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Academic Retention and Readmission at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions



Students at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology are expected to maintain satisfactory attendance and to progress in an appropriate manner toward their training objectives. This policy provides minimum criteria for evaluating student achievement relating to identified occupational competencies and defines retention standards for the colleges.


Absence: a student is considered to be absent if he or she is not present in the classroom, lab or assigned work-based learning activity and not actively engaged in his or her program course curriculum.

Clock Hour: A period of time consisting of—

  • A 50- to 60-minute class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period;
  • A 50- to 60-minute faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training, or internship in a 60-minute period; or
  • Sixty minutes of preparation in a correspondence course.
  • In distance education, 50 to 60 minutes in a 60-minute period of attendance in:
    • A synchronous or asynchronous class, lecture, or recitation where there is opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and student: or 
    • An asynchronous learning activity involving academic engagement in which the student interacts with technology that can monitor and document the amount of time that the student participates in the activity

Competency: A combination of observable and measurable knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform “critical work functions” or tasks in a defined work setting.

Customary Clock Hours: Total clock hours associated with a course that are customarily required for a student to gain competency of a topic.

Full Time: Enrollment and attendance in a minimum of 30 hours per week. Part Time: Enrollment and attendance in less than 30 hours per week.

Suspension: Temporary removal of a student from enrollment at the institution due to violation of school policies or academic requirements.

Tardy: Any instance in which a student is not in class at the designated start time.

Transfer Credit: Course credit given through assessment of prior learning/transfer credit. Credit is provided as grades of ‘TP’ or ‘TC’ that are not factored into grade point average (GPA).

  • TP Grade: Transfer--Full Course Credit, course is not available for attendance/absence posting or grading.
  • TC Grade: Transfer--Partial Course Credit, course is available for attendance/absence posting and grading.


