Academic Policies

Academic Policies

Ferrum maintains a tradition of a comprehensive academic program built on a liberal arts base.  The college strives to provide education in a Christian context and to maximize students’ chances for success through a system of individual attention and positive reinforcement.  The curriculum includes opportunities for career preparation as well as self-development and the fulfillment of personal educational goals.

General Academic Policies


Regulations Governing Catalog

The catalog for the year in which a student enters Ferrum College is the governing document for requirements for graduation.  However, if the application of regulations in a later catalog would be to the student’s advantage, such regulations may be applied as long as all regulations are applicable to the same year's catalog.  Students must submit a new degree plan indicating the catalog change.

If a student leaves Ferrum College and enrolls as a full-time student in another institution or is dropped for academic or disciplinary deficiency and subsequently re-enrolls at Ferrum College, the governing catalog for the student will be that for the year of re-enrollment if a six year period has been exceeded. (Refer to the Admissions section of this catalog under “Admission for Former Ferrum Students” for additional clarification.)

Academic Advising

Academic advising is a cooperative effort by the advisor and the student to clarify the student’s educational and life goals and to develop plans to reach those goals.  Advising is an ongoing process that is the responsibility of both the student and the advisor.  While the student is ultimately responsible for setting and meeting goals and published requirements, the advisor provides assistance by helping the student work through the decision-making process and keeping track of the student’s academic progress.

Each new student is assigned a faculty advisor.  During the first semester, each new student interacts with this advisor in a series of meetings designed to help students become familiar with college policies and with various college resources, as well as helping them understand their own responsibility for academic planning and personal success.  Students are free to change their academic advisors at any time after the first semester and are encouraged to do so if their majors change.  The change of advisor form is available in the Academic Resource Center.

Pre-Law Advisor

Students considering the legal profession choose from a variety of appropriate majors. To supplement individual academic advising, the Pre-Law advisor coordinates the planning and implementation of a Pre-Law course of study and career options.

Campus-wide Assessment Program

Ferrum College maintains a continuing assessment process to achieve quality and to determine how well it realizes its institutional mission.  As a part of a comprehensive assessment program, the College also regularly evaluates each academic major and program.

Campus-wide assessment at Ferrum involves everyone – faculty, students, administrators, and staff.  Instruments and tools are used to gather evaluative information.  Course evaluations, standardized as well as campus-generated questionnaires, interviews, written essays and written performance evaluations are all used as components in a scheduled cycle of assessment activity.  Students and employees are expected to participate promptly and seriously in assessment activities as requested.

Class Attendance

College policy dictates that attendance is required at a minimum of three-fourths of all class meetings in order to receive credit in a course.  The instructor, in consultation with the School Dean or the Provost, may determine that unusual circumstances and the student’s work in the course justify the assignment of a grade other than “F.”  Unusual circumstances include extended illness or other emergencies, the student’s participation in college-sponsored activities, or some combination thereof.  The policy governing the remaining one quarter of class meetings is established by the individual professor and is recorded on the course syllabus.

The college expects consistent, punctual attendance in regularly scheduled classes.  There should, therefore, be no absences except those due to sickness or other emergencies, or those incurred in representing the college in an organized activity, such as athletic events or choir performances.  In these cases students must obtain written explanation of an absence from an appropriate source (sponsor, nurse, etc.), acceptable to the individual professor in order to be excused for the absence.  Students assume the full responsibility for advising professors of their absences and for initiating the procedure for making up work missed.

In the case of absences in excess of the limit established in the class syllabus, instructors may adjust the course grade (in accordance with stated course policy) according to the number of absences, or the student may be advised to drop the course within the guidelines outlined in the current drop-add policy.

Course Loads

To be classified as “full-time” and to be eligible to occupy college housing and participate in intercollegiate athletics as well as other college-related activities, a student must register for a minimum of 12 hours of course work per semester.  The average course load is 16 hours per semester, and the maximum recommended course load is 19 hours per semester.  Students carrying more than 19 hours per semester must obtain the approval from the office of the Provost of the College.  Students who carry in excess of 19 semester hours will be assessed $525 per excess semester hour.
Students are considered “part-time” if they register for fewer than 12 semester hours of work.  Part-time students who are degree candidates should contact the Admissions Office and follow the regular admissions procedure.

Drop-Add Procedure

Students are allowed to add a course to their schedules or change sections of a course online with their academic advisor during the first week of each semester.  They may drop a course, without penalty, within four weeks (two weeks for half semester courses) of the beginning of each semester.  Courses dropped during the adjustment period are not entered on students’ academic records and may be dropped via an online process by the academic advisor.  Between the fourth and tenth week (or the second and fifth week for half semester courses) courses dropped from a student’s schedule will be reflected by a WP or WF grade.  After the tenth week (fifth week for half semester courses), a student may not drop a class.  Failure to complete a class will result in a grade of “F.”  In cases of extenuating circumstances a student may appeal to the Academic Standards Committee to drop a single class after the tenth week.  All such appeals should be in writing and must satisfy one of the following criteria: (i) prolonged illness; (ii) family emergency; or (iii) documented unforeseen circumstances.  Appeals to the Academic Standards Committee must be made before the end of classes.  A student whose appeal is granted will receive a grade of “W.”

