Apr 12, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2012-13 
Catalog/Handbook 2012-13 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Academic Regulations and Student Responsibility

Polk State College is responsible for publishing all rules and regulations regarding students’ responsibilities. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these rules and regulations as well as for their own conduct.The material in this catalog is published to provide information on rules and regulations in effect at the time of publication; however, the College reserves the right to make changes to course offerings, curricula, academic policies, and other rules and regulations at any time. These changes govern currently and formerly enrolled students.

Copies of all official Board of Trustees rules and College procedures are available on Polk State College’s website. These are the binding and prevailing policies.

As the College periodically updates policies, each student is urged to read all official notices posted on campus bulletin boards, on related web pages, or sent to the students’ institutional e-mail address. The institutional e-mail address is the College’s official mode of communication to the student. Not being aware of duly published rules and regulations is not considered a valid excuse for a student’s failure to comply.


Change of Regulations

Polk State College reserves the right to make changes in regulations, course offerings, curriculum, academic policies, fees, procedures, and other rules affecting students.


Placement Assessment

Polk State College provides a comprehensive placement assessment program in accordance with Florida law. Students may use scores that are less than two years old from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and/or American College Testing (ACT) to determine placement in mathematics, reading, and English courses. All students who do not have recent SAT, ACT, or college placement test scores are tested for proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Although frequently referred to as “testing,” a college placement test is not a pass/fail examination, but rather an assessment tool used to determine proper placement of students in college courses. A college placement test does not determine admission eligibility. Transfer and readmitting students with college-level English and mathematics credit with a minimum GPA of 2.00 are exempt from college placement. 

Students who have taken the ACT or SAT may use these scores to determine eligibility for college-level courses as defined by Florida Administrative Code 6A-10.0315 and/or College policy. These exams are used only to determine college-level skills. If scores do not meet the college-level requirements, students must take a college placement test. For placement above the first college-level course (i.e. College Algebra or higher), a student must score within the range for that placement.

Students who have not taken the ACT or SAT may take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (P.E.R.T.) at Polk State College on the Winter Haven and Lakeland Campuses or the JD Alexander/Lake Wales Center. The current standards for placement in college-level courses for the SAT, ACT and P.E.R.T. placement exam are:

Subtest ACT SAT  P.E.R.T.  placement
Reading 18 Critical Reading 440 104
Sentence Skills/English 17 N/A   99
Elementary Algebra 19 Math 460 113


All students applying to take credit courses are required to present official scores on the ACT, SAT, or a college placement test prior to course registration. Initial course registration occurs during Orientation. Students should register for an Orientation session after submitting an application.  Students may call 863 297-1000 for assistance in registering for an Orientation session.

College developmental courses in English, reading, and mathematics are required for students who score below the College’s posted standards. Students are required to begin enrollment in all required college developmental courses during their first 12 credit hours at Polk State College and must continue enrollment in these courses each subsequent term until all college development courses have been satisfactorily completed. Students who place into three college development areas are required to take SLS 1101 College Success in their first term at Polk State College. Students who place into two college development areas are encouraged to take SLS 1101 in their first term. Students enrolled in college development courses may also concurrently take courses in other curriculum areas for which they qualify. College development courses do not apply toward graduation requirements.


Gordon Rule

The Gordon Rule, State Rule 6A-10.030, requires baccalaureate and associate in arts students to complete six semester hours of English and six semester hours of additional courses, in which the student must demonstrate college-level writing skills through multiple assignments. Additionally, baccalaureate and associate in arts students must complete six semester hours of mathematics at the college level or higher. The mathematics portion of the requirement is satisfied by taking the appropriate mathematics courses. Polk State College uses a “Writing-across-the-Curriculum” approach to meet the writing requirement, in addition to the required composition courses, any of the required social sciences and humanities courses also help fulfill this requirement. Students should talk with an advisor regarding the Gordon-Rule requirement. A minimum grade of C is required in all courses fulfilling the writing and mathematics portion of the Gordon Rule.



Credit hours are the units by which Polk State College measures its course work. The number of credit hours assigned to a course usually corresponds with the number of hours per week a class meets.

Polk State College uses a semester plan. A semester credit hour is generally equivalent to one hour of classroom or faculty instruction and a minimum of 2 or more hours of study outside the classroom for  each week in a 15-week semester; therefore a 3-credit hour class will require 3 hours of instruction and a minimum of 6 hours of study or work per week outside the classroom meeting time.

Transfer credits earned from institutions using quarter plans are converted to semester hours as follows:

Quarter Hour   Semester Hours  
1 = 0.66  
2 = 1.33  
3 = 2.00  
4 = 2.66  
5 = 3.33  
6 = 4.00  


When calculating for graduation requirements, fractions of hours are not rounded up to the nearest whole number. For example, if a student earns 59.5 hours toward a 60 credit-hour degree requirement, the student does not yet qualify for graduation.


