The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is awarded for completion of a comprehensive program of study in professional technical education designed to prepare graduates for technician-level employment. Programs leading to the AAS degree are 90 or more credits in length.
The Associate of Applied Science - Transfer (AAS-T) option contains the technical courses needed for job preparation, as well as a minimum of 20 credits of transferable general education coursework in English and math, and in humanities, social science, or natural science.
Direct Transfer Agreement/Major-Related Program (DTA/MRP) and Associate in Science-Transfer/Major-Related Program (AS-T/MRP) degree options are designed for students who intend to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution before entering the workforce. Completion of these BTC 90-plus credit degrees prepares students to transfer with junior status to a participating college or university.
The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree is a two-year degree added on top of an existing associate degree or previous bachelor’s degree.
A certificate of completion is awarded for successful completion of an approved course of study totaling less than 90 credits within a program of professional technical education.
Upon successful completion of an AAS, AAS-T, DTA/MRP, or AS-T/MRP degree, a state high school (HS) diploma is available to students who have not otherwise satisfied the State Board of Education’s high school graduation requirements. Students must meet eligibility criteria as defined in bill SHB 1758 and submit an online High School Diploma application. Once verified, High School Diploma will be posted to the student’s BTC transcript along with the earned degree.
Students may elect to graduate under the provisions of the catalog in force either at the time of entry OR at the time of completion, providing four (4) years have not lapsed AND the student has remained continuously enrolled in the program. Students needing longer than four years to complete a given degree or certificate will be subject to any updated completion requirements.
In determining if the requirements for graduation have been met, the college provides assistance through faculty advisors, academic advisors, counselors, and the college catalog. However, the final responsibility for meeting all completion requirements rests with the student. Students have the responsibility of verifying specific completion requirements with their advisor and Degree Audit.
General Completion Requirements for Degrees and Certificates
1. Complete, with a passing grade, all technical and academic core courses as listed in the BTC Catalog on the program pages defining requirements for individual degrees/certificates. Some degree/certificate programs may require minimum grades in required courses.
2. Complete the online BTC Graduation Application and Degree Audit for each degree or certificate requested.
3. Meet all financial obligations to the College.
4. Earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above. Individual programs may require a higher grade point average.
5. Complete 15 college-level credits in the required course work at BTC.
6. BTC may verify and award certificates and degrees as they are earned.
Certificates and degrees are awarded to students following successful completion of all program requirements. The final responsibility for meeting all completion requirements rests with the student. In determining if the requirements for graduation have been met, the college provides students assistance through faculty advisors, academic advisors, degree audit tools and the college catalog. Students have the responsibility of verifying specific completion requirements with their faculty advisor.
BTC is committed to student completion of professional technical degrees and certificates. In the event of a degree or certificate program termination, the College will make an effort to assist students in the completion of program requirements within a specific timeframe.
All students who complete a program of 45 credits or more by the preceding fall, winter, spring and following summer quarters are eligible to participate in the June Commencement Ceremony. Students must submit an online graduation application and Commencement Participation form by the published deadline. Guest tickets (no charge) are required for the Commencement Ceremony, and each participating graduate receives four tickets that can be picked up at the Commencement Countdown event. Black cap and gown are required and can be purchased through the BTC Campus Store.
General Education Requirements
General education courses are included in the programs to prepare students with communication, computation, and interpersonal skills required for success. All candidates for degrees and certificate options of one year (45 credits) or longer in length must satisfy the requirements for general education.
Each program has specific requirements unique to that field of study and employment or transfer. For specific General Education requirements, see individual program pages in the catalog, online at www.btc.edu/Degrees or in Degree Audit.
Minimum General Education Requirements
Certificates of 45 credits or more and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees require a minimum of 3-5 credits in Communications, 3-5 credits in Mathematics, and 3-5 credits in Human Relations.
Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) degrees require a minimum of 5 credits in English Composition (ENGL 101 ), 5 credits in college-level Mathematics, and 10 credits in Science, Social Science or Humanities.
Direct Transfer Agreement/Major-Related Program (DTA/MRP) degrees require General Education to satisfy transfer requirements for universities. See requirements at www.btc.edu/Degrees.
Bachelor of Applied Science degree requirements are posted at www.btc.edu/Degrees.
Classes falling into each of the required categories are listed at www.btc.edu/Academics. Specific programs may be more prescriptive and require a particular class within one of these categories, or may require additional General Education requirements. These requirements are catalog-year specific. Refer to program information at www.btc.edu/Degrees and talk with your advisor regarding particular requirements.
BTC uses the following letter grading symbols:
Interpretation of Grade Symbols
A (4.0) Excellence in Achievement of Competency
In relation to the standards set for the course, the student has done an exceptionally high level of work and has achieved all competencies.
B (3.0) Above Average Achievement of Competency
In relation to the standards set for the course, the student has significantly exceeded the average and has achieved all competencies.
C (2.0) Average Achievement of Competency
In relation to the standards set for the course, the student accomplished an average level of work and, at a minimum, has achieved all competencies.
D (1.0) Below Average Achievement of Competency
In relation to the standards set for the course, the student did not do average work and did not meet the minimum level competencies.
F (0.0) Failure to Achieve Minimum Competency
The student failed to progress toward minimum competencies and performed at exceptionally low level of skill. Student must repeat degree/certificate program course requirement in which an F grade has been earned.
NOTE: + and - symbols are used with traditional letter grades A through D to differentiate level of achievement within a grade range. The + symbol is not used with the letter grade A, the - symbol is no longer used with the letter grade D, and neither the + or - symbols are used with the letter grade F.
The following grades do not carry grade point values and therefore are not computed into the grade point average (GPA).
||Academic Credit for Prior Learning (ACPL)
|I (with letter grade)
||In-Progress (valid grade prior to Fall Quarter 2005)
||Repeat (after a letter grade)
||Transfer (valid grade prior to Summer Quarter 2009)
||Unofficial Withdrawal (valid grade prior to Fall Quarter 2010)
AU - Audit
This designation is used for continuing education courses only and must be requested by the student before the course begins or prior to the second class session. This grade is not used for academic courses or degree/certificate programs course requirements. No credit will be awarded for Audit classes. The student must pay regular tuition and fees.
