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Standard Six: Students

Consistent with its mission, the institution defines the characteristics of the students it seeks to serve and provides an environment that fosters the intellectual and personal development of its students. It recruits, admits, enrolls, and endeavors to ensure the success of its students, offering the resources and services that provide them the opportunity to achieve the goals of their program as specified in institutional publications. The institution's interactions with students and prospective students are characterized by integrity.


6.1 Consistent with its mission, the institution enrolls a student body that is broadly representative of the population the institution wishes to serve. The institution has an orderly and ethical program of admission that complies with the requirements of legislation concerning equality of educational opportunity. Its admission and retention policies and procedures are clear, consistent with its mission and purposes, and available to all students and prospective students electronically and through other appropriate publications.

6.2 Standards for admission ensure that student qualifications and expectations are compatible with institutional objectives. Individuals admitted demonstrate through their intellectual and personal qualifications a reasonable potential for success in the programs to which they are admitted. If the institution recruits and admits individuals with identified needs that must be addressed to assure their likely academic success, it applies appropriate mechanisms to address those needs so as to provide reasonable opportunities for that success. Such mechanisms receive sufficient support and are adequate to the needs of those admitted. The institution endeavors to integrate specifically recruited populations into the larger student body and to assure that they have comparable academic experiences.

6.3 The institution utilizes appropriate methods of evaluation to identify deficiencies and offers appropriate developmental or remedial support where necessary to prepare students for collegiate study. Such testing and remediation receive sufficient support and are adequate to serve the needs of students admitted. (For admission of graduate students, see 4.23.)

Retention and Graduation

6.4 The institution demonstrates its ability to admit students who can be successful in the institution's academic program, including specifically recruited populations. It ensures a systematic approach to providing accessible and effective programs and services designed to provide opportunities for enrolled students to be successful in achieving their academic goals. The institution provides students with information and guidance regarding opportunities and experiences that may help ensure their academic success.

6.5 Decisions about the continuing academic standing of enrolled students are based on clearly stated policies and applied by faculty and academic administrators.

6.6 The institution measures student success, including rates of retention and graduation and other measures of success appropriate to institutional mission. The institution's goals for retention and graduation reflect institutional purposes, and the results are used to inform recruitment and the review of programs and services. Rates of retention and graduation are separately determined for any group that the institution specifically recruits, and those rates are used in evaluating the success of specialized recruitment and the services and opportunities provided for the recruited students.

Student Services

6.7 The institution systematically identifies the characteristics and learning needs of its student population and then makes provision for responding to them. The institution's student services are guided by a philosophy that reflects the institution's mission and special character, is circulated widely and reviewed periodically, and provides the basis on which services to students can be evaluated.

6.8 The institution offers an array of student services appropriate to its mission and the needs and goals of its students. The Commission recognizes the variations in services that are appropriate at branch campuses, remote instructional locations, and for programs delivered electronically. The Commission also recognizes the differences in circumstances and goals of students pursuing degrees. In all cases, the institution provides academic support services appropriate to the student body, takes reasonable steps to ensure the safety of students while on campus or at another physical instructional location, and provides available and responsive information resources and services, information technology, academic advising and career services and complaint and appeal mechanisms. It assists students to resolve educational and technological problems in using institutional software. Where appropriate, it assists students regarding their personal and physical problems. In providing services, in accordance with its mission and purposes, the institution adheres to both the spirit and intent of equal opportunity and its own goals for diversity.

6.9 Institutions with full time or residential student bodies provide an array of services that includes access to health services and co-curricular activities consistent with the mission of the institution.

6.10 A clear description of the nature, extent, and availability of student services is easily available to students and prospective students. Newly enrolled students are provided with an orientation that includes information on student services as well as a focus on academic opportunities, expectations, and support services.

6.11 Student financial aid is provided through a well-organized program. Awards are based on the equitable application of clear and publicized criteria.

6.12 As appropriate, the institution supports opportunities for student leadership and participation in campus organizations and governance.

6.13 If the institution offers recreational and athletic programs, they are conducted in a manner consistent with sound educational policy, standards of integrity, and the institution's purposes. The institution has responsibility for the control of these programs, including their financial aspects. Educational programs and academic expectations are the same for student athletes as for other students.

6.14 The institution ensures that individuals responsible for student services are qualified by formal training and work experience to represent and address the needs of students effectively. Facilities, technology, and funding are adequate to implement the institution's student service policies and procedures.

6.15 The institution has identified, published widely, and implemented an appropriate set of clearly stated ethical standards to guide student services. Policies on student rights and responsibilities, including grievance procedures, are clearly stated, well publicized and readily available, and fairly and consistently administered.

6.16 The institution has policies regarding the kinds of information that will be included in the permanent record of students as well as policies regarding the retention, safety and security, and disposal of records. Its information-release policies respect the rights of individual privacy, the confidentiality of records, and the best interests of students and the institution.

6.17 Institutions with stated goals for students' co-curricular learning systematically assess their achievement.

Institutional Effectiveness

6.18 Through a program of regular and systematic evaluation, the institution assesses its effectiveness in admitting and retaining students and the appropriateness and effectiveness of its student services to advance institutional purposes. Information obtained through this evaluation is used to revise these goals and services and improve their achievement.