Aug 09, 2022  
2021-2022 Westminster College Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Westminster College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate School Academic Policies


Graduate students are subject to the same Academic Policies , including Academic Integrity , and Terms of Payment  as undergraduate students, except where the following policies and procedures may supercede.

Transfer of Graduate Credits

Graduate credit earned at other approved institutions may be accepted for transfer to Westminster College provided the credit has been completed within the six-year period established for the completion of all degree requirements. There must be prior approval to take transfer work while enrolled at Westminster. Work with a grade lower than a "B" will not be accepted. While transfer credits are accepted, more than half of coursework must be taken at Westminster.

Since each institution determines the conditions under which credits may be accepted, graduate students desiring to transfer Westminster credits to another institution should make previous arrangements with the institution concerned. Westminster cannot guarantee that its courses will be accepted for credit toward the master's degree by any other college or university.

Advising

The Chairs of the Schools of Business and Education will function as advisers and will assist in the planning of a program of studies. Each student is responsible for planning a program in keeping with all requirements for graduation and certification. It is the student's responsibility to contact and confer with the adviser concerning questions regarding the program. Regular advising emails and notices are distributed.

Students matriculated in the program as listed in previous catalogs will follow, as far as possible, the new program as described herein. However, in individual cases where it would present a hardship, students may be permitted to continue under their former program. It should be noted that changes in state certification requirements take precedence over information in this catalog.

Course Registration Policies

The Registrar's Office publishes the Graduate Schedule of Classes and registration schedule in advance of each semester or summer session. See the Graduate Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Add/Drop Period - Graduate students may Add or Drop courses from their course schedule no later than the end of the fifth (5th) day of the semester/session.

Withdrawal - Graduate students may request a final grade of Withdrawal (W) after the end of the Add/Drop Period but no later than the course's Withdrawal Deadline, published by the Registrar's Office each semester.

Courses dropped by the official Add/Drop deadline will generate no fee. Students are financially responsible for Withdrawn courses.

Online Course Non-Attendance

If a student does not log in to an online class at all, or does not participate academically in the course (see below), the course would be considered dropped within the Add/Drop Period, and there would be no fee for the course.

If it is demonstrated that the student academically participated in the course after the Add/Drop Period, they would be responsible for the full course charges.

Rules for documenting academic participation are consistent with those prescribed under federal regulations for determining withdrawal from a course for federal financial aid purposes. Examples of academic participation are: submission of an assignment, submission of an exam, posting to an online study group or discussion forum, or contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject of the course.

Important Note Regarding Potential Impact on Financial Aid

There may be financial aid implications when dropping or withdrawing from a course if you are no longer enrolled half time. Please contact the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawing.

Federal Title IV Financial Aid

If the withdrawing student has Federal Title IV Financial Aid, the Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate eligibility for this aid.

If a student withdraws from a first session course after the drop/add date, and the student does not provide written confirmation that he/she will attend the second session course in the same semester, earned Federal Title IV Financial Aid will be calculated as follows: The number of calendar days prior to the official withdrawal date related to the first session course, divided by the total number of calendar days for the first session course.

If withdrawal occurs after the drop/add date of the second session course, earned Federal Title IV Financial Aid will be calculated as follows: The number of calendar days prior to the official withdrawal date related to both courses in the semester, divided by the total number of calendar days for both courses in the semester. If the withdrawal occurs after the semester is 60% completed, the student is deemed to have earned 100% of the Title IV Aid.

Students who withdraw from the first session course after the drop/add period, and provide written confirmation that they will attend the second session course, are considered to still be enrolled at the College. In this case, the student will be charged full tuition and mandatory fees for the first session course and no proration will be performed on Federal Title IV Financial Aid.

The percentage of unearned aid (100% - the percentage of earned aid determined in the applicable formula above) is applied to the total amount of the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed for the semester to determine that amount of aid that must be returned to the federal financial aid programs.

From time to time, the full amount of Title IV aid for which the student is eligible has not been fully disbursed when the withdrawal calculation is being performed. In such a case, if the student earned less than the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed, both  the institution and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. If the student earned more than the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement of aid within 120 days of    the student's withdrawal.

Unearned aid is allocated to the appropriate federal aid program in the following order and must be returned by the institution within 30 days after the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal:

  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Parent Plus Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants

Westminster College and Other Financial Aid:

The formula that is used to calculate tuition will also be applied to Westminster College and other financial aid unless the source of the financial aid indicates another method of calculation is required.

