Academic Policies & Procedures
The General Education Core
General education is intended to provide breadth of learning to the community college experience. General education imparts common knowledge, promotes intellectual inquiry and stimulates the examination of different perspectives, thus enabling people to function effectively in a complex and changing world.
General education is not exclusively related to a student's technical, vocational or professional field but is a part of a degree or diploma that prepares all students to meet personal, social and lifelong learning needs.
At Iowa Lakes Community College, general education encompasses curricular patterns and/or cognitive experiences appropriate to the length and content of the prescribed program. The general education requirements include college-level experiences which develop student capabilities in, and an understanding of oral and written communication; critical thinking; numerical data; scientific inquiry; ethical, global, historical and social issues; technology; and appreciation for the fine arts.
The general education component at Iowa Lakes is developed at the institutional level through the faculty governance structure, using criteria appropriate to the institution's mission, state guidelines and requirements of applicable accrediting bodies. Iowa Lakes Community College will continually clarify, articulate, publicize and assess its general education program. The general education requirement varies in accordance with the specific degree or diploma program in which the student enrolls.
The Associate in Applied Science degree is awarded to students who complete two-year technology curricula. Each program has specific course requirements; all programs require a 2.00 or better GPA for graduation. Some arts and science courses may apply to AAS degree requirements in specific programs. Credits earned toward an Associate in Applied Science degree may be transferable to some baccalaureate degree granting institutions, but only at the option of those institutions.
Minimum program requirements total at least 68 semester credits and general requirements include a writing course and an oral communications course or a course combining both; a mathematics course and a related or applied science course; a social science course such as applied psychology or sociology or human relations; a related business or computer applications course; and completion of the college diversity requirement.
Diplomas are issued to students who complete full-time vocational curricula of at least one academic year but less than two years in length. Specific course requirements must be met and a 2.00 or better GPA is required.
Minimum requirements total at least 34 semester credits and general requirements include a minimum of one writing course and an oral communications course or a course combining both; an applied mathematics or applied science course; and a human relations course; and completion of the college diversity requirement.
Students enrolled in adult vocational or adult general education courses receive certificates signifying satisfactory completion of the program of instruction. Students must attend at least 70 percent of the class sessions and complete the course work according to the instructor's standards.
The Iowa Department of Education will issue a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) to any student who passes the required battery of HiSET™ (High School Equivalency Test)** tests in the following five areas; Language Arts-Reading, Language Arts-Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Students must meet three HiSET criteria to complete the requirements for their equivalency diploma; score 8 out of 20 on each of the five subtests, score at least 2 out of 6 on the writing essay, and achieve a total scaled score of at least 45 on all five HiSET subtests.
To take the HiSET exam in the state of Iowa, you much meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years of age to take the exam without meeting special circumstances. If you are 16-17 years old, you may take the HiSET exam, but with the following conditions:
- If you are 16 years old - you must be a resident of an Iowa Juvenile Institution (State Training Schools at Eldora and Mitchellville) or placed under the supervision of a Juvenile Probation Office.
- If you are 17 years old (not a resident of an Iowa state training school or Iowa juvenile home, and not under the supervision of a probation office), you may still take the HiSET exam. However, you will not be able to receive your state-issued high school equivalency diploma until you reach age 18 and your class from 9th grade has graduated. You will be provided with a transcript that can be used for employment and/or as an admissions requirement for post-secondary training as you await your transcript.
- You must be officially withdrawn from high school; a drop form or proof of non-enrollment is necessary.
- Iowa requires all test takers to receive instruction in an adult education classroom before taking the HiSET exam.
- You must pass Official Practice Tests in each subject area and provide proof of acceptable scores for admittance to testing. Forms to verify readiness are completed during participation in the Adult Education and Literacy Program.
- You must present approved identification on test day at the HiSET test center along with the verification form.
For more information, contact the Adult Education and Literacy Program at Iowa Lakes Community College.
Registration consists of program planning, scheduling of classes through consultation with an advisor, and paying tuition and fees to the college. New students who are enrolling for the first time in the fall are invited to attend an orientation-registration program in the summer. Preregistration is scheduled prior to the beginning of each term. Regular registration dates and the last date to register are published each term. A current permanent email and/or mailing address must be on file as part of registration and must be kept up to date. Information sent to the address on file will be considered to be proper notification to the student. Registration for courses may also be completed online. Veterans and service members are granted the freedom to enroll as early as possible to accommodate their unique needs.
