Credits for the Bachelor of Arts degree
Students entering Wheaton College beginning in the Fall of 2020 must meet the requirements of the Compass Curriculum . All students who entered prior to Fall 2020, must meet the Connections Curriculum requirements.
Credit for Work at Wheaton
The unit of credit is the semester course. One course credit (the equivalent of four semester hours of credit) is awarded upon the completion of a semester course, and up to two credits for a yearlong course. Fractional credit may be awarded for courses that involve less than a semester’s work and these fractional credits may also be divided across two semesters. These regulations govern the earning of course credits:
- At least 16 of the 32 credits must be earned in courses taken at Wheaton (“in residence”); normally these must include the last eight credits (the “senior residency requirement”). Students may, ordinarily at the time of their matriculation and before the end of their first year, seek transfer and/or advanced placement credit for work or examinations completed before enrolling at Wheaton, and all students may earn transfer credit for appropriate work completed at other accredited institutions. Students planning to complete the degree requirements in fewer than eight semesters, or wishing to waive one or both semesters of the senior residency requirement, should petition the Committee on Academic Standing before they have completed 20 course credits.
- The normal semester load is four course credits (16 semester hours). Students seeking to enroll in fewer than four credits or more than 5.5 credits must have the permission of the Committee on Academic Standing. Part-time status (fewer than three credits a semester) is only granted upon successful petition to the Committee on Academic Standing.
- At least sixteen course credits of work must be outside the field of the major.
- Both semesters of a yearlong course must be completed before final credit and a grade are earned.
Transfer Credit from Other Institutions and Programs
Wheaton College accepts transfer credits from any regionally accredited institution toward the Bachelor of Arts degree, whether taught online or in person. Students can transfer up to a maximum of 16 credits from any of the four categories combined as outlined in the table below. 16 Wheaton credits are equivalent to 4 semesters of Wheaton course work. Transfer credit may be used to fulfill any general education requirement(s) under the Connections curriculum or to fulfill any scholars program requirement(s) under the Compass curriculum.
Wheaton College operates on a 32-credit system. Each Wheaton credit is equivalent to 4 semester hours. The amount of credit accepted for course work taken from within other systems, therefore, will be determined by a calculation. This calculation may result in an award of fractional credit (see examples below). Also, please note that only credits transfer, not grades.
Type of Coursework or Test
Documents Required for Official Transfer Credit Evaluation*
Credit Limits (in Wheaton Credits)
Office Processing Review**
Coursework taken at other regionally accredited, degree-granting, U.S. institutions of higher education, including those taken while in high school in the U.S.
Official college transcripts
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits
CollegeBoard Official Scores
4 or 5
International Baccalaureate (IB) Credits
IB Score Report
Score of 5 or above in Higher Level (HL) courses
General Certificate of Education (British University A-Levels) or other thirteenth-year diploma programs
Official Certificate with Exam Grades
C or better in A-Level courses
Coursework taken at institutions of higher education outside the U.S.
Official college transcripts
Center for Global Education
*course descriptions and/or a syllabus may be requested to complete the evaluation
**reviews conducted in consultation with the appropriate Wheaton academic department chairs
- Since Wheaton courses are equivalent to four semester hours, ALL transfer credit is awarded credit based on a calculation. To compute the amount of Wheaton credit that will be granted for transfer credit, the calculation is based on the total number of semester hours of credit for the bachelor’s degree at the originating institution and the number of semester hours of credit for each course.
- The computation is as follows:
- # of credits at originating institution / # of credits required for a bachelor’s degree at originating institution X 32* = Number of credits awarded
*(32 is the number of credits required for a Wheaton bachelor’s degree)
- Example: Courses at College Z carry 3 semester hours and 120 hours are required for the bachelor’s degree at that college. A student completes one course during the summer session for 3 semester hours at College Z. To calculate the transfer credit that is accepted at Wheaton, divide 3 by 120 and then multiply by 32 (3/120 x 32 = 0.8 Wheaton Credit).
Wheaton Credit for Internship (WCI)
To enroll in WCI (.25 - .50 academic credits during the winter or term-time or .50 – 1.0 credits during the summer), students must acquire an internship with an onsite supervisor, obtain approval signatures from Career Services, register for a WCI course, and must work with a faculty advisor who will serve as the instructor of record. The WCI are not factored into a student’s GPA. A Wheaton student must work with a faculty advisor who will establish learning goals and determine successful completion. In addition, in order for the student to be eligible for WCI, the employer partner must engage the student in the internship for a minimum of 60 hours for term-time or winter break internships, or 240 hours for summer internships, as well as meet other internship criteria as established by Career Services. The student must also be a currently matriculated student who has completed at least one semester (for students who are not U.S. citizens, one academic year), but who has not yet graduated.
Students who successfully complete an internship will receive a grade of “P.” A grade of “P” earned for a WCI course does not count toward the total number of “P” grades that a student can take as part of the Grade/Pass/Fail option, nor toward the total number of “P” courses a student may earn in a single semester.
- A student must present 32 course credits for graduation.
- A student must attain an average of 2.00 (C) for all credits earned at Wheaton to maintain good academic standing and to qualify for graduation.
- Among the 32 course credits presented for graduation, each student must include courses that fulfill the general requirements of the Wheaton Curriculum. Students entering Wheaton College beginning in the Fall of 2020 must meet the requirements of the Compass Curriculum. All students who entered prior to Fall 2020, must meet the Connections Curriculum requirements.
- Each student must include among the 32 course credits presented for graduation courses that complete requirements for a major field of concentration. These are outlined in general here, but each major has its own specific requirements, which are detailed under departmental sections. Students are expected to declare their majors by no later than the end of the fourth semester by submitting a declaration form, signed by the appropriate major advisor, to the Office of the Registrar.
