Academic Policy & Procedures

Procedures Governing Registration & Student Records

Administrative Withdrawal of Students

In order to assure that all available class seats are filled with students - both registered students and students from the waitlist - Southwestern enforces an attendance policy.

Instructors may administratively withdraw students from classes if the students do not attend 100% of class sessions and associated labs during the first week of each term. Additionally, all instructors may administratively withdraw students from sub-term classes (those which do not span the entire term) if students do not attend the first class session. Students who are unable to attend the first class meeting must contact the instructor by phone, e-mail or in person prior to the first class meeting if they wish to avoid an administrative withdrawal. Southwestern Oregon Community College is not responsible for liabilities associated with the administrative withdrawal of students. Ultimately, students are responsible for dropping courses within the drop period to avoid being charged for the class or receiving a failing grade. 

Any student whose behavior disrupts the educational process of a course can be administratively withdrawn from that course. It is the procedure of Southwestern Oregon Community College that an individual will be subject to involuntary administrative withdrawal from campus and related instruction if it is determined, by clear and convincing evidence, that the individual is suffering from a physical, emotional and/or behavioral disorder and as a result of the disorder engages or threatens to engage in behavior which:

  • Poses a danger of causing physical harm to self or others;
  • Could cause property damage; or
  • Could directly and substantially impede the educational process and/or the lawful activities of others.

The College reserves the right to request, with good cause, a physical, psychological or psychiatric examination of a student any time the examinations may be in the best interest of the College and/or the student. The College shall pay for the examinations.


Students must receive instructor consent from their instructors to add courses after the first Wednesday of the term. Students may withdraw from a course or from the College through the end of the second Wednesday, 5:00 p.m., of the term or within the course’s refund period without responsibility for a grade. Students may add courses with instructor consent through the end of the second Wednesday of the term at 5:00PM. Dropping after the refund period will result in “W” grades on transcripts. Students may withdraw until the Wednesday before finals week. Students are strongly encouraged to consult the instructor and their academic advisor before dropping to ascertain their status in the course.

Auditing Courses

Students who are interested in taking a class, but do not need the credit may choose to audit credit classes and pay only 50% of the regular tuition. Students auditing classes participate fully in the class, but are not required to take tests and do not receive grades. To qualify for the audit discount, registration is required within the refund period. Fees and registration procedures are the same as when the students take the class for credit.  

Students electing to audit a class (no grade, no credit) must choose this option at the time of registration or no later than the end of the sixth week of instruction for standard term-length classes. Check with the Student Success Center for last day to change grading status for nonstandard-length classes. Auditing students pay in accordance with the tuition schedule and participate to a degree determined by them and the instructors. Audited courses at time of registration are not eligible for financial aid.

*Financial aid may be impacted by auditing a course; please check with the Financial Aid Office for details.  

*Community members wishing to experience a college course or training should contact the Student Success Center at 541-888-7352 or 

Change of Major or Specialization

To change a major or specialization, students must complete the Change of Major form on myLakerLink. Login to see the form here: Change of Major. Changes to majors made by the second Wednesday of the term will apply to the current term. Changes made thereafter will apply to the following term. For graduation and class scheduling purposes, students need to use the catalog year in which they declare their major. Because changing majors may have an impact on financial aid eligibility, students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor before making any changes.


A student will be classified in Freshman/Sophomore status when they have earned the following credits:

  • Freshman: 0-44.9 credits
  • Sophomore: 45+ credits


Southwestern offers the following types of courses. If you are not sure what type your courses are, talk to your advisor or the instructor of the course.

FACE-TO-FACE - This course will be offered entirely in a face-to-face format.  Students will attend class at specified times and at a specified location.

HYBRID - This class will have some of the course material delivered remotely.  Students will also attend class at specified times and at a specified location.

VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION - This class will have all course material delivered remotely.  Students will be required to attend class sessions virtually at a specified time. 

HYFLEX - This class can be attended either online or face-to-face. Students will have the choice each scheduled class meeting of which mode they will use. 

ONLINE - This class will have all course material delivered remotely with no requirements for a student to attend class at a specified time.

