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.

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Conduct Policy and Reporting

ACU believes all members of our community are called to a high standard of behavior in order to establish and maintain an environment conducive to learning and personal growth. As such, all members of the University community are expected to display honesty, decency and civility at all times. Additionally, community members who become aware of violations of university policies or procedures have a responsibility to report them. All reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs, generally within five business days of the incident or occurrence that has given rise to the report. ACU endeavors to review and investigate all reports; however, delayed reports may make the matter harder to investigate and result in delays to the timeline specified in this policy.

The below list of misconduct behaviors does not represent an exhaustive list of possible violations, rather it seeks to give examples of common misconduct behaviors. Members of the ACU community who become aware of misconduct behavior should complete the online Incident Reporting Form

  1. Dishonesty, misrepresentation or furnishing false information, forgery, or misuse of academic or administrative materials.
  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. Failure to comply with university staff, including complying with sanctions, success plans, written communication, or verbal communications
  6. Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, lascivious, indecent, unprofessional, or otherwise inappropriate, or that constitutes a breach of the peace., including 
  7. Violation of the University’s policy that prohibits bringing alcohol, recreational drugs, or firearms onto University property. 
  8. Violation of state, local, or federal law
  9. Violation of any university policy or procedure outlined in the Student Handbook, Academic Catalog, ACU Online Learning Covenant, or Programmatic Handbook

Academic Integrity

Although the above list of academic integrity violations does not represent an exhaustive list of possible violations, it seeks to give examples of academic integrity violations. For a full list of violations, definitions, and procedures please refer to the ACU Academic Integrity Policy. Students who become aware of violations should contact the faculty member, Program Director, or Dean.

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.

Writing Tone
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.

Email Communication

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

Notice of Hearing

If the misconduct warrants a hearing, the Senior Director of Student Success or designee will notify the student in writing of the allegations against him or her and the date and time of the hearing. The Senior Director of Student Success or designee makes every attempt, when possible, to schedule the hearing and notify the student within five business days of receipt of the referral. The hearing provides the student with an opportunity to respond and present his or her version of events, facts, and evidence in his or her defense.

Hearing Procedure

Conduct hearings are a closed, confidential process and recording is prohibited. However, all parties are permitted and encouraged to take thorough written notes for their records. Although rare, the Senior Director of Student Success may request another university employee to be present at a hearing as a witness or to serve alongside them as an additional hearing officer. Additionally, a student may bring a single advisor with him or her to the hearing after completing a FERPA release form and notifying the Senior Director of Student Success three business days prior to the hearing. The notification must include the name of the advisor and his or her relationship to the student. The advisor is to be present for support purposes only and is not presenting on behalf of the student. An advisor who causes disruption to the process will be asked to leave the proceedings. Further, the student is not to bring outside witnesses to the meeting. Statements from outside witnesses can be submitted for the Senior Director of Student Success consideration as part of the review process. Generally, a hearing will proceed as follows.  

  • The Senior Director of Student Success will lead introductions for all participating parties ensuring the provision of names, titles, and role in the oriccess.
  • The Senior Director of Student Success  will review the general procedures for the meeting and answer any questions the student may have.
  • The Senior Director of Student Success will direct questions to the student regarding the report of misconduct.
  • The student will provide truthful and full responses to the Senior Director of Student Success.
  • The student may present evidence that was not submitted with the referral to the Senior Director of Student Success. Determinations as to the relevance of the evidence are at the discretion of the Senior Director of Student Success.
  • The Senior Director of Student Success will close the meeting by reviewing the notice of outcome and appeal policy.

Notice of Outcome

After reviewing all evidence and information regarding the allegation, the Senior Director of Student Success will use the preponderance of evidence standards to determine responsibility and appropriate sanctions.

  • If the Senior Director of Student Success finds that the facts do not support the allegation(s), the student will be found not responsible and notified of the outcome.
  • If the Senior Director of Student Success finds the facts support the allegation(s) against the student, the student shall be found responsible, and the Senior Director of Student Success will assign sanctions.

The Senior Director of Student Success will notify the student, using the student’s University-issued email address, of the decision through a formal decision letter. Additionally, the student’s Program Director and any parties involved in the completion and review of sanctions will also receive a copy of the decision letter. Decisions are not final until this letter is sent to the student. The Senior Director of Student Success will seek to issue its decision within three business days after the hearing but may require additional time to render the decision.

Sanctions

Sanctions are determined based on the severity of the violation, past conduct history, and any aggravating or mitigating factors. One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed on any student for any single violation of University policy and/or rules. Sanctions include but are not limited to those outlined below.

