Academic Policies

  • Academic Forgiveness Policy

    Policy Statement 

    Under certain circumstances, students with a prior record of poor academic performance can have previous grades forgiven from their academic record, thus making it more manageable to obtain a degree or certificate from SMC. 


    Students who previously had a GPA below a 2.0 and who, upon re-entering SMC after a minimum five-year absence, completed 12 credit hours at SMC with a GPA of 2.0 or better (not including performance or developmental courses) may apply to have certain courses forgiven from their academic record. Such forgiven courses must have final grades of C- or below and must have been taken at least five years ago (60 months as measured from the ending date of the most recent term to be dropped). Forgiven courses will be deleted from GPA calculations. The original transcript of grades, however, will remain intact, but will include the forgiven coursework, clearly identified with an asterisk. An academically forgiven course cannot count toward degree completion. Students may not invoke academic forgiveness after they have graduated. Academic forgiveness cannot be applied to pass-fail type courses or in courses in which a student was found previously to be in violation of academic integrity. Academic forgiveness can only be invoked once and cannot be reversed once invoked. Students should be aware that the re-calculation of the GPA, earned hours, attempted hours, and quality points from the Academic Forgiveness process does not apply to the student's financial aid record, only to the academic record. All course attempts, whether forgiven or not, must be used in all financial aid calculations and determination for future financial aid. 

  • Achieved Credit by Examination Policy

    Policy Statement

    The purpose of this policy is to provide students with the opportunity to achieve credit in SMC courses by demonstrating competence in those courses. These credits are not transferable to other colleges but may be used to meet degree requirements in certain occupational programs.


    The following rules apply to ACE testing:

    1. The student must present picture ID at the time of testing.
    2. Allow 2 hours for each test. No testing can begin within 2 hours of closing time.
    3. SMC must have the student's application on file.
    4. EDUC tests require 80% to pass, ELEC, WELD and MACH 120 tests requires 75% to pass, all others require 70%.
    5. ACE tests are designed for SMC courses; credit earned may not transfer to another institution. Students are encouraged to contact the school to which they wish to transfer.
    6. The fee for ACE testing is $50.00. In addition, a recording fee will be charged if credit is awarded.
    7. You will receive the results by mail in two to four weeks. (Scores are not given over the phone)
    8. Some study materials are available at the Fred L. Mathews Library, and in the Teaching and Learning Center.
    9. These tests are similar to comprehensive finals. Please review study material.
    10. These tests can only be taken one time. There are no retests or refunds.
  • Course Repeat Policy

    Policy Statement

    The purpose of this policy is to set forth the conditions by which students may repeat courses and to provide a mechanism for appeal


    Eligible students may repeat any course at the college, regardless of the previous grade(s) received in the course, provided the course is still offered. The highest grade earned for a repeated course is used in calculating the grade point average and in compiling graduation credits. (Students enrolled in the nursing program are subject to the repeat course policy as outlined in the School of Nursing Student Handbook.) A repeated course is not removed from the student’s record. All grades earned are shown on the transcript.

    The following conditions apply to course repeats:

    • There is no limit on the number of different courses that may be repeated.
    • Students are allowed to enroll in a particular class not to exceed two total enrollments.
    • Students who wish to enroll for a third or more time must appeal to do so in writing using the online form available in SMC Wired.
    • Those students successful in their appeal may be required to submit to a structured process which will return the student to class and may include required activities designed to promote success in the classroom.
    • This procedure became effective with students entering the college for the first time during the summer session of 1995 and thereafter.
    • Grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- F, W, CP, P, X, and I are all treated equally with regard to this procedure.
    • The college Academic Forgiveness Policy does not in any way alter the course repeat count as defined in this policy.
    • The Course Repeat Policy will exclude certain designated courses such as PHED 101, 103, Art, and internships. A complete listing of these courses may be found in the Records Office.
  • Dual Enrollment/Early Learners Policy

    Dual enrollment opportunities are available to students ages 14 and older who have not yet achieved a high school credential and who may obtain college credit by taking courses at Southwestern Michigan College. The following rules apply to these students. 

    High School Sponsored

    The Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act (PA 160 of 1996) provides for payment from a school district’s state aid foundation grant for enrollment of certain eligible high school students in postsecondary courses of education. The bill establishes eligibility criteria for students, institutions, and courses; requires eligible charges (tuition, mandatory course or material fees, and registration fees) to be billed to a school district; establishes enrollment and credit requirements; requires school districts to provide counseling and information to eligible students and their parents; and requires intermediate school districts to report to the Department of Education. 


    In order to meet eligibility requirements for dual enrollment, a student must: 

    Be enrolled in at least one high school class in a school district, public school academy, or state-approved nonpublic school in Michigan, 
    Not be a foreign exchange pupil enrolled under a cultural exchange program (J-1 Visa), 
    Have at least one parent or legal guardian that is a resident of Michigan (unless the student is experiencing homelessness), and 
    Not have been enrolled in high school for more than four school years (unless one of the exceptions provided for in administrative rule has been satisfied). 

    Eligible Postsecondary Institution – 388.513(1)(e) 

    State universities, community colleges, or independent non-profit degree-granting colleges or universities located in Michigan that chooses to comply with the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act are eligible. 

