2020-2021 Catalog 
    Jun 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information & Policies

Alcohol and Drug Policy

The College accepts responsibility for creating a responsible environment for its student body in reference to drugs and alcohol on campus. There shall not be any unlawful possession, use, sale, or distribution of any type of controlled drug or substance on any campus location. There shall be no possession or use of alcoholic beverages on college property or at any function sponsored or supervised by the College, except by state permit.

The College has the right to notify parents of students who are under the age of 21 when alcohol or drug policies are violated. The policy on substance abuse has these basic premises:

  1. All federal, state, and local statutes and laws in reference to the use of legal and illegal substances in public areas will be enforced in their entirety.
  2. A Substance Abuse Awareness program will be offered on campus so that students may fully understand the dangers of substance abuse.
  3. An ongoing network with local mental health agencies is in place so that students in need of assistance may be assured of prompt referral.

Bus Transportation

As a service to students, bus transportation to the College is provided by Four County Transit. Inquiries regarding bus transportation should be directed to the Office of Admissions & Records or directly to Four-County Transit at 276.963.1486 or 1.888.656.2272.

Campus Crime Policy

Southwest Virginia Community College complies with state and federal regulations and fully cooperates with civil authorities in assuring that the campus is a safe place to learn and work.  Annually, a report on campus security and completion rates is made available to all current students and employees. Paper copies of the report are available from the Chief of Police or the Dean of Student Success.

Emergency Contacts

If there is a risk of imminent danger, students should call 911. In an emergency situation other than imminent danger, students should contact Campus Police at ext. 7221 from a campus phone, or by going to Buchanan Hall, room 113.  You may also dial 4357 (HELP) from a campus phone, which provides direct radio contact with a campus police officer.  HELP phones are located at the outside entrances to Buchanan Hall, Tazewell Hall, Davis Hall, Dickenson Hall, Russell Hall, and the Community Center. Additional HELP phones are located in the student parking areas of Davis Hall, Buchanan Hall, Dickenson Hall, Physical Plant, and Pavilion #4 near the recreational field. Personal emergencies regarding a need for a referral to an outside agency should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Student Success at extension 7677.

Student Dress Code

Student dress will be a matter of individual taste, except for restrictions as needed for safety, physical fitness classes, and laboratory settings. Students should show respect and awareness for what others may find lewd, profane, or obscene.

Name and/or Address Change

Report name and/or address changes to the Office of Admissions and Records in order to receive correspondence from the College.


In case of fire, the alarm will sound. If this happens, leave the building in an orderly manner by the diagrams posted in classrooms and labs. Exit signs are posted in the halls.

Email Accounts

Electronic mail or email is the official method of communicating at the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). All official email communication is distributed to VCCS email accounts only. Students are required to use their campus email accounts as the official communication with their instructors and the college.

Food for Thought

Southwest provides a food pantry free of charge for all students, located in Buchanan Hall, room 122. For more information or assistance, stop by the Advising Center in Buchanan Hall, room 100.

Food Services and Student Lounge

Vending services are available in Buchanan Hall, as well as other areas on campus. Student lounge areas are present in all academic buildings in order for students to relax between classes. The Eagle Café is open in Buchanan Hall and serves a variety of hot meal options. Please visit the cafeteria for the current hours.

Head Start Center

Through a regional partnership, Clinch Valley Community Action, Inc., operates a regional Head Start Center on campus.  On a limited basis, this Center is available to eligible children of students and staff of the College’s service region.

Inclement Weather Policy

Decisions concerning altered hours of the College due to inclement weather will be published on the institution website and shared via the Southwest Alert notification service.


Information and application regarding student insurance available to purchase may be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Records in Dellinger Hall, room 220.  Students who are enrolled in certain programs, classes, or clubs will be required to show proof of insurance for injury and accident coverage. Industrial/vocational students, health technologies students, club sports athletes, and students in high-risk activities are examples of those who may need such insurance.

Loitering Policy

Non-students who wish to visit the campus are welcome. Repeated visits without an appropriate purpose will be discouraged. Prospective students coming to campus for the first time should report to the Office of Admissions and Records for information and assistance.

Parking and Traffic Regulations

Students may use all student designated parking areas. Students may not park in handicapped, reserved, or visitor parking unless authorized.

Campus Police issue tickets for traffic violations such as speeding, reckless driving, and illegal parking.  A fine of $15 will be assessed for a parking violation.  If the fine is not paid within fifteen (15) working days, the fine will double.  Unpaid fines will be submitted to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • Parking for Individuals with Disabilities
    Parking spaces are reserved for persons with state-issued handicapped permits obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Offenders of parking for persons with disabilities are in violation of state law.
  • Special Parking Permits
    Special permits may be obtained from the Office of Campus Police to allow access to designated areas.  Requests for this permit must be accompanied by a physician’s statement regarding the nature and extent of the disability.

