Apr 12, 2021  
2020-2021 Catalog and Student Handbook 
2020-2021 Catalog and Student Handbook


Academic Advising

To assist students in reaching their academic goals, an academic advisor is assigned to curricular students shortly after they declare a curriculum or major. Faculty members serve as academic advisors to curricular students and provide educational guidance. These faculty advisors provide information about the knowledge and skills needed in their respective fields as well as information about job opportunities and college transfer possibilities. Students should consult with a faculty advisor for assistance with course scheduling each semester and prior to applying for graduation. For assistance in matters outside their professional scope, faculty advisors refer students to counselors or college coaches.

For students wishing to make changes with their course enrollment, the add/drop procedure is outlined in the Registration and Tuition section  of the catalog. It is strongly recommended that students review schedule changes with a faculty advisor.

Students deciding to change their program of study need to schedule an appointment with a new student advisor, rather than a faculty advisor, in order to discuss the impact of the change on both their academic progress and their financial aid eligibility, and to complete appropriate forms. When changing from one program of study to another, a student may be assigned a new faculty advisor.

All curricular students are encouraged to regularly seek assistance from their faculty advisors in career and curriculum planning. Likewise, students not enrolled in a specific program of study are encouraged to meet with New Student Advisors in order to receive assistance with course selection prior to registration.

Distance Learning

Distance learning courses are provided to accommodate the needs of students. RCC values the opportunities for access that it provides for its students, and RCC views distance education as an important component of educational access. In accomplishing its mission to provide access, RCC now offers degree and certificate programs both completely and partially through distance learning modalities.

Distance learning courses have the same content, grading system, and credit value as on-campus courses. The tuition is also the same. Learning support services are available to students in distance learning courses; moreover, special accommodations are available, such as access to library materials by phone, physical mail, or online.

RCC offers distance learning courses in a variety of disciplines, and many classroom-based courses incorporate distance learning technology to enhance student learning. Some courses are delivered entirely through distance learning technology. The courses fall into the following categories:

  • Online Courses (Asynchronous Courses)
    All distance learning courses offered at RCC require students to be independent learners with proficient reading, writing, and research skills and to be able to commit to a consistent schedule that may include at least 8-10 hours per week of study for each course. Distance Learning requires a minimum of two proctored activities on-campus or off-campus for each course. Students must also have had experience in using the internet and in communicating by e-mail (including sending attachments) prior to enrolling in a distance learning course. Most communication in a distance learning class will be through e-mail and RCC’s online course management system, Canvas. Students taking distance learning classes should have access to a computer a minimum of three times a week. Although owning a computer is strongly recommended, computers are available in the college libraries on each campus. Each course is developed independently following quality assurance guidelines.
  • Interactive Video (Synchronous Courses)
    Synchronous Courses are provided to students through Interactive Video technology, which uses live two-way video connections to send and receive courses and programs between RCC Campuses and other sites. This program allows RCC to offer courses and programs not normally available at RCC.
  • Hybrid Courses
    Hybrid courses are a blend of both the traditional and distance learning modes of delivery, which means that required on-campus meetings and distance learning technologies are included in each hybrid course offered.
  • Shared Services Online Courses
    Shared Services courses are RCC courses offered in partnership with other Virginia Community Colleges. These courses allow students to earn RCC credits that are instructed by faculty members from another Virginia Community College. The required proctored tests can be taken at any RCC testing center. Students who take Shared Service courses will have access to partner college resources as well as RCC resources. Students interested in taking Shared Service courses can email kfife@rappahannock.edu.

A complete listing of Distance Learning classes is found in the class schedule. Additional information required for successful completion of distance learning courses can be found on the RCC website.

Developmental Studies

Development coursework may be required for college readiness. Placement testing and/or multiple measures are used to determine college readiness. Students who need additional preparation prior to credit courses will be placed in English (ENF) and/or mathematics (MTT) developmental courses.

Students may enroll in a developmental course no more than two times in order to complete the requirements for that course. If it is necessary for a student to enroll in a course for a third time in order to complete the requirements, the student will need special approval from an academic dean.

Financial aid will not cover third attempts at a course.

Developmental courses do not count toward a degree and no college-level credit is awarded. The credits assigned to developmental courses apply to student load and financial aid eligibility only.


