system assigns every student a random number called their Student ID. This number is required to identify students’ permanent records. The Student ID is used for all internal printed materials and provides additional protection of students’ privacy. Students are required to know their Student ID and to use it when communicating with College offices.

Students are requested to provide their Social Security Number to the College for maintenance of their student records. This allows the College to meet federal and state-reporting requirements, enables communication with financial aid providers and service agencies, and substantially eases transfer of information between SWTJC and other colleges and universities. Students who do not provide their Social Security Number may risk loss of services and benefits, and may encounter delays when transferring from or to other institutions. The College makes every effort to protect students’ Social Security Numbers from disclosure. Questions about College use of the Social Security Number should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.            

Right to an Academic Fresh Start

Under the provisions of the Texas Education Code, Section 931, a Texas resident applying for admission/reactivation to the College or to any specialized admission program is entitled to elect to have all academic coursework that was earned 10 or more years prior to the requested enrollment date ignored for enrollment purposes and GPA computation. The applicant must complete the Right to an Academic Fresh Start Agreement with the campus Registrar’s Office or the Office of Admissions Services prior to registration, confirming the decision to enroll under the Academic Fresh Start statute. An applicant who makes the decision to apply under this statute may not receive any course credit for courses taken at any college or university 10 or more years prior to the starting date of semester of enrollment.

Students who were awarded Academic Fresh Start through another Texas public college or university may request SWTJC recognition of that agreement by completing a Right to an Academic Fresh Start agreement and presenting an official transcript from the awarding institution showing the beginning Academic Fresh Start semester.

An applicant who chooses to exercise the Right to an Academic Fresh Start must meet all SWTJC admission/reactivation requirements and must submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended for credit courses.

The Right to an Academic Fresh Start can be rescinded by the student through a request made to the campus Registrar’s Office.


Course Load

A student enrolled for 12 or more semester hours during the fall or spring semester is considered a full- time student. Special terms of less than semester length comprise a proportionate share of full-time or part-time enrollment. Students enrolled in a special term should consult the campus Registrar to determine how special terms might affect their enrollment.

Twelve hours constitute a full-time course load. No student will be permitted to enroll for more than 18 semester hours without permission of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The College reserves the right to limit the course load of any student.

The allowed student course load during each six-week term of the summer semester is 7 semester hours. The maximum load, with permission of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, shall not exceed 8 semester hours for one six-week term. The maximum credit that a student can earn during the entire summer semester shall not exceed the number of weeks of the student’s summer enrollment, up to 17 semester hours. The May-mester is considered part of the summer term.

Students who are employed or who plan to seek employment are cautioned to consider carefully the amount of college work they attempt in relation to the number of hours they are employed each week and to the student and community activities in which they participate. Students who overload themselves in these areas are likely to have scholastic difficulties. A good rule to remember is that two hours of preparation outside class are necessary for each hour of class time.

Calculating Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grade Point Average (GPA) is a ratio of the semester hours taken and the grade points earned for each grade.

Students must be concerned about two separate Grade Point Averages:

  College Courses GPA is computed at the end of the spring, fall and summer terms and represents the GPA for courses taken at any time during that semester with the exception of developmental education courses.

  SWTJC GPA is also computed at the end of the spring, fall and summer terms and represents the GPA for ALL courses taken at SWTJC.

  Overall GPA is also computed at the end of the spring, fall and summer terms and represents the GPA for ALL courses attempted at SWTJC as well as any transfer courses.

Note that neither GPA includes grades for courses taken for Pass/No Pass (P/NP), or courses taken for audit (AU). Courses dropped earn a grade of “W” and do not affect GPA.
GPA Calculation

Each time a course is taken, grade points are earned:

Grade of A receives 4 grade points per semester hour Grade of B receives 3 grade points per semester hour Grade of C receives 2 grade points per semester hour

Grade of D receives 1 grade point per semester hour

Grade of F receives 0 grade points per semester hour

  For Semester GPA, divide total grade points earned in eligible courses for the semester into total hours attempted.

  For Overall GPA, divide total grade points earned for ALL eligible SWTJC courses into total hours attempted.

Texas Common Course Numbers

(www.tccns.org)

The Texas Common Course Numbering System is a voluntary, cooperative effort among Texas community colleges and universities to facilitate transfer of freshman- and sophomore-level general academic coursework.

The TCCNS provides a shared, uniform set of course designations for students and their advisors to use in determining both course equivalency and degree applicability of transfer credit on a statewide basis.

When students transfer between two participating TCCNS institutions, a course taken at the sending institution transfers as the course carrying, or cross-referenced with, the same TCCNS designation at the receiving institution.

Credit by Examination

Southwest Texas Junior College provides students with the opportunity to earn Credit By Examination. Any college student may receive credit in certain courses subject to the requirements and policies below.

