Student Rights and Responsibilities
Flathead Valley Community College students are responsible for knowing the information, policies, and procedures outlined by the college. The college reserves the right to make changes as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. Students are encouraged to check Board Policies for the current versions of all policies and procedures.
Release of Information
View FERPA information regarding Release of Information.
Academic Probation and Academic Suspension
Academic Fresh Start
Effective fall semester 2022.
Academic Fresh Start is a program specifically designed for readmitted students who have been away from FVCC for three or more years (six academic semesters, excluding summer). The Academic Fresh Start policy allows students to restart their FVCC GPA, while retaining credit for courses in which they earned a D- or better. Although Academic Fresh Start allows for a change in academic standing, eligibility for a Fresh Start does not change current Financial Aid status.
FVCC students seeking their first undergraduate degree, who return to FVCC after a minimum absence of three years, have previously earned credits at FVCC, completes a minimum of 12 credits, and earns a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 are eligible for Academic Fresh Start.
The Registrar oversees the Fresh Start policy and reviews all requests. Students must speak with a professional Academic Advisor to discuss whether or not they are eligible for an Academic Fresh Start and to review any program changes, as well as discuss how to be successful academically.
In order to qualify for an Academic Fresh Start, students must meet the following parameters:
- Student must be seeking their first undergraduate degree.
- Student is returning to FVCC after a minimum absence of three years.
- Student completes a minimum of 12 credits upon return.
- Student must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on those 12 credits.
- Students must apply for the Academic Fresh Start within one semester of earning 12 credits with a minimum GPA of a 2.5.
- Academic Fresh Start allows students to restart their FVCC GPA while retaining credit for courses in which they earned a D- or better:
- Applies to all previously earned grades.
- Grades of D-, D, D+ can count toward electives for graduation.
- Grades of C- or above can count toward gen education, program requirements and/or electives for graduation.
- Except for programs with specific degree requirements.
- Grades of S/SA/SR are treated like a passing grade.
- A grade of “U” is treated like an F and courses earning a “U” will not count toward graduation.
- Only previously earned FVCC grades and credits are part of the Academic Fresh Start and will be excluded from FVCC’s GPA calculation.
- A student will be granted Academic Fresh Start only one time and the Academic Fresh Start cannot be rescinded.
- Students wishing to apply for Academic Fresh Start will meet with a professional Academic Advisor to begin filling out the Academic Fresh Start form.
- The Registrar is responsible for verifying eligibility and notifying the student of the decision.
Please note that other institutions are not obligated to recognize FVCC’s Academic Fresh Start and may not honor the new FVCC GPA. Academic Fresh Start does not impact federal Financial Aid eligibility.
Code of Student Conduct and Student Complaints
View the Dean of Students page.
FVCC recognizes that student publications are a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and intellectual exploration. They serve as vehicles to bring student concerns to the college community’s and public’s attention and help formulate student opinions on various issues.
As citizens, students enjoy the same basic rights and are bound by the same responsibilities as are all citizens. Among these rights are freedom of speech and freedom of press. The FVCC Board, faculty, and staff shall not exercise editorial control over student publications, except where specifically provided by FVCC policies and procedures. The college shall not be deemed to endorse the content of these publications unless so stated. Copies of Board Policy Chapter VII Section 50 may be obtained from the Dean of Students.
Waiver of Regulations
Rules and regulations contained in this catalog have been adopted by the FVCC faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees and are subject to modification and revision. Students who feel that extenuating circumstances might justify the waiver of any college regulation may file a petition with the Dean of Students.
FVCC works diligently to provide a safe learning environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. To review FVCC’s emergency procedures or report a campus incident, visit Campus Safety. For non-urgent campus assistance, contact the Campus Resource Officer at (406) 765-1556. For emergencies, call 911.