    Eligible Course – 388.513(1)(d) 

    In order to be eligible for dual enrolled credit, a course must: 

    • Be offered by an eligible postsecondary institution for postsecondary credit, 
    • Not be offered by the eligible student’s high school (or is not available to the student due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict), 
    • Be academic in nature [i.e., it normally applies toward the satisfaction of (postsecondary) degree requirements], 
    • Not ordinarily be taken as an activity course, 
    • Not be a hobby, craft, or recreational course, 
    • Be in a subject area other than physical education, theology, divinity, or religious education, and 
    • Not be required for computer science or foreign language courses. 

    A district may elect to support a student’s enrollment in a subject area in which the student has not yet achieved a qualifying score if it has been determined to be in the best educational interest of the student. 

    Course Limits

    Up to 10 courses overall can be covered under the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act. The following list describes how many courses may be covered each year depending on the grade in which a student first dual enrolls. 

    9th Grade: Not more than two courses per year in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade, and not more than four courses in grade 12 
    10th Grade: Not more than two courses in 10th grade, and not more than four courses in 11th and 12th grade 
    11th or 12th grade: Not more than six courses per year 

    These limits may be waived when a written agreement exists between a school district and a postsecondary institution as discussed in MCL 388.513. 


    Students acting independently of the school district’s policies may elect to take college courses as well; however, they must meet all course prerequisites required by the college. A dual enrollment approval form signed by a SMC official must be submitted at the time of registration. 


    Academies are occupation-based curricula offered via the Intermediate School District (ISD). Policies and procedures are available through the ISD. The following college courses are not open to students enrolled in academies: BIOL 098, ENGL 115, MATH 098, and MATH 101/102. 

    Homeschooled Students 

    Students who are not participating in the school district curriculum but are completing their high school credential under the guidance of a parent or guardian may also participate in dual enrollment. The students must be currently enrolled in a curriculum in which the outcome of completing that curriculum is a high school credential. Generally, homeschooled students who are part of a partnership wishing to dual enroll at SMC must successfully place out of developmental reading and English (ENGL 115) before taking any courses at SMC. Moreover, prospective students must successfully place out of developmental math (MATH 098 and all course prerequisites) before taking any math or science course. For students ages 14-17, a dual enrollment approval form must be submitted at the time of registration. Adult students (ages 18 and above) are exempt from this policy. Students under the age of 13 are prohibited from taking college courses at SMC. Enrichment courses which are not part of organized academic curricula are not held to the structure of this policy. 

    Under-age Students 

    Students ages 14 to 15 may be admitted to SMC for a specific class or classes only if they have written permission of a responsible school official and their parent or guardian. Students must meet any prerequisites for any course in which they choose to enroll. Parents of students ages 14 to 15 will also sign a permission statement acknowledging the nature of an adult educational environment. Students approved by a school official to participate in a class offered on-site at a middle school or high school are exempt from this policy. Students under the age of 14 will not be permitted to take academic classes at SMC. Students between the ages of 14 and 15 who are homeschooled must also abide by the Homeschooled policy above. Enrichment courses which are not part of organized academic curricula may be enrolled in without restriction. 

    High School Expulsion 

    Students who have been expelled from high school will not be eligible to take college classes at SMC.

  • Incomplete Grade Policy

    Policy Statement

    The purpose of this policy is to allow instructors to assign students a grade of incomplete when an emergency prevents a student from completing their course work during the regular college semester or session.


    This grade is given sparingly and only when an emergency prevents a student from completing the course work during the regular college semester/session. To be eligible to receive an "I" grade, the student must have demonstrated satisfactory performance in the course prior to the time of the emergency, and must have completed the majority of course work prior to the emergency. The Incomplete Grade Contract must be completed and submitted at the time of faculty check out, when all materials are turned in to the Dean’s office. Faculty can assign Incomplete grades when they enter their other grades, but they must also enter the current calculated grade in case the student does not complete the assigned work. Instructors may wish to make copies of the Incomplete Grade Contract for their files and one for the student. Please note that the incomplete grade contract expires 45 days after grades are assigned for the course. Instructors may apply for an extension if deemed appropriate. At the conclusion of the 45 days, if the student has not made up the missing work, the student will automatically be given the current calculated grade as noted in the contract or SMC Self-Service > Final Grades (Incomplete Default Grade).

  • Placement Retesting Policy

    Policy Statement

    This policy addresses the need to appropriately advise returning students who previously took the College’s assessment, tested into one or more developmental classes, and withdrew.


    1. Students may retest one time in each subject during the first term; however, once the drop/add period has passed, students may not retest to modify their schedule for that term. Same-day retesting is not permitted, and placement is based on the highest score. Accuplacer, SAT, and ACT Reading and Writing scores are valid for five years; Math scores are valid for two years.
    2. If more than a year has passed since testing, and a student has not started a course sequence in that area, a student may retest once in appropriate testing subjects.
    3. Any exceptions must be approved by the appropriate Department Chair and the Testing Center Manager.

    As with any retesting situation, Academic Support advisors complete the Testing Referral Form indicating that the test would be a retest, and the conditions that support that retest.