Degrees and Certificates
The College offers the following degrees or certificates for students who successfully complete approved programs at the College.
- The Associate of Arts and Sciences degree (AA&S) is awarded to students majoring in the liberal arts and specialized curricula such as business administration, pre-teacher education, general studies, and other professional programs. The AA&S degree will transfer to a four-year college or university.
- The Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) is awarded to students majoring in one of the occupational-technical curricula who plan to seek full-time employment upon graduation from the College.
- The Associate of Science degree (AS) is awarded to students majoring in science, agriculture, engineering, or health science who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university after completing their Laurel Ridge Community College program.
- The Certificate is awarded to students who complete one of the approved, non-degree curricula usually less than two years in length.
The College holds a formal commencement ceremony each May. Students completing graduation requirements in the summer term may receive their diploma in August. Students who graduate at the end of the summer or fall terms are considered graduates of the class the following May. Applications for graduation and additional information are available online in the Student Information System.
The catalog in effect on the date a student is formally admitted to a curriculum/program is used to determine course and credit requirements for graduation. The new catalog for each academic year becomes effective on the first day of the fall semester. The College reserves the right to make changes in the curricular requirements when necessary. Students are encouraged to keep up with changes to their program of study as listed in new catalogs. In cases where a student discontinues enrollment at the College for two consecutive semesters (excluding summer), graduation requirements are determined by the catalog in effect during the semester a student re-enrolls.
To be eligible for graduation with an associate degree from the College, potential graduates should reference the following guidelines:
- Fulfill all course and credit-hour requirements of the curriculum with at least 25 percent of the credits for degrees, certificate, or career studies acquired at Laurel Ridge Community College.
- Be certified by an appropriate College official for graduation.
- Earned a grade point average of at least 2.0 in all studies attempted that are applicable toward graduation in their program of study.
- Meet any other competency requirements and complete required exit testing established by the College.
- The application for graduation is available at laurelridge.edu by logging into MYLaurelRidge, Student Center, and clicking “Apply for Graduation”. The name will be printed on the diploma as it appears on the application.
- Resolve all financial obligations to the College and return all library and College material; and
- Students who have fulfilled the graduation requirements, but have not applied to graduate, may be awarded their degree or certificate by the college.
A student who has fulfilled the applicable program of study requirements is eligible for graduation honors. Appropriate honors based upon scholastic achievements are recorded on the student’s permanent record as follows:
Cumulative GPA Honor
- 3.2 Cum laude (with honor)
- 3.5 Magna cum laude (with high honor)
- 3.8 Summa cum laude (with highest honor)
Transferring to Another College or University
Students who intend to transfer to another college or university to complete their studies should begin planning for their transition as soon as possible. Planning for this process should include completing a skills and interest inventory, identifying potential academic and career and interests, researching colleges and universities of interest, and communicating with admissions and/or advising representatives of the potential destination schools.
The Transfer Virginia Portal (https://www.transfervirginia.org/) provides academic and transfer information for over 50 colleges and universities in Virginia. In this portal students can establish an account through which they can research, plan, organize, and communicate with representatives throughout their transfer journey.
Classification of Students
Student classification categories:
- Curricular students: Students who have a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent, or demonstrate ability to benefit from college as demonstrated on the VPT. Student information system files must contain all information required for general admission to the College as curricular students, and students must have formally requested and been admitted to one of the curricula of the College.
- Non-curricular student: A student who has not been formally admitted to one of the curricula of the College.
- Full-time student: A student enrolled for 12 or more credits in a term.
- Part-time student: A student enrolled for fewer than 12 credits in a term.
- Freshman: A student is classified as a freshman if they have completed less than 30 semester credits.
- Sophomore: A student is considered a sophomore after successfully completing 30 semester credits or more.
A credit is equivalent to one collegiate semester hour credit. Each semester hour of credit assigned to a course is based upon approximately one academic hour (50 minutes) of formalized, structured instructional time weekly for 15 weeks (or equivalent) by each student. Courses with lab components require extra time. In addition to instructional time, a scheduled evaluation or examination period is scheduled for each semester hour of credit. Courses may consist of lectures, out-of-class study, laboratory and shop study or their combinations.
All curricula placed students shall enroll in a College Success Skills class (SDV 100 or SDV 101) within the first fifteen (15) credits of their program of study at the College. The course is designed to help students transition to college and introduce them to college resources and services. Effective study skills, career and academic planning and college transfer are among the topics offered to help students succeed in their course work. The requirement may be waived for students who hold an associate degree or bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Other requests for a waiver may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students must still successfully complete the required number of credits for their degree.
Auditing a Course
Students desiring to attend a course without taking examinations or receiving credit for the course do so by registering to audit that course during the add/drop period. Students pay the regular tuition. Permission of the faculty member and appropriate dean is required to audit a class. Audited classes are not eligible for financial aid.
