Student Academic Rights, Responsibilities, and Policies

All BCC students are expected to conduct themselves as mature college students seriously interested in obtaining the best possible education. This includes observing the College’s academic rules and regulations, respecting the rights of others, and practicing academic integrity. In return, the College seeks to provide an environment where the freedom to learn and interact can be nurtured and encouraged. To do that, the College respects and defends the rights of free speech and assembly and will protect such rights for all its members.

Requesting a Waiver of an Academic Requirement

Matriculated students (those enrolled in a degree or certificate program) have the right to petition for waivers to the academic requirements of their program. This right, however, does not mean automatic approval of the waiver. To appeal a requirement, a “Petition for Waiver of Academic Requirement” form must be completed, including an unofficial transcript (obtained at the Enrollment Center or printed from the Banner Management Information System) and approval signatures from the following people: the student, an advisor or counselor, the student’s Program Coordinator, the Department Chair of the course for which the waiver is requested, and the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs or their designee.  Replies can be expected within approximately 45 days. Petitions should be submitted by April 1 to guarantee action by the end of the academic year. Petition forms may be obtained from the Advisement/Counseling Center.  For additional information, please contact Academic Advising, 774.357.3044 or Academic Affairs, 774.357.2185.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the keystone of teaching, learning, and assessment. Bristol Community College is committed to promoting and supporting this ideal. In fact, it is fundamental to our mission. All students, faculty, staff, and administrators are expected to maintain a high standard of academic honesty and integrity.

College students must assume responsibility for maintaining academic integrity in their work and in the work of others. Students, as colleagues in learning, have a responsibility to document their own work and to report other incidents of academic dishonesty or negligence.

Faculty and staff cooperation is necessary to ensure academic integrity, and they should serve as a model for their students. Syllabi should include their expectations and the college policy, course materials should be cited, and incidents of academic dishonesty should be addressed and reported in a timely fashion.

The administrators at Bristol Community College also share in demonstrating and ensuring academic honesty and integrity. While recognizing that academic freedom is a fundamental right of higher education, it must be supported by academic integrity and honesty. For that reason, the College will not tolerate academic dishonesty or negligence and has established policies and procedures to ensure academic honesty and integrity is maintained and supported.

Academic Dishonesty

A college community must be established on a foundation of truth and academic integrity. Bristol Community College has an obligation not only to promote these high standards of academic honesty, but also to address academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is demonstrated by cheating, plagiarism, and facilitating academic dishonesty.

Cheating – Includes, but is not limited to: (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or (3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff.

Cheating shall also include the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials, taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit, and copying or purchasing other’s work or arranging for others to do work under a false name. (Student Handbook)


Includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. This would also include material that is obtained from the computer. (Student Handbook)

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty

Students who allow their work to be used by other students or who otherwise aid others in academic dishonesty are violating academic integrity.

Evaluation and Reporting

When faculty members have reason to believe and evidence to document that a student is being academically dishonest, the faculty members may handle the matter at the course level. You may also want to discuss the issue with your department chair and/or division dean.

If the faculty member wants to document and report an incident of academic dishonesty, the faculty member is responsible to take the following steps:

  • Consult with the department chair and/or divisional dean.
  • Arrange for a meeting with the student to advise the student of the allegations, to present the evidence, and to make the student aware of the consequences.
  • Allow the student to present evidence of innocence, explain extenuating circumstances, and/or provide relevant information.
  • Report the incident to your divisional dean using the Academic Dishonesty Report.
  • The dean will send a copy of the report to the vice president for Academic Affairs who will keep it on file until the student graduates. A copy of the report and a letter explaining the due process procedures will be sent to the student.

Academic Penalties

If the faculty member determines that the student did commit an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member has the authority to impose any of the following:

  • Warning
  • Failing grade in the exam, paper, or other assessment. A grade of zero is recommend.
  • Revision of work
  • Reduction in grade
  • Withdrawal from course
  • Failing grade in course

Due Process

The above action does not negate the student’s right to due process in accordance with the Grade Appeals section of the Student Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Student Handbook and academic calendar. A withdrawal from class is subject to the terms of the Student Code of Conduct.

Academic Negligence

Academic Negligence is demonstrated by failure to do assigned work or by not adhering to a stated attendance policy. A student guilty of academic negligence may be assigned a failing grade by the faculty member.

Classroom Conduct

Disruptive or distracting classroom behavior is a violation of the College’s student Code of Conduct. A faculty member has the right to remove a disruptive student from class, pending a review of the situation by the vice president of Enrollment Services. Any faculty member may, at any time, refer a student to the vice president of Enrollment Services if the student is in violation of the Code of Conduct. The vice president of Enrollment Services may impose disciplinary sanctions against the offending student consistent with the rules and regulations of the Code of Conduct. Please refer to the Code of Conduct section in the Student Handbook for additional information.

Disciplinary Action

The College may take disciplinary action ranging from a warning to suspension or expulsion from the College if a student is determined to have violated College rules and regulations. Refer to the “Disciplinary Sanctions” section of the Student Handbook.