Instructors will provide a syllabus on or before the first day of class. The syllabus contains all pertinent information for the class including the instructor’s expectations, instructor contact information, grading scales, add/drop and withdraw and attendance policies. Students should pay close attention to the syllabus.

Course Credits

One credit is equivalent to one collegiate semester-hour credit. Each semester hour of credit given for a course is based on the “academic hour,” which is 50 minutes of formalized, structured instructional time in a particular course, weekly for the equivalent of 15 weeks. This is a total of 750 minutes of instruction. In addition to this instructional time, appropriate evaluation will be required. If this evaluation is a final examination, a minimum of one hour will be scheduled for each semester hour of credit generated by the course, not to exceed three academic hours (150 minutes).

Repeating a Course

Students should consult their faculty advisor or a college counselor when a course must be repeated, and students are limited to two enrollments (attempts) in any credit course. Requests to enroll in the same course for a third time must be documented on the Third Enrollment in a Course form and approved by an academic dean prior to registration. Please note that a withdrawal from a course is considered an attempt for the purposes of repeating a course.

When a course is repeated, only the last grade earned is counted in the computation of the cumulative GPA and for satisfying curricular requirements. Students who withdraw from a course for which they previously had a passing grade will retain that passing grade for graduation purposes.

When a student has exhausted the number of course attempts allowed, the student will be unable to complete a degree or certificate program if the course in question is a required course.

PLEASE NOTE: Repeating courses may negatively affect financial aid eligibility.

Withdrawing from a Course

After the add/drop period a student can request to withdraw from a course prior to the last day to drop without penalty. It is strongly encouraged for the student to discuss their academic requirements with their advisor or counselor prior to withdrawing. The student is required to contact the Financial Aid department if they are a recipient of federal aid.

A student may request to withdraw from a course without academic penalty and receive a grade of “W” after the add/drop period and within the first 60% of the semester or session. The date published as the “last day to withdraw from class with a grade of W” for each semester or session is published in the online academic calendar on the class schedule webpage. The student must submit a completed “Withdraw/Mitigating Withdraw Form to Admission and Records office requesting to withdraw on or before the published deadline. The form must be approved by the Financial Aid or VA Representative if the student is a recipient of federal aid. 

After the published withdrawal date, if a student withdraws/stops attending, or is withdrawn from a course, a grade of “F” will be assigned. Exceptions to this policy may be considered for mitigating circumstance if the student was making satisfactory progress in the course when their attendance or participation ceased. Mitigating circumstances are defined as instances in which the student was unable to complete the course due to circumstances such as serious illness, death in the immediate family, full-time employment or shift change, or relocation outside the area.

Withdrawals for mitigating circumstances recieved after the 60% of the semester or term. 

Withdrawals for mitigating circumstances must be submitted in a formal written request on a Withdrawal/Mitigating Withdrawal form. Documentation must be included. College email, US mail, or FAX is acceptable. The withdrawal for mitigating circumstances form must be approved by the academic dean and approved by the Financial Aid or VA Representative, and then returned to Admissions and Records for processing. These withdrawal requests must be submitted by the end of the following semester:

  1. Last day of spring semester for the previous fall semester
  2. Last day of summer sessions for the previous spring semester
  3. Last day of fall for the previous summer session

In most cases, Mitigating Withdrawals apply to all courses. Withdrawal from only selected courses will be considered in extenuating circumstances. Changes to enrollment may affect financial aid, and military or veteran’s benefits, and result in the student owing a debt to the college. It is the student’s responsibility to understand the impact of enrollment changes. Students who withdraw from a course, are withdrawn from a course by an instructor, or receive a mitigating withdrawal from a course are not entitled to a refund.