- The major consists of a minimum of nine courses (more in some departments), at least three of which must be at the 300-level or above. Some majors require more than three advanced-level courses.
- At least half the courses in the major must be completed at Wheaton, and at least 6 course credits in the major must be among the last 16 earned (that is, normally completed in the final two years).
- A student must maintain an average of 2.00 (C) across all courses taken in the major.
Degree Conferral Dates
Wheaton College holds one annual commencement ceremony in May, but has three-degree conferral dates each year as follows:
May - degree requirements completed by end of spring semester
August - degree requirements completed by one week prior to the conferral date
October - degree requirements completed by end of summer semester
February - degree requirements completed by end of fall semester
Students completing degree requirements in the spring semester and attending the May commencement ceremony, normally receive their diplomas at the ceremony.
Diplomas for students completing at other times of the year or those not attending the commencement ceremony will be mailed. Please be sure that your address information is up to date and accurate.
All students who have completed their degrees may participate in the commencement ceremony regardless of their degree conferral dates.
Outstanding students may attain a variety of academic honors at Wheaton.
A Dean’s List shall be compiled at the end of every semester. It shall contain the names of all those students who have completed at least three graded courses (total of 3 course credits) in that semester and whose grade point average for the semester is a GPA of 3.50 or higher.
Students with outstanding achievements in particular areas may earn departmental prizes at Honors Convocation at the close of the academic year.
Honors in the Field of Concentration
Students may become candidates for honors in their fields of concentration at the invitation of their major departments or advisors at the end of their junior year. Candidates for honors complete at least two semesters of special or independent work beyond the usual departmental requirements and an oral examination on that work. Most students will fulfill this requirement with two semesters of senior thesis (Individual Research 500) in their senior year. Candidates must also have an average of B+ (3.33) in all courses in the major and an overall average of B (3.0). Independent majors who meet the requirements for honors will be designated Wheaton Scholars.
Latin Honors at Graduation
Students graduating under the Compass Curriculum may be granted the degree with Latin honors by completing the requirements of the Eliza Wheaton Scholars Program and earning the GPA designated below:
- cum laude 3.50
- magna cum laude 3.70
- summa cum laude 3.90
Students graduating under the Connections Curriculum must have successfully achieved the required GPA as indicated above and the requirements of the Connections Curriculum.
High-ranking juniors and seniors may be elected to the Wheaton College chapter (Kappa of Massachusetts) of Phi Beta Kappa. Selected departments also nominate students to major honor societies within the discipline. Criteria vary by department.
Letter grades are awarded in courses on a four-point scale as follows:
|A = 4.00
|B = 3.00
|C = 2.00
|D = 1.00
|F = 0
Plus and minus grades are proportioned fractionally (e.g., B+ = 3.33, C- = 1.67). Wheaton awards grades of A+ as a commendation, but these grades award no more than 4.00 points.
In yearlong courses, a temporary grade is awarded at the end of the first semester and is replaced by a full-credit grade (most often two credits) at the end of the year. Students must complete both semesters of a yearlong course to earn a permanent grade and all credits.
MAP courses required as part of the Compass general education curriculum are graded with either S for satisfactory or U for unsatisfactory. These grades are for advising purposes. They do not carry credit, are not counted in the GPA, and do not appear on the official academic transcript. MAP courses required as part of the Compass general education curriculum, are graded with either S for satisfactory or U for unsatisfactory. These grades are for advising purposes. They do not carry credit, are not counted in the GPA, and do not appear on the official academic transcript.
Grade/Pass/Fail is intended to encourage students to enroll in courses they might not otherwise take with minimal risk to their academic standing. Students exercising this option can set their own minimum grade for a class. If they meet or exceed that grade, they receive the grade that they earned. If they fall below the set grade (but still pass the class), they receive a “P”. Instructors are not informed that students have selected this option and will submit normal letter grades, which are then converted to “P” by the Office of the Registrar as appropriate. This grade is not computed in the GPA. Should the student fail the course, the “F” grade is recorded and calculated in the GPA.
Students may use the G/P/F option once per semester for as many semesters as they wish until they have accumulated a total of three “P” grades on their transcript. Students may select this option up to two weeks after final registration by properly informing the Office of the Registrar. Students should not expect to be able to use this option after that deadline in order to deal with academic difficulties in a course.
Please note that “P” grades may not be used to fulfill the Foundations requirements (FYS, Writing (English 101 or equivalent), Foreign Languages, Quantitative Analysis, and Beyond the West), of the Wheaton Connections curriculum. It may, however be used for Connections or Divisional requirements (Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences). Academic Departments may choose to allow the “P” grade to meet requirements for majors and minors. Please consult the current College Catalog to determine if “P” grades may be used to meet specific major or minor requirements.
Once a “P” grade is recorded on the academic transcript, it can only be changed with an approved petition by the Committee on Academic Standing. Such petitions will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances.
In order to select this option, students should complete the G/P/F form found in WINDOW in insideWheaton.
Please note that “P” grades may not be used to fulfill the Foundations requirements (FYS, Writing (English 101 or equivalent), Foreign Languages, Quantitative Analysis, and Beyond the West), of the Wheaton Connections curriculum. It may, however be used for Connections or Divisional requirements (Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences). Academic Departments may choose to allow the “P” grade to meet requirements for majors and minors. Please consult with the academic department to determine if “P” grades may be used to meet specific major or minor requirements.
Once a “P” grade is recorded on the academic transcript, it can only be changed with an approved petition by the Committee on Academic Standing. Such petitions will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances.
Students who, for reasons beyond their control, find that they are unable to complete coursework as scheduled should consult with the faculty member teaching the course. Students are expected to provide documentation of the circumstances necessitating this Incomplete. Incompletes are recorded with the symbol “I” and must be completed within the specified College deadline.