Maximum and Minimum Course Load

During Terms 1, 2, and 3 (Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms), the minimum course load per term for full-time students is 12 semester hours. Enrollment in fewer than 12 credits is considered a part-time load. The average academic load during Terms 1 or 2 is 15 semester hours.

The maximum course load during Terms I and II is 20 semester hours per term, and 15 semester hours for the summer term. However the maximum number of credit hours cannot be taken in one accelerated term. Students maintaining a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher, and who have completed at least 15 semester credits, may exceed the credit maximums with the approval of the Dean of Student Services. Those wishing to appeal this regulation are required to do so prior to the first regular registration day.

Students who plan to work while attending school are encouraged to adjust their schedules accordingly and register for classes early in the registration period in order to maximize scheduling options.



Grades are recorded on the student’s permanent record in the Registrar’s Office and are issued in the form of a transcript upon request. Term grades are available online through the College’s PASSPORT portal at no charge.

Final grades are based on any or all of the following: course assignments, special reports, quiz grades, research papers, course participation, laboratory assignments, field work, and examinations. Specific grading polices and course requirements are provided by the professor at the beginning of each course. Students who believe the final grade posted is in error should contact the professor to discuss a possible grade change. Grade-change petitions, including withdrawals, must be submitted no later than the end of the following term. Grades and grade-point values are listed below:


A – Superior

4 Grade Points

B – Above Average

3 Grade Points

C – Satisfactory

2 Grade Points

D – Below Average

1 Grade Point

F – Fail

0 Grade Points

I – Incomplete

0 Grade Points

S – Satisfactory

0 Grade Points

U – Unsatisfactory

0 Grade Points
          W– Withdrawal 0 Grade Points

X – Audit

0 Grade Points

P – Passed

0 Grade Points


Auditing Courses

Both non-credit and regular college-credit courses are available for audit. College development courses are not available for audit. Courses in limited-admission programs may be audited only with the prior permission of the appropriate Dean and appropriate Program Director. A student may not audit a course in which the student received a grade of C or higher unless it is determined it is necessary for the student’s future academic success. To audit a course, a student must meet College admission requirements, be a matriculated student at Polk State College, and be able to demonstrate, if required, that he or she meets the placement standards for the course to be audited. Students must petition the Campus Dean of Student Services to request to audit a course after the student has had a previous for-credit attempt with a grade of C or higher on the student transcript.

A credit student should identify the intention to audit a course at the time of registration. A student who has enrolled in a credit course as a credit-seeking student may convert that registration to “audit” status no later than the last day of the course’s designated Drop/Add Period. A credit course may not be converted to “audit” status if the course is being paid for by a third party (such as through Financial Aid, scholarships, Workforce In Action funds, veteran’s benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation, etc.). A student who is auditing a course is responsible for paying course tuition and fees as assessed, according to his or her residency status, and the fee schedule made public by the College.

A student auditing a course is required to adhere to the attendance, testing, and any other course requirements as established by the professor in the specific course being audited. An audited course is posted on the student’s transcript. However, students auditing a course receive no credit for the course. An audit course is not counted or used when calculating GPA, academic standing, graduation requirements, veteran’s benefits, other financial aid eligibility, or for certifying enrollment for outside agencies. A course declared for audit cannot be converted to a course for credit at a later date; however, the course may be subsequently repeated for credit as long as the repeat does not violate Polk State College’s Forgiveness Policy or other College regulations.


Incomplete Grades

If a student cannot complete course requirements by the end of the term due to extenuating circumstances as verified by the faculty member, the instructor may assign a grade of I provided this occurs after  the withdrawal date. The withdrawal date is set at approximately  70% through the length of the term. If the extenuating circumstances occur prior to the withdrawal date, the student should withdraw from the course. The grade of I is calculated as an F in Standards of Academic Progress. Once the final grade is submitted, the Standards of Academic Progress are recalculated. A grade of I could impact eligibility for financial aid.

By assigning a grade of  I, the professor indicates that the student has the potential to earn a passing grade by satisfactorily completing the unfinished course work within a reasonable amount of time as agreed to by both student and instructor but no later than by the end of the next term. If the student fails to meet the objectives by the conclusion of the following term, the I converts to an F grade. 

Students who have applied for graduation in a given term must complete all required course work by the graduation date. An incomplete grade in a course needed for graduation would prohibit graduation.


Forgiveness Policy

Polk State College’s Grade Forgiveness Policy allows students to repeat only those courses in which they earn a grade of D, F, or W. Students are allowed only three attempts in any one course: one initial enrollment and two repeats. The third attempt at a course is charged at a cost equal to the full cost of instruction. Although all course attempts appear on the transcript, only the grade earned in the most recent attempt is calculated in the cumulative GPA. Students are not allowed to withdraw from the third course attempt and receive a grade. Before repeating a course, students should consult the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact, if any, repeating a course has on financial aid status.

NOTE: Other institutions to which students eventually may transfer do not necessarily have the same grade forgiveness policy as Polk State College. These schools may recalculate student GPAs or reassess eligibility for financial aid and admission.