Smoking and Tobacco-free Policy
FVCC is committed to complying with the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act and supports a healthy, comfortable, and productive work environment for all students, employees, and visitors to the campus. Therefore, FVCC prohibits any form of smoking, including the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or any form of tobacco usage, in all of its campus facilities as well as at all points of entrance and exit from its facilities, including all walkways and parking lots. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action as stipulated by college policy for student infractions and the appropriate disciplinary process as set forth in collective bargaining agreements or Board of Trustees policy for faculty and staff. Copies of Board Policy Chapter I Section 85 Smoking and Tobacco Free Policy may be obtained from the Dean of Students.
FVCC recognizes the importance of every individual’s personal dignity and is therefore committed to providing an educational and work environment where students, faculty, and staff are safe, secure, and respected. FVCC is committed to serving as a learning community free of all forms of sexual harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Sexual harassment unfairly interferes with the opportunity for all persons, regardless of gender, to have comfortable and productive education and work environments.
It is also unlawful and against college policy to retaliate against an employee or student for filing a sexual harassment complaint or cooperating in a sexual harassment investigation.
View more campus information about Title IX and Sexual Misconduct, including training, contacts, and more.
Copies of Board Policy Chapter I Section 60 Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation Policy and corresponding procedures may be obtained from the Title IX Coordinator or Dean of Students.
Campus Crime Report
The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is important to FVCC. Each year the college publishes an annual security report that provides information on important policies and procedures related to campus crime and crime statistics, alcohol and drugs, sexual assault, and risk management. View the report here.
The general public, prospective students, and enrolled students may visit FVCC’s Student Consumer Information page, which includes information on FVCC’s student body, price of attendance, retention rates, voter registration forms, textbook information, copyright infringement policies, and more.
Credits, Grading, Courses, and Transfer
A transcript is an official record of each student’s coursework at FVCC and is maintained in the Admissions and Registration Office. Requests for official transcripts must be made online and cost $10 per order. Transcripts are processed within 10 business days of receipt. Rush transcripts are sent within two business days of receipt and there is a $15 charge per transcript. Rush orders cannot be processed during campus closures. Delays may occur during registration and the beginning or end of each semester. Official transcripts will not be issued until all accounts with the college are in good standing.
Current students may print an unofficial transcript free of charge online via the Student Portal.
The typical unit of measurement of college work is called a credit hour. One credit is usually assigned for one lecture or laboratory period per week. The lecture period consists of 50 minutes; the laboratory period may consist of two or more hours. In addition to class time, the average student may expect two to three hours of outside work for each credit of lecture or laboratory.
Freshmen are degree-seeking students who have earned fewer than 30 semester credits. Degree-seeking students who have completed 30 or more semester credits are considered sophomores.
In general, FVCC defines a full-time student as a person enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per semester. A part-time student is enrolled in 11 or fewer credits per semester. However, other definitions of full-time and part-time loads exist specifically pertaining to Financial Aid recipients, Social Security recipients, and other specific groups.
In order to earn a degree in two years, a student must enroll in an average of 15 credits per semester. For more information see your assigned academic advisor.
Students registering for more than 18 credits are required to obtain special approval from the Registrar or Director of Student Services.
Grade are available at the end of each academic semester after all financial obligations to the college are met. Grades are available online via the Student Portal. Students are required to meet course requirements to receive grades and credits.
All of the campuses that make up the Montana University System have adopted a grading system that includes pluses and minuses. Therefore, faculty system-wide have the right to award letter grades that include a plus or a minus (i.e., B+, B and B-; or C+, C and C-). However, faculty members are not required to attach a plus or minus to letter grades. Faculty have the right to determine grades in their classes based on their evaluations of student work. The highest grade a student can earn is an A. An A+ grade is not possible. Pluses and minuses will not be attached to an F.
|A||High degree of excellence||4.0|
Equivalent to a “C-” or better*
|U||Unsatisfactory completion of course||N/A|
|WI||Withdrawal by Instructor or Administrative Withdrawal||N/A|
The instructor has not submitted a grade for the student at the time of posting.
*Prior to 20/SP the “S” grade was equivalent to a “C” grade.