The notation “NG” is used only when an instructor has been unable to award a final grade; it must be replaced by a letter grade or Incomplete before the beginning of the next semester. Failure to resolve “NG” grades or overdue Incomplete grades will result in the grade being converted to “F” by the close of the following semester.
Course Drop or Withdrawal
Occasionally, students may seek to drop or withdraw from a course for which they have registered. If registered for five or more credits, they may do so themselves prior to the drop deadline via web registration. If students wish to drop below four credits of coursework (a normal course load) or are seeking to withdraw from a course after the deadline, they must petition the Committee on Academic Standing to do so and are urged to consult with one of the Student Success Advisors in the Academic Advising Center to review the circumstances of their request before submitting it to the committee. When such requests are granted, the course will normally appear on the student’s transcript with the notation “WD.”
Students may elect to audit a course (register for it without doing the work that would earn academic credit) with the permission of the instructor. Students seeking to audit a course must submit a Course Override form, signed by the instructor, to the Office of the Registrar by the audit deadline. Students may not switch a course from credit status to audit status after this deadline. The grade “AU” designates successful completion of a course as an auditor and is assigned only when the student has met the requirements of the instructor for attendance and participation as an auditor throughout the semester.
Good Standing and Normal Progress
To remain in good standing, a student must maintain at least a 2.00 (C) semester and cumulative average and maintain normal progress toward the degree. Normal progress requires that a student fall no more than two credits behind his or her class standing. Class standing is defined as follows:
- Sophomore standing—8 course credits
- Junior standing—16 course credits
- Senior standing—24 course credits
Failure to meet any of these criteria could result in a range of institutional actions, from placing the student on academic probation through suspension for one year or academic dismissal. A student on academic probation who fails to regain good standing after one semester may be subject to suspension or dismissal by the Committee on Academic Standing. If a student demonstrates exceptionally poor academic performance, the college may suspend that student immediately, rather than first placing the student on academic probation. (For students receiving federal financial aid, please refer to the Financial Aid section for more specific information on the relationship between good academic standing and the aid award.)
In their first year, student performance will be evaluated in each course at the mid-semester point; any first-year student whose work is unsatisfactory (below C level) at that time will receive a course warning, which obliges the student to meet with his or her instructor immediately. Warnings are not a part of a student’s permanent record, but provide an opportunity for students to remedy academic deficiencies at a point when positive results are still possible. Upper-class students may also receive warnings, although instructors are not required to submit warnings for these students. A student whose work is sufficiently poor as to make passing the course improbable may be prohibited by the instructor from completing the final examination and failed in the course before the end of the semester.
Students who have been excessively absent may also receive a mid-semester excessive absence notification. A student receiving such a notice should meet immediately with the instructor to determine the impact of those absences on their grade and the probability of successful completion of the course, and to resolve any registration errors.
Students may also receive mid-semester commendations, identifying that the work they have completed, to date, is of exceptional quality. Students receiving commendations are urged to meet with their instructors and advisors to discuss further work in this area.
Academic Grievance Policy
It is the policy of Wheaton College to address student academic concerns or complaints fairly and in a timely manner. When a student has a concern about a grade given by a faculty member the department and the college have an obligation to deal with such concerns in a prompt and fair manner. Often, these complaints or concerns arise due to poor communication or misunderstandings. Whenever possible, therefore, informal procedures as outlined in Step One should be used to address the grievance.
Students can receive guidance on how to proceed with any part of the grievance process by meeting with a Student Success Advisor in Academic Advising in the Filene Center.
When a student has a complaint about a grade based on a clear discrepancy between the grade and the course requirements as stated in the syllabus, miscalculation, or a discrepancy with a grading rubric, the student should bring the matter to the attention of the faculty member in writing within 10 days after receiving the grade, either by email or letter, to be followed if possible by a telephone or face-to-face conversation to discuss it. Upon receipt of such notification the faculty member must send a response within 10 days. If the student is not satisfied with the response, or receives no response within the 10- day period, the student is urged to contact the instructor again to request a decision. If at this point the student is not satisfied with the response, or has yet to receive one, and does not feel that they can present the concern directly to the faculty member, they may proceed to Step Two within the latter 10-day period.
If the matter cannot be resolved through informal consultation with the faculty member, the student may take the concern or complaint in writing to the Chair of the department of the faculty member. If the complaint is against the Chair, another senior member of the department with experience as chair, selected by the Provost, will fulfill the responsibilities of the chair. If no such senior member is available, a senior member from a department in a related discipline may fulfill this role.
In all cases the chair or substitute should base their decision on clear and convincing evidence such as rubrics and other grading criteria that have been delineated in the course syllabus or other course documents, as well as on the principle that authority to determine grades through a reasonable application of such materials lies with the faculty member.
If the department chair concludes that the student’s concerns about a grade do not require further action, the chair shall issue a written statement to both parties that clearly outlines the reasons for the decision. Chairs are expected to keep records of such disputes on file.
If the department chair determines that the complaint merits further review, he or she shall separately interview the faculty member and complaining student. The Chair should render a decision and issue a report based on the evidence that he/she reviewed along with any recommendations and send a copy to the complaining student, the faculty member, and the provost. In ordinary cases it is expected that the review and written report should be completed within 20 working days of the date the complaint was filed.
If either the aggrieved student or faculty member is dissatisfied with the Chair’s decision, they may appeal the decision to the Provost within 10 days for a final review of the matter. The appeal must be based on a perceived procedural defect in the Chair’s handling of the matter or on new evidence not available at the time of the Chair’s review. The provost shall review all the documentation that led to the Chair’s decision, along with the materials submitted by the student to the Chair. The provost shall send a copy of their decision to the student presenting the grievance, the faculty member, and the department chair. That decision shall be final and not subject to further appeal by the grieving student.
