Academic Difficulty

Students experiencing difficulty in one or more courses are encouraged to seek help in resolving the problem(s). The first step always should be a full discussion with the instructor in whose course the problem exists. Additional conversations with one’s Academic Advisor, the Director of Academic Services, the Coordinator of First‐Year Programs, the Labor Supervisor, or Collegium may help to pinpoint the source of difficulty. If the problem seems to be rooted in circumstances outside one particular course, such as study skills, time management, or a personal situation, assistance may be sought from the Learning Center or from counselors at the College Health Service. Any students experiencing academic difficulty may elect to enroll in GST 101: Strategies for Academic Success.

Following each regular term, the Office of Academic Services sends announcements of probation and suspension to the student’s Berea e‐mail address, Campus Post Office box, and through postal mail to the permanent mailing address presently cited in the student’s academic record for contact information. This announcement includes the reason for the assigned status, related conditions for resolution of the status, any impending threat to one’s eligibility for financial aid, instructions for student action, and the appeal process.

Students on Academic Probation are offered support from a centrally‐administered academic intervention team that will work closely with Academic Advisors to review academic schedules, course load, and course distribution over regular and summer terms. Advisors will also discuss with at‐risk students the degree to which their work in the Labor Program, as well as extracurricular, co‐curricular, and social life activities, are likely to contribute positively to the ultimate goal of earning a baccalaureate degree from Berea College. Students on Academic Probation cannot participate in internships, independent studies, team-initiated studies, Berea Term Abroad, or international travel in Summer terms (including Berea International Summer Term or KIIS). Students who wish to participate in the above activities may appeal to the SAAS Committee for a waiver to conditions of Academic Probation.

Performance Checks Program

The Office of Academic Services coordinates the Performance Check Program which seeks to identify students who are at risk of failure to meet institutional expectations for acceptable academic, labor, and social performance. In cases where the College becomes aware of student difficulty, the student’s Academic Advisor and/or the coordinator of the Early Intervention Program may initiate contact with the student through the use of Mandatory Meeting requests.

Faculty and staff members may report excessive absences or other signs of academic difficulty to the Performance Checks Program. The student’s instructors, labor supervisor, advisor, and collegium will be contacted to determine if the problem is widespread. A student demonstrating significant problems may be called in for counseling and academic assistance. The student’s advisor and the instructor who initiated the performance check will be notified of any action. Excessive attendance problems and lack of engagement in either the academic or labor programs may result in college-initiated administrative withdrawal. (See “Academic Difficulty” and “Withdrawal from the College” for more information.)

Academic Probation

Students will be placed on Academic Probation at the end of any regular term for failure to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA, meet the total credits identified in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Chart, or for failure to satisfactorily complete the equivalent of three (3) credits. To be removed from Academic Probation, a student must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0, meet the minimum course credit requirements as defined in the SAP policy and chart, and satisfactorily complete the equivalent of three (3) credits in the next regular term of attendance. Students who do not meet the minimum performance and/or course credit requirements as defined in the SAP policy and chart will be subject to suspension. Students approved for part‐time status must meet the SAP standards based on their total terms which do not include the part‐time term.

Continued Probation

Students on probation in their second and third terms will be placed on continued probation if, at the end of the term, they meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirements and progress requirements in the SAP policy and chart but have not yet achieved a 2.0 cumulative GPA. (See SAP chart)

Probation Conditions

During the term of probation, the student will be enrolled in GST 101: Strategies for Academic Success (1/4‐credit course) unless he or she has passed the course previously. Failure to successfully complete GST 101 while on probation will negatively influence future enrollment decisions for a student who remains in academic difficulty. Students wishing to be excused from this requirement may complete the GST 101 Waiver form available in the Self‐Serve Room (101 Lincoln) and submit it to the Student Service Center.

Students on Academic Probation cannot participate in internships, independent studies, team-initiated studies, Berea Term Abroad, or international travel in Summer terms (including Berea International Summer Term or KIIS). Students who wish to participate in the above activities may appeal to the SAAS Committee for a waiver to these conditions of Academic Probation. Additionally, students on any form of probation are not authorized to have a vehicle on campus. (see Motor Vehicle Policy for Students for more information)

Exceptions to Probation Policies

Students who do not meet the SAP standards as a result of one or more incomplete (I) grades will have their probation status reevaluated once the incomplete(s) has been resolved. If the student meets all of the SAP standards at that point, the probation status will be removed as of the term the incomplete is resolved.

