Sep 19, 2021  
2016-17 BTC Catalog 
2016-17 BTC Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies, Requirements & Records

Academic Requirements

Degree/Certificate Programs

The Associate in 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 in Applied Science - Transfer (AAS-T) option contains the technical courses needed for job preparation, as well as 20 credits of transferrable general education coursework in English, math, psychology, and transfer-level humanities, social science, or natural science. 

Direct Transfer degrees - Transfer (DTA/MRP and AS-T/MRP) 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. 

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 a High School Diploma application to the Registration Office. Once verified, High School Diploma-SHB1758 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, 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 faculty advisor. 

General Completion Requirements

  1. Complete, with a passing grade, all technical and academic core courses as listed on the program pages defining requirements for individual degrees/certificates. Some degree/certificate programs may require minimum grades in required courses. See the Programs of Study  pages. 
  2. Use the online Degree Audit to obtain an unofficial audit of classes you have completed and are registered for against the requirements for a specific certificate or degree. 
  3. Complete and submit the online BTC Graduation Application for each degree or certificate requested to the Registration Office for an official verification of completion. 
  4. Meet all financial obligations to the college. 
  5. Earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above in the required program courses. Individual programs may require a higher grade point average. 
  6. Complete the last 50% of the required coursework at BTC. 
  7. BTC may verify and award certificates and degrees as they are earned. 

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 in writing, human relations, and mathematics.

These requirements will be satisfied by completing AENGL 100 Applied English  (formerly COM 170: Oral and Written Communications) (5 credits) or ENGL& 101 English Composition I  (5 credits); and PSYC& 100: General Psychology  (5 credits) or CMST& 210: Interpersonal Communications  (formerly PSYC 111 Interpersonal & Organizational Psychology) (5 credits); and AMATH 100 Applied Occupational Math  (formerly MATH 100: Occupation Math) (5 credits), AMATH 111 Applied Technical Math  (formerly MATH 111: Technical Math) (5 credits), MATH& 107: Math in Society  (5 credits), MATH& 146: Intro to Statistics  (5 credits) or MATH& 141: Pre-Calculus I  (5 credits); or equivalent courses included within the program requirements.

Student Grades

Grading Policy

BTC uses the following letter grading symbols:

Grade Point Value
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0

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. 

R - Repeat 

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. 

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, nor are the +/- symbols used with the letter grade F. 

The following grades are also used when appropriate and are not calculated in the grade point average. 

AU Audit
CR Credit for prior experiential learning/Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
I Incomplete
NP No Pass
P Pass
R Repeat (after a letter grade)
T Transfer (valid grade prior to Summer Quarter 2009)
V Unofficial Withdrawal (valid grade prior to Fall 2010)
W Official Withdrawal

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 - Credit for Prior Experiential Learning/Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) 

Prior experiential learning 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. Also granted for successful completion of a course challenge (credit by exam). 

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. 

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 used for internship courses, work-based learning experiences, and clinical courses. 

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 2009, cumulative transfer credits will be noted on the student transcript. 

V - Unofficial Withdrawal (valid grade prior to Fall 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 not more than four quarters from the time the grade was awarded. 

Course Repeat 

  • Students who will repeate a course need to fill out a Course Repeat form before the end of the quarter so it can be processed as soon as grades are final.
  • 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. Only the highest grade will compute into the cumulative GPA. 
  • 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 online at\transcripts within three working days following the end of the quarter. Students must have their Student ID number (see Student Identification Numbers under Student Rights and Responsibilities section for more information about SIDs) and a personal identification number (PIN) to access grades on their unofficial transcript. PINS are available at, under the Student Login tab. 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

An unofficial transcript is an unsigned and unsealed copy of the student’s record and is available online. There is no charge for unofficial transcript copies. It is the student’s responsibility to review the transcript for accuracy. 

Academic Achievement

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 at program completion by the program faculty. It is awarded at the discretion of the program faculty only upon completion. 

Academic Standards and Progress

Academic 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: 

  1. All students will maintain regular attendance for each enrollment period. See Attendance below. 
  2. 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* and completing a minimum of 66.6% of the enrolled quarterly coursework competencies. 

* 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. 

