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    Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies

Academic Integrity and Class Attendance

Code for Academic Integrity

As it seeks to fulfill its mission, the Hope College community assumes that each of its members will operate with integrity and honesty, with a sense of personal responsibility, and with mutual trust and respect toward others in all facets of the life of the college. In order to apply this principle to academic life in a fair and consistent manner, the following policy has been adopted to clarify the expectations regarding conduct, and to establish a set of procedures for dealing with situations that violate these expectations.


Academic Integrity is based on the principles of honesty and individual responsibility for actions. As these principles are applied to academic life at Hope College, it follows that a student will not:

  • Give, offer, or receive aid on examination other than that specifically allowed by the professor.
  • Do course work in a manner that is inconsistent with the standards of conduct set forth by the professor.
  • Falsify or fabricate data. This has particular application to laboratory work and research.
  • Engage in conduct that destroys another person’s work or hinders another in their academic endeavors. This has particular application to computer files, library resources, and laboratory or studio work.
  • Knowingly represent the work of others as their own. This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism.


Plagiarism is the dishonest presentation of the work of others as if it were one’s own. Writers, speakers, musicians, artists, or computer programmers - whether students or professionals - commit plagiarism when they present, without acknowledgment, all or part of another person’s work as if it were their own. Because plagiarism violates the expectations of trust and honesty necessary for academic work in an ethical community, it is a serious offense. In addition, plagiarism undercuts the basic purposes of higher education by short-circuiting the process of inquiry, reflection and communication that leads to learning.

Plagiarism can take several forms, including but not limited to:

  • Using the exact words of another writer in part of a paper without both citation and quotation marks (or block indentation in the case of longer quotations).
  • Cutting and pasting material from internet or other electronic resources without proper citation of sources.
  • Including the paraphrased or summarized idea of another writer without acknowledging its source.
  • Accepting excessive assistance from another person in writing a paper without informing readers of the nature and extent of that collaboration.
  • Submitting for credit a complete paper or portion of a paper written by another person, no matter whether the paper was purchased, shared freely, stolen, found, or acquired by other means.
  • Submitting music, drawings, paintings, sculptures, or photographs that copy or rely closely on the work of other artists, without explicitly citing the original source.
  • Writing a computer program that is the same or closely similar to existing sources.
  • Accepting credit for a project, multimedia presentation, poster, or other assignment that draws dishonestly on the work of others.

Duplicate submission is also a violation of academic integrity, because every assignment presumes that a new inquiry and effort will produce new learning, and submitting a paper already written for another occasion subverts this learning. Submitting the same original paper for credit in more than one class in the same semester, without the expressed permission of both instructors involved, is not acceptable. Using the same paper or closely similar material from one semester to fulfill a requirement in another semester is normally not allowed without specific permission from the instructor. If students receive the same or similar assignments in a different course, they should consult with the professor about alternate assignments.

Penalties for Plagiarism

Recognizing that students may sometimes commit plagiarism unintentionally because they do not know the conventions of quotation, citation and acknowledgment, professors may deal with cases of plagiarism in different ways.

When, in the professor’s judgment, the student intends to do honest work but does not understand the conventions of academic quotation and acknowledgment, the professor may require the student to rewrite the paper, may lower the grade on the paper, or may fail the paper.

However, when a case of plagiarism results from actions by which the writer deceives the professor about sources of words or ideas, or by which the writer tries to fulfill an assignment without doing all the necessary work, the ordinary sanction will be failure in the course.

Cases of plagiarism that result in a failing grade for an assignment or for a course must be reported to the Provost in order to prevent any individual from plagiarizing repeatedly and each time professing ignorance. If a student plagiarizes repeatedly, the Provost may apply additional penalties, including dismissal from the college. The Provost’s Office retains records associated with plagiarism until the affected student graduates.


With the aim of maintaining and promoting integrity in the community and in a spirit of helpful concern, every member of the community is encouraged to address any perceived violations of integrity directly by confronting the appropriate party. The following procedures have been defined to ensure that apparent violations are handled in a prompt and just manner.

If a faculty member observes an apparent violation of academic integrity, the faculty member should arrange an informal, private meeting with the student within one week. At that meeting, the faculty member will discuss their suspicion with the student and inform the student of the options below and of the student’s right to appeal any action taken by the faculty member.