Normal Academic Load
The normal academic load for students is 15-17 credits. The minimum full-time load is 12 credits, and the maximum full-time load is 18 credits, excluding College Success Skills (SDV 100). A student wishing to carry an academic load of more than 18 credits must have the signed approval of their advisor.
Change of Registration (dropping, adding, and withdrawing from courses)
Students must follow established add, drop, and withdrawal deadlines as published in the Academic Calendar each term when making any change in their class schedule. Failure to do so could place their academic record in jeopardy. To make changes in enrollment (add, drop, withdraw) students may use the Student Information System accessed by logging into their MyLaurelRidge account.
Students are allowed to register late or add courses only through the end of the published dates.
Dropping a Course
A student wishing to drop a course must complete the drop electronically through the student information system, MyLaurelRidge, by the published last date to drop and qualify for a refund for the course. This transaction removes the student from the class roll and no grade is assigned.
Withdrawal (from a course or the College)
A withdrawal from a course is required after the published last date to drop the course with refund. A withdrawal from course(s) should be completed in MYLaurelRidge by the published last day to withdraw. It is advisable that the student discuss their withdrawal with the faculty member teaching the course prior to withdrawing from a course. Some programs (i.e., nursing) require additional paperwork and students should check with the dean of those programs prior to finalizing a withdrawal. It is recommended that financial aid recipients meet with a financial aid officer prior to requesting a withdrawal to determine the impact this may have on future aid eligibility and any current financial aid awarded. As described above, a student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty through the published withdrawal date for the course, a period equivalent to the first 60 percent of a term (session) and receive a grade of W. After that time, the student receives a grade of F. Students who withdraw from a course will not receive a refund.
Withdrawal with Mitigating Circumstances
A withdrawal from a course or courses may be considered after the published deadline date if there are serious mitigating circumstances such as medical emergencies or other extreme conditions (as determined by the College). The mitigating circumstances must be documented by the student and presented to the advisor in student services with the request to withdraw. Requests for mitigating circumstances must be submitted to an advisor prior to the close of business on the last day of classes (excluding exams). If the mitigating circumstances are approved, the student may receive a grade of W. A copy of the documentation will be filed in the Enrollment Services Office and retained according to the Records Management Policy.
Dual enrolled students who encounter mitigating circumstances and need to withdraw should work with the director of guidance at their high school. Signature from the Laurel Ridge Community College Dean of Early College and High School Partnerships is required for approval.
Emergency Change in Mode of Instruction
Courses are taught face-to-face, online only or hybrid (which is a combination of both online and face-to-face instruction). The college reserves the right to change the method of instruction in the case of an emergency or other unforeseen event. In the event the method of delivery is changed, the college will notify students who are impacted by the change.
Cancellation of a Course/Section by the College
Classes with low enrollment may be cancelled before the course start date. Students should work with an advisor to identify an open section.
Course Substitutions for Program Requirements
All courses listed for a program are considered required courses. Substitutions for required courses must be approved in writing by an advisor and the appropriate academic dean. Students should work with their academic advisor on course substitution.
Repeating a Course
Any attempted course that is a repeat of a course previously attempted under the semester system is used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA. The previous semester attempts of the repeated course appear on the academic record. The highest grade will be used in the cumulative GPA calculation or to satisfy graduation requirements. All courses attempted under the quarter system appear on the academic record and are included in the calculation of the GPA. Questions concerning repeating a course should be directed to the Enrollment Services Office. A student may repeat a course previously taken but should normally be limited to two enrollments of the same course, including courses attempted, but withdrawn from. Requests to enroll in the same course more than twice must be documented and approved by the College’s chief academic officer, or designee. These steps do not apply to general usage courses numbered in the 90s, 95s, 96s, 97s, 98s or 99s.
All students are expected to take their examination at regularly scheduled times. No exceptions will be made without the permission of the vice president of academic and student affairs or other appropriate academic administrator and the instructor of the course.
The grades of A, B, C, D and P are passing grades. Grades of F and U are failing grades. I is considered an incomplete grade and is an interim score. Individual instructors determine criteria for letter grade assignments described in individual course syllabi.
Explanation of Grades
The quality of performance in any academic course is reported by a letter grade, assigned by the instructor. These grades denote the character of study and are assigned quality points as follows:
|4 grade points per credit
|3 grade points per credit
|2 grade points per credit
|1 grade point per credit
|0 grade points per credit
I - Incomplete
No grade point credit. The “I” grade is to be used only for verifiable unavoidable reasons that a student is unable to complete a course within the normal course time. To be eligible to receive an “I” grade, the student must (1) have satisfactorily completed more than 60% of the course requirements and attendance and (2) must request the faculty member to assign the “I” grade and indicate why it is warranted. The faculty member has the discretion to decide whether the “I” grade will be awarded. Since the “incomplete” extends enrollment in the course, requirements for satisfactory completion shall be established through consultation between the faculty member and the student.
