Records & REgistration

Academic Policies & Procedures

Academic Evaluation

The Academic Evaluation or sometimes referred to as a Degree Audit, is a resource that identifies all met and unmet requirements for a specific program. A student can view how many total credit hours, GPA, and non-course requirements are required by his or her program and how many of these requirements have been satisfied (including a display of final grades and missing requirements). The academic evaluation is a key tool in determining a student's progress in fulfilling the requirements for degree completion. 

Students are strongly encouraged to work directly with their Academic Advisor, rather than self-advising, to ensure all degree requirements are met.  

How to Access my Academic Evaluation 

Access My Academic Evaluation button

  1. Under the Academic Profile, select Academic Evaluation (DEGREE AUDIT) 
  2. Choose your current active program and SUBMIT
Academic Honors

Iowa Lakes Community College encourages high academic achievement and recognizes students who have achieved academic success in the following ways: 

Dean’s Honor List is awarded to students who are full-time (12 or more graded credits), who have earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.25 to 3.99. 

President’s Honor List is awarded to students who are full-time (12 or more graded credits), who have earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.00.  

Graduation Honors 

Candidates for graduation who have earned a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.25 or higher are also honored at the commencement ceremony. 

Three classes of recognition are indicated below:  

  • Cum laude:  3.25 - 3.49 
  • Magna cum laude:  3.50 - 3.74 
  • Summa cum laude:  3.75 - 4.00   

Graduation honors are also posted on the academic record based on the final cumulative GPA. 

Academic Probation & Retention

Iowa Lakes Community College provides assistance to students to help them to succeed academically. The purpose of academic probation at Iowa Lakes is to indicate the need for special or individualized help for the student who has academic difficulty. The college is concerned when a student has problems and faculty and staff are available to provide assistance. Academic probation is somewhat different from financial aid probation, which can be found in the financial aid section of the   opens in a new windowStudent Handbookopens PDF file . 

Academic Probation Status 

A status of Probation means that the student and advisor must meet to determine what course of action will lead to success during the next enrollment period. Strict probation means that the student may continue enrollment only with a written contract for performance; failure to meet the terms of the contract results in immediate suspension from classes. Participation in Strategies for Academic Success (or an alternative assignment approved by the facilitator) is usually required of students on strict probation, except during the summer term. Suspension means that a student is prohibited from attending classes and is dropped from all courses. A suspension is for a full semester; a second suspension is for a year. A semester is counted if the student is enrolled for six or more credits. 

After the first semester in college, a new freshman will be placed on probation if the GPA is less than 1.50. The student will be placed on strict probation if the GPA is less than 0.80. 

After more than one semester in college, a student will be placed on probation if the cumulative GPA is less than 2.00. A student with more than one semester in college will be placed on strict probation if the cumulative GPA remains less than 2.00 or if the term GPA is less than 1.00 and the cumulative GPA drops below 2.00. 

A student on strict probation will be suspended if the term GPA is less than 2.00. 

A student on probation or strict probation may continue enrollment if the term GPA is 2.00 or better, even if the cumulative GPA does not reach 2.00. 

A student who earns a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better will be returned to academic good standing. The Academic Review Committee will review records of students on continued probation and may revise status based on further information such as absences, excessive number of ‘I’, ‘Q’ or ‘W’ grades, etc. Transfer students will be placed on probation if a similar record at Iowa Lakes would result in a probationary status. 

Annual Notice To Students

Annually, Iowa Lakes Community College informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended. This Act, with which the institution intends to comply fully, was designed to protect the privacy of education records to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA) concerning alleged failures by the institution for compliance with the provision of the Act. Questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to the Records and Registration Office located within the Business Office on the Emmetsburg and Estherville Campuses.  

Credit Loads

Credit Loads

Fall & Spring Terms 

A liberal arts student may register for up to 19 credits if the previous term's GPA was 2.50 or better; up to 21 credits if the last term's GPA was 3.50 or better. A student is limited to 18 credits or less if the previous term's GPA was between 1.50 and 1.99 and limited to 12-14 credits or less if the previous term's GPA was less than 1.50. A liberal arts student on strict probation will be restrict­ed to 12-14 credits. Students in vocational or technical programs may take the amount of credit required for the program each term. 