At Wheaton, the Honor Code informs all aspects of campus life. We hold ourselves and each other to very high academic and personal standards. This mutually shared respect offers individual freedom to explore our interests and learn in an open and collaborative environment. We take great pride in our community and understand our words and actions reflect on the whole. Our Honor Code is evident in our work, our reputation and our success.
Established by students for the purpose of self-governance in 1921, The Honor Code is a commitment to the ideals of academic excellence and individual responsibility:
As members of the Wheaton community, we commit ourselves to act honestly, responsibly, and above all, with honor and integrity in all areas of campus life. We are accountable for all that we say and write. We are responsible for the academic integrity of our work. We pledge that we will not misrepresent our work nor give or receive unauthorized aid. We commit ourselves to behave in a manner which demonstrates concern for the personal dignity, rights and freedoms of all members of the community. We are respectful of college property and the property of others. We will not tolerate a lack of respect for these values.
Credit Hour Policy
The institutional process for assigning credit hours to courses, in accordance with federal regulations, is based on at least the minimum academic activity for students to achieve intended learning outcomes as verified by evidence of student achievement.
Wheaton College’s unit of credit is the semester course. This is defined as one-fourth of a normal program of academic work for one semester (i.e., four courses) and, for purposes of evaluation, may be considered the equivalent of four semester hours of credit. The typical undergraduate degree program requires completion of 32 course units.
A typical Wheaton course consists of 3 hours of direct faculty instruction with an expectation for 9 hours of out-of-class academic activity each week for approximately 16 weeks, including a final exam period, for one semester.
For classes offered in other formats leading to the award of academic credit, an equivalent amount of academic activity is required.
Course Completion Requirements
Students register for courses online using our web-based system known as WINDOW. Recognizing the importance of the faculty/staff advising relationship, every student must meet with their faculty advisor in each advising period preceding course selection week. Students away from the campus at these times will be contacted by the Office of the Registrar and may follow different procedures for course registration. Students not registered or improperly registered may not receive credit for their work.
Students may change course registrations without penalty or fee within the first seven days of instruction each semester. Specific deadlines for adding courses, dropping courses, and choosing the grade/pass/fail grading option are published in the college academic calendar.
Repeating a Course
Students may repeat a course for which they have already earned credit only with the written consent of the instructor and the approval of the dean of academic advising. The grade for the repeated course will appear on a student’s transcript and be computed in the grade point average, but no additional credit may be earned through the repetition of the course.
Integrity of Academic Work
All work submitted for evaluation in a course must be completed in accordance with the standards of academic integrity in the college’s Honor Code. All dependence on the ideas or language of others in a student’s written work must be properly acknowledged and documented; students should consult their instructors whenever they are unsure of their responsibilities toward the Honor Code. The code also means that a student may not give or receive aid in completing laboratory assignments, computer programs or other work assigned in courses. The Honor Code also precludes a student from submitting the same assignment in two or more classes.
Examinations and quizzes are normally unproctored—completed without faculty present. Students are on their honor to refrain from giving or receiving aid during an exam or quiz, and are obliged by the Honor Code to report any allegations of academic dishonesty, either to the College Hearing Board chair or the dean of students’ office.
Students are required to acknowledge in writing the integrity of all work submitted and all exams or quizzes completed.
Students are expected to attend classes regularly and are responsible for all work conducted or assigned in classes they miss. Individual instructors may set individualized attendance policies and enforce them. In certain classes, it may not be possible to pass the course once a student exceeds the number of allowed absences, no matter how valid the reasons for the absences. Accommodations for students who have missed classes, examinations or quizzes, labs, or deadlines for written work will be made only at the discretion of the instructor, who may require the student to have medical or other external confirmation that the accommodation is justified by circumstances beyond the student’s control.
In addition, according to Massachusetts state law, any student whose religious beliefs prevent class attendance or participation in any examination, study or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such requirement. The student will also receive an opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirement that may have been missed because of such absence on a particular day; however, such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon the school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making this opportunity available. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who takes advantage of the provisions of this section.
If a Wheaton student is unable to attend a class, due to illness and or emergency, their responsibility is to contact the faculty member directly as soon as possible. While, in some cases (e.g. sudden illness, serious injury, etc.) it may not be possible to make contact before class, there is no excuse for not communicating directly with your professor via Email, voice-mail, etc. as soon as possible. Students are responsible adults and will be treated as such. If you are requesting an excused absence, your professor may require a note from a medical provider or other documentation of the extenuating circumstances. Be advised that the Health Center will not generally provide notes. You are allowed to grant permission to the Health Center (if that is where your medical care took place) to confirm to your professor(s) that you were seen there. If you will be out of class/away from campus for several days, you are still responsible for contacting all appropriate faculty members.
All course assignments except for final examinations or work in lieu of final exams must be completed by the last day of classes each semester. All final examinations or work in lieu of exams must be completed by the end of the examination period. No regular course work may be submitted after the last day of classes. Failure to meet these deadlines may, under special circumstances outlined above, be accommodated by granting the grade of “I” (or Incomplete). All Incompletes must be approved by the instructor for that particular course and require documentation of the circumstances necessitating the Incomplete.
Students normally complete their final exams during the week following the last week of classes. Faculty may substitute a final research paper or some other project in lieu of an examination.
