SCCO Academic Policies

Mentoring and Advising Students at Academic Risk

The SCCO Student Success Program has been implemented to support our students’ academic progress. Through this program the Student Advising and Programming Specialist will work closely with students who receive a substandard grade on any examination. These students will be strongly encouraged to meet with the instructor of record in the course to review the examination and course material. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the student’s performance and establish a plan to promote understanding of the course material and develop an effective study plan. The student will also be encouraged to meet with the Student Advising and Programming Specialist to reinforce or establish an individualized plan and review the resources available for student success.  For example, resources might include no cost tutoring for the course or meeting with their faculty advisor. Faculty Advisors are prepared to discuss general study habits. These include time management, study skills, test taking strategies and note-taking. The Student Advising and Programming Specialist or the faculty member may also initiate a referral to the Director of University Student Counseling Services if necessary or the University CARE Team through Enrollment and Student Services.

In the event of any subsequent poor performance students will be asked to meet with both the Student Advising and Programming Specialist and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to discuss overall academic performance.
Monitoring grades, sending notices to the students, and following up with the students will be coordinated by both the Student Advising and Programming Specialist and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Academic Standing

A student must complete all courses in the program with a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or better to be eligible for graduation. All students are registered in an identical cohort curriculum and must complete all coursework to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward graduation. Each term the academic record of all registered students are reviewed in accordance with the defined process listed under Academic Review for Advancement.

The Academic Standing Committee (ASC) meets at the conclusion of each quarter to review students' academic performance. When a student's performance is less than satisfactory for normal advancement to the next quarter, the committee may recommend probation, retention, retention with condition, dismissal, or a formal indication of concern to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The intent of the committee is to make recommendations for future student success or to make recommendations for dismissal if success appears improbable based on performance and circumstances.

Academic Probation

The ASC may recommend placing a student on academic probation if any of the following occur:

  1. Cumulative grade point average is below 2.50

    (with the exception of the first quarter of the first professional year)

  2. Quarterly grade point average is below 2.00
  3. When the student receives one failure grade in a quarter

Students on academic probation will be placed on a learning contract that will stipulate the necessary steps the student must undertake in order to provide the best opportunity for academic success. Failure to meet all of the terms of the learning contract will put the student in breach of the learning contract and may result in academic dismissal. A student on probation:

  • May not participate in work-study
  • May not be enrolled in the MS in Vision Science degree program
  • May not hold office in a class, Student Association, fraternal, or any other student organization
  • May not participate in off-campus professional meetings
  • Must regularly attend all didactic and clinical assignments to which the student is assigned
  • Must meet regularly with either their Faculty Advisor, Student Advising and Programming Specialist, and/or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. 

The student is no longer on academic probation when academic standards are met and/or conditions of the learning contract are met.

Note: Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress will not be eligible to receive Federal financial aid. Students are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if they have completed each year’s coursework within a maximum of two academic years. Please reference the University Catalog Financial Aid section.

Remediation of a Course

When a student fails an academic course, the University may offer the student the option to complete a remediation program designed by the course instructor of record during the following academic quarter in lieu of withdrawing until the course can be repeated the next time it is offered.

  • If the laboratory portion of the course is failed, only the laboratory portion must be remediated.
  • If the lecture portion of the course is failed, only the lecture portion must be remediated.
  • Students receiving an F grade in a clinic course (e.g. CLE tract) must repeat the course in the subsequent quarter which will result in a delay in advancement to the Outreach Clinical Program and graduation. Fourth-year students receiving an F grade in a clinical course must satisfactorily pass the course prior to the awarding of a diploma. A fee to remediate deficiencies and for make-up examinations may be charged.  Students required to complete clinical courses following the date of graduation will be responsible for tuition charges.

The remediation program must be completed by the Friday of week 8 in the subsequent quarter. Successful completion of a remediation program will result in a grade change to FD. Students may not begin final exams in any quarter unless the remediation of a class from the previous quarter has been successfully completed. In the event that a student is unsuccessful in remediating the course, they will be eligible for dismissal per Academic Dismissal Rule 4.

Academic Dismissal

The ASC may recommend a student be dismissed from the Optometry Program if the student’s current level of achievement meets any of the following conditions:

  1. During the first professional year:
    • Cumulative grade point average at the end of the first quarter is less than or equal to 1.50
    • Cumulative grade point average at the end of the second quarter is less than or equal to 1.75
    • Cumulative grade point average at the end of the third quarter is less than 2.00
  2. When the student receives more than one failure grade in a quarter
  3. When a student is eligible for probation for the third time.
  4. If the student has failed to remediate a grade of “F” by the Friday of the 8th week of instruction of the subsequent quarter, or a time designated by the instructor of record. In the case of fourth-year optometry students, remediation must occur prior to the end of the subsequent rotation or within a time specified by the Instructor of Record.
  5. In situations not covered by the above rules, if at any time the ASC determines that the student’s academic progress is unsatisfactory.