Course Prerequisites

A course that must be completed prior to another course is a prerequisite. Course prerequisites must be passed with a "C" or better. Many courses have prerequisites that can only be waived with instructor consent. Instructors waive prerequisites with instructor consent. Students may be withdrawn from courses if they have not completed the prerequisites from the prior term. Students may request that the prerequisites be waived if they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the courses. Students can contact the Student Success Center (SSC) at 541-888-7405 or 800-962-2838, ext. 7405 for assistance.

Instructor Consent

Students planning to register for a course that requires instructor consent must have approval from the instructor. Students may obtain instructor consent by contacting the instructor through the college email Directory and/or their advisor. 

Multiple Degrees

Students applying for multiple degrees must meet the degree requirements as listed for each degree. For each additional degree, students must complete at least 15 unique SWOCC credits that are different from those used for the other degree(s) and are applicable to the specific degree requirements.

Waitlisted Courses

When students register for courses that are full, they are placed on waitlists. Students in waitlisted courses will be notified through their college email when seats are available and they have permission to register via myLakerLink or at the Student Success Center. Students must then actively click the add/move button within 72 hours to be added to the class. The waitlist ends the Thursday prior to the first week of classes. After the waitlist period ends, students may register in the waitlisted courses with instructor consent. 

Statute of Limitations on AA/OT, AS, AGS, and AAS Degrees and Certificates

To earn an Associate's degree or Certificate of Completion, students must meet the requirements in the catalog year in which they declared their major at Southwestern. Students who are not enrolled in at least one course toward their degree for more than one year will lose the right to complete the degree under the original catalog requirements. Students must then meet the requirements in the catalog from the year they re-enroll at Southwestern.

The application of existing coursework will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Transcript Evaluator and the appropriate instructors. Modifications or exceptions may be made in certain circumstances by approval from the Academic Standards Committee. For example, if the student has been employed in the skill area and has thus been able to keep up with developments in the field or if the time lapse is marginally outside accepted limits. All exceptions will be made with the knowledge and consent of the appropriate instructors.
An edition of the catalog is valid for five academic years. For example, a catalog that takes effect in summer of 2018 is valid only through spring of 2023.

Students should regularly consult an advisor in their major field. Failure to complete the requirements within that time frame will require students to move to the current catalog year or to petition the Academic Standards Committee, using the Academic Standards Committee Petition form, for an exception to the policy. Students taking more than five years to complete their degree program must have coursework evaluated by the Transcript Evaluator and the program faculty before graduation. Students may have to retake courses or take additional coursework in order to graduate.

Student Records Procedure

The Student Success Centers maintain all official academic records of students including Applications for Admission, transcripts, registration forms, and transfer credit and degree evaluations. The Financial Aid Office maintains all records of student aid and scholarship records.

FERPA: The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA or Buckley amendment) and Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) protect the confidentiality of student records and student access to those records. Under the provisions of the FERPA and OARs, the educational institution must designate the information it will release without the written consent of the student as directory information, and protect the confidentiality of all other student records. By being FERPA compliant, the College in turn maintains Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) compliance.

It is the intent of Southwestern to designate the following data as directory information: Student’s full name; the fact that the student is or has been enrolled in the College; local and permanent addresses and telephone number(s); e-mail address; date and place of birth; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance; class level; major field of study; number of credit hours (not grades or GPA); degrees and awards received; the most recent educational institution attended by the student; job title(s) and dates of employment for student employees who have been or are paid from college administered funds.

Students may prohibit the release of any or all of this directory information by filling out the Restrict or Release form at either Student Success Center. Requests to withhold this information will remain in effect until the Student Success Center receives written instructions from the student to remove the hold.

Directory information and other personally identifiable information may be released to college officials who have a legitimate educational interest, or to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The President of the College may release personally identifiable student information to appropriate persons in connection with an emergency if knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of persons and/or safety of property.

Students have the right, by pre-scheduled appointment with the Registrar, to access their educational records as defined in OAR 582-41-410, as well as to challenge the correctness of those records, to request amendment of those records and, in case of dispute, to obtain a hearing (OAR 581-41-450). Students may not request a hearing under this policy to challenge a grade, only the accuracy of its recording. Students who wish to inspect their records must schedule an appointment with the College Registrar. If students request a copy of any document in the records, a copy charge will be assessed. This does not include transcripts, which can be obtained from either Student Success Center. Students may forfeit the right to receive an official transcript if they have an outstanding balance with the College, or have been notified that their transcript may be withheld.

