Jul 24, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog 
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Rules & Regulations



Attending class, especially the first day of classes, is critical to student success. Be certain to attend each class the first day it is scheduled. Go to the room listed on the invoice at the time and on the day the class is scheduled. Instructors begin taking attendance on the first day. This helps them to learn students’ names and to be certain that all students receive the information necessary to succeed in that class. Students should learn the instructor’s name, office number and office hours.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all classes regularly and on time. Excessive absences* result in poor classroom performance, low grades and possible failure. The attendance policies of individual instructors will be made clear on the first day of class and will appear in the course outline. (Some instructors may calculate attendance and absenteeism into students’ final grade.)

* Instructors will check attendance for the first three weeks of the term (or 20 percent of shorter terms). If students do not attend during that time, they will be dropped from the class, financial aid will be adjusted, and tuition and fees will be forfeited. Instructors will also report on attendance at the 60 percent date of the term for financial aid compliance. For more details, see Appendix A  in the Appendices, in this catalog.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, absences due to pregnancy or related conditions, including recovery from childbirth, shall be excused for as long as the absences are determined to be medically necessary. Students will be provided with the opportunity to make up any work missed as a result of such absences, if possible. The college may also offer the student alternatives to making up missed work, such as, but not limited to, retaking a semester, taking part in online instruction, or allowing the student additional time in a program to continue at the same pace and finish at a later date. For more information or requests for accommodations, students should inform their instructor(s) and/or contact the Civil Rights Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator at 412.237.4535 or smisra@ccac.edu

Attendance Procedure for Religious Observance for Students

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is committed to creating an inclusive campus community that values and respects all of its members and achieves educational excellence through diversity and nondiscrimination. As part of this commitment, the College makes good faith efforts to accommodate students’ religious practices or beliefs, unless such accommodation would create undue burden on other students or the College.

The College will make reasonable efforts to accommodate students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe a religious holiday or participate in some other form of religious observance. Students shall be provided, whenever possible, reasonable opportunity to make up academic assignments missed due to such absences, unless doing so would create or impose an undue burden on other students or the College. It shall be the students’ responsibility to provide written notice via the Request for Accommodation for Religious Observances Form (accessible at https://www.ccac.edu/nondiscrimination) to every instructor for each course in which an accommodation is being requested at least one week in advance of the absence. Students and faculty may also consult with the Civil Rights Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator (smisra@ccac.edu) prior to requesting or granting an accommodation.

Course Outlines

Students will receive a course outline in each class during the first week. This course outline will review the course purpose, detail class activities and list the requirements to meet to successfully complete the course. The course outline will also list the books and materials students will be expected to purchase.

Required Books and Materials

Students can view the textbook assignments in the course search in CCAC Central e-Services, but students should not purchase books until they meet with the instructor in class. Instructors select the books they want students to use in their classes, and these may vary between sections of the same course. Students should not write in books until they are certain they will remain in the class since this may affect a refund if they return the books. The guidelines for returning textbooks and materials are detailed on the CCAC website. Read carefully; there are different deadlines for each.

Academic Calendar

The academic year at CCAC includes a fall and spring term. During these terms, there are 15 weeks of instruction and a 16th final exam week (for most campus day courses) in each class for which students are registered. The college centers and many campus evening courses start two weeks later (a 13-week term and a 14th week of exams) and have prorated refund and academic dates. There is a variety of summer term schedules offered, ranging from six to 10 weeks in length. Students should be aware of the length of the term in which they enroll. Classes for which students have registered will be completed when students have taken final examinations. For more information, go to ccac.edu/Academic_Calendars.aspx

One hour of instruction a week over a 16-week term equals one college credit. A good rule of thumb is that students should plan to study two hours a week for every one hour spent in class. For a three credit class, students should plan on six hours of study a week. A full-time student enrolls for a minimum of 12 credits a term. About 35 percent of students at the college attend on a full-time basis.


Midterm grades will be available on CCAC Central e-Services during the ninth week of the term. Midterm grades are not a permanent record but are intended to help students assess their progress in each class. These progress reports also provide students with a list of their registered classes.

If students receive a grade in a class they are not attending, students should report at once to the Registration and Advisement office to determine their registration status. Failure to do this could mean that a student will receive a failing grade in a class he/she never attended.

Final grades will be available online shortly after the term is over. This final grade becomes part of the permanent record at the college and will appear on the student’s transcript when copies are sent to potential employers or other colleges at the student’s request. If there is a problem with a grade, it is important that students contact their instructor immediately. Midterm and final grades are only available on the web. For additional instructions, go to ccac.edu and visit CCAC Central e-Services.