Procedures for Withdrawals for Mitigating Circumstances

  1. To request a withdrawal after the 60% mark, a student must submit a Withdrawal/Mitigating Withdrawl form with documentation of mitigating circumstances to the academic dean. Mitigating circumstances must have been severe, not foreseeable and/or could not have been reasonably prevented during the time period in question. Examples include:
    1. A major medical emergency or severe, extended illness occurring during the semester the student is registered which requires hospitalization, is life threatening, prevents the student from attending classes or is contagious and a danger to the remainder of the College community.
    2. Death of the student or a member of the student’s immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, child, or grandparent). An obituary or death certificate is required.
    3. Mobilization or call to active duty for military students. A copy of the military orders is required.
  2. Documentation should be submitted to the academic dean and include the following:
    1. A letter outlining the circumstances impacting the student’s ability to perform in the course(s) in question and detailing when the circumstances occurred within the semester in question
    2. Documentation from professional(s) verifying the circumstances, when the circumstances occurred and/or receipts or other documents that can verify the circumstances.
  3. The academic dean will review the documentation and make a determination about approval/denial of the request.
    1.  If approved, the Withdrawal for Mitigating Circumstances will result in a grade change to W.
    2.  If the Withdrawal for Mitigating Circumstances is denied, the student may appeal the decision to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Development within five business days of notification that the withdrawal request was denied. The Vice President of Instruction and Student Development will make a decision and notify the student in ten business days.
    3. In cases, where a course grade has already been assigned, the approved withdrawal form will serve in the place of the Change of Grade Form.

Instructor Withdrawal Policy

Any student who has stopped attending class, or is no longer participating in an online class, and has missed 20% or more of total instructional time as of the withdrawal date will be withdrawn by the instructor. Instructors may consider student requests to be retained in the class and should document when a student is retained at his or her request.

Classification of Students

Curricular Student

A student shall be classified as a curricular student if the student satisfies the following three conditions:

  • The student holds a high school diploma, a GED or its equivalent, or is otherwise determined qualified for admission.
  • The required documents for general admission to a curricular program are received by the Admissions and Records Office.
  • The student has been admitted to one of the college’s curricula.

Students wishing to declare a program or transfer from one program to another must consult a new student advisor.

Non-Curricular Student

Students are considered non-curricular if they are not formally admitted into one of the college’s curricula. Students receiving federal or state aid are not eligible for non-curricular classification.

Student Enrollment Definitions

Full-time Student: Students enrolled for 12 or more credits per semester.

Part-time Student: Students enrolled for fewer than 12 credit hours per semester.

Freshmen: Students are classified as freshmen until they have completed 30 semester credits of study.

Sophomore: Students are classified as sophomores after they have completed 30 semester credits.

Credits accepted from other colleges are included in the total credits earned if they apply toward meeting the students’ curricula requirements.

Academic Load

The normal academic course load for students is 15-17 credits. The minimum full-time load is 12 credits and the maximum full-time load is 18 credits, excluding SDV 100 . Students wishing to carry an academic load of more than 18 credits must obtain written approval from the academic dean. Students placed on academic warning or academic probation may be required to take less than the normal course load.


Faculty establish specific attendance policies for each class which are outlined in the class syllabus distributed at the beginning of each semester. Generally, students are required to attend all classes for which they are registered except in the event of illness or unavoidable emergency. Students are responsible for making up all coursework missed during an absence. Written work must be turned in to the instructor by the assigned deadline or at a time designated by the instructor. Absence from class for any reason does not lessen responsibility for meeting all of the requirements of the class and may necessitate a withdrawal from class.

For online courses, students should log into their Canvas course on the first day of semester or session. Students should carefully read and follow the course syllabus instructions for attendance and contact required by the instructors.

Students who are registered for a course but do not attend or complete an assignment for an online course during the add/drop period will be dropped from the class without notification. Be sure to check the semester calendar for drop and withdrawal dates.

Up until the withdrawal date for a session, students who stop attending a course, miss more than 20% of a course, or fail to maintain contact with the online course instructor will be withdrawn by the course instructor. Students should inform their instructor of any situation which might affect attendance or coursework completion.

After the withdrawal date, students who stop attending a course will receive a failing grade for that course.


Students are expected to take their examinations at the regularly scheduled times, to follow exam instructions, and to avoid giving or receiving unauthorized help on exams. No exceptions to exam times will be made without the permission of the instructor and the academic dean (or another appropriate academic administrator). Exam schedules are available on the college website.

Instructors will provide exam dates for classes meeting on non-traditional schedules or dynamic sessions. For summer sessions, final examinations are given on the last scheduled class meeting for that semester.