CR - Academic Credit for Prior Learning (ACPL)
ACPL is credit granted toward the award of a degree or certificate for prior learning experiences, demonstrated through various means of assessment, to be the equivalent of learning gained through formal collegiate instruction. Credits are earned.
I - Incomplete
The student completed a significant portion (75% or more) of the course requirements, but did not complete all requirements by the end of the quarter. For a student to receive a letter grade, a contract for completing the competencies must be established with the instructor and all work completed according to the contract within one year from the date the I grade was received. Failure to achieve satisfactory completion by the deadline will result in the grade changing from an I to an F.
I with letter grade - In-Progress (valid grade prior to Fall Quarter 2005)
The student has completed a significant portion of the course at the time of grading and is performing at the level of the grade identified. In-Progress grades will post each quarter until all course requirements are completed. A final grade will be posted in the quarter of completion.
NP - No Pass
In relation to the standards set for the course, the student did not meet the requirements. No Pass is used for internship courses, work-based learning experiences, and clinical courses.
P - Pass
In relation to the standards set for the course, the student met all requirements. Pass/No Pass is used for internship courses, work-based learning experiences, and clinical courses. Credits are earned.
R - Repeat (after letter grade)
A grade qualifier that indicates the course has been repeated. Only the highest grade will compute into the cumulative GPA. This indicator appears after the letter grade of the lowest grade.
T - Transfer credit (valid grade prior to Summer Quarter 2009)
Transfer Credit granted for coursework completed from other regionally accredited institutions, as determined by the designated transcript evaluator or dean through evaluation of official transcripts. Effective Summer Quarter 2009, cumulative transfer credits will be noted on the student transcript.
V - Unofficial Withdrawal (valid grade prior to Fall Quarter 2010)
The student discontinued the course and did not officially withdraw.
W - Official Withdrawal
A system-awarded grade for students who officially withdraw from a course or program prior to the end of the quarter, or the designation of an administrative withdrawal of the student by the college.
Grading Policy/Grading Changes
A grade posted on a student’s transcript is considered final. If a student believes there has been a grading error, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor right away. Instructors can submit grade changes due to an error no more than four quarters from the time the grade was awarded.
Course Grade Appeals
Bellingham Technical College believes in the right of all students to receive a fair and equitable review process when a grade complaint arises. These procedures will ensure that the grade awarded was not an arbitrary or capricious evaluation of the student’s fulfillment of the course requirements as described in the course syllabus.
1. INITIATION OF APPEAL
Students who believe they received an improper final grade shall have until the tenth day of the subsequent quarter to appeal. For example, if the final grade was given in fall quarter, it must be appealed no later than the tenth day of winter quarter. However, if the grade was given in spring quarter the complaint may be appealed through the tenth day of the next fall quarter. Students are responsible for retaining all papers, tests, and projects from the class in question. Appeals of grades must demonstrate an arbitrary or capricious evaluation of student work or a calculation error. W (Withdrawal) grades are not appealable. The Appeal Process is not available to a student in a case where the grade has been given as a result of disciplinary action, such as cheating or plagiarism.
2. INFORMAL PROCESS — RESOLUTION BETWEEN STUDENT AND FACULTY
The student initiates the grade appeal process by speaking to the course instructor. This process should facilitate good faith efforts on the part of both the student and faculty member to resolve the matter.
PLEASE NOTE: In the event that the instructor is no longer employed by the college, or is away from the campus for an extended period of time, the appropriate Dean will appoint two faculty members to review the student’s work and the grade which is under appeal. The grade can only be changed upon the recommendation of both faculty members. If there is no agreement, the grade shall remain as awarded.
3. FORMAL PROCESS WITH THE DEAN
If the informal process with the instructor does not reach resolution, the student may initiate a formal grade appeal process by submitting a completed grade appeal form to the appropriate Dean by the end of the fourth week of the quarter. Once the Dean has received the completed form, they have ten (10) business days in which to discuss the situation with the instructor and the student. The student must
make themself reasonably available to meet with the Dean. The Dean has another ten (10) business days following their discussion(s) with the instructor and student within which to make a written recommendation to the student which may:
1. Deny the request for a change of grade.
2. Move forward with grade appeal and convene the Hearing Committee.
If the Dean convenes the Hearing Committee, the decision of the Hearing Committee shall be final.
3.a APPEAL OF THE PROGRAM DEAN’S DECISION TO DENY THE GRADE CHANGE
If the student wishes to appeal the Dean’s decision to deny the grade change, it should be done within five (5) business days of receipt of the Dean’s decision. The written appeal should be submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs & Student Learning (VPAASL) and should stipulate the reasons for the appeal. The VPAASL has ten (10) business days following his or her receipt of the appeal to review the documents and meet with the student. The VPAASL has another ten (10) business days following his or her meeting with the student to make a written recommendation to the student which may:
1. Uphold the decision of the Dean and deny the request for a change of grade, which will end the appeal process.
2. Move forward with grade appeal and request the Dean convene a Hearing Committee.
If the VPAASL requests the Dean to convene the Hearing Committee, the decision of the Hearing Committee shall be final.
4. COMPOSITION OF THE GRADE APPEAL HEARING COMMITTEE
The Grade Appeal Hearing Committee will be drawn from a pool of ten (10) volunteer faculty members (approved in advance, by the VPAASL) who serve on-call for a one-year term.
From the pool of ten (10) names, five (5) will be chosen randomly by the Dean (with the student and, if possible, the instructor of record, present). The student will then remove two of the five (5) names. The remaining three (3) faculty members will make up the Hearing Committee. Chosen faculty may abstain from any Hearing Committee if they stipulate that serving poses a conflict of interest. In that case another member would be selected randomly from the pool by the VPAASL.