General Requirements
To receive Credit by Examination a student must meet the following general requirements:

  1. The student must be enrolled in SWTJC.
  2. The student must be TSI complete in all areas.
  3. Credit By Examination awards are limited to 24 semester credit hours

Academic Standing

In order to remain in Academic Good Standing, students must maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 2.0.  Students who fail to maintain this minimum standard will be placed on Scholastic Probation or Scholastic Suspension, as appropriate. In determining whether a student will be placed on probation or suspension, all grades except W, EW, NP, P, or I, will be used in computing GPA. Students are responsible for knowing their scholastic standing. Ineligible students who register with the college will be subject to dismissal with forfeiture of all tuition and fees.

Requests for exceptions to the following policies and procedures must be made in writing to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs.


Scholastic Probation

Scholastic Probation is an emphatic warning that the quality of the student’s work has not met minimum scholastic standards. A probationary status is an opportunity for students to continue at SWTJC in order to improve their scholastic performance. Students will be placed on scholastic probation at the end of any semester if their semester OR overall GPA is less than 2.0.Students on Scholastic Probation may register after meeting with an academic advisor.


 A student on probation will be limited to enrolling in no more than 12 semester credit hours during a regular term and 3 semester credit hours during a summer term. In addition, priorities below will be followed:

  1. Students must enroll in all required Developmental Education courses.
  2. Students must enroll in a College Success Skills course if required.
  3. Students will be encouraged to re-take a course or courses not successfully completed.
  4. Students must follow course requirements of their degree plan.

Removal from Scholastic Probation

A student on Scholastic Probation returns to Academic Good Standing by earning a GPA of 2.0 or higher

In the next semester of enrollment AND by having an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher. A student continues on academic probation while either the current semester or the overall GPA is less than 2.0.

Scholastic Suspension

A student on Scholastic Probation who fails to earn at least a 2.0 GPA for the next semester of enrollment AND who fails to earn an overall GPA of at least 2.0 by the end of that semester will be placed on scholastic suspension. The student will not be permitted to enroll at SWTJC until a Fall or Spring semester has elapsed.

Appeal of Scholastic Suspension

A student placed on Scholastic Suspension may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs or an appropriate designee. The appeal must be in writing. The ‘Scholastic Suspension Appeal Form” is available online. If the Vice-President for Academic Affairs grants the student’s appeal, the student will be admitted under Conditional Probation. If the student’s appeal is denied, the student may appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee. If the appeal is denied by the Committee, the student shall be informed of the right of appeal to the President of the College.

Conditional Probation

If the appeal is approved, the student will be admitted under Conditional Probation. A student on Conditional Probation will be limited to enrolling in no more than 6 semester credit hours during any long term and no more than 3 semester credit hours during any summer term. In addition, priorities below will be followed:

  1. Students must enroll in all required Developmental Education courses.
  2. Students must enroll in a College Success Skills course if required.
  3. Students must re-take a course or courses not successfully completed.
  4. Students must follow course requirements of their degree plan.
  5. Other conditions may apply as deemed appropriate.

If the student’s semester GPA while on Conditional Probation equals or exceeds 2.0, the student will advance to Scholastic Probation. If the student’s semester GPA is below 2.0, the student will be placed on Scholastic Suspension.

Removal from Scholastic Suspension

A student enrolling after a Fall or Spring semester’s lapse due to Scholastic Suspension will automatically be placed on Conditional Probation.

Admission Following a Scholastic Suspension at Another College

Students who are on Scholastic Suspension at another college or university may be admitted to SWTJC through the following procedure:

  1. Each student must appeal in writing for admission to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs or an appropriate designee.
  2. If denied admission by the Vice-President, the student may appeal to the Academic Appeals Committee.
  3. In case of denial of admission by the Committee, the student shall be informed of the right of appeal to the President of the College.

Individual Academic Plan (IAP)


If a scholastic or financial aid appeal is granted, the student is placed on an Individual Academic Plan that requires tutoring and regular meetings with Student Success Center. The Individual Academic Plan is a tool that helps students and staff monitor progress and work to remove barriers to persistence.  Requirements include three hours per week of tutoring and/or independent study and three progress status meetings with Student Success Center staff.

Attendance/Absence

Students are expected to regularly attend all classes in which they are enrolled and are responsible for the subsequent completion of all work missed because of an absence. Therefore, the instructor may count all absences except when prohibited by State law or statute. According to State law there may be a valid reason for a student’s absence from class. Acceptable reasons are, but not limited to: personal illness, death in the immediate family, religious holy days in compliance with Section 51.911 of the Texas Higher Education Code, military or legal obligations, or school trips. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of an excused absence related to one or more of the aforementioned categories and to ask for make-up work.