  1. Student Attendance
    1. The nature of the programs at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology is such that it is necessary for every student to attend regularly. Excessive interruptions due to absences will have an adverse effect on student progress.
      1. A full-time student enrolled for a full term (432 hours) and that has been absent for more than 5.5% (24 hours) of the scheduled hours enrolled will receive written communication alerting the student to the number of hours remaining prior to suspension. Available community and institutional resources will be shared to assist students with attendance issues. The number of hours of absence triggering notification must be prorated for all part-time students and full-time students enrolled for less than a full term.
      2. When a full-time student enrolls for a full term (432 hours) and has absences exceeding 9.7% (42 hours) of the scheduled hours enrolled, that student will be suspended. A student suspended for attendance may appeal the suspension in writing to the president within three (3) days of receiving notification of the suspension. A student appealing suspension of attendance may remain in class until the suspension has been reviewed. The number of hours triggering suspension must be prorated for all part-time and full-time students enrolled for less than a full term.
      3. A student is considered tardy if not in the classroom at the designated time for class to start. Multiple tardies will result in the following discipline:
        1. Five (5) tardies - Student will be given a written warning by instructor.
        2. Six (6) tardies - Student will be placed on probation by the president or the president's designee.
        3. Seven (7) tardies - Student will be referred to the president, and may be suspended.
      4. An attendance record for each student shall be maintained in the student information system.
    2. When a student misses three (3) consecutive days without contacting the college, that student may be presumed to have withdrawn from the college.
  2. Exceptions for Suspension due to Student Attendance
    1. In individual cases of extenuating circumstances, the president may make exceptions to the requirement of suspension or presumed withdrawal due to absences. The circumstances warranting such exceptions should be fully documented.
  3. Student Progress
    1. Evaluations of student achievement toward a program's identified occupational competencies are recorded for each student at the end of 432 hours of instruction that comprise a term. Those evaluations shall be based on the following scale of progress:
      1. A = 90 – 100
      2. B = 80 – 89
      3. C = 70 – 79
      4. D = 60 – 69
      5. F = 0 - 59
      6. P = Pass
      7. Cont = Continuing/Incomplete
      8. W = Withdrew
    2. Grades for courses will be determined as described in course syllabi. Students will be graded in the following categories:
      1. Skill Proficiency
      2. Theory/Related Information
  4. Prior Learning Assessment/Transfer Credit
    1. Each TCAT will establish a process for prospective students to submit prior learning or transfer credit for review by an instructor in the student’s selected program of study. The process will be advertised to all students and will be outlined in the student handbook.
    2. Transfer credit for previous training from other institutions or prior learning experience may be given credit toward program completion requirements upon demonstration of common competencies. Students requesting credit for prior education/training or experiences may do so through two sources of prior credit that can be reviewed by instructors for recommendation for the student to receive credit towards a course in a TCAT program of study.
      1. Credit from a sister TCAT institution.
      2. Credit from all other institutions, work experiences, certifications, etc.
    3. For the purpose of GPA, the prior learning or transfer credit will appear on the student’s transcript. A grade of ‘TP’ for Transfer--Full Course Credit or ‘TC’ for Transfer—Partial Course Credit will be assigned and will not be included in the GPA calculation.
    4. Transfer credit provisions are set by each technical college in keeping with best practice guidelines. As such, transfer of prior credit is limited in a number of areas. For example,
      1. the number of hours that may be transferred,
      2. in equivalency of requirements,
      3. the procedures for acceptance of transfer credits, including GPA requirements,
      4. the period in which courses may be taken and time limits on work varies by institution,
      5. department and academic program.
  5. Grade Point System
    1. The following grade point system is to be used in grade point average (GPA):
      1. A: 4 points per customary clock hour
      2. B: 3 points per customary clock hour
      3. C: 2 points per customary clock hour
      4. D: 1 points per customary clock hour
      5. F: 0 points per customary clock hour
    2. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of customary clock hours for the courses which the student attempted. Customary clock hours in courses from which the student withdraws or in which the student receives grades such as pass/fail, are not considered when determining the GPA.
    3. Finally, a single student transcript will include term and cumulative GPA calculations. The cumulative calculation will be used in determining the required GPA for graduation, honors, and financial aid eligibility. The term calculation will be used when determining suspension.
    4. For the purpose of increasing mastery in a course when such is necessary for program progression or for the purpose of increasing the GPA, institutions may permit students to repeat courses in which their final grades are C or lower. Allied Health programs may outline specific repeat course guidelines in their respective Allied Health student handbook.
    5. In computing the GPA, the question of how to count repeat courses must be specifically addressed in the Student Handbook of each institution. In the event a student repeats a course, the repeat course grade is calculated into, and the original grade is excluded from the GPA. If courses are repeated more than twice (three attempts), GPA is calculated using the third attempt and all subsequent attempts.
  6. Retention Standard
    1. GPA TCATs
      1. A student who fails during any term to attain a cumulative GPA at or above the level indicated below for the customary clock hours attempted or the average grade per course, will be placed on suspension at the end of the term.
        1. Standards:
          1. A student must earn a "D" (60) or better per course for each term and an overall 2.0 GPA or better per term.
          2. Nursing Programs require a "B" (80) or better per course for each term.
          3. Truck Driving programs require a “B” (80) or better per course.
          4. Aviation Maintenance Technology programs require a “C” (73) or better per course for each term.
          5. Avionics Maintenance Technology program requires a “C” (73) or better per course for each term.
      2. Additional retention standards for specific programs may be established by the college based on accreditation or licensing requirements applicable to a program.
  7. Readmission from Suspension for Grades or Attendance
    1. The president may consider for readmission the applicant who has been suspended.
    2. Criteria that the president will consider in assessing candidacy for readmission are as follows:
      1. Assessment of the candidate's willingness to address those deficiencies that contributed to the prior suspension, and
      2. Assessment of the likelihood that the readmitted student may succeed in pursuing their training objective.


T.C.A. § 49-11-401 et seq., T.C.A. § 49-8-101 et seq.

TBR Meeting, September 30, 1983; Revised: TBR Meeting, June 30, 1989; Revised: TBR Meeting, September 29, 1995; TBR Meeting, September 22, 2000; Revised: TBR Meeting, September 30, 2005; Revised: TBR Meeting, September 29, 2006; Board Meeting, June 23, 2017; Revised at Board Meeting  September 23, 2020; Revised at Board Meeting, September 24, 2021; Revised at Board Meeting, March 30, 2023; Revised at Board meeting December 12, 2023.