Academic Alert/Probation/Suspension/Readmission 

Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory progress as defined above will be placed on academic alert. Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory progress for the following quarter will be placed on academic probation. Students will be suspended after three consecutive quarters of unsatisfactory progress. Students are notified by BTC email after quarterly grades have been posted. 

Students who have been suspended as a result of unsatisfactory academic progress may petition for readmission. The suspended student must meet with a counselor to complete a plan for improvement. The Academic Probation Readmission Plan form can be obtained from the Admissions and Student Resource Center. Once completed, the plan must be submitted to the Appeals Committee for consideration of approval. All students readmitted following suspension will remain on academic probation for one quarter. 


Regular attendance is required to maintain satisfactory academic progress. This standard is reflected in the grading policy with each degree/certificate program or course syllabus. 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. 

Students who fail to attend or contact their instructor by the second day of class may be dropped from class by the Instructor as a No Show. 

A No Show is defined as a student having no contact with an Instructor, never attending class or having online activity. 

It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw form a class and review the Student Schedule for accuracy. 

Student Records

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. 

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:

  1. 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. 

  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. 

    Students may ask the college to amend a record 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.

  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent (see Exceptions under FERPA below). 

  4. 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: 

Directory Information

The term “directory information” is a legal term applying to that information the college can 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. 

BTC has defined directory information as the following: 

  • Student name 
  • Student e-mail addresses 
  • Program of enrollment 
  • Full-time or part-time status 
  • Period of enrollment 
  • Date of completion 
  • Degree/certificate awarded 
  • Photos/videos of student for use in college press releases, publications, and websites 

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 students name will not appear in the Commencement program or any press releases, and no degree or enrollment verifications will be processed for a third party. 

U.S. Military 

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 

Other Institutions 

Information can be released to other schools to which a student seeks or intends to enroll. 

Emergency Situations

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 
  • Auditors 
  • Persons or companies with whom the college has contracted, such as attorneys, third party services (such as National Student Clearinghouse or Higher One, 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 

Judicial Order

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. 

Disciplinary 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. 

Written Release

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. 

Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records - including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information - may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a federal or state authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, federal and state authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and state authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems. 

Student Rights & Responsibilities

Discrimination and Harassment

Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights’ Dear Colleague Letter (April 4, 2011) has clarified that sexual harassment includes sexual misconduct, sexual assault and sexual violence. These are all violations of civil rights laws and constitute discrimination under Title IX for students and employees in educational institutions: 

“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 program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…” 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity that receives financial support from the Federal government. In addition to prohibiting discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual assault, Title IX also prohibits retaliation against individuals who complain about or participate in an investigation regarding an alleged Title IX violation. Title IX is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Employees are also covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

In compliance with Title IX, BTC does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities or in its employment. It is BTC’s goal to maintain an environment that is free from all forms of illegal harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual coercion, rape, bullying, and hazing. 

All inquiries concerning the application of policies for the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual violence under Title IX should be referred to BTC’s Title IX Coordinator or Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer (EEO/AA): 

Linda Fossen, M. Ed. 
Vice President of Student Services 
Title IX Coordinator 
College Services, Room 201 
Bellingham Technical College 
3028 Lindbergh Avenue 
Bellingham WA 98225 
Phone: 360.752.8440 

Camille J. Gatza, MBA, PHR 
Executive Director of Human Resources 
Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer 
College Services, Room 124 
Bellingham Technical College 
3028 Lindbergh Avenue 
Bellingham, WA 98225 
Phone: 360.752.8549 

The Title IX Coordinator provides advice and oversight on policies, preventive educational programs, resources and services required under Title IX, and in addition, oversees all complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, as well as identifies and addresses any patterns or systematic problems that arise during the review of complaints.

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 Admissions and Student Resource Center and the Office of the Vice President of Student Services and are distributed to new students at New Student Orientation. 

Enrollment in the college carries with it the requirement that the student will conduct himself or herself 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

Definition of Grievance 

A grievance is a complaint by a student against 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. 