Service Animal Policy

In compliance with applicable law, Southwest generally allows service animals in its buildings, classrooms, meetings, dining areas, recreational facilities, activities and events when the animal is accompanied by an individual with a disability who indicates the service animal is trained to provide and does provide, a specific service to them that is directly related to their disability.

Under Code of Virginia 51.1-44.1, any person who knowingly and willfully fits a dog with a harness, collar, vest, or sign, or uses an identification card commonly used by a person with a disability, in order to represent that the dog is a service dog or hearing dog to fraudulently gain public access for such dog pursuant to provisions in 51.5-44 is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Southwest may not permit service animals when the animal poses a substantial and direct threat to health or safety or when the presence of the animal constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or service. Southwest will make those determinations on a case-by-case basis.

We encourage students to register their service animal with the Disability Services office, to ensure that our documentation supports the student’s rights under ADA regulations. Specific questions related to the use of service animals on the Southwest campus by visitors can be directed to the Disability Services Manager via e-mail, melissa.stiltner@sw.edu, or phone, (276) 964-7706. You may learn more about service animals and the ADA at the following website: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm


  1. Service Animal -  Any dog* individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability and meets the definition of “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) regulations at 28 CFR 35.104. The work or tasks performed must be directly related to the individual’s disability.
    *Under particular circumstances set forth in the ADA regulations at 28 CFR 35.136 (i), a miniature horse may qualify as a service animal.
    Examples include, but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

  2. Service Dogs in Training - A dog being trained has the same rights as a fully trained dog when accompanied by a trainer and identified as such in any place of public accommodation (as defined in ORS 659A.400).   Handlers of service dogs in training must also adhere to the requirements for service animals and are subject to the removal policies as outlined in this policy.

  3. Comfort Animal - Under ADA, comfort animals are not service animals. Comfort animals of any species, which may provide emotional support to a person but are not trained to perform work or tasks related to a person’s disability, are not permitted inside College buildings and facilities.

  4. Place of public accommodation - A place of public accommodation as defined in ORS 659A.400: “a place or service offering to the public accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges whether in the nature of goods, services, lodgings, amusements or otherwise.” A place of public accommodation does not include any institution, bona fide club or place of accommodation which is in its nature distinctly private.

  5. Assistance Animals (including Emotional Support Animals) - Southwest Virginia Community College is a non-residential institution and does not offer dormitory or other housing services for students. Southwest is considered a place of public accommodation; therefore, Assistance animals (including emotional support animals) are not allowed on Southwest’s campus or any associated physical facility.

  6. Handler - A person with a disability that a service animal assists or a personal care attendant who handles the animal for a person with a disability.

Southwest Virginia Community College Procedures Regarding Inquiries

In general, Southwest will not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. Southwest may ask:

  1. If the animal is required because of a disability and;

  2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Southwest cannot require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, Southwest may not make any inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).

Responsibilities of Handlers

Students who wish to bring a service animal to campus are strongly encouraged to partner with Disability Services, especially if other academic accommodations are required.   Students who intend to bring a service animal to campus on a regular basis (e.g., for regularly scheduled classes and co-curricular activities) are required to notify Disability Services so that the service animal’s regular presence on campus is known.  Staff and faculty with service animals are strongly encouraged to contact Disability Services and required to do so if the service animal will be present on campus on a regular basis.

Handlers are responsible for any damage or injuries caused by their animals and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The cost of care, arrangements, and responsibilities for the well-being of a service animal are the sole responsibility of the handler at all times.

Service Animal Control Requirements

  1. The animal should be on a leash when not providing a service that requires them to be off-leash to the handler.

  2. The animal should respond to voice or hand commands at all times, and be in full control of the handler.

  3. To the extent possible, the animal should be unobtrusive to the other individuals and the learning, living, and working environment.

  4. It is recommended that the animal wear some type of commonly recognized identification symbol, identifying the animal as a working animal, but not disclosing a disability.

Animal Etiquette

To the extent possible, the handler should ensure that the animal does not: 

  1. Sniff people, food tables or the personal belongings of others.

  2. Jump on people.

  3. Display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, unless part of the service being provided the handler.

  4. Block an aisle or passageway for fire or other emergency egresses.

Waste Cleanup Rule

Cleaning up after the animal is the sole responsibility of the handler. In the event that the handler is not physically able to clean up after the animal, it is then the responsibility of the handler to hire someone capable of cleaning up after the animal. The person cleaning up after the animal should abide by the following guidelines: 

  1. Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s waste whenever the animal in on campus.

  2. Properly dispose of waste and/or litter in appropriate containers.

  3. Contact staff if arrangements are needed to assist with cleanup. Any cost incurred for doing so is the sole responsibility of the handler.