Final examinations may be pre-scheduled or self-scheduled, as determined by the instructor. Pre-scheduled exams are offered by the instructor during the final examination time associated with that class, as published by the Office of the Registrar each semester. Once a student’s registration in a class is final, he or she should identify any pre-scheduled final exam times prior to making any end-of-semester travel arrangements. Alternatively, final examinations may be self-scheduled, allowing students to select the date and time during exam week in which they wish to take that course final. Please note: The college cannot reschedule exams to accommodate family plans or holiday travel. The exam schedule is available at the beginning of each semester. Incompletes (I) may be granted only when circumstances are confirmed to be beyond the student’s control; students must receive permission from a dean in the Academic Advising Center and work out a contract with the instructor for the completion of all work before the end of the next semester. Failure to complete work by that date shall result in instructions to the faculty member to submit a final grade, with zero points awarded for the work still outstanding or the award of a grade of “F.”
Leave of Absence and Withdrawals
Wheaton College (the College) recognizes that circumstances arise that may interfere with a student’s ability to complete their coursework, take care of themselves, or be as successful as they would like to be. For that reason, students may petition to withdraw from the College through the withdrawal process outlined in this policy. Students may petition to take two types of withdrawals: Medical or Non-Medical. In certain circumstances, the College may also initiate an Involuntary Withdrawal.
- Medical Withdrawal: There may be times when a student needs to take a short term withdrawal from the College, with the intention of returning, for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to physical health, mental health, or substance use challenges that impact their ability to be successful. Students can elect to proceed with a Medical Withdrawal through the Academic Advising Office in the Filene Center and Dean of Students Office.
- Non-Medical Withdrawal: There may be times when a student needs to take a short term withdrawal from the College, with or without the intention of returning, for a variety of reasons including but not limited to having to return home due to family matters, needing to work, or for other reasons of financial necessity. Students can elect to proceed with a Non-Medical Withdrawal through The Academic Advising Office in the Filene Center.
- Involuntary Withdrawal: There may be times when the College initiates an Involuntary Withdrawal of a student due to significant concerns regarding the well-being and/or safety of the individual student, other students, or the College community. Additionally, there may be times that the College initiates an Involuntary Withdrawal of a student due to other reasons including but not limited to financial status, academic status or conduct. This decision would be initiated and processed through the Dean of Students Office.
Prior to the initiation of any type of withdrawal, a student may be required to sign releases of information by and between providers treating the student (i.e. student’s medical, psychological or substance use providers), or others involved in the student care or those who are knowledgeable about the student (i.e. parents, guardians, others involved in an incident which leads to an Involuntary Withdrawal), to provide information regarding the student to appropriate College officials. These releases would authorize disclosure of the student’s physical health, mental health, substance use or other history to best support treatment and withdrawal planning for the well-being of the student.
During a withdrawal, the College will monitor and update a student’s status as either active / on leave / withdrawn. Consideration for their return will be determined by the type of withdrawal the student is on, and return to campus will be approved by the Withdrawal Committee (comprised of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Advising and Academic Success, Director of Counseling and Health Services and, when indicated, a representative from Student Financial Services).
If a student wishes to pursue academic credit(s) while on a withdrawal status, and transfer that credit back to the College, they must receive prior approval from the appropriate faculty department chairperson. Students who do not petition to return to the College following an absence of four consecutive semesters, will be administratively withdrawn from the College. Students administratively withdrawn from the College must contact the Office of the Registrar for consideration to return.
A Medical Withdrawal is a voluntary withdrawal a student may petition to be granted when they are seeking to address physical health, mental health, or substance use challenges that limit their ability to successfully participate in educational programming; pose a direct threat to the student, or others; or substantially disrupts the ability for other students to successfully participate in educational opportunities offered by the College. Students who are approved for a Medical Withdrawal are typically withdrawn from the College at the discretion of the Dean of Students Office for up to one full academic year, no less than one full academic semester, and may re-petition the College to extend that withdrawal for up to one additional academic year. Petition reasons for Medical Withdrawals may include, but are not limited to the following examples:
- Eating Disorder;
- Substance Use Concerns;
- Physical injury due to an accident; and
- Chronic medical conditions.
The College takes Medical Withdrawals seriously and maintains the sincerest care for the student(s) involved. Therefore, the College requires that students seek a Medical Withdrawal at the time of the health concerns interference in the student’s life. Typically, the College does not approve retroactive or backdated, medical withdrawal requests (i.e., after a semester is completed, grades are issued, for previous semesters, backdated to when the challenges first arose or when medical leave was first recommended by a College official or provider if the student chose not to pursue the leave at that time, etc.).
A Non-Medical Withdrawal is a voluntary withdrawal from the College for up to one full academic year, no less than one full academic semester, and may be extended for up to one additional academic year. Students who do not communicate with the College about their intentions following withdrawal will be administratively withdrawn by the Academic Advising Office in the Filene Center. The College understands that a Non-Medical Withdrawal can be a time for a student to reassess and self-evaluate and subsequently be beneficial for their holistic development and success. Petition reasons for a Non-Medical Withdrawal may include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
- Financial difficulties; cost of college; need to work full-time,
- Difficult personal (non-medical) circumstances; family matters needing attention;
- Uncertainty about major and future career aspirations;
- Taking a gap year to reconsider;
- College was not the right fit; course of study not offered;
- Lack of support from and engagement with faculty/staff at the college; and
- Semester or Year abroad at a program not supported by the College.
The College may require the withdrawal of a student for reasons including, but not limited to those listed below:
- Physical Health, Mental Health or Substance Use: When all good faith efforts by the College have been made to accommodate and support the student with little or no success; situations where the student poses a threat of harm to self or others or is unduly disruptive to the effective participation of other students’ academic, residential or extracurricular experience, or where the student is unable themselves to safely and/or effectively participate in the College’s academic, residential life or extracurricular activities due to a physical, mental health or substance use condition.