Maximum Course Load

A graduate student who carries nine (9) or more credit hours per semester is considered a full-time student. Twelve (12) credit hours is  the maximum load which any graduate student will be permitted to carry. The normal load for a graduate student working full time is one or two courses (3-6 credit hours). Students should allow ample time for library research, project work, and cooperative assignments when planning their schedules.

Auditing

A limited number of auditors may be permitted in certain courses. Before auditing is permitted, approval of the director of the Graduate Program and the instructor of the course must be obtained.Individuals holding a baccalaureate degree who wish to audit graduate courses but who have not previously taken work at Westminster College must make application for such auditing through the Registrar's Office. No credit or grades will be given to a student auditing a course. The fee for auditing is $415 per course.

Academic Status

For the Master of Education, Master of Arts, and MBA degrees, in addition to submitting a Practitioner Research Report at the end of all coursework, the M Ed students must complete at least 10 courses on the graduate level and the MA students must complete at least 20 courses on the graduate level with an average of "B" (3.0) or better, including no more than two courses with a grade of "C" or less. At  any time these standards are not maintained, the student will be placed on probationary status. A probationary student  is required to pass an examination before permission to register for additional courses is granted. Failure to pass the examination results in suspension. A suspended student may petition the Graduate Committee for re-admission. Dismissal may occur after the petition is considered.

Culminating Assignment

Students are required to complete a culminating assignment prior to graduation. There are two options: a Comprehensive Examination or a Data-driven Research project. The Comprehensive Examination is an opportunity for the student to communicate to the faculty that he/she possesses the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for being successful in his/her respective field of study. Students will answer carefully selected questions related to their field in a formal written narrative that will be submitted to a panel of faculty experts for a pass or fail grade. Students who are completing Internships may prefer to complete the Data driven-Research project. This practitioner-based option allows the student to create an action research project, conduct the research at a field site, analyze the data, and report on the study's results. Either option occurs at the end of each program track.

Online Courses

Westminster College Graduate School has gained approval from Middle States Commission on Higher Education to offer online courses leading to a Master of Business Administration degree, Master of Education degree and/or certification as an elementary- secondary school counselor, special education specialist, school principal K-12, and special education with reading (dual certification), and a general education master's degree.

Time Limitations

All work for the master's degree, including credits accepted by transfer, must be completed within a period of seven calendar years unless a student takes a leave of absence. Written appeals for extension of the time limit will be considered by the Director of the Graduate School.

Withdrawal, Transfer, or Leave of Absence from the Graduate School

A student wishing to withdraw or transfer from the Graduate School should begin by contacting the Office of Student Affairs.

College fees are usually not returnable to students unless they withdraw from the College because of illness or reasons beyond their control. The date that the withdrawal is approved by the applicable College administrative office is considered the official date of withdrawal. Refunds, when allowed, will be calculated as follows:

A student taking a session course is considered to be withdrawn from the College under the following circumstances:

  1. Withdrawal from a first session course occurs after the Add/Drop date, and the student does not provide written confirmation that he/she will attend the second session course in the same semester.
  2. Withdrawal occurs after the Add/Drop date of the second session course.

In the first instance, tuition and mandatory fees will be prorated based on the number of calendar days prior to the official withdrawal date related to the first session course, divided by the total number of calendar days for the first session course.

In the second instance, tuition and mandatory fees will be prorated based on the number of calendar days prior to the official withdrawal date divided by the total number of calendar days for the semester. No refunds will be given once the semester is 60% completed.

Students who withdraw from the first session course after the Add/Drop Period, and provide written confirmation that they will attend the second session course, are considered to still be enrolled at the College. In this case, the student will be charged full tuition and mandatory fees for the first session course and no proration will be performed on Federal Title IV Financial Aid.

Other College fees, generally, are not prorated. An administrative fee of 5% of actual charges (up to $100) will be assessed against the student's account. Generally, no refund will be made where the withdrawal is required because of misconduct.

Medical Leave of Absence or Withdrawal (Voluntary or Involuntary)

When illness, injury, or a psychiatric disability occurs, a student or guardian may request, or the College may require, a medical withdrawal or medical leave of absence (MLOA) from the College. All medical withdrawals or leaves must be approved by the vice president for student affairs. Specific conditions to receive  an MLOA  or Medical Withdrawal,  including the conditions for future re-admittance,  are stipulated  at the time of the withdrawal or granting of a leave  of absence. These conditions may specify what professional  medical documentation  is required for the withdrawal to be granted, and/or a period of time for a leave. Before the student will be permitted to return to campus, the College may require a professional evaluation or assessment (at the student's expense) stating the professional expert's opinion that the student is now capable of meeting the academic and the social standards of the College (which are stated in the Westminster Student Code of Conduct). Students who are granted an MLOA or Medical Withdrawal will be given a "W" (withdrawal) for all courses in which the student was enrolled at the time of the MLOA or Medical Withdrawal.