Standards of Academic Progress

The term Standards of Academic Progress refers to the policies and procedures the College uses to define a student’s progress as he/she completes academic course work at the College. The Standards of Academic Progress apply to each credit student and that student’s full academic record regardless of the beginning date of attendance at the College.

The Standards of Academic Progress are designed to help the student monitor progress and standing with regard to the GPA requirement and graduation requirements. The Standards of Academic Progress are not reflected on the student’s official transcript, except in cases of suspension and dismissal. In determining academic progress, college credit, vocational credit, and developmental credit all contribute to the academic status of the student.

 The Standards of Academic Progress administered by Student Services differs from Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (SAP) for Financial Aid eligibility, which is administered by Financial Services. You may qualify to continue attending college and not qualify to receive financial aid.


The seven (7) levels of academic standing are: 

• Good Academic Standing
• Academic Warning
• Academic Probation
• Academic Suspension
• Probation After Suspension
• Academic Dismissal
• Probation After Dismissal

 The College helps students monitor their standing and progress. The Student Services Department and the Student Financial Services Office evaluate Standards of Academic Progress and Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards  (SAP) three times a year: at the end of fall, spring, and summer terms. The Student Financial Services Office evaluates for the purposes of federal Title IV financial aid eligibility. The Student Services Department evaluates for purposes of determining the student’s academic standing as it relates to successful program completion.

 At any time the student fails to maintain good academic standing, the student will receive communication regarding his or her academic status, what is required to return to good academic standing, and the effects of such status on the student’s federal Title IV financial aid eligibility. Communication is sent to the student’s college e-mail address. The e-mail will identify whether the status refers to Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (Financial Services Office) or Standards of Academic Progress (Students Services Office).

Standards of Academic Progress and Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are imposed after the student has attempted 12 college credit hours.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (SAP)
To maintain SAP toward degree completion, the student must progress through program requirements at a rate that ensures educational program completion within the maximum timeframe of 150% of the length of the program. If the student’s completion calculation equals less than 66 2/3% the student is not maintaining SAP.  SAP is calculated as follows:


Cumulative number of hours (not including college developmental courses) student successfully earned

divided by

Cumulative number of hours (not including college developmental courses) the student attempted


Developmental Definition: Developmental courses are remedial courses that are not college-level and do not count toward the completion of a college degree or program. Developmental courses do not count toward the overall cumulative GPA. Developmental courses do count in the term GPA and contribute to the student’s Standards of Academic Progress status and for financial aid eligibility in Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards .

The College welcomes transfer applicants with demonstrated success at other institutions. Students who transfer from other institutions are bound by the College’s Standards of Academic Progress, and may enter the institution under one of five (5) levels of status:

• Good Academic Standing
• Academic Warning
• Academic Probation
• Probation After Suspension
• Probation After Dismissal

Students who are on Academic Suspension at the institution from which they are transferring may not enroll at Polk State College in the term immediately following the term in which the suspension was incurred. A student may, however, enroll under the appropriate status in the next succeeding term or subsequent terms thereafter.  Students who are on Academic Dismissal at the institution from which they are transferring may not enroll at Polk State College for one year after the term of dismissal.  Students may appeal to the Student Services Deans.



Standards of Academic Progress and Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are imposed after the student has attempted 12 college credit hours.

 A student is in Good Academic Standing when all of the following conditions are met in the last term:

 Standards of Academic Progress Good Academic Standing
1. The overall cumulative GPA at the end of the student’s last term was 2.00 or higher. 
2. The student’s cumulative hours earned are at less than 50% of the cumulative hours attempted.
3. The student does not fall into the academic status of warning, probation, suspension or dismissal.

 Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Good Academic Standing
1. The student meets Good Academic Standing criteria as defined for the published Standards of Academic

2. The student’s cumulative hours earned are at least 66 2/3% of the cumulative hours attempted.

NOTE: If the student’s term includes at least one college developmental course, the term’s GPA and the overall cumulative GPA must be 2.00 or greater for Financial Aid Good Standing. 

A student is placed on Academic Warning under any of the following conditions:

 Standards of Academic Progress Academic Warning
1. The student’s overall cumulative hours attempted are greater than 0, and the student’s overall cumulative
    GPA is less than 2.00.
2. The student’s term hours earned are less than 50% of the term hours attempted.

 Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Academic Warning
1. The student falls into Academic Warning as defined by the published Standards of Academic Progress, or
     the student’s term includes at least one college developmental course and the term GPA is less than 2.00.
2. The student’s cumulative hours earned are less than 66 2/3% of the cumulative hours attempted.

 A student remains on warning status until he/she returns to Good Academic Standing or falls to Academic Probation. Students who fall to probation are not eligible for federal Title IV financial aid. Students may appeal  this policy. Students must seek alternate forms of assistance to pay for college if the appeal is not approved.

