Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

A student may submit an appeal for an Unsatisfactory Academic Progress status in writing to the school’s Academic Office. A copy of the request is forwarded to Financial Aid Office if the student is under the federal financial aid program. A meeting with the Academic Dean and the Financial Aid Officer to discuss this appeal will be held within 5 business days after receipt of the appeal. The student’s grade reports and attendance records will be examined at the meeting. If the school made an error for any reason, the student’s satisfactory academic progress evaluation will be corrected.

Columbia College may consider a student with special circumstances as making satisfactory progress even though he/she fails to meet the requirements due to:

  • The death of a family
  • An injury or illness of the student or
  • Other special circumstances

In the written document, the student needs to explain the reason why he/she could not make the required standard to continue the status at the College and maintain the eligibility of financial aid. It is required for the student to submit the documented evidence to prove he/she is under mitigating circumstances. They include:

  • Copy of death certificate
  • Medical certificate from a physician
  • Bank statement or financial documents (not for international student)
  • Supporting statement from faculty, program director, and school official
  • Other supporting documents

The Academic Dean will make the following decisions on each appeal in timely fashion:

  1. The student’s appeal may be fully accepted and financial aid eligibility fully reinstated. This is the case that the student’s appealing for his/her circumstance was granted or it is the result of an administrative or recording error made on the student’s academic record. If the case is appeal for dismissal by mitigating circumstances, the student will be placed on probation and the financial aid eligibility is restored. Under the probation, the student needs to meet the program director for counseling and approval for registration for the following session. The student also must meet the SAP requirement to be in good standing.
  2. The student’s appeal may be denied thus making him/her ineligible for federal financial aid. In this case, the student must be readmitted without financial aid after one session. Student can try a second appeal process but the student must enroll without financial aid before decision of the second appeal is made.
  3. IMPORTANT: Generally, student cannot use the same reason for the appeal process for the dismissal status.

Extended Enrollment Status

If a student fails to make satisfactory academic progress within the normal length of the program, the student may be placed on extended enrollment status. Financial aid is not provided for the student in this status and tuition will be charged at the regularly published rate. If the student retakes the course to raise the CGPA, the final grade will be based only on the most recent course grade, meaning all previous grades will be excluded.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a diploma/certificate upon successful completion of the course at Columbia College:

  1. Students must complete all of the required courses and credits/hours within the maximum time frame.
  2. Students must finish the entire program of study with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0, C, regulated by satisfactory academic progress.
  3. Students must be in good financial standing with the school (pay full tuition and other required fees)
  4. Students in federal financial aid program must have exit counseling.
  5. Graduation exam may be assessed in the programs which require licensure examination for job placement – Cosmetology, Massage Therapy, and Nurse Aide.

Grade Appeal

A grade appeal must be initiated by the student within three weeks of receiving a grade. A written request must be first submitted to the instructor of the class. If the issues are not resolved, a written request must be submitted to the appropriate program coordinator. A school committee, consisting of faculty and staff, will request a hearing in which the student and the faculty member will present their cases. All decisions made by this committee are final and the same issue cannot be appealed again.


  1. Students will be dismissed from Columbia College in the following cases:
    • Three academic warnings
    • Failure or refusal of registration
    • Serious misbehavior in the classroom such as threatening, physical abuse, sexual harassment, refusal to follow instruction, or continuous disturbances
    • Proven theft
    • Any serious violation of the school’s regulations
  2. When a student is academically dismissed
    • He/she is not eligible to enroll in Columbia College’s day or evening classes for a minimum of one session
    • International students must request for reinstatement by submitting a reinstatement form to a designated school official (DSO) at the International Students Office
  3. Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Appeal: A student may request to appeal an Unsatisfactory Academic Progress evaluation by writing to the academic dean. The request must be submitted to the business office and a meeting will be scheduled within 5 days after the request submission. The student’s grade reports and attendance records will be examined at the meeting. If the school made an error for any reason, the student’s Unsatisfactory Academic Progress evaluation will be revoked.

Permanent Withdrawal from the College

If a student wants to withdraw entirely from the College, it is strongly recommended that the student notify the Academic office in writing as soon as possible to begin the process. If the student does not notify the College (in writing as recommended or by contacting the office orally) of the intent to withdraw, it is likely that the student will receive a W (withdrawal) or a failing grade in all registered classes. When the student withdraws, the College will determine if any tuition must be refunded based on the refund policy.

Students who fail to register for an upcoming session are considered withdrawn from the College.

Leave of Absence

An approved leave of absence allows a student to be absent from the College for one session, while authorizing the student to return and continue to study under catalog requirements applied prior to their absence. Students must be in good academic standing in order to qualify for a leave of absence.