In adding or dropping courses, students should:

  1. Determine the schedule adjustment through consultation with the faculty advisor.  Advisors can add or drop classes online using i-Assistant.
  2. If a WP or WF grade is required, students should promptly discuss the grade and explain any extenuating circumstances with the professor prior to requesting that their Academic Advisor initiate the drop. The professor of the course will receive an email request to enter the appropriate grade.  The student, advisor, and professor will receive email confirmation of the grade that was recorded.
  3. Students should verify the accuracy of their schedule on i-Assistant when any adjustments are made.

Unless a course change has been made in this manner it does not have official standing and will not be recognized as valid by the college.  In such a case where the proper drop procedure is not followed, a grade of “F” will be recorded at the end of the semester.  A student whose status changes from full- to part-time as a result of classes dropped after the first week will not be eligible for any refund of tuition except as required by federal regulations for Title IV financial aid recipients.

Independent Study

Students may arrange to take a course by independent study when they need a course that is not being offered.  A student wishing to take a course by independent study must petition the appropriate School Dean and the Provost for course approval by submitting the required independent study form available in the Provost’s Office.  Once all signatures are collected, forms and required documentation are to be submitted to the office of the Provost for approval.  Formal approval for any independent study course must be granted by the end of the add period of the semester in which the course is taken.  No more than twelve credit hours of independent study courses may apply toward a bachelor’s degree.  An independent study should normally be completed in the semester in which it is approved.  After an independent study has been approved, the student will be charged $525 per credit hour in addition to tuition.


Many majors offer an internship, normally worth three to nine semester hours of credit.  The internship usually consists of a carefully supervised work experience in an area related to the student’s major field of study.  Typically, this experience takes place over the period of a summer or one semester in the student’s junior or senior year.  Internships may be offered on a pass/fail basis at the discretion of each appropriate School Dean.  This decision will be made and posted well in advance of class registration.

All students participating in an internship are expected to provide their own transportation as well as assume responsibility for other expenses incurred while in the field. Students interested in establishing an internship should consult department guidelines and the Internship Program Handbook published by the Provost's Office and should consult the Program Coordinator in their major.

Eligibility for internships, as stated in the Internship Program Handbook, includes:

  1. Successful completion of at least 24-semester hours of 300-400 level credits.
  2. Achievement of a minimum grade point average of 2.0 on all course work attempted at Ferrum and a 2.0 on all course work in the major.
  3. Written approval of the student’s internship contract by the Program Coordinator and the appropriate School Dean.
  4. Internship Request Form must be signed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office.
  5. An internship may not be added after the last day to add classes each semester.
  6. The complete list of procedures and requirements can be viewed in the Internship Handbook.


Student Classification by Credit Hours

Freshman – A student who has been admitted to the college and has earned fewer than 24-semester credit hours.
Sophomore – A student who has earned at least 24-semester credit hours but fewer than 56-credit hours.
Junior - A student who has earned at least 56-semester credit hours but fewer than 88-credit hours.
Senior - A student who has earned at least 88-semester credit hours but who has not earned a bachelor’s degree.

Transfer Credit

Ferrum College will accept transfer credit (including distance education classes) from other regionally accredited institutions; however, degree recipients must complete at least 32-of their last 64-credit hours at Ferrum College.  All degree candidates must complete at least 121 hours of coursework, of which 30-hours must be at the 300-level, with at least a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average within their academic major.  At least 50 percent of the hours required for a major and minor(s) must be completed at Ferrum. This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Program Coordinator of the major in association with the School Dean.  Transfer students are required to meet the Liberal Arts Core requirements, including writing intensive, speaking intensive, experiential component requirements, and experiential term (E-Term) requirements, as outlined in the catalog.

Grading System

Grade-point averages are determined by dividing the total quality points earned by the number of semester hours of attempted course work.  A semester hour is the value of one class hour per week throughout a semester.  Ferrum uses the following grading scale:

  • A – Excellent, 90-100 – 4.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • B – Good, 80-89 – 3.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • C – Average, 70-79 – 2.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • D – Passing, 60-69 – 1.0 quality points per semester hour.
  • F – Failing, below 60 – 0 quality points. 
  • FF-A Penalty F may be given only by the Honor Board as a result of being found responsible for an Honor Code violation.  While the course may be repeated, the F will always be computed in the G.P.A.  This F will be recorded on the transcript as FF.  The Honor Board is responsible for notifying the Registrar’s Office if there is a violation that warrants a penalty of FF.
  • I – In special cases, such as a lengthy illness, the student (with the permission of the instructor) may petition the Academic Standards Committee before the end of the seven weeks to extend the period of completion.  The “I” will convert to an “F” unless a petition to extend the completion time is granted by the Academic Standards Committee.
  • W – Withdrawn when passing or failing without penalty (assigned only by the Academic Standards Committee).  Appeals to the Academic Standards Committee must be made prior to the end of classes.
  • WF – Withdrawn when failing; computed into the grade point average as an “F”.
  • WP – Withdrawn when passing; not computed into the grade point average.
  • R – Repeat; a non-credit, no penalty grade which may be awarded only in English 101 and Math 100.  The grade is intended for under-prepared students in English or mathematics who work diligently and show potential but do not attain sufficient skill to proceed in the sequence.  To do so, students must first repeat the course.
  • P/F – Pass/Fail; the courses in which students may earn a “pass/fail” grade must be designated by the offering department.  Such courses are included in the computation of the student’s course load and total hours earned; however, no quality points are assigned for “P” grades.  A failure of a “pass/fail” is considered as an “F” and does affect the student’s grade point average.
  • AU – Audit; a non-credit course grade designation elected by the student within the first week’s add period.  The audited credits count as hours carried and are subject to fee assessment.  Approval to audit a class must be granted by the instructor and email notification sent to the Registrar's Office.


An incomplete (“I”) for a course will be granted only in cases of prolonged illness, family emergency, or some other documented unforeseen circumstance that prevents the student from completing the course requirement on time.  A student who wishes to receive an “I” may make a request with the instructor of the course to initiate the process.  This must be done before final grades are due in the Registrar’s Office. 

The instructor will determine the appropriate amount of time necessary for completion of the work.  However, the incomplete work must be completed within seven weeks after the end of the semester in which the “I” is given.  In special cases, such as a lengthy illness, the student, with the consent of the instructor, may petition the Academic Standards Committee before the end of the seven weeks to extend the period of completion.

Upon completion of the course work, the “I” will be replaced with a final grade.  If the course is not completed by the end of the seven weeks, the “I” will be converted into an “F” grade unless a petition to extend the completion time is granted by the Academic Standards Committee.  The extension, if granted, will extend no longer than the subsequent semester (work must be completed by the end of the spring semester for fall incompletes and no later than the beginning of the fall semester for spring incompletes).  Summer incomplete extensions, if granted, will be completed no later than the end of the fall semester. A student may not be permitted to enroll for credit in any course that has the incomplete course as a stated prerequisite without permission of the instructor. 

Grade Reporting

Grades may be viewed on the student’s i-Assistant immediately after the grades are entered by the professor and transcripts may be requested by using the “Transcript Request” link on i-Assistant.

Grade Review Process

Grade reviews involving evaluation or credit in a course should be directed to the faculty member who taught the course.  In cases where the student feels the problem has not been resolved, he or she may speak to the appropriate School Dean and, finally, to the Provost.  Except in unusual circumstances, a student must seek review in writing within six (6) weeks after the grade is given.  However, after consultation with the appropriate School Dean and the Provost, the final authority for establishing a grade and awarding credit lies with the faculty member.

Graduating with Honors

To graduate with honors, a student must achieve the following grade point averages based on all credit work attempted:

  • Summa Cum Laude – 3.8
  • Magna Cum Laude – 3.6
  • Cum Laude – 3.4

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List of students whose grade-point average is at least 3.4 out of a possible 4.0 is confirmed at the end of the fall and spring semesters.  A student must be full-time to qualify for the Dean’s List.

Withdrawal from College

Students with extenuating circumstances that make it necessary to withdraw from the college should do so officially to maintain good standing.  The following are considered extenuating circumstances: (i) prolonged illness; (ii) family emergency; or (iii) documented unforeseen circumstances.  They should obtain an official withdrawal form from the Registrar’s Office to initiate withdrawal procedures.  It is the responsibility of the student to complete the Withdrawal Form and acquire signatures from staff in the following offices:  Student Affairs, Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Academic Advisor, Student Employment, Post Office, Residence Education, and Food Services.  The student should officially drop his or her classes with their academic advisor if withdrawing before the tenth week of classes.  Withdrawing students must turn in their identification cards, residence hall or apartment keys, post office box key, and clear any charges on their student account, at the time of the exit interview.  Failure to complete formal withdrawal procedures will result in grades of “F” for courses in which students were registered that term and in general, cannot be appealed to Academic Standards.  The form with all acquired signatures must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

  • Official withdrawals within the first four weeks of the semester will result in the deletion of courses from a student’s permanent record.
  • Official withdrawals between the fourth and tenth week will result in grades of “WP” or “WF” as granted by each faculty member.
  • Withdrawals after the tenth week will result in grades of “F” regardless of academic performance.
  • A student with extenuating circumstances may appeal to the Academic Standards Committee for grades of “W” prior to the last day of classes.