An instructor may request the withdrawal of a student from a class when the total number of absences exceeds SWTJC criteria for "Excessive Absences" and the student has failed to make the appropriate contact with the Instructor regarding the validity of the absence and the need for make-up work. The SWTJC definition of "Excessive Absences" is when the total number of absences exceeds the equivalent of two weeks of class meetings in a course; specifically, (a) six absences from a class that meets three times per week (typical MWF schedule), (b) four absences from a class that meets two times per week (typical TTH schedule) and, (c) two absences from a class that meets once per week (typical evening course). Attendance counting begins on the official first day of class. When a student reaches the "Excessive Absence" threshold, the instructor may request that the student be dropped from respective course. The "Excessive Absences Drop Form" is used for this purpose. When an instructor requests the forced withdrawal of a student from a class, a grade of “EW” will be considered if the student has at the time of the request a class grade equivalent to the numeric average of sixty (60) or higher; otherwise, a grade of “F” will be given.


Student Degree Planning
(Degree Plan) 

A student degree plan is an outline to guide students in the completion of an associate degree or a certificate of completion. All SWTJC students are required to declare a major. Students also are required to complete a degree plan with their designated advisor.  When changing majors a student must obtain approval from their designated advisor.  The student degree plan assists the student in three ways: 

  1. The degree plan aids the student in choosing required and elective courses. An advisor can work with the student in the selection of courses.
  2. The degree plan not only guides a student in the completion of a certificate or an associate degree, but also aids transition from SWTJC to a four-year college or university.
  1. The degree plan enables a student to complete coursework for a specific degree or certificate of completion.

All SWTJC degrees and certificates are available online at WebAdvisor; students can determine how their SWTJC and transfer courses meet requirements for any SWTJC degree or certificate. The online SWTJC degree audit includes coursework transferred from another regionally accredited college or university.

Transcript Evaluation

Students who have transferred from another college or university and are working toward a SWTJC Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Sciences degree or Certificate require a transcript evaluation. Evaluations include only coursework completed through regionally accredited colleges and universities and appropriate international institutions.

An evaluation is used to:

  1. Provide a consistent method of applying transfer coursework to a SWTJC degree
  2. Assist students in tracking progress toward a degree
  3. Support academic advisement
  4. Record course prerequisites required for registration
  5. Transfer core completion information

Students transferring to SWTJC from another regionally accredited college or university will have their transcript evaluated only for equivalent SWTJC courses.  An official transcript from each previous, regionally accredited collegiate institution must be on file prior to an evaluation.

Students transferring to SWTJC can expect that approved academic courses earned at any Texas public institution will be accepted. Academic courses are identified by Texas Common Course Numbering System. Students who dispute a transfer decision made by SWTJC should contact the Registrar s Office to request a review of the coursework involved.

Evaluations can be completed only after ALL required transcripts are on file. Evaluations usually are completed seven to 10 business days from the date the request was received and all transcripts have been received. However, due to the large volume of requests from mid-July to September 1 and from December 1 to January 31, completion time may increase to three weeks or more. 

Students planning to transfer SWTJC coursework to another college or university must contact their designated SWTJC advisor.  It is extremely important that students work with their advisor on all transfer related questions. SWTJC has established transfer agreements with area colleges and universities.

Drop/Withdrawal From One or More Courses

Students considering drop/withdrawal should first consider the impact (if applicable) on financial aid, veterans benefits, third party sponsorships, and/or other entitlements.  Students must get their designated advisor's approval prior to dropping/withdrawing from courses.

Courses can be dropped through the campus Registrar’s Office. Until a student is officially withdrawn, the student remains on the class roll and may receive a grade of F for the course.

Students who are unable to withdraw in person may mail, email or fax a letter to their designated advisor specifying class(es) from which the drop/withdrawal(s) is/are requested. The letter must be signed by the student; it must include the student’s Colleague ID and, if mailed, emailed or faxed, the date shown on the postmark or fax confirmation must be on or before the last day to drop a class. 

Drop Six Regulation

Students entering any college Fall 2007 or thereafter may not drop more than six courses, including those taken at another college or university (Education Code 51.907(e); 19 TAC 4.10(a). All courses dropped after the official day of record (census date) are included in the six course limit unless (1) the student withdraws from all courses, or (2) the course to be dropped is a developmental course or is taken by a student still enrolled in high school, or (3) a drop exception is authorized.