Grade Description

CCAC reports student performance using the following grading system:

A Superior
B Above Average
C Average
D Below Average
F Failure

These grades are used to calculate a student’s grade point average (GPA). The GPA indicates academic standing at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Calculating Grade Point Average

To calculate a student’s grade point average (GPA), CCAC assigns grade points to each of a student’s letter grades (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0) and these are then multiplied by the credits assigned to the class. Grade points are then added up for all classes completed in a term and divided by the total term credit hours completed. This result is the term GPA. Students can calculate their cumulative GPA by adding up the grade points for all the courses attended and dividing this number by the sum of credit hours completed. These calculations are available on CCAC Central e-Services.


BIO 110   4 cr. A/4 16 grade points
ENG 101   3 cr. B/3 9 grade points
MAT 102   3 cr. A/4 12 grade points
PSY 101   3 cr. C/2 6 grade points

  13 cr.   43 grade points

Total grade points are divided by the total credits to get the grade point average.

43 GP / 13 cr. = 3.31 GPA credential

Developmental courses are not calculated into the graduation GPA. Students must earn C grades or better in all developmental courses to register for the next course in the discipline or to use this course as a prerequisite for a course in another discipline.

Interpreting the Grade Report

In addition to grades A through F, other symbols that may appear on the grade record but that are not calculated into the GPA are:

I (Incomplete). This means that a student has permission from an instructor to postpone the completion of required coursework for a period not to exceed eight weeks into the following term. If the work is not completed by this deadline, the I will become an F grade. Before an instructor can assign an I grade, the student and the instructor must complete a contract with a schedule for completing the required work. When this work is complete, the instructor will submit a final grade. Incompletes do not appear on the midterm grade report.

M (Military Call to Active Duty). An M grade is posted to the student transcript when a student has elected the withdrawal option Military Call to Active Duty.

L (Audit). This means that a student is attending the class on a nonacademic credit basis. A student must indicate this on the registration form when registering for the class. Students taking a course on an audit basis pay the same tuition and fees as the student taking the course for credit.

P (Passing). A few select college classes have been approved for grading on a pass/fail basis. There are no grade points assigned to a pass course. Failed grades will count in the calculation of a student’s GPA.

W (Withdrawal). This means that a student has officially withdrawn from the course. Any actions or pending actions of academic misconduct may prohibit a student from withdrawing from a course. The deadline for an official withdrawal from a course is the ninth week of a 16-week term. Shorter terms have a prorated W date. After this deadline, the instructor must give the student a grade.

(A Blank in the Grade Field). This means that no grade was posted for this class. The student should check with the instructor to determine why.

Changing an Incorrect Grade

Each student should check their final grades at the end of each term by using CCAC Central e-Services. If the student believes a grade is incorrect, the student needs to discuss this with the instructor. If the instructor agrees, he/she will submit a change of grade card to the appropriate academic dean for posting. Appeals related to grades always begin with the instructor. The academic dean can explain subsequent steps in the appeals process to the student. All disputed grades must be resolved within the first eight weeks of the next major term (Fall or Spring).

Repeating Courses

If a student receives a D, F, or W grade in a course, the student can repeat the course. However, a third and final attempt requires permission of the associate dean of Academic Affairs and will be permitted only under compelling circumstances and with the student’s written acknowledgment of and agreement to the consequences of not successfully completing the course on the third attempt. As a condition of being granted a third attempt, the student may be required to utilize available academic support options during the third attempt.

In some programs, the student may need to repeat a course, regardless of the grade, if it was taken more than 10 years ago. These courses are usually identified within information about the specific program. The last grade received in a course is used to calculate the grade point average. Earlier grades will remain on the transcript with an appropriate notation.

Limited enrollment programs and/or third party funding may have different requirements.

Revised 5.6.14

Changing a Major Program

As a student pursues studies at CCAC, he/she may want to change the major program. To do this, students should discuss the change with an academic advisor and file a change of major program form with the Registration and Advisement office at the student’s campus.

Academic Forgiveness

Students may apply for forgiveness of D and F grades due to an absence of four years from credit study or because they have changed their program of study. The adjusted GPA will be used for determining academic standing to include suspension, probation, good standing, honors and dean’s list.

The following conditions apply to both of these situations.