Involuntary withdrawals will be administered by the Office of Student Affairs. (Refer to the Student Handbook for guidelines and processes related to involuntary medical withdrawals.)  In order for the College to consider granting a voluntary medical withdrawal, the student must provide evidence, supported and documented by a physician, of a serious, personal medical issue.  Any refund for which withdrawing students are eligible will be based upon the date of the official withdrawal.  Students who withdraw early may be subject to a refund of Title IV aid programs (Stafford loan, PLUS loan, Pell grant, SEOG, and Perkins loans).  All withdrawals (except those for which the Academic Standards Committee has granted grades of “W” following an appeal) will be subject to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility chart. Students that withdraw from Ferrum may seek readmission by writing the Dean of Admissions.


Repeating Courses


For the purpose of improving their overall academic average, students are permitted and encouraged to repeat courses in which they have grades of “D” or “F.” Students are encouraged to use the “Improve Academic Standing” link on i-Assistant. Although only the higher grade obtained in a repeated course is included in a student’s grade-point average, it should be noted for transfer purposes that other institutions may consider total hours attempted in calculating the G.P.A. A Penalty “F” (See Grading System) may be repeated, but the “F” is still computed in the grade-point average.


Academic Alerts

Faculty members are encouraged to notify the Academic Resources Center of students who are not performing satisfactorily (e.g., poor attendance, assignments not turned in, daily grades). Such notification is accomplished through an online form known as an Academic Alert notice. Students are expected to review their progress and to seek help from instructors, advisors, or the ARC as soon as they experience problems in class. The student and academic advisor, ARC and athletic coach (if student is involved with the athletic program) receive an email copy of the Academic Alert.

Graduation Requirements

Students must utilize the assistance of faculty advisors in the formulation of an acceptable course of study leading to a degree and should review their progress frequently to be sure they are in compliance with all degree requirements. Prior to registration all students with Junior or higher status are required to complete a graduation check with their advisor. Utilizing a Graduation Checklist Form, the student and the advisor will review the student’s academic record and complete the plan for meeting graduation requirements. Both the student and the advisor will sign the plan. Completed forms must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for approval.

To graduate, a student must:

- have completed a diploma order form with the Registrar the September of the Fall Semester prior to May graduation.

- successfully complete 121 semester hours, with 30 of these hours at the 300-400 level, maintaining a grade-point average of at least 2.0 for hours earned at Ferrum. Students must also maintain a 2.0 grade point average within their academic major.

- meet the appropriate Liberal Arts Core requirements and major/minor requirements (including Degree Specific Requirements, Experiential Component, and pass one Experiential Term (E-Term)).

- satisfy the Speaking Intensive requirement in order to demonstrate the ability to access, analyze, synthesize, and share ideas and information through oral presentation. This requirement can be fulfilled by completion of COM 201 (Public Speaking), THA 222 (Voice and Diction), THA 346 (Readers Theatre), ENG 433 (Small Group Communication),  HUM 333 (Intercultural Conflict Mediation), EPD 498 (Senior Project) or any two courses identified as Speaking Intensive with a grade of C or higher such as NSM 307 (Junior Seminar) and NSM 498 (Senior Presentation) or ENG 398 (Junior Seminar) and 498 ( Senior Seminar).

- satisfy the Writing Intensive requirement in order to demonstrate the ability to access, analyze, synthesize, and share ideas and information by writing. This requirement can be met by completing six hours of courses identified as Writing Intensive with a grade of C or higher. Completing English 102 with a grade of C or higher is a prerequisite for any Writing Intensive course. Students who have completed one sophomore literature course to meet the distribution requirement (English 201-212, excluding ENG 208) may take a second sophomore literature course at Ferrum College to meet three hours of Writing Intensive requirement. At least three hours of Writing Intensive courses must be at the 300-400 level. All courses used to satisfy the Writing Intensive requirement must be taken at Ferrum College. Students who wish to transfer courses specifically designated as writing-intensive at other institutions may appeal to the Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities.

- be enrolled for at least one academic year or its equivalent at Ferrum.

- have completed at least 50 percent of total hours required for a major at Ferrum. This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Program Coordinator in association with the School Dean.

- have completed at least 50 percent of total hours required for a minor at Ferrum. This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Program Coordinator in association with the School Dean. 

- complete the last semester of academic work at Ferrum College. A student may transfer a maximum of nine semester hours of work to Ferrum to complete the requirements for graduation; transfer of more than nine hours must have the approval of the Academic Standards Committee.

- clear all financial obligations to the college.

- be approved for graduation by formal vote of the faculty.

To participate in graduation exercises as a summer candidate, a student may not fall short of the required minimum of 121 credit hours by more than one course or an internship, must have attained at least a 2.0 cumulative and major grade point averages, and must have submitted proof of summer registration with the Registrar to complete the work prior to the beginning of the next fall term. Unless excused by the Provost, all degree candidates must participate in graduation exercises. Students requesting to be excused must submit a letter to the Provost.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid Eligibility


All students at Ferrum College are expected to achieve satisfactory progress toward a baccalaureate degree.  Exhibiting such progress is necessary to remain in good standing and to remain eligible to receive financial aid.  For satisfactory progress to be demonstrated, a full-time student must meet the following standards designed to set minimum guidelines for advancement to the baccalaureate degree within a period of time, up to five years.  For purposes of this policy, students will be considered full-time for the semester if their class load is at least twelve credit hours at the end of the add period.