Status Sanctions

Sanctions are determined based on the severity of the violation, past conduct history, and any aggravating or mitigating factors. One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed on any student for any single violation of University policy and/or rules. Sanctions include but are not limited to those outlined below.

  • Warning: The student receives a written notice stating he or she violated University policy and/or rules. The written notice specifies that inappropriate and unacceptable actions have occurred and that more severe disciplinary action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at the University.
  • Suspension: The student is separated from the University for a specified period. Separation includes physical and electronic removal from the University. During the suspension, students do not have access to Canvas, and security deactivates the student’s ID badge. The Registrar’s Office withdraws the student from all classes for the specified term(s). Students who are suspended enter inactive status for the specified period and are not eligible for a refund for incomplete courses outside the University’s Refund Policy. Students should check with Financial Aid to determine whether their student loans will enter into repayment during their suspension. Upon satisfaction of the specified period of suspension and any other outstanding sanctions, the is eligible to return to the University.
  • Dismissal: The student is withdrawn from their program and permanently separated from the University. Separation includes physical and electronic removal from the University. The student does not have access to Canvas, and security deactivates the student’s ID badge. The student is barred from being on campus, and the student’s presence at any University-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. The Registrar’s Office withdraws the student from all classes for the term. Students who are dismissed enter inactive status, are not eligible for a refund for incomplete courses outside the University’s Refund Policy, and should check with Financial Aid to determine when their student loans will enter into repayment.

Educational Sanctions

  • Educational Program: Requirement to attend, present, and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student was found responsible.
  • Community/University Service: Requirement for a student to complete a specific supervised University service.
  • Behavioral: Includes required activities such as but not limited to seeking academic counseling, mental health counseling assessment, personal counseling, and writing a letter of apology.
  • Research Projects: This includes required activities such as but not limited to writing papers or creating educational materials and bulletin boards.

Restrictive Sanctions

  • Banning/Trespass: The student’s privilege to be present at or utilize certain buildings, facilities, classrooms, and the like are restricted. Temporary exceptions to banning/trespass for University-related business may be granted upon request.
  • Eligibility Restriction: The student may be deemed ineligible to hold any office in any student organization recognized by the University or hold an elected or appointed office at the University, or the student may be deemed ineligible to represent the University to anyone outside the University community in any way including participating in the study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing the University at an official function, event, or intercollegiate competition.
  • Loss of Privileges: The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period.
  • Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of University policy will be confiscated and will become the property of the University. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the Professional Misconduct Committee.

Restorative Sanction

  • Apology: The student will compose an apology letter
  • Restitution: Compensation for damage caused to the University or any person’s property. This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen property.

Failure to Follow Through on Conduct Sanctions

All students, as members of the University community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the time frame specified by the Senior Director of Student Success decision letter. If a student fails to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, the Senior Director of Student Success will send a Notice of Noncompliance. Noncompliance may also result in a registration hold being placed on a student’s account or suspension/dismissal from the University. The Senior Director of Student Success tracks the completion of all sanctions in cooperation with relevant parties and departments.

Right to Appeal

Any student may appeal the Senior Director of Student Success decision to the appropriate Vice President only if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • The Senior Director of Student Success failed to comply with the procedural requirements outlined herein and/or elsewhere in this Catalog/Handbook.
  • There is relevant and material evidence that, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or was improperly excluded at the hearing before the Senior Director of Student Success.
  • The evidence presented at the hearing was insufficient to justify being found responsible for a policy violation.

Requesting an Appeal

To request an appeal, the student must provide to the Senior Director of Student Success a completed Appeal Request Form along with a written statement of the basis for his or her appeal within five business days from the date the decision letter is emailed to the student’s ACU email address. If the Senior Director of Student Success has not received the completed form and written statement (email or letter is acceptable) within the specified time frame, the decision of the Senior Director of Student Success will be final, and no further appeals are available to the student. If an appeal is filed (and meets one of the three criteria above), the Senior Director of Student Success, within 10 business days, will forward to the appropriate Vice President or their designee the student’s completed Appeal Request Form and written statement, along with copies of all materials provided to the Senior Director of Student Success, and the written decisions of the Senior Director of Student Success. However, if the appeal does not meet the standards outlined above, the student will be notified their request for appeal is denied. 

Role of the Vice President

Upon receipt of the Appeal Request Form, the VP or their designee will review the student’s file and written statement. The VP is not required to meet with the student but may do so if there are questions regarding the evidence the student provided. The VP  may meet with the Senior Director of Student Success if additional information or clarification is needed.

