1. Skip to Menu
  2. Skip to Content
  3. Skip to Footer

Academic Policies 

Faculty Advising

Faculty Advisors serve to help the student understand the requirements for degrees and specific programs of study, as well as, opportunities for internships, application of degree programs to careers, and transfer advising. They are also available to discuss and help solve problems that students may encounter in achieving their educational goals. Students should carefully plan course enrollment during each academic semester in conjunction with their Faculty Advisor. Students should be advised in writing at the time of admission of who their advisor is and to meet with them within two weeks of starting of the semester.

It is necessary for students to meet with their Faculty Advisor at least once every semester. Students are strongly encouraged to check with their Faculty Advisor periodically.

Course Schedules

A course schedule of the next semester’s course offerings will be available at least four weeks prior to the end of the current academic semester. Students are encouraged to contact their advisors by Mid-Term Week to request course offerings for the next semester. NICC reserves the right to cancel any courses that do not meet minimum enrollment requirements.

General Registration Procedures

General registration begins as soon as course schedules are finalized for the following semester as indicated on the college calendar. Students must register for classes before the first day of the semester. The cut-off for registration is the third Monday following the first day of the semester. Upon completion of registration each student is responsible for any costs associated with the classes for which they have registered. Students are encouraged to register before the first day of classes.

Change of Registration (Drop/Add)

Students who want to change their schedule must officially drop or add courses electronically with their Student Services Advisor. The official drop and add period extends through the first day of the fourth week of each semester. After this period, students' schedules are official and students may not add courses to their schedules. Students electing to withdraw from a class or classes should refer to the section "OTHER GRADING INFORMATION" below for more information.

Degree Planning Sheets

Degree planning outlines the requirements for a specific degree program. All students should maintain this form with their Faculty Advisor in order to monitor the requirements remaining for the general degree program the student is pursuing. Students seeking any program of study should contact their Student Services Advisor to request a degree planning sheet.

Definition of Student Status

  • Full-time student: Students enrolled in 12 credits or more
  • Part-time student: Students enrolled in 11 credits or less.

Part-Time Students are further defined as:

  • Three quarter-time: 9-11 credits
  • Half-time student: 6-8 credits
  • Less than half-time: 1-5 credits

Classification of Students

  • Freshman: A student who has 0 to 30 credits
  • Sophomore: A student who has earned 31 or more credits toward graduation
  • Non-degree Student: A student who is not seeking a degree.

Definition of Credits

One semester credit is equal to approximately fifteen hours of contact time over the course of a semester. One semester laboratory credit is equal to thirty hours contact time over the course of a semester. Each semester consists of sixteen weeks including a finals week. Instructors and students are required to meet for the normal class time during finals week.

Classification of Courses

Courses numbered under the 100 level are considered pre-college level courses (above the secondary level of education) and are used to strengthen students' skills. These will not count toward graduation at NICC and will not transfer to other colleges and universities. Courses numbered 100-199 are considered freshmen or first-year level courses, and courses numbered 200 or higher are considered sophomore or second-year level courses, depending on the specific degree program.

Course Load

The normal full-time course load at NICC is a minimum 12 - 18 credits per semester during the fall and spring semesters. Successful completion of an Associate of Art, Associate of Science, or an Associate of Applied Science in four semesters requires a student to register for and pass a minimum of 15 credits each semester. More than 18 credits requires approval by the Academic Dean.

Students should also be aware that the need for developmental work in English, mathematics, and/or computer technologies would extend the time necessary to complete the requirements for NICC's degree or certificate programs.

For NICC Academic evaluation, Summer Term is considered full time at 6 credit hours. Title IV defines full time as 12 credit hours so financial aid will be assessed accordingly during summer term if the student has Title IV eligibility.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average, usually referred to as the GPA, is a function of the grading system used to determine academic status, including rank in class, evaluation of academic progress, scholastic honors, and eligibility for graduation.

A 2.00 cumulative grade point average is required to graduate from all NICC programs.