A student is placed on Academic Probation under any of the following conditions:

Standards of Academic Progress Academic
1. The student is on Academic Warning and fails to earn a term GPA of 2.00 or greater.
2. The student is on Academic Warning, and has not maintained 66 2/3% earned to attempted hours in the term.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Academic Probation
1. The student falls into Academic Probation as defined by the published Standards of Academic Progress, or
     the student’s term includes at least one college developmental course and the term GPA is less than 2.00.
2. The student’s cumulative hours earned are less than 66 2/3% of the cumulative hours attempted.

A student may register for courses on Academic Probation only after academic advising and with specific course approval. Students remain on probation until they meet the requirements of Good Academic Standing. At that time, the student may be eligible for financial aid again.

A student is placed on Academic Suspension under any of the following conditions that apply to the Standards of Academic Progress.

1. The student is on Academic Probation and fails to earn a Term GPA of 2.00 or greater.

2. The student is on Academic Probation and has not maintained 66 2/3% earned to attempted hours in the

3. A suspended student may not enroll at the College for one term following suspension: fall, spring, or

A student is placed on Probation After Suspension under any of the following conditions that apply to the Standards of Academic Progress:


1. The student is on Academic Suspension and has not attended for one term. A student is permitted to
    register for courses on Probation After Suspension only after academic advising and with specific course
    approval. This status is approved by the Dean of Student Services.

2. The student must maintain the requirements for probation status or he/she is placed on Academic Dismissal 
    for one academic year from the end of the term in which he/she was dismissed.

The student is on Probation After Suspension under any of the following conditions that apply to the Standards of Academic Progress:

1.  The student fails to maintain the requirements for probation status.

2.  A student on Academic Dismissal may not enroll at the College for one academic year following the end of
    the term in which he/she was dismissed. A student must petition for readmission. To be considered, the
    petition must be submitted to the Dean of Student Services at least thirty (30) working days before the
    beginning of the term for which the student is seeking readmission. The student is notified of the 
   decision in writing.

The student is on Probation After Dismissal under any of the following conditions that apply to the Standards of Academic Progress

1.  The student is on Academic Dismissal, has not attended for one academic year, and has received approval 
     of his/her petition for readmission.

A student on Probation After Dismissal is permitted to register for courses only after academic advising and with specific course approval. The student must maintain the requirements for probation status. A student who fails to meet these requirements is again placed on Academic Dismissal and is considered for readmission only after a minimum of one year from the end of the term in which he/she was dismissed. 


Class Attendance

General Policy: Class attendance is a critical part of the teaching and learning process. Students are expected to arrange their schedules in order to maintain regular and prompt attendance in all of their classes. Professors may provide course-specific attendance policies, such as those indicating that excessive absences from class may result in withdrawal or failure.

Policy for International Students: International Students are required to maintain full-time enrollment status (12 or more credits per term) and to abide by the attendance policy established for each course in which they are enrolled. They are also expected to meet the standards established in the College’s Academic Standards of Progress, Polk State College Procedure 5017. Failure to meet the requirements of either policy may have a negative effect upon the student’s visa status.

Policy for Veterans and VA-Benefit Students–Credit Courses: Records of attendance for students are maintained for all courses in order to determine the last day of attendance. Withdrawal shall be consistent with the professor’s policy regarding attendance for all students, including veterans or other students attending through VA benefits. VA-benefit students may be withdrawn from a credit course by the withdrawal deadline if the professor determines that an attendance-policy violation prevents satisfactory completion of a course. Any VA-benefit student who violates the attendance policy for a course is decertified by the school, the benefits are terminated for unsatisfactory progress, and the student is required to refund monies received that term.

Policy for Veterans and VA-Benefit Students–PSAV Certificate Courses: Veterans, and other persons eligible to receive VA education benefits, who register in PSAV certificate courses and accumulate four (4) days of unexcused absences within any calendar month are decertified for lack of attendance. This action leads to decertification by the school, termination of benefits for unsatisfactory progress, and the student is required to refund monies received that term.

Policy for Law Enforcement and Corrections Certificate Programs: Students enrolled in law enforcement and corrections certificate programs are required to attend the full number of hours for each course. Unexcused absences and absences for which the time and work are not made up may result in students being dropped from a course. Absences approved by the Training Center Director for illnesses, subpoenas, and emergencies are permitted or excused; however, students must make up all missed time and work. Students must submit requests for authorized absences to the Course Coordinator or Center Director. Trainees returning from any absences are required to submit a written notice to the appropriate training-center staff member detailing the total time absent from class, as well as the time in which the individual returned to class.

Policy for Readmission of Students after Suspension in Disciplinary Action: Students are not to be readmitted to class without written notice from the Campus Dean of Student Services or the Vice President for Academic and Student Services when students have been suspended under disciplinary action. Faculty members are notified prior to a student’s re-admittance.


Important Course Documents

 A faculty member provides each officially enrolled student with the Course Syllabus and Basic Course Information document for credit and college developmental courses offered at the College. These documents are supplied during the first week of the semester, and may be provided as a paper copy or via online links. In general, Basic Course Information documents include information that is common to all sections of that particular course. By contrast, the Course Syllabus contains information that pertains to an individual section and each document varies by professor.

