Academic Policies

Academic Calendar

The College of Western Idaho (CWI) operates on the semester system. The academic year includes two 16-week semesters (fall and spring) and an 8-week summer term. See the academic calendar page for important dates.

In addition to 16-week semester-length courses, CWI offers shorter courses in 8-week, 5-week, and 4-week sessions. Day, evening, weekend, and online courses are available in order to meet the needs of students who have work or family responsibilities.

Credit Hour Requirements

For each credit hour granted, students must have successfully met the academic requirements with an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates not less than:

  • 12.5 clock hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 25 clock hours of out-of-class student work; or
  • At least an equivalent amount of combined in-class and out-of-class clock hours for other academic activities as established by CWI including laboratory work, clinicals, internships, practicum, and other academic work leading to the award of the appropriate number of credits.

CWI courses align with credit hours in the following manner:

Course Type Credit Hours Instructional Contact Hours Out of Class Hours Total Hours
Lecture 1 12.5 25 37.5
Lab A 1 37.5 0 37.5
Lab B 1 25 12.5 37.5

The expectation of contact time with the instructor and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course regardless of modality. Courses with less structured classroom schedules, such as workshops, research seminars, independent studies, internships, practicum, studio work, or any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, at a minimum, should state clearly the workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above.

Course Numbering

The following numbering system is used for all credit courses offered by CWI:

  • Zero Level (000–099): Course content is considered below the college-freshman level. These courses are not applicable for graduation.
  • One Hundred Level (100–199): Course content taught at the college-freshman level.
  • Two Hundred Level (200–299): Course content taught at the college-sophomore level.
  • Three Hundred Level (300-399): Course content taught at the college-junior level.
  • Four Hundred Level (400-499): Course content taught at the college-senior level.

Student Class Level

The following number of completed credits determines a student’s class level:

Class Level Credits Completed
Freshman 1–25
Sophomore 26-57
Junior 58-89
Senior 90 or more

Enrollment Status

Full-time Students: Degree-seeking students taking 12 or more credits per term.

Part-time Students: Degree-seeking students taking fewer than 12 credits per term.

Non-matriculated Students: Non-degree-seeking students.

President’s List and Dean’s List

The President’s List and Dean’s List are term-based distinctions that recognize academic excellence based on grade point average (GPA). These distinctions are awarded at the end of each term (semester). To be eligible for either list, a student must have completed six (6) or more credits of letter-graded courses within a single term. Because pass/no pass courses are not used to calculate a student's GPA, they are excluded when calculating the six (6) or more credits of letter-graded courses needed to be considered eligible. Grades of Incomplete (I) and/or missing grades will prevent a student from receiving honors.

Minimum GPA Requirements
President’s List: 4.00 Term GPA
Dean’s List: 3.50 to 3.99 Term GPA

Students on the President’s List or Dean’s List are congratulated and notified by email at the end of the term. The President’s List and Dean’s List are published on the Academic Honors page on CWI’s website to honor those receiving these distinctions; however, students who qualify for either list will be omitted from the online publication if they have submitted a Directory Hold/Privacy Form to One Stop Student Services. 

Repeating Courses

The effect of repeating a course is as follows:

  • Only the highest grade earned on a repeated course will count in the GPA.
  • All grades other than “A” are repeatable.
  • All iterations of the course will continue to show on the transcript with their respective grades.
  • A grade of “D” or above is considered passing in most courses.
  • Certain courses may be repeated and the credits accumulated. For all others, the course with the lower grade is marked to show that it has been repeated.

Limited Attempts

Any student wishing to improve their grade in a course to meet core or degree requirements may register to repeat a course. A student may register directly into the course on the first three attempts.

Note: Some programs may not allow multiple attempts for a course.

Permission to register beyond three attempts must be obtained from the department chair over the area of study.

Exclusions to the limited attempts policy include:

  • Courses graded with AU – Audit or W – Withdrawal 
  • Courses that can be taken multiple times for additional credit, such as fitness-activity courses, private music lessons, and art-studio classes.
Note: For developmental courses, withdrawn attempts of a course will be counted in the first three attempts. Permission to register beyond three attempts (including Ws) must be obtained from the department chair over the area of study or the Math Solutions Center Manager.

