Online Student Handbook

2022-2023

Welcome to ACU Online!

ACU’s mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. This mission is achieved through:

  • Exemplary teaching, offered by an innovative and caring community of Christian scholars, that inspires a commitment to life-long learning;
  • Significant research, grounded in the university’s disciplinary strengths, that informs and impacts issues of global importance to the academy, church, and society;
  • Meaningful service as a divine calling that enriches our global society, academic disciplines, the university, and the church to God’s glory.

Welcome to ACU Online!

ACU’s mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. This mission is achieved through:

Main Content

The Mission of Student Success

ACU Online Student Success seeks to lead the industry in providing holistic, innovative, and effective student support, for diverse and non-traditional students, which is guided by our Christian values.  We will provide a superior advising and engagement experience through effective relationship building informed by best practices and institutional data. To serve ACU’s intentionally diverse population, we will collaborate to educate students through accountability, compassion, empathy, and honesty.

ACU Dallas Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

It is the desire of the ACU community to commit ourselves to promoting and advancing an environment of racial equality on our campus.

We affirm that every person is created in the image of God. We affirm that all people are of inestimable value. We affirm our commitment to the participation of all persons in the life and mission of the university. Because we believe that all are one in Christ, we affirm that the university exists to do Kingdom work, including addressing the ongoing impact of racial, sexist and social injustices.

For more information about ACU Online’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, visit acu.edu/Dallas-DEI.

ACU Online Learning Covenant

At ACU Online, we have higher expectations. We believe that spiritual commitment demands the highest standards of academic and personal excellence from students, faculty, and staff.

Faculty and Staff

To enable students to benefit most from their ACU education, faculty and staff must be willing to challenge and be challenged, to achieve as individuals and as team members, to risk failure, to assume responsibility for their decisions and their actions, and to be sharpened and refined by other Christians.

AS ACU ONLINE FACULTY AND STAFF MEMBERS, WE ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE:
  1. to stretch the minds of students as we teach, lead and serve them effectively as Christian scholars and professionals, calling students and colleagues to a rigorous life of learning;
  2. to boldly integrate faith, learning and living and to serve with honor and integrity as we help students connect their vocation to the work of God in the world;
  3. to demonstrate intellectual, Christian and social leadership that can be imitated as we participate in various campus, community and church activities;
  4. to create an environment where students, faculty and staff respect each other and enjoy the blessings of diversity; and
  5. to pursue a relationship with Christ, to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our students as ourselves.

Students

To benefit most from an ACU education, students must be willing to challenge and be challenged, to achieve as individuals and as team members, to risk failure, to assume responsibility for their decisions and their actions, and to be sharpened and refined by students and faculty.

AS AN ACU ONLINE STUDENT, I ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE:
  1. to stretch my mind in and beyond the classroom by reading, questioning, exploring and committing myself to a rigorous life of learning;
  2. to take responsibility for my academic work, embracing feedback from faculty as an opportunity for improvement that will impact my future success;
  3. to take responsibility for being knowledgeable about academic requirements, policies, and procedures as they are outlined in the ACU Online Student Handbook and other program-specific handbooks/documents;
  4. to engage in deep reflection about my vocational formation;
  5. to respect myself and others in my speech, writing and actions, enjoying the blessings of diversity; and
  6. to respect the university’s Christian perspective on learning and vocational formation and to engage with differing perspectives in a respectful manner.

Getting Started at ACU Online

Congratulations and welcome to ACU! We are pleased you have chosen ACU to continue your education. Our student support team is here to partner with you and your family throughout your program and onto graduation.

Our core student support team is comprised of three student-centric advising roles. Advisors work collaboratively on behalf of our students to ensure personalized support and clear lines of communication. View your dedicated support team and their contact information in your myACU portal. The three major components of your Student Support Team are:

Admissions Advisor

Admissions Advisors partner with students to determine the program that best fits their educational goals. Advisors follow the student throughout the entire application process and answer all questions about programs, forms, fees, and actionable steps before beginning the selected program. The advisor also provides students with information on any potential transfer credits and admission requirements.

Financial Intake Specialist

A Financial Intake Specialist explains the financial options available and helps students select a plan that meets their specific needs – including external grants, scholarships, loans, tuition deferral, and other services such as military/veteran benefits. They are the student’s financial expert throughout the academic experience and can answer any financial questions.