Grading System

The quality of performance in any academic course is reported by a letter grade; the assignment of which is the responsibility of the instructor. All official grades are posted online in the Student Information System at the end of the semester. Directions for viewing and printing grades are as followed:

Login to myRCC and click on VCCS SIS: Student Information System.

  • Click on Self Service.
  • Click on Student Center.
  • Click on Grades.
  • Select the Term.
  • Click the Continue button at the bottom of the page.

The grades of A, B, C, D, P, and S are passing grades. Grades of F and U are failing grades. R and I are interim grades. Grades of W and X are final grades carrying no credit. Grades are assigned quality points as follows:

A = Excellent - 4 grade points per credit

B = Good - 3 grade points per credit

C = Average - 2 grade points per credit

D = Poor - 1 grade point per credit

F = Failure - 0-grade point per credit

I = Incomplete - No grade point credit. The “I” grade is used only for verifiable unavoidable reasons when the student is unable to complete a course within the normal course time. To be eligible to receive an “I” grade, the student must (1) have satisfactorily completed more than 60% of the course requirements and attendance (2) must request the faculty member assign the “I” grade and indicate why it is warranted. The faculty member has the discretion to decide whether the “I” grade will be awarded. Since the “incomplete” extends enrollment in the course, requirements for satisfactory completion will be established through consultation between the faculty member and student.

In assigning the “I” grade, the faculty member must complete documentation that (1) states the reason for assigning the grade; (2) specifies the work to be completed and indicates its percentage in relation to the total work of the course; (3) specifies the date by which the work must be completed; and (4) identifies the default (B, C, D, F, P, R, or U) based upon course work already completed. Completion dates cannot be set beyond the last day of the subsequent semester (to include summer semester) without written approval of the Chief Academic Officer of the campus. Incomplete grades must be changed by the instructor, via a grade change form, by the last day of the subsequent semester (to include summer semester). In cases where a student fails to complete course assignments by the agreed upon date, the “I” will change to the grade reflecting the work completed. The student will be provided a copy of the documentation from the instructor.

P = Pass - No grade point credit. The “P” grade applies only to non-developmental studies courses and are not included in GPA calculations. A maximum of seven credit hours of “P” grades may be applied toward graduation.

R = Re-enroll - No grade point credit. The “R” grade is used in developmental courses only to indicate satisfactory progress toward meeting course objectives. In order to complete course objectives, students receiving an “R” grade must re-enroll in the course and pay the normal tuition and fees.

S = Satisfactory - No grade point credit. The “S” grade is used only for satisfactory completion of developmental studies courses.

U = Unsatisfactory - No grade point credit. The “U” grade applies only to developmental studies courses.

W = Withdrawal - No grade point credit. A grade of “W” is awarded to students who withdraw or are withdrawn from a course after the add/drop period but prior to the completion of 60 percent of the session. After that time, students not completing the course will receive a grade of “F” except under mitigating circumstances, which must be documented. A copy of the documentation must be placed in the student’s academic file.

X = Audit - No credit. Students desiring to attend a course without taking the examination or receiving credit for the course may do so by registering to audit through the regular registration process and paying the normal tuition and fees. Students wishing to change from credit to audit or audit to credit must do so by the last day of the add/drop period for the course. Permission from the course instructor and academic dean or another appropriate administrator is required to audit a course. Students desiring to earn credit for a previously audited course must re-enroll in the course for credit and pay the normal tuition and fees to earn a grade other than “X.” Advanced standing credit will not be awarded for a previously audited course.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours attempted. A student’s GPA may range from 0.0 to 4.0.For example:

A = 4 grade points

B = 3 grade points

C = 2 grade points

D = 1 grade point

F = 0 grade points

I (Incomplete) and W (Withdrawal) do not receive grade points and do not have an effect on the GPA.

Example Student Transcript

Course Credit Hours Grade Grade Points
BIO 101   3 A 12
SDV 100   1 B 3
ENG 111   3 C 6
Mathematics 158 3 F 0
Total 10   21

To calculate the example student’s GPA, the total grade points are divided by the total credit hours attempted.

21 (Total Grade Points)/10 (Total Credit Hours Attempted) = 2.10 GPA

To calculate a student’s cumulative GPA, the total grade points for all semesters is divided by the total credit hours attempted for all semesters.