Grading System

NICC administrators, staff, and faculty want every student to have a successful learning experience. Students must participate fully in instructional activities to facilitate successful completion of courses. Each semester, instructors assess each student's academic progress. The quality of work accomplished by students is indicated by the following grades:

Grade Meaning Percent GPA
A Excellent Understanding 95-100 4.0
A-   90-94 3.67
B+   87-89 3.33
B Master Understanding 83-86 3.00
B-   80-82 2.67
C+   77-79 2.33
C Understanding 73-76 2.00
C-   70-72 1.67
D Lacks Understanding 60-69 1.00
F Failure to Understand 0-59 0.0
R Re-take NA NA

Grade A A- B+ B Meaning Excellent Understanding Master Understanding Percent GPA 95-100 4.0 90-94 3.67 87-89 3.33 83-86 3.0

Other Grading Information

  • IP - In progress: (EX: Internship, practicum, or other course that extends into the next term. Grade will be assigned when responsibilities are completed.
  • W - Voluntary Withdrawal: This grade does not affect the student's GPA; however, financial aid may be affected. See section "WITHDRAWAL" for more detailed information. 
  • IW - Involuntary Withdrawal: This grade does affect the student's GPA and may put the student on financial aid warning or suspension; EX: Student attended only one day of class and did not officially withdraw. See section "INVOLUNTARY WITHDRAWAL" for more detailed information. 
  • I - Incomplete: This temporary grade does not affect the student's GPA. See section "INCOMPLETE" for more detailed information. 
  • P - Pass:This grade option is not calculated into the GPA. Instructors wishing to utilize this option must have approval from the Academic Dean prior to the beginning of registration. This grade is utilized for Developmental, Non-Degree seeking credit, and testing out of course work. EX: Testing out of Introduction to Computers or completing a Developmental course like MTH 099. 
  • NC - No credit: When a student does not earn an “F” in a pass/fail option. 
  • N - Audit: This grade option is not calculated into the GPA. See section "AUDITS" for more detailed information.

In Progress (IP)

In special circumstances, the instructor may issue an IP grade when a final grade must be suspended beyond the end of the semester but does not meet the requirements of an incomplete. For example, this may occur with internships, and practica, which extend into the next semester. EX: Internship contact hours not complete. An IP grade does not penalize the student's GPA but is issued until the minimum number of working hours or competencies are completed the subsequent academic semester. After the subsequent semester the grade will revert to an “F.” NOTE: An IP may affect the student’s financial aid status. Students will be fully responsible for any financial costs. Please refer to the “FINANCIAL AID: SATISFACTORY PROGRESS” section of this catalog for more information.

In special circumstances, the instructor may issue an IP grade when a final grade must be suspended beyond the end of the semester but does not meet the requirements of an incomplete. For example, this may occur with internships, and practica, which extend into the next semester. EX: Internship contact hours not complete.

An IP grade does not penalize the student's GPA but is issued until the minimum number of working hours or competencies are completed the subsequent academic semester. After the subsequent semester the grade will revert to an “F.” NOTE: An IP may affect the student’s financial aid status. Students will be fully responsible for any financial costs. Please refer to the “FINANCIAL AID: SATISFACTORY PROGRESS” section of this catalog for more information.

Voluntary Withdrawal from a Course (W)

A student may initiate an official withdrawal from a course or courses through the 10th week of classes. The withdrawal can be initiated by email, official form or phone call with message to AAR Advisor (in person), or the registrar. Beginning with the first day of the fourth week of classes, students will be billed for the tuition for each course, according to the schedule that appears under the heading "NICC Refund Policy" in this catalog. After the 10th week, students will not be able to withdraw from a course and will be assigned a letter grade for the course. For summer courses, the students will not be able to withdraw from a course after the 5th week. Officially withdrawing from a course(s) does not affect the student's grade point average (GPA). However, it may affect the student's financial aid status due to course completion rate requirements. Student will be fully responsible for any financial costs. Refer to "FINANCIAL AID: SATISFACTORY PROGRESS" located here.