Student Success Advisor

The Student Success Advisor supports students throughout the duration of their program. They walk students through navigating the online classroom, Canvas, and learning how to be an online learner at ACU. Their role at the beginning of a student’s journey is to ensure that students have the materials necessary to start strong in their education. From resources to encouragement, our advisors provide the essential support for a student to adjust to the online environment. As students progress in their program, student services advisors answer specific questions about course schedules, advise on program requirements, and provide academic support. They work with students through their graduation date to help that student retain and persist. They are a resource for academic policy and procedure and also provide students with valuable insight concerning resources to assist students throughout their academic program. We want to walk alongside you in your spiritual and educational journey while supporting our Christian mission with a commitment to helping students identify their work as a vocation that contributes to furthering God’s purposes for the world.

New students at ACU are invited to engage in a three-part orientation process, as outlined below. This is specifically designed to ensure student readiness and success.

Online New Student Orientation Course

All students (except those in the Graduate School of Theology) will be registered and will participate in an Online New Student Orientation upon admission in Canvas. This asynchronous orientation will provide you a high-level overview of the resources and applications you need to be a successful online student at ACU. You will read about ACU’s mission and vision for our students, be provided contact information for your student support team, and review helpful links and best practices for success in the online environment. ACU expects all new students to participate in the online New Student Orientation to better prepare for the journey in your program.

Live Walk to Class Webinar

During the onboarding process, your student success advisor will schedule a time to complete a Canvas Walk to Class Webinar where you will learn how to navigate the online classroom in a live demo. This is designed to give you the tools to be a successful online student. From best practices, to how to access your syllabus, to setting up your classroom calendar – we are here to be your guide.

Orientation Week

The week before your first course begins is considered Orientation Week. The Canvas Walk to Class Webinar occurs during this week. This week enables students to engage with faculty members and other new students. Over the course of the week, students have the opportunity to learn more about program outcomes, the Online Writing Center, the Online Learning Library, and vocational formation.

ACU Online has partnered with Barnes & Noble College as our preferred bookstore vendor.

Undergraduate programs and select graduate programs will access their ebooks directly from the courses within Canvas. 

Other programs can purchase books from the bookstore link located in their classroom or on their student portal, located under resources. Books can be charged to your ACU Account and can be paid through your Wildcat Pay Portal depending on your financial decision. Books must be purchased prior to class. Estimated shipping will be included in pricing. Book lists for each course are provided on Barnes and Noble College’s website.

Academic Policies

The information provided in this handbook is subject to change without notice and does not constitute a contract between Abilene Christian University Online and a student or an applicant for admission. Academic changes may be made on a regular basis. Your Student Success Advisor will keep you advised of any changes affecting your degree plan. The ACU Catalog is the official source regarding all academic policies, procedures, and program requirements for the published academic year.

The following is a list of policies frequently of interest to students. For a complete statement of academic policy, please see the University Catalog.

  • Academic Calendar
  • Academic Integrity Policy
  • Academic Leave
  • Changing or Adding a Major
  • Class Attendance
  • Concurrent Enrollment
  • Continuous Enrollment
  • Degree Plan
  • Degree Time Limit
  • Dismissal
  • Enrollment Terms
  • Grade Appeals
  • Incomplete Grades
  • Probation & Suspension
  • Readmission into the University
  • Repeating a Course
  • Transcripts
  • Transferring Credit
  • Withdrawal

If a student believes that extenuating circumstances contributed to their academic suspension, the student may wish to appeal their suspension in order to come back one part of term early. All student appeals must be received within 21 days of the last day of class and follow the process below:

  1. All appeals must be in writing and must be received by a student success advisor on the deadline date stated above. No exceptions.
  2. Appeals must include a statement regarding the (a) circumstances contributing to the student’s academic situation and any documentation of those circumstances, (b) steps the student has already taken to address these issues, and (c) a suggested plan of action for raising the student’s GPA.
  3. The relevant Program Director and College Dean will review all appeals submitted by the deadline and the student will be notified of the decision no later than two weeks after the deadline date via their ACU email address. The decision is final and may not be appealed.

The Instructor is the first person to contact for questions about academic issues.

Students are expected to contact their Instructor for questions related to academic content including interpretation of assignment instructions, questions about feedback, or any other academic issues.

After having contacted the instructor, if a concern is still unresolved, the Instructor will initiate a consultation with the Course Coordinator.

