Title
Ashford University Catalog

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Ashford University is committed to fostering an environment that respects and values diversity, self-advocacy and self-determination. This section communicates the meaning and importance of personal and academic integrity to all members of the University community.

Students agree to stay informed and abide by Ashford University policies as they progress through the program.

Institutional Authority and Local, State, and Federal Penalties

When students violate University regulations, they are subject to disciplinary action by the University, whether or not their conduct violates local, state, or federal laws. By committing an act of misconduct, a student or organization may be subject to disciplinary action by the University. Students who act in concert to violate University regulations, or students who advise or incite others to violate University regulations, are also responsible for such violations.

When students violate local, state, or federal law(s), they may incur penalties as determined by local, state, or federal authorities. Institutional actions shall not be used to duplicate functions of general laws, but when the alleged violation of the law also adversely affects the orderly operation of the University, the University may enforce its own regulations regardless of any federal, state, or local legal proceedings or dispositions.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The U.S. Department of Education's Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. FERPA rights begin upon the student’s enrollment, which occurs when the student has been admitted to the University and attends any portion of a course. FERPA protected rights include the following:

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

  • Students should submit written requests to the University 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. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar’s Office, the Registrar’s Office will facilitate the student’s access to the requested records.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

  • Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. They should write to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record they want corrected, and specifying why it should be corrected.
  • If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University Registrar will notify the student in writing 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 when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • If, as a result of the hearing, Ashford University decides that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the student will be afforded the opportunity to place with the education record a statement commenting on the contested information in the record and/or a statement setting forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing. The statement placed in the education record by the student will be maintained with the contested part of the record for as long as the record is maintained. When the related record is disclosed to an authorized party, the record will include the statement filed by the student.

3. The right to provide written consent prior to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. This consent can be revoked by the student at any time, as well as by the University, if deemed necessary to keep the student record protected from fraudulent or excessive access.

  • An exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. 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 responsibilities for the University. A school official may include any of the following:
    • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff);
    • A person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent);
    • A person or organization acting as an official agent of the institution and performing a business function or service on behalf of the institution;
    • A person serving on the Board of Trustees; or
    • A student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her professional responsibilities.
  • Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. The University will make a reasonable attempt to notify each student of these disclosures, except when such disclosure is initiated by the student.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions for the aid.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to parents in the following circumstances:
    • When a student is a dependent student as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
    • When the student has violated any federal, state, or local law, or any rule or policy of Ashford University, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if Ashford University determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession, and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent; or
    • The disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to appropriate parties and officials when the information is deemed necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals in an emergency.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • Directory information can be published and/or disclosed to outside organizations without a student’s prior written consent. “Directory information” means information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. If the student does not want Ashford University to disclose directory information from his or her education records without prior written consent, the student must notify the University Registrar in writing. A request for nondisclosure of directory information is valid unless or until the student requests a change in writing. Ashford University has designated the following information as directory information:
    • Student’s name
    • Participation in officially recognized activities
    • Address
    • Telephone listing
    • Electronic mail address
    • Photograph
    • Degrees, honors, and awards received
    • Date and place of birth
    • Major field of study
    • Dates of attendance
    • Grade level
    • The most recent educational agency or institution attended
    • Enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time)
    • Class rosters within the classroom
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities, such as a state postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the University’s state-supported education programs.
    • Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal- or state-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent upon the documented death of a student or former student. FERPA rights end when the University receives a certified death certificate.
  • The outcome of a conduct hearing is part of the education record of any student personally identified, and is protected from release under FERPA. However, Ashford University observes the following legal exceptions:
    • Complainants and accused in sexual misconduct and sexual harassment incidents have a right to be informed of the outcome and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation, and to be kept apprised of the status of investigations;
    • The University may release the final results of a disciplinary proceeding in which a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence* or non-forcible sex offense, is found in violation of the University’s Student Community Standards. The University may not disclose the name of any other student, including the victim or witness, without the prior written consent of the other student. The University will also release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome;
    • In the event that the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the notification will be made to next of kin (upon written request).

*A crime of violence includes arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide (manslaughter by negligence, murder, and non-negligent manslaughter), forcible sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction.

The University may also disclose education records without consent under other exceptions authorized by FERPA.

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

            Family Policy Compliance Office
            US Department of Education
            400 Maryland Avenue, SW
            Washington, DC 20202-5920

Personally Identifiable Information

The U.S. Department of Education’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations expanded the circumstances under which a student’s education records and personally identifiable information contained in such records (including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information) may be accessed without prior consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (Federal and State Authorities) may allow access to student records and personally identifiable information without prior consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any education program, which is defined as any program “that is principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, career and technical education, adult education, and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. See 34 CFR § 99.3. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to a student’s education records and personally identifiable information without prior consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, even when the University objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive any personally identifiable information, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without prior consent personally identifiable information from a student’s education records, and they may track a student’s participation in education and other programs by linking such personally identifiable information to other personal information about a student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

The University maintains student records in compliance with FERPA and applicable state regulations. Students who would like more information on these policies may contact the Registrar’s Office.

Confidentiality and the Clery Act

The University will protect a Clery crime victim’s confidentiality, even if the victim does not specifically request confidentiality, where possible and in the following ways:

The victim’s personally identifying information will not be included in any publicly available record, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures such as the annual security report and the daily crime log. Personally identifying information is defined in Section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 as individually identifying information for or about an individual, including information likely to disclose the location of a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, regardless of whether the information is encoded, encrypted, hashed or otherwise protected, including a first and last name; a home or other physical address; contact information (including a postal, e-mail or Internet protocol address, or telephone or facsimile number); a social security number, driver’s license number, passport number or student identification number; and any other information, including date of birth, racial or ethnic background, or religious affiliation that would serve to identify any individual.

The Clery Act statistics that are included in the Annual Security Report will not include any personally identifiable information about the individuals involved in the crime reflected in the statistics.

In some cases, the University may need to disclose some information about a victim to a third party to provide necessary accommodations or protective measures. The University will inform victims before sharing personally identifying information that the institution believes is necessary to provide an accommodation or protective measure and will tell the victim what information will be shared, with whom it will be shared and why. University Title IX Coordinators and professional staff of the Office of Student Access and Wellness, through professional consultation and drawing upon specialized training and expertise, will determine what information about a victim should be disclosed, to whom this information will be disclosed, and will use only official University systems to transmit the information necessary to provide the accommodation or protective measure.

Assessing Student Success

Ashford University has developed and maintains systems and instruments to assess student learning outcomes. Data gathered via these instruments are used to track and monitor the progression of students. By tracking and monitoring student progression, the evaluation of standards, practices, and resource decisions can be made. This data also provides the University with meaningful input that is used to review and improve institutional processes.

Electronic Communication

Email is considered an official form of University-related communication. It is recommended that students check their email daily in order to stay current with University-related communications. Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time-critical. Students interested in opting out of email communication should review the following section, Student Consent to the Electronic Delivery of Official University Communications and Records. Failure to check for messages and failure to receive messages due to full mailboxes, spam filtering, or auto-forwarded email are not acceptable excuses for missing official University communications. Students must maintain and provide the University with an email address other than their Ashford University-issued email address. In addition, students may choose to use their Ashford University-issued email address as their primary mechanism for University communications.

Student Consent to the Electronic Delivery of Official University Communications and Records

The ESIGN Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 7001 et seq., requires Ashford University to provide students with certain information about how electronic records are provided, and to obtain student consent to provide certain records in electronic form. In order to enroll, apply for, or receive information about financial aid, obtain or authorize release of information from student records, and conduct other business with Ashford University, online students must indicate consent to sign agreements electronically, and receive records from the University in electronic form. A student’s consent to the electronic delivery of official University communications and records is collected in the online application.

Students may withdraw consent to electronic delivery, retention, and execution of records by sending a fax to (866) 512-7601 or a letter to the Office of the Registrar located at 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, Suite 100, San Diego, CA, 92123, including the statement “I withdraw my consent to electronic delivery, retention, and execution of records.” Any withdrawal of consent shall have prospective effect only, and shall not affect the legal effectiveness, validity or enforceability of consents, agreements, notices, disclosures, or other records provided or made available prior to the withdrawal of consent. If such consent is withdrawn, students may be administratively withdrawn from the University.

Monitoring of Email Communications: The University does not intend to monitor individual electronic mail as a routine matter, but may do so at any time as the University deems necessary for purposes of maintaining the integrity and effective operation of the student email system. No facility exists on this system for the sending or receiving of private communications.

The University reserves the right to inspect and disclose the contents of email as follows: in the course of an investigation triggered by indications of misconduct or misuse; as needed to protect the health and safety of students and staff; as needed to prevent interference with the academic mission; or as needed for technical troubleshooting or spam/content filtering.

Contact Information

All students should regularly review and update their contact information to ensure the University has a valid mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Ashford University maintains this information as part of the student record and requires students to update their contact information regardless of whether they have requested nondisclosure of directory information.

Personal Email for Ashford University Students

The University issues an email account to all students and they are responsible for any and all activity and communication that takes place using the account.

Technology Policies

Misconduct Online

Students are cautioned that behavior conducted online, such as harassment delivered by email, can subject them to University conduct action, if there is a University impact from the cyber-conduct. Students must also be aware that blogs, web pages, social media websites, and similar online communications are in the public sphere, and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations, if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The University does not regularly go hunting for this information, but will take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials. All references to “student” in the Technology Policies section of this Catalog refer to current students and alumni.

The following uses of University electronic mail are prohibited.