If the student has an explanation which is acceptable to the faculty member, the case may be closed with no written record or further action.

If the matter is not resolved, the instructor may impose a sanction. The penalty imposed should reflect the seriousness of the violation. In the case of major violations, the faculty member may assign a failing grade in the event (test, paper, performance, etc.) or for the course. Sanctions for minor violations may include downgrading the work or assigning additional work to replace the work in question. The faculty member may also recommend to the Provost that additional on‑grade sanctions be imposed. In the event that any sanction is imposed by the faculty member, the incident and action taken must be reported in writing to the Provost (with a copy to the student) within one week of the informal meeting.

If a sanction has been imposed, the student has the right to file a written appeal to the Provost, with a copy to the instructor. This appeal must be filed within one week after the student receives notification of the sanction. The Provost will then review the incident, resolve it to the satisfaction of both parties, or refer it to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee (SSAC).

If the incident is referred to the SSAC, the SSAC may act on the basis of the written record, or may invite the parties to submit additional information. If the student is found to be innocent, the faculty member will be notified and any academic sanction imposed against the student will be nullified.

If the student is found responsible, the Provost will decide whether to impose a non‑grade sanction. The Provost will take into account the faculty’s recommendations, any related record in the Provost’s office, and recommendations from the SSAC or the Dean of Students.

If additional non‑grade sanctions are imposed by the Provost, the student may appeal these sanctions to the SSAC.

All proceedings will be conducted with strict confidentiality by all those involved in the matter. Records of alleged violations resulting in innocent findings will be promptly destroyed. In cases where responsibility is established, reports from the faculty member and the SSAC will be retained by the Office of the Provost for the duration of the student’s academic career at Hope College. The record will also allow the recording of the student’s defense. All related reports shall be destroyed upon graduation. The records of a student suspended or expelled for a violation will be retained for three years before being destroyed. All provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act shall apply regarding release of information from these records.

These procedures shall be presented in full in the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook. Course syllabi should contain a reference to these procedures and detail their applications for that particular course.

Faculty are encouraged to create environments conducive to fostering integrity by all. This means that proctoring examinations may be necessary in some instances, but it also calls for positive action on the part of the instructor to remove undue temptation.

The Administrative Affairs Board will maintain its charged oversight of the conduct of the SSAC and will also take overall responsibility for encouraging and maintaining an atmosphere supporting academic and social integrity.

Questions about this policy may be directed to the Provost’s Office.

Class Attendance

Since class attendance is regarded as an essential part of the educational process at Hope College, students are expected to benefit by classroom discussions as well as by their daily text assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to present an excuse to their instructor and request make‑up privileges.

Classwork missed while students are ill or away on faculty‑approved business should be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor. Although make‑up work will not in all cases remove the full adverse effect of the absence, faculty members will cooperate with the students in their attempt to make up their loss when such absence is unavoidable. The degree of effect upon grades will vary with the nature and the amount of the work missed and must be measured according to the instructor’s best judgment. In case of excessive absences, instructors may refuse all credit for the course.

Classroom Recording Policy

The classroom recording policy applies to audio, still photo, and video recording of classroom lecture, discussion, laboratory, studio, and other activities by analog, digital, or future recording technology. This policy strives to recognize current norms and practice, promote student learning, differentiate between public and private space, create a safe classroom environment, respect individual privacy, provide for informed consent, consider potential consequences from distribution of such materials, and be consistent with the institutional values of Hope College.

In summary:

  • Students must ask for and obtain permission to record from the instructor
  • Students may not distribute such recordings
  • Instructors will inform the class if recording has been permitted

Violations of this policy will be subject to appropriate grade and/or non-grade sanctions.

The full policy is contained in the Student Handbook.

Excessive Absence Policy

Hope College encourages students to regularly attend class and allows faculty to develop their own classroom attendance policies. Attendance and participation in class are vital components of a residential college experience. Instructors are encouraged to monitor student attendance and are required to report excessive absences, as defined below, through the Concerning Behavior Report System. The Care Team receives notice of these reports in order to support student success and learning and to intervene and provide resources when students are not thriving.