Summer Term 

A student may register for up to 12 credits. For both first and second session courses a student may register for up to 6 credits. 

A student may appeal the credit load restriction by preparing a written petition stating the reasons for the proposed exception, securing the signed consent of the faculty advisor and presenting the petition to the director of records and registration at least three days before the last day to add a course in a term. 

Exam Schedule

Spring 2021

Monday, Wednesday, Friday Classes
Class Start Time Exam Day Exam Time
6:45 - 7:45 a.m. Monday 5/10 7:00 a.m.
8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Wednesday 5/12 8:00 a.m.
9:00 - 9:45 a.m. Monday 5/10 9:00 a.m.
10:00 - 10:45 a.m. Wednesday 5/12 10:00 a.m.
11:00 - 11:45 a.m. Monday 5/10 11:00 a.m.
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. Wednesday 5/12 12:00 p.m.
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Monday 5/10 1:00 p.m.
2:00 - 2:45 p.m. Wednesday 5/12 2:00 p.m.
3:00 - 3:45 p.m. Monday 5/10 3:00 p.m.
4:00 - 4:45 p.m. Wednesday 5/12 4:00 p.m.


Tuesday and Thursday Classes
Class Start Time Exam Day Exam Time
6:45 - 7:45 a.m. Thursday 5/13 7:00 a.m.
8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Tuesday 5/11 8:00 a.m.
9:00 - 9:45 a.m. Thursday 5/13 9:00 a.m.
10:00 - 10:45 a.m. Tuesday 5/11 10:00 a.m.
11:00 - 11:45 a.m. Thursday 5/13 11:00 a.m.
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. Tuesday 5/11 12:00 p.m.
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Thursday 5/13 1:00 p.m.
2:00 - 2:45 p.m. Tuesday 5/11 2:00 p.m.
3:00 - 3:45 p.m. Thursday 5/13 3:00 p.m.
4:00 - 4:45 p.m. Tuesday 5/11 4:00 p.m.


Evening and Saturday Classes
Class Start Time Exam Day Exam Time
6:00 p.m. (Monday) Monday 5/10 6:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m. (Tuesday) Tuesday 5/11 6:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m. (Wednesday) Wednesday 5/12 6:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m. (Thursday) Thursday 5/13 6:00 p.m.

Any classes that meet more than three days a week will follow the Monday, Wednesday and Friday exam schedule.

Degrees, Diplomas, & Certificates

Iowa Lakes Community College awards degrees, diplomas, and certificates to those individuals who successfully complete programs in arts and science, career option, vocational, technical or continuing education areas.

The following degrees are awarded for college credit two-year programs: Associate of Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science. 

Diplomas are awarded for college credit vocational and technical programs of less than two years duration. 

To be eligible for a degree or diploma in a credit program, a student must complete a minimum of 25% of the degree program credits in courses at Iowa Lakes Community College.

Certificates are issued to students who complete program requirements.

Grading System

Grading System

Grades are based on your level of achievement in each course. Grades are available online after the end of each regular term.

Grade Short Description Full Description
A excellent 4 honor points
B above average 3 honor points
C average 2 honor points
D below average 1 honor point
F fail 0 honor points; counts as attempted credit, no grade points
I incomplete assigned in cases where the student has not completed some portion of assigned course work during a regular term for extenuating circumstances such as illness, family emergency, etc. A change of grade will be accepted up to the end of the next term following the term in which the grade is issued. No credit or honor points.
W  withdrawn course formally dropped after the end of the first week of a term. No credit or honor points.
K administratively withdrawn same as W but for administrative reasons rather than student initiative.  No credit or honor points.
N audit course taken for personal interest only; does not earn credits or grade. Must be elected during the first two weeks of a term. No credit or honor points.
P pass course has been elected to be taken on a pass/no credit basis during the first two weeks in a term. Only one course may be so elected each term, except that all courses designated as developmental may be elected as pass/no credit. In addition, some courses are offered only on a pass/no credit basis. No more than one-fourth of the total credits required for graduation may be earned with P grades. A course which is being repeated may not be elected on a pass/no credit basis. Does not count as attempted credit.
Q not passing a failing grade which earns no credit; can be issued only when a course is taken on a pass/no credit basis. Does not count as attempted credit.
T credit granted for testing Does not count as attempted credit
L credit granted by virtue of prior education or occupational experience Does not count as attempted credit.
Z or NR grade not reported by instructor  
Grievances, Complaints, & Concerns

Iowa Lakes Community College desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner. 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 informally, whenever possible. Students are encouraged to talk to their advisors, instructors, or those involved to determine resolution.