  • Personal use that creates a direct cost for the University;
  • Use for personal monetary gain or for commercial purposes that are not directly related to University business;
  • Sending copies of documents in violation of copyright laws;
  • Inclusion of the work of others into electronic mail communications in violation of copyright laws;
  • Use of electronic mail to substantially disrupt the ability of others to conduct University business;
  • Use of electronic mail systems for any purpose restricted or prohibited by laws or regulations;
  • “Spoofing,” (i.e., constructing an electronic mail communication so it appears to be from someone else);
  • “Snooping,” (i.e., obtaining access to the files or electronic mail of others for the purpose of satisfying idle curiosity, with no substantial University business purpose); or,
  • Attempting unauthorized access to electronic mail or attempting to violate any security measures on any electronic mail system, or attempting to intercept any electronic mail transmissions without proper authorization.

Online Communication: Written communication in an online community is an important factor in online educational programs. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial to the success of all online learning programs. Professional language relevant to the course content should be used in the online discussion postings. Students are expected to follow the rules of Netiquette, as posted in their online courses. The following are examples of behaviors that could substantially disrupt the online learning environment and will not be tolerated:

Discrimination: Derogatory statements that are based upon an individual’s actual or perceived sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, age, physical disability, mental disability, genetic information, medical condition (including certain cancer-related conditions and genetic characteristics), gender identity, veteran status, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, or any other consideration protected by law that is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program.

Solicitation: It is against policy and inappropriate for students to use the communication channels within the online learning platform to solicit other users for personal or professional reasons. Students may not send emails to classmates or post messages that attempt to sell products, promote business, or solicit employees.

Misuse of Technology Resources: University technology resources are to be used to advance the University’s mission of education, scholarship, and service. Students may use these resources for purposes related to their studies or research or other University-sanctioned activities. These resources include, but are not limited to, hardware (including telephones, computers, and traditional media equipment) either owned or leased by the University, software, and consulting time (and expertise) of the University technology support staff. The use of technology resources provided by the University for commercial or other purposes not directly related to study, research, or University-sanctioned activities should be considered as secondary activities (i.e., personal or otherwise). Should such secondary activity in any way interfere with primary activities, the secondary activity must be terminated immediately.

Many of the University’s technology resources are shared among the entire University community. The use of these resources will not violate law or the rights of others. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Activities that violate copyright or other intellectual property rights of others, including but not limited to, the infringing use of peer-to-peer file sharing services;
  • Sending copies of documents in violation of copyright laws via email or any other electronic transmission;
  • Inclusion of the work of others into email communications or any other electronic transmission in violation of copyright laws;
  • Activities that obstruct usage or deny access to technology resources;
  • Activities that could be considered as discriminatory harassment, libel or obscenity;
  • Activities that substantially disrupt University activities;
  • Activities that violate University policies, local, state, or federal laws;
  • Unauthorized use of computer accounts;
  • Impersonating other individuals;
  • Attempts to exploit or explore security provisions, either at the University or elsewhere;
  • Activities that invade the right to privacy of others;
  • Destruction or alteration of data belonging to others;
  • Creating, using or distributing computer viruses;
  • Allowing other individuals to use your account or password, including for the purpose of meeting attendance requirements in an online class;
  • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications or of computer accounts; and
  • Inappropriate/widespread email distribution.

Consequences for Misuse of Technology Policies

If it is determined that a student is found responsible for misuse of the Technology Policies, the issue may be referred to Student Affairs for review and sanctioning, up to and including removal from the University.

Online Netiquette 

Effective written communication is an important factor in all online educational programs. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial to the success of all learners. Ashford University community members are expected to adhere to the following components of online etiquette (Netiquette).

Be Considerate: Students should treat each other with respect and should take time to read and respond to each other in such a way that a learning environment can continue to develop. Students should format postings so that everyone can learn from an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities.

Be Encouraging: Not everyone has had previous online experience. Some students may spend more time observing (reading other students’ postings, remaining invisible for some time) than others. Notice the habits of other students and classmates and provide encouragement for creative and critical conversation.

Be Helpful: Even a well-presented course can create some confusion. It is very easy to lose a place or miss reading information on certain links or pages. When other students are lost, offer a helping hand by pointing them in the right online direction so they can regain their confidence in online learning.

Be Aware: Be aware that the written word is the only form of communication in an asynchronous learning environment. Use words carefully – if a comment could be interpreted as insulting, disrespectful, discriminating, mocking, or rude, students should choose other wording.

The following behaviors should be avoided:

Shouting: Using all capital letters when communicating in an online environment is known as shouting. This usage is considered a rude method of communicating. Avoid using all capital letters in online communications.

Impatience: Once a student has posted a question or concern to their instructor, students should wait patiently for a reply.

Name Changes

Official Name Change

If Ashford University becomes aware that a student’s name recorded in the University system does not match their official name as reflected by the United States Social Security Administration, the Registrar’s Office will change the name in all systems to reflect the student’s legal name.

To update the University record as a result of a legal name change, the student must complete the Ashford University Name Change form and provide copies of a Social Security card reflecting the new name, along with supplemental documentation, as outlined on the Name Change form.

Preferred Name Change

Ashford University recognizes that there are scenarios where a student may wish to utilize a non-legal name. The University will attempt to respect the student’s request to use a preferred name with the understanding that issues may arise with respect to financial aid processing, identity management authentication, and receipt and application of transcripts from other institutions. Students wishing to make a request to utilize a preferred name in University records should contact the Registrar’s Office.

Ashford University Notice of Nondiscrimination

Ashford University does not discriminate in its education programs and activities on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, medical condition, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. Please report any non-Title IX incidents to the Student Dispute Resolution Center: https://www.ashford.edu/online-learning-experience/student-support/student-dispute-resolution-center, 866.974.5700, ext. 20091, fax 877.817.6732 or email [email protected] 

For Title IX related incidents, see below on how to report.

Ashford University Notice of Title IX Nondiscrimination

Ashford University does not discriminate on the basis of sex/gender in its education program or activity, and the University is required by title IX and PART 106 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations not to discriminate in such a manner. This requirement not to discriminate in the education program or activity extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of title IX and PART 106 to Ashford University may be made to the Title IX Coordinator, to the Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Education, or both. The University’s grievance procedures and grievance process, including how to report or file a complaint of sex/gender discrimination, misconduct, or harassment, and how the University will respond, can be found below.

Contact Information

Any person may report sex/gender discrimination, including sex/gender harassment and misconduct, or related retaliation (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of such conduct), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person's verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

Leah Belsley:
Title IX Coordinator
P / 866.974.5700 X/ 20705
E / [email protected]
M / 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd., San Diego, CA 92123

Christina Jaquez:
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
P / 866.974.5700 X/ 20793
E / [email protected]
M / 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd., San Diego, CA 92123

Title IX Notice, Education and Training

The University notifies applicants for admission and employment, students, and employees of this policy through the Ashford University Academic Catalog, which is provided to the University community online through the University website, the Student Portal, and other appropriate channels of communication.

Annually, Ashford University new and current students and employees will be provided with primary prevention training and educational materials to promote familiarity with the University’s policy on sex/gender discrimination, misconduct and harassment and specifically address issues of risk reduction and bystander intervention. This material will be provided via an online training program that prepares the community to recognize, respond to, and prevent, especially but not exclusively, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault.

Ashford University prohibits the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault as those terms are defined for purposes of the Clery Act (see Definitions).

Additionally, student educational efforts and employee training provide ongoing awareness and prevention campaigns that identify safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or to intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than such bystander. Information is also provided on risk reduction so that students, faculty, and staff may recognize warning signs.

Educational efforts designed to promote equality and enhance awareness about sexual assault prevention include:

Promoting Awareness and Wellness (PAWs)
This monthly initiative is an awareness program that highlights diversity and wellness related topics that reflect the values of the University, and actively promotes equality.

Ashford Hub
The Ashford hub is a monthly electronic magazine that promotes student wellbeing across the spectrum of individual health and wellbeing topics. Monthly publications provide an ongoing prevention and awareness campaign that promote student wellbeing and specifically addresses topics of gender equity and sexual health and wellbeing. Specific topics covered annually include publications promoting bystander intervention, sexual assault prevention, consent, and educational support for survivors of sexual assault.

Ashford Community Safety Page
The Community Safety Page of the Ashford University website provides site visitors with information related to sexual assault prevention, including information on seeking support, understanding sexual violence, contact information, and emergency assistance resources.

Confidential Campus Student Resources
If a student desires that details of the incident be kept confidential, he or she should speak with support resources maintained by the University. Online students should contact the Office of Student Access and Wellness Student Advocate HELPline at (866) 974-5700 ext. 24357 in order to access support services. For additional student resources, please refer to the Counseling, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Programs section in the Student Rights and Responsibilities, section of this Catalog.

Record Keeping

Ashford University will maintain the records described below for a period of seven (7) years. The Title IX Coordinator, Student Dispute Resolution Center, and Human Resources when applicable, are responsible for maintaining these records.

  1. Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript required under federal regulation;
  2. Any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent;
  3. Any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity;
  4. Any appeal and the result therefrom;
  5. Any Informal Resolution and the result therefrom;
  6. All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, Hearing Officers, and any person who facilitates an Informal Resolution process. The University will make these training materials publicly available on the University’s website;
  7. Any actions, including any protective/supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, including:
    • The basis for all conclusions that the response was not deliberately indifferent;
    • Any measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity; and
    • If no protective/supportive measures were provided to the Complainant, documentation of the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

Definitions

DEFINITIONS - Procedural

Formal complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the recipient investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the recipient with which the formal complaint is filed. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information required to be listed for the Title IX Coordinator under § 106.8(a), and by any additional method designated by the recipient. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the recipient) that contains the complainant's physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party under this part or under § 106.45, and must comply with the requirements of this part, including § 106.45(b)(1)(iii).

Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

DEFINITIONS - Offenses

Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient's education program or activity; or
  3. “Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30). See below.

Additional Federal definitions (for California definitions, including that of Consent, see end of this policy/procedure):

Sexual Assault

The term ‘‘sexual assault’’ means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Related Definitions:

  • Sex Offense: Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. A. Fondling—The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity. B. Incest—Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law. C. Statutory Rape—Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

Dating Violence

The term ‘‘dating violence’’ means violence committed by a person— A. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and B. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: i. The length of the relationship. ii. The type of relationship. iii. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence

The term ‘‘domestic violence’’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Stalking

The term ‘‘stalking’’ means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to— A. fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or B. suffer substantial emotional distress.