For purposes of determining if a student is in attendance, they must be physically present in seated, in-person classes, and/or they must be participating in online classes on at least a weekly basis or as otherwise required by the course attendance policy. Online course participation includes participating in discussion boards, submitting assignments on time, and/or interacting with the instructor through electronic means.

Faculty shall excuse a student from class when the college’s excused absences policy applies and may establish and implement course-level policies on excused absences.

Excessive Absences Definition

The Registrar’s Office reserves the right to administratively drop or withdraw a student from class for excessive absences, which are defined as follows:

16 week courses: Unexcused, consecutive absences resulting in missing more than half of the classes during the first 10 calendar days of class or missing a third or more of the days of instruction throughout the semester due to unexcused absences. Instructors may establish a more stringent definition of excessive absences for their courses and shall report such absences in accordance with this policy. For online, asynchronous courses, an excessive absence would be defined as not participating at least once during the first week.

4-week courses: Not participating at least once during the first week of an online, asynchronous course; failing to be in attendance during the first two class meetings of a seated course; missing a third or more of the days of instruction during the term due to unexcused absences.

Continued reported unexcused absences or excessive absences may result in appropriate interventions including structured accountability planning, referrals to campus resources, and in cases of pattern and/or severity, judicial review. In cases in which a student is excessively absent, judicial review can result in administrative withdrawal from courses. In the case of administrative withdrawal, the Office of the Registrar will notify the student, the Financial Aid Office, Residential Life, Student Accounts, Athletics (if applicable), International Advisor (if applicable), and the Registrar’s Office of its decision to administratively drop or withdraw a student for excessive absences.

Consequences of Excessive Absences

An administrative drop or withdrawal may impact a student’s scholarships, federal financial aid, and their ability to live in Hope’s Residence Halls. Residence Life requires that students maintain full-time status to live in Residence Halls, and the Student Handbook addresses the consequences of falling below this threshold, which may include requiring the student to vacate their residence hall.

Financial Aid will take appropriate action under applicable policies related to student aid.


Students who are administratively dropped/withdrawn will be informed of the drop/withdraw decision in writing on the effective date. A student may request to be reinstated using the following procedure:

  • The student must complete a request for reinstatement (found on the Registrar’s website) within 2 business days of receiving the drop/withdraw email.
  • In consultation with the Registrar, the instructor of record who shall consider the feasibility of completing the course within the class time remaining must approve the student’s reinstatement into the course.
  • Upon reinstatement approval, the Office of the Registrar and Student Accounts will be notified by the Registrar; any unpaid tuition and fees for the course must be paid before the student is re-enrolled.

Approved by Curriculum Committee in March 2023, and by Academic Affairs Board in April 2023.


Credits and Grading

Auditing a Course

Students may elect to take most Hope courses on an audit, non‑credit basis. Courses that require activity or performance in the Arts and Kinesiology may not be audited.

Degree-seeking students may audit, however, it is not recommended because the fee to audit is the same as a for-credit course, but credit is not earned. In addition, an audited course will not transfer to another institution. In place of auditing, we suggest degree-seeking students take the course on a pass/fail basis so that they earn credit.

Once a course is changed to audit, it not be changed back to a standard, graded course.

To audit a course, students should:

  1. Register for the course.
  2. Obtain instructor and advisor permission via email
  3. Complete the Schedule Change Form before the course drop/add deadline. Attach screenshots of the permissions to the form. In the notes section of the form, indicate that the course will be audited.

Class Standing

FRESHMAN: Fewer than 24 earned credits

SOPHOMORE: 24‑57 earned credits

JUNIOR: 58‑89 earned

SENIOR: 90 or more earned credits

Credits by AP, IB, CLEP and Exam

Credit earned by means of any credit‑bearing examination approved by the college may be used to satisfy specific general education or major requirements. If there is a Hope equivalent course indicated and if that course meets a requirement, so, too will the credit earned through an examination for credit. Credits awarded from these exams are listed on the Registrar’s Office website.

Advanced Placement (AP)

A program for high school students, sponsored by College Board. Generally credit is granted to students who received grades of 4 or 5.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A high school program sponsored by International Baccalaureate. Generally college credit is granted for higher-level examinations where students score from 5 to 7. Credit is not awarded for subsidiary-level examinations.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

An exam program administered by College Board. Scores required to receive Hope credit vary based on examination.