    For example:

    • Inability to achieve a trajectory of a cumulative GPA of 2.50 by the end of the third professional year
    • Inability to meet all of the terms outlined from a previous academic dismissal consideration

Refer to individual course syllabi for detailed grading information.

Protocol for Academic Dismissal Hearing

The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will notify the student that their academic performance is scheduled for discussion during an upcoming Academic Standing Committee meeting. The student will be invited to submit to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs a self-advocacy written statement (approximately 1-3 pages in length) that includes:

  • Details documenting the nature of any extenuating circumstances and how it impacted the student’s academic progress.
  • The student’s proposed academic plan, including a well thought out plan for academic success that may include future use of additional learning resources, sample weekly planner, and use of other services

Note: Letters of endorsement from faculty or peers are not considered articles of evidence unless they provide direct evidence of the extenuating circumstances.

In the case of an academic dismissal consideration, for the first time, the student can choose to be present for questions and answers from the committee. Subsequent dismissal considerations, the student will be present only by the request from the ASC.

A range of options may be recommended, including, but not limited to:

  1. Continue in the optometry program and be placed on academic probation for a specified period of time
  2. Continue in the optometry program and be required to remediate the failed course(s)
  3. Continue in the optometry program and be placed on a modified program

    Under special circumstances, a student may be offered the opportunity to take a modified curriculum or program, such that the time to complete the program could be extended beyond four years, but not to exceed six years. The particular sequence and timing of courses in the modified program is to be arrived at through consultation among the Committee and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The student will have the right to accept or to reject the modified program as offered.

  4. Dismissal from the Optometry program and ineligible to re-enroll in the Optometry program

The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will make the appropriate decision based on the recommendations of the ASC and notify the student of the outcome.

Protocol for appealing an Academic Dismissal to the Dean

The student can appeal the dismissal decision of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to the Dean of Optometry. All requests for appeals shall be submitted in writing to the Dean within three (3) business days after the ruling is received by the student.

The Dean will determine if one or more of the following criteria are met, will only accept the appeal if one or more has, and will not retry the case:

  1. Evidence of substantial, material error in procedure by the ASC. The error must be of sufficient gravity to constitute:
    1. a total departure from procedure; or
    2. a defect that prevented the giving or receiving of necessary and relevant information, or
    3. a lack of neutrality on the part of the hearing authority.
  2. New evidence that is
    1. unavailable at the time of the original hearing AND
    2. that is sufficient to alter the decision.  
      Both of these conditions must be met to invoke this basis for appeal.
  3. Evidence that the sanction(s) imposed was disproportionate to the severity of the violation, or that a sanction is unnecessarily extreme in light of the standard being upheld.  The appellant bears the burden of demonstrating the disproportionate relationship between the sanction and the offense committed. A description of the impact of the sanction upon his/her personal circumstance without anything more is insufficient as a basis for appeal.

The Dean’s review will commence in a timely fashion but not exceed ten (10) business days following the receipt of the initial request for appeal.

During consideration of an appeal to the Dean, the Dean may consult with the ASC.  Appealed decisions may include: returning the case to the ASC for rehearing or can render a sanction equal to or less severe than that imposed by the committee. If the Dean returns the case or modifies the decision of the ASC they will explain the reason for this return or modification to the committee.

During the appeal process, students may continue attending lecture and laboratory sessions. Students will not continue attending clinic sessions once the dismissal decision has been rendered and the student is notified by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.



It is the expectation of all faculty and students to start examinations on time. To assure this, faculty members and students are expected to arrive in the designated examination room at least 10 minutes prior to the start of testing. This allows for a smooth and uniform start to the examination as well as assuring that all participants are present to receive any additional information or announcements pertinent to the examination. Therefore, students arriving later than 15 minutes after the start of any examination may not be allowed to sit for that exam at the discretion of the faculty member. This time element also establishes that no student may leave the examination room prior to 15 minutes after the announced start time of the exam.

The consequence of arriving later than 15 minutes after the start of an examination, in addition to being ineligible to take the exam, could include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. grade of “F” for that exam
  2. grade of “E” or Incomplete for the course
  3. taking the same format test at a later date
  4. taking an essay test over the same material

Habitual late arrival to examinations is disruptive to both students and faculty members and is unacceptable. Repeated late arrival to exams by students may result in disciplinary action.