After the end of the third week of the semester, an instructor will recommend and the Registrar’s Office will administer an Involuntary Withdrawal (IW). This will be done in cases of extreme absenteeism or disciplinary reasons. An IW is assigned to a student who attended only one day of class but did not officially withdraw. An involuntary withdrawal does affect the student’s grade point average (GPA); and it may cause the student to be placed on financial aid warning or suspension. The student will be required to pay for any classes from which he or she has been involuntarily withdrawn in this manner (see table under heading “NICC Refund Policy” in the college catalog). If a student is involuntarily withdrawn from all classes during two (2) consecutive semesters, the student will be placed directly on academic suspension. Please refer to "ACADEMIC PROGRESS" located here.


Students not able to complete given assignments by the close of the semester in which a course is taken may request an "I" from their instructor. In order to qualify for an incomplete students must have completed at least 80% of their coursework and submit an official incomplete request form for the instructor to sign. Instructors have the right to approve or deny a request for incomplete. Students are required to submit "incomplete contracts" signed by the student, instructor, and academic dean, to Registrar’s Office. The student will have three weeks after the start of the next term to complete all required work. The grade of "I" will automatically convert to an "F", Instructors may submit a grade change if the required course work is completed within the time allowed according to “Change of Grade” section of the catalog. Incompletes converted to “F” will affect a student’s Academic Progress.

Finally, it must be noted, that an incomplete grade may affect a student’s financial aid status. Students will be fully responsible for any financial costs. Refer to the “FINANCIAL AID : SATISFACTORY PROGRESS” located here.


Students desiring to attend a course without taking examinations or receiving credit for the course may register to audit the class. Students auditing courses pay the same tuition and fees as those taking courses for credit. The audited courses are marked “audit” at the time of registration. Students who have registered to audit courses may not change to college credit after the last day of add/drop. Audits are limited to two courses per academic year. Audited courses cannot be used in determining semester course load for financial aid purposes or veteran’s benefits.


Each semester, students who complete the term with a minimum of 6 semester credits with a 3.50 grade point average (GPA) or higher will be recognized by the Academic Dean. An official Dean's List will be posted at each college campus.

  • Graduating students who complete their degree programs with a 3.5 - 3.74 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) will be recognized as graduating cum laude
  • Graduating students who complete their degree programs with a 3.75 - 3.99 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) will be recognized as graduating magna cum laude
  • Graduating students who complete their degree programs with a 4.00 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) will be recognized as graduating summa cum laude.

Change of Grade

After final grades have been filed with the Registrar’s Office, the instructor may change a grade. Circumstances that might necessitate changing of a grade include:

  • clerical error made by the institution; 
  • changing a grade of "incomplete" that has been converted to an F; 
  • mutual agreement between the student and instructor over the subsequent semester. 

Grade changes made for any reason must be made in writing by the instructor and approved by the Academic Dean. Instructors have until the end of the subsequent semester to request a change of grade. Students must appeal a grade by mid-term of the subsequent semester.

Repeating a Course

Students receiving a grade of D or below may repeat an NICC course. The credit and grade point for the highest grade earned (one grade only) will be used in calculating the student's GPA. The lower grade will be changed to an "R" and will not be used to calculate the GPA. The same course may only be repeated once to qualify for financial aid coverage. Additional repeats are the financial obligation of the student.

Credit by Examination

Credit by examination allows students the opportunity to gain academic credit for knowledge they have acquired by self-study or experience. Students must be registered to attempt credit by examination and the exam must be completed by the end of the second week of classes. The individual instructor for the course will make the determination if the requested course can be administered by way of credit by examination. Regular tuition and fee charges will apply to credits received by examination. Up to 15 credits may be earned toward an A.A. or A.S. degree by way of credit by examination. The appropriate academic division head and the Academic Dean must approve all credit by examination requests.

Independent Study

Independent study provides sophomore or second level students the opportunity to take a required course that is not included in the regular semester course schedule and will not be scheduled prior to the student’s expected graduation date. The Academic Dean and instructor must approve and have the right to deny the independent study. Independent Study will be outlined by an agreement between the student, the instructor, and the Academic Dean including course requirements and will include registration through the data management system. Not all courses lend themselves to independent study.