Departmental Examinations

Where CLEP or other nationally normed tests are not available, departmentally prepared and administered examinations may be arranged. These are not to be confused with placement exams that some departments offer.

Credit by examination has the following limitations:

  • Examination credit will be awarded only if the student has not previously registered for the course in question at Hope or at another institution.
  • None of the credit by examination programs approved by Hope may be used to make up failures or replace grades already earned.
  • Credits earned by examination will be listed on the student’s record with the note that the credit was earned by examination. Grades and honor points will not be recorded. The credits, while counting toward graduation, will not be used in the computation of cumulative grade point averages.
  • The maximum amount of credit by examination which can be applied toward the 120 credits required for graduation is 32 credits, 8 of which can be in the major area of concentration.

For further information about departmental examinations, contact the Registrar’s Office.

Language Credit

As incentive for students to enroll at their placement level, credit (up to a maximum of 12 hours) will be given for the second language course(s) which precede the course completed. For example: The completion of FREN 201  will also earn credit for FREN 101  and FREN 102 . This special awarding of credit is intended to encourage students to take full advantage of their prior learning of a second language and therefore develop fluency and cultural awareness. This policy is effective only for the first time students take a course in any given language.

Grade Reports

Faculty report midterm and final grades in The deadlines for faculty to report grades are listed on the Academic Calendar.

Midterm grades are available to students immediately in their account. They are designed to give students an indication of their progress and do not appear on their record.

Final grades must be processed by the Registrar’s Office after they are entered by faculty. Students may view final grades in after they have been processed. Final grades become part of the official student record.

Instructional Hours

Hope College courses require a minimum combination of 45 hours of direct instruction and non-instructional time per credit hour per semester, as defined in our Credit Hour Policy. Different course types have different combinations of direct instruction and non-instructional student work time. 

This applies to all Hope credit-bearing courses no matter the schedule, term length, or modality. An hour of direct instruction is equal to 50 minutes: a standard course meeting time. While some programs may have different requirements for instructional hours, such as those with state licensure requirements, they will not be fewer than a combined 45 hours per credit hour.  

Students should consult their course syllabi for the instructional and non-instructional requirements for each course.

Minimum Hours of Direct Instruction and Non-Instructional Activities

Course Credit Hours of Direct Instruction & Non-Instructional Activities
0.5 22.5
1 45
2 90
3 135
4 180

Approved by Hope College Academic Affairs Board February 2, 2021.

Pass/Fail Option

Sophomore, junior and senior students may request one course per semester to be graded on a pass/fail basis. Once the course has been changed to Pass/Fail, it may not be reversed back to a standard, graded course. Some graduate and professional schools accept only a certain number of pass/fail courses, so we recommend that you determine that number before making this choice.

The requirements for pass/fail are:

  • The student must be enrolled as a full‑time student (12 credits or more).
  • The student must be at least sophomore standing (24 earned credits or more).
  • The subject of the course must lie outside the student’s major or minor subject and may not be a required course for their major or minor.
  • The course may not be used for any Anchor Plan requirements.
  • Students who are seeking teacher certification may not take professional education courses as Pass/Fail.

To request a pass/fail, the student should:

  1. Register for the course.
  2. Email their advisor to request permission to pass/fail the course. The instructor does not need to know the course is being taken pass/fail.
  3. Fill out the Course Pass/Fail Request Form before the pass/fail deadline.
  4. The Registrar’s Office will change the student’s grade mode to pass/fail.

During the semester, students will receive standard letter grades for their work in the course (including a midterm grade), but at the end of the semester, they will receive a “P” or an “F” on their record. Credit is earned for P grades, but P grades do not get computed into the cumulative GPA; Failures result in no credit earned and are computed into the GPA as zero quality points.

Repeating a Course

No grade may be removed from the student’s permanent record. But if a student wishes to improve their GPA, they may repeat any course at Hope except the First Year Seminar. The student’s most recent grade will be factored into the GPA. The old grade will still appear on the transcript for informational purposes, but will not factor into the GPA. Grades in classes taken at other colleges do not transfer or affect students’ GPA. For this reason, students may not take a class at another college to improve their GPA.

