Glossary of Terms

ACT (American College Test) – A national test used for college admissions, course placement, and sometimes as criteria for specific programs.

Academic Calendar – SFCC’s Academic Calendar contains key dates important to every student, including the start and end dates of classes, holidays, exam days, registration dates and more. The Academic Records and Registrar Office maintains this calendar.

Academic Forgiveness – An option designed to help students overcome poor grades previously earned at SFCC in order to meet new career and/or educational goals and/or graduation requirements.

Accreditation – Colleges and universities in the U.S. are evaluated by both regional and national agencies to ensure they meet minimum quality and academic standards.  SFCC is a regionally accredited institution. 

Adding a Course – Process of adding a course to the student class schedule.  If a course is closed, the student should contact their Navigator for further assistance.

Articulation – The process of comparing the content of courses transferred between colleges and universities to determine how one institution will accept and apply course credit from another.

Associate of Arts Degree – A two-year degree designed to transfer, fulfill general education requirements and meet the first half of bachelor’s degree requirements.

Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree – A two-year degree for students completing the requirements of the academic transfer program for future educators.

Associate of Fine Arts Degree – A two-year transfer degree for students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in art, music or theatre.

Associate of Applied Science Degree – A two-year technical career program designed to develop specific skills and knowledge leading to employment.

Associate of Science Degree – A specialized two-year degree for students seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree. The Associate of Science degree is developed through articulation agreements between SFCC and the receiving institution on a program-by-program basis.

Audit Students who audit courses do not receive credit or a grade in the course.  The student is enrolled to review or preview a class, or to take it for personal interest.  Students are not eligible for financial aid for audited courses.

Baccalaureate Degree (Bachelor’s Degree) – A degree awarded after the completion of approximately 120 credit hours or more. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes 4-5 years of full-time enrollment to complete, and degree candidates usually must declare a major about halfway through completion of the degree.

Bridge Academy – The Bridge Academy is a strategy for improving the instruction, course design, and support services for math and English courses. Students complete two paired bridged sections in eight-week parts of term. Students must successfully complete the first eight-week section to move on the second eight-week section. 

Canvas – SFCC’s learning management system, an online teaching tool instructors use to supplement their instruction. Information such as class documents and quizzes may be posted in Canvas, and students can also submit assignments electronically. In addition, students can send email between instructors and classmates.

Catalog – A college publication containing information about each program of study and what classes they require, SFCC course descriptions, prerequisite information for each class, and college policies & regulations. SFCC’s catalog is valid for two academic years.

(CLEP) College Level Examination Program – A standardized test a student could take to satisfy and earn credit for a college class without actually taking that class.

Continuing Student – Any student who has attended SFCC within the last year is considered a continuing student.

CORE 42 – A framework for general education (Communications, Humanities & Fine Arts, Mathematical Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Social & Behavioral Sciences) that all Missouri public two-and four-year institutions of higher education adopted to facilitate the seamless transfer of academic credits.

Course Corequisite – A course with a ‘corequisite’ requirement means there is an additional class that must be taken simultaneously

Course Description – A short description of course content, including course prerequisites and corequisites. Each course description includes the course subject, a corresponding three digit number (example, General Psychology is PSY 101) and the number of credit hours assigned to the course.

Course Equivalency Tool – Shows how college-level courses transfer to other institutions.  It usually does not indicate how a course transfers into a specific degree program at a college/university.  

Course Load The number of credit hours students take during a semester.

Course Prerequisite – A requirement which must be successfully met before taking a related course. This might be a certain placement score or a specific grade in a course.

Course Reference Number (CRN) A five-digit number used to identify a specific course section.

Credit Hour – A measure of instruction and workload in a college course.  Tuition and technology fees are charged per credit hour.

Curriculum – A required group of courses that comprise a specific program of study.

Dean’s List – Honors recognition for students who earn semester grade point average of 3.5 to 3.99 in 12 or more SFCC GPA hours.

Degree Works – A degree audit program which provides students course and academic requirements needed to complete their declared certificate and/or degree.  The platform populates students’ completed courses into the audit and highlights remaining requirements. Students can do ‘what if’ scenarios to see how their classes would apply to a different program of study.

Department – A subdivision of a school or college that deals with a specified area(s) of study (i.e. music department).

Developmental Courses – Courses are numbered below 100 and focus on skills that need to be developed to prepare a student to enter college level courses. Students are placed in these courses as a result of placement testing and a grade of C or higher must be earned to advance to the next course in the sequence. Developmental courses cannot be applied to a degree or certificate.

Directory Information – Information SFCC may disclose about students without violating FERPA.

