Academic Policies

Northwestern Michigan College is committed to open access to higher education and to your academic success. Our intent is to offer support and remediation for students who are considered at risk of academic failure.


Attendance is critical to student academic progress. Even though attendance expectations may differ from course to course, you are expected to be present, prepared, and be active participants in your classes. Students will receive a written attendance policy from the instructor at the first class meeting. A student who is repeatedly absent from class without good reason may be withdrawn from the course by the instructor.

Credit for Prior Learning

Students who have achieved competency in certain skill or course work areas may receive credit for classes or waivers of prerequisite classes. This competency could be gained through life, work, or military experience; vocational training at an area vocational, career or skill center; or completion of high school advanced placement courses. Assessment of proficiences may be demonstrated through the following options:

  • AP (Advanced Placement) credit achieved through high school courses;
  • CLEP (College Level Examination Program);
  • ACE (American Council on Education) for veterans;
  • DSST (Dantes Subject Standardized Test);
  • Competency Assessment in some NMC courses;
  • Course waiver;
  • Articulation credit for work at the Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center

Students who wish to pursue credit or waivers for competencies should go to or contact the NMC Registrar in the Records and Registration Office in the Tanis Building. Students wanting information or to register for the CLEP exam should call (231) 995-1360.

Transfer Credit Equivalences

Quarter credits or other units of credit transferred in will be converted to semester credits. To convert quarter hours, multiply the quarter hours by 2/3 to equate to semester hour. The converted quarter hours must equal the required semester credits for the purpose of satisfying graduation requirements.

Adding Classes

Courses are set up in sessions which vary by the number of weeks they meet (15-week, 8-week, 5-week, etc.). Students may add available courses up through the day before the session begins. Once the session begins, permission to add may be required from the Academic Chair or Office Manager (not the instructor). Not all academic areas will allow registration after the session has started.

Dropping Classes

Students may officially drop classes during the designated Registration/Add/Drop/Refund dates for the semester.

These dates include a drop without record period which means the course will not be reflected on the official transcript, and a drop with record period which means a grade of “W” (Withdrawn) will be assigned to the course and noted on the official transcript. A grade of “W” will not affect the NMC grade point average. It is the student’s responsibility to drop their course(s), notify their instructor(s) of the drop, and be aware of any financial obligations.

Students dropping some or all of their classes may complete the process through NMC Self Service if there are no holds present on their record. This may also be done by completing an Enrollment/Drop/Add Form and submitting it to the Enrollment Services office. This may be done in person (Tanis Building) or by email to The date the form is received in the Enrollment Services office will be considered the official date of the withdrawal. Questions about this process may be directed to Enrollment Services at (231) 995-1049.

Dropping a class is not permitted during the last 25 percent of the session in which the course is offered.

Students who wish to drop classes online and have a hold present on their record may call (231) 995-1049 for options. In most cases, the hold may be temporarily removed to allow the drop.


The following are standard grades at Northwestern Michigan College:

Grade Description
4.0 outstanding
3.5 excellent
3.0 good
2.5 above average
2.0 average
1.5 below average
1.0 deficient
0.0 failed
S satisfactory
U unsatisfactory
I incomplete
W withdrawn
FA failed to attend
AU audit
S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) may be given to designate the level of performance in courses which evaluate completion of specified competencies. (For designated courses only.)
I (incomplete) may be given in unusual cases and at the discretion of the instructor if it is believed that the student has a valid reason for not having completed the course work and can fulfill the requirements of the course during the next semester. An incomplete not made up by the end of the next semester automatically becomes a 0.0. Incompletes may be extended one additional semester at the discretion of the instructor.
W (withdrawn) will be given to students who are officially withdrawn from their class after the add period and before the last twenty-five percent of the session.
FA (failed to attend)—may be given by an instructor if a student registered for a course but did not attend and did not officially drop.
AU (audit) may be issued at the time of registration upon full payment of tuition and fees if a student wishes to attend a class without college academic credit or a grade. Changing from audit to credit may take place during the period allowed for adding a class at the beginning of the semester. Changing from credit to audit may take place before the last twenty-five percent of the session. All pertinent dates are listed in the class schedule.