Internships and Practicums

An internship is either a paid or un-paid fieldwork experience. A practicum involves an un-paid, practical application of previously studied theory and the collection of data for future theoretical interpretation. Internships and practicum have the numerical designator 299 preceded by the letter code of the academic discipline.

Some departments may require an off-campus placement or clinical or field experience. Other departments may allow a student to earn academic credit through a specially planned program, usually part-time, supervised by a training sponsor at the work site and coordinated by an NICC instructor. Except by special permission by the faculty site supervisor, all internships and practica are taken during the sophomore year. An internship contract is completed prior to beginning the internship and an interim and final evaluation conducted by the designated site supervisor is completed and sent to the student's college instructor/coordinator. A maximum of two internships valued at three (3) semester credits each may be taken. Generally, internships require a minimum of 30 hours of on-site experience for each credit; however, requirements vary by program. If the intern does not accumulate the minimum number of working hours before the end of the academic semester, the instructor may give a grade of “IP”.

Special Topics Courses

Special Topics courses may be scheduled in any major study area. Special Topics courses have the numerical designator 290 preceded by the letter code of the academic discipline. Special Topic courses must be approved through the Academic Council and the Academic Dean prior to the course being offered.

Attendance Policy

Students who register but who do not attend within the first 21 days (three weeks) of the first class meeting day will be given an IW (Involuntary Withdrawal) grade for the course or courses and could be disqualified from receiving any financial aid assistance for the semester. Additionally, students who exhibit excessive absenteeism may be subject to involuntary withdrawal (IW) through the 10th week of the semester at the discretion of the instructor. Being absent for one-fifth of the total class time is considered excessive absences.

It is the student's responsibility to contact their instructor if the student will be absent from class. Students who have situations that will require extended absences must meet with their instructor(s) or the Academic Dean.


The NICC faculty and administration expects the student to attend all classes and laboratories and be responsible for any work missed due to an absence, regardless of the reason. The instructor, who will state the policy in the course syllabus, determines the attendance policy for each course.


Individual instructors will set their own policy regarding regular student tardiness. However, a student who repeatedly arrives for class late (or repeatedly leaves class early) is not only deprived of valuable course content but is a disruptive influence to other class members as well as the instructor. Disciplinary action may be taken.

Academic Progress

NICC's academic progress policies establish specific standards that must be met by all students enrolled for credit at the College. In order to demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) students must maintain a cumulative 2.00 GPA (grade point average) and 67% successful course completion rate. Students not meeting minimum standards will be subject to one or more of the following:

  • Warning: If a student has failed to maintain SAP, student must meet with both their faculty and student support advisor every two weeks. Students are allowed to register up to full-time status. If a student successfully completes this period, student returns to satisfactory progress. If a student status is unsatisfactory after the Warning, student will move to Suspension (See below). 
  • Suspension: If a student does not attain satisfactory progress upon completion of the Warning semester, the student is considered to be making UNSATISFACTORY PROGRESS, and will be placed on suspension, which entails that the student meet with both their faculty and student support advisor every week and can enroll in ONLY one course. A student on suspension is ineligible to receive financial aid and must utilize his/her own resources to pay student costs. 
  • Appeal Process for Unsatisfactory Progress: All students have the right to appeal financial aid decisions. Appeals must be made in writing to the Financial Aid Director. Students must indicate in writing the reasons why minimum academic requirements were not achieved and reasons why financial aid should not be terminated. Documentation supporting the reason for unsuccessful completion is helpful in this review process. The Financial Aid Director will forward and present the appeal to the Sub Committee of the Academic Council for consideration. The student and the student's advisor will be notified of the appeal outcome. Students on financial aid appeal are required to meet with their advisor once every two weeks for the entire semester for which they are under appeal. If the Appeal is approved the student will be placed on Academic Probation for one term when their Academic Record will be reviewed again for continuance or Suspension. 
  • Probation: If a student has made UNSATISFACTORY PROGRESS, and has been placed on Suspension, then they may apply for an Unsatisfactory Progress Appeal to receive time to attempt to regain Satisfactory Progress. The student must submit a written request for consideration with documentation that outlines the nature of the interruption in their Academic Progress i.e. illness, death in family, or major life interruption. In order for an appeal to be verified for a term that a student is enrolled the Appeal must be received by the end of the third week. If the Appeal is approved by the Sub-Committee of Academic Council, the student must meet with both their faculty and student support advisor every week and if available/applicable, attend tutoring sessions. The student will be allowed to enroll up to a half-time (6 hours) ONLY. If the student successfully completes this period, student returns to Warning. If the student status is unsatisfactory after the Probation status, the student’s status is classified as Suspension. (See above) If you are denied eligibility for probation please follow the grievance process as described on page 15. 
  • Regaining eligibility: If a student is placed on suspension because the minimum standards were not met, the student will not be eligible for any type of aid until the student meets the appropriate CGPA and has a 67% course completion rate as stated above for Academic progress or has an APPROVED APPEAL for Probation from the subcommittee of the Academic Council. Once the student has regained eligibility the student’s status will then be returned to a warning status. Aid granted after reinstatement will be based on the availability of funds and the student's financial need. Refer to "ACADEMIC APPEAL" located here.