The following are valid reasons to request a leave of absence while students can maintain his/her F-1 non-immigrant student status:

  1. Medical leave – Medical leave must be accompanied by a physician’s letter that supports the request for a leave of absence from the College.
  2. Going back to a home country due to personal reasons or a family emergency – A copy of a plane ticket must be submitted.

* The Students who request a leave of absence must submit his/her required documents before the leave of absence.

** In order to maintain F-1 status, students must provide a valid reason for a leave of absence. For example, if a student requests a leave of absence due to a family emergency in his/her home country, the student must be physically in his/her home country during the session for which the leave of absence has been granted. Staying in the U.S without attending the College violates F-1 status.

Procedures for Requesting a Leave of Absence

  • Step 1: If you are currently enrolled in the session, but you intend to take a leave of absence, you must withdraw from all classes using a program drop form and a refund request form. Both forms must be approved and stamped by a school official and a refund amount will be determined based upon the refund policy.
  • Step 2: Fill out a leave of absence request form, giving information on the reason for the absence and the duration. Forms are available at the admissions office. The maximum duration for a leave of absence is one session.
  • Step 3: Make an appointment with the student services. Present the completed leave of absence request form along with any supporting letters or documents. The director will review a request, write a recommendation, and deliver the form to the appropriate person at the registrar and/or the international student office for final approval. This process may take up to one week.

Retention of School Records

All employees are responsible and accountable for the records in their possession and those records for which they have control.

All local and federal laws will be followed by every Columbia College employee during the creation, retention, and disposal of school records.

Columbia College management is responsible and accountable for managing and implementing the legal requirements for record-keeping in the school facilities.

All records created or received in the ordinary course of administrative and academic activities are the property of Columbia College, and are subject to this guideline. This pertains to all forms and all media including:

  • Handwritten, typed, or printed documents on paper
  • Electronic documents (e.g., e-mails, Web sites, CDs, USBs)
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Graphic representations
  • Network servers and document management systems
  1. Record Retention Schedule

There are two types of records – “General Records” and “Special Records.” The retention schedule provides guidance for categorizing and describing all records and assigning a retention period for each.

  • General Records: General school operation records may be kept for a period not to exceed five years (max. 5 years) after the record creation date. All Columbia College records are in this category unless identified as a Special Record.
  • Special Records: Special Records have a business, tax, or legal requirement, and include academic records. These records are in the Special Records Retention Regulation and maintained for an indefinite time period.

Campus Safety and Security Plan

Columbia College ensures the safety and security on the campus on a daily basis. In light of recent events, Columbia College has increased security measures for students and staff safety. In addition, in preparation for emergencies and disasters that may occur on campus, the school has in place a Campus Emergency Plan. Under this plan, personnel are assigned particular responsibilities and will respond when needed.

  1. Threat Code Explanation:
RED – Severe Risk of Terrorist Attack

ORANGE – High Risk of Terrorist Attack

YELLOW – Significant Risk of Terrorist Attack

BLUE – General Risk of Terrorist Attack

GREEN – Low Risk of Terrorist Attack

  • If you feel that you or others are in danger, immediately report the situation to the school office.
  • If an evacuation alarm (fire alarm) goes off or if the condition in the building appears to warrant it, leave the building and proceed to a safe location.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Report any suspicious activity or person to the school office.

For more information, please refer to Columbia College’s 2022 Annual Security Report here. The Annual Security Report is a document published by Columbia College with its current safety policy and the past three years of crime data.

Lost and Found

The lost and found department is located in admissions office. Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, students, faculty, staff, and visitors are encouraged to inquire about lost or misplaced items. You may inquire in person or call the office at (703) 206-0508.

Drug and Alcohol Free Policy

This policy statement of Columbia College is in compliance with the U.S. Department of Education and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989, PL 101-226 20 USC’s 1145g and Higher Education Act of 1965, Section 1213.

  1. Policy

It is the policy of Columbia College that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, use or abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs on the Columbia College campus, any off-campus site, and at any school functions at off-campus locations are strictly prohibited.

All employees and students are subject to applicable federal, state, and local laws related to this matter. Additionally, any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action as set forth in Columbia College regulations.

Under school regulations, students, faculty, and staff are required to abide by state laws concerning alcoholic beverages. Virginia laws state that, if one is under the age of 21, it is unlawful to:

  • Possess or consume alcoholic beverages,
  • Misrepresent one’s age for the purpose of purchasing alcoholic beverages,
  • Use a fake ID in an attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages,
  • Drink or be drunk on campus and in the classroom.
  1. Policy Review

This policy statement and any revisions hereto shall be distributed annually to students and employees. Distribution shall be the responsibility of the school president.