Student Grievances & Appeals | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Student Grievances & Appeals

Student Complaint and Grievance Policy Against a Staff Member

The purpose of the Student Complaint and Grievance Policy is to provide equitable and orderly processes to resolve complaints and grievances by students at NWACC.

A complaint is defined as a difference or dispute between a student and a staff member related to services rendered. NOTE: Sex or disability discrimination complaints are covered by a separate procedure. An unresolved complaint is raised to the level of a grievance when the student completes and submits a Student Grievance form.

The Student Grievance process must be initiated during the semester the alleged incident or issue occurred or the regular academic semester (fall or spring) that follows.

View Student Complaint and Grievance Policy, procedures and forms.

Academic Grievance 

At NWACC, instructors have the authority to conduct classes, provide for the discussion of ideas, make assignments or other exercises, require examinations, and render judgments on the performance of students. This authority provides the foundation for an academic relationship between individual faculty members and individual students that is unique to colleges and universities. The relationship between students and faculty is maintained by the interplay of traditional and customary standards of conduct and courtesies, the observance of which is the responsibility of both faculty and students.

Inevitably, issues associated with the faculty member's responsibilities as an instructor and the student's responsibilities as a learner may occasionally arise. If unable to resolve these issues with the instructor, students may submit an Academic Grievance. 

View Academic Grievance Policy, procedures and forms.

Grade Appeals

Recognizing that both students and faculty have rights regarding academic matters, NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) sets forth the Academic Grade Appeal Policy. This policy is to serve the purpose of providing the student with due process and resolution while protecting faculty rights to freedom of instruction and to provide a mechanism for problem solving and achieving an equitable resolution to academic grade appeals as quickly as possible.

View Grade Appeals Policy, procedures and forms.


Academic Honesty

When an instructor believes that a student has violated the academic honesty policy, he or she will document clear and convincing evidence that the student has committed an act of academic dishonesty.

Documentation will include:

  • Written detailed (date and activity) description of the behavior witnessed by the instructor or other parties
  • Documentation of communications with student
  • A copy of the student's work and the plagiarized information or other relevant materials, including any other evidence supporting the violation. 

The instructor will then meet with the student. If after this meeting, the student wishes to appeal the decision, he or she schedules a meeting with the academic coordinator/chair. 

View Academic Honesty Policy, procedures and forms. 


Late Withdrawal Appeal

NWACC is authorized to consider grade changes to a “W” only when extenuating circumstances existed and prohibited the student from officially withdrawing from the course by the appropriate deadline. 

View Late Withdrawal Appeal Policy, procedures and forms.


Refund Appeal

Under certain circumstances, students may be eligible to request a tuition refund. If the student's learning experience was disrupted by one of the following extenuating circumstances, they may be eligible to submit a request for appeal:

  • Military deployment to a theater of operations not conducive to the completion of academic studies.
  • Long-term hospitalization of the student or immediate family member that prohibits successful completion of academic studies.
  • A traumatic event of the student that prohibits successful completion of academic studies.
  • Death of an immediate family member (immediate family is defined as the father, mother, sister, brother, spouse, child, grandparents, grandchild, in-laws or any individual acting as a parent or guardian of the student).
  • A verified error on the part of NWACC. Refund appeals must be received within one year from the end of the semester for which the student requests.

Refund appeals do not positively change or influence a student’s satisfactory academic progress standing with the Office of Financial Aid. Refunds for students receiving financial aid or veteran’s benefits will be handled according to all federal regulations, which could result in the student owing back federal funds.

All refund appeals must include a written statement from the student and supporting documentation which is submitted to the Tuition Appeal Review Committee. The committee is comprised of representatives from the Office of Financial Aid, the Treasurer’s Office and the Office of Learner Support Services. The decision of the Tuition Appeal Review Committee is final. A grade of WA will be issued for approved refund appeals.

View Refund Appeal Policy and Refund Appeal Form


Academic Clemency

Students who perform poorly during their early years at college often drop out and return later in life to resume their education. However, their previous academic record may present a major obstacle to their overall GPA and their chances for success. Arkansas Act 1000 of 1991 gives returning students an opportunity for a new undergraduate start without the handicap of their previous academic record. Students who desire to have their previously earned grades and credits removed from the calculation of their cumulative grade point average may apply for academic clemency according to the following guidelines:

  • Academic clemency may be granted to returning Northwest Arkansas Community College students who have not been enrolled in any institution of higher education for a period of three years prior to the term for which academic clemency is requested.
  • Academic clemency will cover all credits attempted during the term or terms for which clemency is granted.
  • Courses for which clemency is granted cannot be used in computing the grade point average, for meeting requirements for prerequisites, or for meeting graduation requirements.
  • Academic clemency may be granted for up to four (4) previous terms at NWACC where the semester GPA was below 2.0.
  • Academic clemency may be is limited to a one time use by Northwest Arkansas Community College students.
  • Academic clemency is final and irreversible.

Returning students may petition for clemency following one term in which the student demonstrates the resolve to succeed academically by earning a grade point average of 2.0 or higher in six (6) or more credit hours.

To initiate this procedure a student must state in writing the term or terms for which clemency is requested and complete an academic clemency petition form in the Enrollment Support Center. An academic clemency appeal committee will review the student’s request and approve or deny the petition.

View Academic Clemency Appeal form.

For the most current policy information, refer to NWACC Academic Clemency Policy (4001).