Academic Appeals Process

These procedures should be used to appeal or resolve disputes concerning an academic grade or other academic decision considered by a student to be arbitrary or contrary to College policy. These procedures should also be used to grieve perceived violations of any of the student academic rights, but not for Unsatisfactory Academic Progress. For the purposes of these procedures, a student is someone holding “active” registration status as the time of the alleged violation. The process is designed to allow for consideration of any new fact or clarification of each particular case. A student may obtain relief after any step. So, for example, if the Academic Dean reverses the decision, the student would not have to go to the next step.

  • Step 1: Informal resolution: A student having a problem with a faculty member or disagreeing with a faculty member ́s decision should first try to solve the dispute with the faculty member. Often these disputes are simple misunderstandings that can be cleared up with an informal meeting. If a student is not satisfied with the resolution reached at this meeting or feels too uncomfortable to meet with the instructor, he/she should then arrange to meet with the Academic Dean. If a student is not satisfied with the informal resolution, he/she can proceed to step 2. 
  • Step 2: Academic Dean Review: The student must file a written appeal with the Academic Dean within ten (10) calendar days after meeting with the instructor or Academic Dean in the informal resolution step. The appeal must include the following items: 
    • Name, address, email, and phone number of the person filing the grievance. 
    • Explanation of the efforts the student has made to resolve the grievance informally. 
    • Nature of the grievance in full detail. 
    • Place, date, and time of alleged incident. 
    • Name of the person(s) accused of the violation. 
    • Requested remedy. 
    • Any background information or documentation the student filing the grievances believes to be relevant. 

The Academic Dean will provide written findings to the applicant within ten (10) working days of the date of submission. If the student disagrees with the Academic Dean’s findings, he/she can proceed to Step 3.

  • Step 3: Appeal Committee Review: Within three (3) working days of an appeal denial by the Academic Dean, the student may request a review by the Academic Committee which consists of The Academic Dean, the Registrar, and two other members of the Academic Council. The Committee will meet and review the appeal and all documentation and issue a written finding within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal. If the student disagrees with the Committee’s findings, he/she can proceed to the final step. 
  • Step 4: President Review: Within three (3) working days of an appeal denial by the Academic Committee, the student may request a review by the President. After reviewing the appeal and all documentation, the President will issue a final decision within ten (10) working days of receipt of the request for appeal. The President’s decision is the final step in the process.

Office of the Registrar

The Office of the Registrar is the official and primary depository of student's permanent academic records. Information concerning grade reports, credits completed, course add/drops, course substitutions, transfer credits, graduation applications, degree work up sheets, programs of study, transcripts, and other academic concerns are located in this office.