Underage Student Policy

Academic Policy on Underage Students Without a High School Diploma

Students under 16 years of age at the time of registration may take credit courses at Bristol Community College. The purpose of this policy is to support underage students and ensure their success.


An underage prospective student must:

  • Complete the Underage Request to Enroll Application, available through the Enrollment Center, attach all necessary documentation, and obtain the signature of a parent/guardian.
  • Submit the completed application to the Academic Vice president or his/her designee.
  • Meet each semester with the designated Advisor of Underage Students who will interview, advise, and monitor the academic progress of students.

Additional Recommendations

The College strongly recommends the following guidelines. To ensure the most positive and successful experience at BCC, students should:

  • Be 12 years of age or older.
  • Complete placement testing to ensure appropriate placement in courses.
  • Contact the Tutoring and Academic Support Center for assistance if enrolled in developmental classes as a result of placement testing.

Ordinarily, attend class by him/herself.

Faculty members (or the department chair in a faculty member’s absence) will be notified of any underage student who has registered for their class and have the right to express concern if they feel course content may not be appropriate for the student. This concern must be communicated in writing to the vice president of Academic Affairs. If the vice president determines that the reasons given constitute a compelling factor to limit (with specific parameters) or deny enrollment of the student in the course by the College, that decision will be communicated to the faculty member and the student. Faculty will also be requested to complete and submit a mid-semester and end-of-semester grade check to the designated Advisor of Underage Students.

The College reserves the right to limit or deny enrollment of a student in a course or program based on its case-by-case consideration of a variety of factors, including but not limited to the student’s maturity, life experience, placement test scores, and prior education, or the course content, instructional methodology, and risks associated with a particular course or program. Appeals of the College’s decisions should be submitted to the vice president of Academic Affairs.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) early in the registration process. The ODS will clarify the rights and responsibilities of the student, his/her parent or guardian, and the College. (See “Office of Disability Services” in the college catalog.)

Note: For more information, students should contact the Office of Admissions, by accessing the College’s website, sending an email to, or calling 508.678.2811, ext. 2516.

Home Schooling Policy

All home-schooled students without a high school diploma or state-approved high school equivalency credential are eligible to apply for admission to a degree or certificate program provided they have successfully completed an approved home-school program in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws or the laws of their home state. If a home-schooled student has not completed an approved home-school program, the student will not be eligible to enroll in a degree or certificate program until he/she has earned a state-approved high school equivalency credential. 

So that the College may determine whether a student has participated in an approved home-school program, the student shall submit, with the application for admission, evidence that the home-school program was approved by the student’s school district’s superintendent or school committee. Additionally, if the home-schooled student is under the age of compulsory attendance, which is sixteen (16) years old in Massachusetts, a letter from the student’s school district’s superintendent or school committee is required stating that the student is not considered truant and would not be required to attend further schooling or continue to be home-schooled if the student has completed his/her home school program before the age of sixteen (16).

The College reserves the right to limit or deny enrollment of a student under the age of sixteen (16) in a course or program based on its case-by-case consideration of a variety of factors, including but not limited to the student’s maturity, life experience, placement test scores, prior education, course content, instructional methodology, and risks associated with a particular course or program.

Catalog of Record & Continuous Enrollment Policy

The catalog year for a student’s program (General Education and major curriculum) is the catalog year in effect at the time of matriculation to a degree program or certificate. Matriculation is when a student has been admitted and begins taking classes. Students normally are entitled to graduate under the degree or certificate provisions of the catalog in effect at the time of their enrollment or the catalog in effect at the time of graduation.

Students who change their majors after their initial enrollment have the option of following the major degree program outlined in the catalog in effect at the time of the change of major or the catalog in effect at the time of graduation.

Except for competitive admissions programs, matriculated and registered students in good standing will be allowed to retain their program of study throughout three consecutive semesters (including fall, spring, and summer semesters) with no academic progress. Subsequently, the students will be moved to non-degree status unless they make academic progress by registering and completing at least one course with a grade of D- or higher. Students in competitive admissions programs Complementary Healthcare, Dental Hygiene, Clinical Laboratory Science, Culinary Arts, Health Information Management, Medical Assisting, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Phlebotomy must reapply after a break in fall or spring semester attendance. Readmission to these programs will be subject to space availability and the specific readmission policies of the individual programs.

International students are cautioned that USCIS (U.S. Customs and Immigration Services) policies regarding nonenrollment supersede College policies. For information about this policy, contact the Registrar.

Active Duty Military Leave Policy

Bristol Community College will allow military personnel called to active duty (not to include National Guard or Reservist training) to withdraw from their courses without academic or financial penalty. Written or verbal notice of departure must be given to the Office of the Registrar or the Office of the Vice President of Students; however, a copy of the order to active service must be provided to either office noted above within three months of release from active service. Readmission to the matriculated program of study at the point of departure is guaranteed, provided the student returns within two semester of discharge from active duty. To maintain eligibility for all other benefits, the cumulative length of absences cannot exceed five years.

Link to the main site.