Removal of Service Animals

Service Animals may be ordered removed by the Chief of Police or College Administration for the following reasons:

  1. Out of Control Animal: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is out of control if the handler does not take effective action to control it. If the improper animal behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal into any college facility until the handler can demonstrate that s/he has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior.

  2. Non-housebroken Animal: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is not housebroken.

  3. Direct Threat: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that Southwest determines to be a substantial and direct threat to the health and safety of individuals. This may occur as a result of a very ill animal, a substantial lack of cleanliness of the animal, or the presence of an animal in a sensitive area like an allied-health facility, certain laboratories or mechanical or industrial areas.

  4. Conflicting Disabilities: Some people may have allergic reactions to animals that are substantial enough to qualify as disabilities. Southwest will consider the needs of both persons in meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Students, staff, and faculty requesting allergy accommodations should contact Disability Services.

Where a service animal is properly removed pursuant to this policy, Southwest will work with the handler to determine reasonable alternative opportunities to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

Appeals and Grievances: Any person dissatisfied by a decision concerning a service animal may appeal using the Student Grievance Procedure found on the Southwest website.

Public Etiquette towards Service or Assistance Animals

It is okay to ask someone if she/he would like assistance if there seems to be confusion. However, faculty, staff, students, visitors, and members of the general public should avoid the following: 

  1. Petting a service animal, as it may distract them from the task at hand.

  2. Feeding the service animal.

  3. Deliberately startling a service animal.

  4. Separating or attempting to separate a handler from his/her service animal.

Student Identification Cards

Southwest campus ID cards are prepared in the Library. The ID cards are full color and contain a photograph.  All students and staff should obtain an ID card and carry it on them at all times. There is no charge for the first card, but there is a $5 replacement charge for lost ID cards.  Any registered student is eligible for a free ID card.

Title IX

Southwest Virginia Community College is committed to building and maintaining a diverse community to reflect human diversity and improve opportunities for all. We celebrate individual differences and diversity. SWCC does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its programs, activities, employment, and admission.

Each student and employee at SWCC has the right to engage in an educational/working experience free from discrimination, harassment, exclusion, and retaliation.


Title IX is a landmark civil rights law. Enacted by Congress, Title IX seeks to reduce or eliminate barriers to educational opportunity caused by sex discrimination in institutions that receive federal funding.

View Title IX Policy Here


Tutoring is available free-of-charge for all students. Please contact Student Support Services in Buchanan Hall, room 152 or by phone at 276.964.7624 for more information. Online options may be available.

Unpaid Fines and Bills

Students who damage or lose school property (laboratory or shop equipment, supplies, library materials, audiovisual equipment, etc.) are expected to pay for such losses. Lost Library books and other materials should be reported immediately since fines are charged up to the time the loss is reported. Lost books and other materials are billed at the current replacement value.

Students owing fines or lost materials at the end of the semester will not receive grades and will not be permitted to register in any succeeding term until all financial obligations are met.  Grade transcripts will not be released until all financial obligations are paid.

Veterans Information

This institution is approved to offer Gl Bill® educational benefits by the Virginia State Approving Agency. The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA), is the approving authority of education and training programs for Virginia. Our office investigates complaints of Gl Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email saa@dvs.virginia.gov.

Title 38 United States Code Section 3679(c) Form

Training time for degree programs is computed as follows:

  • 12 or more semester hours = Full-time benefits
  • 9 to 11 semester hours = Three-quarter time benefits
  • 6 to 8 semester hours = One-half time benefits

Information and assistance regarding veterans’ benefits may be obtained from the Office of Veterans Affairs in Dellinger Hall, Room 215. Veterans will be required to furnish documents such as discharge records, family status legal records (divorce, marriage, birth, and health certificates), or other Veterans Administration (VA) eligibility forms to be certified for VA educational benefits. Some forms must be acquired through the VA, but the Veterans Affairs Certifying Official of the College has many of the necessary forms.

College policy concerning veteran certification is: Veterans will be certified only for courses that apply directly to the educational objective (certificate, diploma, or degree); acceptable elective courses must meet the division chairperson’s approval; students cannot be certified for courses not in the curriculum. The Veterans Affairs Certifying Official will verify that each veteran is only certified for approved courses each semester.

Developmental courses may be repeated one time.


Veterans who are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, Chapter 30, must verify their attendance on the last calendar day of each month. Verification may be submitted online at https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/default.cfm or by calling 1.877.823.2378 and following the instructions. Excessive absences may jeopardize continued receipt of VA benefits.

Veterans Responsibility

It is the veteran’s responsibility to notify the Veterans Affairs Officer of any changes which might affect the enrollment status, e. g., changes in course load, add/drop, withdrawal, termination, re-enrollment, changes in dependent status, address, etc.