The Office of the Registrar is also responsible for collecting and maintaining current and accurate student information such as address, declaration of major, and advisor's name. Much of the information collected is for reporting to the federal government for determination of funding, and for maintaining a mailing list of students' permanent addresses. Personal data such as change of address, change of major, or change of advisor should be reported to the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible.

NICC abides by the principles established by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 2002, Section 507 of Public Law 107-56; as amended April 12, 2002. For more information, contact the Registrar Office.


In order for an official transcript to be released, students need to submit a written request and attach a payment of $5.00 per transcript. Please allow seven to ten business days for processing. The student's account with the college must be paid in full prior to releasing an official transcript. The college will make every effort to negotiate a payment plan through the Business Office. There is no charge for transcripts requested for Tribal higher education programs, vocational grants, and social service agency requests.

Student Placement Test Requirements

All new incoming freshman and transfer students (depending upon transfer courses) will be required to take English, mathematics, and computer assessment tests. These tests will assist the student in determining the academic courses appropriate for the student to take. Test results are confidential and are used only for advising purposes. Students will be notified of testing sites, dates, and times.

Graduation Requirements

The requirements for graduation from NICC are generally those that are specified in the Certificate and Degree Requirements section in the college catalog at the time the student is admitted. Exceptions to this are specified under “Effective Dates of the Catalog” in the Admissions Information and Policies section. Prior college credits applied to a completed degree will be based on relevance of learning.
Students who change from one major field to another must meet all degree requirements of the current catalog at the time of the change. The Academic Dean reserves the right to arbitrate any exemptions not covered explicitly by the intent and meaning of this policy.
Students intending to graduate must complete the following requirements:

  • Satisfactorily complete a prescribed program of study with an accumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 2.00.
  • Completion of each class taken to satisfy general education requirements with a grade of “D” or better.
  • Any student wishing to graduate with a degree or certificate from NICC must complete the last 15 hours of academic credits at NICC.
  • Complete and submit a graduation application by census date of the spring semester that the student intends to participate in graduation to the Registrar’s Office, and pay the Graduation Fee.
  • Students needing grade changes must have them completed prior to mid-term of the spring semester that they have requested to graduate. If the grade changes are not complete by this time, they will be removed from the slotted list of graduates in that Spring term. Also, students that are not making satisfactory progress at midterm of the spring semester will be denied from the list of students to participate in graduation ceremonies of that spring term.
  • Students may participate in graduation if they will need two or fewer classes at the end of the spring term.
  • Return all library materials, and pay all library charges.
  • Prior to receiving his/her diploma/official transcripts, the student must pay all financial obligations, including the graduation fee, to the Business Office.
  • All graduation diplomas and skins will be mailed to the student once the degree is conferred.

Transfer to a Four-Year College or University

Students planning to transfer to a four-year institution should plan their program of study utilizing the following procedure:

  • Obtain a current catalog from the institution to which they plan to transfer, and study the transfer admission requirements, general education requirements, and degree program requirements. Take special notice of the freshman and sophomore requirements in the major field of interest. 
  • Consult with a Faculty Advisor about potentially fulfilling most of the freshman and sophomore requirements at NICC. 
  • Consult, either by letter, phone, or personal interview, with the Transfer Admissions Officer of the four-year institution about any questions they may have about transfer information or course transferability. 
  • Immediately after beginning the last semester of work at NICC, contact an advisor for information regarding the transfer process. 

NOTE: It is common that not all previous credits will transfer and that the student will be required to enroll in some additional courses to meet the transferring institution’s requirements. Each academic department of the transfer institutions sets their own requirements for acceptance of transferred credits. NICC has articulation agreements with several regional and national colleges and universities. Interested students should request information regarding these college articulations.

Additionally, the curricula at NICC are based upon the student’s full-time enrollment each semester in order to complete all the requirements within two years of study.

Second Degree

In order to receive a second AA or AS degree, a student must have completed the core requirements in general education for the degree sought and the requirements in the new concentration area, including a minimum of 15 semester credits beyond the first degree. Financial aid may be available and will be assessed on an individual basis.

NICC Locations select a location for directions

Quote of the Day

I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself. – Lone Man