Grievance Procedures for Involuntary Withdrawal

Refer to the information on "Involuntary Administrative Withdrawal" in the Undergraduate Student Handbook for additional information and grievance procedures related to a withdrawal that is not voluntarily initiated or accepted by the student.

Return from Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

Students wishing to return after a Leave of Absence should contact the Graduate School.

Readmission for US Armed Forces Members

Students who take a leave of absence for service-related reasons will be readmitted with the same academic status as he or she had when last attending or being admitted to Westminster College.State law requires college or university to grant a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard or other reserve component of the armed forces or the member's spouse a military leave of absence from their education if he or she is called to active duty (other than active duty for training). The grade transcript for all classes shall show an "M" or "Military" to indicate that the military member or his/her spouse was unable to complete courses because of military service. A grade of "M" is not counted in a student's GPA.

Veterans Education Benefits

For the Master of Education (M Ed.), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Master of Arts (MA) degrees, in addition to submitting a Practitioner Research Report or Comprehensive Exam (M Ed; MA) at the end of all coursework, the M Ed and MBA students must complete at least 10 courses on the graduate level and the MA students must complete at least 20 courses on the graduate level with an average of "B" (3.0) or better, including no more than two courses with a grade of "C" or less. At any time these standards are not maintained, the student will be placed on probationary status. A probationary student is required to pass  an examination before permission to register for additional courses is granted. Failure to pass the examination results in suspension. A suspended student may petition the Graduate Committee for re-admission. Dismissal may occur after the petition is considered.

Students who receive Veterans Education Benefits and who earn below these grade point average thresholds for any semester will be placed on Academic Probation and will be subject to Academic Suspension at the discretion of the Director of the Graduate School. These students will be notified that they are required to meet with the director in order to return to the College. Students who do not follow through with this meeting will be dropped from their next semester's classes. Students who have not yet registered will have a registration hold which will prevent them from registering until the director indicates such a meeting has taken place and the student is allowed to register.

The law requires that educational assistance benefits to Veterans and other eligible persons be discontinued when those students do not make satisfactory progress toward completion of their educational training objective. Based upon this requirement, any students using Veterans Education Benefits will be suspended from Westminster College when they have two consecutive semesters below the minimum required GPA (as defined above). All such decisions will be made by the Director of the Graduate School in consultation with the graduate faculty. Students receiving Veterans Education Benefits and who have been placed on academic suspension shall remain separated from the College for a minimum of one academic semester.

Veteran Education Benefits can be resumed if the student reenrolls in the same educational institution and in the same program. When a student has failed to maintain prescribed standards of progress, VA will be informed promptly so that benefit payments can be discontinued in accordance with the law. The termination date assigned by Westminster College will be the last day of the term or other evaluation period in which the student's progress became unsatisfactory. Upon recertification to VA, Westminster's certifying official should maintain in the student's file a statement that describes the conditions for the student's continued certification to   VA. These conditions will prescribe the minimum performance standards to be achieved by the student during the next enrollment/ evaluation period.

Students Receiving Military Benefits

Any student receiving Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill ™ or Chapter 31 Voc-Rehab benefits that has filed all necessary paperwork to the Financial Aid Office and paid their balance not covered by these funds is subject to the following:

  • No late fee or finance charges on balance to be covered by approved military funding
  • No hold will be added to the student account that would prevent them from participating in classes, libraries, or other institution facilities, or the requirement that a covered individual borrow additional funds, on any covered individual because of the individual's inability to meet his or her financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed disbursement funding from VA under chapter 31 or 33.
  • Ability to participate in the course of education during the period beginning on the date on which the individual provides to the Financial Aid Office a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 (a "certificate of eligibility" can also include a "Statement of Benefits" obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) website  e-Benefits, or a VAF 28-1905 form for chapter 31 authorization purposes) and ending on the earlier of the following dates:
    • The date on which payment from VA is made to the institution.
    • 90 days after the date the institution certified tuition and fees following the receipt of the certificate of eligibility.