In assigning the “I” grade, the faculty member must complete documentation that
- states the reason for assigning the grade;
- specifies the work to be completed and indicates its percentage in relation to the total work of the course;
- specifies the date by which the work must be completed; and
- identifies the default (B, C, D, F, P, or U) based upon course work already completed.
Completion dates may not be set beyond the last day of the subsequent semester (to include summer term) without written approval of the chief academic officer of the campus. The student will be provided a copy of the documentation. Colleges will establish procedures to ensure that all “I” grades that have not been changed by the faculty member through the normal grade change processes are subsequently changed to the default grade assigned by the faculty member. An “I” grade will be changed to a “W” only under documented mitigating circumstances which must be approved by the Chief Academic Officer of the campus.
W - Withdrawal
No credit. A grade of withdrawal indicates an official withdrawal from a course after the last date to be eligible for a refund.
X - Audit
Students desiring to attend a course without taking the examination or receiving credit for the course may do so by registering to audit through the usual registration process and paying the normal tuition. Permission of the school dean or another appropriate academic administrator is required to audit a course. Audited courses carry no credit and do not count as a part of the student’s course load. Students desiring to change status in a course from audit to credit or from credit to audit must do so within the add/drop period for the course. Students who desire to earn credit for a previously audited course must re-enroll in the course for credit and pay normal tuition to earn a grade other than “X”. Advanced standing credit should not be awarded for a previously audited course.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
GPA is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned in courses by the total number of credits attempted. The cumulative GPA includes all courses attempted. When students repeat a course, only the last grade earned is counted in the computation of the cumulative GPA and for satisfying curricular requirements.
Grading-Developmental Studies Courses
A grade of S is assigned for satisfactory completion of developmental studies courses numbered 1-9 and ESL courses. S grades are not included in GPA calculation. Students making satisfactory progress but not completing all instructional objectives for a developmental studies course or an ESL course will be graded with an R (re-enroll) and must re-enroll to complete the course objectives. Students not making satisfactory progress in a developmental studies course, or an ESL course will be graded U. Students should consult with the instructor to determine the subsequent sequence of courses for students receiving a grade of U.
S - Satisfactory
No grade point credit. Indicating satisfactory completion of course objectives, this is used only for developmental studies courses numbered 01-09 and English as Second Language (ESL) courses 11-16.
U - Unsatisfactory
No grade point credit (applies to developmental studies courses numbered 01-09 and ESL courses numbered 11-16).
Grade reports are available to students by the published date each semester. Students must access the student information system to view their grade report.
Grade Appeal Procedures
Evaluation of student performance, reflected in the final course grade, becomes a part of the permanent student record of the College and is recorded on the College transcript for the student. Based upon factors relating to the achievement of course objectives, this grade is assessed by the instructor according to the policies of the College, and is considered final, unless a student files an appropriate appeal in a timely manner.
When a student believes that a final grade has been determined incorrectly, the student must file a written report with the instructor (with a copy to the instructor’s dean) identifying specifically the reason(s) for the appeal and including any supporting documentation. This written report (with a copy to the instructor’s dean) must be filed with the instructor as soon as possible but no later than 10 business days after the first day of class of the next regular (fall/spring) semester.
Within 10 business days following receipt of the appeal, the instructor will communicate the decision about whether or not to change the grade, and if so, the new grade, to the student in writing with a copy to the dean. If the matter is not mutually resolved within 10 business days after notification of the instructor’s decision, the student may appeal to the appropriate dean by submitting a written request for a review of the case at a formal hearing of the student, the instructor, and the dean. The dean’s response to the appeal will be issued within 10 business days of the formal hearing. The decision of the dean will be considered final and binding.
Students who previously earned grades of F or D at Laurel Ridge Community College may request academic renewal once they have returned to Laurel Ridge Community College after being separated from the College for a period of five or more consecutive years and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the first 12 semester hours completed after re-enrollment. Contact the Enrollment Services Office for more information and the Academic Renewal Request form. Grades affected will be reflected as follows:
Students are in good academic standing if they maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 per semester, are eligible to re-enroll at the College, and are not on academic suspension or dismissal status.
Students who fail to attain a GPA of 2.0 for any semester shall be placed on academic warning. Students on academic warning are encouraged to consult with an advisor/counselor and take advantage of academic support services provided by the college.
Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.5 shall be on academic probation until such time as their cumulative average is 1.75 or better. The statement “Academic Probation” shall be placed on their permanent records. Students on probation are ineligible for appointive or elective office in student organizations unless special permission is granted by the vice president or another College administrator. Students may be required to carry less than a normal load the following semester and are required to consult with an advisor/ counselor. Students shall be placed on probation only after they have attempted 12 (twelve) semester credits.
