Apr 15, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2021-2022 
Catalog/Handbook 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Bill of Rights


Each Student at Polk State College Has the Right to:

1. Adhere to the College’s requirements and policies based on the Catalog in effect at the time the student first enters the College, provided the student maintains continuous enrollment. The College reserves the right to change policies and procedures based on changes in state or federal guidelines, best practices, or in the interest of student success. The student is subject to any changes in policy or procedure.

 2. Access records and to be afforded the protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is outlined in this Polk State College Catalog/Student Handbook.

 3. Know how the College uses his or her Social Security Number. This information is outlined in the document Notification of Social Security Number Collection and Usage.

 4. Access an Ombudsman who can help the student understand policies and procedures, and who can provide direction when necessary. The Dean of Student Services can direct the student to the Ombudsman.

Student Grievances and Appeal Process:

Should any guarantee be denied, or if a student feels that his or her rights have been violated in the administration of policy, procedure, or academic processes, the student has the right of appeal. As outlined in Polk State College District Board of Trustees Rule 4.26: Student Appeal/Complaint Policy, the following are the College’s appeal processes:

  1. Matters regarding grading issues and classroom policies and procedures may be appealed to the instructor or the administrator who is the instructor’s immediate academic supervisor (cf. Polk State College Procedure 1018: Academic Appeal Procedure).

  2. Matters of interpretation of academic rules, whether applied to a student in a face-to-face or distance-learning class may, be appealed to the Petitions Committee (cf. Polk State College Procedure 5023: Interpretation of College Regulations). A student may visit a student success advisor on any campus for assistance in completing a petition. An Online@PolkState student may send a request for assistance to the online student success advisor.

  3. Matters regarding services for a student with disabilities may be appealed with the assistance of the designated counselor for students with disabilities (avenues of appeal are specified in Polk State District Board of Trustees Rule 4.23:Educational Opportunity for Students with Disabilities). The student may also contact Valparisa Baker, Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Title IX Coordinator), 999 Avenue H, N.E., Winter Haven, FL 33891-4299; Office: WAD 227; Phone: 863.292.3602, Ext 5378 (email: vbaker@polk.edu; webpage: polk.edu/equity-diversity-inclusion/).

  4. Matters regarding financial aid and scholarships may be appealed to the Student Services/Financial Aid Committee. The student may contact the Quality Assurance and Compliance Coordinator, Audrey Williams (awilliams@polk.edu).

  5. Matters regarding the conduct of other students may be appealed to the Dean of Student Services Office (or his or her designee). This individual assists with the provisions and procedures in Polk State District Board of Trustees Rule 4.01: Student Conduct, Discipline, and Due Process. The student may visit the Services Office or go to the webpage (www.polk.edu/advising) for assistance.

  6. Matters of discrimination, discriminatory policies, or discriminatory actions (other than matters of discipline or student employment) may be appealed to the College’s Equity Committee. Claims of employment discrimination may be appealed using Polk State College Procedure 6054: Applicant Equity Complaint Procedure. Information can be provided by Valparisa Baker, Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Title IX Coordinator), 999 Avenue H, N.E., Winter Haven, FL 33891-4299; Office: WAD 227; Phone:  863.292.3602, Ext 5378 (email: vbaker@polk.edu; webpage: polk.edu/equity-diversity-inclusion/).

  7. Matters of complaint against an employee may be appealed to the employee’s supervisor. If the complaint is not resolved at this level, the next step is the formal process, as indicated below.

  8. Matters involving sexual harassment may be appealed using Polk State College Procedure 6076: Sexual Harassment. The individual should contact Valparisa Baker, Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Title IX Coordinator), 999 Avenue H, N.E., Winter Haven, FL 33891-4299; Office: WAD 227; Phone: 863.292.3602, Ext 5378; email: vbaker@polk.edu; webpage: polk.edu/equity-diversity-inclusion/.

  9. Matters regarding denial of the in-state residency rate for tuition and fees may be appealed to the Residency Committee as noted in Polk State College Procedure 1025: Admissions Procedure. A student appealing a decision may contact the Assistant Registrar on the Lakeland or Winter Haven campus, or send a request to the College Registrar’s Office (registrar@polk.edu).

If the Appeal or Complaint is not Resolved in the Informal Process, a Formal Appeal/Complaint Process must be Followed:

  1. A written statement of the complaint must be submitted to the President’s Staff member responsible for the organizational unit in which the complaint originated.

  2. The President’s Staff member is responsible for investigating and resolving the complaint in a reasonable amount of time. The President’s Staff member’s decision is final. A decision is issued as a written statement to the parties involved.

  3.  If the complaint is against the President’s Staff member responsible for the organizational unit, the President shall assign an appropriate person to review the complaint.


Online Education Student Grievances that are Not Satisfied through the College’s Procedure for Online Educational Matters:

Out-of-state distance-education students who have completed Polk State’s internal institutional grievance process (as stated above) and the applicable state grievance process found on the webpage, may appeal non-instructional complaints to the Florida State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (FL-SARA)–Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education (PRDEC) Council. For additional information on the complaint process, the student should visit the FLSARA Complaint Process webpage (www.FLDOE.ORG\SARA).


Student Grievances beyond Polk State College:

Information about filing grievances to the state of Florida can be found on the Florida College System website. 

Copies of Polk State’s District Board of Trustees Rules and Procedures referenced above are available on the College’s Rules and Procedures websites.