The Basic Course Information Document (BCI)
The BCI, or Basic Course Information document, contains general information about a class and its particular properties as delivered at Polk State College. For reference, all Basic Course Information documents are located on the Polk State website under the link for Current Students; specific documents can be easily accessed at any time by typing in the course prefix and number into a search within the direct link to the BCI Catalog. It is the responsibility of the student to read the BCI for each course and become familiar with its information. The contents of the BCI include the official course description and credit value, the phone number and location of the Campus Academic Dean, the College mission, and a list of General Education outcomes students may expect to work toward during the course. In addition, a list of specific course objectives that are common to all sections of the course is also provided. Each BCI provides personnel contacts for students with disabilities and an overview of provisions for access to student academic assistance. General information regarding the College’s policies and rules for cases of academic dishonesty, withdrawal from a course, computer and network usage, and other important items are also described. Many BCI documents also contain a section that describes the specific policies of the department or program in which the course is taught.

The Course Syllabus
The Course Syllabus is a document that describes the specific policies of the instructor teaching the course, and thus each is unique to a particular course section.  The Course Syllabus contains the professor’s contact information, the times and days of in-person and online office hours, a list of course textbooks and supplemental materials, a tentative schedule of topics covered during the semester, the date of the final exam, the last day for withdrawal, and a tentative calendar for tests and major assignments. Additionally, the Course Syllabus provides an instructor’s specific policies regarding academic dishonesty, missed work, missed tests, and evaluative criteria. The Course Syllabus serves as a contract between the instructor and student, and it is essential for the student to carefully read the specific requirements, policies, and consequences explained. In the unlikely event that a student has an issue or problem during the semester, he or she should refer to the syllabus as the document that specifies how the situation is to be handled. In addition to course policies, many instructors include helpful strategies for success, websites for assistance, supplemental resources, and more specific information about assignments during the semester.


Graduation and Term Honors

Term Honors
Student taking a full-time load qualify for academic distinction through the Dean’s List and the President’s List. Term honors are based on the term GPA. The student receives an acknowledgment of the accomplishment via Polk State College email after grades are posted and validated each term. Adjustments are not made for grade changes that occur after that date. The Dean’s List includes full-time students who have earned a term GPA of 3.50-3.99.  The President’s List includes full-time students who have earned a term GPA of 4.00. 

Graduation Honors
Graduation honors are bestowed upon students when they complete  all  program requirements and graduate.  Graduation honors are based on the cumulative GPA as follows:

  • Cum Laude Honor:  Students graduating with a 3.50-3.74 GPA receive this honor.
  • Magna Cum Laude Honor:  Students graduating with a 3.75-3.89 GPA receive this honor. 
  • Summa Cum Laude Honor: Students graduating with a 3.90-4.00 GPA receive this honor.

 A student who graduates with a 4.00 GPA is awarded the District Board of Trustees’ Allen T. Cole Distinguished Academic Achievement Award. Graduation honors are part of the student’s permanent record and appear on the diploma and official transcript. During the graduation ceremony, graduation honors are recognized based on the last term’s GPA and adjustments on the student record are made when all grades are finalized. 

Drop/Add Period

Each term offers several different sessions. The length of the class is dependent on the number of weeks in the session. Typically a class offers instruction face-to-face, or via hybrid or pure Internet classes using a 15 hours-per-credit-hour schedule with time for breaks. Each session has a Drop/Add Period which allows the student to drop classes or add classes on his or her schedule without academic or financial obligation. In classes that do not fit into a traditional session the drop and add dates are found on the class record in PASSPORT.  Athletes, international students, dual-enrolled students, and students on their third attempts of a course may have restrictions during the Drop/Add Period. The student is responsible for the outcomes of dropping a class; this may include financial aid award reductions, extension of the student’s expected completion date, or the inability to re-register should the student attempt to do so.


Withdrawal Process

Students may officially withdraw from a course(s) during any given term, provided they follow the appropriate policies and procedures. Following the conclusion of the Drop/Add Period, students may officially withdraw without receiving a grade from any course, provided they do so no later than the published withdrawal deadline. The published deadline reflects approximately, but no more than, 70% length of the term, based upon the course’s scheduled duration. A student cannot use course withdrawal to avoid academic dishonesty penalties. A student who has been penalized for, or accused of, academic dishonesty in a course is not eligible to withdraw from the course.

Under the Grade Forgiveness Policy, students are allowed only three attempts in any one course: one initial enrollment and two repeats. In certain circumstances, students may petition to repeat a credit course beyond the three attempts. Students should be aware that repeating courses may result in higher tuition rates and fees. In college developmental courses, students may petition for reduction of these fees. Students should visit an academic advisor for details regarding this process. Although all course attempts appear on the transcript, only the grade earned in the most recent attempt is calculated in the GPA. Students are not allowed to withdraw from a third course attempt. If a student stops attending class, the grade earned, usually an F, is assigned and posted.