Students may repeat any courses offered by FVCC. However, credits will be granted for the repeated courses only once, unless the catalog lists the classes as repeatable for credit. Each time students take the classes, the grades and credits will be recorded on their transcripts. This information will not be removed, but only the most recent grades and credits will affect the grade point averages and total number of credits. Non-letter grades such as I, AU, W and WI will not replace letter grades such as A or B. If students receive financial aid or veterans’ benefits, they should check with the Financial Aid Office before repeating a course.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
GPA is determined by dividing total grade points by number of semester hours attempted. Grades of S, U, I, W, WI, AU and NG are not included in the calculations. If the course has been repeated, the last grade received in a course will be used to calculate the GPA with the exception of W, WI, AU, NG or I grades.
If a student receives a grade they feel is inaccurate or inequitable, the student should consult with the instructor. Only the instructor can initiate a grade change. This is done by completing a grade change form and filing it with the Admissions and Registration Office. The change will appear on the student’s transcript, and the student will not receive any other notice of the correction. If the student feels the situation has not been resolved equitably, they should review the Student Appeals Procedure. Copies of this procedure are available by calling the Dean of Students at (406) 756-3812.
Effective fall semester 2017, the maximum time frame to petition a revision/change to student transcripts or records is within one year of the semester in question. Effective fall semester 2011, the maximum time frame to petition a revision/change to student transcripts or records is within two years of the semester in question. The maximum time frame to petition adjustments to records prior to fall semester 2011 is within 10 years of the semester in question.
FVCC recognizes academic achievements according to the following standards:
A student taking 12 or more credits in courses numbered 100 or above and earning a GPA of 3.5 or higher for that semester will be placed on the Dean’s List. The Dean’s List is distributed to area newspapers for publishing unless a student files a Non-disclosure of Information form in the Admissions and Registration Office to not have this information published.
Graduation with Honors
Students graduating with final cumulative grade point averages of at least 3.75, will receive honors designations on their college transcripts. To be acknowledged at the graduation ceremony with honors, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75 as of the semester prior to graduation.
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (“S/U”) grading is available only at the discretion of the instructor. A limit of 15 semester credits graded “S” may count toward an associate degree at FVCC, excluding credits awarded from Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams.
Note: Transfer students must check their transfer institutions’ policies regarding acceptance of “S” credits.
Minimum Course Grades
All students must earn a “D-” or better in all classes used to satisfy elective credits in an associate degree program. A “C-” or better must be earned in all classes used to satisfy the prerequisites or required courses in an associate of applied science, certificate of applied studies, or certificate program.
Note: Students need to be aware that although “C-” grades are accepted in general education, prerequisite and required courses (with some exceptions), students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (“C”) to graduate. The grade point equivalent of the “C-” grade is 1.7 which does not meet the 2.0 GPA graduation requirement.
Copies of the Minimum Course Grades policy (MUS policy 301.5.3) are available from the FVCC Admissions and Registration Office or from Montana Board of Regents’ website at http://mus.edu/transfer/minimumgrades.asp.
An incomplete (“I”) grade is given when, in the opinion of the instructor, there is strong probability the student can complete the course without retaking it. In all cases, the “I” grade is given at the discretion of the instructor within the following guidelines:
- The student is in attendance and doing passing work up to three weeks before the end of the semester;
- The student is unable to complete the requirements of the course on time because of extenuating circumstances, i.e., illness, death or illness in the immediate family, family emergencies, or military orders;
- The instructor sets the conditions for the completion of the coursework including the time period within which the work must be made up;
- The instructor prepares an “I” Grade Authorization form which specifies the coursework that must be made up as well as the time period within which the work must be completed. A copy of this form must be attached to the instructor’s grade roster and submitted to the Admissions and Registration Office;
- An “I” grade shall be made up within 12 months from the end of semester the “I” grade was assigned unless the instructor sets a shorter time period.
- An “I” grade converts to a failure (“F”) if it is not made up by the due date.
- The “I” must be completed/made up through the instructor who assigned the “I” grade; the instructor changes the grade with the Grade Change Form which must be submitted to the Admissions and Registration Office.