Answers to each question are not to be written in a large font size (i.e., larger than the font size of the test) next to the test question; doing so can and may result in a loss of points for each question, at the discretion of the instructor of record.

Under special circumstances, the faculty member may use their discretion to appropriately modify this policy.

Assigned Seating

Each examination will have assigned randomized seating. After entering the exam room and leaving non-essential belongings at the front of the room, each student will receive a seat ticket. This seating ticket will indicate the student's row and seat. A new, randomized seat assignment will be given at each examination. At the end of the exam, the seat tickets should be thrown away. The row and seat number must be recorded in the Honor Code question in each exam.

The following list of Items Permitted and Not Permitted during examinations are also on the cover page of each examination:

Items Permitted and Not Permitted During Examinations

The items that students are permitted and not permitted to have during examinations are the following:

Permitted – Students may have only the following items at their examination desk:

  • Testing device
  • SCCO-issued whiteboard
  • SCCO-issued dry-erase markers
  • A jacket or sweater (no hood)
  • Non-mechanical, non-electronic ear plugs (for example, foam ear plugs)
  • Approved clear bottle of water (no labels)

Not Permitted – Items not permitted at examination desks include:

  • Communication devices, including cell phones, watches, FitBits, etc.
  • Any watches (analog or otherwise)
  • ID Badges
  • Keys
  • Books or notes
  • Electronic and mechanical devices, such as watches, radios, recording/filming devices, and electronic earplugs or earbuds, FitBits
  • Calculators and/or calculator covers
  • Highlighters, pens, or other writing instruments
  • Stylus/Apple Pencil/etc.
  • Brimmed hats or caps, including baseball caps, hoods
  • Purses
  • Food
  • “Good luck” pieces, including photographs
  • Backpacks

Note: Prohibited items must be stored in the front of or outside the examination room.

Possession of unauthorized items during an exam is a violation of the MBKU/SCCO Code of Conduct. Additionally, restroom breaks will not be permitted during examinations.

Post-Examination Review Policy

Post-examination review is the process of reviewing examination items with students. The primary purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to review the concepts/questions that the student missed on the examination. Students should adhere to the post-examination policy outlined in the course syllabus. The post-examination review session is not for students to challenge the validity of test items and is not an adversarial setting. Any student who violates the collegial setting of the review will be asked to leave the session.

All examination items are sequestered; therefore, students may not attempt to duplicate or distribute test items by copying questions, taking notes, taking photographs, saving to a personal device, or any other related activities. Students are expected to present without their personal belongings or to sequester their belongings before checking in for the session. The following materials are specifically prohibited from the post-examination review session:

  • Mechanical or electronic devices such as cellular telephones, iPads, calculators, digital watches, watches with computer communication and/or memory capability, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, radios;
  • Hats, hoods, visors, sunglasses; or
  • Book bags, backpacks, briefcases, purses.

Any items identified by the instructor as having the potential to undermine examination security will be seized, or the student will be instructed to secure the item in another location.

Students who wish to review their exams are expected to attend the post-examination review sessions as scheduled by the course instructor. Any student unable to attend the scheduled post-examination review session should contact the course instructor promptly and arrange an alternative date to review their examination(s). Students may only have access to review their examinations during the course administration up until when final course grades are due, as per the Academic Calendar. Multiple reviews of the same examination will not be permitted. Students who are in remediation will follow the exam review policy in the remediation syllabus.


Marshall B. Ketchum University expects regular attendance at all lectures, laboratory, and clinic sessions to which the student is assigned. Each program determines the specific attendance policy and procedures (see Program Student Handbook). The record of attendance is the responsibility of each individual instructor. Permission to be absent must be obtained from the Dean/Director of the program or the Program designee. Instructors are not obligated to provide special consideration in the case of unexcused absences. Repeated unexcused absences may result in a student being placed on professional probation. In addition, students wishing to participate in off-campus meetings during the academic year must receive academic approval from the Dean/Director and may not be on academic probation.

The academic credits at MBKU are described in terms of quarter credit hours. One credit hour represents one hour per week in the classroom during a 10-week quarter, two hours per week devoted to the laboratory, or four hours per week of clinical work or equivalent contact hours.

Examinations are held in each course and are required of all students taking the course. All students must take all examinations, including final examinations, at the assigned time, unless prior arrangements have been approved by the Instructor of Record. Each Program determines the procedures for reporting if a student must miss an exam because of an emergency (see Program Student Handbook). All missed exams must be made up as specified by the Program. Course grades are assigned by the instructor of record.

