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Academic Policies

Academic policies are statements of regulations that the College develops for the facilitation of the teaching and learn­ing process. Academic policy reflects the philosophy of education at Orange County Community College. Policies can be revised as the philosophy of education at the college changes. The mechanism for effecting any change is the campus governance system.

Revisions of academic policy must relate to the whole sys­tem of existing policies. Recommendations of the SUNY Orange shared governance system that relate to academic policies are submitted to the President of the College for approval. Academic Policy is committed to support the College’s effort of assessment and continuous improvement.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee) publishes the Aca­demic Policy Manual for distribution. 

Policies as of June 1, 2023 (effective AY 2023-2024)

AP 1: Examinations and Other Performance Measures

Students have the right to periodic evaluation of their performance throughout the semester with grades or recorded written assessments.  The number, type, and scheduling of performance measures in each course will be determined by individual instructors consistent with department policy.*  However, there must be a minimum of one performance measure for a one credit course, two for a two-credit course and three for courses of three or more credits. 

Unless mandated by department policy,* comprehensive final examinations are given at the discretion of the individual faculty member.  Comprehensive final examinations may not be more than 2 ½ hours in length and must be scheduled in accordance with final exam procedures.

The performance evaluation procedure to be followed in each course must be explained completely and specifically in the course syllabus.  The instructions for examinations or performance measures must be clearly indicated.  The grading value of the component parts of each exam must be indicated on the exam. 

Faculty who teach online courses and require students to participate in testing or other course activities in person must indicate that within the syllabi as well as include notice in the online course schedule.

At the end of each semester, a copy of the comprehensive final examination, if given, or the most significant evaluative device must be submitted to the office designated by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and kept on record for a period that accords with New York State guidelines. 

*These department policies must be approved by a 75% vote of all full-time department faculty members.

AP 2: Grades

A. Final Grades

Final grades will be A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, W or one of the following:

  • The final grade in developmental courses and support modules will be DVP or DVF.
  • The final grade in courses taken on a pass/fail basis will be PP for pass or PF for fail.
  • A grade of ZF (or ZDF for developmental courses and support modules or ZPF for pass/fail courses) will be assigned to students who stop attending before the end of the 10th week of the semester or its equivalent and do not withdraw themselves or receive an instructor withdrawal. A ZF grade is calculated as an F in the student’s CGPA.

Grades must be submitted as specified by the Records & Registration office.

B. Change of Final Grade

Except for academic grievances, after a final grade has been submitted, the instructor can change the grade within four weeks by filling out the required form and getting the signature of the Department Chair.  After four weeks, such a change also requires the signature of the Appropriate Associate Vice President.

C. Incomplete

The grade of Incomplete (I) may be given at the discretion of the instructor.  The instructor must submit a change of grade by the end of the next fall or spring Semester, whichever comes first.  If the work is not completed, the I will become an F. 

The grade of Incomplete (I) cannot be used in developmental courses.

A student desiring to graduate with one or more Incompletes may do so; however the Incomplete(s) shall count as an F for pur­pose of computing the CGPA.

D. Grade of W

A student will receive a grade of W if they drop a course within the timeline stated in Academic Policy 25. After the withdrawal deadline an instructor must report a final grade.

E. Grade of NR

The grade of NR (Not Reported) will be applied to a student's transcript if a final grade for the course has not been reported by the instructor before the Final Grade deadline. A grade of NR does not affect the SemGPA.

F. Distribution of Grades

Each student must be graded primarily on the basis of his or her achievement, as distinguished from aptitude, interest, or effort.  Grades may also be significantly affected by attendance or violations of other academic policies (see Policy #3 on Attendance).  No quota system of allocating grades is authorized.    The meaning of letter grades is: A-, A = 90 - 100%, B-, B, B+ = 80 - 89%, C-, C, C+ = 70 - 79%, D-, D, D+ = 60 - 69%, F = 0 - 59%.  Faculty whose grades are based on a different numbering system must indicate so in their course syllabi. 

G. Mid-Semester Progress Reports

The deadline for submitting Mid-Semester Progress Report(s) is specified in the College Calendar.  Such report(s) must be made on all students whose work to date is of less than C quality or otherwise unsatisfactory.

AP 3: Attendance

Attendance is required in all courses. Instructors must describe their attendance policies and repercussions of absences in their syllabi.

Instructors shall not penalize students for absences for religious observance, military obligations or jury duty. Provided the instructor’s permission is given in advance, instructors shall not penalize students for participation in college-sponsored events.

It is the student’s responsibility to contact each instructor regarding absences.