Prior to repeating a course, students should consult the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact, if any, withdrawing from or repeating a course has on financial aid status. Students are responsible for the financial aid repercussions and academic status implications of withdrawing from courses.

Students are advised that withdrawing from a class and dropping a class both have different implications. Students who withdraw will have a W grade for the class and be financially obligated for the tuition and fees. In addition, withdrawing from a class can negatively impact the student’s academic status under the Standards of Academic Progress.

NOTE: Other institutions may not necessarily have the same grade forgiveness policy as Polk State College and may recalculate student GPAs or reassess eligibility for financial aid. In addition, limited-admission programs at the College (Nursing, for example) have program-specific academic standards that address course withdrawals for students enrolled in these programs.


Cheating and Plagiarism

Polk State College considers academic dishonesty an assault upon the basic integrity and value of a college education. Cheating, plagiarism, and collusion in dishonest activities are serious acts that erode the College’s educational role and tarnish the learning experience, not only for the perpetrators but for the entire community. It is expected that all Polk State College students understand and subscribe to the ideal of academic integrity and that they are willing to bear individual responsibility for their work. Materials (written or otherwise) submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student’s own efforts. The fundamental purpose of this rule is to emphasize that any act of academic dishonesty attempted by any Polk State College student is unacceptable and shall not be tolerated. Examples of academic dishonesty include:

  1. Cheating or plagiarizing on tests, projects, or assignments: Cheating is defined as the giving or taking of any information or material with the intent of wrongfully aiding oneself or another in academic work considered in the determination of a course grade. Plagiarism is defined (Black’s Law Dictionary, Revised Fourth Edition) as “the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.” Plagiarism includes failure to use quotation marks or other conventional markings around material quoted from any specific source  without citing that source, or paraphrasing a specific passage from a specific source, or using any sequence of material or order of wording without accurately quoting and citing that source. Plagiarism further includes letting another person compose or rewrite a student’s assignment.

    The following items have been identified, by the faculty and students at Polk State College, as a partial list of examples of cheating and/or plagiarism:

    1. Asking for information from another student before, during, or after a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    2. Copying answers from another’s paper during a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    3. Knowingly letting someone copy from one’s paper during a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    4. Using sources other than what is permitted by the instructor in a test, quiz, or exam situation.
    5. Copying material exactly, essentially, or in part from outside sources while omitting appropriate documentation.
    6. Copying or falsifying a laboratory report, clinical project, or assignment without doing the required work.
    7. Changing answers on a returned graded test, quiz, or exam in order to get the grade revised.
  2. Plagiarism in written assignments: Plagiarism also includes handing in a paper to an instructor that was purchased from a term paper service, created by another student or other individual, or downloaded from the Internet and/or presenting another person’s academic work as one’s own. Individual academic departments may provide additional examples in writing of what does and does not constitute plagiarism, provided that such examples do not conflict with the intent of this policy.
  3. Furnishing false information to any faculty member.
  4. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification.

Violations of the College’s policies pertaining to academic dishonesty may result in academic penalties and/or disciplinary action at the discretion of the professor. Academic penalties may include, but are not limited to, a failing grade for a particular assignment or a failing grade for a particular course. Students charged with violating the Academic Dishonesty portion of this rule are not permitted to withdraw from the course.

Additionally, a student in violation of the Student Code of Conduct may be referred to the Dean of Student Services at the campus or center where the offense took place. Any student suspected of violating the Academic Dishonesty section of the Student Code of Conduct is subject to sanctions and provided due process as outlined in the Polk State College Academic Dishonesty procedure.


Interim Suspension for Non-Academic Reasons

The Dean of Student Services or the Vice President for Academic and Student Services may suspend a student for an interim period pending disciplinary proceedings, or a medical or psychological evaluation. Interim suspensions are indicated whenever there is a reason to believe that the continued presence of the student on the College campus poses a possible threat to himself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal College functions.


Student Appeal/ Complaint Policy

Polk State College students are assured the opportunity to express informal appeals and complaints and to initiate formal appeals and complaints regarding the operation of the College and the actions of its employees performing their duties as stated in the District Board of Trustees Rules 4.26, 4.01, and 3.27.

Students are encouraged to pursue resolution of their appeals/complaints with the appropriate College staff in the informal phase. If resolution is not achieved, the formal phase may be pursued. Students who pursue the formal phase of the process should confer with the Campus Dean of Student Services, who can provide information regarding this process.



Students who feel the College’s regulations are not interpreted or applied fairly may petition Polk State College’s Petitions Committee. The Petitions Committee reviews each individual’s written request and makes a recommendation. Students are responsible for gathering and providing all documentation supporting a petition.  Information about the petitioning process is available from academic advisors.