The Academic Dean or designee will serve as facilitator and an ex-officio member of the Grade Appeal Hearing Committee.
4.a GRADE APPEAL HEARING COMMITTEE PROCESS
The Academic Dean or designee will contact the Grade Appeal Hearing Committee within ten (10) days of the request by the VPAASL.
The Hearing Committee will set a date for the hearing, review all documentation, and may interview all parties, including other students who may serve as student and/or faculty advocates. At the hearing, the instructor and the student will have a maximum of 30 minutes each in which to present their case. The Hearing Committee may vote to extend the 30-minute limit to an additional amount of time and provide the same number of minutes to both the student and instructor.
The Hearing Committee will render their decision within ten (10) business days of the hearing. The decision of the Committee is final and the appeals process ends.
Copies of the decision will go to the VPAASL, the student, and the instructor. A copy also will be placed in the student’s file.
- Students who repeat a course need to fill out a Course Repeat form at the time of registration. If registering online, students need to complete a Course Repeat form prior to the course end date.
- Students may not take a class more than three (3) times per state regulation (this is defined as two repeats in addition to the original enrollment). Students must meet with an advisor to develop an educational plan when they repeat a class for a third time. Some programs may have more stringent restrictions for repeating courses (e.g. nursing). Courses with letter grades AU, CR, I, NP, T, or W, are excluded because these grades do not affect the GPA calculation and will remain on the transcript.
- The Repeat Symbol (R) indicates the course has been repeated. Only the highest grade will compute in the cumulative GPA. An R will be placed next to the lowest grade on the transcript.
- Students receiving financial aid or veterans benefits should consult the respective office(s) prior to repeating a course, as benefits or eligibility may be reduced or canceled as a result of the repeat.
Grades and Transcripts
Quarterly grades for all graded programs and courses are available in myBTC portal or at www.btc.edu\transcripts within three business days following the end of the quarter. Grades can be viewed on unofficial transcripts. An unofficial transcript is an unsigned and unsealed copy of the student’s academic record and is available online. There is no charge for unofficial transcripts. The official transcript is a sealed copy of the student’s academic record bearing the college’s seal and the signature of the Registrar. Requests for official transcripts require a student signature and must be accompanied by the appropriate transcript fee. Official transcripts are requested online through the National Student Clearinghouse at www.getmytranscript.com
GED transcripts are available at www.ged.com
Student records require a student’s legal name. In myBTC portal, students may enter a preferred name for faculty class rosters.
It is the student’s responsibility to review their transcript for accuracy.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Quarterly grade point averages are calculated as follows: 1. The number of credits for a course multiplied by the numerical grade awarded to obtain the grade points for that course. 2. Add the grade points for all courses taken. 3. Divide the sum of the grade points earned by the total number of credits attempted in course awarding numerical grades to obtain the GPA for a particular quarter. AU, CR, I, P/NP, T, and W grades are not used in computing grade point average.
Conversion of Clock Hours to Quarterly Credits
Prior to Summer Quarter 2007, Bellingham Technical College was a Clock-Hour institution. Here are the appropriate equivalency formulas for converting clock hours to credits at Bellingham Technical College.
- Starting in 2001, courses taken equate to 11 clock hours to one (1) quarterly credit. For example, English 101, English Composition in the past was listed in our catalog as 54 clock hours. Using this formula, this would equate to 5 quarterly credits (rounded to the nearest whole number).
- Courses taken prior to 2001 equate to 16.5 clock hours to one (1) quarterly credit.
From 2004-05 to 2006-07 the BTC Catalog lists both clock hours and credits for courses. In the summer of 2007, BTC converted from a clock hours to a credits institution.
Dean’s List - Students who carry a 12-credit load or more in graded courses and who earn a quarterly grade point average of 3.75 or higher are placed on the Dean’s List for the quarter.
Honors Designation (effective Fall Quarter 2016) - Awarded to each full-time student enrolled in a degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher at the completion of all degree requirements. Full-time is defined as being enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits per quarter.
- Cum Laude: with honor 3.50-3.74 cumulative GPA
- Magna Cum Laude: with great honor 3.75-3.89 cumulative GPA
- Summa Cum Laude: with highest honor 3.90-4.00 cumulative GPA
Certificate of Merit - Full- or part-time degree/certificate program students who demonstrate academic and/or program excellence in their program may be awarded the Certificate of Merit by full-time program faculty upon program completion. Certificate of Merit recipients are announced at the June Commencement Ceremony.
Phi Theta Kappa - This is the international honor society for two-year colleges. Its primary goal is to recognize and encourage scholarship among associate degree students. To be eligible, a student must:
- Be a full time student without an advanced degree
- Completed at least 15 credits of coursework towards an associate degree
- Have a GPA of 3.5 at the time of membership application
- Pay a membership fee
Academic Standards and Progress
The primary objective of Bellingham Technical College is to prepare an educated workforce. In educating students, BTC stresses equally the development of technical skills, communication and interpersonal skills, positive work habits, and attitudes that are required for employment. In light of this, BTC expects that students demonstrate academic progress.
In 2003, the Legislature of the State of Washington established a law requiring colleges to develop policies to ensure that undergraduate students complete degree and certificate programs in a timely manner in order to make the most efficient use of instructional resources and provide capacity within the institution for additional students.
Academic Standards/Credit Completion Policy
Students who wish to graduate and receive a degree or certificate must earn a quarterly grade point average of 2.0 or better in the program course requirements for the specific degree or certificate.
In order to demonstrate satisfactory progress:
- All students will maintain regular attendance for each enrollment period. See Attendance below.
- All students will demonstrate satisfactory progress toward meeting program objectives. This standard is defined as maintaining a quarterly grade point average minimum of 2.0*.
* Individual programs may require higher-level grades in program or individual course requirements in defining satisfactory progress. These requirements will be published and made available to students upon enrollment in the program.
Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory progress as defined above will be placed on academic alert and notified of their status. Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory progress for the following quarter will be placed on academic probation, notified of their status, informed they need to complete an Academic Improvement Plan and to meet with their assigned point of contact. Students will be suspended after three consecutive quarters of unsatisfactory progress, notified of their status and future enrollment blocked.
Students who have been suspended as a result of unsatisfactory academic progress may petition for readmission. The suspended student will be required to meet with the appropriate program Dean to complete a plan for academic re-admission by the 5th instructional day of the quarter. The Dean reviews appeals on a case by case basis and may grant an appeal allowing the student to continue under certain circumstances, or deny the appeal.
Regular attendance is required to maintain satisfactory academic progress. BTC believes that attendance is a critical workplace competency and is important to overall student success. It is important that students attend all scheduled classes or notify their instructor of any absences. Attendance may be part of the grade in certain programs or classes.
Students who fail to attend and do not participate in a course activity by the second day of class, may be dropped from class by the Instructor as a No Show.
It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from a class and review their Student Schedule for accuracy.
Notification of Rights Under FERPA Privacy of Records/Releasing Of Information
Bellingham Technical College policy on privacy of records and releasing of information follows the directives outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law governing the protection of educational records. Registered students will be notified of this policy on an annual basis. Others can find the policy in the Bellingham Technical College catalog and website.
Personally identifiable information will not be released from an education record without the prior written consent of the student, unless an exception has been granted by FERPA (see Exceptions under FERPA section below).
Rights Under FERPA
FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records:
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within forty-five (45) days of the day the college receives a request for access.
Students should present to the Director of Registration and Enrollment a signed, written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Director of Registration and Enrollment 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 Director of Registration and Enrollment, the director shall advise the student of the college official to whom the request should be addressed. At the time of viewing, the student shall present a form of picture identification, such as a valid driver’s license, before being allowed to view the record.
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 they believe is inaccurate or misleading. Students should request forms for this purpose from the Director of Registration and Enrollment. Students should 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 or 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.
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 (see Exceptions under FERPA below).
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20202-5920
Exceptions Under FERPA
Under certain conditions, as authorized by FERPA, information can be released without student consent:
The term directory information is a legal term applying to that information the college may release, without student consent, to any third party, with the exception of GED candidates or graduates, and subject to college staff approval. The use of the term directory information does not imply that the college actually has documents containing student directory information or that the college has any obligation to produce such a document. It is the college’s practice not to provide student contact lists to third parties.
BTC has defined directory information as the following:
- Student name
- Major field of study
- Enrollment status
- Dates of enrollment
- Date of completion
- Degree/certificate awarded
The fact that a person has or has not taken a GED test will be treated as confidential information. This information will be released only with written permission by the GED candidate or graduate.
Students have the right to restrict the disclosure of directory information at any time. To restrict the disclosure of directory information, a student may file a signed written request with the Director of Registration and Enrollment. This request to restrict disclosure of directory information will be honored until such time as the student presents signed written notification to the Director of Registration and Enrollment to remove the restriction. A student’s name will not appear in the Commencement program or any press releases, no degree or enrollment verifications will be processed for a third party and the ability to register online will need to be arranged.
According to federal law, the college must release to the U.S. Armed Forces student name, address, phone number, date of birth, and field of study. To restrict the disclosure of this information, a student may file a signed written request with the Director of Registration and Enrollment.
Authorized Federal, State, and Local Authorities
Student authorization is not required for disclosure to an authorized representative of the following individuals or entities:
- The Comptroller General of the United States
- The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
- State educational authorities
- Any party legitimately connected with the student’s application for or receipt of financial aid
- Accrediting organizations
- Agencies involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs
- Organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions
Information can be released to other schools to which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
In an emergency, information can be released to law enforcement personnel, emergency personnel, and college officials in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
Legitimate Educational Interest
Officials of the college who are determined by the college to have a legitimate educational interest may have access to student records without obtaining consent from the student. Officials of the college is defined as:
- Persons employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position
- Persons serving on college governing bodies
- Persons employed by or under contract to the college to perform a specific task, such as an attorney
- Persons or companies with whom the college has contracted, such as attorneys, third party services (such as National Student Clearinghouse or BankMobile, auditors, or collection agents/ agencies
- Persons serving on the Board of Trustees
- Students serving on official committees (such as a disciplinary or grievance committee) or who are assisting other school officials in performing their tasks
Officials of the college have a legitimate educational interest if they need to:
- Perform duties specified in their job description or under terms of contractual agreement
- Provide campus services related to a student, such as advising, financial aid, and counseling
- Conduct tasks related to a student’s education or campus discipline
Information must be released to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The college will make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance, so that the student may seek protective action. However, if the court (or other issuing agency) has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or judicial order not be disclosed, the college will comply, and notification to the student will be withheld.
Grievance hearing information about a student or students involved in a grievance investigation or grievance hearing may be released to members of the Grievance Committee, including any students assigned to that committee, if such information is germane to the investigation or hearing.
The results of a disciplinary hearing may be released to an alleged victim of a crime of violence without the permission of the accused.
Bellingham Technical College Foundation
Student names and addresses may be released to the Bellingham Technical College Foundation for foundation-related activities. The Foundation is considered part of the college and will hold confidential such information, using the information only in specific activities intended to aid and support the college. Release of such information to the Foundation will be made only with the approval of the college president or his/her designee.
U.S. Patriot Act
The college must release, without consent or knowledge of the student, personally identifiable information from a student’s education record to the Attorney General of the United States or his/ her designee in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes specified in sections 233b (g)(5)(B) and 2331 of Title 18, U.S. Code.
Personnel employed by the college who have consent in the form of a written release of information signed by the student may disclose student information to appropriate outside agencies or persons.
Student seeking to use BTC faculty or staff as a reference for employment are required to complete the Student Release for Reference or Recommendation form. Students obtain this form from their faculty.
Bellingham Technical College is committed to promoting and providing a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. Referring to students by the name they wish to be called in classrooms and when interacting with college personnel supports a respectful learning environment. The reasons for choosing a preferred name that may be different from a legally changed name are personal and different for each individual.