Change of Registration
A "change of registration" form must be completed and submitted to the business office to make any change in registration. Courses may be added during the first two weeks of a session; after the first week, the instructor and director of records and registration must approve. Courses may be dropped at any time prior to the last four weeks of a course in a regular length term. Dates are pro-rated for shorter terms.
Withdrawing from All Classes
Please refer to the calendar or college website for specific dates. It is the student's responsibility to initiate a formal drop. After the first ten days of full term classes, a "W" grade will be assigned for each course. Students who receive financial aid must complete a financial aid exit interview, and may be responsible for repaying financial aid proceeds. (See "Refund of Tuition - Federal Financial Aid/Title IV Funds" in the next section for more information.) The date the institution determines that the student withdrew varies depending on the type of withdrawal. For example, if a student initiates the "official withdrawal" process or provides notification to the institution of their intent to withdraw, the date the institution determines that the student withdrew would be the date the student began the official withdrawal process, or the date the student notified the institution, whichever is first. If a student did not begin the official withdrawal process or provide notification of his or her intent to withdraw, an "unofficial withdrawal" occurs and the institution establishes the withdrawal date as either the midpoint of the semester or the last date of attendance at an academically-related activity.
If a student earns a passing grade in one or more of their classes, an institution is permitted to make the presumption that the student completed the course requirements and may consider the student to have completed the period.
If a student fails to earn a passing grade in at least one class the student is enrolled, the withdrawal date is either the midpoint of the semester or the last date of attendance at an academically-related activity. In addition, a student who unofficially withdraws and receives failed grades (F) recorded on their academic transcript, may be ineligible for financial aid.
Refund of Tuition (When there is NO Federal Financial Aid Resources):
In the event a student withdraws from a course, the student will receive a refund based on the dates of the courses enrolled. Refunds are calculated on the total tuition paid. If a student received Federal Financial Aid, please read the next section. (Please refer to the college website for specific dates.)
|Normal/full-length semester classes||Refund|
|First ten class days of semester||100% tutition refund|
|After day 10||No refund|
|8 week classes|
|First five days of class||100% tutition refund|
|After day 5||No refund|
|Less than 8 weeks|
|First day of class||100% tutition refund|
|After day 1||No refund|
ECollege/online courses and other special course schedules differ; beginning dates and refund dates vary. Compressed course drops are cancelled with refund only before second class meeting starts. A student who registers but later is unable to attend must notify the college before the last date to cancel the course(s) or program to avoid charges and/or grades. Some exceptions may apply.
Refunds of tuition will be calculated based on the refund policy. The student's account balance may be affected by the financial aid adjustment that occurs after the Return to Title IV calculation. "Return to Title IV Funds" (Federal Financial Aid) formula dictates the amount of Federal Financial Aid that must be returned to the government by the student. This formula is applicable to any student receiving any type of federal aid other than Federal Work Study if that student withdraws before the 60% completion point of the semester. If funds are released to a student or their account, the student may be required to repay some of the federal grants and loans. Generally the law states (section 485 of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998-P.L./105-244) that the amount of assistance the student has received is determined on a prorated basis, in relationship to the specific term and the amount of the term completed. Students can calculate their liability by logging on to opens in a new windowR2T4 at www.r2t4.com and selecting the "continue" button. Students need to contact the Financial Aid Office for an exit interview and to verify the accuracy of their calculation. (See "Withdrawing from College" for related information.)
Important: Iowa Lakes Community College reserves the right to change the Refund Schedule at any time.
Credit Assignment in Emergency Situations
Upon request of the student and after the two-thirds point of a term, the student may be given grades and credit for all courses in progress at the time of a personal emergency such as serious personal or family illness or injury requiring the student to discontinue studies, a death in the immediate family, military activation or other circumstances that preclude a student finishing the term. The instructor of each course and a dean must approve the grade and credit.
Options in Credit and Grading
A change from credit to audit or audit to credit status may be made during the first two weeks of a term if the permission of the director of records and registration is granted. A change from traditional to pass/no credit (P/Q) grading may also be made during the first two weeks of a term if the instructor and director of records and registration approve. Some restrictions apply; see the section on "grading system." A shorter option period applies for shorter terms.
Tuition and Fees
Students are encouraged to make full payment of tuition and fees by the first day of classes each term. Debit cards, VISA, MasterCard and Discover credit cards are accepted for payment of tuition, fees and bookstore charges. You may also provide information for automatic withdrawals from your checking/savings accounts. For those for whom full payment is not possible, a deferred payment plan is available. Textbook charges and aviation flight fees may not be deferred.
