University Policies

Credit Hour Policy

A semester credit hour is defined as the quantity of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates the amount of work required by one hour (minimum 50 minutes) of classroom or direct faculty instruction per credit and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work each week per credit for approximately fifteen weeks or one semester, or an equivalent quantity of work over a term of different length (intensive, accelerated, online courses, etc.).

An equivalent quantity of work may also be achieved by other academic activities established by the University, including internships, laboratory work, practica, studio work, and any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.  With regard to clinical or laboratory hours, the appropriateness of a clinical hour may be based on each program’s specialty accreditation agency criteria, within the context of program and institutional learning outcomes.

This is in line with the Department of Education’s Policy #600.2.

Grade Appeals

No course grade may be appealed more than one year after the end of the academic term in which the grade was assigned.

A course grade may be appealed only on the basis of one or more of the following justifications:

  1. Erroneous course grade assigned.
  2. Assigned course grade based on capricious or prejudicial evaluation of course work.
  3. Assigned course grade based on inconsistent or inequitably applied standards for evaluation.

A student wishing to contest a course grade should first seek an explanation from the faculty member assigning the grade. If the faculty member approved a course grade change, the faculty member shall submit a grade change to the Office of the Registrar and shall provide a written notification of the decision to the student.

Should the faculty member be unavailable or if the explanation given is deemed unsatisfactory, the student may appeal to the appropriate academic administrator (Department Chair, Professional Studies Chair, Graduate Program Director). The academic administrator shall seek to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the matter by conferring with the student and the faculty member. If the faculty member does not respond to attempts for conferral, the academic administrator will resolve the matter in light of the evidence presented. If resolution is achieved and results in a course grade change, the academic administrator shall submit the grade change to the Office of the Registrar and shall provide a written notification of the decision to the faculty member and the student. Should the faculty member be the academic administrator, the student may appeal the course grade to the appropriate academic Dean.

Should a mutually acceptable solution of the matter not be reached by the academic administrator, the student may appeal the course grade to the appropriate academic Dean, who will review the case and seek to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the matter. If resolution is achieved and results in a course grade change, the Dean shall submit a grade change to the Office of the Registrar and shall provide a written notification of the decision to the faculty member, the academic administrator, and the student. Should the faculty member be the Dean, the student may appeal the grade to the Provost.

Should a mutually acceptable resolution of the matter not be reached by the Dean, the student may appeal the course grade to the Provost, who will review the case, approve or disapprove a grade change, submit (if necessary) a grade change to the Office of the Registrar, and provide a written notification of the decision reached to the student, the academic administrator, and the appropriate Dean. The decision will not be subject to further appeal.

Grade Change Policy

Grades submitted by faculty to the Office of the Registrar are considered final. Students who believe a grade was assigned in error must contact the instructor of the course to review their records. Submission of a grade change to the Office of the Registrar can be made by the faculty member no later than two semesters following the term in which the grade was originally assigned. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be made to the appropriate Dean.  Instructors are under no obligation to accept late or additional work.

Grievance Rights and Procedure

Vanguard University subscribes to the principle of equal educational opportunity, regardless of gender (cf. Title IX of EDUCATION AMENDMENTS OF 1972). Any member of the University community who has a grievance related to this principle should petition in writing or online to the Title IX Coordinator, who will work with the petitioner for a resolution of the problem. A trained appellate board shall serve as ultimate board of appeal for such questions.

Release of Student Records

A student may not receive any diploma, certificate, or transcript until all financial obligations have been satisfied in accordance with policies described under “Costs and Payment Policies.” Any diplomas, certificates, or transcripts shall be retained by the University until all such obligations are satisfied. Release of any such student records prior to or subsequent to any default by the debtor shall not be considered a binding precedent or modification of this policy.

Students who have left the University without completing their degree may reactivate their academic file in order to ascertain those requirements that remain unfulfilled. They may do so by submitting a “Request to Reactivate Student Record” form to the Office of the Registrar. A fee will be due and payable at the time of the request if more than one academic year has passed since the date of last attendance at Vanguard. The file will be considered open for one calendar year from the time of reactivation.

Student Privacy Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
    • Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, Vice President, or other appropriate Official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records  that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
    • ​​​​Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the records, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
    • If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
    • ​Disclosure without consent to University officials with legitimate educational interests is permitted. A University official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including Campus Safety personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
    • A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
    • Other exceptions that permit disclosure without consent are:
    1. To authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States; the Attorney General of the United States (for law enforcement purposes); the Secretary of the Department of Education of the United States; and state and local educational authorities.
    2. To parents of dependent students, as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
    3. To a parent or a legal guardian in connection with a health or safety emergency.
    4. To a parent or a legal guardian of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is under the age of 21 and the institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession.
    5. If a parent or eligible student initiates legal action against the University, the University may disclose to the court, without a court order or subpoena, the student’s education records that are necessary for the University to defend itself.
    6. The disclosure is in connection with a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Vanguard University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-5920

The University may release public directory information concerning students. Such information includes, but is not limited to, the student’s name, address, email address, student identification number , telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, class level, enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time; enrolled or withdrawn), participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, photograph, degrees, honors and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended. The above designated information is subject to release by the campus at any time unless the campus has received a prior written objection from the student specifying information which the student request not be released. 

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expanded the circumstances under which education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records, including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information, may be accessed without the student’s consent. First, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to student’s records and PII without consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal or state supported education program.  The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.  Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to education records and PII without consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research.  Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.  In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain and share without consent PII from education records, and they may track participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about students that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.