Class Attendance

Flexibility with Attendance/Assignments


As stated in the undergraduate catalog, Gardner-Webb University policy requires that students attend 75% of all class sessions. Programs and professors may require a higher percentage of class attendance. Failure to meet these attendance requirements will result in an administrative “F” for the class. However, if a student has a disability with random or cyclical acute episodes that may occasionally impact his/her ability to attend class and complete tests or assignments at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance/assignments may be an appropriate accommodation. The number of allowable absences and length of assignment extensions depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on school, department or accrediting agency rules. An accommodation in attendance is not reasonable if regular attendance is essential to the course and/or curriculum. Not every course component can be provided an extension.

Absences that are not related to the effects of a disability are not included in the accommodation. For example; illness unrelated to disability, car trouble, etc. The student is responsible for following the professor’s syllabus regarding absences due to non-disability related issues.


  • Request Attendance Consideration when registering in AIM.
  • Discuss request with the accessibility advisor.
  • Accessibility Advisor will speak with professors regarding the nature of the class.
  • If approved, a written agreement will be prepared and signed by both student and professor.

Reduced Course Load

Policy on Eligibility of Students Taking Reduced Course Loads While Maintaining Full-Time Status

All students with disabilities, including those with physical, learning, psychological and medical disabilities, are eligible to apply for special status, which if approved, allows them to take a reduced course load while maintaining full-time status. Except in extreme situations, no student applying for a reduced course load with full-time status will be approved for less than 9 credits per semester. The Noel Center will consider an alternative number of credits on request and only with sufficient documentation to support the request.

Incoming students may apply for a reduced course load upon acceptance to the University.

They must provisionally register for a full course load, and are expected to attend those classes until the change in status has been approved. Applications for students who enter after the initial freshman registration period and who wish to apply for a reduced course load will be reviewed on an individual basis. The approval of these applications may be deferred to the following semester, due to the late application date. Every attempt will be made to accommodate these requests.

Current students who wish to apply for this status change mid-semester are considered special case circumstances. These applications will be reviewed individually and the approval of these applications may be deferred to the following semester, due to the late application date. Every attempt will be made to accommodate these requests. All requests are reviewed on a case-by- case basis.

Academic, Institutional and External Requirements for Eligibility

Reduced Course Loads for students with full-time status (hereafter RL/FT students):

  • RL/FT students, to have an effective course load, must register for at least 9 credits for the semester.
  • Maintaining Satisfactory Progress: To maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree, RL/FT students must pass a minimum of six credits during a regular semester and average no less than fifteen credits passed during any two consecutive regular semesters.
  • Students approved for reduced loads with full-time status are eligible for specific honors designations with certain provisions.
  • RL/FT students given approval for reduced loads, provided they maintain at least the minimum number of credits, are entitled to all the housing and service benefits enjoyed by full-time students.
  • RL/FT students will be billed as full-time students. All regular charges will apply.
  • The reduced credit load will result in an adjusted financial aid package. Within the limits of Federal and State financial aid regulations, every effort will be made to protect RL/FT students from incurring additional costs.
  • Federal Stafford Loan Eligibility: Eligibility will be reduced according to the total number of credit hours taken in the full academic year. A RL/FT student must be at least half time in a semester (six credits) in order to receive a Stafford Loan.
  • Federal Pell Grant Eligibility: Grants are prorated based on the number of credit hours taken. A RL/FT student can take as few as three credit hours and still be eligible for a Pell Grant.
  • State of North Carolina Legislative Tuition Grant and North Carolina Contractual Scholarship: These will be awarded to students taking a reduced course load, but who maintain their full-time status because of a recognized disability.
  • Gardner-Webb Institutional Aid: Institutional aid is reserved for all students having full- time status, including those with approval to take a reduced load for reasons of a disability, provided the load for the semester does not drop below nine credits. This applies for merit, need-based, and athletic aid. Eligibility requirements remain in place for all students including those with reduced loads. RL/FT student athletes are subject to NCAA restrictions noted in #13.
  • Financial Assistance from the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: Assistance is limited to what is required to achieve the educational credentials for the vocational goal and is usually restricted to four years. However, the Division does recognize that factors related to the individual’s disability or general life situation may interfere with full-time attendance. In such situations, with appropriate justification, part-time attendance may be authorized. RL/FT students from outside North Carolina should check with their state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation concerning policies.
  • Institutional Student Health Insurance: RL/FT students will be able to obtain health coverage through the institution. However, they will be required to pay the same amount as regular full-time students and they must meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • Waiver – Learning -Disabled and Handicapped Student Athletes. The Progress Toward Degree Waiver Committee may waive the general progress toward degree requirements for a learning-disabled or handicapped student-athlete when objective evidence demonstrates that the institution has defined fulltime enrollment for that student – athlete to be less than 12 hours to accommodate for the student’s learning disability or handicap. (Adopted: 1/9/96 effective 8/1/96, Revised: 10/28/97).