A student who wishes to appeal a residency determination may complete a petition with an advisor, who then submits this document to the Registrar’s Office for review by the Residency Committee. Students with disabilities who feel the College has not met their needs appropriately (other than issues of substitutions) may appeal to Polk State College’s Equity Committee for an appeal hearing. The decision of the Equity Committee is final. Students should visit with an academic advisor for information about the Equity Committee. 


Graduation Requirements

Students completing college transfer programs receive an associate in arts degree (AA) and are certified as completing General Education requirements.

Some technical courses cannot be used as electives in the AA degree programs, college developmental courses also cannot be applied toward graduation. Students should visit with an advisor for information regarding degree requirements and applicable courses. Students completing occupational/technical degree programs receive either an associate in science (AS) or associate in applied science (AAS) degree, depending upon the program selected. Students in health-related programs may be required to earn a grade of C or higher in all discipline-specific courses. College developmental courses do not apply toward either AS or AAS degree requirements.

Students completing a four-year degree receive a bachelor’s degree. College developmental courses do not apply toward  any bachelor;s degree requirements.

To qualify for graduation at Polk State College, the student must:

  1. Complete all degree-seeking admission requirements, including the submission of all necessary transcripts and other required documents.
  2. Complete the required credit hours in a prescribed program of study.
  3. Complete any other applicable requirements. For example, some occupational/technical programs require a grade of C or higher in all program courses.  
  4. Have an overall cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. A minimum cumulative program GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation with a credit or vocational certificate, or applied technology diploma. 
  5. Complete at least 25% of the credit hours required for the degree or certificate earned through instruction offered at Polk State College.

Note: Students interested in a baccalaureate degree in Education must pass the General Knowledge (GK) portion of the Florida Teacher’s Certification Exam to be admitted to Education programs in Florida colleges and universities. 

Additional graduation requirements specific to the baccalaureate degrees are:

  1. Satisfy the foreign-language requirement for graduation. Any of the following items satisfies the language requirement for a baccalaureate degree:
    1. Two years of high school foreign-language study in the same language.
    2. Two college semesters of foreign-language classes in the same language for a total of 8-10 credit hours.
    3. Minimum scores on a CLEP (e.g., Spanish, French, or German) foreign-language exam as outlined in this catalog.
    4. An equivalent high school diploma from a foreign country where the student studied in a language other than English.
    5. A satisfactory score on an American Council on Education (ACE) approved foreign-language exam, such as the language Testing International Proficiency exam.
  2. In any baccalaureate program at Polk State College, 25% of the upper-division course work, including the degree’s capstone course, must be taken at Polk State College.

Students must apply for graduation online through the student portal, PASSPORT. It is the student’s responsibility to anticipate his or her graduation term. There is no fee for graduation application; however, students are responsible for the purchase of cap and gown, photos, invitations, and related materials. Students must apply for graduation even if they do not participate in the graduation ceremony, however, Polk State will automatically graduate students who have completed all requirements. Polk State College maintains a Graduationpage on its website with further details.

All graduates are invited to participate in the formal graduation ceremony held at the end of the fall and spring terms. Summer graduates are invited to participate in the fall ceremony. To receive ADA accommodations, students should contact the Graduation Coordinator two weeks before the ceremony.


 Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process

Students at Polk State College are expected to act in a responsible manner that supports and enhances the educational process. The College has a tradition of excellent conduct by its students, and the degree of responsibility they exhibit is a reflection of the educational atmosphere of the College.

Although the vast majority of students are never affected by issues regarding discipline, when acts of unacceptable conduct occur, they are dealt with in a manner supporting Polk State College’s educational purpose.

The Board of Trustees Rule 4.01 and other related procedures define unacceptable conduct, including sexual misconduct. These regulations also set forth the penalties and disciplinary procedures that apply when violations occur, and describes the due-process requirements used. Information summarizing these regulations is available in Student Services. College Procedure 5028 outlines sanctions the College may impose on students who violate the Student Code of Conduct.


Sexual Misconduct

Polk State College is particularly sensitive to sexual misconduct as an important part of the Student Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process Rule. Polk State College Procedure 5027 addresses sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from any person when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, study habits, and/or educational experiences, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or study environment.
  • Sexual Assault: Any act, or attempted act, as defined in Florida statutes.
  • Public Indecency: Exposing one’s body in such a manner that another party reasonably could be offended, or sexual conduct where another party reasonably could be offended.

Victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged and assisted in referring or filing charges. An advocate is provided in all cases to assist victims. The College notifies appropriate law enforcement officials in any assault case that is alleged to have occurred on College-owned or College-controlled property, immediately adjacent property, or during a College-sponsored activity involving students, employees, or volunteers of the College. Polk State College proceeds with the College’s discipline process in addition to notifying law enforcement officials.