Grievance Procedure 

  • Grievances relating to grades, grade omissions, or faculty must be initiated by the student. 
  • Grievances regarding grades will be considered only when no more than four (4) quarters have elapsed from the time the grades were awarded/missed. 
  1. A student wishing to pursue a grievance must take the following steps to try to resolve the grievance prior to filling out an official complaint form. 
    1. The student will first try to resolve the matter with the appropriate BTC staff member. 
    2. If resolution is not achieved between the student and the BTC staff member, the student will ask the staff member’s immediate supervisor to resolve the grievance.
    3. If resolution is not achieved at the supervisory level, the student will ask the supervisor’s vice president to resolve the grievance. 
    4. If resolution is not achieved at this point, the student may file a complaint using the appropriate complaint forms. An appointment must be made with the Vice President of Student Services or a designee to obtain the necessary forms and information. 
  2. Complaints must be filed with the Vice President of Student Services or a designee. 
  3. Complaints must be filed within twenty (20) school days of the date of the action causing the complaint. 
  4. The student will receive acknowledgment of the filing of a formal, written complaint. The student may withdraw the complaint at any point during the formal procedure. The Vice President of Student Services or a designee will notify the person(s) against whom the complaint has been filed (hereafter referred to as the staff member). The staff member will also receive a copy of the complaint. 
  5. A Grievance Committee will be appointed bi-annually by the college President and will consist of five individuals representing the various college constituencies. The committee will be made up of one administrator, two faculty members, and two support staff members. The complainant may request student representation on the committee. If requested, the President may select two students to substitute for a like number of existing members of the committee. Members of the Grievance Committee will remove themselves from the process if they deem themselves biased or personally interested in the outcome of grievance. 
  6. The Vice President of Student Services or a designee will serve as the investigating officer in the complaint. 
  7. The investigating officer will: 
    1. Meet with the student and the staff member. 
    2. Examine documentation and interview witnesses. 
    3. Consult with the appropriate vice president, or equivalent unit head and/or other appropriate administrator. 
    4. Prepare a written investigative report. 
  8. The investigating officer may meet individually with the student and the staff member to discuss the report in the hope that a resolution can be reached. If a resolution is not achieved, copies of the investigative report will be forwarded to the Grievance Committee, the student, the staff member, and the appropriate administrator(s). 
  9. The Grievance Committee will review the complaint and the findings of the investigating officer and determine whether or not the facts warrant a hearing. The committee’s decision will be limited to one of the following statements: 
    1. Based on the evidence presented to us, we find probable cause for believing that an improper or unfair practice or act has been committed. 
    2. Based on the evidence presented, we find no probable cause for believing that an improper or unfair practice or act has been committed. 

The committee will make its report in writing to the Vice President of Student Services or a designee after receipt of the report by the investigating officer. The deliberations of the committee will not be disclosed to anyone except the Vice President of Student Services or a designee who will hold them confidential. 

  1. If no probable cause is found, the matter will be considered concluded. However, the student may submit a written appeal to the President within ten (10) working days from the date the decision is made. The appeal must specify in detail what findings, recommendations, or other aspects of the report or decision were not acceptable. 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 that point no further appeals within the college will be considered. Or, the President may instruct the committee to go forward with the grievance hearing process. 
  2. If probable cause is found, a hearing will be held. 
    1. The committee will select a chair. The chair of the committee will establish a date for the hearing. A notice establishing the date, time, and place of the hearing will be provided to all involved parties. 
    2. The hearing will be held within thirty (30) working days from the date of the hearing notice. 
    3. The student and the staff member will each have the privilege to challenge one member of the committee without cause (stated reason). Unlimited challenges may be issued 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. 
    4. The hearing will be conducted as expeditiously as possible and on successive days, if possible. 
    5. The student and the staff member and any others the committee deems necessary to the proceedings will make themselves available to appear at the proceedings unless they can verify to the committee that their absence is unavoidable. 
    6. The student and the staff member will be permitted to have with him/her a party of his/her own choosing to act as advisor and counsel. The hearing may be monitored by the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the college. 
    7. The hearing will be closed to all except those persons directly involved in the case as determined by the Grievance Committee. Statements, testimony, and all other evidence given at the hearing will be confidential and will not be released to anyone and may be used by the committee only for the purpose of making its findings and recommendations to the President. 
    8. The chair of the Grievance Committee will convene and regulate the proceedings. The student, the staff member, and the members of the hearing panel must be present during the proceedings, unless excused by the chair for good cause. Repeated failure, without reasonable explanation, of either the student or the staff member to appear will be grounds for defaulting that party’s case. The student will have the burden of presenting the case and the staff member will have the burden of challenging the evidence presented. 
      1. All parties will have the opportunity to present evidence, respond to evidence presented, and examine and cross-examine witnesses. 
      2. The hearing panel will be empowered to examine witnesses and receive evidence; exclude any person(s) felt to be unreasonably disruptive of the proceedings; hold conferences for the settlement of the issues involved; make decisions or proposals for decisions; and take any other actions authorized by the rule consistent with this procedure. 
      3. No individual will be compelled to divulge information in any form that he/she could not be compelled to divulge in or in connection with court proceedings. 
      4. Any legal opinion or interpretation given to the Grievance Committee by the parties may be shared with all parties to the case. 
      5. The Grievance Committee will file its findings and recommendations with the President, the Vice President of Student Services, the student, and the staff member after the conclusion of the hearing. If the findings and recommendations of the Grievance Committee are acceptable to the student and the staff member, the President may direct implementation of the recommendations. 
      6. If the student or staff member objects to the findings, a written appeal may be submitted to the President within ten (10) working days from the date the finding is issued. The appeal should also include what corrective action the student or staff member desires after consideration of the appeal by the President. 
      7. After considering an appeal, the President will issue a decision to the parties involved. The decision of the President will be final and no further appeals within the college will be considered.