  • D and F grades remain on the transcript followed by a # notation but will be removed from the calculation of the cumulative GPA. (X, W, L, I, N and P grades are neutral and do not affect the GPA.)
  • There is no limit on the number of courses that can be forgiven within this policy.
  • Courses included in any credential (AA, AS, AAS, certificate or diploma) will not be forgiven; those courses have already been included in the credential.
  • After the most recent four-year absence or change of program, the student must earn a minimum of 12 additional credits with a GPA of 2.00 or higher for all courses taken after the absence or after the change of program (i.e., if more than 12 credits have been completed at the time of application for forgiveness, all grades will be used to calculate the minimum 2.00 GPA requirement).
  • Once awarded, academic forgiveness cannot be revoked.
  • Students will typically apply for academic forgiveness after their first term back at the college. But students may also apply without being currently registered, if applying for graduation.
  • Only institutional credit is calculated into GPA. Transferred credit will not change the CCAC GPA.

Auditing Courses

A student who shows reasonable academic ability may audit one course per term. There is no academic credit for audited courses, but a notation of L is entered on the student’s transcript. Students must request audit status for that course at the time of registration. Standard rates of tuition and fees apply.

Dean’s List

The dean’s list is CCAC’s way of recognizing academic achievement. It is announced at the end of each term. Students will be on the dean’s list if, as a full-time student, they have a term GPA of 3.50 or higher and received no F grades during the term. Courses below 100 are not included in the calculations of the dean’s list GPA. If students are part-time, they will be on the dean’s list at the end of each term in which they have accumulated 12 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher and no F grades for that 12-credit interval. The dean’s list is circulated to local newspapers and usually appears in the student newspaper.

Good Standing

To remain in good standing, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. Students must be in good standing to graduate. Students in good standing may take 15 or more credits of classes a term. More than 18 credits constitute an excessive class load. To register for more than 18 credits, students will need permission from the academic dean.

Academic Standing Rules

After final grades are posted at the end of each term (fall, spring, summer—all sessions combined), the student grade record will be evaluated to determine the student’s academic standing. If the student has earned a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) at or above 2.0, the student will be considered in “Good Standing.”

Midterm Alert

If the student is receiving a grade below a C at midterm, the student may be notified and should meet with the course instructor immediately to discuss progress in the course. Academic advisors are also available to discuss the student’s educational plan and CCAC’s academic support services. Not receiving an alert at midterm does not guarantee that the student will pass the course.

Academic Warning

If the student’s term GPA falls below 2.0, the student will be placed on Academic Warning. When placed on Academic Warning, the student will be required to meet with an academic advisor to discuss the student’s educational plan, discuss strategies to utilize CCAC’s academic support services and discuss the number and type of courses the student should take in future terms in order to help ensure academic success.

To return to good standing, the student must achieve a minimum term and overall cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Academic Probation

If while on Academic Warning, the student earns a term GPA above 2.0 but the cumulative GPA is still below 2.0, the student will stay on Academic Warning. If while on Academic Warning, both the term and cumulative GPA fall below 2.0, the student will be placed on Academic Probation. While on Academic Probation, the student is required to:

  1. Meet with an academic advisor to review the student’s academic plan and to register for courses in subsequent terms
  2. Discuss strategies to utilize CCAC’s academic support services
  3. Enroll in no more than 9-10 credits in subsequent terms
  4. Enroll in online courses only at discretion of the advisor

To return to good standing, the student must achieve a minimum term and overall cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Academic Suspension

If while on Academic Probation, the student’s academic record falls below the minimum of the range outlined below, the student will be placed on Academic Suspension. Evaluation for Suspension will occur once each year, in May after final grades are posted. While on Academic Suspension, the student will be restricted from attending CCAC for two terms unless the student successfully appeals.

Suspension Determination Chart

If student has attempted: AND    Cumulative GPA is:
24 credits <1.50
25–48 credits <1.75
49–59 credits <1.90
60+ credits <2.00

College Process for Academic Suspension

  1.  If the student is placed on Academic Suspension and has not registered for a subsequent term, no other action will be taken.
  2.  If the student has already registered for the summer term, the registration will be canceled with charges adjusted accordingly.
  3.  If the student has NOT filed an appeal AND has already registered for fall term(s), the registration will be canceled with charges adjusted accordingly.
  4. If the student HAS filed an appeal for fall classes AND has already registered for fall classes, the registration will be held until the appeal is determined.
  5. If the student does not appeal the suspension or the appeal is not granted, the student must sit out for two consecutive terms (summer and fall) before being re-admitted to the college for the Spring semester. All summer sessions combined equal one term.
  6. Upon returning after the two term suspension, the student must meet with a counselor to review the student’s educational goals and academic plan, develop strategies to utilize academic support services, and register for classes. Enrollment will be limited to the credit load set by the counselor.
  7. The student can only register with a counselor and must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 minimum. If, in the semester in which the student returns, the student’s term GPA is less than 2.0, the student will be placed on Academic Suspension and must sit out for two terms with no appeal.