Financial Aid Eligibility: Federal regulations may limit the number of times a student may repeat a course and receive federal financial aid for that course. More information is available on the Financial Aid  page.

Student Load

The recommended student load is 15-16 credits per semester. Students must carry a minimum of 12 semester credits of course work each semester to maintain full‑time status. Veteran students under the G.I. Bill ® must carry a minimum of 12 credits to be considered full‑time students and to receive maximum benefits. In order to maintain their visa status, foreign students need to maintain a minimum load of 12 semester credits.

Permission to take a heavier load of credits is based on the student’s academic record. Contact the Registrar’s Office to request permission to take:

  • More than 18 credits in a fall or spring semester
  • More than 6 credits in a summer term

System of Grading

The system of grading is as follows:

Grade Significance Quality Points (per sem. credit)
A Superior 4.0
A- Superior 3.7
B+ Good 3.3
B Good 3.0
B- Good 2.7
C+ Adequate 2.3
C Adequate 2.0
C- Adequate 1.7
D+ Weak but passing 1.5
D Weak but passing 1.0
D- Weak but passing 0.7
F Failure 0.0

The College uses other grade types to signify special circumstances:

  • AU (Audit) = The course was taken with the audit option. The student does not earn credit.
  • I (Incomplete) = Given only when unusual circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent giving a specific grade. The I grade must be removed within 6 weeks after the close of the session in which the I grade was given. If not removed within this time, the I becomes a Failure (F). Degrees are not awarded to students who have I grades.
  • IP (In Progress) = The course is currently in progress or the student is registered for future courses.
  • NR (No Report) = The instructor has not submitted a grade for the student. NR grades become Failure (F) 6 weeks after the close of the session. Degrees are not awarded to students with NR grades.
  • P (Pass) = The course was taken on the pass/fail option with at least a D- or higher. Credit is earned, but the GPA is not affected.
  • W (Withdrawal) = The student officially withdrew from the course. Credit is not earned and the GPA is not affected.

Determining grade point average

Quality points, the numerical equivalent of the letter grade, are used to determine the grade point average (GPA). For example, a student receiving an A, B, C, D, or F in a three-credit course earns 12, 9, 6, 2, or 0 quality points respectively.

The number of earned quality points divided by the number of semester credits attempted (excluding grades that do not count in the GPA, as listed above) establishes the GPA of a student. The GPA is used to determine academic honors, academic warning, probation, or suspension. A GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation from Hope College.


The Registrar’s Office maintains the official academic record of each student in perpetuity.

Official transcripts are comprised of the student’s entire academic career. They are available from the Registrar’s Office. To maintain confidentiality of student records, only the student may request their transcript.

Transfer of Credit

Hope College accepts transfer credit toward its degrees only from institutions of higher learning that are accredited by their regional accrediting association.

A maximum of 65 credits may be transferred from community or junior colleges. Overall, up to 90 credits may be transferred. 

A grade of C or better must be earned in the transfer course in order for it to transfer to Hope. Only the credit is transferred; grades do not transfer. Credits awarded are posted to the student’s academic record.

Students may not earn transfer credit for a course completed at Hope College.

Credit in courses with a C- or below grade will transfer only if the student’s cumulative GPA at the issuing institution is 2.0 or above.

Students are responsible for submitting official transcripts to the Registrar’s Office for review and credit posting. Full transfer credit procedures, along with a list of courses already approved to transfer, are available on the transfer credits page.

Students intending to take a course at a school located outside of the United States (not including courses taken as part of an organized study abroad program) need to submit the international transcript to a foreign credential evaluation service. There are various organizations that provide this service. Contact the Registrar’s Office for further information.

Transfer students seeking a Hope College degree must complete their last 30 credits on Hope College’s campus.


Enrollment and Registration

Academic Standing

Students are considered in good academic standing as long as they are not on probation or have been academically dismissed from the college.

Academic Dismissal

A student may be dismissed from the college for academic reasons if, in the judgment of the college, the student’s cumulative and/or semester GPA is below the standards for academic probation, and therefore, jeopardizes the student’s ability to earn a degree from Hope College.