In courses running more than one section, the Course Coordinator oversees and manages all sections of the course. The Course Coordinator is a full or adjunct faculty member who has taught the course several times and is well versed in the academic content and the Student Learning Outcomes of the course.

If the matter is still unresolved or if the Instructor is also the Course Coordinator, the Ed.D. Program Director will be consulted.

Issues often arise from misunderstandings or varying interpretations and are best resolved at the lowest level, between the student and instructor. The Instructor is the first person to contact for questions about academic issues.

Students who are doing a thesis, project, or dissertation are responsible for following the required process for writing and completing the project. Students who are writing a thesis, project or dissertation should obtain a copy of the guide for this treatise from their program director. Plan early, follow guidelines and instructions, and work with your faculty committee to determine completion requirements.

After students begin formal work on a thesis, project, or dissertation, they are expected to continue working on it each semester until it is completed and formally approved, or until they terminate their graduate career at ACU. In order for the thesis, project, or dissertation to remain in an active status, students must enroll in continuation each semester until completion.

Each subsequent registration will be for zero (0) credit hours in masters programs and the DNP program. For masters programs and the DNP program, the student will be charged a continuation fee equal to half of one hour of tuition at the current rate for each registration.

Students in the DNP program failing to maintain continuous registration must be readmitted to ACU in order to continue and complete the requirements within the degree time limit, as stated in the current handbook. If a student fails to make progress on their work, the faculty member in consultation with the committee has the right to administratively withdraw the student with a W.

Students needing to extend the time to complete capstone or practicum requirements in a masters level program must request an extension. Upon approval by the program director, students will be enrolled in a Capstone/Practicum Continuation and be charged a continuation fee. The continuation course is zero credit hours and the fee is equivalent to one half-hour of tuition for each part of term of the extension (maximum of one hour of tuition per semester). If students who receive an extension fail to make progress on their work, the faculty member has the right to administratively withdraw the student with a W, and the student will be required to retake the course at the full tuition rate.



Actions Notes and Deadlines
Student begins the process to schedule dissertation/ project defense. Three weeks prior to the anticipated defense.
Student delivers defense copy of dissertation/ project to the committee. Two weeks prior to the defense.
Defense
Chair reports defense results to the student and initiates the Defense Report. Within 24 hours of the Defense.
Student initiates and oversees completion of the signature page.
After revisions requested by the committee are completed, the student submits the “Completion of Required Revisions and Edits” form. Note: All forms are located on the Modules page the student’s DISS 777 dissertation course or NURS 755 project resource course.
Student submits the “Permission to Submit the Dissertation/ Project to the CGPS,” signed by the chair. This completes the chair’s responsibilities.
Prior to submitting dissertation/project manu- script to the ACU Writing Center for final Editorial Review, the student ensures that manuscript complies with all guidelines found on the WC website. At this stage, the manuscript should be free of grammar, punctuation, and APA-related errors.

*Note: The accuracy of your manuscript affects the time it takes to complete the editorial review process.

Editorial Review: Student submits completed and approved dissertation/ project to the ACU Online Writing Center. Four weeks prior to the end of term.

*Note, if a student fails to respond to the editor’s requests for additional information or specific edits in a timely manner, the line editing process will take longer than 4 weeks.

Student submits “Completion of the Editorial Review Process,” signed by the ACU Online Writing Center.
Student uploads approved

dissertation/ project pdf to Digital Commons

One business day before the next 7-week part of term start date at 5:00 pm CST

*Note: if the student does not submit the final, approved copy of the dissertation/project by the last day of the term, the student will automatically be enrolled in a dissertation/project continuation hour for the next term.

Posting of the degree by the Registrar The degree is posted after all requirements for the degree have been met, including the submission of the approved and edited dissertation/project to the ACU Digital Commons. At this point, the student may request a transcript showing the degree.

Back to Top

Code of Conduct

The mission of Abilene Christian University is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. As students seek to further their education and fulfill ACU’s mission, their conduct in online programs is expected to reflect the Christian values and expectations of the university. The following Code of Conduct for Online Programs has been established for all students, faculty, and staff. Those who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, up to and including dismissal from the University.