A preferred name is a name a student wishes to be known by in the college community that is different from a student’s legal name. Typically, preferred names are first names. Surnames (last names) can be changed only with a legal name change.
Use of a preferred name is optional.
The reasons for choosing a preferred name that may be different from a legally changed name are personal and different for each individual. Students may have many reasons for asking to have their preferred names, over their legal names, displayed on non-legal documents:
- Students known by names that are different from their legal names
- Transgender or gender nonconforming identities
- International students or other students who wish to adopt an English language name
Staff may use your preferred name or your legal name.
- Since your Preferred Name is available to the Instructor and in the classroom via CANVAS and your legal name remains in other systems, staff may use your legal name at times.
- When this is the case, please confirm your legal name and let us know you have a preferred name that you would rather we use when interacting with you.
When you set your preferred name, you agree that
- You have not set a preferred name with an intent to impersonate someone else, to deceive, or to defraud
- Hate speech, inappropriate language, or repeated frequent use of this feature may bar you from using this option, at Bellingham Technical College’s discretion
Preferred names may not be used for purposes of fraud or misrepresentation. Bellingham Technical College reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language.
Changing Your Preferred Name
You can add or update a preferred name in myBTC Portal under “Profile”. If you would like assistance, visit the Registration Office and we will show you how to add a preferred name.
If you change your preferred name after the first day of the quarter, then you must notify your instructors of the change to your preferred name. The college will not notify them that you have provided or changed a preferred name, although they will be able to see your preferred name and your student identification number.
Typically, it will take 24 business hours for the update to take effect in our college systems. You may change your preferred name at any time and more than once.
A legal name is the name that appears on your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or U.S. Social Security Card.
Your legal name will be used in business processes and other activities that require use of a legal name. These include
- Student Financial Resources Documentation
- Financial Aid
- Student Employment Records
- Federal Requests for Information
- National Student Clearinghouse
- Academic Certifications
- International Education Documentation
Your legal name will appear on your BTC Student Body Card. Last name cannot be changed. You may request for your legal first name to be shortened (i.e. Matthew to Matt or Christine to Chris).
Changing Your Legal Name
The Name Change form is available online. For a legal name change, please fill out the Name Change form and bring it to the Registration Office. You must provide official documentation to prove the legal name change.
Official documentation for a legal name change is considered one of the following:
- Government issued ID AND Social Security Card with the new name
- Certified Court Order
- Marriage Certificate
- Dissolution/Divorce Decree
Student Identification Numbers
In accordance with Washington State Law SB5509, BTC uses randomly assigned Student Identification (SID) numbers as the primary identifier for students’ academic records. This law is intended to add additional protection to students’ identity, records, and privacy.
In response to Senate Bill 5463 the 34 Washington State Community and Technical Colleges modified how SIDs are assigned to new students. The purpose of this change is to move toward a common SID across the system, where students eventually will have one single SID regardless of which and how many colleges in the system they attend.
Students may have the same student ID assigned that was assigned at a previously attended college when they provide a correct social security number. This common SID process only affects students who apply to colleges as of 12/16/2011. It does not apply to previously applied or attended colleges within the Washington State Community and Technical college system.
Although a student’s social security number (SSN) will not be listed as the primary student identifier, the college will still need to record it for a number of uses including financial aid, tax credits, employment verification, workforce or unemployment data, assessment/accountability research projects authorized by the college and/or the state of Washington, transcripts, and other legitimate uses authorized under state law and/or federal law.
Student ID Cards
BTC student body cards are available in the Student Center, Campus Center 300. The picture identification card includes the student identification (SID) number, which may be needed for registration, library usage, and other campus functions. It may also entitle the student to some community/retail discounts.
Student Rights & Responsibilities
Discrimination and Harassment
Bellingham Technical College is committed to providing a learning and working environment characterized by mutual respect and fair treatment among all its constituents. An essential component of this environment is a strong ethic and practice of equality, acceptance, and nondiscriminatory interactions. Harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, gender identity or manifestation, sexual orientation, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, or any other basis prohibited by college policy or by state or federal laws is unacceptable and will be addressed through this policy.
According to federal law, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Furthermore, Bellingham Technical College strives to provide a safe environment in which students and employees can pursue their education and/or employment free from the detrimental effects of sexual misconduct, which includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual assault, and other forms of non-consensual sexual behavior.
Sex- and gender-based harassment, discrimination or violence will be addressed through the College’s Grievance Rules- Discrimination and Harassment available online (Grievance Rules- Discrimination and Harassment).
Office of the Title IX Coordinator for BTC: 360.752.8440 or titleIX@btc.edu
Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer for BTC: 360.752.8549 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Conduct Code
All students are subject to the Bellingham Technical College Student Conduct Code published in Chapter 495B-121 of the Washington Administrative Code and as defined in this catalog.
Copies of the entire Student Conduct Code are published and available to students and the campus community in the Office of the Vice President of Student Services and are available on the BTC website Student Resources page.
Enrollment in the college carries with it the requirement that the student will conduct themselves as a responsible member of the community. This includes an expectation that the student will obey appropriate laws, will comply with the rules of the college and its departments, and will maintain a high standard of integrity and honesty. Sanctions for violations of college rules or for conduct that interferes with the operation of college affairs will be dealt with by the college, and the college may impose sanctions independently of any action taken by civil or criminal authorities. In the case of minors, misconduct may be referred to parents or legal guardians.
Disciplinary action may be taken for a violation of any provision of the student code or violation of other college rules.
Student Grievance Procedure
Bellingham Technical College believes in the right of all students to access fair and equitable review process when a complaint arises. These procedures will ensure that service received by students is proper and fair and not arbitrary, prejudiced, or capricious.
Definition of Grievance
A grievance is a complaint by a student against the application of a policy or practice of the college or college staff that is considered improper or unfair, or where there has been deviation from or misinterpretation or misapplication of a practice or policy. A grade appeal is not a grievance and is covered by a separate policy and process, as are appeals of student conduct decisions.