The status of transfer students will be determined based on the number of transferable hours they bring to Ferrum College upon entry.  For example, a student who enters Ferrum with 30-41 transferable hours will be considered to have completed three semesters; consequently, his or her first Ferrum semester will be considered the fourth, and he or she must meet the appropriate Grade Point Average (in chart below) based only on course work at Ferrum.

Readmitted students who have taken courses at other institutions after leaving Ferrum College will not be considered transfer students for the purpose of determining satisfactory academic progress; rather, readmitted students will be evaluated individually by the Office of the Registrar in consultation with the Dean of Admissions to determine their readmission status (good standing, academic warning, or academic probation).  Transfer grades and hours completed will be taken into consideration as will the students’ prior Ferrum College academic and citizenship records, in making this determination.

In order for satisfactory progress to be demonstrated, a part-time degree-seeking student must complete 75% of all hours attempted and maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average specified on the following chart based on cumulative hours earned.  A student who is part-time during any regular semester will be evaluated by this standard at the end of all subsequent semesters.  In addition, a part-time student who has not passed at least half of the hours attempted in any single semester will be placed on academic suspension.

Students meeting these standards will be considered in good standing.  Academic penalties for not meeting these standards are academic warning, academic probation, and academic suspension (see next section).  Students listed on consecutive semesters of academic warning or any academic probation status will be considered on Financial Aid Probation (see Financial Aid Policy) and will need to submit a letter of appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for review of financial aid eligibility.

Official student records are maintained in the Office of the Registrar.  The student should contact this office for any question regarding academic status.
After completing a total number of semesters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
A student must have earned  a total of ___ semester hours 9 19 30 42 55 68 81 94 107 121
With at least this cumulative G.P.A. 1.40 1.60 1.80 1.90 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00


Academic Warning

At the end of any semester, the first time a student fails to meet the published standards (See chart above) and has passed at least six hours, he or she will be placed on academic warning.

A student on academic warning must comply with the program of study for students on warning coordinated by the Academic Resources Center. This program requires students on academic warning to register and attend a required College Skills course, CSK 092, and use the ARC and other appropriate campus resources. Students on warning who fail to meet these requirements will have their names submitted to the Provost’s Office. If a student does not meet the published standards for hours but does meet them for GPA he/she may be placed on a second academic warning for one, and only one, additional semester. Furthermore, a student who has been on Academic Warning and again the subsequent semester fails to meet the guidelines for satisfactory academic progress, but has at least a 2.0 semester grade-point average on at least 12 earned hours of completed coursework during the semester, will be placed on academic warning for one, and only one, additional semester. Placement on a second semester of academic warning will also impact a student’s financial aid eligibility. See “Financial Aid Policies” in the next section.”

Academic Probation

Once a student has been on academic warning, if the student fails to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress (see chart) during any semester in the future, he or she will be placed on academic probation.

A student on academic probation must comply with the program of study for students on probation coordinated by the Academic Resources Center. This program requires students on academic probation to register and attend a required College Skills course, CSK 096, and use the ARC and other appropriate campus resources. Students on academic probation will review progress, assess problems, and plan their return to good standing through enrollment in the required College Skills course. Placement on academic probation will impact a student’s financial aid eligibility. See “Financial Aid Policies” in the next section.

The Academic Resources Center will maintain records of Academic Alerts and students’ use of services in the ARC. Eligibility for participation in co-curricular activities is determined annually, at the beginning of each fall semester. Students on academic probation are ineligible to participate in the following co-curricular activities:
- Intercollegiate and club sports
- Touring performance groups
- Student Government Association (officers)
- Clubs and class organizations (officers)
- Art shows and major drama productions unless required for satisfaction of course requirement
- Student media organizations (editors and managers) unless required for satisfaction of course requirement
Students on academic probation during the fall semester may participate in these activities during the spring semester provided they have returned to good academic standing. In addition, individual teams, clubs, and organizations may enforce stricter eligibility standards than these minimum standards.

Students may continue on academic probation for a subsequent semester only if they have earned at least a 2.0 semester grade-point average on at least 12 earned hours of completed coursework, even though they do not meet the guidelines of satisfactory academic progress. Continuing on academic probation will impact a student’s financial aid eligibility. See “Financial Aid Policies” in the next section.

Academic Suspension

At the end of a semester on academic probation or any semester in the future following academic probation, if a student fails to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress, he or she will be placed on academic suspension. However, if the student has at least a 2.0 semester grade point average on at least 12 earned hours of course work during the most recent semester, he or she will not be suspended, but will remain on academic probation until he or she meets the published standards. Regardless, any full-time student who does not earn at least six-credit-hours (this includes all institutional credit hours and hours to which the “R” grade has been assigned) in a semester will be placed on academic suspension at the end of that semester.