Conditions which may invoke academic dismissal:

  • For first-year students: any semester GPA below a 1.3 and/or a cumulative first-year GPA of less than 1.7.
  • For second-year students and beyond: a cumulative GPA below a 1.9 and/or an academic record which does not show progress toward reaching the college’s degree requirement of a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • An email is sent to the student informing them of academic dismissal and the advisor is notified of the status.

A student may appeal the decision regarding academic dismissal to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee. This appeal must be made within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the notification from the Registrar.

Readmission after Academic Dismissal

A student who has been academically dismissed may apply for readmission after one semester of absence. The application for readmission must demonstrate that the student has convincing evidence (usually through course work at another academic institution) that they are ready and able to return to Hope College.

Questions regarding this may be addressed to the Registrar.

Academic Probation

A 2.0 cumulative GPA is required to earn a Hope College degree. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below this requirement is placed on academic probation according to the following schedule:

  • 0-24 credits attempted: below 1.7 cumulative GPA
  • 25-57 credits attempted: below 1.9 cumulative GPA
  • 58-89 credits attempted: below 1.95 cumulative GPA
  • 90+ credits attempted: below 2.0 cumulative GPA

Students may be placed on academic probation for successive semesters if there is evidence that they are making progress toward the 2.0 cumulative GPA degree requirement. Failure to make substantial progress toward the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement may result in academic dismissal.

A student’s probation status is placed on their academic record and the student is informed by email.

Any student whose semester GPA falls below 1.3, regardless of overall GPA, will be placed on academic probation and will be required to meet with a staff person in the Student Support and Retention Office to discuss their academic performance.

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is awarded on a semester basis for full-time, degree-seeking students with a semester GPA of 3.5 or above. The list is compiled at the end of each semester, a few days after final grades are due. In order to be included on the Dean’s List, all of a student’s semester courses must be graded, meaning, no NR or I grades.

Notice of the award is sent to students via email. Student names and class standing are also published on the Hope website. Students can see each semester they were named to the Dean’s List on their transcript.

If a student has NR or I grades at the time the Dean’s List is compiled, and later resolves those grades to qualify for the Dean’s List, the designation will be placed on their transcript. However, students will not be notified and their name will not appear in the web announcement. Dean’s List announcements are completed only once a semester.

Schedule Changes

Students may make changes to their courses, with the following restrictions:

Adding and Dropping Courses: Students may add and drop courses without academic penalty through the course drop/add deadline, posted on the Academic Calendar. Instructions for dropping or adding courses are listed on the Registrar’s Office website.

Withdrawing from Courses: After the course’s drop/add deadline, students can only withdraw from a course for a W grade. Students may withdraw from a course after consultation with their instructor and advisor before the course withdrawal deadline. Courses may not be withdrawn from after the deadline and will be recorded as failures. Implications of withdrawing, and instructions for doing so, are listed on the Registrar’s Office website.

Withdrawing or Non-Returning from Hope

Because of difficult situations, a student may find it necessary to withdraw from the college. They must complete the Non-Return/Withdraw Form (paper forms are also available in the Registrar’s Office) and have it signed by the Dean of Students, Financial Aid, and Business Services. The form should be turned in to the Registrar’s Office last, for Registrar signature and processing. Staff in each of the offices will help the student navigate the withdrawal process and plan for the future. Refunds will be granted when the form is processed by the Registrar’s Office. Refund percentages by date are listed on the Student Expenses  page.

Full withdrawals from college must be completed before the full-semester course withdrawal deadline, posted on the Academic Calendar. There is no refund after the fifth week of the semester. If it is determined by college officials that a withdrawal is necessary because of extenuating circumstances (i.e. health issues, family death), a withdrawal maybe initiated through 85% of the term.

Students who leave the college after completing the semester in which they are currently enrolled, are considered Non-Returning. They must complete the Non-Return/Withdraw Form. The form must be submitted by the drop/add deadline of the succeeding semester. Refunds will be granted when the form is completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office.



The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment) was passed by Congress in 1974 to protect the confidentiality of students’ records and information.

Hope College’s policy on student records incorporates the rights guaranteed by FERPA. Students are notified of their FERPA rights annually through publication of the rights in this College Catalog and the Student Handbook. Questions about the policy should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.