If the grievance or complaint is not resolved informally, the student may seek a formal resolution. Should a formal resolution be needed, the student must file a formal student complaint. Formal complaints may be filed electronically or submitted as legibly written or typed documents via mail.

Electronic Formal Complaint

opens in a new windowCurrent Student

opens in a new windowFormer Student

Written or Typed Formal Complaint  

Any written or typed formal complaints should be mailed to the following address: 

Iowa Lakes Community College
Attn: Executive Dean of Students
          300 South 18th Street
          Estherville, IA  51334 

Once a formal complaint is filed, the Executive Dean of Students will begin the review process. The Executive Dean of students will work with relevant parties to resolve the complaint and to document resolution. Additionally, a master log of student complaint information is maintained in the Executive Dean of Students office. This log identifies the nature of the complaint and how the complaint was resolved.  

For cases that cannot be satisfactorily resolved internally, Iowa Lakes Community College provides both current and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting body and the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in a student's resident state:  

Criteria for Filing a Student Complaint

For Iowa Lakes to initiate an investigation of a student complaint, the following must be true: 

  1. The student did not receive a satisfactory resolution when working directly with the appropriate individual(s) or department(s) as outlined in the Student Handbook;
  2. The complaint must be in legible written or typed format;
  3. The student has submitted the complaint to Iowa Lakes using Iowa Lakes’ Student Complaint Form;
  4. The student complaint contains a detailed description of the claim, including dates, times, and full names of all involved, as well as the actions taken by both the student and the institution to resolve the matter;
  5. The student has signed the form attesting to the truth and accuracy of the complaint;
  6. The student recognizes that Iowa Lakes will not investigate anonymous complaints and that by signing the form, the student acknowledges that Iowa Lakes may share information provided with the institution or other relevant organizations or state agencies in order to help resolve the dispute. Iowa Lakes does not guarantee a resolution resulting from this submission or its investigation into the allegation.
  7. The student complaint must be received within two (2) years of the occurrence. Upon receiving a student complaint, Iowa Lakes will facilitate an investigation of the matter being disputed falls within its jurisdiction. If preliminary findings indicate a violation of Iowa Lakes’ regulations by the institution, Iowa Lakes shall attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation. All parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If the complaint is outside of Iowa Lakes’ jurisdiction, it may be directed to another agency that is authorized to address the concerns, if appropriate. 

Iowa Lakes may contact the student to submit further details or to submit documented evidence of the allegations against the institution. Students should not submit original documents as they may not be returned. Student complaints will be examined to determine factual basis. 

Depending on the nature of the complaint, investigation and facilitation could require several weeks to months to complete. 

Iowa Lakes Community College is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity (NC-SARA) Agreements.

Complaints from students in other SARA states should contact Iowa's SARA portal agency which is the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (ICSAC). 

State Portal Entity Contact: 

Lisa Pundt
Postsecondary Registration - (Authorization) Compliance Officer
lisa.pundt@iowa.govcreate new email  

Iowa College Student Aid Commission
Student Complaint Form: 

Please note that in general, state agencies ask that you work to resolve your complaint with the college before filing a complaint with the state. 

Procedures and Policies Delineated in the Student Handbook and Catalog(s) + 

  • Non-Discrimination Policy Violations (Student Handbookopens PDF file )  
  • Academic Appeals (Iowa Lakes catalog)  
  • Affirmative Action Violations (Student Handbookopens PDF file )  
  • Academic Suspension Appeals (Iowa Lakes catalog)  
  • Student Conduct Violations (Student Handbookopens PDF file )  
  • Sexual Harassment (including Sexual Violence) Policy & Procedures
    (Student/Consumer Information
    a.  Students who request a waiver of a particular college policy, application, procedure or regulation as interpreted by a college employee, will be directed to make a formal appeal 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.)
    b.  Students who wish to appeal a financial aid decision will direct their appeal to the Financial Aid Director 

Complaints alleging sexual harassment or civil rights violations are forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator who launches the investigation. 