Doctorate Degree – A degree awarded after completing several years of advanced study, research, and practice in a particular field. It usually includes two or three years of full-time study and research beyond what is required for the Master’s Degree.

Dropping a Class – The process of withdrawing from one or more classes after initial enrollment.  Students are encouraged to contact their Navigator and the Financial Aid Office before dropping a class.

Dual Credit – A college class that a high school student can take that may count for both high school credit and college credit.  These classes can be offered at the high school, online, or at any SFCC campus location.

Early College Program – a SFCC program designed to allow a high school student to complete their Associate of Arts degree while enrolled in high school.

Electives – These courses are in addition to the core requirements of a program. Students should choose electives based on a list specified by their program or in specific areas of interest. Electives must have a course number of 100 or higher to count toward graduation. Navigators can assist students in determining whether the course applies in the elective category of their degree and toward the student’s financial aid.

Enrollment – Process of selecting specific classes and course sections to meet the student’s degree/certificate requirements and personal schedule. Once enrolled, students are responsible for all tuition and fees associated with these courses.

Fees – additional costs for a course beyond tuition

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) – Helps protect a student’s educational record.  In the college environment, the student is the custodian of their educational rights.  This law is the reason college employees cannot share information without explicit, written permission from the student. 

Finals – Key examinations scheduled at a specific time during the final week of a given semester or term. Finals usually weigh heavily in course grade determination.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – The application a student completes to determine eligibility for a variety of financial aid programs, including federal programs. This application must be completed each academic year using past tax information online at There is no cost to submit this application.

Freshman – Any SFCC student who has completed fewer than 30 semester credit hours.

Full-time Student – anyone taking 12 credit hours or more during the Fall or Spring semesters, or six or more credit hours during the Summer semester.  To complete a two-year degree in two years, students should enroll in more than 12 credit hours a semester and/or enroll in summer semesters.  Students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine full-time requirements for aid in summer semesters.

General Education – A core component of a degree program that is distributed across the broad Knowledge Areas of Communications, Humanities & Fine Arts, Natural & Mathematical Sciences, and Social & Behavioral Sciences 

Grade Point Average (GPA) – Indicates the overall level of academic achievement in college. It is an important measure used in making decisions about eligibility for graduation, transfer to four-year institutions, and academic standing. The grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total number of credits. A cumulative GPA is a calculation based on all graded coursework recorded on the student record. SFCC utilizes a 4 point (GPA) scale (i.e. A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1.0, F=0.0). The semester GPA is a calculation of all graded coursework taken in a semester.

Graduation Residency Requirement – The number of credits that must be completed at SFCC for graduation (15 hours are required).

Grants – Money provided to qualifying students for school-related expenses that doesn’t have to be paid back.  If a course is not completed, the student may be financially responsible for some or all of the course’s tuition and fees.

Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU) – Colleges and universities with a majority African-American student body, although students of all races attend them. These institutions may be either public or private.

Hold – Holds can be placed on student accounts by various departments on campus. A registration hold is any restriction that prevents registration. Other examples of holds include: financial services, documentation, and fines.

Hybrid Course – Combines online learning (accessible from the Web) and face-to-face instruction. The schedule and structure (which may include online assignments and discussion forums as well as required labs) can significantly vary from one class to another. These are typically determined by the instructor based upon learning goals, course objectives, content, and available resources.

Incomplete – A grade of “I” may be given by an instructor to indicate incomplete work or absence from a scheduled final examination if other work is of passing quality. A grade of “I” may only be assigned under certain conditions.  In all cases where a grade of I is submitted, the faculty member and the student should complete a written agreement which clearly states the remaining obligations to the course and a deadline for submission. Course requirements not completed according to the written agreement will automatically be changed to an “F”.

Learning Management System (LMS) – SFCC’s LMS is Canvas, accessible through mySFCC.

Liberal Arts – Broad-based courses and degree programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social science areas.

Major – The primary field of academic study in which a student chooses to specialize; a series of related courses.  The program of study (major) at the community college should align with the major to be completed at the transfer institution.

Master’s Degree – A degree awarded upon the completion of a prescribed program, typically requires 30-60 credit hours of advanced study in a particular field beyond what is required for a Bachelor’s Degree.

Midterms – Assignments and exams due at the mid-point of the semester for that class.  An indicator of student progress in the course.

Minor – A secondary field of study outside of the major, often requiring substantially less coursework and is completed at the transfer institution (typically 15-20 credit hours).

mySFCC – The college portal provides students a link to resources, services, announcements, academic technology and email.

Open Admissions – The admissions policy of SFCC; we admit all high school graduates and those who have earned an equivalent credential (GED/HiSet, Home School Diploma), regardless of academic qualifications such as high school grades and placement test scores.