A student on academic suspension may not be enrolled during the next regular semester at Ferrum College, although he or she may enroll in any summer courses. Students seeking readmission following academic suspension should show evidence of being able to do acceptable college work. This is normally accomplished by successful course work earned at another accredited institution. A student suspended at the end of the spring semester may seek readmission on the basis of work completed during the summer at Ferrum or at another institution. Students are strongly advised to access the "Improve Academic Standing" link available on i-Assistant for important guidance. Approval of transferability must be obtained prior to enrolling in a course at another institution from the Office of the Registrar at Ferrum College if there is not a community college equivalent on the computer generated pre-approval form. An official transcript mustbe sent to the Office of the Registrar.

Enrollment at Ferrum College obligates the student to pursue actively the earning of college credit. Students who are absent excessively or refuse to complete assigned course work may be subject to suspension at any time.

All appeals of academic suspension must be made in writing to the Academic Standards Committee. No student may return to the college either part-time or full-time without following the appeals procedure outlined in his or her suspension letter. Students who submit an appeal to the Academic Standards Committee should also submit an appeal for review of Financial Aid eligibility to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee (See Appeals Process under Financial Aid Policies). Readmission to the College does not guarantee approval of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Policies

Federal regulations prohibit the Financial Aid Office from awarding aid to any student who is not making satisfactory academic progress. The satisfactory academic progress policy applies to all sources of Title IV financial aid programs (including student and PLUS loans) with the exception of the Virginia TAG grant and selected Ferrum College entitlement grants that do not have an academic requirement for renewal. Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester.


Financial Aid Warning: Financial Aid Warning occurs when a student is listed on academic warning for the first time. The student is only eligible for one semester of Financial Aid Warning. Students who are placed on their first semester of academic and financial aid warning will retain their eligibility for financial aid for the next semester.

Financial Aid Probation: Financial Aid Probation occurs when a student is placed on a 2nd semester of academic warning, academic probation or continuing academic probation, or is readmitted to the College on academic probation. Students on financial aid probation are considered ineligible for financial aid. Students may appeal their financial aid probation status (see Appeals Process).


Student folders are reviewed each semester when final grades and academic standing lists become available. For those students attending E-Term, those folders will be reviewed after completion of E-Term coursework. The student’s name is checked against the second warning, probation lists provided by the Office of the Registrar. If the student is on second academic warning and academic probation, continuing academic probation, or suspension, he/she is determined to be ineligible to receive financial aid for the subsequent semester. A notification letter is sent to the student by the Financial Aid Office regarding their financial aid status and right to appeal. If the student later notifies us that he/she has been able to make up the deficiency during the summer for the next fall semester, the reviewer will obtain updated academic progress confirmation from the Office of the Registrar and mark the folder accordingly. The student will then be reviewed for financial aid for the next semester.

Academic semesters are defined by the college’s Calendar Committee each year. Traditionally, the fall semester begins in August/September and ends in December. The spring semester begins in January and ends in April/May. The semester is comprised of 15 weeks as required by law to award Title IV funds. Ferrum College is currently a credit hour based institution with two traditional terms and one experiential term (E-Term) in May that is at no additional tuition cost to the student for their first required course. Payment periods are determined on a per year basis, unless the student has notified the Financial Aid Office that his/her enrollment plans will be on a per semester basis.

In order to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, a student must earn a minimum number of hours, earn a minimum GPA, and must complete a bachelor’s degree within a maximum 150% of full-time study. The 150% requirement requires that a student may not earn more credit hours than 150% of what is required for the degree program (i.e., if the student’s degree program requires 120 credit hours then 150% of 120 equals 180). This time frame may be appealed. Please review the Appeals Process under Financial Aid Policies for additional information. Students who do not meet satisfactory progress at the end of the spring semester may be able to meet standards by attending summer school. The student should utilize the Improve Academic Standing link on i-Assistant before registering for classes to receive assistance with appropriate course selection. Students must abide by the recommendations provided in the Improve Academic Standing Link in order to return to good standing.

Students will be reviewed for compliance at the end of each semester. The Financial Aid Policies apply to all students regardless of enrollment status. 

Appeals Process

Students not making Satisfactory Academic Progress and have lost their financial aid eligibility have the right to appeal their financial aid status based on extraordinary or extenuating circumstances. These appeals should be addressed and mailed to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee, C/O Financial Aid Office, P.O. Box 1000, Ferrum, VA 24088 or submitted online via i-Assistant.

Extenuating circumstances include: death in the family, injury or illness of the student or family member, documented disability, or other extenuating circumstances not mentioned above.   Students may also appeal the 150% requirement as discussed above. The student will have met the 150% requirement if they have accumulated 180+ credit hours. The 150% limitation may be appealed due to extenuating circumstances. To appeal, the student must submit a letter of appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee, C/O Financial Aid Office, P.O. Box 1000, Ferrum, VA 24088 detailing why additional time is necessary to complete the degree and when the student expects to complete his/her program of study.