Students on academic probation who fail to attain a semester GPA of 1.50 or better shall be placed on suspension only after they have attempted 24 semester credits. Academic suspension shall be for one semester. The statement “Academic Suspension” shall be placed on the students’ permanent records. A student who was placed on academic suspension may submit an appeal to the Dean of Students for reconsideration. Suspended students may be readmitted after the suspension period by submitting a written request for readmission. Students who have been reinstated from academic suspension must achieve a 2.00 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement and must earn at least a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester of attendance. The statement “Subject to Dismissal” shall be placed on the students’ permanent records.
Students who have been reinstated from academic suspension will remain subject to dismissal until their cumulative GPA is raised to a minimum of 1.75. Reinstated students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and are required to consult with the Dean of Students regarding enrollment every semester until the 1.75 GPA is achieved.
Students who do not attain at least a 2.00 GPA for the semester of reinstatement following academic suspension shall be academically dismissed. Students who achieve at least a 2.00 GPA for the semester of their reinstatement following academic suspension must earn at least a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester of enrollment. Failure to attain a 1.75 GPA in each subsequent semester until the cumulative GPA reaches 1.75 shall result in academic dismissal.
The statement “Academic Dismissal” shall be placed on the students’ permanent records. Academic dismissal is normally permanent. In exceptional circumstances, students may appeal to the Dean of Students for reconsideration. Students who have been reinstated after academic dismissal will remain subject to dismissal until their cumulative GPA is raised to a minimum of 1.75. Reinstated students may be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester and are required to consult with the appropriate Dean regarding enrollment every semester until the 1.75 GPA is achieved.
When a student using military education benefits is placed on academic suspension and dismissal, the SCO (School Certifying Official) will report student status to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Because academically suspended or dismissed students are unable to enroll themselves in courses, students cannot use military education benefits without written approval by the Dean of Students, submitted request for certification and complete student file review by SCO (school certifying official).
Laurel Ridge Community College has partnered with Parchment to manage the ordering, processing, and secure delivery of official student transcripts. There is a $6.00 fee charged for sending transcripts and the fee must be paid by a major credit card or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express) to complete the transaction. (Transcript request pricing is subject to change.) Additional expedited delivery options and fees are listed on the Parchment website during the ordering process. Students may request transcripts electronically from Parchment by going here.
The College does not provide copies of transcripts from other schools. Such copies must be obtained from the originating source.
This recognition is given to students who achieve a GPA of 3.8 or above without F or U grades in any academic semester with 12 or more credits completed.
This recognition is given to students who achieve a GPA of 3.2 or above without F or U grades in any academic semester with 12 or more credits completed.
Continuing Education Unit
The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) recognizes an individual’s participation in selected professional and personal development activities. One CEU is equivalent to 10 contact hours of participation in a seminar or class that meets specific criteria as set forth by the student’s governing professional organization. Satisfactory completion of activities awarding CEUs is based on some predetermined level of attendance or on a combination of attendance and performance. The College maintains a permanent record for each participant who successfully completes a program or activity. CEUs and such academic credit units as semester or quarter hours are separate and distinct units of measure and may not be interchanged.
Other Administrative Information and Policies
Annual Notice: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the date the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Enrollment Services Office, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the College official to whom the request was submitted does not maintain the records, that official will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the College to amend a record they believe is inaccurate or misleading by writing to the Enrollment Services Office. Students need to clearly identify the part of the record requested to be changed and specify its inaccuracy or misrepresentation. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, it will notify the student and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the College Board; or a student serving on an official committee such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
The bookstore at Laurel Ridge Community College has a legitimate educational interest and thus access to student financial aid records for verification of sufficient funds for the purchasing of books and supplies.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Student Directory Information
As provided for by FERPA, the College may disclose “directory information” relating to students as follows:
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Grade level
- Number of credit hours
- Degrees, honors, and awards received.
- The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports.
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
Any student who objects to having any or all directory information disclosed without his/her written consent must notify the Enrollment Services Office in writing each semester by the first day of classes.
Student Education Records
The student’s permanent official education record is kept in the Records Office. To protect the student’s right to confidentiality, the Records Office exercises strict control over these records. The Records Office is responsible for education records and requests for information regarding them should be filed with this office.
Student Records Retention Policy
The permanent academic record is the only official document of a student’s academic history and the only official document used for record reconciliation. All other student documents are subject to disposal by the College in accordance with VCCS policy.
Impact of Academic Dishonesty on Academic Honors
Students are advised that if they are found guilty of academic dishonesty, they will not graduate with any type of academic honors awarded by the College.