If a payment for tuition and fees is not received by the college by the due date, the college may drop the student from all classes with an "administrative drop." The student may not attend classes until payment of overdue tuition and fees are received. No student may register in any new term that has a prior indebtedness to the college, and official transcripts and diplomas will be withheld.
Iowa Lakes Community College participates in the DAS (Department of Administrative Services) Offset Program. Participation in the Offset Program is an attempt to collect a past due account. It allows Iowa Lakes Community College to offset state payments, for example state tax returns, but is not limited to tax returns.
Iowa Lakes will accept credit from other institutions of higher education and will grant credit for other forms of extra institutional learning if such credit is determined to be generally equivalent to the credit awarded for work in residence at Iowa Lakes, can be documented in an appropriate manner, and applies to the student's program of study and toward his or her educational goals.
One of the other methods includes test out, such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
Credit accepted at Iowa Lakes in transfer will not necessarily transfer to another institution in the same manner because most colleges evaluate transfer credit themselves. In addition, credit granted at Iowa Lakes for test out, experiential learning, or other non-traditional forms of instruction may transfer if it qualifies under the policies and procedures for granting such credit at the receiving institution.
Working closely with an advisor and any college or university to which a student wishes to transfer will be important to the planning process. Students are responsible for taking the courses they need to meet their graduation and transfer requirements, but advisors can help smooth the process.
Additional information is available from a counselor's office, the Advising/Success Center, the records office, and from executive deans or advisors.
Inter-Institutional Transfer of Credit
Iowa Lakes will accept credit transferred from other regionally accredited institutions of higher education provided that an official transcript is received directly from the institution, the grades are satisfactory, and that the courses apply toward the student's field of study. A grade of 'C' or better, or its equivalent, is considered to be satisfactory.
Credit from non-regionally accredited institutions may be transferable to Iowa Lakes based on accreditation by a specialized or professional accrediting organization; comparability of the nature, content and level of the credit offered, as determined by Iowa Lakes administration and faculty; and the appropriateness and applicability of the credit earned to the student's current program of study.
Credit for Military Service
Credit may be granted for military experience in the following instances:
- two credits in physical education for a year or more of active duty.
- credit for DANTES or USAFI courses with acceptable scores or grades.
- service school courses
- military specialties (MOS, NER, etc.)
- Review of Joint Services transcript &/or Community College of the Air Force transcripts
A recommendation of the American Council on Education is one of the methods used in determining possible credit for military experience. Applicability to the student's program of study is also considered.
Credit for Extra-institutional and Experiential Learning
Iowa Lakes may grant credit for formally structured courses offered by non-collegiate sponsors such as businesses, corporations, governmental agencies, unions and professional groups. College credit recommendations published by the National Program on Non-collegiate Sponsored Instruction (through the Regents of the State University of New York) and The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs (through the American Council on Education) are used as guidelines for the awarding of credit.
Industry certifications and continuing education records of completion may be presented as part of the needed documentation in an application for consideration of prior learning towards college credit.
Credit may be granted to an Iowa Lakes student for learning gained through work experience or personal study, if the student can document that this learning meets the competencies of the course for which credit is requested. Credit may be awarded only for a course listed in the current college catalog. General education courses and any course in which a CLEP exam is offered are not eligible for credit for work experience or personal study.
- The student, upon recommendation of the instructor and advisor, presents a written proposal to a campus dean/director and an instructor responsible for teaching the course in question, requesting credit for that course. Supporting materials must accompany that request, including a complete description of the prior learning, supervisory verification if available and a description of the competencies achieved.
- If the instructor evaluates the proposal as having merit, the instructor will present the proposal to a campus dean/director for permission for the student to contract for the course credit.
- The student and instructor will develop a performance contract to document prior learning, competency in the course objectives, and define a time line for portfolio completion. Upon acceptance of documentation and successful completion of written and practical examinations on course competencies, the student will pay the appropriate charges.
- Instructor verification that the student is to receive credit for the course is submitted to the director of records and registration and a grade of 'L' is recorded on the academic record.
Credit by Examination
Credit may be earned by examination at Iowa Lakes through the following methods:
- Selected Advanced Placement (AP) examinations
- selected DANTES examinations
- "challenge" examinations for specific Iowa Lakes courses which are developed and graded by the appropriate academic department.
- The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) for general and certain subject examinations.
Certain requirements must be met and Iowa Lakes specifies acceptable scores for each examination. For further information, contact the testing personnel at one of the Iowa Lakes Advising/Success Centers.