  1. Dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation or furnishing false information, forgery, or misuse of academic or administrative materials.
    • We are committed to academic integrity and publicly state that we do not endorse websites that give access to student papers for a fee or that require students to submit their own class papers for access. A student selling or sharing course papers through these sites is highly discouraged. Students are also asked to refrain from using these sites for academic purposes, specifically using another student’s work within the body of their paper. Using another student’s work for one’s own grade stands in direct violation of ACU’s Academic Integrity Policy. In addition, students are not permitted to resubmit work completed in a previous course for grades in future courses. See the ACU Academic Integrity Policy.
  2. Cyber-bullying and harassment, including but not limited to the following examples:
    • Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages via discussion board, text message, email, or other messaging service;
    • Cyberstalking, which includes repeated threats or online activity that makes a person afraid for his or her safety;
    • Denigration and humiliation, which refers to posting derogatory information about someone and/or digitally altered photos;
    • Name-calling;
    • Flaming and the use of insulting or offensive language;
    • Impersonation (hacking another’s email or social media to post embarrassing material);
    • Outing and trickery (sharing another’s secrets or tricking someone into revealing embarrassing information); and
    • Any form of threatening communication, abuse, or intimidation.
  3. Conduct, in speech, written communication, or behavior, that is racist, sexist, ageist, or that is otherwise prejudicial against a particular community or social group.
  4.  Disruption or obstruction of the normal operations of the university, including unauthorized use of any of the University’s facilities, informational or material properties, and resources.
  5. Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, lascivious, indecent, or otherwise inappropriate, or that constitutes a breach of the peace, including violation of the University’s policy that prohibits bringing alcohol, recreational drugs, or firearms onto University property. 

All members of the University community who become aware of violations of the Code of Conduct have a responsibility to report them to the appropriate authority. For violations of an academic nature, the appropriate authority is the relevant Program Director or Dean.

Other violations committed by students may be reported to the appropriate Program Director or Dean, or in the case of sexual assault or harassment, to the University’s Title IX Office.

Violations can also be reported anonymously in accordance with ACU’s Whistleblower Policy.

Electronic Communication

Email is considered an official form of University-related communication. It is recommended that students check their email daily in order to stay current with University-related communications. Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time-critical. Failure to check for messages and failure to receive messages due to full mailboxes, spam filtering, or auto- forwarded email are not acceptable excuses for missing official University communications. Students must maintain and provide the University with an email address other than their Abilene Christian University-issued email address.

 

Contact Information

All students should regularly review and update their contact information to ensure the University has a valid mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Abilene Christian University maintains this information as part of the student record and requires students to update their contact information regardless of whether they have requested nondisclosure of directory information.

 

Student/Faculty Communication

All student and faculty interactions are to be conducted in Canvas via discussion or inbox. Students can link these interactions to the acu.edu as well as mobile app. Students are expected to check their canvas and acu.edu email account regularly to stay abreast of updates and communication. Students should anticipate a faculty response to questions related to assignments or general course information within 48 hours – this does not relate to the time for assignment grades to be posted.

Faculty are one of the most valuable resources available to you, so don’t be afraid to ask him or her a question. Here are some tips to help you get the answers you need:

  • Be positive. When you ask your instructor a question, set the right tone by being formal and polite.
  • Be specific. General details make it difficult for your instructor to respond to your needs.
  • Be prepared. Look at your syllabus at the beginning of the week and ask questions long before an assignment’s due date.

Above all else, remember that your faculty is your advocate and by design will be giving you feedback to help you get better. While interpreting constructive criticism can be difficult, it will increase your ability to complete the program successfully. Faculty comments should not be taken personally. Your program is journey – follow the tips above to help him or her help you.



The tone of your writing — how you come across to the reader — is important. When drafting any discussion post, remember the acronym WRITE:

  • Warmth: Always consider the intent of your writing. If you think a post sounds rude, your reader will probably think so, too.
  • Responsiveness: Your classmates all log in to class at different times. By responding to a question from another student as soon as you see it, you can build positive relationships with your peers.
  • Inquisitiveness: Seek to learn from classmates and your instructor. By asking questions, you show that you care about what they think.
  • Tentativeness: When you express an opinion, use phrases like “from my point of view” or “my understanding is” to show other students that your opinion is yours — and not the final word on the topic.
  • Empathy: Remember the golden rule — treat classmates the way you would like to be treated.

Whenever you write an email or communicate with classmates and faculty, consider these six pieces of advice:

  1. If you find yourself in a heated class debate, make sure you only respond when you’re calm and collected.
  2. Say what you really mean — sarcasm doesn’t translate to the computer screen. 
  3. Type in sentence case — using all capital letters it appears as if you’re yelling. 
  4. Keep subject lines short — long ones get cut off on mobile devices.
  5. Stick to two paragraphs, keeping the most important information in the first.
  6. Forward email messages only when they relate to coursework. Jokes, virus warnings and chain letters are spam that will annoy your recipients.