Decision of the Vice President

Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the VP or their designee has the authority to uphold, overturn, or modify the decision of the Senior Director of Student Success. The VP/designee will seek to notify the student of the decision within five business days from receipt of the student’s appeal letter. The student will receive the decision letter via the student’s University-issued email address. Once a final appeal decision is rendered by the VP/designee, the student does not have access to the appeal process for the same issue again

Academic Progression during the Appeal Process

Upon receipt of the request for an appeal, the VP or their designee has the authority to uphold, overturn, or modify the decision of the Senior Director of Student Success. The VP/designee will seek to notify the student of the decision within five business days from receipt of the student’s appeal letter. The student will receive the decision letter via the student’s University-issued email address. Once a final appeal decision is rendered by the VP/designee, the student does not have access to the appeal process for the same issue again.

Faculty Role in Violations

Faculty may address instances of academic dishonesty as outlined in the ACU Academic Integrity Policy. Faculty may also submit reports of misconduct behavior using the form provided above. Prior to making a referral, faculty may consult with the Senior Director of Student Success regarding misconduct concerns to determine appropriate course of action.

Student Success Plan

In lieu of a formal hearing process, at the Senior Director of Student Success’ discretion, an incident of misconduct may result in the development of a Student Success Plan. Failure to follow through on a Student Success Plan by the date(s) specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in a registration hold being placed on a student’s account, referral for a formal hearing, or dismissal from ACU. The Senior Director of Student Success or designee will track the completion of all requirements in cooperation with relevant parties and departments. 

Interim Measures

The Senior Director of Student Success may place students on an interim suspension, limit electronic or physical access, and/or place a registration hold on the student’s account in order to protect the health and safety of students or the community, preserve University property, pursue an investigation and/or hearing, protect academic integrity, or prevent disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the University. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Online Student Wellness Resources & Policies

  • Email: onlinewellness@acu.edu

The following policies exist to support various aspects of student wellness.

From time to time, students may experience many stressors ranging from academic difficulty to overwhelming life and personal circumstances to unmanaged physical or mental illness. At times, these stressors impede a student’s ability to function effectively at the University. The responsibility to try to identify, refer, and report (when needed) students who are struggling or who may pose a risk to themselves or the community is one in which we must all share.

The Wellness Referral Form is available to any ACU campus community member who becomes aware of information that suggests concerning or threatening behavior, to report that information as soon as possible. No person who, in good faith, reports threatening or otherwise troubling behavior per this policy will be subject to retaliation.

For more information on this policy, students may contact Abbey Green at alb13e@acu.edu

ACU Online, while a faith-based institution, recognizes the diversity of belief and faith practices present among its’ student body. As a result, ACU Online will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable religious accommodations to students whose sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with a University policy, procedure, or other academic requirements unless such an accommodation would create an undue hardship. For the purpose of this policy, undue hardship is defined as more than a minimal burden on the operation of the university. 

Universal expectations for student learning can be found in our ACU Online Student Learning Covenant

To request an accommodation, a student must complete the Religious Accommodation Request Form.

ACU Online is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for pregnant and parenting students. Students may request reasonable accommodations because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Reasonable accommodations vary based on the student’s circumstances, but may include academic accommodations, leave of absence or flexibility as needed.

Students who wish to discuss or request accommodations based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions should complete the Pregnancy Accommodation Request Form.

In the cases of short term (less than 14 days) injury or illness, a student may request reasonable accommodations in order to continue in their current course(s). This process is reserved for students who, as a result of their condition, will be unable to participate in class for more than one week. Examples of conditions may include but are not limited to the flu, COVID-19 or other significant illness, surgery, broken bones, and concussions. Students must notify the university of their need(s) within 48 hours of becoming ill or sustaining injury. Accommodation requests may not be granted if they are made outside of this window. Accommodations may also be limited based on the point in the term in which they are requested, course content, course design, or assignment requirements. In some cases it may not be in the best academic interest for the student to try and remain in classes. Students will be advised of this and provided more information to help them make a decision.  

Students are encouraged to work with their faculty members for acute, one-time, or minor injuries and illness which would result in minor or no disruption of course progression. If questions arise around whether or not a situation should be handled through the accommodations process, please contact the Student Wellness Office.

To apply, students must complete the Short Term Injury / Illness Accommodation Request Form and provide documentation from their physician. Guidelines can be found here.