A minimum of 12 semester credits must be earned in residence before military experience credit or credit by examination will be posted on the permanent record. A maximum of 30 semester credits may be accepted for military experience, experiential learning, and credit by examination. Some forms of earning credit may incur Iowa Lakes fees and charges for test administration, evaluation, and/or posting. Some standardized tests require payment of examination fees as well.
Informal: It is the desire of the college that any difficulties or confusion a student may encounter with the policies or regulations of the college be handled in an informal manner whenever possible. Students are encouraged to talk to their advisors, instructors, Director of Distance Education, or the campus dean to resolve issues as they arise. Questions about financial aid may be asked of the director of financial aid. Questions about academic requirements, policy or procedures may be asked of the registrar, who also handles changes of residency.
Formal: If a student feels that extenuating circumstances might justify the waiver of a particular college policy, application, procedure or regulation as interpreted by a college employee, an appeal may be made to the Academic Review Committee. The Academic Review Committee considers all initial appeals to waive the application of college policies and procedures concerning academic actions, financial aid or residency decisions. (Academic actions include, but are not limited to, academic probation or suspension, procedures, program or degree requirements, or grades allegedly given in error by faculty members.)
- A student initiates an appeal by making a written statement to the Academic Review Committee, delivered to the registrar. The appeal must be filed with the Records Office no later than 24 months from the end date of the semester in which the grievance occurred. The statement should provide a description of the problem as well as the desired solution, along with any supporting information the student believes will be helpful. The student may request written involvement by faculty members, advisors, or others in support of the case.
- If the student is dissatisfied with the committee's decision, a further appeal may then be made in person before the committee. The student may have others appear in support of the petition. If a personal appeal is not requested within thirty (30) days of the previous committee decision, that decision becomes final.
- If a student has completed both the written and personal appeal processes above, the decision of the committee may be appealed to the campus dean. If the campus dean's decision is consistent with the Academic Review Committee's decision, the student may then appeal to the chief academic officer. If the student continues to be dissatisfied, he or she may appeal to the college president or designee, whose decision will be final. Failure to initiate this level of appeal within thirty (30) days of the notification of the committee's action shall result in the committee's last decision becoming final.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students certain rights with respect to their education records.
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. A student should submit to the director of records and registration/registrar or other appropriate official a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the registrar, the registrar shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. A student may ask the college to amend a record that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write to the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. (Note: FERPA was not intended to provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments which are correctly recorded. The rights of challenge are not intended to allow a student to contest, for example, a grade in a course because the student felt a higher grade should have been assigned.) If the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to college officials with legitimate educational interests. A college official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff, if any); a person or company with whom the college has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the college board of trustees, or a student serving on an official committee, such as a discipline or grievance committee, or assisting another college official in performing his or her tasks. A college official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the college discloses education records without consent to another school in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of Iowa Lakes Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 2000.
Iowa Lakes considers the following to be directory information and will release it unless the student requests the college not to do so by the end of the second week of classes each term: name, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail address, date and place of birth, major field of study, classification, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, academic honors awarded, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.
Any request to limit directory information must be made to the director of records and registration. The college will not notify a student of requests for directory information if the student has requested withholding it; Iowa Lakes will not be responsible if disclosure would have been to the student's benefit. Students not currently enrolled may not restrict directory information. Directory information is released only on an individual basis; lists of students are not available. A request to withhold any item of directory information will normally result in the college withholding all information.
Students' Right to Review
Students have the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records. A student must make a written request to the director of records and registration listing the item or items of interest. The college will respond to the request within 45 days. Further information about the content of the educational record and the right to challenge portions which the student feels are incorrect is available in the records and registration offices at Emmetsburg or Estherville.
Requests for Transcripts
An official transcript of credit courses taken at Iowa Lakes Community College is issued to a third party only upon request by the student. Students/former students need to complete an electronic Transcript Request, which is available on the Iowa Lakes Community College website.
There will be a $5 fee per requested transcript. Transcripts are not released if the student has an overdue financial obligation to the college.
Transcripts from high schools, other colleges, or universities that have been sent to Iowa Lakes for the student file, will not be copied and released. Copies need to be obtained directly from the institution of origin.
Students who plan to transfer to another institution after the completion of their study at Iowa Lakes should plan early to meet the requirements of the institution to which they plan to transfer. Iowa Lakes advisors and counselors will help students meet their educational goals. Students are also urged to work closely with the school to which they will transfer to be sure that courses will transfer and that requirements will be met.