Good Standing

You are considered to be in academic good standing when you have a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0.

Grade Point Average

Grade point average (GPA) is a weighted average of grades. A grade for a course is multiplied by the credit hours for that course to obtain “points.” Total points are then divided by total credit hours to determine the grade point average. A GPA calculator is available online.

When a course is repeated, both the most recent grade and the previous grade will appear on the transcript (official academic record). However, only the last grade will be counted in the NMC cumulative GPA. Grades of S, U, I, W, FA, and AU are not used in the computation of grade point averages. Consult with the Advising Center with questions.

Dean’s List

Students who have completed five or more credits and achieved a semester grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher qualify for the Dean’s List. Each student receives a congratulatory letter from the Vice President for Educational Services. Dean’s List students will have their names listed in the lobby between the Biederman and Tanis buildings, and posted online.

Grade Point Re-evaluation

Northwestern Michigan College offers you an opportunity to improve upon a cumulative grade point average by repeating a course or courses, or by petitioning for a grade point re-evaluation under special circumstances. These options provide you with the opportunity to achieve a cumulative grade point average that is truly representative of your capabilities. You may pursue this option by calling the Advising Center for petitions and further information: (231) 995-1040. Transfer institutions may or may not recognize GPA re-evaluation.

For more information on GPA re-evaluation, visit and click on “grades.”

Academic Probation

Any student whose cumulative grade point average is below a 2.0 is considered academically at risk and will be placed on academic probation. The purpose of academic probation is to assure careful academic planning and referral to support services while the student attempts to improve his or her academic record.

Support & Intervention for Students on Academic Probation

Any student who is on probation must meet with an academic advisor prior to registering for any semester or session until the status of probation is removed. This enables the student to build a realistic academic program and receive appropriate referrals to support services that afford the maximum possibility for success. Students who are on probation may not take more than 12 semester credits during fall/spring semester, or six credits during the summer session. The status of academic probation is removed when the student’s cumulative grade point average becomes 2.0 or higher.

Academic Suspension

When a student has been on academic probation for two semesters and is unable to maintain a current grade point average of 2.0 or higher the following semester, that student will be suspended from academic enrollment for a period of one semester (excluding summer.) This means the student will sit out for one full semester, either fall or spring. The official transcript will reflect this action.

Reinstatement Following Academic Suspension

A student who has been academically suspended is encouraged to petition the Registrar for reinstatement when the waiting period is over if he/she feels that sufficient changes have occurred to enable academic success. This petition must be made in writing at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester for which the student is seeking re-entry. Include in the petition:

  1. Circumstances that you feel will lead to better academic performance
  2. Your goals at NMC; for example, major filed of study and career plans
  3. Your plans regarding employment if you are reinstated

Grade Alert

Learning is dependent upon regular feedback regarding student performance. Students and instructors are both responsible for this communication. Students achieving less than a 2.0 in any 15-week class may receive notification to their NMC email around the midpoint of the academic session encouraging them to contact their instructor.

Repeating Courses

Northwestern Michigan College offers you an opportunity to improve upon a cumulative GPA by repeating a course or courses. All courses and grades will appear on the transcript (official academic record); however, only the last grade will be counted in the cumulative grade point average. Most courses at NMC can be taken a maximum of three times. Exceptions are courses in applied music. Financial Aid may have further restrictions and should be consulted.


Official transcripts of a student’s academic record are released only at the request of the student. Northwestern Michigan College has partnered with Parchment to ensure security for all transactions, and allows current students and alumni to submit online orders for certified eTranscripts or paper transcripts.

Transcripts are issued only if all financial obligations have been settled with NMC and there are no active holds on the student record that prevent the release of transcripts. Refer to the Records and Registration webpage for more information, ordering instructions, and fees.