The goal of the Emergency Withdrawal policy is to support students who may be experiencing serious extenuating personal circumstances during a term by allowing a course withdrawal after Week 1 (day 4) of the term. An Emergency Withdrawal, which is noted as a “W” on a student’s transcript, may be granted for extraordinary cases in which a serious and unexpected medical issue or other significant personal circumstance prevents a student from continuing his or her class(es). While the Refund Policy still applies, the University reserves discretion to allow financial consideration for Emergency Withdrawals. 

In order for an Emergency Withdrawal to be considered the circumstance must be serious, unforeseen, and documented, and must not be able to be addressed through a reasonable academic arrangement:

  • Serious: Reserved for circumstances that fall well outside the norm of everyday challenges or stresses and are severe enough to reasonably cause disruption to a student’s personal and academic life.
  • Unforeseen: Reserved for circumstances that are outside a student’s control and were unanticipated at the time of registration and/or during the term’s drop period. Students applying based on chronic or intermittent issues (including pregnancy) known at the time of registration will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Documented: All Emergency Withdrawal requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation which clearly shows that the student was not able to complete his or her online class successfully.

Examples of serious, unforeseen, extenuating circumstances include unexpected extended hospitalization, death of an immediate family member, severe illness of a dependent, or natural disaster. For the purposes of the Emergency Withdrawal policy immediate family is defined as a spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, parent-in-law, grandchild, or a member of the immediate household.

Emergency Withdrawals are not granted for circumstances that are foreseeable, avoidable, or do not significantly and reasonably impact a student’s ability to complete his or her online class. Examples of Emergency Withdrawal requests that do not qualify as an Emergency Withdrawal include change in employment, relocation, vacation, financial difficulties, or life stresses. Emergency Withdrawals are also not granted if a student does not provide sufficient documentation. 

Please note that this policy does not negate or overrule other university policies. Students should consult with their Student Success Advisor and/or Financial Intake Specialist for assistance with understanding how completing an emergency withdrawal may impact their financial aid, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Degree Time Limit, etc. 

To request an Emergency Withdrawal, students must complete the Emergency Withdrawal request form. Guidelines for documentation can be found here.

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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/

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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.

Specific Complaint or Appeal

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 Success & Engagement – Information regarding student conduct and disciplinary decisions/appeals may be found in the Student Handbook.
  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 ACU Catalog.
  8. Academic policy or syllabus — Students may submit academic complaints 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 Complaint

Complaints not specifically addressed by policies in the above areas can be made as follows:

Flow
Employee -> Director -> ACU Online Incident Reporting Form

If you need assistance identifying the appropriate director, you can find the Organizational Chart on ACU’s HR Website.

Process

  1. Prepare and Send Statement: The student shall prepare his or her complaint in a written statement that details the circumstances of the complaint, providing his or her perspective by fully explaining the situation, clearly enumerating his or her points, including which policy was violated, and suggesting an ideal resolution. Once prepared, the statement and a request to meet should be sent to the appropriate staff member.
  2. Meet with Staff: The student shall meet with the staff member to review the statement and attempt to resolve the matter. If the student feels uncomfortable discussing the matter with the staff member alone, the student should contact their supervisor and request a meeting of the student, staff member and the supervisor. Following the meeting, the staff member will seek to respond in writing to the complaint within 3 working days of the meeting to discuss the studentʼs written complaint. 
  3. Appeal to Director: If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, he or she shall have the right to appeal to the department’s director in writing within 3 working days. The student request should include any previous statements, new statements, and the decision of the staff member. The director may choose to meet with the student or decide based on the documents provided. The director will seek to respond in writing to the complaint within 7 working days of receiving all complaint materials. 
  4. Submit an ACU Online Incident Reporting Form: If the complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, he or she shall have the right to submit an ACU Online Incident Reporting Form. The form will be reviewed by the appropriate staff member, who will seek to respond in writing to the complaint within 14 working days of receiving all complaint materials.

Whistle Blower Policy

To proactively promote legal and policy compliance by encouraging all members of the ACU community to report any financial improprieties, illegal practices or policy violations committed by university employees or agents, and to protect from retaliation those who make such good-faith reports. Violations may be reported anonymously on the ACU’s Whistleblower Website

External Complaint

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:

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

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.)

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Title IX & Sexual Misconduct

At ACU, we strive to comply with all applicable legal requirements prohibiting, preventing, and responding to sexual misconduct against any member of the ACU community. Moreover, as a Christian community, ACU has committed itself, unequivocally, to ensuring a working and learning environment in which the dignity of every individual is respected.

Our Title IX – Sexual Misconduct Policy outlines specific definitions and procedures related to sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence.  If you experience sexual misconduct in any of these forms, we encourage you to report it so that we can help maintain a work and academic environment free of unlawful behavior.

Learn more here.