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. 

Beginning winter quarter 2012, upon admission to a college, 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, American Opportunity Tax Credit (formerly known as Hope Credit) and Lifelong Learning Credit, 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 Body Cards

BTC student body cards are available at the Campus Store. The picture identification card includes the student identification (SID) number, which is needed for registration, library usage, and other campus functions. It may also entitle the student to some community/retail discounts. 

Student Rights

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:

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 and a completed Evaluation Request form to the Admissions and Student Resource Center. The form and the official transcript will be reviewed by the college-designated transcript evaluator. Processing typically takes 10-15 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 a completed Evaluation Request form and official transcript or equivalent documentation to the Admissions and Student Resource Center. Program faculty will be consulted to evaluate and determine credit granted for equivalent technical content.

General Education Courses

Students must submit official, sealed transcripts and a completed Evaluation Request form to the Admissions and Student Resource Center for evaluation and approval of credit granted for equivalent general education content. The form and the official transcript will be reviewed by the college-designated transcript evaluator.

AP Score Credit

Students who have completed college-level Advanced Placement courses in high school and have taken the Advanced Placement (AP) exams administered by the College Board may receive college credit in selected courses at BTC. AP scores may also be used to waive portions of the ACCUPLACER placement test. 

To request credit based on AP scores, students must submit either official AP test scores from the College Board or official high school transcripts containing AP scores along with an Evaluation Request form to the Admissions and Student Resource Center. Credit will be awarded according to the Advanced Placement Credit Chart which outlines the minimum required scores and corresponding courses, available online at

Awarding Credit for Military Training

BTC enrolled students who are veterans of any branch of the United States armed services must request transfer credit for military training by submitting an Evaluation Request form to the Transcript Evaluator. The student must provide official Joint Services Transcript (JST), from the Community College of the Air Force transcript or any other college/university attended. 

Per the Veteran’s Administration, all veteran student transfer credit must be evaluated with in 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. 

Non-Traditional Credit

General Information

  • Credits awarded will be for courses taught at BTC
  • Students must have completed the admissions process
  • Credits may be applied to a maximum of 25% towards a degree or certificate
  • Credits are not eligible for Financial Aid or count towards full or part time enrollment
  • Credits are not eligible for payment through Running Start
  • Other institutions may not accept these credits for transfer from BTC. Check with an Advisor

There are several ways for students to apply credit to their degree or certificate program in addition to completing a course at BTC or transferring credit from another college, university or other institutions, such as:

Credit By Evaluation

Commonly accepted Higher Education Equivalency exams that are documented on a transcript or another official record including:

1) Tech Prep, 2) Advanced Placement (AP) score credit. 3) International Baccalaureate (IB) score credit 4) College level Examination program (CLEP) score credit 5) Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST; formerly DANTES) score credit 6) American Council on Education (ACE) guide.

Challenge (credit by examination) For Courses

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. Math classes are not eligible to be challenged yet ACCUPLACER scores and transfer in credit are accepted. To challenge a course, the student submits a Credit by Examination form for approval to the Instructor that teaches the course, completes the exam and pays the $70.00 fee per credit to the Cashier. The successful challenge of courses will be transcripted with a CR grade.