Military Tuition Assistance Policy

Return of Tuition Assistance: Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of TA funds originally awarded.

To comply with the new Department of Defense policy, Southwest Virginia Community College will return any unearned TA funds on a prorated basis through at least the 60% portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending. These funds are returned to the military Service branch.

Instances when a Service member stops attending due to a military service obligation, the educational institution will work with the affected Service member to identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion.

Schedule for returning unearned TA to the government

5-week Course Withdraw submitted:
Note: The educational institution’s week of instruction is counted as 7 days.

  • Day 1-7 100% return

  • Day 8 77% return

  • Day 9 74% return

  • Day 10 71% return

  • Day 11 69% return

  • Day 12 66% return

  • Day 13 63% return

  • Day 14 60% return

  • Day 15 57% return

  • Day 16 54% return

  • Day 17 51% return

  • Day 18 49% return

  • Day 19 46% return

  • Day 20 43% return

  • Day 21 40% return (60% of course is completed)

  • Day 22 0% return

16-week Course Withdraw submitted:

  • Before or during weeks 1-2 100% return

  • During weeks 3-4 75% return

  • During weeks 5-8 50% return

  • During weeks 9 40% return (60% of course is completed)

  • During weeks 10-16 0% return

10-week Course Withdraw submitted, the 60% of course completed at 6 weeks

8-week Course Withdraw submitted:

  • Before or during week 1 100% return

  • During week 2 75% return

  • During weeks 3-4 50% return

  • During week 5 40% return (60% of course is completed)

  • During weeks 6-8 0% return

5-week Course Withdraw submitted, the 60% of course completed at 3 weeks

100% of Tuition Assistance (TA) received will be returned if the student withdraws within the first week of class, but before submission of the first assignment. The student’s request will be processed as a drop for the purpose of returning TA funds only, not for Financial Aid attendance or recalculating of aid.

75% of TA received of TA received will be returned if the student withdraws after submitting the first assignment and through the end of the second week of classes.

50% of TA received will be returned if the student withdraws after the second week of classes, but before the end of the fourth week of classes.

25% of TA received will be returned if the student withdraws after the fourth week of classes but before the end of the sixth week of classes. (60% of course is completed).

No TA received will be returned if the student withdraws after the sixth week of classes.

Section 103 Compliance


IN GENERAL.-Section 3679 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, beginning on August 1, 2019, a State approving agency, or the Secretary when acting in the role of the State approving agency, shall disapprove a course of education provided by an educational institution that has in effect a policy that is inconsistent with any of the following:

“(A) A policy that permits any covered individual to attend or participate in the course of education during the period beginning on the date on which the individual provides to the educational institution a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 of this title and ending on the earlier of the following dates:

“(i) The date on which the Secretary provides payment for such course of education to such institution.

“(ii) The date that is 90 days after the date on which the educational institution certifies for tuition and fees following receipt from the student such certificate of eligibility.

“(B) A policy that ensures that the educational institution will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities, or the requirement that a covered individual borrow additional funds, on any covered individual because of the individual’s inability to meet his or her financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed disbursement of a payment to be provided by the Secretary under chapter 31 or 33 of this title.

“(2) For purposes of this subsection, a covered individual is any individual who is entitled to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 of this title.

“(3) The Secretary may waive such requirements of paragraph (1) as the Secretary considers appropriate.

“(4) It shall not be inconsistent with a policy described in paragraph (1) for an educational institution to require a covered individual to take the following additional actions:

“(A) Submit a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance not later than the first day of a course of education for which the individual has indicated the individual wishes to use the individual’s entitlement to educational assistance.

“(B) Submit a written request to use such entitlement.

“(C) Provide additional information necessary to the proper certification of enrollment by the educational institution.”.


  1. IN GENERAL-The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall take such actions as may be necessary to ensure that the Secretary makes a payment to an educational institution on behalf of an individual, who is entitled to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 of title 38, United States Code, and who is using such assistance to pursue a program of education at the educational institution, not later than 60 days after the date on which the educational institution certifies to the Secretary the applicable tuition and fees for the individual.

  2. SEMIANNUAL REPORTS-Not later than May 1 and October 1 of each year, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives a semiannual report summarizing any cases in which the Secretary failed to make a payment described in paragraph (1) within the period set forth in such paragraph and an explanation for each delayed disbursement of payment.

  3. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION-In a case in which an individual is unable to meet a financial obligation to an educational institution due to the delayed disbursement of a payment to be provided by the Secretary under chapter 31 or 33 of such title and the amount of such disbursement is less than anticipated, nothing in section 3679(e) of such title, as added by subsection (a), shall be construed to prohibit an educational institution from requiring additional payment or imposing a fee for the amount that is the difference between the amount of the financial obligation and the amount of the disbursement.