Records Disclosure

OAR 581-41-460 authorizes Southwestern Oregon Community College to ask you to provide your social security number. The College will use your number for reporting, research, and record keeping. Your number will also be provided by the College to the Data for Analysis (D4A) Oregon colleges reporting system. All students are assigned a student identification number separate from their social security number. D4A is a reporting system designed for secondary and postsecondary educational institutions to report data required by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). The system stores information about students and programs to meet State and Federal reporting requirements. It also helps colleges plan, research and develop programs. This information helps the colleges to support the progress of students and their success in the workplace and other education programs.

D4A or the College may provide your social security number to agencies or match it with records from the following systems:

  • State and private universities, colleges, and vocational schools to find out how many community college students further their education and also to find out whether community college courses are a good basis for further education.
  • The Oregon Employment Department, which gathers information, including employment and earnings, to help state and local agencies plan education and training services to help Oregon citizens obtain the best jobs available.
  • The Oregon Department of Education provides reports to local, state, and federal governments. The information is used to learn about education, training, and job market trends for planning, research, and program improvement. Funding for community colleges is based on this information.
  • The Oregon Department of Revenue and collection agencies only for purposes of processing debts and only if credit is extended to you by the College.
  • Where applicable (i.e., at colleges which use the ASSET/Compass placement test): The American College Testing Service, if you take the placement test, for educational research purposes.
  • The Internal Revenue Service, which is required to be reported for tax credit eligibility determination.

Your number will be used only for the purposes listed above. State and federal law protects the privacy of your records.

OAR (Reglamento Administraivo de Oregon) 581.41.460 autoriza al colegio comunitario Southwestern Oregon Community College que solicite su numero social. El numero sera utilizado por el colegio para la preparacion de reportes, agregados, investigaciones, y para guardar suexpediente academico. Su numero tambien sera proporcionado por la universidad al sistema de informes de universidades de Data for Analysis (D4A) de Oregon. A todos los estudiantes se les asigna un numero de identificaion del estudiante separado de su numero de seguro social. D4A es un sistema de informes disenado para instituciones educativas secundarias y postsecundarias para reportar los datos requeridos por la Comision de Coordinacion de Educacion Superior de Oregon (HECC). El sistema incluye informacion sobre los estudiantes y programas para cumplir con los requisitos de reportes federales y estatales. Tambien ayuda a la los colegios en su planificacion, investigacion, y para el desarollo de programas. Esta informacion ayuda a los colegios a mantener el progreso de los estudiantes y sus exitos en el lugar de trabajo y en otros programas de educacion.

D4A o el colegio se pueden proporcionar su numero social a las siguentes agencias o conseguirlo o igualarlo con los archivos de los siguentes sistemas: oLos colegios estatales, univeridades privadas, colegios, y colegios vocacionales, para averiguar cuantos estudiantes que asistieron a los colegios comunitarios continuaron con su educacion y para averiguar si los cursos son una buena base para la educacion adicional.

  • El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon, que coleciona informacion para ayudar a las agencias estatales y locales en la planificacion de los servicios educacionales y servicios de entrenamiento para ayudar a la poblacion de Oregon a conseguir los mejores trabajos posibles.
  • El Departamento de Educacion de Oregon, para proveer reportes al gobierno estatal y federal. Esta informacion se usa para aprender sobre la educacion, el entrenamiento, y la direccion que van tomando los trabajos para planification, investigacion, y mejoramiento de los programas. Los fondos que los colegios comunitarios reciben es basada en esta informacion.
  • El Departamento de Fiscal de Oregon y las agencias de coleccion con el proposito de procesar deudas y solamente si se el extiende credito a la persona por el colegio.
  • DONDE SEA APLICABLE (por ejemplo en los colegios que usan la prueba ASSET): El Servicio de Pruebas de Colegio Americanos, si usted toma la prueba ASSET Placement Test, para el proposito de investigacion.
  • De ustedes el numero de seguro social es requeria y sere informe a la IRS (rentas internas) para determinacion de aceptablemente credito. Su numero se usara solo para los propositos enlistados arriba. Las leyes estatales y federales protejen su informacion privada. Si necesita mas ayuda, llama EPSE por telefono 541-888-7405; 800-962-2838, ext. 7405.