General Response to Sex/gender Discrimination, Misconduct and Harassment

When the University has actual knowledge of sex/gender discrimination, misconduct or harassment in the University’s education program or activity, the University will respond promptly, equitably, and reasonably. The University will treat complainants and respondents equitably by offering protective/supportive measures, and by following its grievance process before the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not protective/supportive measures against a respondent. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of protective/supportive measures, consider the complainant's wishes with respect to protective/supportive measures, inform the complainant of the availability of protective/supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint.

University personnel will first inform students and employees in writing of:

  • The importance of the preservation of any evidence that may assist in proving that the alleged criminal offense occurred or may be helpful in obtaining a protective order, and where and how to get a forensic examination;
  • That a forensic examination does not require a police report to be filed;
  • How and to whom the alleged offense should be reported;
  • Options regarding the assistance of local law enforcement and University officials;
  • The option to decline assistance, or decline notifying local law enforcement;
  • The option to be assisted by University officials in notifying law enforcement: Ashford University will comply with a student’s request for assistance in notifying authorities; and
  • Any protective/supportive measures that will be taken and options for protective orders; and • Resources including counseling, health, mental health, and other services.

The Title IX Coordinator will next engage in an initial assessment, which is typically one to five business days in duration. The steps in an initial assessment include:

The Title IX Coordinator seeks to determine if the complainant is alleging facts, which if taken as true, constitute sex/gender harassment, and occurred in the recipient's education program or activity and against a person in the United States.

  • If so, the Coordinator determines if the complainant wishes to make a formal complaint, and assists them if desired.
    • If they do not wish to do so, the Title IX Coordinator determines whether to initiate a complaint under the circumstances allowed the Coordinator by law.
    • If an informal resolution option is preferred, the Title IX Coordinator assesses whether the complaint is suitable for informal resolution, and may seek to determine if the Respondent is also willing to engage in informal resolution.
  • If a formal or informal complaint is not applicable (there are no assumed facts alleging sex/gender harassment) AND desired (the Complainant does not desire a formal or informal procedure although alleged facts do constitute sex/gender harassment), the Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant on a supportive and remedial response.

Protective/Supportive Measures

The University will reach out to discuss protective/supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged sex/gender based misconduct, harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

Protective/supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University's education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.

The University will maintain as confidential any protective/supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the protective/supportive measures.

Protective/supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, leaves of absence, and other similar measures.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality and Title IX

Ashford University will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex/gender discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sex/gender harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex/gender discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by the FERPA statute, FERPA regulations, as required by law, or to carry out the purposes of this IX policy and procedure, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising under it.

Confidentiality and the Clery Act (applies to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking)

The University will protect a Clery crime victim’s confidentiality, even if the victim does not specifically request confidentiality, where possible and in the following ways:

The victim’s personally identifying information will not be included in any publicly available record, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures such as the annual security report and the daily crime log. Personally identifying information is defined in Section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 as individually identifying information for or about an individual, including information likely to disclose the location of a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, regardless of whether the information is encoded, encrypted, hashed or otherwise protected, including a first and last name; a home or other physical address; contact information (including a postal, e-mail or Internet protocol address, or telephone or facsimile number); a social security number, driver’s license number, passport number or student identification number; and any other information, including date of birth, racial or ethnic background, or religious affiliation that would serve to identify any individual.

In some cases, the University may need to disclose some information about a victim to a third party to provide necessary accommodations or protective measures. The University will inform victims before sharing personally identifying information that the institution believes is necessary to provide an accommodation or protective measure and will tell the victim what information will be shared, with whom it will be shared and why. University Title IX Coordinators and professional staff of the Office of Student Access and Wellness, through professional consultation and drawing upon specialized training and expertise, will determine what information about a victim should be disclosed, to whom this information will be disclosed, and will use only official University systems to transmit the information necessary to provide the accommodation or protective measure.

Response and Process for Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment

The University’s grievance process treats complainants and respondents equitably by providing remedies to a complainant where a determination of responsibility for sexual harassment has been made against the respondent, and by following a grievance process before the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not protective/supportive measures against a respondent. Remedies will be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University's education program or activity. Such remedies may include the same individualized services as protective/supportive measures; however, remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the respondent.

The University will ensure that Title IX Coordinator(s), investigators, hearing officier(s), hearing chair and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, receive training on the definition of sexual harassment, the scope of the recipient’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. The University’s process requires an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence—including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence—and provides that credibility determinations may not be based on a person's status as a complainant, respondent, or witness. Materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, hearing officer(s), hearing chair, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process are available at https://www.ashford.edu/online-learning-experience/student-support/community-safety.

The process begins with a presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.

Remedies/Sanctions

Factors considered when determining a remedy/sanction may include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation(s)
  • The Respondent’s disciplinary history
  • Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
  • The need for remedies/sanctions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
  • The need for remedies/sanctions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
  • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation on the Complainant and the community
  • The impact on the parties
  • Any other information deemed relevant by the Hearing Officers/Decision-maker(s)

The remedies/sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible, either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.

The remedies/sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by external authorities. The following are examples of student sanctions that may be imposed upon students singly or in combination (for examples of remedies, see protective/supportive measures):

  • Warning: A formal statement that the conduct was unacceptable and a warning that further violation of any University policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions.
  • Required Counseling: A mandate to meet with and engage in either University or external counseling to better comprehend the misconduct and its effects.
  • Probation: A written reprimand for violation of institutional policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student is found in violation of any additional institutional policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include no-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
  • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed one year and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at the University.
  • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status. This sanction will be noted permanently as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official transcript.
  • Withholding Diploma: The University may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities.
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

The following are the employee sanctions that may be imposed singly or in combination:

  • Warning – Verbal or Written
  • Performance Improvement/Management Process
  • Required Counseling/ Employee Assistance Program
  • Required Training or Education
  • Probation
  • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
  • Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
  • Demotion
  • Suspension with pay
  • Suspension without pay
  • Termination
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

The standard of evidence to be used to determine responsibility is the preponderance of the evidence standard. The process will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.

Notice of Allegations

Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the University will simultaneously provide the following written notice to the parties who are known.

  • Notice of the recipient's grievance process, including any informal resolution process;
  • Notice of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment, including sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview. Sufficient details include the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. The written notice will include a statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The written notice will inform the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and may inspect and review evidence. The written notice will inform the parties of the provision in the University's code of conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process; and
  • If, in the course of an investigation, the University decides to investigate allegations about the complainant or respondent that are not included in the first notice provided, the University will provide simultaneous and written notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.

Dismissal of a formal complaint

The University will investigate the allegations in a formal complaint. If the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment, did not occur in the University's education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then the University will dismiss the formal complaint with regard to that conduct for purposes of sexual harassment under title IX. However, such a dismissal does not preclude action under another provision of the University code of conduct. The University may dismiss the formal complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing:

  • A complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein;
  • The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University; or
  • Specific circumstances prevent the recipient from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations.

Upon a dismissal required or permitted above, the University will promptly and simultaneously send written notice of the dismissal, and the reason(s) for the dismissal, to the parties.

Consolidation of formal complaints

The University may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where the process involves more than one complainant or more than one respondent, references in this procedure to the singular “party,” “complainant,” or “respondent” include the plural, as applicable.

Investigation of a formal complaint

Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the written formal complaint to the investigators within the Student Dispute Resolution Center (SDRC), and, if applicable, Human Resources staff, to mutually investigate the complaint. Only trained investigators will analyze and document the available evidence to support reliable decisions, objectively evaluate the credibility of parties and witnesses, synthesize all available evidence – including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence – and take into account the unique and complex circumstances of each case. The investigation results in a written report summarizing the relevant exculpatory and inculpatory evidence. The investigator(s) will present the written investigative report to the involved parties, advisors and hearing officers(s) within forty-five (45) business days of the receipt of the complaint. There may be extensions of this or any timeframe within this procedure for good cause with simultaneous, written notice to the parties of the delay and the reason(s) for the delay.

When investigating a formal complaint and throughout this grievance process, the University:

  • Will ensure that the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on the University and not on the parties.
  • Cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party's records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional's or paraprofessional's capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the University obtains that party's voluntary, written consent to do so for this grievance process.
  • Will provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.
  • Will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence.
  • Will provide the parties with the same opportunities to have others present during any grievance proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and not limit the choice or presence of advisor for either the complainant or respondent in any meeting or grievance proceeding; however, the University may establish restrictions regarding the extent to which the advisor may participate in the proceedings, as long as the restrictions apply equally to both parties.
  • Will provide, to a party whose participation is invited or expected, written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
  • Will provide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a formal complaint, including the evidence upon which the recipient does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation. Prior to completion of the investigative report, the University will send to each party and the party's advisor, if any, the evidence subject to inspection and review in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties will have 10 calendar days to submit a written response, which the investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report.
  • Will make all such evidence subject to the parties' inspection and review available at any hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.
  • Will create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence and, at least 10 calendar days prior to a hearing or other time of determination regarding responsibility, send to each party and the party's advisor, if any, the investigative report in an electronic format or a hard copy, for their review and written response.

After the University has sent the investigative report to the parties, simultaneously and in writing, and before reaching a determination regarding responsibility in a hearing, the hearing officer(s) must afford each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants asked of any party or witness. Questions and evidence about the complainant's sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant's prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant's prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent. The hearing officer(s) must explain to the party proposing the questions any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.

Hearing

The University provides for a live hearing for formal complaints that are not dismissed pursuant to this policy and procedure.