 

Example of an unprofessional email communication to a faculty member:

Hey,

How could I possibly get a C on this week’s assignment? I followed all of the directions to a T, and you still marked me down. This grade is UNFAIR! I want you to look at it again and grade it fairly this time!

 

Example of a professional email communication to a faculty member:

Hi, Dr. Smith.

I have a question about my grade on this week’s assignment. I received a C, and I thought I followed all of the directions very well. I would appreciate getting some clarification from you so I can improve my work next time. Can we schedule a time to talk about this?

Thank you, Jane

Back to Top

Admissions Requirements

ACU’s online undergraduate programs are intended for non-traditional students interested in gaining a bachelor’s degree in an online modality.

To be considered for admission:

  1. Students must be out of high school for at least four years.
  2. Completed “Adult Online Undergraduate Program” application accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee.
  3. Official transcripts of all previous academic work.
  4. Students are not required to submit ACT or SAT test scores.

In making admission decisions, ACU Online works cooperatively with the various program admission committees. The minimum admission requirements for graduate programs are:

  1. Complete an application and pay the application fee).
  2. An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) from previous schools attended. The transcripts must indicate an earned bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or the equivalent.
  3. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  4. Programmatic requirements as stated for each program.

Standard admission is for students who may be fully admitted without further conditions. Other admission types may include Provisional Admission or Probational Admission. Details of the conditions for a specific admission type will be outlined in the Admission letter sent to the student.

The application fee is non-refundable. No action can be taken on an application until the fee has been received. No other waiver of this fee will be considered for domestic or international applicants

Unless otherwise specified by a department, applications are accepted year round. Thus, many programs have rolling admissions based on space available. The admission deadline is determined by the term students choose to enter into. Successful applicants are often early to secure their placement and facilitate their eligibility for financial aid, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. Again, the earlier applicants may enhance their opportunity for financial considerations. Please contact your admissions advisor for admission deadlines.

Admissions are made on the assumptions that applicants page will have all required documentation by the time of matriculation, and if not, the program admission is void. All application material submitted must be accurate. Any erroneous, misleading, or incomplete information may be grounds for termination of the application and/or dismissal from the program. Students taking any graduate or undergraduate coursework between the date of acceptance and the date of first course enrollment at ACU must submit official transcripts that reflect degree conferred for that work before beginning their program at ACU.



An acceptance letter shows admission status, but your program director along with the policies outlined in ACU Catalog indicate the plan of study and completion of the degree alongside requirements for continuation and degree completion. Students who wish to change their entry date must request a later start date in writing before the beginning of the semester of the original admission. Application files are only maintained for one year past original admission date. Applicants who delay their start date for more than one year should expect to begin the application process again, including fees and all required materials.

A student can also enter classes as a special graduate, or non-degree student, a situation normally reserved for those who want to take a few classes without any particular program commitment.

Non-degree students must fulfill the same quality standards in class as fully-admitted students. Also, some courses require admission to a program or special permission before a student is allowed to take a course. A non-degree student can take no more than 15 graduate hours without being admitted to a degree program. However, there is no guarantee that the hours taken will fulfill degree requirements. Therefore, it is extremely important to seek admission and follow a degree plan within a program.

Single course students will be asked to submit all documents as outlined for standard admission. ACU Online works cooperatively with the various program admission committees. The minimum admission requirements for graduate coursework are:

  1. Complete the ACU Online application and pay the application fee (acu.edu/grad).
  2. An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) from previous schools attended. The transcripts must indicate an earned bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or the equivalent.
  3. A cumulative undergraduate and/or graduate GPA of 3.0 or above. 4. Programmatic application documents .
  4. Single Course Request Form.

Back to Top

Technology for Online Programs

  • Regular Access to the internet (5 times a week) 
  • Laptop or Desktop Computer (5 years old or newer; Chromebooks are not be supported)
  • Webcam
  • Microsoft Office 365 (free for ACU students)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (free for ACU students)
  • Internet Explorer and Edge
  • Chrome (PREFERRED BROWSER)
  • Safari Firefox (Extended Releases are not supported)
  • Flash (used for recording or viewing audio/video and uploading files)

Internet Speed

Minimum of 512kbps. Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.