Transfer Credits

Transferring from Southwestern

Transfer students are responsible for determining the requirements of the institution and program to which they plan to transfer.  Official Southwestern transcripts can be ordered and delivered by contacting Student Success Center.

Transferring to Southwestern

Southwestern Oregon Community College accepts college level credits earned in academic certificate and degree programs from colleges and universities accredited by one of the following regional Associations of Colleges and Schools -- Middle States, North Central, New England, Northwest, Southern or Western.

Official transcripts are processed after the students have been formally accepted to the college. Send official transcripts to the Student Success Center. Send placement test scores to the Student Success Center (SSC).

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

Credit for Prior Learning is an opportunity for Southwestern students to be granted credit for verifiable, college-level learning that is acquired outside the college setting through life or work experience. There are several ways to gain Credit for Prior Learning, including the College Level Entrance Examination Program (CLEP), challenge exams by course, Advanced Placement Program (APP), military training, industry certifications/training programs, or Prior Learning Assessments (PLA). Talk to your advisor to learn more about options. 

Students must be working toward a degree, be enrolled, and complete a minimum of three credits at Southwestern during the quarter in which a class is challenged or prior learning is assessed. Students may request credit for prior learning for up to 25% of their credits to satisfy the requirements for a 1 year certification, or 2 year degree. If planning to transfer to another institution, it is recommended that the student check with their intended transfer institution for acceptance of challenge/PLA credits. Challenge/PLA credits do not count toward determining financial aid or veteran's benefits and payment (half the tuition) is required before the Challenge/PLA process is started. Students pay a per credit fee for credits earned through any of these methods. In order to initiate the CPL process, students must meet with the instructor and negotiate an agreement. The agreement will state what type of credits the students will receive upon completion of the course work. Please refer to the instructions listed on the CPL form for next steps. 

Advanced Placement Program (APP)

High school seniors who participate in the College Entrance Examination Board’s Advanced Placement Program may seek advanced placement in a variety of disciplines. Entering freshman who have taken the APP tests should have the results sent to the Student Success Center. Advanced placement and/or college credit may be granted upon recommendation of the appropriate party. Credit may be granted only if students are working towards a degree/certificate and enroll and complete a minimum of three credits at Southwestern during the quarter. The Student Success Center can provide interested students with procedures.

College Level Entrance Examination Program (CLEP)

Students enrolled at Southwestern may receive credit for certain college courses by submitting official scores from the College Level Entrance Examination Program (CLEP). Successful CLEP exam results in grade and credit on the Southwestern permanent record identified as CLEP. The Student Success Center can provide interested students with procedures. 

Other Alternative Credit

Southwestern will evaluate any of the following learning experiences for credit depending on test and score. International Baccalaureate (IB), Military Service Credit, (AARTS, CCAF, CGI, and SMART) are considered for transfer evaluation based on American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations. Southwestern does not accept non-military ACE recommendations. A military Veteran will be granted three credits of PE applicable to all PE/Health degree requirements upon the submission of a DD214 with basic training completion.

Minimum Graduation Requirement

To meet requirements for a degree or certificate, a student must complete a minimum of 24 credits at Southwestern in addition to any credits transferred in from another institution or earned through alternative credit methods. Alternative credits must not duplicate other credit awarded. Financial Aid and waivers do not cover the per credit fee for alternative credits. 

Grade Point Average

Code Description
A Excellent: 4 grade points
B Above Average: 3 grade points
C Average: 2 grade points
D Below Average: 1 grade point
F Failing: 0 grade points
Z Grades were not received from the instructor. Grades will be entered and available via myLakerLink once they are received.
  • Southwestern computes GPA using the 4-point system and by dividing the total grade points by the total quality credits.
  • Grades are assigned based on work completed at the end of the scheduled class time. Additional work or make-up after the ending date of the class is not justified unless an Incomplete was assigned.
  • Grades and/or records found to be fraudulent will be changed.
  • Grades are not mailed; they are available via myLakerLink.