Drug-Free Policy

Because the likelihood of success is so dramatically reduced for students using illegal drugs, Polk State College is determined to have drug-free campuses. Illegal use of drugs or alcohol is not tolerated on any Polk State College campus or at any College-sponsored event off campus as indicated by District Board of Trustees Rules 4.01 and 2.25. Certain limited admission programs have additional procedures regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. Various opportunities exist at Polk State College to educate students about the realities of drug and alcohol abuse. A major unit in the HLP 1081 Wellness Concepts course covers substance abuse. In addition, special seminars, workshops, and discussion opportunities are scheduled.

Polk State College requires all applicants for admission to commit to obeying the law and to refrain from illegal drug and alcohol activity on campuses and at all College events.

Students who illegally use drugs or alcohol, or who sell or manufacture legal or illegal drugs on any of the College’s campuses or centers or at a College-sponsored event off campus are subject to disciplinary actions, which could include suspension or expulsion.

The College refers all individuals who engage in illegal drug or controlled substance/alcohol activity on the College’s campuses or centers, or  at College events to law enforcement for prosecution.

Students who are convicted of any drug offense are required to report the offense to the Campus Dean of Student Services within five days of the student’s first day of classes. Furthermore, students currently attending Polk State College who become subject to legal action as a result of drug-related offenses are required to contact the Campus Dean of Student Services. The College reserves the right to investigate reports of drug use or conviction. Students who are found to have neglected this requirement are subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Readmission is granted to students who are suspended or expelled due to drug-related offenses only when they provide proof that they are drug free after drug rehabilitation. The Polk State College Petitions Committee, consisting of students and staff, reviews the proof and makes a recommendation regarding readmission.


Information Technology Access/Use Policy

All individuals who employ information technology resources provided by Polk State College (this includes, but is not limited to, telephones, computers, the Polk State College local-area and wide-area networks, and the Internet) may use these resources for academic purposes only. Use of the College’s computing and network resources is a privilege and not a right. Inappropriate use can result in suspension or revocation of privileges.

Inappropriate use can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. The intentional sending or retrieval of obscene, slanderous, and/or harassing messages/materials.
  2. The unauthorized access (or attempted access) of any networked computer system.
  3. Violation of copyright, including unauthorized copying or modifying of files.
  4. Use of networked resources for academic plagiarism.
  5. Any use for commercial purposes.
  6. Posting or downloading non-academic and/or inappropriate material to the College’s computers or electronic storage locations.
  7. Participation in network activities that place a strain on computer resources (use of social networking sites or video material for non-academic purposes).
  8. Using IRC (Internet-relay chat) resources for non-academic purposes.
  9. Misuse or abuse of Polk State College ID cards or any part of the ID system.
  10. Playing games for non-academic purposes.
  11. Any other behavior deemed inappropriate in the Polk State College Student Code of Conduct.
  12. Unauthorized installation of software on Polk State College hardware.

Violation of these terms results in notification of the appropriate administrative authorities as outlined in the Polk State College Student Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process policy. This may include the College administration and state and federal agencies.


Policy for Communications with Students

Polk State College assigns all credit students a Polk State College student e-mail account during the admission process. College faculty and support staff members send official communications to student through the assigned institutional e-mail account. Students must check this e-mail account frequently in order to ensure they obtain critical information and assignments. Students are responsible for reading all information sent to their Polk State College student e-mail accounts from the College.


Virus Damage Policy

Polk State College is not responsible for damage to or loss of data from an individual’s disk storage media or home computer resulting from e-mail or any other kind of file transfers from its faculty, staff, and/or other students.

Polk State College does everything within its power to ensure that harmful files are not propagated, but students are responsible for the protection of their personal hardware, software, and data. Students are encouraged to scan any files they receive with a currently-updated virus protection product. Students should maintain electronic copies of all their work throughout a term to ensure they have a backup if data gets lost and/or corrupted on the Internet.


College Policy on HIV/AIDS

Polk State College has developed a rule that addresses HIV/AIDS; District Board of Trustees Rule 2.23. This rule assures compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as other state and federal laws. Admission to Polk State College shall not be denied solely on the grounds that an individual has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. If a student with HIV/AIDS requires special accommodations, reasonable accommodations are provided after the student submits required documentation to the Office of Disability Services found in Advising. Records gathered by the College are protected and confidential as provided by federal regulation.

Pursuant to Florida Statute (F.S. 1006.8), Polk State College offices and officials identified by the President are responsible for planning, facilitating, and evaluating programs related to HIV/AIDS education. Instruction includes, but is not limited, to an educational program for all students that includes information, instruction, or activities that emphasize the known modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS, signs and symptoms, associated risk factors, appropriate behavior and behavioral changes, and the means used to control the spread of HIV/AIDS. The education program includes distributing literature relative to the community agencies which provide HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, developing and implementing HIV/AIDS awareness programs on campus, and making up-to-date information available to faculty, staff, and students in various forms. 


Children on Campus

Polk State College has no facilities or services to accommodate children while adults are attending class or conducting business on campus. In fairness to others and in recognition of these limited facilities and lack of services, students should not bring children to class or into other service areas.



Polk State College is a smoke-free facility. Smoking is permitted in designated outdoor areas only.