  • At the live hearing, the hearing officer(s) will permit each party's advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Such cross-examination at the live hearing will be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party's advisor of choice and never by a party personally, notwithstanding the discretion of the University to otherwise restrict the extent to which advisors may participate in the proceedings.
  • The University will provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the hearing officer decision-maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party or the witness answering questions.
  • Only relevant cross-examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the hearing officer(s) must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
  • If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, the University will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the University’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.
  • Questions and evidence about the complainant's sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant's prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant's prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent.
  • If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the hearing officer(s) must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility; provided, however, that the hearing officer(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party's or witness's absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
  • Live hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at the University's discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.
  • The University will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript, of any live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.

Determination Regarding Responsibility

The hearing officer chair, who will not be the same person(s) as the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator(s), will issue a written determination regarding responsibility. To reach this determination, the University will apply the preponderance of the evidence standard. The written determination will include:

  • Identification of the actions constituting sexual harassment;
  • A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
  • Findings of fact supporting the determination;
  • Conclusions regarding the application of the University's code of conduct to the facts;
  • A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the University imposes on the respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University's education program or activity will be provided by the University to the complainant; and
  • The University's procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent to appeal.

The University will provide the written determination to the parties simultaneously within five (5) business days of the hearing completion. The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that the University provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies for complainant, but no sanctions are imposed on the respondent until appeals are exhausted or untimely.

Appeals

The University will offer both parties an appeal from a determination regarding responsibility, and from any dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein, on the following alleged bases. Any appeal will be conducted by the Vice President of Student Affairs & University Registrar or designee.

  • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
  • The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

As to all appeals, the University will:

  • Notify the other party, simultaneously and in writing, when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties;
  • Ensure that the decision-maker(s) for the appeal is not the same person as the decision-maker(s) that reached the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, the investigator(s), or the Title IX Coordinator;
  • Ensure that the decision-maker(s) for the appeal complies with the standards set forth in this policy and procedure;
  • Give both parties a reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome;
  • Issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result; and
  • Provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties.

If the complainant and/or respondant do not indicate his/her acceptance or Appeal of the findings within five (5) business days of communication, non-communication will be considered acceptance.

If the appeal is denied, the Title IX Coordinator will proceed accordingly with any sanctions determined by the hearing chair.

If the appeal is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will begin an adjusted investigation/hearing process and all involved will proceed without prejudice.

Informal Resolution

Informal Resolution may commence when the parties agree to resolve a matter qualified for formal process, through an informal resolution mechanism such as restorative justice when available. The University will obtain voluntary, written confirmation that all parties wish to resolve the matter through Informal Resolution before proceeding and will not pressure the parties to participate in Informal Resolution. The University does not offer or facilitate an informal resolution process to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

To initiate Informal Resolution, a Complainant needs to submit a formal complaint, as defined above. If a Respondent wishes to initiate Informal Resolution, they should contact the Title IX Coordinator to so indicate. Any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and begin or resume the Formal Grievance Process.

Prior to implementing Informal Resolution, the University will simultaneously provide the parties with written notice of the reported misconduct and any sanctions or measures that may result from participating in such a process, including information regarding any records that will be maintained or shared by the University.

The ultimate determination of whether Informal Resolution is available or successful is to be made by the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator maintains records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the resolution agreement may result in appropriate responsive/disciplinary actions. Results of complaints resolved by Informal Resolution are not appealable.

The University will not require as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment.

The University will not require the parties to participate in an informal resolution process under this section and may not offer an informal resolution process unless a formal complaint is filed.

Emergency Removal

Nothing precludes the University from removing a respondent from the recipient’s education program or activity on an emergency basis, provided that the University undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis (when feasible, through its Behavioral Intervention Team). Removal may occur if the University determines that there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment that justifies removal. The University will provide the respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.

Violence Risk Assessment

In many cases, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that a Violence Risk Assessment (VRA) should be conducted by the Behavioral Intervention Team as part of the initial assessment. A VRA can aid in ten critical and/or required determinations, including:

  • Emergency removal of a Respondent on the basis of immediate threat to physical health/safety;
  • Whether the Title IX Coordinator should pursue/sign a formal complaint absent a willing/able Complainant;
  • Whether to put the investigation on the footing of incident and/or pattern and/or climate created by behavior;
  • To help identify potential predatory conduct;
  • To help assess/identify grooming behaviors;
  • Whether it is reasonable to try to resolve a complaint through informal resolution, and what modality may be most successful;
  • Whether a Clery Act Timely Warning is needed.

A VRA is not an evaluation for an involuntary behavioral health hospitalization (e.g., 5150 in California), nor is it a psychological or mental health assessment. A VRA assesses the risk of actionable violence, often with a focus on targeted/predatory escalations.

Administrative leave

Nothing precludes the University from placing a non-student employee respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of a grievance process.

California offense definitions

Sexual Assault as defined in the California Penal Code is rape or sexual battery:

Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator, under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Where a person is incapable, because of a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, of giving legal consent, and this is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act.
  2. Where it is accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.
  3. Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or anesthetic substance, or any controlled substance, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused.
  4. Where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the victim meets any one of the following conditions:
    (A) Was unconscious or asleep.
    (B) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.
    (C) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator’s fraud in fact.
    (D) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator’s fraudulent representation that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.
  5. Where a person submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim other than the accused, and this belief is induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused, with intent to induce the belief.
  6. Where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person, and there is a reasonable possibility that the perpetrator will execute the threat. As used in this paragraph, “threatening to retaliate” means a threat to kidnap or falsely imprison, or to inflict extreme pain, serious bodily injury, or death.
  7. Where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to use the authority of a public official to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another, and the victim has a reasonable belief that the perpetrator is a public official. As used in this paragraph, “public official” means a person employed by a governmental agency who has the authority, as part of that position, to incarcerate, arrest, or deport another. The perpetrator does not actually have to be a public official.

Sexual battery is when any person touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

Consent means positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved. A current or previous dating or marital relationship shall not be sufficient to constitute consent where consent is at issue.

Dating Violence is when a battery is committed against a spouse, a person with whom the defendant is cohabiting, a person who is the parent of the defendant’s child, former spouse, fiancé, or fiancée, or a person with whom the defendant currently has, or has previously had, a dating or engagement relationship.

Domestic Violence is when any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a victim, where the victim is or was one or more of the following:

(1) The offender’s spouse or former spouse.
(2) The offender’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.
(3) The offender’s fiancé or fiancée, or someone with whom the offender has, or previously had, an engagement or dating relationship.
(4) The mother or father of the offender’s child.

Stalking is when any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family.

Pregnancy and Parenting Accommodations

Ashford University is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals enjoy freedom from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Sex discrimination, which can include discrimination based on pregnancy, marital status, or parental status, is prohibited and illegal in admissions, educational programs and activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage. The University has established a policy and procedures for ensuring the protection and equal treatment of pregnant persons, individuals with pregnancy-related conditions, and new parents.

While the online learning environment mitigates many impacts that pregnant or parenting students may experience, reasonable accommodations are available. This policy applies to all aspects of the University program, including admissions, educational programs and activities.

Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, conditions arising in connection with pregnancy, and recovery from any of these conditions, in accordance with federal law.

Pregnant student/Birth-parent refers to the student who is or was pregnant. This policy and its pregnancy-related protections apply to all pregnant persons regardless of gender identity or expression.

Ashford University and its faculty, staff, and other employees shall not require a student to limit their studies due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. The benefits and services provided to students affected by pregnancy shall be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions. Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any other student with a disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodation so they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research, and may seek assistance from the Office of Student Access and Wellness.

Accessibility Support Services: Office of Student Access and Wellness

The University is committed to providing an equal opportunity to access a full educational experience. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, Ashford University prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability. Reasonable accommodations will be granted to students who present appropriate documentation of disability and are otherwise qualified to participate in their specific program of study. The Office of Student Access and Wellness promotes student success and access to education through health and wellness, and disability related advocacy, training and awareness.

Complaints regarding allegations of disability discrimination shall be filed in accordance with the Dispute Resolution Procedures for Student Complaints section referenced in this Catalog.

Effective Communication for Persons with Disabilities

Ashford University will provide information to interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence of support services and accommodations to ensure accessible programs, services, and activities of the University. The University will ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services. The University will furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.

Disability Documentation

Ashford University will provide reasonable accommodation to students with documented disabilities in order to ensure the accessibility of programs, services, and activities of the University. The University requirements for documentation are based upon the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Best Practices: Disability Documentation in Higher Education.

The process for determining accommodations is a collaborative one that may or may not require third-party documentation. The University reserves the right to request a reasonable level of documentation. One or more of the following documentation categories will be considered in the evaluation of student accommodation requests:

  1. Primary Documentation: Student’s Self-Report. 
    Ashford University believes the student is a vital source of information regarding how he or she may be “limited by impairment.*” A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations is an important tool which, when structured by interview or questionnaire and interpreted by professional staff, may be sufficient for establishing disability and a need for accommodation.
  2. Secondary Documentation: Observation and Interaction.
    The impressions and conclusions formed by Ashford University disability professionals during interviews and conversations with students or in evaluating the effectiveness of previously implemented or provisional accommodations are important forms of documentation. The University employs qualified and experienced disability professionals who will observe students’ language, performance, and strategies as an appropriate tool in validating student narrative and self-report.
  3. Tertiary Documentation: Information from External or Third Parties.
    Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary Of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations.** External documentation will vary in its relevance and value depending on the original context, credentials of the evaluator, the level of detail provided, and the comprehensiveness of the narrative.

A Note about Documentation:
These guidelines apply to students taking Ashford University classes. Students should be aware that other universities and testing agencies (which administer standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Exam and Law School Admission Test) may require more extensive documentation, and should review their requirements well in advance.