College Process for the Appeal of Academic Suspension

If the student wishes to attend within the two-term restricted period, the student must appeal by submitting the Suspension Appeal form to the associate academic dean on the student’s campus by the deadline (instructions included in the Suspension letter).

  1. A permanent Academic Appeals Committee will be established at the beginning of every academic year on each campus under the coordination of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The Committee will be comprised of one advisement administrator, two full-time teaching faculty members, one counselor and one associate dean of Academic Affairs. The term of appointment for committee members will be for one academic year. Alternates will also be selected.
  2. All students identified as ‘suspended’ will receive a suspension letter/e-mail/notice on portal, etc. signed by the academic leader which will outline the conditions of the suspension, appeal process, and the consequences of not filing an appeal before the due date.
  3. The student will be notified of the decision of the Academic Appeals Committee in writing.
  4. If the appeal is granted:
    1. The student must meet with a Counselor to develop an academic plan, discuss strategies to utilize CCAC’s academic support services and to select/adjust courses for fall registration, and for subsequent terms, based on the committee’s recommendation. Enrollment in online courses is at the discretion of the Counselor.
    2. For every term after the appeal, the student must register with a Counselor and must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 minimum for all subsequent semesters. Enrollment will be limited to the credit load set by the Counselor. If the student’s term GPA is less than 2.0, the student will again be placed on suspension and must sit out for two terms with no appeal. If already registered for the next term, the student’s registration will be canceled with charges adjusted accordingly.
  5. If the appeal is denied:
    1. The student must meet with a Counselor in order to be readmitted after sitting out the two terms. If the student has registered for fall courses, the registration will be canceled with charges adjusted accordingly. During the period of suspension, the student will be required to follow any prescribed actions as stated by the Academic Appeals Committee.
    2. For every term after suspension, the student must register with a Counselor and must maintain a term GPA of 2.0 minimum for all subsequent semesters. Enrollment will be limited to the credit load set by the Counselor. If the student’s term GPA is less than 2.0, the student will again be placed on Academic Suspension and must sit out for two terms with no appeal. If already registered for the next term, the student’s registration will be canceled with charges adjusted accordingly.

Financial Aid has a separate standard for academic progress. See Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.


The following procedures are important to a student’s grade record at the college.

  • A student may drop a class during the drop period* of the term, and it will not appear on the transcript.
  • After the drop period ends and until the withdrawal deadline, a student may voluntarily withdraw from a class, and a W notation will appear on the student’s grade report and transcript. There is no refund of tuition or fees associated with the Withdrawal process.
  • Any actions or pending actions of academic misconduct may prohibit a student from withdrawing from a course. The right to withdraw is denied to any student on whom an Academic Misconduct Report Form is filed. Once the form is filed, the right to withdraw is suspended. If the student files an academic misconduct appeal at the conclusion of the process, two possibilities may happen: (1) if the student is exonerated, the right to withdraw applies retroactively; or (2) if the student is found guilty of academic misconduct, the right to withdraw is denied.
  • After the withdrawal deadline, the instructor must give the student a grade (A, B, C, D, F or I) for the class. This grade will appear on the grade report and transcript.

* The specific deadline for withdrawals appears in the Academic Calendar at my.ccac.edu. Students should be aware, however, that credits attempted are used to determine whether they are making satisfactory academic progress and can affect their eligibility to receive financial aid.

Medical Withdrawal

If a student experiences health problems that require withdrawal from classes, he/she should complete a Request for Medical Withdrawal form. Forms are available at ccac.edu or at the campus. The student’s physician will need to document the condition that requires a student to leave the college.

Involuntary Administrative Withdrawal

The college reserves the right to cancel the registration of a student at any time for just cause. The cause may include poor academic performance or disruptive behavior. The student has a right to appeal such dismissal through the appropriate procedures. These procedures appear in the Student Handbook. at ccac.edu/Academic_Rules_and_Regulations.aspx

Military Call to Duty Withdrawal

A military student or the student’s spouse, called to active duty during an academic semester, has options for completing the semester: (1) taking the grade the student has earned to date in a class(es) provided that more than 75% of class meetings have passed (2) taking an incomplete grade provided more than 50% of the class meetings have passed, completing the course at a later date; or (3) withdrawing from one or more courses with a grade of M at any time. Students must discuss these options with the instructors. (See Appendix L  for details.)