A student who audits a course attends class but does not receive credit for the course. To audit a course, a student must register for the course, complete an audit form, and submit the form to the Admissions and Registration Office by the date listed in the Academic Calendar or at the 75% point of short or late starting courses. Instructor’s approval is required before a student may audit a class. The grade of “AU” will be recorded on the student’s transcript for this course. Full tuition and fees are charged for course audits. The audit grade cannot be changed to a letter grade once grades have been posted to a student’s transcript. In order to receive a letter grade in an audited course, a statement from the instructor and the student rescinding the audit grade option must be submitted to the Admissions and Registration Office by the 75% point of the course.
Students receiving financial aid or veteran’s benefits should check with the Financial Aid Office before auditing a course.
A withdrawal is initiated by a student who wishes to drop a course. The effective date of withdrawal is the date the Course Add/Drop form is received by the Admissions and Registration Office. Refunds, etc., are governed by regulations in effect on that date. In order to prevent a course from appearing on a student’s transcript, they are required to drop the class during its refund period.
- Failing to attend class DOES NOT constitute withdrawal.
- To withdraw from a course lasting the full semester, the student must have a Course Drop/Add form on file in the Admissions and Registration Office by the date listed in the Academic Calendar.
- The student can withdraw from short or late starting courses until the 75% point of the course.
Withdrawal by Instructor
The “WI” (Withdrawal by Instructor) grade may be issued at the discretion of the instructor only when extenuating circumstances prohibit a student from completing the course. This grade is not an option for students who have earned an “F” in the course.
A student may be eligible to retroactively withdraw from college classes and/or initially request a medical withdrawal based on certain medical conditions (applies to student or immediate family member only).
In order to qualify for this benefit, a student must submit a complete a Course Add/Drop form accompanied by medical documentation signed by a doctor and attesting to an inability to complete classes due to health problems. Submit these two items to the Admissions and Registration Office with a completed Medical Withdrawal form. The Medical Withdrawal form is only available at the Admissions and Registration Office.
The documents will be reviewed, and if approved, all grades for the semester in question will be removed and replaced with a “W.” “Medical Withdrawal” will be printed on the student’s transcript across the semester in question.
Interactive Television (ITV) Courses
Remote interactive television (ITV) allows both the Kalispell campus and the Lincoln County campus to televise and receive live, two-way audio and video transmissions of select FVCC courses. Additional technology fees apply only to students registering to attend at a remote site. These courses will have section numbers in the 70s in semester schedules.
Online and Hybrid Courses
There are two types of online courses available at FVCC: hybrid and online. Students taking hybrid or online classes are responsible for obtaining access to a computer with internet access, the required browser and software, and a college email account. For specific requirements, visit online learning. Students may use the campus computer labs as scheduling permits.
Students who need technical assistance with a hybrid or online course can contact the Eagle Online Helpdesk at (406) 756-3930 or email@example.com.
Independent study credits are available to allow students to study subject areas outside existing courses.
An independent study course is developed with the guidance of a supervising full-time faculty member. The Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and the appropriate division chair must approve all independent study proposals. Each credit of independent study should involve 45 plus hours of study. Regularly scheduled classes are not available for independent study.
Regular tuition and fee costs will be charged for independent study courses and registration must be completed before starting the course.
A $40 late registration fee may be assessed to students registering for an independent study course after the third week of the semester or after the start of the course, whichever is later.
Directed study courses are courses currently approved by the Curriculum Committee, included in the current catalog, and taught on an individual basis by full-time instructors at the same level as regularly scheduled courses.
The directed study option can be utilized only in unusual circumstances and is not an alternative to inadequate planning or inconvenient timing. Only persons who normally teach the courses are expected to teach the directed study courses. Regular tuition and fees will be charged for every directed study credit. Registration must be completed within the first two weeks of the semester.
Transfer of Credits to FVCC
Students wishing to transfer credits to FVCC must
- Complete and submit a degree-seeking application to the Admissions and Registration Office;
- Arrange to have an official transcript of previously attended institutions mailed or officially submitted to the FVCC Admissions and Registration Office; and
- Have completed college coursework at an institutionally accredited institution.