Occasionally students may need to miss scheduled assignments due to special circumstances or minor illnesses. This type of time off request is reported to the student's Program through their procedures, which may be found in the respective Program Student Handbook/course syllabus. Specific request procedures/forms vary by Program. Make up for time-missed assignments/examinations will be at the discretion of the course Instructor.

The amount of time away from both the didactic and clinic portions of the curriculum varies by Program. The Dean/Director, in consultation with the appropriate faculty, will evaluate student absences on an individual basis. Decisions regarding the necessity for an extended absence will depend upon the quantity and quality of material missed during the absence.

Absence Procedure

  1. Lecture / Laboratory
  • Prior to the absence you must notify the College and the faculty for the laboratories that will be missed through the completion of this ABSENCE NOTIFICATION FORM.
  • Whenever possible, the student should attempt to arrange for a lab switch.
  • The responsibility for making up missed assignments lies completely with the student. Please refer to the course syllabus for the make-up policy.
  1. Midterms, Finals, and Proficiencies
    • All students are required to attend mid-quarter, final examinations, and proficiencies at their scheduled times.
    • Notification of missed examinations should be made as soon as possible and prior to the start time. Students should submit the absence to ABSENCE NOTIFICATION FORM, along with appropriate documentation to determine if this is an excused absence.
    • Should the student be allowed to schedule a make-up examination, the responsibility for making up missed examinations lies completely with the student. Please refer to the course syllabus for the make-up policy.
  2. Clinical Assignments- See Manual of Clinical Education

If significant illness is identified, a medical clearance submitted to Enrollment and Student Services from the treating physician will be required prior to re-entry into the program. You can submit any medical clearance to Dr. Carmen Barnhardt at If temporary accommodations are required when you return, Student Disability Services via Enrollment and Student Services will assist you with that process.

If any questions about procedures for absences are needed, please contact Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Ray Chu at or 714-992-7876. If you have medical questions, please contact our Family Medicine clinic at Ketchum Health, or 714-463-7505.

Extended Absence Policy

For the complete Extended Absence Policy, including medical leave, personal leave of absence, unapproved withdraw, and withdraw with intent to return, please refer to the University Catalog.

Note: Leaves longer than 2 weeks need to be approved by the Dean of Optometry. SCCO reserves the right to require students missing more than 2 weeks of class to Withdraw with Intent to Return (WIR) and join the class below. This evaluation will be made through consultation with the faculty and student to determine the amount of work that will need to be made up once the student is released from medical care and returns to school.

During academic work or clinical training, a student may need to take a leave from studies for a variety of reasons. There are two types of extended absences: 1) Withdraw with Intent to Return (WIR) and 2) Leave of Absence (LOA).  A typical extended absence is for one term or one academic year. An extended absence must be requested in writing to the Program Dean/Director one month in advance. It must include the reason for the time away and the dates involved. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, for example, a personal or family emergency, the student must submit a request in writing as soon as they are able to do so (See downloadable forms on the portal). Extended time away form the program may lead to a delayed graduation date. Depending on the program curriculum, extended absences during the didactic portion may result in a student taking a break from school for an entire year until the time when those courses are offered again. Extended absences during the clinical portion of the program are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Program requirements including examination policies, remediation and deceleration policies, and training time differ for each Program. The maximum allowed time away from school must not exceed the completion time set by each program. Please consult your Program Student Handbook and/or the Program Dean/Director.

Students on extended leave may not participate in class or clinical activities at MBKU, perform research at MBKU, work at MBKU, or participate in student life or other campus events. Unless expressly stated in writing, students on extended absences may retain their Student ID/Access Card, University email, access to online resources, and the library. There will be a notation on their transcript listing the beginning and end dates of absences. International students (F1 visa holders) planning on an extended absence must speak with a Designated School Official (P/DSO) regarding their visa status before requesting an extended absence.

Regardless of the length of an extended absence or reason for a student departure from the University, students are responsible for their financial obligations. Tuition will be prorated according to the Tuition Refund Policy Students are not eligible to receive financial aid (Title IV) while on an extended absence. Student loans will enter repayment/grace status effective the date they last attended. If the extended absence exceeds 180 days, student loans may enter repayment status and the borrower must begin making repayments unless they are granted a deferment/forbearance by the student loan service provider. It is the students'/borrowers' responsibility to discuss their options with their loan service provider while on extended absence.

Students are responsible to pay any outstanding tuition and/or fee charges prior to returning, to remain in good financial standing with the University. Once a student returns from their approved extended absence, they will regain financial aid (Title IV) eligibility provided they are enrolled at least half-time and are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

Students who are not in good financial standing due to unpaid student balances may be denied registration upon their return until their student account is paid in full.

For more information, please refer to the "Financial Aid Policies" and "Student Account Services" in the University catalog.