Use of Mobility Devices

Ashford University will maintain facilities accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. Individuals with disabilities who utilize power driven mobility devices, (e.g., any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines––whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities––that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices [EPAMDs], such as the Segway® PT) may do so within University facilities only when operation of such mobility devices does not pose a substantial risk of harm to students, faculty, staff, or visitors to the campus. Use of power driven mobility devices for the purpose of ambulation between University facilities is permitted. Storage of power driven mobility devices within University facilities should not impede path of travel for pedestrian traffic areas. Responsibility for the securing of power driven mobility devices resides with the user. The University does not accept responsibility for damage, loss, or theft of property stored on its premises.

Use of Service Animals

Service animals, performing a specific task for an individual with a documented disability, are welcome in all University facilities and in all activities of the University. If it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal, or the service animal does not have visually identifiable apparel, apparatus, or other evidence that the animal is a service animal, faculty and staff may ask to confirm that the animal is a service animal.

A service animal, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal (generally a dog) individually trained to do work or perform tasks in support of a person with a disability. An animal whose sole function is emotional support does not qualify under this definition.

Students and visitors to the University are responsible for the care and supervision of the service animal while on University premises or while engaged in University activities. Care includes, but is not limited to, feeding, toileting and hygiene.

*Disability is defined by the ADA as “a physical or mental impairment with respect to an individual that (a) substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) being regarded as having such an impairment...” 42 U.S.C §12102

**Revisions to Title III regulations provide, “When considering requests for modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services, the entity gives considerable weight to documentation of past modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services received in similar testing situations, as well as such modifications, accommodations, or related aids and services provided in response to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) provided under [IDEA] or a plan describing services provided pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.” (28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(v))

Guidance and Section-by-Section Analysis provides these examples of types of information to consider: “recommendations of qualified professionals familiar with the individual, results of psycho-educational or other professional evaluations, an applicant’s history of diagnosis, participation in a special education program, observations by educators, or the applicant’s past use of testing accommodations.” 28 C.F.R part 36 (2010)

AHEAD. (2012). Supporting Accommodation Requests: Guidance on Documentation Practices. Retrieved from http://www.ahead.org/resources/documentation_guidance.

Contact Information

Students who believe they are in need of accommodations should contact:

The Office of Student Access and Wellness at [email protected] or may review general information regarding disability services and accommodations at www.ashford.edu/accessandwellness.

Students who have a concern about their disability accommodations may contact:
Rachel Orlansky, Director, Student Access and Wellness at [email protected]. 

Formal complaints will be handled in accordance with the grievance procedures outlined in this section of this Catalog.

ADA Coordinator of Ashford University, Meagan Guzman, Human Resources Manager

Meagan Guzman can be contacted at: Phone: (800) 798-0584, ext. 11824
Email: [email protected]
Mailing Address: 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123

Deputy ADA Coordinator of Ashford University, Rachel Orlansky, Director of Student Affairs

Rachel Orlansky can be contacted at: Phone: (800) 798-0584, ext. 20706 Email:[email protected]
Mailing Address: 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123

Dispute Resolution Procedure for Student Complaints

The Ashford University community benefits from informal processes and formal procedures that encourage prompt and equitable resolution of complaints and concerns that students may have about the implementation of policies and procedures that govern the institution.

Who May File A Complaint: The Student Dispute Resolution Center (SDRC) addresses complaints filed by an individual student, alumnus, former student, prospective applicant, or applicant. The terms “student” and “complainant” are used interchangeably.

No Reprisal: Students will not be subjected to reprisal or retaliation for using or participating in the dispute resolution procedure.

Issues Eligible for Review: Issues eligible for review by the SDRC include, but are not limited to, issues concerning billing and/or refund policy, transcripts, financial aid and other finance options (excluding Employee Tuition Benefit), course drop or scheduling concerns,  personal hardship matters resulting in an account balance, student account complaints, military benefits, disability-related matters, and advising issues.  In addition, any discrimination complaints, based on race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, sex or gender identity, medical condition, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, age, disability, veteran status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws excluding behavior that falls under the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy.

Issues Not Eligible for Review: Issues not eligible for review by the SDRC include grade appeal requests and challenges to grade appeal outcome, challenge of course content, instructor issues, transfer credit and transfer credit appeal, appeal of satisfactory academic progress, appeal of dismissal, and appeal of Student Community Standards Committee findings. In addition, any discrimination that falls under the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy.

The Dispute Resolution Procedure may only be used for these issues if the challenge relates to allegations of discrimination or bias. Otherwise, appeals of those matters should follow the procedures outlined elsewhere in this Catalog.

Dispute Resolution Procedure

Step I: Departmental Resolution

Students should address the complaint or concern at the departmental level with the individual involved in the complaint (e.g., Advisor, Collections Specialist, Faculty Support and Development Associate, Instructor, Manager, etc.). If satisfactory resolution is not reached after discussion with the individual or if it is impracticable to address the problem or complaint with the individual, the student should contact the individual’s direct supervisor to attempt to resolve the complaint. If the student’s concerns remain unresolved the student should proceed to filing a complaint with the SDRC.

How to File a Complaint

An individual student, alumnus, former student, prospective applicant, or applicant (“student” or “complainant”) may file a complaint with the SDRC by completing the Student Dispute Resolution Center Submission form found at www.ashfordprograms.com/complaints/

Students are encouraged to begin the dispute resolution process within thirty (30) calendar days of the incident prompting the complaint or from the date of knowledge of the incident prompting the complaint.

Upon receipt of the Student Dispute Resolution Center Submission form, the SDRC will review the complaint to determine if it is eligible to be addressed through the dispute resolution procedure and to ensure the required information is included so the complaint can be appropriately assigned. Complaints alleging discrimination or bias may at any time proceed directly to Step II: Grievance Resolution.

If the complaint is eligible for review by the SDRC and all required information has been submitted, the complaint will be assigned to a case handler within three (3) business days of receipt of the complaint.  If the complaint is not eligible for review by the SDRC (see above for “Issues Eligible for Review”), the complainant will be notified by the SDRC within three (3) business days of receipt of the complaint. The SDRC will attempt to direct the complainant to the appropriate resource(s) for addressing his or her concern(s).

If the required information has not been submitted with the complaint form, a representative from SDRC will inform the complainant in writing of the missing information. The complainant will be provided a reasonable amount of time, based on the circumstances and outstanding required information, to submit the missing information for the complaint. If the complainant does not submit the additional required information, the complaint will not be processed. Once the required information has been submitted, the complaint will be assigned to a case handler within three (3) business days of receipt of the required information.

Step II: Grievance Resolution

During Step II, the dispute resolution specialist will investigate the dispute, evaluate the findings and issue a written response. The dispute resolution specialist will adequately, reliably and impartially investigate the complaint.

Investigation

During the investigation phase, the dispute resolution specialist will contact the student and others, including all witnesses* identified by either complainant or respondent who are likely to have knowledge relevant to the allegation, to discuss the student’s concerns. The student’s participation in the process is essential, and the dispute resolution specialist may speak with the student several times during the investigation stage. Students should be prepared to speak with the dispute resolution specialist and to provide any additional relevant information the dispute resolution specialist might request. Failure to provide the requested information may delay or preclude a thorough investigation.

*The dispute resolution specialist will document all efforts to contact relevant witness(es). If the dispute resolution specialist is unable to contact a relevant witness, the attempts to contact the witness and the reasons such attempts were unsuccessful must be documented by the dispute resolution specialist.

Evaluation and Response

Following the completion of the investigation, Step II grievances are evaluated through a collaborative process that may involve the following representatives, or their designee: an Executive Dean of the College in which the student is enrolled, University Vice President for Academic Affairs,  Vice President of Student Services, Director of Student Affairs and Vice President of Financial Aid and Services.  These representatives have decision-making authority in regards to formal grievances. The dispute resolution specialist will present the investigation findings and the student’s requested resolution to those designated with decision-making authority. 

For complaints alleging discrimination or bias, the dispute resolution specialist will present the investigation findings, along with all evidence submitted or identified by the complainant or respondent to the University’s deliberating body. A deliberating body will be comprised of representatives from various University departments, or their designee(s) who have decision-making authority and are not the subject of the discrimination or bias charge.  Complaints alleging discrimination or bias must be concluded within fifteen (15) days following the completion of the investigation.

The Step II process will be completed within twenty (20) business days following receipt of the complaint. If additional time is needed for the investigation, evaluation, or response, the student will be notified. The response will be issued to the student and/or his/her representative via email.

Per Step III below, a student may appeal the outcome of the Step II Grievance. Unless a student articulates a permissible ground for appeal, the response at Step II is final.

Step III: Presidential Appeal of Step II

Timeline for Filing an Appeal

The student should file the appeal within ten (10) business days of the date of the University’s response.

Students may appeal the findings of the response at Step II only on the following grounds: 

  • To consider new evidence that was unavailable during the original investigation that could be outcome determinative;
  • To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the process in a way that could be outcome determinative;
  • To challenge if the findings of the investigation do not accord with the preponderance of the evidence; or,
  • To assess whether bias of the investigator deprived the process of impartiality in a way that could be outcome determinative.
How to File an Appeal

The student should set forth in writing at least one of the above grounds for appeal with the information that supports the ground(s) for appeal. The written appeal shall be sent to [email protected].

Students in the state of Georgia may appeal the final decision to:

Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220 Tucker, GA 30084-5305 (770) 414-3300 https://gnpec.georgia.gov/.

Appeal Process

Phase One: Review and Evaluation

Within three (3) business days of receipt of the appeal, the University will review the appeal to ensure that:

  • It states one or more of the four (4) grounds for appeal; and
  • It is accompanied by any relevant newly available information or evidence that was not available during Step II.

If the appeal does not state a ground for appeal and include new information or evidence to evaluate, the complainant will be notified via email that the appeal is ineligible for processing and that no action will be taken on the appeal. The complainant will have three (3) business days to amend and cure the appeal. The amended appeal should be sent to [email protected]

If the amended appeal meets the threshold it will proceed to Phase Two.