Students who are placed on Academic Probation at the end of the spring term will have the opportunity to meet the SAP standards for that term with summer coursework either at Berea or another college (please see the College Catalog and Student Handbook for policies regarding transfer credits). At the end of summer term, student status will be reevaluated with the addition of summer courses using the prior spring term’s standards for performance and credit completion. Students will be removed from academic probation when they are in compliance with the standards of performance and progress stated above.

Students who are approved for an extension of terms will be held accountable for the credits earned/passed as outlined on their approved curriculum plan submitted with their extension of terms request form rather than those listed on the SAP chart. Deviation from this curriculum plan must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Office of Academic Services. Failure to follow the curriculum plan may result in revocation of the extension approval and suspension from the college.

Appeals of Academic Probation

Students who remain in violation of the SAP policies as a result of early academic difficulties, but have a track record of successful academic work, may submit an appeal to the SAAS committee for removal from Academic Probation.

Students who are placed on Academic Probation solely for not meeting the SAP credits progress standards and who have been accepted to a major and have an approved curriculum plan that demonstrates that they will be able to complete their degree within the 8‐term limit without overloading in any term, can appeal their probationary status to the SAAS Committee. Students in this situation will be required to request a waiver of probation status each term and demonstrate that they are following their approved curriculum plan. Students may modify and update their curriculum plan to respond to changes in course sequencing, availability, or registration with the approval of their advisor.

Also see the “Readmission” and “Academic Standing and Reinstatement to Good Standing” in this publication for more information.

Academic Suspension

Students are subject to suspension for any of the following reasons:

  • failure to pass the majority of all courses carried for a regular term (even if the student is not on academic probation);
  • failure to meet the conditions of Academic Probation;
  • failure to satisfy the Developmental Mathematics Requirement prior to the beginning of the third regular term of attendance;
  • failure to successfully complete GSTR 110 by the end of the second regular term and GSTR 210 prior to the end of the third regular term of attendance. (Students are required to be enrolled in these courses until successful completion is achieved unless they are enrolled in GST 150: College Composition);
  • failure to complete the Declaration of Primary Major process in a timely manner (See Declaration of Primary Major for more information.).

Appeals of Academic Suspension

Students who are dismissed for academic reasons have the right to appeal the action within five (5) business days from the date of notification. The appeal must be in writing and include pertinent information other than what is available to the committee at the time of its initial action. The letter of appeal should be:

  1. word processed and follow the format of a formal business letter or be considered as a formal writing activity (e-mailed letters from the student are acceptable);
  2. be addressed to the Chairperson of the SAAS Committee; and 
  3. be submitted to the Student Service Center. Students also may wish to consult with the Director of Academic Services on these and other academic matters.

To reach a decision on the appeal, the SAAS Committee will take into consideration the student’s previous academic, labor, and social record at Berea, as well as the degree to which the student has responded to institutional attempts to support academic success (e.g. successful completion of GST 101: Strategies for Academic Success, response to consultation with the Academic Advisor, documented visits to the Learning Center, etc.).

In addition, the following criteria will be considered by the SAAS Committee during appeal hearings:

  • Evidence of Satisfactory Academic Progress, compliance with General Education requirements, and timely resolution of incomplete grades according to College policy detailed elsewhere in this Catalog & Student Handbook.
  • Compliance with the expectations identified in the Midpoint Degree Check.
  • Evidence of student responsiveness to the College’s many opportunities for assistance.
  • Evidence of extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's control.
  • Clear support for reinstatement from informed members of the faculty and staff, including instructors, physicians, counselors, labor supervisors, etc.
  • Likelihood of completion of degree requirements within remaining terms of attendance.
  • Submission of a clearly written plan to achieve academic success.
  • Evidence of balanced engagement in co-curricular, social, and labor opportunities.

The SAAS Committee may wish to interview the appellant. For that reason, appellants should make themselves available at the time of the appeals meeting. It is the student’s responsibility to ascertain the time and place of the appeals meeting; this information will be e-mailed to the student by the Office of Academic Services. After the Committee has considered the appeal, the Committee informs the student of the decision by mail to the student’s CPO and permanent mailing address on record.

If the appeal is successful, the student will be reinstated on probation for one subsequent regular term. The same appeal will be used for purposes of continued eligibility for Title IV and state financial aid. Without this written appeal, the student will not remain eligible for Title IV and state financial aid.