FERPA guarantees students the following rights:

  • The right to inspect and review their education records.
  • The right to request to amend their education records.
  • The right to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information (information that would directly identify the student or make the student’s identity easily traceable) known as directory information.
  • The right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA.

Students’ FERPA rights begin at Hope College when admittance is accepted by payment of enrollment deposit.

Education Records

Education records include any information directly related to the student whether stored on paper or in an electronic file, on a computer or other media (microfilm, CD, etc.).

Directory Information

Public, or Directory Information, is information contained in students’ educational records which would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if the information were disclosed. Public or directory information includes:

  • Name
  • Addresses: local, permanent, email
  • Name of parent or guardian
  • Previous school(s) attended
  • Dates of attendance
  • Awards and honors received
  • Degree(s) awarded and dates of degree(s)
  • Majors and minors
  • For athletes: Statistics (weight, height, etc.) included on team activity sheets
  • Photograph (official Hope College ID card photo)
  • Class standing (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior)
  • Enrollment status (full-time or part-time)

Unless students request in writing that this public (directory) information be withheld, directory information is available to others. Hope College exercises restraint in the release of this information and keeps students’ welfare in the forefront as it determines whether to release directory information.

To withhold the release of directory information students must submit a request in writing; contact the Registrar’s Office for the form.

Hope College is required by law (the Solomon Amendment) to provide the name, address and other demographic information of all students to any legitimate military recruiter who makes such a request in writing to the Registrar’s Office. According to the Solomon Amendment, this release must be honored even if a student has submitted a request to withhold directory information.

Confidential Information

All other data (non-directory) collected and stored about students is considered confidential. The confidentiality of this information is guaranteed to students.

Confidential information can be released in the following circumstances:

  • To Hope College faculty and staff who have a legitimate educational interest.
  • Pursuant to a court order or subpoena.
  • To the National Student Loan Data System or National Student Clearinghouse, for financial aid purposes only.
  • To protect the safety of the student or the safety of others.

In other circumstances, confidential information can be released to others only with the written consent of the student.

Students have the right to file complaints concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of the Act. Such complaints should be directed to the U.S. Department of Education.



Course Numbering Guide

The course offerings at Hope College can be classified into three main divisions: lower division (100-299) and upper division (300-699).

Competency levels are reflected in the first digit and are established as follows:

  • 000-099: No credit courses
  • 100-199: Freshman competency level
  • 200-299: Sophomore competency level
  • 300-399: Junior competency level
  • 400-699: Senior competency level

For some departments, the second digit is used as a subdiscipline grouping. In all departments, the middle digit “9” refers to honors, seminars or independent study courses.


An area of concentration in one particular subject in which the students earn a fairly large number of required credits.

Composite Major

A combination of several major disciplines especially arranged for students possessing particular educational and vocational goals.


The fulfillment of a specified number of credits in a particular subject not in the students’ major.


A course the student must have completed (in some cases, with a specific grade earned) before they may enroll for the course in question. In the case of future semesters, students may register for the future course, as long as they have completed or are currently registered for the prerequisite. The Registrar’s Office and academic departments will review final grades for the current semester and determine which students have not met the prerequisite for the future course.


A course the student must take concurrently with the course in question.


A course the student must take prior to or concurrently with the course in question.

Semester and Term

The college year is divided into two semesters: a fall semester beginning in August/September and a spring semester beginning in January.

There are three summer terms and each is 4 weeks long: May, June and July.

The Academic Calendar lists semester/term dates. The Schedule of Courses lists courses being offered in a given semester/term.

Semester Hours

Semester hours are credits. A student must complete 120 credits with a minimum grade point average of 2.00 to be eligible for a degree and the credits must be in the required and elective courses.

Zero-Credit Courses

Zero-credit courses are specifically listed as being offered for zero credit. Courses not listed as zero-credit will not be offered for zero credits. Courses taken for zero credits will not be retroactively changed to credit-bearing courses at any time. All academic policies applicable to credit-bearing courses are also applicable to zero-credit courses. All zero-credit courses will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis. If a zero-credit course is required for a major or minor, it is an exception to the rule that major/minor requirements may not be taken Pass/Fail. Zero-credit course options are only available to full-time, degree-seeking students in fall and spring semesters. Zero-credit course options may be available in summer terms with approval from the Registrar.