Appeals MUST contain the following: Why the student failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress; and what the student will do, or what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow him/her to demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress at the next evaluation.

Students will be notified by letter when a determination has been made by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.

Students are not guaranteed eligibility for financial aid through the appeals process.

Academic Plan

Students who have failed to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and who will require more than one semester to return to good standing may be eligible to regain eligibility for financial aid by completing an academic plan. The student should work closely with his/her advisor to develop an academic plan that, if satisfactorily implemented, will lead the student back in good academic standing within a specific time frame as designated in the approved academic plan. Students will be required to utilize the “Improve Academic Standing” link on i-Assistant. This tool will list the courses necessary to repeat, and project the student's G.P.A. and hours needed to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Students may continue on academic probation with an approved plan only if they have earned at least a 2.0 semester grade-point average on at least 12 earned hours of completed coursework.  The Financial Aid Office will receive electronic notification of all approved academic plans.

Academic Support Services


Academic Resources Center

The Academic Resources Center provides academic assistance for the entire student body.  It is located on the ground level of Stanley Library.  The various components of the ARC include the academic success curriculum, FOCUS (a two-week pre-college academic session), College Skills courses (CSK), the Peer Assisted Learning Program, individual tutoring and special study sessions.  Tutoring services are available Sunday-Thursday between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. providing free tutoring for all students in content courses.

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)

Peer tutors are assigned to primarily (but not limited to) introductory level courses.  The student PAL facilitator attends each class and establishes a schedule for study sessions twice a week, as well as extra sessions prior to major tests.  Students may also schedule one-on-one sessions with the PAL assigned to their class.  A schedule of classes and study sessions can be found on the ARC website, posted around campus and in the ARC.

Writing Center

Staffed by English faculty, the Writing Center is available to all students who seek to improve their writing skills in connection with any course on campus. Students at all levels of ability are encouraged to visit the Writing Center for individual assistance at any stage of a writing project from brainstorming and planning to researching, drafting, and revising.  Located on the main floor of the Stanley Library, the Writing Center is open for drop-in visits on a regular schedule of both day and evening hours during the academic semesters.  There is no charge to the student for this tutorial service.

Mathematics Center

The Mathematics Center provides assistance to students for any level of math and math related courses offered at Ferrum College, including homework, test preparation and projects in upper level math or math related courses.  Math faculty are available according to scheduled hours to provide tutoring and help during the week and during evening hours.  The Center is located on the main floor of the Stanley Library near the entrance off the Library/Schoolfield Patio. 

Information Services Help Desk and Computer Labs

The Information Services Help Desk in the lower level of Stanley Library is open 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday when the College is in session.  Information Services staff and student assistants can provide assistance with basic hardware and software questions and troubleshooting.  These services are available at no charge to students.

There are Computer Labs in Beckham Hall, Garber Hall, and the Stanley Library Learning Annex.  When not used for scheduled classes, the Beckham and Stanley Library computer labs are open to students. The labs are staffed by student assistants Sunday through Thursday evenings when the College is in session.  Additionally, a limited number of laptop computers are available for short-term checkout to students from the Stanley Library.

Office of Academic Accessibility Services (OAAS)

Students who seek academic accommodations must submit current disability documentation to the Director  of Academic Accessibility Services (OAAS) to request the desired accommodations.  The Director’s office is located in the lower level of Stanley Library, Office #110.  The telephone number is 540-365-4262.  Academic services are available during the fall and spring academic semesters.


FOCUS: First Opportunity for College Undergraduate Success

FOCUS is a pre-college experience, that is held for two weeks in the summer during which incoming freshmen can earn college credit. Students register for FER 105, Introduction to College Living and Learning.   Experiences are designed to facilitate academic growth as students transition from high school to college. Students participate in curricular and co-curricular activities that help develop skills and readiness for college.  FOCUS also helps students develop critical thinking skills, a sense of community, and connection to the Ferrum College campus.


Connection Gateway – First Year Experience

The Connection Gateway – First Year Experience Program addresses issues and concerns shared by new Ferrum students and introduces them to the responsibilities and privileges of living and learning in an academic community.  The program is designed to help students adjust to Ferrum College, develop a better understanding of learning processes, acquire academic and social skills crucial to personal and professional success, and take advantage of the campus resources available to them. 

The Connection Gateway includes: PAWS, Connection Weekend, and GWS 101, all explained below. New students, both freshmen and transfers, and their parents or guardians are introduced to the campus during a Panther PAWS (Pre-Registration Assessment Workshop in the Summer).  When students come to campus in August, they participate in Connection Weekend, a three-day orientation to college life.

Freshmen take GWS 101, a two-hour, two-credit course that helps students begin their college experience with an integrating academic experience and to achieve familiarity with campus resources and college policies.