AP 4: Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is regarded by the College as an intolerable breach of academic ethics and deserves immediate penalty.  The consequences of academic dishonesty may include academic penalties, disciplinary action, or even legal action.  The primary responsibility for dealing with academic dishonesty rests with the faculty member.

The definition of academic dishonesty in the College’s “Code of Student Conduct” includes, but is not limited to: (a) cheating; (b) fabrication; (c) facilitating academic dishonesty; (d) plagiarism; (e) forgery; (f) bribery; or (g) multiple submissions (submitting the same assignment to more than one instructor without the permission of the instructors).

Depending on the specific circumstances, academic penalties could range from a verbal reprimand to separation from the College.  For some acts of academic dishonesty, the student may also be accountable to legal authorities.

When plagiarism, cheating or some other act of academic dishonesty has occurred, the faculty member shall advise the student of the action to be taken.  In addition, any instance of academic dishonesty may result in the referral to the Vice President for Student Services for appropriate disciplinary action pursuant to the College’s Code of Student Conduct.

AP 5: Degree Requirements

Each of the degrees must meet the minimum requirements of and be approved by the State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).The college has added to these minima.  College-prescribed portions of the degree require­ments, are binding upon the Registrar, who must certify each candidate's eligibility for the Associate Degree.   A course requirement in a particular degree may be waived with the approval of (1) the chair of the department which offers the course, (2) the chair which sponsors the degree, and (3) the appropriate Associate Vice President.

No college credit is granted for successful performance on a high school equivalency test.

Courses used to meet the General Education requirements for the A.A.S. degree cannot also be used to meet the major-field requirement of 20 credits.

AP 6: Multiple Associate Degrees

­­The Registrar will award multiple degrees when students complete a minimum of fifteen credit hours at the College that were not required or applied to the first degree and satisfy all other requirements for awarding of a degree.

A student may earn multiple AS degrees, or multiple AAS degrees, or an AA and an AS.  Only one AA degree may be awarded with the following exception.  Because of its distinct and separate nature from other programs, the AA in International Studies may be awarded as a second AA degree. (5/14/97)

All grades earned in courses taken at this College applied to an additional degree will be included in the CGPA for the additional degree.

AP 7: Commencement Ceremony and Graduation for Students in Degree and Certificate Programs   Registered by the New York State Education Department and the State University of New York

A. Commencement Ceremony Participation: Participation in the College’s Commencement ceremony is open to all who meet the following criteria:

  1. Those who meet the requirements of a degree or certificate program; and also
  2. Those potential August graduates who, prior to the commencement ceremony, have no more than 6 credits or 2 courses (which do not exceed 8 credits) remaining to complete their degree or certificate program and who are registered for the courses they need to complete their degree or certificate program in the summer session(s) immediately following the commencement they apply to attend.  Students must meet all other requirements for their degrees or certificates and have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of the Spring semester.

Minimum Graduation Requirements: In order to be awarded a degree or certificate from SUNY Orange, students must be matriculated and meet the minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA as well as any programmatic requirements of their degree or certificate program.

Posthumous Degrees: Upon request, posthumous degrees may be awarded to students who are in their last semester of study and/or within 15 credits of degree completion at the time of death. The degree to be awarded must be approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Vice President of Student Services.  The diploma will bear the notation “Awarded Posthumously”.

(Revised May 20, 2020)

AP 8: Academic Recognitions/Designations upon Graduation

Students who have completed at least 30 credits of work at the College and have a CGPA of 4.00 in the courses taken here will receive the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement upon graduation. 

Upon graduation, those students with a CGPA from 3.20-3.49 will be designated as Cum Laude graduates, 3.50-3.74 as Magna Cum Laude graduates, and 3.75-4.00 as Summa Cum Laude graduates.

AP 9: Repeating a Course

A student who is eligible to register may repeat any credit bearing course (for developmental courses see Policy #27.). The grade received on the final attempt automatically becomes the official grade. It replaces, in computation of CGPA, any previous grade in the same course.

Some academic courses may be repeated for credit only once with Curriculum Committee review and approval.  Department Chairs, with the approval of the appropriate Associate Vice President, may waive this policy, and appeals for denials will be processed using the Academic Grievance Process.

Students who fail to achieve the minimum grade required for progression or graduation and may no longer repeat that course are thereby removed from the program/curriculum, but not neces­sarily separated from the College.

AP 10: Transfer Credits

Credit courses successfully completed at a United States Department of Education approved college, with a grade of C or better, may be accepted to fulfill graduation requirements.  Such courses, if accepted, do not affect the CGPA at this College.  Students may appeal any decision of the College not to accept a credit course for transfer credit using the appropriate processes.