Credit For Prior Experiential Learning For Programs

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 must be shown, through various means of assessment, to be equivalent to learning gained through formal collegiate instruction. Prior experiences include industry certifications, work experiences, and military credit using the ACE Guide for the evaluation of educational experiences in the Armed Services.

Prior learning credit is available only for certain program courses. Approved programs include, Automotive, BCIS, Civil Engineering, Computer Networking, Culinary, Diesel, Electrician, Industrial Maintenance & Mechatronics (formerly EMTEC), HIV/AIDS for Healthcare Workers, Instrumentation, Pastry, Machining, and Welding. 

Students in an approved program will submit a Credit by Examination/ Evaluation form to the instructor to determine and indicate which program courses and how many credits will be granted for credit for experiential learning. Once assessed and after receiving signed approval, the student pays the cashier the $70.00 per credit fee by the third week of the quarter and a CR grade will be posted on to the student’s transcript for each course. 

Prior experiential learning credit will not be awarded in lieu of general education courses, including but not limited to AMATH 100 , AMATH 111 , MATH& 107 , MATH& 141 , MATH& 146 , PSYC& 100 , CMST& 210 , ENGL& 101 , AENGL& 100 , and other academic support courses.

Questions regarding the Prior Learning Assessment procedure should be directed to the Director of Registration and Enrollment. 

Advanced Placement

The college may offer advanced placement into a professional technical program to eligible applicants/students with prior college technical coursework or recognized professional/industry certification(s). 


  1. Advanced placement is initiated by the applicant/student meeting with an academic advisor. The applicant must submit official transcripts showing prior college coursework and/or copies of professional/industry certification(s) with the Evaluation Request form 
  2. The appropriate professional technical faculty member will conduct the evaluation of technical course equivalency. Faculty may consider professional/industry certifications for credit for prior experiential learning. The assigned college transcript evaluator will conduct the evaluation of general education or academic support courses. 
  3. The evaluation of transcripts and/or certification(s) will determine advanced placement, outline which coursework the applicant/ student has completed (students will receive transfer credit for college coursework), and identify at what point in the program the applicant/student is eligible for advanced placement. 
  4. The evaluated request form and documentation are returned to the Admissions and Student Resource Center, and the student is notified of his or her eligibility for advanced placement. 
  5. The completed form is routed to the Registration and Enrollment Office for processing and will be filed in the student’s permanent record. 

Students are accepted as advanced-placed students based on the date of completion of all program admission requirements and space availability. 

Degree and Certificate Program Transfer

Currently enrolled Bellingham Technical College degree/certificate program students may be considered for priority placement on the program ready-list for admission in a related program if they have completed portions of the technical content that are transferrable to the degree/certificate program. 

The following programs are eligible for priority/advanced placement program transfer: 

  • Automotive Technology and Diesel Equipment Technology 
  • Instrumentation & Control and Electronics 
  • Electrician and Mechatronics (Industrial Maintenance) 
  • Civil Engineering and Geomatic Technology 
  • Business programs 


  1. Student obtains an unofficial transcript from the BTC website. 
  2. Student meets with a BTC advisor or counselor to discuss possibility of transfer and obtains a Request for Program Transfer form. Student’s ACCUPLACER test scores and transcript will be evaluated to determine if the student is eligible for acceptance in the program or if retesting is necessary. Those receiving financial aid should determine the effect of transfer on financial aid status prior to initiating the transfer procedure. 
  3. Student meets with instructor of program into which the student desires to transfer, for evaluation and to obtain approval if the transfer is appropriate. 
  4. Student presents completed Request for Program Transfer form to the Registration Office. 
  5. The request will be processed prior to the start of the quarter, and the student will be notified of permission to register or program ready-list status. 
  6. Students transferring to another degree/certificate program are responsible for any additional tuition or fees at the time of registration. Transferring Running Start students will be required to submit a new Running Start Referral form signed by the appropriate high school official. 

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 wish 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 available through the Registration and Enrollment Office and can be ordered online through the National Student Clearinghouse at 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. 

Articulation Agreements

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 Tech Prep 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. 

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 and business and management. To view a current listing of those colleges, please visit the BTC website, 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.