- Academic Suspension: Students whose semester and/or cumulative grade point average is below 2.00 for two consecutive semesters, or whose semester grade point average is 1.33 (D+) or below, may be placed on academic suspension by the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). Academic Suspension requires students to leave the institution involuntarily for two semesters. Students who have been placed on academic suspension or academic dismissal may appeal the decision of CAS by submitting a letter of appeal and any additional supporting documentation to the committee by the specified deadline. Students who have been suspended for academic reasons may petition to be readmitted after one semester if they fulfill certain academic requirements specified by the committee. See Academic Resources for more information.
- Disciplinary Suspensions: Students may be subject to suspension from the College for a determined period of time or may be subject to permanent expulsion, by action of the Dean of Students Office or the College Hearing Board, for conduct determined to be a violation of the Wheaton Honor Code and Community Standards or other College policies. Disciplinary suspension or expulsion will be effective immediately. Students suspended or expelled from the College for conduct during the course of a semester are not entitled to a refund of tuition and fees; may not complete work for classes for which they are enrolled; will be withdrawn from courses in progress, and a notation of “Withdrawn” with effective date will be reflected on the student’s academic transcript. Any action of disciplinary suspension or expulsion may be enforced pending the outcome of an appeal at the sole discretion of the Dean of Students / Vice President of Student Affairs, Associate Vice President for Students Affairs or designee in compliance with the college judicial and student conduct procedures. At the sole discretion of the Dean of Students / Vice President of Student Affairs or Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, the action may be held in abeyance pending the outcome of an appeal submitted in accordance with the college judicial and student conduct procedures.
- Administrative Withdrawal: Students who fail to communicate with the college about their status and remain unregistered for the following semester will be administratively withdrawn by Academic Advising on the Friday prior to the first day of classes.
- Financial - Students are required to complete payment of their tuition, fees and all other charges by the stated deadlines to maintain active enrollment status, to be eligible to register for courses, and, if approved, to return from a leave. Late fees may be imposed if payment is not received by the due date. College policy states that any student with a balance at least 60 days past due may not be permitted to enroll or return for subsequent terms until the past due balance is paid in full. Students who are unable to fulfill their financial obligations to the college and do not work out a satisfactory payment plan may be required to take a leave of absence (and/or may not receive approval to return to the College after taking a leave) until such time as their accounts with the College are resolved. See Financial Aid for more information
Students withdrawn involuntarily may also be subject to any normal disciplinary action before, during and following a withdrawal period if their conduct leading to the withdrawal has violated the College’s Honor Code, Student Conduct Policy, or other College policies.
To initiate a withdrawal, students must verbally, or in writing (via email or letter) request a withdrawal and state the reason for the withdrawal. This notification must be made to the Dean of Students Office or the Academic Advising Office and will effectively begin the administrative withdrawal process. The next step a student must take is to fill out the Withdrawal Form in Academic Advising and submit it to the Withdrawal Committee through the Academic Advising Office in the Filene Center. The Office of Academic Advising will serve as the conduit for all processes, aiding students in communicating with the Dean of Students Office, Student Financial Services, the Registrar, Professors, on-campus employment and any other procedural support a student may need during this process.
Any additional necessary documentation for a leave to be considered (for example: withdrawal form and medical provider documentation) must be submitted to the Office of Academic Advising or otherwise specified within ten business days of the initial request for a leave.
- Students petitioning specifically for a Medical Withdrawal are required to provide the following document(s) to the Dean of Students Office:
- A letter of support from a current treating physical or mental health provider detailing the diagnosis, current functional limitations, recommendation for leave and plan for course of treatment while away; and
- Any additional documentation at the Withdrawal Committee’s discretion.
Once a petition is filed, the following steps are taken typically within ten business days:
- Review of the petition by the Withdrawal Committee
- During this step, petitions will be carefully considered for type of withdrawal requested (non-medical / medical), duration of withdrawal, and necessary requirements for return.
- Students may be required to meet with staff in the Academic Advising Office, Dean of Students Office, or Office of Counseling and Health Services for clarification regarding their petition, to access triage support services (e.g., Residential Life, Financial Aid, Athletics etc.), and/or to provide additional support to the student through the process. This is at the discretion of the Committee and the Dean of Students Office.
- Students are informed of the status of their petition as “approved” or “not approved” in writing via email to their Wheaton account or campus mail.
- It is important to note, refund schedules are maintained by Student Financial Services and can be found here. Special consideration for Medical Withdrawal refunds is left to the discretion of the College on a case-by-case basis.
- Once a petition is approved, the Withdrawal Committee via the Academic Advising Office in the Filene Center will communicate with appropriate college offices to ensure the student’s status is changed to withdrawn and appropriate staff and faculty are notified.
- The Withdrawal Committee via the Academic Advising Office in the Filene Center will place a temporary hold on the student’s account pending their return.
Students wishing to appeal a withdrawal decision may do so in writing (via email or letter) to the Dean of Students / Vice President of Student Affairs, within five business days of the receipt of the official written correspondence from the Withdrawal Committee via the Dean of Students Office notifying them of withdrawal.
If students wish to appeal this decision, the following are required:
- Information regarding grounds for the appeal; and
- Outline or proof of supporting evidence
The Dean of Students / Vice President of Student Affairs or Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs will notify students of the outcome of their appeal within ten business days following receipt of the appeal request. Appeal outcomes are final.
Return from Withdrawal Process
The College expects all students who are on any type of withdrawal to maintain communication with the Dean of Students Office regarding their intentions of returning to the College.
In order to initiate the process of returning to the College:
- Students are required to contact the Dean of Students Office to schedule a time to speak with the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee. Requests to return for Fall semesters are due by August 1st, and requests to return for Spring semesters are due by January 1st.
- All requirements outlined in the approved withdrawal letter must be completed before a request to return is considered; and
- Specifically for Medical Withdrawal, any necessary supporting documents, including but not limited to, outlining of treatment completed, current functioning and recommendations from current treating physical or mental health providers, program completion certificates, may be requested from the Dean of Students Office and are required at the time of the request to return.