AP 11: Advanced Placement

The College may grant credit for high school advance place­ment courses in which the student earns a grade of 3 or higher on the final examination.  Additional departmental criteria may apply.

AP 12: New York State Regents College Examination Program

formerly the New York State College Proficiency Examination Program

The College may accept for credit college courses which the student has successfully passed in the New York State Regents College Examination Program. 

AP 13: Credit by Examination

The discipline areas or departments will determine those courses for which credit by examination is available.  The college maintains a list of College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests that are accepted for credit.  In addition, department chairs may create course specific examinations.

Departments offering course specific exams for credit must develop procedures for student application.

The grading of departmental examinations is pass/fail and a grade of P will be recorded on the transcript of a student who is success­ful in passing an examination.  Students who successfully pass CLEP examinations will be awarded appropriate transfer credit.  Credits earned by taking an examination cannot be applied toward the fulfillment of the 30 credit hour residency requirement for an Associate Degree.

AP 14: Expiration of Earned College Credits

While the college wants to honor all credit courses successfully completed at the college and most credits do not expire, some exceptions exist and these are maintained at the Office of the Registrar.

AP 15: Course Prerequisite/Permitted List

Students are required to complete all prerequisite courses.

Department Chairs, or their designee, are authorized to waive the prerequisites for a course.

Students in the process of completing required developmental education courses may only register for credit courses from the appropriate Permitted List(s) (see the course catalog). Students placing into more than one developmental course may only register for courses that appear on all applicable Permitted Lists.

AP 16: Academic Freedom

The Faculty Contract guarantees academic freedom to the faculty.  It is described as follows:

The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing the subject, but may not claim as a right, the privilege of discussing controversial matter that has no relation to the subject.

The teacher is entitled to full freedom, within the law, of inquiry and research and in the publication of the results, but not at the expense of adequate performance of other academic duties.

The college teacher is a citizen, a member of a learned profession and representative of an educational institution.  When speaking, writing, or acting, within the law as a citizen, the teacher shall be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but our unique position in the community imposes special obligations.  As persons of learning and as representatives of an educational institution, we should remember that the public might judge our profession and our institution by our utterances and our actions.  Hence, we must at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinion of others, and indicate that we are not speaking for our institution.  

Other policies also describe expectations relating to professional ethics for College employees.

AP 17: Office Hours

Full-time members of the faculty are required to maintain the number of office hours specified in the Agreement with the Faculty Association.  Office hours should be chosen in such a way as to maximize the opportunity for advisees and others to make appointments.

AP 18: Course Outlines/Syllabi

Course Outlines/Syllabi are to be distributed to students and appropriate department chairs at the beginning of each semester. Each syllabus must contain the elements identified in the course syllabus template distributed by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  This template will be reviewed and revised annually in collaboration with the Academic Policy Committee.

Additional departmental policies may also appear on course syllabi.

AP 19: Eligibility for Dean's List

All full-time students not on probation who earned a GPA of at least 3.33 the previous semester are placed on the Dean's list.

Part-time students who achieve a CGPA of 3.3 or higher for each full - time equivalent semester of study completed shall be placed on the Dean's list.  A full - time equivalent semester is defined as the completion of twelve credit hours of study.

AP 20: Independent Study

Independent study will be assigned to faculty on a voluntary basis at the recommendation of the Department Chair and approval by the AVP of the appropriate division and VPAA.  Such study is defined as a one faculty member to one student educational experience.  Independent study may be authorized when:

A. the student needs credit for graduation, and

B. the student is unable to take a course when usually offered due to extenuating circumstances.

AP 21: Deadline for Class Registration

The deadline for students to register for a full semester class is five business days after the beginning of the semester or its equivalent for part of term courses.  Thereafter, registration requires the course Instructor and appropriate Department Chair approval.

AP 22: Change of Program (Major)

A. Students can change their program (Major) by following the procedures outlined in the College Catalog.

B. Change of program (Major) results in a change of catalog term (See Academic Policy 34)

AP 23: Academic Standing

A. Academic Standing for all students except those coded as DEVL:

  1. Students are in Good Standing if CGPA >= 2
  2. Students are placed on Academic Probation with a 14 credit limit if they have:
    1. CGPA < 2
    2. Attempted at least 30 non-DEVL credits, CGPA < 1.5 and Term GPA is >= 2
  3. Students are Academically Separated if they have attempted at least 30 non-DEVL credits, CGPA < 1.5, and Term GPA < 2.
  4. Grades of W, I, or M are not counted as credits attempted. Pass or fail grades earned in developmental courses are not counted as units/credits attempted.