Phase Two: Evaluation and Determination

The President, or designee, will render a written decision on the appeal within ten (10) business days from the date the appeal was accepted for processing. The President or designee will use the preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not) of review to make a determination on the appeal of the Step II outcome. The President’s determination shall be final.

Additional Resources

Ashford University values its students and has created additional avenues to bring forth concerns. In addition to the previously described complaint procedures, at any time, the student may select to notify the University of a concern using the confidential, third-party alert hotline, www.ashfordstudentcomplaints.alertline.com or (855) 274-5539.

The terms “student” and “complainant” are used interchangeably and refer to an individual student, alumnus, former student, prospective applicant or applicant.

Business day is defined to mean normal operating hours, Monday through Friday, excluding recognized University holidays.

Complaints to States and Accrediting Bodies

Students may file a complaint with the University’s institutional accrediting body by contacting WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001, www.wscuc.org.

Students may file a complaint with the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) via email ([email protected]) or by regular mail to International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), 11374 Strang Line Road, Lenexa, KS 66215, USA.

Please refer to the Student Complaint State Contact Information section in the Introduction section of this Catalog and http://www.ashford.edu/state-authorization-disclosures  for state-specific grievance information.

Academic Integrity

Ashford University seeks to create a community of academic excellence through the highest levels of academic honesty, unique individual contribution, and integrity. Academic integrity is the ethical use of information, thoughts, and ideas from which we build original thought to contribute to the academic conversation. All Ashford students and alumni are expected to adhere to the standards of academic integrity. The University may address allegations of academic misconduct after a student has graduated, and will process allegations concerning alumni in the same manner it addresses allegations concerning current students. All students, staff, faculty, and administration are held to the highest standard of ethical, integral behavior at Ashford University at all times. Academic integrity includes several specific behaviors, including:

Personal Responsibility: Taking ownership for your educational activities and responsibility for choices and their consequences;

  • Student Responsibility: Ashford University students are expected to abide by the established Academic Integrity policy. Questions regarding expectations should be discussed with each course instructor, and academic integrity should be demonstrated in all coursework. Students are expected to also hold their peers to a high level of academic integrity within the classroom and all aspects of the University community.
  • Faculty Responsibility: It is the responsibility of all faculty to be familiar with the Academic Integrity policy. It is also the responsibility of the faculty to post in the course announcements their expectations regarding the academic integrity policy and outline it in detail for students as to how it relates to the work completed and the course learning outcomes.

Continual Improvement: Accepting the reality that mistakes are learning opportunities and that errors can be fixed and behaviors can be changed.

Original Thought: Developing your own perspectives from careful analysis and synthesis of existing information;

Academic Voice: Utilizing your own voice, spoken or written, while presenting ideas, facts, arguments, and conclusions that are supported by research;

Careful Attribution: Following the rules of grammar and proper citation methods to accurately attribute words and information to the original source;

Academic Integrity Violations

Academic dishonesty can take a number of forms. It includes, but is not limited to, cheating on a test or examination, claiming the work of another as one’s own, plagiarizing any paper, research project, or assignment, or falsely submitting material to fulfill course requirements.

Plagiarism: Ashford University defines plagiarism as representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise. This definition includes draft assignments that are submitted and graded as a part of the curriculum. Plagiarism occurs when someone uses the ideas, language, or other material (that is not common knowledge) without acknowledging the original source. The use of materials, including printed or online texts, as well as the work of others, can be considered plagiarism when presented as one’s own work.

Acts of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying text from printed materials, which include books, magazines, encyclopedias, newspapers, online sources, etc., without proper citation;
  • The modification of text with the intent of changing phrases, changing words, or interspacing the student’s work into the plagiarized work;
  • “Copy and paste” plagiarism, which involves copying and pasting materials from Internet sources and presenting them as one’s original work;
  • The use of materials purchased from Internet or elsewhere;
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work without giving appropriate credit; or
  • Collusion.

Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, using the work of others taken from academic content share sites, information, or study aids in any academic exercise (e.g., tests, essays, etc.).

Fabrication: Unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another student to commit a violation of academic integrity.

Academic Collusion: The use of another student’s work, even if the student has permission. This includes, but is not limited to, stealing, sharing, or soliciting, in whole or in part, any information that is not your own. Students may work cooperatively but not collude. Every student is required to submit original and independent work in the classroom (i.e. assignments, discussions, quizzes, examinations, journals, etc).

Falsifying Data: Falsifying data to show either the process or the product of scholarly examination to be different from what actually occurred is also considered dishonest. This includes falsely reporting attendance or participation in any field work experience.

Unapproved Research: Unapproved research is any research that is undertaken without approval by the University or the Institutional Review Board (IRB), including any solicitation of or interaction with human subjects or accessing any data. In the case of doctoral research, unapproved doctoral research is any research that is started before officially enrolling in doctoral course work, any research for which the IRB has not approved the doctoral proposal. Conducting doctoral research without IRB approval is an Academic Integrity violation and could result in consequences.

Recycling of Academic Work: As part of the University’s policy on academic integrity, it is expected that students will not submit an assignment that is an exact copy of work previously submitted in another course at this institution or any other institution. The University understands that work within a discipline is interconnected and expects students, when writing about similar topics, to enhance and refine the content of an assignment as they progress through their program of study. Submitting an exact copy of work, or any portion of work, previously submitted in another course may adversely affect one’s grade and/or be considered a violation of the Academic Integrity policy. For exceptions or unique cases, students are encouraged seek guidance from their instructor on recycling previously submitted work.

Consequences for Academic Integrity Violations

A student who commits an act of academic dishonesty may face consequences, including but not limited to: failure to receive credit on an academic assignment, course failure, rewrite of an assignment, completion of University remediation resources, coaching sessions, referral to Student Conduct and Community Standards, suspension, and/or expulsion from the University. Violations will be reviewed based on continued offenses, pattern of behavior, or level of egregiousness. The consequences for acts of academic dishonesty will be evaluated accordingly.

Plagiarism: Dissertation & Applied Doctoral Project

The University requires that all Dissertations and Applied Doctoral Projects be submitted for similarity review through Turnitin® for the purpose of detecting plagiarism prior to the defense of the Dissertation or Applied Doctoral Project. The University further requires that the student’s Dissertation or Applied Doctoral Project Chair certify that the Dissertation or Applied Doctoral Project has been submitted through Turnitin®.

If plagiarism is discovered after a doctoral student’s dissertation has been submitted for final examination, or after the student’s program has been completed, the alleged plagiarism must be immediately reported to the Provost. The Provost (or designated Chair) will collaborate with the Office of Academic Integrity to determine an appropriate course of action.

Turnitin® is available to students as a Learning Resource in the online classroom.

Student Community Standards

Ashford University is responsible for creating and maintaining an environment that is conducive to the pursuit of learning and living and to the development of students as scholars and citizens. University policies are necessary to safeguard the mission of Ashford University, thus protecting the students' ability to learn without undue interference by others. If misconduct occurs, the University community must respond in ways that protect all members of the community.

All students are expected to make themselves familiar with the Student Community Standards (hereinafter referred to as Standards). Ignorance of these Standards, including behavioral expectations, specific prohibited conduct, or consequences for misconduct is not a defense to, nor grounds for, excusing violations of the Standards.

The following Standards are applicable to individuals during all periods of enrollment following the submission of an admissions application and including institutional breaks or approved Academic Leaves from the University. Please note that prospective students are also required to uphold the Standards. A prospective student who is found to have violated these Standards could be precluded from enrolling.

The University reserves the right to create, modify, or make changes to the Standards and conduct processes. The Standards and processes may also be extended and/or amended to apply to new and unanticipated situations that may arise.

Authority over Student Conduct

Students are charged with the responsibility of having read, and agreeing to abide by, the provisions of the Student Community Standards (Standards) and the authority of the student conduct process. The Standards and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students and University-affiliated student organizations. Because the Standards are based on shared values, they set a range of expectations for Ashford University students no matter where or when their conduct may take place. Therefore, the Standards will apply to behaviors that take place at University-sponsored events, in online courses and may also apply off-campus, when the administration determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the University.

Ashford University may also extend its authority over misconduct that occurs prior to, but is not reported until after, the graduation of the offending student. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to appropriate University officials at [email protected]

The Standards

Ashford University is committed to fostering an environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, student development, student engagement, thoughtful study, and discourse. A community exists on the basis of shared values and principles that form our Standards. Members of the student community are expected to uphold these Standards.

Integrity

Ashford University students exemplify honesty, integrity and a respect for truth in all of their dealings. Behavior that demonstrates a lapse of integrity includes, but is not limited to:

  • Acts of academic dishonesty (as defined in this Catalog);
  • Selling or otherwise providing course work, including exams, papers, and projects to third parties, which may be used for submission in fulfillment of any course or academic program requirement;
  • Knowingly furnishing false, falsified, or forged information to any member of the University community, such as falsification or misuse of documents, accounts, records, identification, or financial instruments.

Community

Ashford University students honor and value their community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sharing or taking passwords from others, including University issued email accounts, student portal, online learning platform, etc.;
  • Misuse or unauthorized use of University or organizational names and images;
  • Violation of state or local fire policies, including: 
    • Failure to evacuate a University-owned building during a fire alarm;
    • Improper use of University fire safety equipment; and
    • Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm in a University building.

Fairness

Ashford University students exemplify fair treatment of each other in their dealings and interactions. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  • Disruption of University operations, including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other University activities, or other authorized non-University activities;
  • Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a University conduct body prior to, during, and/or after a University conduct proceeding;
  • Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the University conduct system.

Respect

Ashford University students show respect for each other, for property, and for the community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or any other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • All forms of discrimination, intimidation, discriminatory harassment, or violence (as defined in this Catalog).

Responsibility

Ashford University students are given and accept a high level of responsibility as role models. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  • Allegations of violations of federal, state, or local laws which affect the interests of the University community;
  • Assisting in the violation of University policies or public laws.