Once the Dean of Students Office receives a request to return, and all mandatory documentation has been provided, the following steps are followed:
- Review of the return request and all documentation provided is completed by the Dean of Students Office with the input of the withdrawal committee / Dean of Academic Advising and Director of Counseling and Health Services or their designees.
- Any plans outlined in return documentation from providers (e.g., wellness plans, counseling, academic study halls, etc.) to aid in the success of the student are required to be set up/complete; and
- Failure to complete supporting plans for success may result in an Involuntary Withdrawal or refusal of the request to return to campus by the College.
- Students are informed of the status regarding their request as “approved” or “not approved” to return in writing via written correspondence from the Withdrawal Committee / Dean of Students Office within ten business days of the receipt of required return documentation.
- Holds placed on student accounts will not be lifted until the return is approved and all outstanding financial and registration requirements are met.
Students who wish to leave the College and not return should contact the Office of Academic Advising and complete all necessary paperwork as required by the College. For more information regarding your student record (e.g., credits, transcripts, etc.) contact the Office of the Registrar.
Short Term Leave Procedure
At times, for their safety and well-being, students may be hospitalized inpatient for a medical or mental health reason or attend an intensive outpatient hospitalization program (Rehab, IOP, PHP, etc.). These services can be initiated in the best interest of the student by the College (Counseling Center or Public Safety), by the student themselves, or by a family member, friend or medical provider.
If a student is hospitalized inpatient due to a medical reason (including but not limited to, surgery, medical treatment for chronic illness, sudden illness, etc.) for any period of time, the return procedure is the same as a student who may be hospitalized for a mental health reason (behavioral, mental health or substance use related) or attends an intensive outpatient hospitalization program. Students who are hospitalized inpatient for a mental health reason, or participate in an intensive outpatient hospitalization program, are often gone from campus for anywhere from three days to multiple weeks or months.
When a student is hospitalized inpatient for any reason, or attends an intensive outpatient hospitalization program, the College recommends that:
- The student or representative of the student notify the Dean of Students Office that they are in the hospital and for what reason.
- The student signs a Release of Information for their treater to communicate with the Dean of Students Office to notify the Dean’s Office that the student is hospitalized, for what reason, and for approximately how long. This will ensure support from the College, and notification of Professors as needed.
- Continued communication from the student or a representative of the student (provider, parent/guardian etc.) with the Dean of Students Office regarding status and disposition of the student, and plans for return or medical leave following discharge from the hospital.
When a student is discharged from the inpatient hospitalization or intensive outpatient hospitalization program, if the student wishes to return to the College, the student must follow the below steps before coming back on campus (including going to their residence hall). If there are any questions, you may contact the Dean of Students Office.
- Schedule a Return to Campus meeting with the Dean of Students Office to review documentation from hospitalization and be approved to be back on campus. This can be scheduled by calling the Dean of Students Office at 508-286-8218 (and may be done by the student themselves or a case manager at the hospital/parent or guardian).
- This meeting must take place before the student is back in their residence hall or attending classes. Approval to be back in their residence hall or attend classes prior to the Return to Campus meeting is made on a case by case basis by the Dean of Students Office. To discuss this possibility, please contact the Dean of Students Office.
- Discharge paperwork from the hospital should be faxed to the Dean of Students Office (fax: 508-286-3470) prior to the return to campus meeting scheduled. This is typically faxed by the provider or case manager at the hospital upon discharge of the student. The student may also wish to sign releases of information for the Counseling Center or Health Services. As these offices are both confidential offices, without a release of information, they cannot confirm or deny information about any student and that student’s involvement with their services. The Counseling Center and Health Services administrators are utilized by the Dean of Students Office to review documentation that is within their specialty to give expert feedback regarding the care and appropriateness of students to return to campus (based solely on the discharge paperwork provided). Once the paperwork has been received by the Dean of Students Office, it will be reviewed by the below individuals/offices. :
- Dean of Students Office prior to return to campus meeting as well as:
- Director of Counseling and Health Services if mental health hospitalization
- Associate Director of Student Health Services if medical hospitalization
- During the Return to Campus Meeting, the student will review with the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, treatment received, recommendations from the hospital (further outpatient treatment / specialized care etc.), the hospitals’ recommendation for the student to return to campus or home, and the plans (inclusive of reviewing already scheduled appointments for follow up care, etc.) of support for the student going forward. Based upon the documentation provided, any conversations the Dean of Students Office has had with the student/family/hospital providers, a recommendation will be made regarding whether the student can and should return to campus or not.
- If the student is approved to be back on campus they should return to their schedule as normal, but it is recommended they check in with Academic Advising as well as their Professors regarding any missed work and reincorporating themselves back into the classroom.
- If the student is recommended to take a medical leave, the procedures in sections II - V should be followed.
- The college reserves the right to involuntarily remove a student due to significant concerns regarding the well-being and/or safety of the individual student, other students, or the college community.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
Scope of FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords Wheaton College (the “College”) students certain rights with respect to their Education Records. The term “Education Records” means those records that are:
- directly related to a student; and
- maintained by the College or by a party acting for the College.
Generally, Education Records of a student will be maintained by the Office of Registrar (the “Registrar”), the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services, the Office of Student Financial Services, the Dean of Students Office and the department of the student’s major field of study.
The term “Education Records” does not include:
- Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
- Records of the law enforcement unit of the College that are created for a law enforcement unit and law enforcement purpose.
- Records relating to an individual who is employed by the College, that:
- are made and maintained in the normal course of business;
- relate exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee; and
- are not available for use for any other purpose. (Records relating to an individual in attendance at the College who is employed as a result of their status as a student are education records.)