B. Academic Standing for students coded as DEVL (i.e. placed into two or more developmental courses):

In accordance with Academic Policy 23. B - Academic standing parameters for students who have placed into two or more developmental courses.

Reviews take into account academic performance in the semester under review plus overall CGPA.

Attempted credits include institutional (i.e. DEVL) credits. Grades of W, I, or M are not counted as credits attempted.

Upon successful completion of all required developmental coursework, students’ Academic Standing reverts to following Academic Policy 23. A.


  Good Standing

Academic Probation –
14 credit limit

Academic Probation – 
9 credit limit
Academic Separation
End of First Semester
  • CGPA >= 2
  • All DVP


  • CGPA = 0
  • No F or ZF
  • All DVP
  • Regardless of CGPA
  • 1 or more DVF or ZDF
  • Not all D, F or ZF


  • 0 < CGPA < 2
  • All DVP
  • CGPA < 2
  • All grades: Any combination of D, F, ZF, DVF, ZDF
End of subsequent semester(s) up to attempt of 29 credits
  • CGPA >= 2
  • No DVF, ZDF


  • Only DVP
  • CGPA >= 2
  • Exactly one DVF, ZDF


  • CGPA < 2
  • Up to one DVF or ZDF
  • CGPA >= 2
  • 2 or more DVF, ZDF


  • CGPA < 2
  • 2 or more F, ZF, DVF, or ZDF


See Academic Policy 27I
End of subsequent semester(s); attempted 30 or more credits Same as “up to attempt of 29 credits” Same as “up to attempt of 29 credits”
  • CGPA < 2


  • CGPA < 1.5
  • Term GPA >= 2
  • CGPA < 1.5
  • Term GPA < 2
See Academic Policy 27I

C. Students taking at least one developmental course are subject to the academic separation policy outlined in academic policy 27H.

D. Students placed on Academic Probation may continue study; however, they may not enroll in more than their designated credit limits within a Fall or Spring semester and/or for a total of 6 credits in the summer sessions.

E. Students who are Academically Separated may not enroll in any credit course offered in the day, evening, weekend, or summer of any semester or session offered by the College, at any site, for a period of one year.

F. Academic Appeal Procedure

Students who have been placed on Academic Probation or who have been Academically Separated may appeal the status to an Appeals Board. Appeals of Academic Probation and Academic Separation from the College are adjudicated by an Appeals Board, convened by the Vice President of Academic Affairs after the conclusion of the Fall and Spring semesters of each academic year.

Appeals Boards shall be composed of 3-5 members (faculty or department chairs), one of whom will serve as Chair of the Appeals Board, and all shall be selected by the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee) based on responses to a call for service at the end of each semester.

G. The “Academic Standing” designation does not necessarily equate to the “Satisfactory Academic Progress” standards used to determine financial aid eligibility.

AP 24: Fresh Start Policy

This policy is intended to provide a “fresh start” for students who have earned unsatisfactory grades in courses that are not explicitly required for their current program of study.

A student can only be awarded ONE Fresh Start. Once a Fresh Start has been applied to the student’s transcript it is permanent.

To be eligible for a Fresh Start, a student must meet all the following criteria:

  1. Be matriculated in a registered degree or certificate program at the College.
  2. Be currently enrolled in classes.
  3. Have an overall GPA lower than 2.0 at the time of the request.
  4. Have not previously been granted a Fresh Start.

Application of the Fresh Start means:

  1. Credits and grades not explicitly required for the current program of study will be omitted from the student’s overall GPA until it reaches as close as possible to 2.0.
  2. Grades omitted from the re-calculation will, however, remain on the transcript and be identified on the transcript by the symbol “X”.
  3. The student has acknowledged in writing the restrictions of this policy via student signature on the Fresh Start application.

If the application is denied by the Registrar or the Registrar’s designee, a written appeal may be made to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

AP 25: Official Withdrawals

A. Official Withdrawal from a Course

When a student finds it necessary to withdraw from one or more courses, he or she must submit an Add/Drop Form with appropriate signatures by the end of the 12th week or its equivalent (see Academic Calendar). A student who officially withdraws from a course between the 4th and 12th week or its equivalent will have the course appear on his/her transcript with a grade of W.

For a student to withdraw from a developmental English, reading or writing course he or she must receive approval from the appropriate Divisional Associate Vice President or designee. The forms are submitted to the Registrar for placement in the student’s academic file. The same applies to a student to withdraw from a developmental math course after having attempted 24 non-developmental credits.