Hazing

All acts of hazing by any individual student and University registered student club or organization and any of its members or alumni are prohibited. Students are entitled to be treated with consideration and respect, and no individual may perform an act that is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any other person within the University community. Accordingly, the following behavior is expressly forbidden as hazing when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity:

  • Physical abuse, including but not limited to paddling, slapping, kicking, choking, scratching and exposure to extreme (i.e., cold or hot) water temperatures, the consumption of disgusting and/or dangerous concoctions, alcohol, or drugs;
  • Causing excessive mental stress, including but not limited to placing prospective members of an organization or group in ambiguous situations which lead to confusion, emotional stress, or sleep deprivation;
  • Extreme verbal abuse, including but not limited to shouting, screaming, or use of derogatory, profane, or obscene language; or
  • Subservience, including but not limited to any activity which promotes a class system within organizations or activities which facilitate inappropriate levels of authority over students.

This list is not exhaustive and any student or organization found to be involved in any hazing activity will face conduct action and will likely be subjected to expulsion from the University. Violation of this policy exists irrespective of the voluntary or consensual participation in the hazing activity by the person being hazed.

Standards Process Overview

The conduct process exists to protect the interests of the community, and to intervene when student behavior is not in accordance with the Standards. Whenever a complaint is made for alleged misconduct or violation of the Standards, the Conduct Officer or designee will conduct a timely  investigation of the allegations.

Students should be aware that the student conduct process is different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct processes are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections afforded by the courts.

Student Conduct Procedures

Conduct Investigation and Appointment Procedures

There are two potential pathways for referrals in the conduct process. One is focused on alleged violations and more behavioral concerns whereas the other is focused on the Standard of Integrity.

A conduct investigation is conducted when a referral of an alleged violation is received by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Students will to be required to complete a conduct investigation meeting. These are designed as a non-adversarial discussions of the misconduct with the student and an impartial Conduct Officer. In a conduct investigation, an assigned Conduct Officer or designee will review the allegations and engage in a conversation with all parties indicated in the referral, including staff, faculty, and the student. 

In a conduct investigation meeting, the Conduct Officer will organize the information and facilitate a discussion with the student to provide an overview of the conduct process, review the allegations of potential violations of the Standards or violations of academic integrity, ask questions pertinent to the investigation, and invite comments from the student regarding their perspective. After the conduct investigation meeting, a letter will be sent to the student outlining the discussion. The student will have an opportunity to review and respond to the letter to ensure that information discussed during the call was included.

After completion of a conduct investigation meeting, the Conduct Officer will complete a comprehensive review of all documentation and a number of factors including the severity of offense, overall student conduct record, and applicable impact to the community and its members. The Conduct Officer will determine responsibility for any alleged violations and may determine an informal resolution through developmental sanctions, or make a referral to the Student Community Standards Committee for a formal hearing.

A conduct appointment is completed when a referral of a confirmed violation of Integrity is received by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Students will be required to complete a conduct appointment with their assigned Conduct Officer, or designee. In a conduct appointment, the Conduct Officer will review all allegations of the violation of integrity in a conversation with the student. The Conduct Officer will ask questions regarding the student’s experience and perspective and the student will be responsible for submitting a written statement. Once the written statement has been received, the Conduct Officer will complete a comprehensive review of all documentation, severity of the offense, overall student conduct record, and applicable impact to the community and its members. The Conduct Officer may determine that an informal resolution may be reached through developmental sanctions, or make a referral to the Student Community Standards Committee for a formal hearing.

Students have the right to request a formal hearing should they not agree with the outcome of any investigation or conduct appointment. The Student Community Standards Committee is a neutral body consisting of faculty and senior level administrators at the University. By majority vote, they may support or change a decision, increase, decrease, or modify a sanction.

Formal Hearing Procedures

Cases where the Conduct Officer has determined that the factors are severe enough that suspension or expulsion is a possible consequence will require that the student meet with the Student Community Standards Committee for a formal hearing. Based on the preponderance of evidence (more likely than not), the Committee will make a determination to decide on appropriate sanctions to be applied as a result of the behavior.

Sanctions

Sanctions may include, but are not limited to: formal written warning; educational projects (e.g. reflective papers, coaching sessions, modules, etc.); grade changes for academic dishonesty; suspension or expulsion.

Administrative Holds

If the student does not engage with or declines to participate in Student Conduct and Community Standards processes, a hold may be placed on their account preventing registration for future courses, access to their transcripts, removal from future courses, and/or receiving financial aid disbursements.

Appeal

Students have the right to petition to appeal the outcome of a formal hearing that they participate in. To petition to appeal, students must complete the Petition to Appeal form and email the completed form to Student Community Standards at [email protected] within seven (7) business days of receipt of their formal hearing outcome letter. In the petition to appeal, it is important that students substantiate one of the three basis for which an appeal should be granted. The three basis are: to consider new information unavailable during the original hearing that could be outcome determinative; to assess whether a material deviation from the written procedures unfairly impacted the hearing; or to decide if a sanction(s) is substantially disproportionate to the severity of the offence and/or cumulative conduct record of the student.

On appeal by any party to the complaint the Conduct Officer, designee, or the Standards Committee (by majority vote) may support or change a decision, increase, decrease, or modify a sanction.

Special Provisions

Advisor of Choice
Both the accuser and the accused will be provided with the same opportunities to have others present during any institutional disciplinary proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by the advisor of their choice. However, the advisor may only advise the student, and not otherwise participate in the proceedings.

Attempted Violations
In most circumstances, Ashford University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed in the Standards as if those attempts had been completed.

University as Complainant
As necessary, Ashford University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.

False Reports
Ashford University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Standards to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

Group Violations
When members of groups, individuals acting collusively, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of any policy, they may be held accountable as a group, and a hearing may proceed against the group as joint accused students. In any such action, however, determinations will be made with respect to the involvement of each accused individual.

Immunity for Victims
Ashford University encourages the reporting of conduct code violations and crimes by victims. Sometimes, victims are hesitant to report to University officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to University officials. To encourage reporting, Ashford University pursues a policy of offering victims of crimes amnesty from policy violations related to the incident.

Good Samaritan
The welfare of students in the University community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off-campus may need assistance. Ashford University encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others, for fear that they may get themselves in trouble. Ashford University pursues a policy of immunity for students who offer help to others in need for any minor violations the Good Samaritan was involved in at the time.

Notification of Outcomes
The University will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence (as that term is defined in Section 16 of Title 18, United States Code), or a non-forcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense. See also, Presentation of Investigation of Findings to the Parties under Reporting/Filing a Complaint for Title IX – Sexual Misconduct/Harassment section of this Catalog.

In the event that the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the notification will be made to next of kin (upon written request).

Defenses
It has become common for students accused of policy violations to try to defend their actions with excuses, such as prescription drug interactions, self-defense, alcohol, etc. Defending actions is admitting to a policy violation. While a student’s defense will not excuse his or her actions, Ashford University will take the legitimacy of his or her defense into consideration in addressing the proper sanction.

Miscellaneous Provisions
The Senior Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee, are authorized to take other actions or to adopt other rules to protect university property and the safety and wellbeing of members of the university community and the public.

Emergency Administrative Leave

In situations requiring immediate action, and after consultation with concerned individuals (e.g., students, faculty, administrators, other staff members, internship, or student teaching supervisors, etc.), the Conduct Officer or designee may place the student on an emergency administrative leave. Students placed on Emergency Administrative Leave are removed from all current and future courses.

During Emergency Administrative Leave, the University administration will conduct a timely investigation. Students will remain on an administrative leave no more than 14 days from the student’s last date of attendance. Within that 14-day period, the University administration will follow University procedures for administration of the Standards and render a decision as to any change in status and/or and sanctions to be imposed by the University. Students on Emergency Administrative Leave are not permitted to return to participate in University classes or events.

Involuntary Leave

Ashford University considers the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff as a top priority. The Involuntary Leave policy is not intended to be a substitute for appropriate disciplinary action when discipline is warranted, but may be used in cases when regular disciplinary proceedings cannot or should not be used, and after attempts to encourage the student to initiate a Voluntary Leave have been exhausted. Involuntary Leave is available to protect the health and safety of the University Community and is not a penalty.

A student may be subjected to Involuntary Leave if there is evidence that the student’s continued attendance presents an unreasonable risk of harm to members of the University Community. The leave will endure for a pre-determined period, or until the student no longer poses an unreasonable risk of harm, at which time the leave will end and the student will be reinstated. Grounds for Involuntary Leave include representing a significant threat to the safety and/or health of members of the University Community

Appeal of Involuntary Leave after Evaluation or Emergency Administrative Leave

In situations where a student is involuntarily withdrawn as a result of either an Emergency Administrative Leave or as an action determined appropriate from the results of the assessment, a student shall be informed of his or her right to appeal the University’s decision regarding the Involuntary Leave.

The appeal shall be in writing and directed to the Provost, or designee and shall be received within ten (10) business days of the determination of the Involuntary Leave. Upon receipt of the appeal, Provost, or designee shall set a hearing date no later than 15 business days after receipt of the appeal. The hearing shall be an informal proceeding and is not considered adversarial.

At the hearing, the student will be provided with the opportunity to review any evaluations utilized by the University in the determination to invoke the Involuntary Leave policy. The student will also be provided with the opportunity to present relevant information from his or her perspective. The student may be accompanied by a person acting as an advocate who may be a family member or friend or member of the University community. The Provost, or designee will review all the information presented in the hearing and make a determination of whether to uphold the involuntary leave of the student or consider readmission to the University.

Consequences to Course Grades and Tuition or Other Fee Charges

If the Involuntary Leave policy is invoked, the student will normally receive “W” grades (withdraw grades) in all courses in which he or she is currently enrolled, and will be considered eligible for a tuition credit upon re-enrollment. Regular tuition charges and other applicable fees will be refunded per the tuition refund policies outlined in the Financial Information section of this Catalog, based on the student’s last date of attendance.