Transcripts should be submitted at least 30 days before the semester begins. Credits will be evaluated by the Admissions and Registration Office and accepted according to current scholastic standards. The evaluation will be posted on the Student Portal.
General Education Core
An undergraduate student entering or moving from one institution to another within the Montana University System who has not completed the general education core at the sending institution will be required to either complete the general education core at the campus to which they transfer or complete the MUS core. Click here for more information about student options regarding the general education core: General Studies, CTS.
In evaluating coursework from postsecondary institutions, the campuses within the Montana University System guarantees that any postsecondary coursework taken
- within five years of being admitted or readmitted to the campus will be included in the transfer analysis of specific required classes in a major, minor, option or certificate;
- within 15 years of being admitted or readmitted to the campus will be included in the transfer analysis of general education coursework; and
- within 15 years of being admitted or readmitted to the campus will be included in the transfer analysis of elective coursework.
Coursework that falls outside these guarantee periods may be included in the evaluation at the discretion of FVCC and other individual campuses in the Montana University System. Since it is a discretionary decision, it cannot be challenged by students.
Transfer Appeal Process
The following process has been implemented to assist students in resolving any questions or concerns they may have regarding the evaluation and acceptance of transferred credits:
- The student should contact the Admissions and Registration Office.
- The student should obtain a copy of the description for the course(s) in question; if it is available, the course syllabus is preferred.
- If the course(s) under review will be applied toward either an AA or AS degree, the Admissions and Registration Office will provide the supplied information to the appropriate division chair or faculty member. If the course(s) in question will be applied toward an AAS degree or certificate program, the Admissions and Registration Office will contact faculty and program directors in the appropriate program of study.
- The division chair or program faculty will review the material supplied by the Admissions and Registration office and either concur with the original evaluation or agree to accept the credit.
- If the division chair or program faculty agrees with the original evaluation, the student can appeal the decision to FVCC’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.
- The decision of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs will be final.
Credits may be earned for courses completed in military service schools and training programs at the associate degree level. A student is required to provide an official DD-214 and any transcripts of courses completed. A maximum of 15 credits may be used toward an associate degree.
Prior Learning/Course Challenge and CLEP Credit
A student admitted to FVCC may petition to challenge courses based on work done through private study and/or prior learning experience or to validate courses taken at non-accredited institutions. Course challenges will be considered on an individual case basis. Only courses listed in the current college catalog may be considered for challenge, although not all of the courses may be challenged. Additional stipulations include the following:
- Students are not permitted to challenge a prerequisite course after having completed an advanced course at FVCC or any accredited college.
- Credit by examination will not be granted for a course that a student has previously taken for credit or audited.
- Credit will be granted provided the student earns the equivalent of a grade of “C” or better.
- Neither the grade of “S” nor credit earned through the challenge process will be counted in any given semester to determine credit load or grade point average, nor will they be included in computing cumulative grade point averages.
- Students may challenge a course prior to or during enrollment through the first week of the semester.
- Prior to challenging a course, a Course Challenge form must be completed with the approval of the full-time faculty member and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.
- A $50/course challenge fee must be paid before taking the exam.
*The College Level Entrance Exam (CLEP) Program can also be used by anyone who can demonstrate competency in a variety of subjects by receiving a satisfactory grade on a CLEP general or subject test. FVCC awards credit based on ACE (American Council on Education) recommendations. FVCC is a CLEP testing site.
A student who believes they possesses skill proficiency due to work experience can request a substitute class. The appropriate division will review the student’s credentials that support proficiency, and if satisfied the student meets the class requirements, can approve a substitute class of equal or greater academic or technical content to be completed in substitution for the required class. This can include independent study course offerings.
Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)
Students may earn college credit by taking the Advanced Placement (AP) exams or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams while in high school and providing official transcripts showing satisfactory scores. View more information here.
Math Waiver/Substitution Policy
Request for math course substitution will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Disability Services Coordinator at (406) 756-3376 or online for the course substitution policy and assistance with completing substitution requests. Applicants should make requests prior to the semester in which graduation is expected.