Academic Renewal

Students who return to the college after a separation of five years or more may petition for academic renewal by submitting an Academic Renewal Petition Form to the college.

If a student is determined to be eligible for academic renewal, “D” and “F” grades earned prior to re-enrollment will be deleted from the cumulative and curriculum grade point average (GPA); however, these grades will not be removed or deleted from the student’s official college transcript. The notice “Academic Renewal has been granted” and the effective dates will appear on the transcript. Academic renewal is subject to the following conditions:

  • Prior to petitioning for academic renewal the student must demonstrate a renewed academic interest and effort by earning at least a 2.5 GPA in the first 12 semester hours completed after re-enrollment.
  • All grades received at the college will be a part of the student’s official transcript.
  • Students will receive degree credit only for courses in which grades of “C” or better were earned prior to academic renewal, providing that such courses meet current curriculum requirements.
  • Total hours for graduation will be based on all course work taken at the college after readmission, as well as former course work for which a grade of “C” or better was earned, and credits transferred from other colleges or universities.
  • The academic renewal policy may be used only once and cannot be revoked once approved.

Final Grades

Final grades are posted every semester according to the due dates listed in the semester calendar and are available to students via the Student Information System (SIS). Students can access the SIS by using myRCC on the RCC website. No grades will be mailed. Final grades are a part of the students’ permanent academic record and are recorded on the student’s official transcript.

Appeal of Final Grade

Faculty members at RCC are responsible for assigning course grades and for advising students of the objective criteria used to determine the grades assigned. Most student disagreements regarding course grades are best resolved informally between the student and the faculty member. The college’s student grievance procedure provides a fair and orderly process for students who wish to pursue a formal appeal of the final course grade. A formal grievance must be filed within ten calendar days of the time the grade is posted to the student’s record in the Student Information System. The process for appealing a final course grade is outlined in the Student Handbook  section.

Academic Standing

RCC attempts to keep students informed regarding individual academic standing. Students will be notified of academic deficiency. The college provides academic advising and coaching services to help students increase their effectiveness in meeting academic standards and to graduate.

Students failing to achieve satisfactory progress will be notified by the Dean of Student Development and encouraged to consult a counselor for assistance. Consistently poor grades will result in an academic warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal from the college. The circumstances under which these actions may be taken are described below:

  • Good Standing:
    Students are considered to be in “good academic standing” if they maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 per semester, are eligible to re-enroll at the college, and are not on academic suspension or dismissal status.
  • Academic Warning:
    Students who fail to attain a minimum GPA of 2.00 for any semester will be placed on academic warning. Students on academic warning are encouraged to consult with a college counselor and take advantage of academic support services provided by RCC.
  • Academic Probation:
    Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.5 will be placed on academic probation until such time as their cumulative average is 1.75 or better. The statement “Academic Probation” will be placed on the students’ permanent record. Students shall be placed on probation only after 12 semester credit hours have been attempted. Students on academic probation are ineligible for appointive or elective office in student organizations unless special permission is granted by the Dean of Student Development or another appropriate college administrator. Students on probation may be required to carry less than the normal course load the following semester and will be required to consult with a college counselor and to take advantage of academic support services provided by RCC.
  • Academic Suspension:
    Students on academic probation who fail to attain a semester GPA of 1.5 or better will be placed on academic suspension only after attempting 24 semester credit hours. Academic suspension will be for one semester. The statement “Academic Suspension” will be placed on the students’ permanent records. Students who have been informed that they are on academic suspension may immediately submit a Student Admission Appeal Form to the Admissions and Records Office to be reviewed by the Dean of Student Development for reconsideration of their cases. The dean will utilize, as appropriate, the Student Affairs Committee in reviewing any such appeals. Otherwise, suspended students may be readmitted after termination of the suspension period and upon formal written request to the Dean of Student Development or the College Registrar.
  • Reinstatement after Academic Suspension:
    Students reinstated from academic suspension must achieve a 2.00 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement and must earn at least a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester of attendance. The statement “Subject to Dismissal” will be placed on the students’ permanent records. Students reinstated from academic suspension will remain “Subject to Dismissal” until their cumulative GPA is 1.75 or better. Reinstated students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and will be required to consult with a college counselor and take advantage of academic support services provided by RCC.
  • Academic Dismissal:
    Students not achieving at least a 2.00 GPA for the semester of reinstatement following academic suspension will be academically dismissed. Students who achieve at least a 2.00 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement following academic suspension must earn at least a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester of enrollment. Failure to achieve a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester until the cumulative GPA reaches 1.75 will result in academic dismissal. The statement “Academic Dismissal” will be placed on the students’ permanent records. Academic dismissal is normally permanent. In exceptional circumstances, students may submit a Student Admission Appeal Form to the Admissions and Records Office for review by the Dean of Student Development for reconsideration of their cases. The dean will utilize, as appropriate, the Student Affairs Committee in reviewing any such appeals. The Dean of Student Development will make a recommendation to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Development. Students who have been reinstated after academic dismissal will be “Subject to Dismissal” until their cumulative GPA is 1.75 or better. Reinstated students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and will be required to consult with a college counselor and to take advantage of academic support services provided by RCC.