Application Process

  • Applications for reduced course loads must be submitted to the Associate Dean of the Noel Center along with supporting documentation. The student may obtain this form from his/her Accessibility Advisor.
  • Supporting documentation must include a diagnostic evaluation from an appropriate professional. The documentation must meet the documentation guidelines set forth by the Noel Center in order to evaluate the current impact of the disability in regards to the request. Students are required to complete an application for this status every semester, but do not need to re-submit their documentation. This is not an automatic status. Each case will be re-evaluated at the end of the semester to determine if this accommodation is still appropriate.
  • In consultation with the Dean of Student Success, the Noel Center Associate Dean will evaluate the documentation to determine the impact of the disability on the student’s ability to carry a full course load.
  • If the application is approved by the Associate Dean of the Noel Center and the Dean of Student Success, notification will be sent to the following: the Registrar, the Director of Financial Planning, the Administrator of Student Billing in the Business Office, the Dean of Students, the student’s academic advisor, the office of the VP and Dean of Student Development (if applicable) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (if applicable).
  • If the application is approved by the Associate Dean and the Dean of Student Success, the Associate Dean will outline for the student the proposed reduced load and explain to the student the consequences for making progress toward meeting graduation requirements, eligibility for various academic distinctions and designation, financial aid status, and billing changes.
  • The Associate Dean and Dean of Student Success will set the minimum credit load for full-time status and explain that this credit load applies only for the requested semester. If the student drops below this minimum at any time during the semester, the student loses full-time status.
  • The student will sign the Reduced Course Load Approval Form, which includes a statement acknowledging that he or she has reviewed the consequences that go with reduced load status and accepts them.

If a student’s application for reduced load status is denied, the student may appeal the decision through the standard grievance procedure outlined in the Gardner-Webb University Undergraduate/graduate catalog.

Internships and Practicum

Policy and Procedure

If a student will require accommodations for an internship or practicum, it is the student’s responsibility to request them in advance. Because the student may not fully realize the need for accommodation, he/she may not have a sense of what the internship setting will specifically demand. The student should initiate a meeting as early as possible prior to placement during which information about internship expectations might be shared and, once better informed, the student might initiate a request for accommodation planning.

The student, the academic department, and the Noel Center need to begin early to plan for accommodations. Because it may be difficult to know what accommodations will be needed, early communication with the internship or practicum site involved is strongly encouraged. The nature of accommodations may vary across agencies and academic departments may prefer early agency involvement in identifying needed accommodations.

The student, the academic department and the Noel Center should identify the accommodations needed, including resources and adaptive equipment/software, in advance of negotiations with the placement agency.

The student and the academic department should seek a placement agency that (1) will provide an appropriate educational experience, (2) will make reasonable accommodations for the student, and (3) will negotiate with the student and the University to provide the services.

The student, the academic department, the Noel Center, the University legal counsel, if needed and the placement agency will develop a plan and negotiate accommodations satisfactory to all parties. Most placement agencies are also subject to ADA requirements and may have a contact person who is familiar with the accommodation and may already be providing accommodations to agency employees. The agency ADA contact person (if one is assigned) may be able to provide assistance in arranging for student placements. The student must be an active participant throughout the process of identifying a placement agency, identifying and negotiating accommodations.