WRIT 101 Bypass Policy
Students who meet one of the following criteria may bypass WRIT 101W, College Writing I, and enroll in WRIT 201W, College Writing II, to satisfy the General Education Core Curriculum Writing requirement. The student does not receive a grade for WRIT 101W, nor is the student waiving a composition course. This is not a challenge policy, meaning that students must still take a writing course as required by their program or course of study, but can choose to challenge themselves in a higher level course if one of the following criteria is met:
- A score of at least 32 on the ACT combined English/Writing section;
- A score of at least 11 on the ACT Writing Test Subscore;
- A score of at least 700 on the SAT Writing Section;
- A score of at least 11 on the SAT Essay Subscore; or
- A score of at least 5.5 on the Montana University System Writing Assessment.
Students may earn credit for WRIT 101W through transfer credit, AP, IB, and CLEP exams.
Transfer to Other Institutions
FVCC is fully accredited, enabling students to transfer to other colleges or universities with ease. Courses numbered 100 or above are considered transfer courses. FVCC keeps in frequent contact with other Montana colleges and universities in order to accommodate changes in curriculum and programs and to provide the best advising to students who plan to transfer.
Regardless of the number of credits earned at FVCC, the number accepted toward a degree at another institution is determined by the institution awarding the degree. A student will be expected to meet the program requirements in effect at the institution to which they transfer. An FVCC student who has completed the FVCC general education core requirements can transfer to any Montana University System school and be guaranteed the transfer institution’s general education core requirements are met.
Transfer Articulation Agreements
Transfer agreements have been established in certain programs to facilitate transfer of Flathead Valley Community College credits to other institutions. Agreements include articulation procedures as well as course equivalency lists. The agreements guarantee transfer of credits once specific curriculums have been satisfactorily completed. Students interested in transferring under articulation agreements should discuss their plans with their academic advisors early in their studies.
How to Transfer
A student who plans to transfer to a four-year college or university should follow these steps:
1. Plan Ahead
a. Obtain or view online a current catalog from the transfer institution;
b. Review the transfer institution’s transfer and major requirements. Enroll in classes a typical freshman and sophomore take for the major field of interest selected; and
c. Review the transfer institution’s course equivalency guides or the Montana University System course equivalency guide at www.mus.edu/Transfer/transfer.asp.
2. Keep in Touch and Pay Attention
a. Confer with the faculty advisor about fulfilling FVCC’s and the transfer institution’s general education and major requirements;
b. Discuss the transfer process with academic advisors;
c. Contact the Admissions and Registration Office and/or the major department of the transfer institution to learn about applicable transfer regulations. For example, several schools will only accept a grade of “C” or higher for major requirements. Similarly, some programs such as nursing and education have specific application deadlines; and
d. Meet with an academic advisor often to assure a smooth transfer and appropriate course selection.
3. Apply for Admission
a. Apply for admission and send official copies of transcripts to the transfer institution. When transferring to a public institution in Montana, a Request for Transmittal of Application Materials can be forwarded to any college within the Montana University System for $8 at the Admissions and Registration Office in LRC 129. The transmittal replaces applying directly to the institution.
Single Admissions File/Transmittals
In order to assist undergraduate, degree-seeking students who (1) transfer between units of the Montana University System; or (2) enroll in coursework at more than one unit of the Montana University System in the same semester, the Montana Board of Regents authorizes a “single admissions file” that will follow the student throughout the system, much like a patient’s medical records, regardless of the campus(s) at which the student enrolls.
If a student decides to attend another unit of the Montana University System under the two situations described above, the student must complete a Request for Transmittal of Application Materials and submit it to the FVCC Admissions and Registration Office. The Admissions and Registration Office will prepare a certified copy of the student’s admissions file and pass it along to the unit identified in the Request for Transmittal of Application. An $8 fee will be assessed for the transmittal of records.
Copies of the Single Admissions policy (MUS policy 301.5.4) are available from the FVCC Admissions and Registration Office or from Montana Board of Regents’ website at http://mus.edu/borpol/bor300/301-5-4.pdf.