B. Official Withdrawal from the Semester

When a student finds it necessary to withdraw from all courses (including developmental) during a semester, he or she must submit an Add/Drop form with an Official Withdrawal from College Form with the appropriate signatures by the end of the 12th week or its equivalent (see Academic Calendar). A student who officially withdraws from the semester between the 4th and 12th week or its equivalent will have the course (s) appear on his/her transcript with a grade of W.

C. Official Withdrawal or Leave of Absence from a course(s) because of a medical condition

When students request either a medical leave of absence or a full medical withdrawal from the college or course(s), they must submit written verification from the health care provider and all other required documentation to Student Services Central before the end of the semester in which the condition occurs. 

If requesting a medical leave of absence, the appropriate medical documentation must contain an anticipated return date.  All such information given to the college is treated as confidential and privileged, as allowable by law.

The Director of the Wellness Center will verify that proper medical documentation has been received and will communicate his/her findings to the Registrar, who will either approve or deny the request.

The student has the right to appeal this decision to the VPAA using the academic grievance procedure.

Note that approvals do not generate an automatic refund of tuition, waiver of the physical education requirement, or waiver of financial aid requirements.

AP 26: Audit a Course

Students may change to/from audit status in accordance with the Academic calendar.

AP 27: Developmental Courses

  1. Completion of developmental courses and/or sequences into which a student has been placed by assessment to the college is required.
  2. Students must have completed all developmental courses and/or sequences into which they have been placed prior to applying for graduation.
  3. Students placed in developmental English or Math courses must be enrolled in these courses during every semester of attendance until they receive a grade of DVP in these courses.
  4. Students may apply to retake placement tests. Decisions regarding retakes must be made by the appropriate Department Chair (i.e. English or Math) or their designee. Retakes can only occur prior to attendance in classes.
  5. The appropriate Department Chairs or their designee (i.e. English and Math) may waive placement (Academic Policy #15 permits Department Chairs to waive prerequisites).
  6. Developmental courses may be prerequisites or configured as co-requisites for certain college credit courses.
  7. Students who place into any developmental English courses must successfully complete all of their developmental English coursework before registering for distance learning/hybrid courses.
  8. This Policy applies to all students regardless of the number of developmental courses they are required to take. Students who received a grade of “DVH” or receive a grade of “DVF” in a particular developmental course will be allowed to repeat that developmental course only two additional times for a total of three attempts. “Attempts” include those made in summer sessions. After a second attempt, students who do not pass a developmental course must meet with one of the Associate Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs.

If students do not successfully complete a particular developmental course on the third attempt, they will be separated from the College for one year. Students may not appeal separation unless they met with an Academic AVP after the second unsuccessful attempt. Upon return to the college following a separation, students will be granted one attempt to successfully repeat the course(s). A grade of “DVF” in this attempt will result in another year’s separation with no option to appeal.

AP 28: Academic Calendar

The academic calendar shall be such that it protects the integrity of the credit offerings, complies with contractual obligations, and accounts for state and federal mandates.

AP 29: Students' Rights

The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression.  Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

A. Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students should be free to take reasoned exceptions to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

B. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation.  At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.

C. Protection Against Improper Disclosure

Information about student views, beliefs, and political associations which professors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors, and counselors should be consid­ered confidential.  Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation and governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Judgments of ability and char­acter may be provided under appropriate circumstances, with the written consent of the student.

AP 30: Cancellation of Classes due to Inclement Weather

Only the President and the Vice President for Administration and Finance are authorized to cancel classes for the day, the eve­ning, or both.

AP 31: Reports on Educational Travel and Field Trips

Procedures have been developed to support academic travel and field trips.  Faculty and students are expected to adhere to the procedures for obtaining approval for academic travel and field trips.  Procedures can be found through the Office of the VPAA.

AP 32: Individual Exceptions to Academic Policies

The Vice President for Academic Affairs is authorized to waive the application of any College academic policy in a par­ticular case.

AP 33: Official/Academic Email Policy

For Degree-Seeking and Non-Degree Seeking students, the College issued email account (@sunyorange.edu) is designated as the student’s official email address as it is validated by an authentication process.  This will be used as the method of communication when administrative offices, academic departments and faculty need to communicate with students.  Electronic communication through the use of the college’s learning management system (e.g. Angel or Blackboard) remains at the discretion of the instructor and should be communicated to the student in the course syllabus.

AP 34: Change of Catalog Term

A. Students follow the program requirements of the catalog term in which they were originally admitted      except in the cases of 1) readmission, or 2) change of program (major). In those cases, the student will follow the program requirements of the catalog term in effect at the time of change.

B. Non-health professions students may also request to follow the program requirements of a more recent catalog term, but they may not mix program requirements from different terms for the same program.