New Start Program

Iowa Lakes Community College offers a New Start Program for students who have changed programs of study after receiving unsatisfactory grades in a previous program at Iowa Lakes, or who re-enroll at the college in the same program after an absence of at least two years.

The New Start Program allows students to begin a new cumulative grade point average from the beginning of their re-enrollment, or from the start of enrollment in their new program of study. Students can enroll in the New Start Program once and may not reapply. 

Students should note that grades are not removed from the student’s transcript by the New Start Program. Since this program applies only to Iowa Lakes Community College, it will generally not affect decisions made by transfer institutions or grantors of financial aid. Such agencies will likely consider the student's complete academic record, not just the academic work completed during participation in the New Start Program.  

Students may apply passing grades of ‘C’ or better earned prior to enrolling in the New Start Program for courses needed to meet graduation requirements for their new program of study but will not be calculated in the student’s cumulative grade point average.  

How to Enroll in the New Start Program 

  • File a petition with the Iowa Lakes Records Office before or during the first term of re-enrollment 
  • The petition will then be reviewed by the Records Office to be approved or denied 
  • Approval will be granted if the student has met all guidelines of the New Start Program 
  • If denied, the student may appeal the denial of a "New Start" petition to the Academic Review Committee as provided by the Academic Appeal Procedures. (link to this section of the student Handbook)  
Residency Requirements

Students enrolling at Iowa Lakes Community College are classified as residents or non-residents for admission, tuition and fee purposes.

If you have been classified as non-resident and believe you should be eligible for resident tuition, you may apply for reconsideration of your case.

The Director of Records and Registration may require written documents, affidavits, and other evidence considered necessary to establish your residency. This may include rent receipts, voter registration information, drivers license, motor vehicle registration, or other documents.

Residence for college enrollment and fee purposes may be different from residence for other purposes.

Documentation must verify residency within the state of Iowa for at least 90 days prior to the term for which the student is enrolling.

The burden of establishing exemption from non-resident status is with the student. Further information on residency classification is available from the Records and Registration office: 712-362-7922.

International students: 

See international student page for admission requirements.

Units of Credit

The unit of college credit is based on the semester hour. It is normally given for a minimum of approximately one hour per week of lecture per semester, two hours per week of laboratory work per semester, or the equivalent.

A high school semester unit of credit normally requires about 60 hours of study. (A semester unit equals approximately half a Carnegie unit.)

A Continuing Education Unit (CEU), offered in some continuing education courses, is based on "the contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction and qualified instruction." Ten contact hours equal one CEU.

Classification Of Students By Credit

Students are classified in one of several ways:

  • Freshman:  has less than 30 semester credits
  • Sophomore:  has 30 or more semester credits
  • Full-time:  carries 12 or more credits in a regular term
  • Part-time:  carries 11 or fewer credits in a regular term

Credit Loads

Credit load maximums each term depend on previous academic performance.

Cumulative GPA Maximum credits*
3.50 - 4.00 21
2.50 - 3.49 19
1.50- 2.49 18


Transfer of Credit and Other Ways of Earning Credit

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 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.)

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.

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.

The student, upon recommendation of the instructor and advisor, presents a written proposal to 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 an Executive Dean or the dean’s designee for permission for the student to contract for the course credit.

The student and instructor will develop a performance contract to document competency in the course objectives, define a time line for completion and 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:

  • The ACT PREP examinations
  • selected DANTES examinations
  • “challenge” examinations for specific Iowa Lakes courses which are developed and graded by the appropriate academic department.

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 Success Centers.

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) for general and certain subject examinations.

Other Information

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.

*Some vocational-technical programs have a higher maximum required for a term.


Contact Barb Grandstaff
Director of Registration and Records
712-362-7923 Ext: 7923 | bgrandstaff@iowalakes.educreate new email