Students who are suspended or dismissed from other educational institutions should use these procedures to request admission and enrollment at RCC.

Academic Recognition

RCC recognizes curricular students who have earned superior grades while completing a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit, not including developmental courses, during a given semester. Students with a grade of “D,” “F,” or “I” in any course will not be considered for honors.

Board’s Honor List: Each semester, students achieving GPA of 3.8 or better are recognized as the RCC College Board’s Honor Students.

Dean’s Honor List: Each semester students achieving a GPA of 3.5 to 3.799 are recognized as the Dean’s Honor Students.

Honors List: Each semester, students maintaining a GPA of 3.2 to 3.499 are recognized as Honor Students.

Phi Theta Kappa: Phi Theta Kappa is a national honor society for two-year colleges which recognizes scholarship among associate degree students. In addition, it provides opportunities for leadership, service, and fellowship. To become a member, a student must (1) be enrolled in a regionally accredited institution offering an associate degree program; (2) have completed at least 12 credit hours of coursework leading to an associate degree; (3) have established a GPA of 3.5; and (4) adhere to the moral standards of society.

Honors Program

The RCC Honors Program is designed to provide an enriched academic experience that will enhance a student’s individual development. Through this program, a student will be able to earn special recognition for achievement based on an advanced level of learning. A course in which the student is regularly enrolled may be converted to an Honors-designated course upon the successful completion of a project for that course. Students interested in the Honors Program must submit an Honors Program application. Please see Honors Information section of catalog for details.

Transfer Credit

Advanced standing is a student’s administrative placement which allows credit based upon previous academic study or occupational experience. Credit will be awarded for courses that are equivalent to RCC courses and relevant to the student’s curricula program at RCC. Transcripts are evaluated for curricular students only. No more than 75% of a degree or certificate may be earned through transfer credit or advanced standing credit. Awarded credit is added to the student’s permanent record, but is not used for computation of the GPA and does not carry a letter grade.

At RCC, opportunities for obtaining college credits are available through the following means:

Transfer Credit

Coursework may be accepted for transfer credit if taken at an institution that is accredited by a regional accrediting agency. Coursework transferred to RCC must represent collegiate coursework applicable to the student’s program, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of students enrolled in RCC curricula. No credit will be given for courses with grades lower than “C.” Courses in technology taken more than ten years ago will not be accepted for transfer credit. Official college or university transcripts should be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office for evaluation.

RCC accepts international transcript credit only after the student has an official transcript sent to RCC that is printed in English or has been translated into English and evaluated for course-by-course credit by an international credit evaluation agency before submitting it to the college. The cost of the evaluation is the responsibility of the student. RCC accepts evaluations from World Education Services, Global Credential Evaluators, the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, or other professional organizations or agencies approved by the Virginia Department of Education and listed as a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluators.

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning is the administrative placement of a student that awards credit for subject matter competency based upon previous academic study or occupational experience. This may include, but is not limited to, college credit and advancement based upon individual college participation in the Advanced Placement Program (AP), International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), or testing through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or the DSST Program (formerly known as DANTES); training provided by non-collegiate institutions, such as the armed forces; professional certification, or experiential learning/work experience.