 

Computers

  • Screen Size

Canvas is best viewed at a minimum of 1024×600, which is the average size of a notebook computer. If you want to view Canvas on a device with a smaller screen, we recommend using the Canvas Application

  • Windows 8.1 or newer

1.8 GHz (gigahertz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor* 4 GB (gigabyte) RAM (32-bit) or 8 GB RAM (64-bit) minimum

16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

64 MB DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

  • Mac OSX 10.10 Yosemite or newer

1 GHz Intel processor (or higher) 2 GB RAM

8 GB available hard disk space Including any Macintosh produced within the past 5 years:

    • MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac, Mac Pro

 

Mobile Devices

  • iOS 12 or newer
  • Android 5 or newer 
  • Chrome OS is not supporte

Recommended

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver Included with OSX 10.10 Yosemite and newer PC: JAWS Windows 8.1 or newer
  • PC: NVDA Windows 8.1 or newer
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome OS.

Required Components for Screen Readers

Flash is required in several places in Canvas: media recording/streaming and viewing as well as uploading files to a course or an assignment. Other than these features, Flash is not required to use most areas of Canvas. Please note that some browsers, such as Firefox, may no longer support Flash.

The Java plug-in is required for screen sharing in Conferences. Please note that some browsers do not support Java. Otherwise, there are no other browser plug-ins used by Canvas.

Back to Top

Online Student Financial Information

Abilene Christian University is a non-profit institution. All funds from student charges are spent to provide services related to the university’s educational mission. Other funds for operational expenses come from endowments and gifts from concerned individuals and organizations. As a policy, auxiliary operations such as cafeterias, housing, and bookstores are self-supporting.

The Board of Trustees has charged the chief financial officer and their designees with the responsibility of enforcing all regulations for student accounts. If a student is of legal age, they are deemed to be the primary party liable for their financial obligations.

ACU maintains a comprehensive program of financial aid, including financial planning and consultation to help students and their families meet the expenses of higher education. The primary responsibility for financing education rests upon students and their families. Assistance from ACU and other sources should be considered as supplementary to the primary responsibility of the student and the family. ACU strives to supplement students’ needs by awarding a combination of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study for eligible students. ACU attempts to distribute all financial aid resources in an equitable manner and follow the guidelines established for federal, state, and institutional funds.

Financial aid for students pursuing online degrees is available in the form of federal student loans. The following items should be completed during your application process. The federal school code for ACU is 003537.

 

*Please note that ACU cannot release your funds until all forms are received and processed and your award is accepted.

Contact a financial advisor at (877) 698-2793 or via email at ACUDallas.finaid@acu.edu

The following disbursement dates are the date that your financial aid will be disbursed and paid into your account in the Wildcat Pay Portal.

*These are NOT the dates that your credit refund will be processed, if you are eligible for one.

Fall I August 29, 2022
Fall II

(for students only enrolled in Fall II 2022)

October 24, 2022
Spring I January 17, 2023
Spring II

(for students only enrolled in Spring II 2023)

March 13, 2023
Summer I May 8, 2023
Summer II

(for students only enrolled in Summer II 2023)

July 3, 2023

Students must make satisfactory academic progress in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid. The minimum acceptable cumulative grade point average requirements are 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students. Additionally, students must earn passing grades in a cumulative minimum of 66.67% of the hours attempted. (Undergraduate students in their first 45 credit hours attempted towards their degrees must meet 50% pass rate or higher.) Satisfactory academic progress is measured at the end of each long semester (fall, spring, and summer). The full SAP Policy is available on the Student Financial Services website.

ACU is approved by the Veterans Administration to administer educational benefits for eligible veterans, service persons, reservists, widows, and children of veterans. Eligibility and equivalent educational benefits are determined by the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA Coordinator, located in the Registrar’s Office, coordinates the services to the students receiving veteran’s educational benefits. The certifying official collects, completes, and processes the required substantiating documentation. The VA Coordinator also serves as a point-of-contact and direct liaison between the veteran, the university, and the VA. The certifying official is not part of the VA but an employee of ACU. Students receiving VA benefits may reduce or eliminate eligibility for other financial assistance in order to comply with federal, state, or institutional policies.In order to certify a student’s enrollment using VA benefits, Abilene Christian University requires all students to submit the VA Benefits Certification Request Form found here.