Students who plan to transfer to a four-year college should be aware that many schools have increased the level of mathematics competency required for graduation to the level of college algebra or higher. This requirement also applies to community college graduates with the A.A. degree, even though the A.A. degree may meet the four-year college general requirements. Some colleges are now requiring a foreign language and some require that science courses also include laboratory work. Students who take college level work as high school students who use the credit for high school graduation requirements should be aware that some colleges will not allow that credit to count toward a college degree.
Credit granted at Iowa Lakes for test-out, experiential learning or other non-traditional forms of instruction may transfer if it qualifies under the policies at the receiving institution. An official transcript of Iowa Lakes work should be sent to the transfer institution when the school asks for it.
Iowa Lakes Community College is registered as a private institution with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.
Iowa Lakes Community College is aware that education is a lifelong activity and provides preparatory, upgrading and enriching continuing education courses for those residents who want, need and can benefit from such training. A comprehensive schedule which provides area residents with the opportunity to participate in programs and activities meet their needs. Working directly with communities and area businesses, the division provides short courses, programs, and seminars in a timely manner.
Adult Education and Literacy (AEL)
The Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program provides adults with a 'second chance' to learn and/or brush up on basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, as well as acquire new skills such as computer literacy. Educational services are available at no cost to eligible adult learners and are designed to meet the educational needs of each individual.
Services can include:
- Basic skills instruction in reading, writing, math, listening, and speaking;
- HSED Test Preparation in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts-reading, language arts-writing, and calculator training;
- Official Practice Test (OPT) administration for documenting readiness to take the HiSET™ test;
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction in pre-literacy, reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, U.S. history and government, and cultural literacy;
- College readiness skills instruction in organization and time management, technology, goal setting, test taking skills, and self-advocacy;
- Job readiness skills Instruction in goal-setting, career planning, personal work attributes, employee rights and responsibilities, job search strategies, and unemployment survival; and
- Computer literacy skills in keyboarding, word processing and other introductory skills.
Vocational Supplemental Courses
Courses in this category are designed to increase the skills and understandings needed by adult workers who are already employed but want to upgrade or update their occupational competencies. The target population for these courses is the working adult.
Needs are identified by several methods. Individuals or groups may request a specific course which they need. Agencies, organizations, businesses and industries may make requests. Advisory committees also propose courses and programs, such as those for nursing or building maintenance supervisors. Licensing boards also assist in identifying needs.
A community service program is designed to promote agricultural, business, industrial, recreational, cultural and social development. This includes providing leadership in solving community problems, serving new constituents, and making college facilities available.
Service learning at Iowa Lakes is a method of teaching and learning which engages students in solving problems and addressing local needs within the college or the community as part of their comprehensive educational program. Service learning combines academic curriculum with service in a college or community service project.
Iowa Lakes Community College is also involved in community service projects such as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Small Business Development Center and health related programs.
Designed to teach English to those people for whom it is not the primary language, this program has assisted migrant and refugee peoples who have moved into the area. Emphasis is on English for daily living and on-the-job language requirements.
Senior Year Plus Enrollement Options Act (Dual-Credit Classes)
Iowa Lakes Community College welcomes and encourages qualified high school students to enroll in college-level classes and looks forward to serving their needs. To facilitate Senior Year Plus, Iowa Lakes has established the following guidelines.
Students must complete and submit the following information before the semester in which they plan to enroll
- Accuplacer or ACT score
- Signed Iowa Lakes High School registration form (available from high school counselor)
All high school registration forms require a high school administrator and student signature or registration is considered incomplete. A new registration form must be completed for each semester.
Each student must take an Accuplacer or ACT test to enroll in an Iowa Lakes course. There is a minimum score that must be reached on the test in order to enroll in Composition I, Composition II or any college-level math course.
Students receiving low scores are encouraged to return to their local high school to upgrade their skills. If no means are available at the high school level to improve those skills, the student may enroll in an Iowa Lakes developmental class, but not regular college classes, until the required developmental courses have been completed satisfactorily.
Under Senior Year Plus, the local school district assumes responsibility for tuition.
Any course withrawal or changes to a schedule must be approved by the high school counselor. Withdrawal and refund policies and procedures are detailed elsewhere in this catalog.
All information regarding dual credit classes is available through high school guidance counselors.
Third Age College
The Third Age College is an educational organization that provides an academic setting to enrich the lives of individuals over the age of 55 and interested others. The term "third age" is borrowed from the French and indicates productivity during retirement rather than this "age" becoming the mere closure of life.
Classes focus on academics rather than leisure and pleasure. A variety of topics and subject areas are covered in courses.