Credit for prior learning policies at Rappahannock Community College are consistent with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) principles and with Virginia Community College System (VCCS) policy.

To be eligible to apply for credit for prior learning, a student must be admitted to Rappahannock Community College and officially placed in a program of study.

Credit awarded for CLEP, AP, IBO, DSST, departmental challenge exams, and credit for work experience may satisfy RCC program of study requirements, but will not necessarily transfer to another institution. Students desiring to transfer credit awarded via these methods should contact their four-year college of interest to determine its policy. However, appropriate credit, when awarded, will be listed on the student’s official RCC transcript.

Students desiring to earn college credit through one of the above credit for prior learning methods or who wish to take a locally developed departmental exam should contact the appropriate division office in which the course is taught.

Rappahannock Community College may award credit for the following competencies:

AP (The Advanced Placement Program)
The Advanced Placement Program (AP) allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in secondary schools. College credit is granted for scores of 3 or higher. Students should request an official score report be sent from the College Board to the Admissions & Records Office on either campus for evaluation.

IB (The International Baccalaureate Program)
The International Baccalaureate® (IB), and the Diploma Programme (DP) in particular, offer advanced level courses for students during the last two years of high school. The courses are available as HL (Higher Level) and SL (Standard Level). As per VCCS guidelines, RCC will grant credit for a score 4 or higher for Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, a score of 5 or higher for Standard Level International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Students should request an official score report be sent from International Baccalaureate Organization to the Admissions & Records Office on either campus for evaluation.

CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a credit-by-examination program, sponsored by the College Board, which gives students the opportunity to earn college credit by earning qualifying scores on exams. Students who score 50 or higher on CLEP courses will receive credit appropriate to that course. Students should request an official score report be sent from the College Board to the Admissions & Records Office on either campus for evaluation.

DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support)
Credit may be granted for successful completion of correspondence courses and subject standardized tests (SST) of the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES), formerly the United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI). These subject area standardized tests provide service members an opportunity to obtain credit for knowledge and skills acquired through non-traditional educational experience. Credit granted is based on the recommendations of the American Council of Education (ACE). Students should request an official score report be sent from the DANTES to the Admissions & Records Office on either campus for evaluation.

DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests)
Credit may be granted for successful completion of subject examinations taken through DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests). These subject area exams provide students an opportunity to obtain credit for prior learning through non-traditional educational experience. The DSST program is approved by the American Council of Education (ACE). Students who score at or above the minimum level recommended by ACE will receive credit appropriate to that course. Students should request an official score report be sent from the DSST to the Admissions & Records Office on either campus for evaluation.

Military Service
Credit may be awarded for military training and experience as recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines if the credits fit into the student’s specific curriculum. Students should request an official Joint Services Transcript or The Community College of the Air Force Transcript be sent to the Admissions & Records Office on either campus for evaluation.

Local Challenge Examinations
Examinations locally prepared and administered for subjects not available in the CLEP program may be utilized for a variety of courses at RCC. Specific course credit will be granted for each such local challenge exam successfully completed. For more information, contact the academic dean who is responsible for courses in the appropriate discipline.

Other Formal Learning Experiences
Credit may be granted, as a means of achieving credit for prior learning, for previous non- collegiate education, training, and/or previous occupational experiences as recommended by the American Council of Education (ACE). The student should submit official evidence of other formal learning experiences to Admissions & Records Office for evaluation. An example would be experiences from criminal justice academies.

In all of the above areas, neither grades nor grade points will be awarded for successful completion of the subject matter. An appropriate notation will be placed next to the course title on the student’s transcript. Students who plan to transfer to other institutions of higher education are cautioned that not all institutions of higher education accept credits earned in this manner as transfer credit. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the acceptability of these credits at the institution being considered for transfer.

Curriculum Changes (Major)
Students who wish to change or add programs should consult a new student advisor in order to discuss the impact of the change on both their academic standing their financial aid eligibility, and to complete the Program/Plan Change form. When a student changes to a new program, a new faculty advisor may be assigned to the student.

Transfer students who change programs must request a re-evaluation of their transcripts based on the requirements of the new curriculum.