Note: Please refer to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility catalog page to review how numerous attempts at a course may affect financial aid eligibility. Students receiving VA Education benefits should contact a VA Specialist prior to repeating any coursework.

Duplicate Course Registrations in the Same Semester

Students can be enrolled in only one section of a class (e.g., CWI 101, ENGL 101) at a time. Intentional and unintentional registrations for duplicate courses are not permitted within the same semester unless the courses are being offered during different sessions in the semester. For example, a student who enrolls in ENGL 101 in the first 8-week session may repeat the course, if needed, in the second 8-week session.

The Registrar's Office will monitor duplicate registrations and will administratively drop students from duplicate courses. Students will be notified when administrative drops occur.

Class Attendance and Participation

CWI recognizes that regular attendance is the student’s responsibility. Regular attendance and active participation not only contribute to a student's academic success but may have a significant impact on eligibility to receive federal financial aid and/or Veteran Affairs (VA) educational benefits. 

Beginning of the Course

Instructors are required to verify attendance prior to the drop/refund deadline (census date) for the course. Refer to the academic calendar for specific dates based on course start date and length. To avoid being administratively dropped from a class, a student must establish a record of attendance and participation prior to the course census date.

A record of attendance is established by students doing any one of the following (20 U.S.C. § 1070g, 1091b; 34 CFR 668.22 and 600.2):

Academic engagement: Active participation by a student in an instructional activity related to the student's course of study that—

  • Is defined by the institution in accordance with any applicable requirements of its State or accrediting agency;
  • Includes, but is not limited to—
    • Attending a synchronous class, lecture, recitation, or field or laboratory activity, physically or online, where there is an opportunity for interaction between the instructor and students;
    • Submitting an academic assignment;
    • Taking an assessment or an exam;
    • Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction;
    • Participating in a study group, group project, or an online discussion that is assigned by the institution; or
    • Interacting with an instructor about academic matters; and
  • Does not include, for example—
    • Logging into an online class or tutorial without any further participation; or
    • Participating in academic counseling or advisement.

The Registrar shall monitor the attendance verification process, and, as reported by instructors, shall administratively drop students prior to the census date of the course when attendance cannot be verified. If the student’s attendance is verified prior to the course census date, the student will not be administratively dropped for non-attendance. If a student stops attending after attendance has been verified, the instructor should address the attendance concerns with the student. The instructor may also submit a Care Report to request an advising referral. 

Individuals not enrolled in a particular class may not attend sessions of that class.

Note: The College must make adjustments in federal financial aid and VA benefits when a student drops a course or no longer attends and/or actively participates. These adjustments may result in students owing funds to the College, the U.S. Department of Education, and/or the Veterans Administration.

End of the Course

Instructors are required to enter the last date of attendance at the end of the semester when submitting any of the following failing/incomplete grades:

  • F – Fail
  • NP – No Pass
  • NC – No Credit
  • I - Incomplete

A grade of X – Fail (stopped attending/unofficial withdrawal) will be administratively assigned by the Registrar based on the last date of attendance reported by the instructor for any F – Fail grades where the student stopped attending before the end of the course. 

Note: Students must withdraw themselves if they decide not to complete any classes. Students who stop attending yet do not drop/withdraw from their classes will get failing grades (or whatever grades they earned). After 75 percent of the term has elapsed (twelfth week of the semester for fall and spring full-semester classes) students cannot initiate drops/withdrawals. Students will be issued grades after this deadline.

Attendance Policy Related to Grades

The instructor has the responsibility to determine the attendance guidelines that best promote learning in a particular course. On or before the first meeting of each class, the instructor is expected to articulate and inform students in writing via a course syllabus about specific class attendance requirements. In general, instructors should exercise fair and consistent standards in determining when to excuse an absence and/or when to provide opportunities to make up for missed exams and assessments. An excused absence or make-up opportunity must be provided to students who miss class to observe a recognized religious day, to fulfill a civic responsibility (e.g., jury duty or military service), or to represent the College of Western Idaho in an official capacity (e.g., Speech and Debate Tournament in which you are competing).


Any student absent from a written test shall be regarded as having failed that test. However, if such absence is caused by some unavoidable, extenuating circumstance, the instructor shall give a comparable test to the student at a later date. The burden of proof for extenuating circumstances lies with the student and the final determination is made by the instructor.