Drop exceptions can be approved by the Vice President of Student Services if the student properly documents an acceptable reason allowed by the law:

  1. A severe illness or other debilitating condition that affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete a course;
  2. The student’s responsibility for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person if the provision of care affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete a course;
  1. The death of a person who is either considered to be a member of the student’s family or is otherwise considered having a sufficiently close relationship to the student.
  1. The active duty service as member of the Texas National Guard or the Armed Forces of the United States of either the student or a person who is considered to be a member of the student’s family or a person who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student, as described by the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Rules;
  1. The change of the student’s work schedule that is beyond the control of the student, and that affects the student’s ability to satisfactorily complete the course; or
  1. Other good cause as determined by the institution of higher education.

Students who incur six withdrawals that have not been approved with exceptions will incur registration and drop restrictions during all subsequent semesters and may incur other enrollment limitations or requirements.

Repeating a Course

Students may opt to repeat a course to improve a grade or extend mastery of course content. In general, when a course is repeated only the highest grade is included in GPA computation; however, all courses and grades are a part of the official record and remain on the students’ transcripts.

The decision to repeat a course should be made very carefully by students receiving financial aid, veterans’ educational benefits, or other third-party benefits. Repeated courses may negatively affect benefits.                                   

A few courses designated in the course description that they may be taken for a specific number of times without constituting a repeat. In other instances students should be aware that they may be subject to additional tuition and fees due to excessive repeats. (Education Code 130.0034;54.014;19 TAC Chapter 13, subchapter F). State regulations allow an institution of higher education to charge a higher tuition rate to a student who enrolls in a course more than two times, regardless of the grade received (including grade of W). At this time, SWTJC is charging an additional $300 for those courses.

Grade Review

Students may petition for review of a grade within 30 calendar days after the first class day of the next long semester by following these procedures. 

  1. The student must inform the instructor and the department chairperson in writing of the reason for review of grade;
  1. The instructor should then examine the records and submit his/ her recommendations through administrative channels to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who will make the final decision regarding the grade and notify the student. If the instructor recommends not changing the grade, it should be explained in a memo.
  1. If the decision is to change the grade, the instructor should submit a completed "Change of Grade Request" form. A copy of the grade appeal must be attached. The process of review of grade must be completed within 30 calendar days after receipt by the instructor of the written appeal.
  1. If the instructor is no longer employed, the department chairperson will then examine the instructor’s records, make a recommendation, and send the recommendation through the proper channels to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will notify the student of the decision.

Grade Reports and Transcripts

Grade reports are not mailed to students. Students can access and print grade reports through SWTJC online services on  WebAdvisor. Unofficial transcripts are provided online without charge or can be requested through each campus’ Registrar office.

Official transcripts are provided without charge and can be requested through online services or any SWTJC Registrar’s office.

Recognition of Outstanding Academic Achievement 

Honor Graduates                                                                   

Students satisfying the requirements for the A.A., A.A.T., A.S., and A.A.S. degree with the following GPA will graduate as follows:

3.90 to 4.00 GPA --- Summa Cum Laude

3.70 to 3.89 GPA --- Magna Cum Laude

3.60 to 3.69 GPA --- Cum Laude


Honor Roll

The Deans Honor Roll is composed of those students who are enrolled for 12 or more semester hours of work, excluding all developmental hours, and who make a GPA of 3.60 or better on their semester grades. The Deans Honor Roll is published as soon as possible after the close of the fall or spring semesters.

The President’s Honor Roll is composed of those students who are enrolled for 12 or more semester hours of work, excluding all developmental hours, and who make a GPA of 4.0 on their semester grades. The President’s Honor Roll is published as soon as possible after the close of the fall or spring semesters.

Assessment/Placement Testing

THECB Rule 4.55 requires that an institution assess the academic skills of each entering undergraduate student prior to enrollment of the student. Under exceptional circumstances, an institution may permit a student to enroll in freshman-level academic coursework without assessment but shall require the student to be assessed not later than the end of the first semester of enrollment in freshman-level academic coursework.  SWTJC complies with this request by requiring assessment of all entering students who do not meet the TSI exemption criteria.

ESOL coursework can satisfy required developmental education in writing and in reading, if student exit scores verify readiness.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI) - Mandatory Testing Requirement 

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) has been mandated by the Texas Legislature and is designed to measure competency in reading, writing and mathematics and to indicate the need for remedial work to address deficiencies.

All students not eligible for a TSI exemption or waiver must have taken the TSI Assessment or an approved alternative test prior to enrolling in any Texas public college or university. Enrollment without test scores will prevent enrollment in many courses with test score prerequisites.

Students who score below specified levels in any section of the TSI Assessment or alternative test will be required to enroll in developmental studies until a grade of C or higher is earned in the final course of the developmental series, or until the student passes the test.

Students whose test scores in reading, writing and mathematics are below specified levels are restricted from certain courses. The restrictions are in effect until the required score is presented or until the students complete developmental reading courses with a C grade or pass the appropriate test.