Appeals and Complaint Policy

Appeals and Request for Academic Waiver

Students may seek exemption from an academic regulation by appealing in writing to the Registrar. The student must secure the approval of their faculty advisor to waive an academic regulation. If the student’s request is denied, they may further appeal the decision to the Student Standing and Appeals Committee for final disposition. Appeals must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Student Standing and Appeals Committee within 10 days after notification of the decision.

Appeal of Final Grade

If student wishes to dispute a final grade, the following procedure should be followed:

  1. If the instructor is not a department chairperson, students may appeal to the department chairperson, who will act as mediator.
  2. If the instructor is a department chairperson, the senior member of their department shall act as mediator.

The instructor whose grade has been questioned has the final decision in the matter. The grade appeal process must be initiated within 30 days of posting of the grade.

Complaint Policy

As stated in our Virtues of Public Discourse, “Hope is an educational community whose mission is vitally informed by the historic Christian faith, and in which all individuals are, as a matter of deeply held principle, treated with the respect due them as God’s creatures.” Students are encouraged to engage in the Virtues at all times and particularly when they find themselves in situations that may involve conflict. The virtues encourage direct communication and informal resolution whenever possible. Many issues may be resolved when one makes an appointment with a faculty or staff member and communicates their concerns. For matters where a resolution cannot be reached, an individual may file a complaint.

For purposes of the complaint process, Hope College considers an individual to be a student when an enrollment deposit has been paid and thereafter until any of the following occur: Conferral of degree, Non-Return/Withdrawal Form submitted, or, for non-degree seeking students, 30 days following posting of final grades.

A complaint (defined as a statement of dissatisfaction or discontent with a Hope College employee, office, or department) shall be in writing (preferably using the Complaint Form)

Other stakeholders (e.g., parents, community members, alumni) may use the Complaint Form to submit a complaint, providing their contact information in the student information section.

Please be assured that no adverse action will be taken against a complainant.

This process is not to be used for the following:

Individuals should report complaints promptly and include a short and concise statement of all the relevant facts and the remedy you are requesting so that an inquiry may be completed and resolution achieved.

  • The Associate Dean of Students is available to provide support and guidance as necessary when composing the Complaint Form.
  • The complainant will receive a confirmation email upon successful submission.
  • The Associate Dean of Students reviews each Complaint Report to determine appropriate referral. This will be done in conjunction with the Ombudsperson. Referrals will be made within appropriate areas of concern (e.g., Academic to Provost’s Office and staff to Human Resources).
  • Every effort will be made to assign the Complaint Report with attention to fairness, discretion, and lack of bias.
  • Within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the Complaint Report, the Associate Dean of Students will advise the complainant in writing either that: a) the complaint has been referred for an inquiry and resolution and to whom the complaint was referred, or b) that the complaint has been dismissed and the rationale for dismissal).
  • The person to whom the inquiry has been referred has twenty (20) business days from the date of referral to address the complaint.
  • During the inquiry and response process, the administrator will communicate directly with the complainant to gain their perspective on the situation and/or provide updates.
  • If the subject of the Complaint Report is a specific person, the administrator will also contact the person to gain their perspective on the situation.
  • If the subject of the Complaint Report is a department or organization, the administrator will contact the appropriate representative (e.g., department head) to gain their perspective on the situation.
  • At the conclusion of the inquiry, the administrator will notify the complainant and the Associate Dean of Students in writing of the inquiry and response.
  • The Associate Dean of Students may extend the inquiry period beyond twenty (20) business days by notifying, in writing, the complainant and the subject of the Complaint Form.
  • A complaint may be dismissed without further action if the complainant fails to cooperate in the inquiry.
  • Outcomes of the inquiry may include, but not be limited to:
  • Modification of process(es)
  • Additional training
  • Recommendation of independent investigation
  • A flowchart of the Complaint Process is available here.

The Associate Dean of Students will prepare an annual complaint report for the President and members of the Administrative Council that depicts trends. All data will be anonymized prior to reporting.

*NOTE: Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown, Chief Officer for Culture and Inclusion, serves as the college’s Ombudsperson and provides space for students to express concerns or ask questions about institutional policies and practices. Dr. Trent-Brown serves as an impartial representative for Hope College with regard to the student complaint procedure.