Student Rights and Compliance Policies

Rights and Policies

At Western Seminary, we strive to create an environment that facilitates and encourages the transformation of the personal and spiritual lives of our students. With that in mind, we have created a list of our compliance policies and processes for upholding student rights that can be found in our Student Handbook

Academic Warning, Probation and Dismissal

Entering on Academic Probation

Incoming students may be admitted on academic probation for several reasons:

  1. The student’s undergraduate grade point average (G.P.A.) was below the admission standard.
  2. The student’s baccalaureate degree was lacking or granted from a non-accredited institution. In such cases, the probationary status may be removed after the completion of 12 credit hours above the degree (or intended) program minimum standards or as outlined in your admissions letter. Work with your advisor early on to select the best classes to help you be successful and find supports and resources needed for graduate level work.

Degree Program Minimum Standards

To remain in good academic standing, students must earn and maintain a minimum term and cumulative G.P.A. above

  • 2.50 for MDiv, GSC, and GSD degrees
  • 3.00 or MA(BTS), MAML, MAC, ThM, DMin, EdD, and DIS degrees

Formal Academic Warning

Students who earn a low course grade(s) which results in a cumulative G.P.A. below their degree program requirement will be placed on Formal Academic Warning for the following term. This warning will appear on the student profile in S.I.S. Your Academic Advisor will connect with you to assess what occurred during the term and develop a plan to raise your G.P.A. Until this conversation takes place, an academic hold will remain on your S.I.S. account.

Academic Probation -1st Term

Students who retain a low cumulative G.P.A below their degree requirements for the second consecutive term will be placed on Academic Probation - 1st term. Probation is meant to be a reflective and rebuilding experience rather than punitive. This probationary status will appear on your student profile in S.I.S. Your Academic Advisor will connect with you to review success obstacles and provide support and inform you of available resources. A key goal in this conversation will be to discuss retaking classes, if needed, and to consider strategies to help you raise your cumulative G.P.A. to meet degree requirements. Until this conversation takes place, an academic hold will remain on your S.I.S account.

Pro-tip:  If you've failed a class, consider revising your classes before the next term. Talk with your advisor about reducing your course load, taking classes that might help "lighten the load" so you can be more successful.

*ThM and doctoral students should consult their program handbooks for what grade triggers a probation.

Academic Probation - 2nd Term

Students who have been unsuccessful in raising their cumulative G.P.A after being on Academic Probation - 1st Term will be placed on Academic Probation - 2nd Term. This probationary status will appear on the student profile in S.I.S. Your Academic Advisor will connect with you to discuss the necessary adjustments to your registration for the upcoming term. Until this conversation takes place, an academic hold will remain on your S.I.S. account.

Note: Students placed on Academic Probation - 2nd Term will be limited to taking a maximum of one course in the upcoming term and must earn at least a B in that course. Students who fail to meet this requirement may be subject to academic dismissal.

Academic Dismissal

Students who have been unsuccessful in raising their cumulative G.P.A after being on Academic Probation - 2nd term will be subject to review and vote by the Academic Probations Review Committee for dismissal from their program and Western Seminary.

Students who are subject to academic dimissmal will received a notification on the student profile in S.I.S, and an academic hold which will be placed on the student's record. The Academic Probations Review Committee will review the student's academic record to determine whether the student will be dismissed from their program and from the Seminary. The student will receive a written letter from the committee once a decision has been reached.

Note: If a student desires to appeal a dismissal decision, her or she may submit a formal appeal to the Dean of Faculty.

If a student submits an appeal, the student must demonstrate that there were exceptional circumstances involved and provide evidence indicating that he or she can remove the grade point deficiency within one semester. Appeals for reinstatement will be considered for the next semester. The committee will also let the student know if/when they may reapply to the Seminary. In most cases dismissal is final, especially in cases of academic probation because of plagiarism or cheating and will be noted on official transcript.

**Students receiving benefits from the Veterans Administration should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine the impact of falling below minimum degree requirements.

Student Privacy Rights (FERPA)

Annually, Western Seminary informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended.

Student Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the Seminary receives a request for access. Students should submit written and signed requests to the registrar that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. WESTERN SEMINARY
    Attn: Registrar
    5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
    Portland, OR 97215
    844.300.4458 fax
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate. To do so, the student must clearly identify the part of the record they want to be changed, specify why it is inaccurate, and submit this request to the Registrar. If the Seminary decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the Seminary will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student if the student receives the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • One exception is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests, which permits disclosure without consent. A school official is a person employed by the Seminary in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the Seminary has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, student loan clearinghouse, address locator, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official faculty committee.
  • A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  • Upon request, the Seminary may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

 4.     The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Seminary to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

Directory Information

Under the provisions of FERPA, Western Seminary may release to the public “directory information” regarding current and former students without the student’s consent. This may be in the form of, for example, campus directories or graduation programs. Directory information includes: name, photograph, spouse name, postal address, telephone number(s), email address, program of study, dates of attendance, home state/country, degree(s) conferred, and previous institutions attended.

All other information that Western Seminary maintains in its educational records can only be released with the student’s signed consent.

You have the right to withhold the release of such directory information. Please carefully consider the consequences of a decision to withhold directory information, as any future requests for such information from non-institutional persons or organizations will be refused.

Western Seminary will honor your request to withhold your information but cannot assume responsibility to contact you for subsequent permissions to release them. The institution assumes no liability for consequences for honoring your instructions to withhold directory information.

Regulations and Appeals

It is the desire of Western Seminary to be responsive to the needs of the student in all areas of his or her life. The Seminary has established policies and procedures in both academic and financial areas, as well as personal, moral, ethical, and spiritual development. These policies and procedures are intended to cover most circumstances which arise, but it is recognized that on occasion there are situations which warrant special individual consideration.

If a student feels that his or her situation warrants an exception to academic or financial policies or regulations, he or she is encouraged to file a petition with the Administrative or Financial Appeals Committee, respectively. It is the responsibility of these Committees to investigate the circumstances and make a judgment whether or not such exceptions are warranted. Petitions can be completed by logging into SIS.

Other Appeals

Certain criteria for appealing decisions made by a professor or committee are presented elsewhere throughout the academic catalog or student handbook. In all other situations for which a formal appeal process is not specified, an appeal should first be directed to the chairperson of the appropriate academic center. If the student is not satisfied with the decision given by the Center Chair, he or she may then appeal to the Dean of Faculty by submitting a written statement of particulars. This statement can be submitted by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The dean will confer with the individuals involved and seek a satisfactory resolution of the problem. If the problem cannot be solved in this manner, the dean may make a decision on the matter, or, at his or her discretion, may refer it to the president for a ruling.

In addition, students living in states served by Western Seminary may have a specialized complaint process available to them:

  • For students in California: An individual may contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education for review of a complaint. The bureau may be contacted at 1747 North Market Blvd., Suite 225, Sacramento, CA 95834,, (916) 574-8900 (phone); (916) 263-1897 (fax).
  • For students in Oregon and all other states in the U.S.: Once the student has exhausted the institutional appeal process, students are able to pursue the complaint process established by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for the State of Oregon.