Part-time Student – Anyone taking 11 credit hours or less during the Fall and Spring semesters, or five credit hours or less during the Summer semester.  Students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine part-time requirements for aid in summer semesters.

Pass/Fail – Pass/Fail credit is granted for some credit courses. No more than six hours of pass/fail credit may be applied to a degree or certificate. Course numbers below 100 do not apply towards a degree or certificate. This regulation does not apply to some Health Sciences programs that use Pass/Fail for required courses.

Placement Test – SFCC’s way of measuring a student’s current abilities in English, reading and math. Your navigator can help you understand which classes you will be enrolled into based on how you scored.

President’s List – Honors recognition for students who earn a semester grade point average of 4.0 in 12 or more SFCC GPA hours.

Private Colleges/Universities – Institutions of higher education not supported by public taxes. Some may be affiliated with a particular religion, profession, or other organization.

Probation (Academic) – A student is placed on academic probation when his/her grade point average falls below academic progress standards. The student is restricted in the number of credit hours they may enroll in per semester.

Professional Certificate – A short-term (usually one year) program of study which can be earned by itself or the credits can be applied to a degree if the student takes additional courses. A professional certificate includes more credit hours than a skills certificate, supporting the development of additional skills and competencies that lead to employment.

Public Colleges/Universities – Institutions of higher education supported by taxes or other public, state and federal funds.

Red Flags – Information provided to students on the financial aid tab of mySFCC, indicating needed information and/or processes the student must complete to finalize their financial aid.

Registrar – Keeper of official student records including academic transcripts.

Registration – A process by which students formally enroll in classes

SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) – Indicates a student’s successful completion of coursework towards a degree or certificate. According to federal regulations, students are required to make measurable progress towards their program of study. Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress standards will lose their ability to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA).  This policy also applies to federal, state, and need-based institutional aid, and most forms of institutional merit-based or performance-based aid.  A student’s SAP is determined by evaluating the cumulative GPA, completion of attempted credit hours and total number of credit hours attempted towards your program of study.

Scholarships – Financial awards to students, which may be based on merit or merit plus need.  Scholarships do not need to be repaid.

Semester – A college term consisting of 16 weeks of class sessions in the fall or spring. The summer semesters are usually an 8 week session.  There are also shorter parts-of-term within the semester, such as 12 week, first 8 week, and second 8 week terms.

Skills Certificate – A short term (usually one semester) program of study which can be earned by itself or the credits can be applied to a professional certificate and/or Associates of Applied Science degree if the student takes additional courses. Certificates develop specific skills that lead to employment.

Sophomore – Any SFCC student who has completed 30 semester credit hours or more.

Starfish – A student success software platform which connects students to a network of providers and college services. Navigators utilize its case management tools to stay in touch with each student, assisting them with degree planning and progress toward goals.

Student Academic Progress – Minimum academic progress required by a student to remain in good academic standing.

Student Aid Report (SAR) – Information received by the college after a student’s FAFSA has been processed. It reports the information provided on the application and is the criteria used to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Student Orientation – Program designed to help students prepare for success in college.  Orientation includes how to use SFCC technology and resources. 

Suspension (Academic) – A student is placed on academic suspension when his/her cumulative grade point average falls below satisfactory academic progress after three probationary semesters. The student will not be allowed to register for classes for one semester after being placed on suspension.  If the student does not meet academic standing criteria after the one- semester suspension, the student may be suspended for one year.

Syllabus – A detailed course outline often including instructor expectations for student attendance, assignments, and grading.

(TBA) To Be Arranged/Announced – Term used in the Schedule of Classes.  When TBA is found in the instructor column of the schedule, the course had not yet been assigned to a particular instructor when the schedule was released.  All online courses will list meeting days and times as TBA because the course is entirely housed online.

Transcripts – Official record of all coursework. Students may access an unofficial transcript through mySFCC. An official transcript can be requested at

Transfer Student – An individual who completes courses at one institution and then enrolls in another institution transferring some or all of the credits earned at the previous institution.

Trustees’ List – Honors recognition for students who earn a semester grade point average of 3.6 – 4.0 in 6 or more SFCC GPA hours.

Tuition – An amount of money charged to a student for each course credit hour.  SFCC has different tiers of tuition, based on the expense of offering the academic program.

Tuition Residency – The amount of time an individual must have lived within the college taxing district to pay in-district tuition.

Withdraw – a way to “drop” a course after the semester starts.  Course must be dropped by a specific deadline for 100% refund and dropped by a specific date for a “W”.  If a grade of “W” is recorded on the student transcript, there is no effect on grade point average.  However, withdrawing from courses may impact financial aid.    

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