Billing statements are available to students via the Wildcat Payment Portal. Students will receive an email to their ACU email address alerting them when a statement is available to view. The statement is provided in electronic format; no paper statements are mailed. It will include all charges (tuition, fees, books, etc) and financial aid awarded. Students should check with their Financial Intake Specialist regarding settlement dates.

  1. Pay the current total balance or enroll in a payment plan on the Wildcat Pay Portal. More information regarding the payment plan options available to online students is available here.
  2. Tuition Deferral Plan – Students may be eligible for a tuition deferral plan if their employers offer to repay some or all of their employee tuition OR student receives benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs including the following: Montgomery/Top-Up (Chapter 30) benefit, Reserve Educational Assistance program, Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance program and Survivors and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program. 60-day deferral from the beginning of each course. When students select either plan, the University agrees to defer payment for tuition and book fees until 60 days from each course start date and up to two days of processing time. Students are responsible for payment of their tuition and fees regardless of receipt of payment from their employer.

Failure to make proper payment is cause for dismissal at the discretion of the university. Official academic transcripts and diplomas will not be released unless all university-related indebtedness is paid in full.

Students can use their financial aid funds to cover the cost of their bookstore purchases by applying any bookstore charges to their ACU student account. Please note that if financial aid funds are insufficient to cover the cost of bookstore charges, students will be responsible to pay any remaining amount on their ACU student account.

Once students have accepted their financial aid award, an email from Barnes & Noble (BNC Services) will be sent the student’s ACU email with a voucher code. Once logged into their bookstore account, students should select the “Financial Aid/Voucher” option as the form of payment. Students will be prompted to provide their ACU ID and the Financial Aid voucher ID.

Students may not charge more than $1000 of bookstore purchases to their account per semester.

Students are responsible to pay tuition and fees for any registered course. The refund period is Day 1 – Day 4.  Fees are non-refundable. The 100% tuition refund period ends at 5pm CST on Friday, the 4th day of each part of term. Students in the Graduate School of Theology Programs please reference the refund policy outlined in the ACU Catalog.

All refunds are less any amounts owed to the university and are subject to payment holding periods. Upon admission, students are registered for classes and agree to pay all applicable tuition and course-related fees. Students will be automatically registered for a course each part of term unless they communicate with their Student Success Advisor in writing that they will not be taking a course. The add/drop period for each part of term ends the Monday prior to the part of term starting.  Graduate School of Theology online students should collaborate with their Student Success Advisor each semester to process registrations. It is the responsibility of the student to communicate with the Student Success Advisor if they wish to change their enrollment status. 

Tuition payment must be paid no later than the published financial clearance date for each online course. Students who have not paid tuition/fees in full by this time will have their course/s dropped. There is no tuition refund following Day 4 once a part of term begins. Due to the rotating schedule of classes offered, withdrawing from a class may prolong the time to graduation and affect financial aid. Contact your Student Success Advisor for more information.

Prior to part of term start date  100% tuition + fees
Day 1 – Day 4 100% tuition
Day 5 and after 0%

 

Refunds for these programs are only offered if the student withdraws from the course by the fourth day of class.

ACU calculates and returns Federal Title IV funds according to Federal Title IV policy 34 CRF 668.22. The amount of Title IV funds that must be returned to the Title IV programs is based solely on the length of time the student was enrolled before withdrawing. This policy is effective for complete or full withdrawal from a term in which the student receives Title IV federal funds.

If a student withdraws before 60% of the semester has elapsed, a percentage of Title IV funds will be returned to the federal program based on the length of time the student is enrolled prior to the withdrawal. For example, if the student withdraws when 50% of the semester has elapsed, 50% of the Title IV funds will be returned to the federal programs. After 60% of the semester has elapsed, the student is considered to have earned all aid received for the semester.

Withdrawal date is defined as one of the following:

  • The date the student began the withdrawal process;
  • The date the student otherwise provided the school with official notification of the intent to withdraw;
  • For the student who does not begin the university’s withdrawal process or notify the school of the intent to withdraw, the midpoint of the payment period or period of enrollment for which Title IV assistance was disbursed (unless the university can document a later
  • date); or
  • The withdrawal date is determined from class attendance records.
  • If a student stops attending class, federal regulations require that ACU consider the student withdrawn for financial aid purposes.

ACU will:

  • Determine date of withdrawal.
  • Calculate the percentage of aid deemed to have been earned by the student.
  • Calculate the percentage of aid not earned by the student, which must be returned to federal programs.