Incomplete Grades

Code Description
I Incomplete: 0 points per credit hour – ‘I’ grade is given for work that could not be completed during the finals week for the term because of circumstances beyond the student’s control. ‘I’ grades require the student’s current earned letter grade to be attached to the ‘I’ grade and the date when the Incomplete contract is to expire. If the student does not fulfill her/his contract within the designated time, the grade will automatically revert to the given grade.
IB Incomplete 'B' earned: 3 grade points
IC Incomplete 'C' earned: 2 grade points
ID Incomplete 'D' earned: 1 grade point
IF Incomplete 'F' earned: 0 grade points
IU Incomplete Unsatisfactory earned: 0 grade points

Pass-Fail Grading Option

Certain courses offer students an option to receive a grade of S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) instead of letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F). This option must be exercised at the time of registration.  Courses required for your degree program must be taken for a letter grade.

S Grade: For evaluation and transferability purposes, the 'S' grade is equivalent to a grade of C or better.

Audit Option

Students who are interested in taking a class, but do not need the credit may choose to audit credit classes and pay only 50% of the regular tuition. Students auditing classes participate fully in the class, but are not required to take tests and do not receive grades. To qualify for the audit discount, registration is required within the refund period. Fees and registration procedures are the same as when the students take the class for credit.  

Students electing to audit a class (no grade, no credit) must choose this option at the time of registration or no later than the end of the sixth week of instruction for standard term-length classes. Check with the Student Success Center for last day to change grading status for nonstandard-length classes. Auditing students pay in accordance with the tuition schedule and participate to a degree determined by them and the instructors. Audited courses at time of registration are not eligible for financial aid.

*Financial aid may be impacted by auditing a course; please check with the Financial Aid Office for details.  

*Community members wishing to experience a college course or training should contact the Student Success Center at 541-888-7352 or 

Course Repeat and Ability to Benefit Policy

For academic purposes, the ability to benefit from instruction is defined as the ability to achieve the skill level or knowledge to apply the subject matter in an academic or practical situation. This is defined as at least an S or C grade.

A course may be repeated once to improve a grade. A student should consult an advisor before repeating a course a second time.

All course attempts will remain on the transcript. Only the highest grade will be reflected in the cumulative grade point average (GPA) calculated for Southwestern cumulative GPA. Financial aid is required by Federal regulations to calculate the cumulative grade point average using the historical transcript of all actual grades earned. Refer to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy available online.

Some courses may be taken more than once for credit (e.g., PE 185 Sport/Activity courses). In these cases, the grades of the repeated courses will reflect in the cumulative GPA.

Academic Notification System

To help students be successful, the Academic Notification System has been developed to monitor the academic progress of students.

The Academic Notification System is a three-step process designed to alert students to potential lack of progress during their academic career.

Step 1 – Academic Notification: This status results when a student's term grade point average (GPA) is below satisfactory progress (2.0).

Step 2 – Academic Probation: If the student has received Academic Notification Status and the term GPA is again below 2.0, the student is placed on academic probation. The student will continue on probation until the cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher.

Step 3 – Academic Suspension: If, during any term while on probation or previous suspension, the student does not make satisfactory progress, the student will be suspended. This status results when the term GPA and cumulative GPA are below 2.0.

Appeals for reinstatement to Southwestern Oregon Community College after academic suspension are found at Student Success Center or on myLakerLink.  Appeals for reinstatement are reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee.

Students receiving financial aid must complete an additional appeal process (FA appeal for reinstatement) following an academic or financial aid suspension.

Students who are academically suspended, but have been absent from Southwestern for five or more years, will be automatically reinstated. 

The Purpose of the Academic Notification System

To assist each student with accomplishing his/her educational goal by:

  • Alerting the student and the college of academic difficulties or deficiencies.
  • Providing an opportunity for the college to be of assistance to the student in setting and achieving academic goals.
  • Assisting the student in utilizing the facilities and personnel of the college.
  • Creating an atmosphere in which the student may be successful in his/her pursuit of an education.

Academic Excellence

Achieve a term grade point average of 4.0 for the quarter with a minimum of 12 credit hours will be listed on the Academic Excellence Roll for that quarter.

Honor Roll

Achieve a term grade point average of 3.5 to 3.99 inclusive with a minimum of 12 credit hours will be listed on the Honor Roll for that quarter.

Dean’s List

Achieve a term grade point average of 3.0 and 3.49 with a minimum of 12 credit hours will be listed on the Dean’s List for that quarter.

Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for two-year colleges. Alpha Kappa Phi is the Southwestern chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. To join Alpha Kappa Phi, a student must have accumulated a total of 12 college-level credits at Southwestern toward an associate’s degree and must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher. All members must also maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA.