Sep 24, 2020  
2019-2020 College Catalog 
2019-2020 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


The following Common Learning Outcomes are identified as a priority for all students at the College.

Four Common Learning Outcomes

  1. Think Critically:
    1. Locate, interpret and use information effectively; and/or
    2. Use intellectually disciplined processes (conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and quantitative reasoning) to solve problems.
  2. Communicate Effectively:
    1. Convey information through verbal, written, technological or visual means.
  3. Apply knowledge and skills to life:
    1. Utilize workforce readiness skills; (technical and soft-skills) and/or
    2. Apply the principles of mathematics, science, humanities and technology in personal, academic and working-world situations; and/or
    3. Manage finances effectively.
  4. Value self and others:
    1. Work cooperatively as a member of a team; and/or
    2. Appreciate of diversity and its benefits; and/or
    3. Make ethical decisions that respects the rights, values and beliefs of others.

General Education

General Education Requirements

Broadening an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the world has long been an objective of higher education. General education at Northeast Iowa Community College is designed to provide learning experiences that prepare you to assume a productive role as a citizen, to understand and function successfully in the modern world and to prepare for lifelong learning. General education will provide breadth to the college learning experience and assist you in acquiring general knowledge, skills, insights and sensitivity needed to function as an educated person in the contemporary world.

Philosophy and Mission Statement for General Education

The mission of General Education at Northeast Iowa Community College fosters engaged, responsible world citizens dedicated to lifelong learning. It is our philosophy to promote student success that helps students be better prepared for college and beyond. In addition, all programs at Northeast Iowa Community College will encompass not only program-specific learning outcomes, but also the Common Learning Outcomes.

Selecting a Degree

The Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees are typically pursued when transfer to a four-year institution is likely. The College recommends that students planning to transfer seek advice from the receiving institution to ensure the best possible transfer.

Curriculum leading to Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees are intense programs of study designed to prepare students for employment after graduation. Some majors may transfer to four-year institutions, and students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree should work closely with an academic advisor to plan for successful transfer of coursework. Degree requirements for the AAS include general education courses and specified courses in the chosen area of study, as well as specified and suggested electives. Students should consult an academic advisor regarding graduation requirements.

The Associate of General Studies degree is a non-transfer level degree designed for students who do not plan to transfer to a four-year institution but desire a degree to enter the workforce.

Career and Technical Programs

Northeast Iowa Community College offers numerous career and technical diplomas/ degrees designed for students to enter the workforce in the chosen career area.

Students planning to transfer your community college credit to a four-year college, should select courses to conform with requirements of the particular institution to which you intend to transfer. Consult your advisor any time you have doubts about course selection.

Degree and Diploma Requirements

NICC offers two associate’s degrees designed for transferring to another college or university:

  • Associate of Arts degree (AA)
  • Associate of Science degree (AS)

NICC also offers the Associate of Applied Science degree, which is designed primarily to prepare graduates for immediate employment. In some instances, the AAS degrees (or portions thereof) may be transferable to four-year institutions.

In addition to being properly registered, you are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree you plan to obtain and for planning your schedule to meet those requirements. If you plan to transfer community college credit to a four-year college, you should select courses to conform with requirements of the particular institution to which you intend to transfer. Consult your advisor any time you have doubts about course selection.

The College Experience Course Policy

NICC requires first time degree seeking students to take SDV 179 - The College Experience  during their first semester. This course is required for graduation. Exceptions to this requirement include:

  1. Transfer students with an official transcript(s) from previous institution(s) who have earned a minimum of 12 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher (cumulative GPA encompasses all attempted credits, not just those earned).
  2. Transfer students with an official transcript from a previous institution who have taken a similar course with a grade of C- or better.
  3. Students who were previously enrolled at NICC (excluding high school concurrent enrollment) who have earned a minimum of 12 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Associate of Arts (AA)



Associate of Science Degree (AS)



Associate of General Studies (AGS)



Philosophy Statement for Career and Technical Education

Career and technical education at Northeast Iowa Community College offers you the opportunity and encouragement to become a competent, responsible individual with the ability to adapt to a changing workplace and understand the importance of lifelong learning. Through a variety of teaching strategies, the College’s faculty and staff assist you in acquiring the general and specific skills essential for success in work, career and life. Career and technical education at NICC emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving and hands-on application of principles based on a strong theoretical foundation. It allows you to develop an ability to:

  • Demonstrate specific skills as a member of a highly technical, self-disciplined, productive and quality-oriented workforce.
  • Express yourself clearly, concisely and with sensitivity to others in both written and oral communications.
  • Listen effectively to and cooperate with others as well as work independently.
  • Successfully evaluate and adapt to technological and social changes to meet the expanding needs of industry and business in a global marketplace.

Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS)



Diploma Programs



Certificate Programs

A certificate is an organized, sharply-focused array of courses that provides training in a specific occupational field. The number of credits required varies between programs. Certificates are designed to serve individuals who:

  • Want to develop, renew or enhance occupational competencies to meet their current employment needs;
  • Need to complete a condensed version of a degree curriculum that focuses on specialized knowledge and skills because of a demanding work schedule;
  • Seek new occupational skills to enhance their employment marketability.

Satisfactory completion of the approved courses will result in the award of a certificate. These are regular college courses, which may also be used to complete a diploma or degree at the college.

Program Length

Program of study length varies based on the educational preparation of the student, enrollment status, successful completion of coursework and course availability. The identified course sequence of a program guarantees a full-time student who receives a passing grade for the specific courses within each term will be eligible to graduate within the specified program time frame.

Part-time students are not guaranteed that all courses will be offered each semester. It is recommended that students work closely with their academic advisor to ensure successful progression and timely graduation from their program of study.

Course Delivery Formats

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) courses are delivered in one of the following formats:

  • Face-to-Face: classroom based course sections. Face-to-face instruction often utilizes the NICC web-based system to communicate with class information, provide grades and to share course related resources. The face-to-face venue includes one or more components of lecture, lab, clinical and/or internship.
  • Online: NICC offers a broad range of online courses and degree programs. The academic expectations are the same as face-to-face courses. Online courses utilize the NICC web based system to deliver instruction. The difference is that the assignments and activities can be performed from a distance, from a computer or mobile device. Online courses deliver quality instruction using multimedia tools, including interactive discussion boards, audio-video recordings, bookmarks, chat rooms, announcements and webcasts. Tuition, registration, financial aid eligibility and credit transferability are the same for online courses as they are for traditional on-campus courses.
  • Online Asynchronous: courses that are completed according to the schedule of the student with due dates of assignments/projects/tests being set by the instructor.
  • Online Synchronous: courses that are broadcast live, online at a specific date/time.
  • Video Conference: taught from one origination site, the instructor delivers the course at one time to students who may be located at various classrooms throughout the region. The classrooms are two-way audio and video classrooms where students can see and hear the instructor and the instructor can see and hear the students. Classrooms are very similar to traditional on-campus classrooms with remote control cameras, TV screen projection and microphones that relay voices and images between locations. (i.e. Zoom, Iowa Communications Network (ICN), etc.)
  • Hybrid: Hybrid courses combine face-to-face, ICN or clinical instruction with a portion of the course online. A majority (51 percent or more) of the course content is delivered using the online environment which reduces the time typically required in the traditional on-site classroom. Most hybrid courses meet a maximum of one day per week in the classroom and conduct the remainder of the learning online using the NICC web-based system. This creates a blend of both learning environments for students.
  • Web Enhanced: Web enhanced courses combine face-to-face, ICN or clinical instruction with online learning. A smaller percentage (less than 50 percent) of the course content is delivered online with the remainder of the course delivery occurring in the face-to-face environment.

For any given program’s curriculum, some required courses may be offered only as online or hybrid options and will require computer and internet access.

All students who enroll at NICC are enrolled in New Student Orientation. The New Student Orientation is a resource for students to complete prior to taking courses at NICC. It provides students with pertinent information about the college, tutorials and how-to’s for using Brightspace, and tips on how to be successful at the College. As a student, this course will always be available to you as reference when taking courses in your Brightspace “My Courses” widget.

To find out if online and blended learning courses are right for you, visit and schedule an appointment to discuss your options with an NICC advisor. Additional information pertaining to online, ICN and hybrid courses is available at

Online and Blended Learning

Online and blended learning provides learning environments utilizing modern media and technology to replace the traditional commute to campus for classes. Online and blended learning students experience the same academic rigor, content and curriculum as on-campus student with the additional flexibility in class schedules which can be balanced with personal and work obligations. Online and blended learning courses include online (synchronous and asynchronous), ICN and hybrid formats. Students enrolled in online and blended learning courses should expect a variety of instructional methods including, but not limited to, discussion boards, bookmarks, chat rooms, web resources and content and video. In addition to a variety of instructional and communication methods, students should expect more reading and required discussions, as well as consistent use of technology. NICC uses the online learning management system (LMS), Brightspace, to deliver synchronous and asynchronous online courses. Assistance with the functions and tools in Brightspace can be found in video tutorials within your MyCampus account. All students interested in enrolling in an online or hybrid course are required to complete an online tutorial (TRN-100 Brightspace Tutorial ) prior to or soon after registration into an online or blended learning course. To determine if online and blended learning is right for you, schedule time to discuss your options with an NICC advisor and visit to take a brief online quiz outlining some of the skills for what is required to be a successful online student. Additional information is available at

To participate in NICC Brightspace courserooms, students are expected to be familiar with computers and the Internet. Students are responsible for their own software and computer equipment maintenance and setup.

Basic System Requirements

  • Access to a modern computer system with a supported operating system (OS) installed.
  • An ISP (Internet Service Provider) and a modem or other device capable of connecting to the internet.
  • If your download speed is greater than 256 kbps, your internet connection should be sufficient for taking courses at NICC, however, faster connections are recommended.
  • If your download speed is less than 256 kbps, you may want to consider upgrading your internet connection or finding a faster internet connection elsewhere (possibly on campus, at a public library, etc). If a faster internet connection is unavailable to you, online Brightspace coursework may be frustrating.
  • An internet browser installed on your computer. If you are not using one already, we recommend that you download one of the recommended browsers.

Recommended Web Browsers

  • Google Chrome (Recommended)
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Apple Safari

*Safari does not support Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight or Java. Learn how to enable (or disable) plugins in Safari.

Other Software Requirements

  • A word processing software program, such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.
  • Current anti-virus software must be installed and updated.
  • Multimedia plug-ins may be required to allow your browser to access online video or interactive features.

Course Specific Requirements

  • Your course may have other computer equipment or software requirements, such as speakers or a headset which are required for some courses. Please check the syllabus to see if your course has other requirements.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

Northeast Iowa Community College has been approved by the state of Iowa to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.

NICC is registered as a private institution with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.

Standards of Academic Progress

A student who has attempted nine or more credit hours is expected to maintain a 2.0 cumulative minimum GPA (grade point average). Any student failing to maintain a 2.0 GPA will be considered on academic probation status. The student may return to good academic standing when the cumulative GPA is raised to 2.0 or higher.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with an academic advisor or counselor and utilize support resources when experiencing academic difficulty.

Minimum Grade Requirements for Health Occupations

Students enrolled in health occupations programs must pass all required coursework with a minimum of a C- grade. However, a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA (C grade average) is required to graduate from the program and the College. Students should work with their academic advisor to ensure grade requirement compliance.


There is a strong relationship between success in college and class attendance. Any absence interferes with the learning process and may contribute to academic failure. Because Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) is dedicated to helping students succeed, the College is committed to the importance of regular attendance in all classes. NICC instructors are required by federal student financial aid regulations to maintain accurate attendance records and submit those records periodically to the Financial Aid Office. Instructor notification of non-attendance could interfere with Veteran’s Administration or other financial aid benefits. The Department of Education defines academic attendance and attendance at an academically related activity as being academically engaged in the course. Some examples include:

  • Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction with the instructor
  • Submitting an academic assignment
  • Taking an exam or an interactive tutorial
  • Participating in a study group that is assigned by the instructor
  • Participating in an online discussion or message board assignment

Instructors individually determine their attendance policies. It is each student’s responsibility to learn their instructors’ attendance policies. Students are expected to confer with instructors immediately regarding potential or past absences.

In cases of advance knowledge of an absence, students should confer with the instructor prior to the absence.

Career and Technical Programs Mandatory Attendance

Regular and punctual attendance is mandatory in selected Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Career and Technical program core courses. Students are required to review and sign a Mandatory Attendance Policy on the first day of classes

Students missing the designated number of scheduled class meetings without excuse will be subject to being administratively withdrawn from the course(s). This withdrawal may have academic or financial consequences. Students who miss class because of a college-sanctioned event will be excused from attendance but not excused from completing necessary coursework. Students should contact their instructor for further guidance.

Change in Enrollment Status

Course Change/Course Section Change

Students requesting a change in their course schedule prior to the start of the term should contact their advisor. Course changes that occur after the semester begins need to be made in the Student Services Office.

New registrations and course or section changes for full-term courses must receive instructor approval after the fifth day of the term. Changes in condensed-term courses must receive instructor approval after the first day of the course. The student’s advisor will work directly with the instructor to determine if the course addition/change is feasible.

No new registrations, course additions or section changes will be allowed after the tenth day of the term in face to face courses with the exception of late start courses. No new registration into 8-week online courses is permitted after the third day of the course start date and in 12-16 week courses after the fifth day of the course start date.

Tuition, program length and financial aid may be affected by course or section changes. No additional tuition and fee charges will be made for section changes when the course credits remain the same.

Course Withdrawal/Withdrawal from the College

Students may officially withdraw from a course prior to completing three-fourths of the course by completing a Withdrawal Form available in the Student Services Office. Course withdrawals will be listed on the student’s permanent records with a grade of ‘W’ (withdrew) and are not computed into the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). Students can also submit a written request to withdraw by fax or email. Students who do not complete the official withdrawal process may expect to receive a failing grade. Charges for withdrawal during summer, special sessions or condensed sessions will be prorated accordingly. (See Tuition Refund Policy.)

If a student wishes to transfer to a section that begins at a later date within the term, a grade of “W” will be assigned to the original section and the student will be charged for the new section. A refund may be received for the original section if the change is made during the refund time period stated in the NICC Refund Policy.

Students who officially withdraw from all courses within a semester and receive financial aid are subject to Return of Title IV Federal Funding and Satisfactory Academic Progress policies. Refer to the Financial Aid  section of the catalog for further details.

Administrative Withdrawal

Under most conditions, the responsibility for withdrawal from a class or from the College rests with the student. However, in certain situations, it may be in the best interest of the student and/or the College community to implement an administrative withdrawal from course(s), a program or from the College.

Students may be withdrawn at any time during the term, with written notice, due to (but not limited to):

  • Incarceration;
  • Inability to comply with student visa regulations;
  • Extenuating circumstances due to medical or mental health conditions;
  • Behavioral/academic misconduct violations as defined in the Student Conduct Code policy and processes;
  • A failed drug test, background check and/or health requirement as mandated by individual programs;
  • Failure to adhere to the terms of the CTE Mandatory Attendance Policy;
  • Other situations as deemed appropriate by College administration.

If administratively withdrawn, students will receive a letter from the College Registrar indicating the rationale and any re-enrollment procedures. Any adjustments in tuition and fees due to an administrative withdrawal will be based on the College’s published tuition refund policy. All circumstances leading to an administrative withdrawal will be documented and a record of action maintained in the student’s academic record.

Medical Withdrawal from the College

A student who documents medical reasons for withdrawing from classes will be permitted to withdraw from classes beyond the official withdrawal date with a “W” recorded on the transcript. It is the student’s responsibility to provide a signed document from an appropriate medical provider, licensed mental health professional, social worker, certified counselor or College counselor, citing the reason for the required withdrawal. The document must list the date of the onset of medical condition preventing the student’s completion of classes, and the date the student will be permitted to return to regular classes, if at all. The request for withdrawal must be presented by the last day of the semester for which the withdrawal is requested. The student must have been regularly attending classes up until the date the medical condition occurred. Based on the documentation received, the student may be allowed to withdraw from certain classes or may withdraw from all classes scheduled in the semester of the request. No adjustments in tuition and fees will be given in the case of a medical withdrawal.

Military Absence

NICC provides reasonable accommodations for students who must be absent from class due to military obligations or required medical treatment for service-connected conditions.

In the case of military training or drill periods, the student will disclose the leave schedule, copy of unit training/activation/deployment orders issued by the Unit Commander to the instructor or the VA Certifying Official on either the Peosta or Calmar Campus as soon as the unit provides such documentation.

In the case of medical treatment, documentation of a VA appointment may be requested to validate the reason for the absence. Documentation should be provided directly to the instructor or through the VA Certifying Official on either the Peosta or Calmar Campus.

A copy of the full policy and procedure may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.

Students Called to Active Duty

NICC provides reasonable options for students called to active duty who are members of the Iowa National Guard or reserve forces of the United States and the spouses of such members if the members have dependent children when they are ordered into active duty. Students will be required to meet with the VA Certifying Official and submit a copy of their assignment orders or letters from their commanding officers. A copy of the full policy may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.

Tuition and Course Fee Refund/Adjustment

Students who wish to cancel their registration or drop a course must notify the Registrars Office before the first day of the term or class to avoid tuition/fee assessment. Students who withdraw from NICC or drop a course may be eligible for a refund/adjustment on their tuition and course fees. Tuition and course fee refunds/adjustments will not be issued to students based on non-attendance. Tuition and course fee refunds/adjustments are calculated based on the start date of the course. Calendar days, less holidays and weekends, are used for calculations regardless of the number of class meetings.

12 - 16 week courses

1-5 days 100% tuition and course fees
6-10 days 50% tuition and course fees
11-15 days 25% tuition and course fees
8 - 11 week courses:  
1-3 days 100% tuition and course fees
4-7 days 50% tuition and course fees
8-10 days 25% tuition and course fees
4 - 7 week courses:  
1-2 days 100% tuition and course fees
3-4 days 50% tuition and course fees
5-6 days 25% tuition and course fees
3 weeks and less courses:  
Prior to the start of the 2nd class meeting 100 percent tuition and course fees

Indebtedness Policy

Students may not register for any new term while they have prior unsettled indebtedness to NICC. During the period in which the indebtedness remains unsettled, no transcripts or other official credentials can be obtained from the College. Diplomas or degrees will not be granted nor will credits be transferred to another college until all accounts are settled.

Course Credit and Load

Unit of Credit

Each course carries term hours of credit based on the total contact hours and the method of instruction. Term hours are used to determine a student’s GPA (grade point average).

Course Load

Enrollment status is based on the number of enrolled credit hours each semester. Full-time status is a minimum of 12 credit hours. Unless prescribed otherwise by the student’s program, the recommended course load for fall and spring may not exceed 19 credit hours and 12 credit hours for summer.

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Assessment

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) has made a commitment to student learning and assessment and supports the granting of credit for prior learning in accordance with the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) Standards of Assessment. CAEL supports a thorough assessment of each student’s formal and informal prior training and experience and awards academic credit for college-level knowledge and skills a student has gained outside of the classroom, including employment/work experience, professional certification, non-credit courses, military training/service, volunteer and civic activities, travel and hobbies.

General Guidelines

  1. Students may apply for CPL at any time after their application to NICC, and one semester prior to program completion, with the exception of single-semester programs. Student must be in good standing at NICC.
  2. Students may apply for CPL only for those courses required for their program of study; this may include general education and elective courses.
  3. CPL credit may be awarded to students who show a level of learning comparable to the objectives and outcomes required for course completion. Students must meet and document a minimum of 80 percent of course outcomes in order to be awarded credit for any given courses.
  4. Credit for prior learning may be awarded for courses with prerequisites at the discretion of the faculty and academic dean. Credit allowances for un-earned prerequisite courses will be satisfied with elective credits.
  5. A maximum of 42 credits of transferable degree requirements (eg. Associate of Arts, Associate of Science) can be satisfied by receiving academic credit through PLA. For non-transferable degree programs (eg. Associate of Applied Science and Diploma), the maximum credits that may be satisfied through PLA may vary.
  6. Credit residency requirement: At least nine credits must be earned at NICC for a Diploma, and 18 credits for an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science degree or an Associate of General Studies degree. Credits earned through CPL (with the exception of NICC non-credit to credit transfer) will not be considered for this requirement in the award of diplomas or degrees.
  7. NICC will allow the transfer in of credits earned at another postsecondary institution as long as those credits correlate to a specific course that is required for the student’s program major and given that the course in question is equivalent to a required NICC course.
  8. Students may not receive CPL for courses already successfully completed at NICC or another post-secondary institution.
  9. Students may not use financial aid to pay for charges related to Credit for Prior Learning.
  10. NICC does not guarantee that another post-secondary institution will accept CPL credit in transfer. Students interested in transferring to another college should verify CPL transfer policies with that institution.
  11. Application for Credit for Prior Learning does NOT guarantee an award of credit.

Course Transfers

  1. The College accepts credits from other accredited colleges and universities in which a minimum grade of C- has been earned.
  2. Students who desire to transfer credit to NICC are required to provide the Admissions Office with an official transcript.
  3. Courses which correspond to an equivalent NICC course are transferred at face value and may be used to fulfill program requirements.
  4. Higher level coursework may be transferred in and substituted for program requirements upon recommendation of the Registrar’s Office and approval of the academic dean.
  5. The student is required to provide the Registrar with a copy of the transferring course guide if a question exists regarding the equivalency of the course.
  6. Courses completed more than five years ago may be transferred in upon approval of the academic dean.
  7. Grades for courses transferred to NICC are not computed in the students GPA
  8. If a student changes his/her program, an evaluation will be completed for the new program.
  9. There is no fee to award credit for transferred coursework.

For further information, refer to

Articulation of High School Courses

  1. Students enrolled in high school courses with mutually agreed upon competencies between the high school and NICC program faculty and dean may receive articulated credit for NICC non-transfer level career and technical courses.
  2. Students must attend NICC within 15 months of high school graduation to be eligible for articulated credit.
  3. Articulated credit is entered on the NICC transcript after the student has accumulated 12 NICC credits post-high school.
  4. Articulated courses are recorded on the student’s transcript without a grade and are not included in the calculation of the student’s credit grade point average (GPA).
  5. There is no fee to award credit for articulated coursework.

For further information, refer to

Credit for Learning from Business, Industry & Training Entities

  1. Learning experiences offered by a postsecondary institution, business entity or professional industry training entity may include credit bearing courses, certifications, non-credit bearing classes, workshops and planned experiential learning events.
  2. The review of credentials is done on an individualized basis by the academic dean and program faculty who will determine applicability to program requirements.
  3. Guidelines established by the American Council on Education (ACE) assist the College in PLA; ACE is an organization that works with companies and labor unions to evaluate internal training courses for college credit”.
  4. There is no fee for credit for sponsored learning.
  5. These courses are not computer in the students GPA.

For further information, refer to

National Recognized Proficiency Examinations

Standardized examinations are a means of recognizing subject area knowledge and mastery of established content. Credit is awarded through the successful completion of these examinations.

  1. There is no fee to award credit for proficiency examinations.

Standardized examinations recognized by the College include:

  1. Advanced Placement (AP) Exams: Exams taken in high school to evidence superior student achievement.
  2. College Level Examination Program (CLEP): The CLEP program is a means of recognizing informal education experience through successful examination on post-secondary content area. Two forms of the CLEP exams are available: the General examination, which measures college-level achievement in general education areas usually covered in the first two years of college, and the Subject Examination, which measures achievement in specific college courses.
  3. Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support “DDST” or “DANTES Subject Standardized Tests”: These tests, originally created for military personnel to evidence learning, are now also open to the general public.
  4. Excelsior Examinations, New York Foreign Language Proficiency “UExcel Exams” or “NYUFLP”:
  5. Other exams: Student scores on other nationally recognized examinations will be reviewed on an individual basis.

For further information, refer to

Course Examinations Designed by NICC Faculty

College faculty, following guidelines established by the vice president of learning and student success, may offer cumulative examinations for students to pass out of program courses. Opportunities for these examinations are at the discretion of the academic dean.

  1. The minimum performance level for earned credit will be equal to a “C-” grade or higher.
  2. Students seeking credit by examination must do so prior to or during the first week of the semester in which they request to have the credit transcripted.
  3. Credit by examination will be recorded on the NICC academic transcript with the grading symbol “T”. The course information will also be noted on the transcript.
  4. Students are required to pay 50 percent course tuition and full fees for credit granted by course examination.

For further information, refer to

Credit for Military Experience

Credit may be granted to veterans for educational experiences completed in the Armed Forces of the United States or for college work completed through the United States Armed Forces Institute. Credit may also be accepted from other institutions participating in the Servicemen’s Opportunity College “SOC”. Credit may be awarded for successful completion of technical or specialized training attended while on active duty to the extent that it is applicable to program content. Students are required to provide an official military transcript (AARTS or SMART) to the College. The College considers the recommendations for Credit in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services of the Office of Education Credit of the American Council on Education.

  1. There is no fee to award credit for military experience.

For further information, refer to

Credit for Life Experience (Portfolio/Skills Assessment)

Students who are able to demonstrate skills and achievements through their life experience (e.g. employment, volunteerism) prior to enrollment in a given course may be eligible for credit for life experience. Through the development of a portfolio, students must demonstrate they have met a minimum of 80 percent of the course objectives and units of instruction for which they are seeking credit. The portfolio must evidence knowledge that can be supported through the demonstration of competence, written or oral examination and documentation from a current or past employer. The review and evaluation of student achievement will be conducted by a faculty member familiar with the discipline in which the student is seeking credit.

  1. Credit for life experience is at the discretion of each individual department and limited to the courses within that department.
  2. Students must submit a separate portfolio for each course he/she is seeking credit. Before submitting your portfolio, it is recommended that you make a copy for your files in the unlikely event that it may be lost during shipment. Include the evaluation fee of $50 (nonrefundable) with your packet and mail or deliver to the Dean of your program.
  3. General education courses and any course in which a CLEP exam is offered are not eligible for credit for life experience.
  4. Portfolio credits are not accepted from another postsecondary institution.
  5. There is a limit of 18 credits for portfolio completion.
  6. When credit is granted, an invoice will be sent minus the portfolio review fee for the amount due. Students receiving four to six CLE credits will have an additional fee of $25. Student receiving seven or more credits of CLE will be charged an additional fee of $50. The maximum fee a student will be charged is $100 for up to 18 CLE credits.
  7. Credit for Life Experience will be recorded on the NICC academic transcript with the grading symbol “L”. And the grade will not be computed in the students GPA.

For further information, refer to

Placement and Course Prerequisites

To promote student success in academic coursework, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) places students in courses according to an evaluation of standardized test scores (ie. ACT®, ACCUPLACER®, ACT Compass® for Reading and Writing and ALEKS® for Math) and academic indicators such as high school GPA and past college credits earned. As a result, some students are required to take co/prerequisite courses that help develop the necessary skills to succeed in college course work.

Students will be dropped from a course if they have not met the prerequisite. The student will be notified of this action as it may impact his or her financial aid, tuition and program length. Course prerequisites and co-requisites are listed in the College Catalog under Course Descriptions, on Educational Plans or online when searching for courses. Questions regarding a course prerequisite should be directed to an advisor or the appropriate department dean.

Change of Academic Program

Students may request a change in academic program at any time, but changes may not become effective until the beginning of the next semester. Students wishing to change their academic program must complete a Program Intent form in the Student Services Office. Students should recognize that a change in academic program may affect the length of their program and their financial aid.

Grading System

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) uses the four point grading system. Letter grades are assigned to represent levels of accomplishment: Credit for graduation is granted for the following grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, L, P and T. In programs that have a minimum C- policy for all courses, credit for a D grade is not given. Instructors have the option of assigning plus/minus grades.

Grade Grade Point
A - Excellent 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B - Above Average 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C - Average 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D - Below Average 1.00
D- 0.67
F - Failure None
I - Incomplete  
L - Credit for Experiential Learning  
N - Audit  
O - Grade Requital (New Start)  
P - Credit Earned/Pass  
Q - No Credit/No Pass  
R - Required/No Credit  
T - Credit by Examination (Test Out)  
W - Withdrew  
X or <R - Course Repeated  

Grade and Cumulative Grade Point Average

The grade point average is determined in the following manner:

  1. Allow four points for an A, three points for a B, two points for a C, one point for a D and zero points for an F. Multiply the number of points equivalent to the letter grade received in each course by the number of credit hours for the course to arrive at the quality points earned in each course.
  2. Divide the sum of quality points by the total number of credit hours. The quotient represents the grade point average for the semester.

The cumulative GPA is determined in the same manner as the GPA except that all of the student’s work at NICC is used in the compilation.

Instructors will specify the grading standards used for each course which may include plus/ minus grading. A “C-” grade satisfies minimum academic requirements for courses that currently fall under the minimum “C” policy. However, a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA is required for graduation.

Dean’s List

Students who have completed nine or more credit hours and achieved a 3.5 or better GPA in any semester are honored by being named to the Dean’s List. This list is submitted to area newspapers for publication each semester.

Grading Policies


Grades will be available online at the end of each term. Students can access grades at Grades will not be given out over the phone. Questions regarding specific grades should be directed to the course instructor.

Incomplete Grading Policy

A temporary grade of “I” (incomplete) may be given for work that is not completed when the student is passing at the time of request, but special circumstances beyond the students’ control prevent completion of the course. It is not used to give a failing student an opportunity to re-do unsatisfactory work or to allow more time to complete the work when the reasons for the delay have been within the student’s control. In general, failing the final exam or project or not submitting coursework as a result of inadequate preparation or learning are not valid excuses.

To qualify for an “I” grade, the student will need to sign an Incomplete Contract agreement with the instructor which documents the reason for the “I,” the requirements remaining for resolving it and the date by which it must be completed, not to exceed midterm of the following semester. The instructor then enters an “I” as the final grade and submits the Incomplete Contract Agreement to the appropriate department dean who will then submit to the Registrar. If an “I” grade is recorded as the final grade and the Incomplete Contract Agreement is not submitted, the department dean will assign a grade of “F” for that student.

If the student is not available at the end of the course to sign the Incomplete Contract Agreement because of ill health or other reasons, the instructor may assign an incomplete mark and submit the form without the student’s signature. The Registrar’s Office will mail a copy of the form to the student. The student has until the date designated on the contract or no later than midterm of the following semester to complete the remaining requirements. If the student has not contacted the instructor by the designated date to resolve the incomplete mark as set forth in the Incomplete Contract Agreement, the mark of “I” will automatically change to a grade of “F.”

When a student completes the requirements specified on the Incomplete Contract Agreement, the instructor submits the appropriate grade on a Grade Change Form to the appropriate dean who will then submit to the Registrar’s Office. A final course grade, once submitted to the Registrar, may not be changed to an incomplete (I) except to correct an error at the request of the instructor and with the approval of the instructor’s department dean. The instructor should send a Grade Change Form reporting the change and an Incomplete Contract Agreement to the appropriate dean who will forward them to the Registrar if the change is approved.

If a student completes an Incomplete Contract Agreement for a course that serves as a prerequisite for an advanced level course, they will not be allowed to enroll in the advanced course until the incomplete grade is resolved.

Noncredit (Audit) Policy

The audit option provides students the opportunity to attend a class as a non-credit participant, usually as a listener-observer. This alternative may have value for students who want an introduction to a subject outside their major field, a review or refresher in a subject or for other purposes where credit and grade are not needed or would pose an unnecessary academic threat. Students will have the option of completing assignments and taking examinations.

Audit enrollment carries no credit or grade point value, and said status will be recorded on the student’s transcript as an “N.” No inference is made about the quality of a student’s mastery of the course subject matter.

A 50 percent reduction in the standard tuition rate is available to students who elect noncredit (audit) status prior to the beginning of the term. Course fees and other charges are not reduced for audit status. Students wishing to change to noncredit (audit) status after the beginning of a semester will pay full tuition and must make this change by three-fourths of the way through the course on a Withdrawal/Audit form in the Student Services Office.

Caution is advised in the use of an audit as the course must be repeated for a letter grade if credit is desired at a later date. An audited course cannot be changed to a graded course once the semester has started.

Refunds for audited courses will be subject to the standard college refund policy. The reduced audit rate will not apply to course fees, lab courses, on-the-job training courses or courses within health programs that have a clinical component.

Course Final Grade Appeal Process

The assessment of the quality of a student’s academic performance is one of the major professional responsibilities of College faculty members and is solely and properly their responsibility. It is essential for the standards of the academic programs at NICC and the integrity of the certificates, diplomas and degrees conferred that the professional judgments of faculty members not be subject to pressures or other interference from any source.

It is necessary, however, that any term grade be based on evidence of the student’s performance in a course, that the student have access to the evidence, that the instructor be willing to explain and interpret the evidence to the student and that a grade be determined in accordance with announced guidelines.

At any time, a student may seek the assistance of a College counselor regarding the procedure in appealing alleged capricious grades or the merits of a particular case. Capricious grading is limited to one or more of the following:

  • The assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance.
  • The assignment of a grade to a particular student by more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students.
  • The assignment of a grade which represents a substantial departure from the instructor’s written standards given to the student at the beginning of the course.

During the term, grading concerns will be dealt with according to departmental guidelines. Student appeals for a course final grade change must be initiated within forty-five (45) business days following the end of the semester in which the grade was assigned. A copy of the Final Grade Appeal Policy and form can be obtained from the Dean’s Office.

Repeating Courses

Students may wish to repeat a previously taken course. A student who wishes to repeat an NICC course to improve the grade will need to repeat the same course at NICC. Both courses will be shown on the permanent transcript. The original grade will have <R designated next to it. A student may not repeat the course and then choose the better of the two grades. Only the most recent course will be computed in the cumulative grade point average.

New Start Policy

The New Start Policy is intended for students who change to a new program of study after receiving unsatisfactory grades in a previous program (cumulative GPA below 2.0) at NICC. To be eligible for New Start consideration, these requirements must be met:

  1. Students must not have been enrolled at NICC for three consecutive terms;
  2. Students must be enrolled in a new program of study, regardless of whether it is arts and sciences or career and technical;
  3. Students must not have graduated from any program at NICC;
  4. Student must currently be enrolled and have successfully completed 12 semester hours (that impact GPA) in the new academic program with a cumulative major GPA of 2.50 or better; and
  5. Students must not have successfully completed any high school/dual credit coursework.

Students should begin the process by discussing their option to apply for a New Start with their advisor. If a student determines they would like to proceed to petition for a New Start, they will need to request a “New Start Petition” through the Registrar’s Office.

If a student is granted a New Start, the following six conditions will apply:

  1. The New Start policy is a one-time-only option, and once granted, the New Start may not be rescinded.
  2. A New Start may only be applied to academic terms completed prior to the student’s extended absence.
  3. All academic work taken prior to the student’s enrollment in the new program will be removed from the student’s GPA calculation and degree requirements.
  4. Courses are not removed from the transcript by a New Start. If a New Start is approved, all courses in the approved term(s) will receive a grade symbol “O.” The approved term(s) will be any courses taken during terms prior to the student enrolling in new program. Grades earned for the term(s) specified in the request will not be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative grade point average.
  5. Students will not be able to use any course with a grade symbol of “O” to meet graduation requirements.
  6. This is an NICC policy only. Students will need to check with their transfer institution regarding cumulative GPA computation policies for incoming students. Please note that courses with an “O” grade may not be transferable to another institution.

Student Concerns

The College’s stance is that it is efficient to have issues resolved at the lowest level possible. Students are encouraged to make an informal inquiry to an instructor, advisor or assigned dean/director as soon as possible following the event that gave rise to the complaint. Staff, visitors, community members or other individuals are encouraged to make informal inquiries to the designated staff person with assigned responsibility in the area of concern as soon as possible to reach a resolution.

When resolution is not reached or not practical though informal inquiry, the steps of the formal complaint process are followed. Complaints can be completed online and forms are available on the college website at Complaints are routed to the Dean of Student Development office. The office will route the complaint to the appropriate college representative for resolution.

Dishonesty and Cheating

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in any course at NICC. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating are examples of such dishonesty and are subject to review and possible sanctions as outlined in the NICC Student Conduct Code.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Use direct quotes without quotation marks and textual citation of the material;
  • Paraphrase without crediting the source;
  • Present another’s ideas as their own without citing the source;
  • Submit material developed by someone else as their own (this includes purchasing or borrowing a paper or copying a disk);

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Copy someone else’s exam or homework;
  • Purposefully allow another student to copy their work or submit work they have written as their own;
  • Refer to a text, notes or other material during an exam without authorization to do so;
  • Submit a paper or assignment for which so much help has been received that the writing is significantly different from his/her own;
  • Possess a test copy and/or test answers without authorization;
  • Pass test answers to another student before, during or after a test.

For additional information see the Student Code of Conduct.

Classroom Visits and Field Trips

Any student or visitor not registered in a college class may not attend a scheduled class, lab, or clinical location without the advanced, expressed permission of a college official. Requests for visits are routed to the department dean or to the associate vice president for operations office.

Field trips are scheduled in an effort to provide educational experiences unavailable in the program setting. Travel costs and responsibility for payment are determined on a trip by trip basis by the supervisors in related areas. Students participating in a field trip are required to abide by the Student Conduct Code and College requirements for documentation.


A permanent academic record is prepared for every registered student. The record is maintained in the Registrar’s Office and administered in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Records are confidential, and transcripts will be issued only upon written request by the student or former student. Transcript requests may be made at There is a $5 charge for each transcript ordered.

Transcripts will not be issued until all financial and other obligations with the College have been met. Transcripts from high schools and other colleges or universities that have been sent to NICC for student files cannot be copied.

Student Record Retention Policy

NICC retains the official academic record (transcript) of enrollment and credits earned in perpetuity after a student’s last enrollment.

Students who believe an inaccuracy exists in their official academic record (transcript) must notify the Registrar’s Office within 45 days of the start of the next semester or following graduation. After 45 days, a written appeal must be submitted to the appropriate dean. The official academic transcript is regarded as the final record of academic accomplishment, and in no event can a grade be appealed after six months.

Policy on Student Names

The name on a student record should be the student’s complete and legal name. Students may change their name or other demographic information on record at NICC (address, phone number, email address, emergency contact) by submitting a Personal Information Change Form or via a written request to the college.

In the case of a first name change or first and last name change request, NICC reserves the right to require appropriate documentation, as warranted. Documentation must include a court approved name change document in addition to one of the following; social security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, adoption papers, marriage certificate, citizenship papers or other appropriate records.

Graduation Requirements

The requirements for graduation at NICC are those specified in the College catalog at the time a student declares a major at the College. However, any student may elect to meet the requirements stated in any later catalog. Students who do not complete requirements for their major within four years will be subject to the current catalog or any preceding catalog within four years. Students not enrolled for two consecutive semesters or more will be subject to the current catalog requirements. Students changing or adding majors will be subject to the catalog in effect at the time of change.

Full requirements of the chosen major must be met; adjustments will be made in instances where requirements have changed and courses are no longer available. When a student has completed higher level coursework than required for their program, those courses may be used at the discretion of the Registrar to fulfill program requirements. Students may consult an advisor with questions about how courses they have completed fulfill degree requirements or how courses they plan to take will apply to their degree requirements.

Students should be aware that course prerequisites and/or the need for developmental work in English, mathematics or reading may extend the time necessary for completion of NICC degrees, diplomas or certificates. Demonstrated computer literacy is a requirement for graduation.

Students Are Eligible to Graduate When They Have Fulfilled These Requirements:

  1. Completed all of the program requirements.
  2. Maintained a 2.0 or better cumulative GPA within that program.
  3. Completed all required courses with a passing grade. (Certain programs require a minimum grade of C- in some or all courses.)
  4. Paid all fees and other financial obligations to NICC.
  5. Returned all library materials.
  6. Filed a Graduation Application by the posted deadline.

Application for Graduation

Students who plan to receive a degree, diploma or certificate must file a Graduation Application with the Registrar by the posted deadline of the semester in which they plan to complete their program.

Final grade checks will be made after the end of the semester, and awards will be sent to all successful graduates by mail to the address listed on the graduation application. If graduation requirements are not met, the student will be notified and required to reapply for graduation.

It is the responsibility of the student to know and to observe the requirements of his/her curriculum and the rules governing academic work. Although the advisor will attempt to help the student make wise decisions, the final responsibility for meeting the requirements for graduation rests with the student.


Commencement ceremonies are held in May each year. Participation in commencement is voluntary for students who have filed a Graduation Application with the Registrar. Participation does not guarantee that the student will officially graduate. Students eligible for participation in commencement are those within eight credit hours of earning their degree or who are registered in their last semester of a program sequence. Students who are more than eight credit hours away from completion of their program or who are not in the last semester of a program sequence must petition the Registrar’s Office for permission to participate in commencement. Students who wish to have their names listed in the commencement program must submit their graduation application by the posted deadline. The commencement program will include the student’s name, program of study, degree earned and honors designations based on a 3.50 cumulative GPA at the end of the previous semester.

Reissue of Diploma

Graduates may request a diploma be reissued when a sufficient reason is shown. The Request for Reissue of Diploma form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office with the required $25 fee. The replacement diploma will bear the signatures of current College officials with a “Reissued” notation.

Transfer of Credits

Transfer of NICC Credit to Other Colleges and Universities

Students considering transfer to another college or university should contact that institution’s Registrar early in his/her course of study at NICC. Transferability of credit earned in any course at NICC is determined by the college to which the student is transferring.

Transfer preparation should include the following:

  1. Decide on a major field of study. For assistance, contact an academic advisor, NICC counselor, dean or faculty member.
  2. Identify colleges that offer your major field, study their catalogs, log onto their websites and visit with their college representatives (some college representatives visit NICC campuses throughout the year). Discuss transferability of courses and programs from NICC.
  3. Narrow your choice to three or four colleges and visit their campuses. If you have not already done so, visit with their admissions personnel and major department deans. If possible, a written document setting a plan of study should be secured.
  4. Work with your NICC advisor to select the coursework needed to meet the institution’s requirements.
  5. Changes in your educational plans should be discussed with your NICC advisor.
  6. If you have CLEP or military credits you wish to transfer, you will need to review those credits with the college or university to which you are transferring.
  7. Scholarships specifically for transfer students may be available at the college or university to which you are transferring. Check with the Financial Aid Office at NICC and the transfer institution for additional information.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights belong to any student who is or has been in attendance at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC). Attendance is defined as physically attending and/or participating in any NICC course. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access. Students should submit written requests to the Registrar that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, the Registrar will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. 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 that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the College registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The College also advises students that:

  1. The College may deny access to the following classes of records: financial information submitted by parents; confidential letters or recommendations to which the student has waived rights of inspection; private records of instructors, counselors or administrators kept in their own use; alumni records which contain only directory information and information collected after the student has left the college; and medical, psychiatric, psychological or similar records.
  2. The College may disclose educational records without consent of students to the following:
    • Personnel within the College who maintain educational records and those with a legitimate educational interest, including faculty or staff who deal with the student and carry out education studies and employees designated by them to assist in these tasks. NICC defines “legitimate educational interest” as “needs the record(s) to carry out employment responsibilities.” Therefore, any College employee or person acting on behalf of the College may have access to student records without the student’s written consent if that person needs the access to carry out his/her employment responsibilities;
    • Officials of other colleges or universities in which the student seeks to enroll, with a notice of the disclosure being sent to the student’s last known address;
    • Organizations conducting studies approved by the college having educational value or concerning financial aid;
    • Accrediting organizations approved by the college carrying out their accrediting functions;
    • Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena within a reasonable period of time after the notice of the disclosure has been sent to the last known address of the student, unless the terms of the subpoena forbid advance notification;
    • Persons in an emergency if, in the judgment of an official in charge of the records, knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other person.
  3. The College may disclose, without the written consent of the student, “directory” type information unless the student specifies to the contrary as described below. Directory information includes: student name, address, email address, phone number, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status (e.g. full-time or part-time, number of credits), participation in officially recognized activities and sports with height and/or weight of team members, current membership in clubs, degrees, honors and awards received, academic honor roll, high school and other colleges attended, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
  4. Students may refuse of disclosure directory information by filling out the appropriate form in the Registrar’s Office within ten calendar days of the beginning of the semester in which enrollment occurs. If the Order to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information is filled out any time after this ten-day period, the College cannot guarantee that information was not released prior to the non-disclosure request. Students may either choose individual categories or have everything withheld. The request for withholding will remain in effect until the student rescinds it in writing.
  5. When personally identifiable information other than directory information is released, a notice will be given that the recipients are not permitted to disclose the information to unauthorized persons without written consent of the student. College personnel will be informed annually of this restriction and their responsibilities under this Act so that individual notices will not be required.

FERPA rights cease upon death. However, it is the policy of Northeast Iowa Community College that no records of deceased students be released for a period of 25 years after the date of death unless specifically authorized by the executor of the estate of the deceased or by the next of kin.