If the withdrawal date results in a percentage of Federal Title IV aid not earned by the student, then return of Federal Title IV aid will occur in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans 
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans 
  3. Federal Perkins Loans
  4. Federal PLUS Loans
  5. Federal Pell Grants
  6. Federal SEOG Grants
  7. Other assistance under the title for which a return of funds is required.

The student is responsible for paying any tuition/fees balance that remains after funds are returned to the lender.

Back to Top

Additional Student Information

Students are responsible for maintaining current and accurate mailing and permanent addresses. Any changes of address should be updated in Banner at myACU or communicated to the Student Success team.

Abilene Christian University’s Alpha Scholars Program provides academic accommodations and individualized support to students with disabilities. These services are designed to help eliminate disability-related barriers in the online environment so that all students have an equal opportunity for success. To get started with Alpha, please visit our website and follow the three steps outlined (application, documentation, meeting). If you have any questions or concerns, email alphaonline@acu.edu

Please consult the current university catalog for information about a student’s rights concerning directory information. Directory information includes name, local and permanent telephone listing and address, official school email address, ID card photo, major field of study, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, most recent previous schools attended, and participation in officially recognized activities and sports. Directory and other public information may be released unless a student requests that this information be withheld. Any requests to withhold directory and other public information can be made with the Student Success team.

ACU Online encourages you to get involved and develop connections in the areas you value most. We seek to support the creation and continuation of all clubs and organizations whose purpose aligns with the mission of Abilene Christian University and adds value to the online student experience. Student organizations are created to allow students to build community, develop leadership skills and contribute to the values set by ACU by fulfilling the mission of educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. ACU Online affiliated organizations must adhere to the policies set forth in the Student Handbook. All activities and organizations that engage in any expressive activities or events that infringe on the rights of others are not permitted at ACU.

For more information about student organizations, visit: https://acu.edu/student-life/beyond-the-classroom/acu-online-student-organization-application-process/

Back to Top

Student Complaint Policy

The university has established formal policies and processes to handle written student complaints and appeals. Generally, the policies encourage students to resolve concerns at the initial level of concern when possible, e.g., working with the faculty member or program director to resolve an academic issue.

To file a complaint or appeal, please select from the list below:

  1. Student Athlete Financial Aid – Information about the nonrenewal of a student athlete’s financial aid award may be found in the ACU Student Athlete Handbook.
  2. Title IX – Title IX information is included in the University’s Title IX website and in the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  3. Student Life – Information regarding student conduct and disciplinary decisions/appeals may be found in the Student Handbook. ←NEEDS LINK
  4. Alpha Services – Guidelines regarding student accommodations by Alpha Services may be found in the Alpha Scholars Site.
  5. Grades – The policy regarding grade appeals processes for undergraduate students may be found in the undergraduate section of the ACU Catalog. Grade appeals for graduate students may be found in the graduate section of the ACU Catalog. The Grade Appeal form is available on the Registrar’s Forms page.
  6. Academic Integrity — Academic integrity appeals may be found in the Academic Integrity Policy.
  7. University employee violations of policy or law — Reporting processes for financial improprieties, illegal practices or policy violations committed by university employees or agents may be found in the University’s Whistleblower Policy, Policy No. 421.
  8. Academic policy or syllabus — A student alleging that a faculty or staff member has treated the student unfairly in regard to his or her academic work in a course for which he or she was registered by either:
    • violating university academic policy OR
    • violating course policy as stated in the syllabus

Students may complain of such alleged unfair treatment using the Complaint Policy regarding alleged violations of university academic policy or course policy. Academic policies are listed in the ACU Catalog, and on the ACU website.

General complaints —Complaints not specifically addressed by policies in the above areas can be made as follows: Online students should use the ACU Online Incident Reporting Form to submit information about their complaint to the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Dallas Campus. They will receive the complaints and refer the student to the appropriate office for resolution.

All student complaints must first be addressed internally. If the internal resources have been exhausted and the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, the student may file a complaint with the regulatory agency in the state in which he or she is receiving instruction and/or the institution’s accrediting agency. Contact information for these agencies is below:

 

Office of General Counsel
P.O. Box 12788
Austin, Texas 78711-2788

For more information, visit the THECB student complaint webpage.

 

President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097

(To access the Commission’s complaint policy, procedures, and the Complaint Form, please see Complaint Procedures Against the Commission or Its Accredited Institutions.)

Back to Top

Title IX & Sexual Misconduct

Learn more here.