1. INITIATION OF GRIEVANCE
The student will first try to resolve the matter with the appropriate BTC employee. If resolution is not achieved between the student and the BTC employee, the student will ask the employee’s immediate supervisor to resolve the complaint. If resolution is not achieved at the supervisory level, the student may file a formal grievance using the appropriate online grievance form.
2. INFORMAL PROCESS — RESOLUTION BETWEEN STUDENT AND EMPLOYEE
The student wishing to initiate a complaint process must first try to resolve the matter with the appropriate BTC employee. This process should facilitate good faith efforts on the part of both the student and BTC employee to resolve the matter. In the event that the employee is no longer employed by the college, or is away from the campus for an extended period of time, the appropriate supervisor will hear the complaint.
3. INFORMAL PROCESS WITH THE SUPERVISOR
If the informal process with the employee does not reach resolution, the student may initiate an informal complaint process with appropriate supervisor (usually a dean or director) within 10 business days of the final response from the employee. Once the supervisor has received the complaint, they have 10 business days in which to discuss the situation with the employee and the student. The student must make him or herself reasonably available to meet with the supervisor. The supervisor has another 10 business days following their discussion(s) with the employee and student within which to make a written recommendation to the student which may
1. Offer a resolution to the complaint.
2. Find the complaint unfounded.
If the supervisor finds the complaint unsupported or if the student does not accept the resolution, the student may file a formal grievance.
4. FILING A FORMAL GRIEVANCE
If the student wishes to appeal the supervisor’s decision regarding their complaint, they may file a formal grievance within 5 business days of receipt of the supervisor’s decision. The written appeal should be submitted through the online form available on the BTC website, and will be routed to the appropriate Vice President or designee for review and response. The student will receive acknowledgment of the filing of the grievance and may withdraw the grievance at any point during the formal procedure. The Vice President or designee will notify the employee with whom the complaint was originally filed and the employee will receive a copy of the complaint. Note: if a complaint involves a Vice President at the informal level, the formal grievance will be assigned to a different Vice President.
The Vice President has 10 business days following their receipt of the grievance to contact the involved parties and an additional 10 business days to make a written recommendation that may
1. Uphold the decision of the supervisor
2. Offer a resolution to the student
3. Move forward with the grievance and convene a Hearing Committee.
If the Vice President upholds the decision of the supervisor or if the student does not accept the resolution, the student may request within 5 business days of receipt of the decision to move to the Hearing stage.
4a. COMPOSITION OF THE GRIEVANCE HEARING COMMITTEE
The Grievance Hearing Committee will consist of five individuals representing the various college constituencies. The committee will be made up of one administrator and four others determined through the BTC committee/governance process. The complainant may request student representation on the committee. If requested, the President will select two students to substitute for a like number of existing members of the committee. Members of the grievance committee will not be biased or personally interested in the outcome of grievance.
The appropriate Vice President or designee will serve as facilitator and an ex-officio member of the Grievance Hearing Committee.
4.b GRIEVANCE HEARING COMMITTEE PROCESS
The grievance committee will review the grievance and the recommendations of the Vice President and make one of the following determinations within 10 business days:
- That the grievance is unsupported.
- That the grievance is supported and the committee can make a recommendation for remedy.
- That the nature of the grievance requires a full hearing.
The committee will make its report in writing to the Vice President. The deliberations of the committee will not be disclosed to anyone except the Vice President, who will hold them confidential.
If the grievance is found to be unsupported by the committee, the Vice President will notify the student and the involved employee(s) and the hearing will be closed. The student may appeal this decision to the President.
If the grievance is found to be supported by the committee, they may make a recommendation for remedy. The Vice President will communicate the remedy to the student and the involved employee(s). If the recommendation is not acceptable to the student, they may appeal this decision to the President.
If the committee determines that the nature of the grievance requires one, they will call a full hearing.
4.c GRIEVANCE HEARING PROCESS
The appropriate Vice President or designee will establish a date for the hearing to be held within 10 business days from the date of the hearing notice. The notice establishing the date, time, and place of the hearing will be provided to all involved parties. The hearing will be conducted as expeditiously as possible and on successive days, if possible.
The student and the involved employee will each have the privilege to present a challenge if it is felt that a member of the committee is biased. In the case of a challenge for bias, a majority of the grievance committee members must be satisfied that a challenged member cannot hear the case impartially before the member can be disqualified. In the case of removal of a member through the challenge process, the President will restore the committee to full membership. Challenges for bias will be resolved before the hearing date.
At the hearing, the involved employee and the student will have a maximum of 30 minutes each in which to present their case. The Hearing Committee may vote to extend the 30-minute limit to an additional amount of time and provide the same number of minutes to both the student and instructor.
The student, the employee, and any others the committee deems necessary to the proceedings will make themselves available to appear at the proceeding unless they can verify to the committee that their absence is unavoidable.
The student and the employee will be permitted to have with them a party of their own choosing to act as advisor and counsel. The hearing may be monitored by the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the college.
The hearing will be closed to all except those persons directly involved in the case as determined by the grievance committee. Statements and materials given at the hearing will be confidential, will not be released to anyone, and may be used by the committee only for the purpose of making its findings and recommendations.
The facilitator of the grievance committee will convene and regulate the proceeding. The student, the employee, and the members of the hearing panel must be present during the proceeding, unless excused by the chair for good cause. Repeated failure, without reasonable explanation, of either the student or the employee to appear will be grounds for default. The student will have the burden of presenting their grievance.
All parties will have the opportunity to question participants, to present materials and documentation and to respond to materials and documentation presented.
The hearing panel will be empowered to question participants and receive materials and documentation, to exclude any person(s) felt to be unreasonably disruptive of the proceedings, to hold conferences for the settlement of the issues involved, to make decisions or proposals for decisions, and to take any other actions consistent with this procedure.