Boone Honors Program

The Boone Honors Program has both curricular and co-curricular components.  The curricular components enrich experiences in a student’s major and minor(s) while enhancing the student’s general education experience at Ferrum.  The co-curricular components help create a community within the program that builds friendships while supporting curricular initiatives and enhancing the honors student’s undergraduate experience.  The Honors Committee will consider for acceptance into the honors program any student who enters college with a 3.4 high school G.P.A. and 1000 SAT scores or who is on the Dean’s List at Ferrum College.  Such students should contact the Honors Director or the admissions office for a more complete description of the Honors Program and procedures for entering it.

Briefly, students who complete the Honors Program graduate with a special honors designation on the diploma and are awarded the Boone Honors Medallion at Commencement.  They will have completed four special honors designated seminars in lieu of 12-hours of general education courses as well as a three credit capstone course; students must earn a grade of C or higher and an overall 3.2 G.P.A. for these courses, and must also maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.4 throughout their program.  Additionally, honors students complete six hours of foreign language study and take 12-hours of honors-enriched courses.  These honors-enriched courses will be regularly taught courses in which honors students undertake individualized enrichment projects.  The point of honors-enriched coursework is to extend a topic, approach, or project so that honors students gain a deeper understanding of the area of study.  Students have the option of undertaking an honors thesis project to satisfy up to six hours of the honors enrichment requirement, depending on the scope of the project.  Students will also be required to complete a capstone course taken during the junior or senior year, currently listed as HON 435: Values and Vocation.  They will have the opportunity to participate in a number of social and cultural activities for honors students only, and resident honors students are offered special housing options.  Please refer to Course Descriptions under the Honors (HON) course designation for a current list of special honors courses and descriptions.  Contact Dr. Lana Whited, Director of the Boone Honors Program, for more information.

Writing Program

Ferrum College considers writing a vital academic process, a special mode of learning, and one of the best available indicators of a student’s ability to think.  The faculty, therefore, expects students to show increasing skill in stating logical, unified ideas, developing concepts, organizing appropriate formats, and using language both correctly and effectively.  To attain this goal, the faculty expects that the regular instructional program of the college will teach writing skills throughout the student’s four-year program of study.

  1. The faculty at Ferrum College realizes its responsibility for helping students become competent writers.  All faculty members are encouraged to require at least one significant and appropriate writing assignment in each of their classes.  These assignments may vary greatly depending on the nature of the discipline and the structure of the course.  These written assignments will be evaluated for the elements of good writing as well as content.
  2. All students must complete one full year of freshman composition, one course in sophomore literature, and the college Writing Intensive requirement.  The faculty expects that these courses will develop the fundamentals by which all students’ writing skills will improve during the junior and senior years.
  3. The college provides the Writing Center as a tutorial service for students.  Faculty may refer students to the center, or students may go on their own.  The Writing Center provides individual tutoring in writing and assistance with individual papers.
  4. The college also offers a Fundamentals of Writing course for students who need additional preparation before entering the traditional freshman composition courses.
  5. Individual departments may establish additional writing elements for their classes.

International and Intercultural Learning Opportunities

Ferrum students are provided multiple opportunities to learn about various domestic and international cultures.  A few examples are provided below:

- The Appalachian Cluster: The Appalachian Cluster examines modernization in Appalachia from several different points of view – English, sociology, and science.  All participants take three classes together so that students and faculty form a unique learning community.  Classes involved are SOC 101 (Introduction to Sociology), ESC 110 (Introduction to Environmental Issues), and ENG 102 (Composition and Research II).  Students who have already received credit for ENG 102 may obtain credit for ENG 207 instead.  Any one of these courses can be honors-enriched by students in the Boone Honors Program.  While participants learn a great deal about Appalachia, the focus of instruction is general education, teaching basic concepts of science, sociology, and English, using Appalachia as a tool for getting there.  The region is close at hand and rich in opportunity.  So participants do site visits to locations under study, learning fundamentals of critical thinking through original research.

- Study Abroad/Study Away: Students may participate in a variety of international study opportunities.  A semester of full-time study in London, England may be arranged for students making satisfactory academic progress.  Courses are taught by American and British faculty at Imperial College of the University of London.  This program is available to students at a cost that is comparable to fees charged for full-time study on campus.  This affordable international study experience is possible through Ferrum’s participation in the Private College Consortium for International Studies.  The program is designed so that students take classes that, in most instances, will satisfy general education and major requirements in addition to earning credit hours toward graduation.  Students may qualify for internship or study opportunities in Pskov, Russia through an ongoing exchange program established by the Roanoke, Virginia/Pskov, Russia Sister City Organization. In addition to these programs, students at Ferrum College may work with the college’s Office of International Programs to find study abroad and internship opportunities in many other areas, ranging from Asia to Europe to South America. Finally, short-term study/travel tours to a variety of destinations are frequently organized and led by members of the Ferrum College faculty through the college's E-Term program in the month of May and at other times during the year.