- Records on a student who is 18 years of age or older, or is attending the College, that are:
- Made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity;
- Made, maintained, or used only in connection with treatment of the student; and
- Disclosed only to individuals providing the treatment. For the purpose of this definition, “treatment” does not include remedial educational activities or activities that are part of the program of instruction at the College.
- Records created or received by the College after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student.
- Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a teacher.
Student rights with respect to Education Records include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s Education Records within 45 days after the day the College receives a request for access. To request access, a student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the Education Record(s) the student wishes to inspect. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, it will coordinate with other College offices as necessary to make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- A student will ordinarily not be provided with copies of any part of the student’s record other than the transcript, unless the inability to obtain copies would effectively prevent the student from exercising the right to inspect and review the student’s education records. In cases where copies will be provided, the department or office of the College maintaining the record in question may impose a charge for making such copies at such uniform rates as it shall determine.
- In general, a student may have access to confidential letters and statements of recommendation which have been generated since the student’s matriculation at the College and which are part of the student’s education records. This right, however, does not apply to such letters and statements placed in the student’s education records prior to January 1, 1975, if such letters and statements are not used for purposes other than those for which they were specifically intended. A student may, by signing a written waiver, relinquish the student’s right to inspect confidential recommendations placed in the student’s education records on or after January 1, 1975, respecting (1) admission to any educational institution; (2) an application for employment; or (3) the receipt of an honor or honorary recognition. In no case will any student be required by the College to waive a right to access of confidential recommendations.
- The right to request amendment of the student’s Education Records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. A student who wishes to ask the College to amend a record should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record the student wants changed and specify why it should be changed. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s 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.
- The right to provide written consent before the College discloses personally identifiable information (“PII”) from the student’s Education Records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- The College discloses Education Records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to College officials with legitimate educational interests. College officials typically include persons employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); persons serving on the board of trustees; or students serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A College official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the College who performs an institutional service of function for which the College would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the College with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from Education Records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another College official in performing his or her tasks. A College official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College 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
Disclosure to Others
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ Education Records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations.
Except for: (1) disclosures to College officials; (2) disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas; (3) disclosures of directory information; and (4) disclosures to the student, § 99.32 of FERPA regulations requires the institution to record the disclosure. Students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.
The College may, without obtaining prior written consent of students, disclose information from Education Records, including PII:
- To other College officials, including teachers, within the College who the College has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the College has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in § 99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(3) are met. (§ 99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another institution where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. Subject to the requirements of § 99.34. (§ 99.31(a)(2)). The College will forward such records on request or when the disclosure is initiated by the student. However, with regard to disciplinary matters, the College will disclose only information related to discipline for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of that student, other students, or other members of the College community.
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§ 99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§ 99.31(a)(4))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the College, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§ 99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. (§ 99.31(a)(7))
- To parents of a student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes (§ 99.31(a)(8)) and where a serious circumstance warrants parental notification, such circumstances may include: (1) a health or safety emergency; (2) an action taken by the College Committee on Academic Standing; (3) an action taken by the Office of the Dean of Students or College Hearing Board; or (4) the receipt of an award.
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§ 99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate parties, including parents, in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to § 99.36. (§ 99.31(a)(10))
- When the information shared has been designated by the College as “directory information” under § 99.37. (§ 99.31(a)(11))
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of § 99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding. (§ 99.31(a)(13))
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of § 99.39, if the College determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the College’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her. (§ 99.31(a)(14))
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the College, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the College determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21. (§99.31(a)(15))
The College may release “directory information” with respect to a student without the student’s consent. The College is required to give notice of the categories of information which it will treat as “directory information.” Accordingly, the College hereby gives notice that it has designated the following categories of information as directory information with respect to each student:
- name, local and permanent address, and telephone listing;
- date and place of birth;
- major field of study;
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
- weight and height of members of athletic teams;
- photographic and digital images;
- dates of attendance at Wheaton;
- enrollment status;
- degrees conferred, awards received, other honors and their dates; and
- other educational institutions attended.
A student in attendance at the College has the right to have directory information withheld from the public if they so desire. Each student who wants all directory information to be withheld shall so indicate by completing a form which can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. It is important to note that such requests must be made within the first 15 days of any semester.
Release with Student Consent
Upon written consent or request by a student, the College may release information from the student’s Education Record to third parties. A student should submit to the Registrar a written request that identifies the Education Record(s) the student wishes to transfer. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, it will coordinate with other College offices as necessary to make arrangements for release. The College may impose a charge for copying a student’s records in connection with such a release.
Solomon Amendment (Release of Information for Military Recruitment)
The Solomon Amendment is a federal law that allows military recruiters to access some address, biographical and academic program information on students age 17 and older.
The U.S. Department of Education has determined the Solomon Amendment supersedes most elements of FERPA. An institution is therefore obligated to release data included in the list of “student recruiting information,” which may or may not match Wheaton’s FERPA directory information list. However, if the student has submitted a request through Wheaton’s Office of the Registrar to restrict the release of their directory information, then no information from the student’s education record will be released under the Solomon Amendment.
Definition - “Student Recruitment Information” or “Solomon Information”
- Age or date of birth
- Place of birth
- Level of education (e.g., first-year, sophomore, or degree awarded for recent graduate)
- Academic major
- Degrees received
- Educational institution in which the student was most recently enrolled
Procedure for Releasing Information to Military Recruiter
- Under the Solomon amendment, information will be released for military recruitment purposes only. The military recruiters may request student recruitment information once each semester for each of the 12 eligible units within the five branches of the service:
- The request should be submitted in writing on letterhead clearly identifying the unit of service requesting the student recruitment information.
- The request should specify whether the information needed is for the current or previous semester.