After the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Committee will have 10 business days to deliver a written disposition of the grievance to the involved parties. The student may appeal this decision to the President within 10 business days.
5. APPEALS TO THE PRESIDENT
The student may submit a written appeal to the President within 10 business days from the date the decision is made by a Hearing Committee. The appeal must specify in detail what findings, recommendations, or other aspects of the decision were inappropriate or inaccurate. The appeal should also include what corrective action the student desires after consideration of the appeal by the President. The President may uphold the decision of the committee, at which point no further appeals within the college will be considered, or the President may determine a remedy. After considering an appeal, the President will issue a written decision to the parties involved within 30 business days of the receipt of the appeal. The decision of the President will be final and no further appeals within the college will be considered.
Absences Due to Faith or Conscience
BTC complies with RCW 28B.10.039 and accommodates student absences or rescheduling of learning activities for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization. Students’ grades may not be adversely impacted by absences authorized under this policy.
Bellingham Technical College requires regular attendance for students. If you have special circumstances and know you will be absent from class, you must notify your instructor prior to the absence.
Children on Campus
No employee, student, or visitor to the College should leave a child unattended at the College including in campus buildings, on campus grounds or in a vehicle. Children are not permitted in classrooms, the library, or other learning environments except with the specific approval of the appropriate instructional Dean, or the Vice President of Instruction on an emergency basis, and for a specified and limited period of time. Children are not allowed in areas where dangerous equipment is operated and/or where chemicals, cleaning products, solvents or hazardous products are stored or used.
In compliance with state and federal laws, service animals are permitted on Bellingham Technical College’s premises or in facilities. This affords individuals with disabilities who require the assistance of a service animal equal opportunity for access to the college facilities, courses, programs, and activities.
Individuals whose animals do not meet the criteria of service animal by state and federal laws are encouraged to consult with the Accessibility Resources Office.
- A dog or miniature horse trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The trained tasks directly mitigate the effects of the disability. Disabilities may be physical, sensory, psychological, intellectual, or other mental disabilities.
- The person with a disability who has control, custody, or possession of the Service Animal that has been trained to perform tasks for that individual.
- Control by means of a leash or other restraining device held by the handler. Service Animals must be under control of the Handler at all times.
Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
- An animal that provides emotional or passive comfort alleviating one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a disability. An Emotional Support Animal is not a service animal under this policy.
All students at Bellingham Technical College shall have the right to pursue professional technical education in the area of their choice within the established college standards and policies.
Student Right to Know and Campus Security Acts
In compliance with Public Law 101-542, the Student Right To Know Act and Campus Security Act, as amended by Public Law 102-26 (Higher Education Technical Amendments Act of 1991), Bellingham Technical College provides students with information about the student completion rates for the institution, as well as substance abuse prevention information, campus crimes, and security. All of this information is provided to students by e-mail and is also available on the college’s website: www.btc.edu.
The college is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Students use campus lockers at their own risk.
Transferring & Earning Credits
Credit Acceptance Policy
Transfer credit is granted for coursework that matches in content a course required for a BTC program. Only courses completed at a regionally accredited college or university with an earned grade of C (2.0) or higher will be considered for transfer credit. Recency of coursework may be considered in acceptance of transfer credit. Transfer credit may not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the total credits required for the degree or certificate.
BTC does not release or certify copies of transcripts from other institutions. Transcripts reflecting a student’s previous secondary and college education, which have been submitted to BTC as part of the official file, will not be returned to the student. Students who need transcripts of course work completed elsewhere must order transcripts directly from the institution where the work was completed.
Credit Evaluation Procedures
Students seeking transfer credit must submit official, sealed transcripts from the sending institution to Admissions and Advising. The official transcript will be reviewed by the college-designated transcript evaluator. Processing typically takes 14-21 business days and may take longer during peak registration periods. It is recommended that students plan ahead and send records in advance of the quarter they plan to attend. For some courses, course syllabi or other descriptive information may be required in addition to an official transcript.
Technical Course Requirements
Students seeking transfer credit for technical courses must submit an official transcript, and syllabus or equivalent documentation to the Admissions and Advising. Program faculty will be consulted to evaluate and determine credit granted for equivalent technical content. Students may be asked to provide syllabi from prior courses.
General Education Courses
Students must submit official, sealed transcripts to Admissions and Advising for evaluation and approval of credit granted for equivalent general education content. The official transcript will be reviewed by the college-designated transcript evaluator. Students may be asked to provide syllabi from prior courses.
Academic Credit for Prior Learning
Washington State is committed to fostering an educated and skilled workforce, which is essential for economic prosperity and meaningful work for its citizens. Increased enrollment in – and successful completion of – postsecondary learning programs is critical to achieving that goal. Academic Credit for Prior Learning, or ACPL, can help more students complete their training and degree programs sooner by evaluating an individual’s existing knowledge and competencies for college credit, including knowledge that may have been acquired through documented military training.
ACPL credits have the following limitations:
- Prior experiential learning (Portfolio) credits can comprise no more than 25% of the credits used to complete a degree or certificate
- ACPL credits are not eligible for Financial Aid and do not count towards full or part time enrollment
- ACPL credits are not eligible for payment through Running Start
- ACPL credits do not count toward residence requirements
- Only students who have completed the BTC admission process will be eligible to earn ACPL credits
Credit by Evaluation (Standardized Testing)
CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL (CI) CREDIT
Washington community and technical colleges will grant a minimum elective credit for each CI Examination for A-level exam with a passing grade or above for approved examinations. Credit will be awarded on the basis of official CI Examination results, not transcript notation. Duplicate credit for the same subject taken on different exams will not be granted. No grades are posted for A-level exams.
COLLEGE LEVEL EXAMINATION PROGRAM (CLEP) CREDIT
Students who have taken (CLEP) exams may receive credit in select courses at BTC. To request credit for CLEP scores, students must submit official CLEP scores to Admissions and Advising. A note reflecting credit granted will appear on the student transcript upon program completion. Credit will not be granted for scores below the ACE recommended score. See the college website for additional information at www.btc.edu
DANTES SUBJECT STANDARDIZED TESTS (DSST FORMERLY DANTES)
The nationally recognized DSST provides college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom through a suite of 38 exams in college subject areas such as Social Sciences, Math, Applied Technology, Business, Physical Sciences, and Humanities. The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated and recommended college credit for all 38 DSST exams. To request credit based on DSST scores, students must submit official scores to Admissions and Advising. A note reflecting credit granted will appear on the student transcript.
Credit by Examination (Course Challenge)
The course challenge is a process permitting students to receive credit in courses in which the student demonstrates the knowledge and expertise of that course. Not all courses have a challenge procedure. Contact the ACPL coordinator to discuss the process for challenging a specific course. Course challenges require a per credit fee be paid to the Cashier prior to completing the challenge. Programs will determine the grade required to pass the course challenge. Students cannot challenge a course if they have completed the course or are enrolled in the course.
Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (Portfolio)
Credit for Prior Experiential Learning allows students to receive credit for program course requirements in which the student demonstrates knowledge and expertise that meets the outcomes of each course. Credit for prior experiences can be shown through various means of assessment; however, these experiences must be equivalent to learning gained through formal collegiate instruction. This experience may include industry certifications, work experiences, and similar out-of-classroom learning.
Prior learning credit is only available for some degree or certificate programs. Credit for prior experiential learning cannot duplicate credit granted by transfer or previously graded work. Contact the ACPL coordinator to discuss the process.
BTC accepts certain credentials from institutions other than regionally accredited colleges for credit. Students should provide documentation to the ACPL Coordinator for evaluation. Program faculty and the ACPL Coordinator may approve credit awards for additional credentials as appropriate.
Awarding Credit for Military Training
BTC enrolled students who are veterans of any branch of the United States armed services must provide official Joint Services Transcript (JST), from the Community College of the Air Force transcript or any other college/university attended to Admissions and Advising.
Per the Veteran’s Administration, all veteran student transfer credit must be evaluated within two quarters of program start. After the third quarter, if the student does not submit all transcripts, the students must be decertified and the use of VA education benefits.
Veteran students using education benefits are not permitted to opt out of prior credit evaluation.
Degree and Certificate Program Change
For students who want to change program, add a program, or transfer to a different program, the first step is to discuss the possibility of a program change with a BTC Advisor. Staff will assist with requirements needed for the new program, discuss a revised educational plan, and provide the steps for a program change. A Program Change & Dual Enrollment Request form must be completed and submitted to the Admissions and Advising.
Those receiving financial aid or other funding should determine the effect of the change on funding status prior to initiating the change. If you change your class schedule, you will be responsible to pay any additional tuition and fees.
The maximum number of programs you may work on simultaneously is two (2) programs.
Transferability of BTC Credits
To determine transferability of credits earned at Bellingham Technical College, students must request that an official BTC transcript be forwarded to the college where they want to have credits evaluated. The receiving college will determine the value of coursework completed at BTC. Contact the receiving college for evaluation information and instructions. Official BTC transcripts are ordered online through the National Student Clearinghouse at www.getmytranscript.com. The “&” in a BTC course prefix designates Washington State Community and Technical College Common Course Numbering (CCN). Common Course Numbering identifies those courses common within the 34 community and technical colleges in Washington State and to make course transfer between those institutions and to four-year colleges and universities as easy as possible for students, advisors, and receiving institutions.
Credits, qualifications, or requirements waived by one college may not necessarily be waived by another college. Those decisions are made at each institution.
Upon student application, each college evaluates and, if appropriate, transfers recognized or accepted credits that apply to the area of study for which the student has applied. The enrolling college determines transfer of credits earned elsewhere. When applicable, students may be accepted for advanced placement or receive a waiver of coursework.
TRANSFER RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1, Students have the right to clear, accurate, and current information about their transfer admission requirements, transfer admission deadlines, degree requirements, and transfer policies that include course equivalencies.
2. Transfer and freshman-entry students have the right to expect comparable standards for regular admission to programs and comparable program requirements.
3. Students have the right to seek clarification regarding their transfer evaluation and may request the reconsideration of any aspect of that evaluation. In response, the college will follow established practices and processes for reviewing its transfer credit decisions.
4. Students who encounter other transfer difficulties have the right to seek resolution. Each institution will have a defined process for resolution that is published and readily available to students.
5. Students have the responsibility to complete all materials required for admission and to submit the application on or before the published deadlines.
6. Students have the responsibility to plan their courses of study by referring to the specific published degree requirements of the college or academic program in which they intend to earn a bachelor’s degree.
7. When a student changes a major or degree program, the student assumes full responsibility for meeting the new requirements.
8. Students who complete the general education requirements at any public four-year institution will have met the lower division general education requirements of the institution to which they transfer.
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. Colleges and universities have the right and authority to determine program requirements and course offerings in accordance with their institutional missions.
2. Colleges and universities have the responsibility to communicate and publish their requirements and course offerings to students and the public, including information about student transfer rights and responsibilities.
3. Colleges and universities have the responsibility to communicate their admission and transfer-related decisions to students in writing (electronic or paper).
Through county-wide agreements with school district superintendents and BTC, students may enroll in classes to receive high school and college credit at the same time. These articulation agreements are managed through the Whatcom County CTE Dual Credit Consortium and provide opportunities for high school students under five career pathways: science and natural resources, arts and communications, business and marketing, engineering and technology, and health and human services.
Participating schools and colleges must assure compliance with all applicable state regulations and the federal requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the American Disabilities Act of 1991, Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
Articulation agreements with certain public and private colleges and universities provide BTC students with transfer options to earn four-year degrees related to specific programs of study. To view a current listing of those colleges, please visit the BTC website, www.btc.edu/transferoptions. Beyond the formalized degree articulation agreements, BTC has a number of transfer agreements with state colleges and universities regarding courses. To determine if BTC credits are transferable to other colleges, contact the Registrar at the receiving college.