Academic or Title IV Fraud

Ashford University students are expected to exemplify honesty, integrity and a respect for truth in all dealings. Fraudulent behavior, or attempts to commit fraudulent behavior, will not be tolerated. Behavior that demonstrates fraudulent activity includes, but is not limited, to:

  • Knowingly furnishing false, falsified, or forged information to any member of the University Community, such as falsification or misuse of documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments;
  • The inability of a student to demonstrate academic purpose or resolve concerns regarding identity or eligibility;
  • Extreme cases of academic dishonesty at the discretion of the University, as defined in this Catalog; or
  • Action or inaction by someone in collusion with a wrongdoer which fails to discourage a known and obvious violation of University policy or law.

When members of groups, individuals acting in collusion, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of this policy, they may be held accountable as a group. To prevent fraud, the Office of the Registrar may permanently deny an applicant’s admission to the University, or Student Affairs may, in lieu of Standards proceedings, impose individual and/or group sanctions up to and including immediate expulsion from the University, subject to appeal, upon a determination of student involvement in such behavior. Determinations will be made with respect to the involvement of each accused individual. In most circumstances, Ashford University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed previously as if those attempts had been completed. The University reserves the right to refuse admission to any applicant whose behavior is deemed inappropriate.

Students suspected of academic or Title IV fraud will be placed on a finance and transcript hold. If the student is unresponsive, they will be unscheduled from future courses. For those students utilizing financial aid, this finance hold will prevent a financial aid disbursement until the issue is resolved through either the appeal process or through a Standards formal hearing. Students may be referred to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Education for attempted fraud as deemed necessary by the University.

University Student Alcohol Use Policy

All individuals must observe state and federal laws regarding the use, consumption, possession, and distribution of alcohol. The University strictly prohibits the unauthorized use, consumption, possession, and distribution of alcohol by any student, regardless of legal drinking age, at the University or at University sponsored events and activities. The University Sanctions section set forth below provide additional explanation of the institution’s disciplinary procedures for students who are found to be in violation of this policy.

Alcohol may be served at certain University events or functions and only to those persons of legal drinking age who can verify their age with identification as required by the state in which the event or function occurs. Written permission must be obtained from the Vice President of Student Affairs or Clery designee to serve alcohol and any legally required alcohol permits obtained prior to the function.

University Student Drug Use Policy

The unlawful possession, use, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances is prohibited at the University or at University-sponsored events and activities. Controlled substances include those drugs listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Student Community Standards section in this Catalog provides additional explanation of the institution’s disciplinary procedures for students who are found to be in violation of this policy.

Identity

Identity theft can include any misrepresentation, theft, or misuse of a person’s identity for any purpose, including but not limited to, obtaining federal financial aid, other financial gain, or obtaining access to confidential information. Theft of another person’s identity, whether living or deceased, is not only a violation of Ashford University policy, but may also constitute a criminal offense under federal and state law.

The University recognizes the importance of protecting student privacy and reserves the right to request documentation to establish or verify any student’s identity at any time, for administrative and/or compliance purposes. Students are expected to provide documentation and are responsible for any cost associated with acquiring and submitting the documentation. Students may be administratively withdrawn for failure to provide documentation requested by University officials for the purpose of authenticating a student’s identity. The University may also deny or rescind admission to any student for failure to authenticate his or her identity, or for engaging in identity theft.

Students authorize their wireless operator to disclose their mobile number, name, address, email, network status, customer type, customer role, billing type, mobile device identifiers (IMSI and IMEI) and other subscriber and device details, if available, to Ashford University and service providers for the duration of the business relationship, solely for identity verification and fraud avoidance. See our Privacy Policy for how the University treats student’s data.

Violations of Law

Violations of federal, state, and local laws are incorporated as offenses under the Standards. When an offense occurs over which the University has jurisdiction, the University conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal charges that may arise from the same incident. Should a student withdraw from the University when criminal charges are made, it is the typical practice of the University to pursue investigation and resolution of conduct matters, regardless of the fact that the student has withdrawn.

When a student is accused, arrested, charged, or indicted for a violent or drug-related crime, the University may elect to take action against that student for violation of Standards, which incorporates alleged violations of local, state, and federal laws as Standards.

When it has reasonable cause to separate a student from the community, the University may separate a student via the Emergency Administrative Leave policy for a reasonable time pending the scheduling of a hearing for violation of Standards. The University reserves the right to exercise its authority of Emergency Administrative Leave suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or charges. The University will permit a student who receives an Emergency Administrative Leave to request a meeting to show cause as to why an Emergency Administrative Leave is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the University may still proceed with the scheduling of a hearing.

When criminal charges are pending, the University may be delayed or prevented from conducting its own investigation, and moving forward with a hearing. In such cases, the University will delay its hearing until such time as it can conduct an internal investigation, or obtain from law enforcement sufficient information upon which to proceed.

Academic Resolution

The Academic Resolution Process is a student-focused resource that supports students in addressing and resolving academic concerns or issues that might arise within the University. If a student has a concern about an instructor or their course and/or would like to formally request a revised letter grade, the student should first attempt to resolve the matter with their instructor. If the student and instructor are not able to resolve the matter, the student may utilize the Academic Resolution process.

Academic Resolution Process

Students utilizing the Academic Resolution Process are responsible for providing details and documentation that support their request. Documentation ensures a thorough investigation. Students are also responsible for articulating their desired outcome to ensure that they are supported in the achievement of their academic goals. Grading is subjective and at the discretion of the instructor. A request for a revised letter grade may be submitted if the following conditions exist:

  • An error was made in the calculation of the course grade;
  • The instructor was incorrect with respect to an objective fact within the discipline and this error affected the student’s final grade

Part of this process often includes a discussion with a Student Affairs representative. If a student chooses not to engage in the process as outlined, their request may be closed without further review.

Findings from the Academic Resolution Process will be shared with Academic Leadership and other departments throughout the University in an effort to improve the student experience.. As some requests may involve personnel matters, information regarding possible corrective action will not be disclosed.

Tuition Credit Request

A tuition credit may be approved and applied for the following documented reasons that directly impacted a student’s ability to continue in and successfully pass their course or program during the timeframe in which the course occurred:

  • Documented military duty that resulted in an inability to continue in the course or program*;
  • Documented personal or family** medical emergency;
  • Documented act of nature;
  • Documented death in the family**; or
  • Documented temporary severe economic hardship

Additional documented extenuating circumstances may also be considered. This process is accomplished by requesting a Tuition Credit Request form from the assigned Academic Advisor.

*Students who experienced military duty that resulted in an inability to continue in the course or program are also eligible for a tuition credit but should instead complete and submit a Military Withdrawal Course Drop Request. Please see Readmission of Students after Military Service under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 in the General Academic Information and Policies section of this Catalog for more information.

**Family is defined as husband, wife, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, (step/adoptive) mother, (step/adoptive) father, (step/adoptive) brother, (step/adoptive) sister, and (step/adoptive) child.

Attendance Appeals

Basis for an Attendance Appeal in an Introductory Course

Students may appeal an administrative drop from an undergraduate entry point course, such as ASH 101 or BUS 105, due to unforeseen and extreme extenuating circumstances that directly impact the ability to meet attendance requirements. The appeal may be approved for the following reasons resulting in the inability to meet attendance requirements during the period of absence:

  • Military deployment;
  • Emergency personal or family reason;
  • Work requirement;
  • Act of nature; or
  • Death in the family.

At the time of appeal, students must have also met the following requirements:

  • Students must have attended at least once in the first seven days of the course. Thus, students may only appeal for an excused absence for week two (2) or beyond.
  • Students must have a grade equivalency of a “C” or better in points earned for the course in which they are appealing attendance through the weeks prior to the missed attendance week as of the last date of attendance.

Note: Please refer to the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs sections in this Catalog for more details on Ashford University’s Attendance policies. Please see Readmission of Students after Military Service under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 in the General Academic Information and Policies section of this Catalog for more information.

Attendance Appeal Procedure

  • Students must submit their appeal to their Enrollment Services Advisor or Academic Advisor.
  • Appeals must include an explanation of the event that occurred which resulted in the inability to meet the attendance requirement and a rationale for the appeal that is documented.
  • If an appeal is approved, students will be reinstated in their course.

Graduation/Completion Rates

In accordance with the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, Ashford University is pleased to share with you the following information on the graduation rates of our 2013-14 full-year cohort of full-time, first-time, degree or certificate seeking undergraduates.

As reported in the IPEDS graduation rates survey (GRS), 3,195 first-time, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students entered Ashford University between September 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014. This population of students includes both bachelor’s degree seeking students and associate degree seeking students. As of August 31, 2019, 8% of these students graduated from Ashford University within 150% of the normal time to complete their degree. Please contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions.

While reviewing this information, please keep the following in mind:

  • All graduation rates are based upon 3 years of attendance for Associate programs and 6 years of attendance for Bachelor’s programs, which equates to 150% of the normal completion time.
  • We have elected not to report transfer-out rates because our University's mission does not include providing substantial preparation for students to enroll in another eligible institution without completing or graduating.
  • These charts do not identify the reasons why our students withdrew; therefore, students who withdrew for personal or medical reasons are included.
  • Graduation rates do not include students who left school to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, on official church missions, or with a foreign aid service of the federal government, or students who died or were totally and permanently disabled.
  • Please note that the graduation/completion rate does not include any student who attended a college or university after high school and then enrolled in Ashford University.

 

Graduation/Completion Rate by Gender

Male 5%
Female  9% 

 

Graduation/Completion Rate by Race or Ethnic Group

American Indian or Alaska Native (1)
Asian (1)
Black or African-American 5%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (1)
White, non-Hispanic     10% 
Two or More Races     (1)
Nonresident alien (1)
Race/ethnicity unknown (1)

 (1) Denotes fewer than 10 students, which is suppressed to protect the privacy of students

 

Graduation/Completion Rate by Financial Aid Category

Pell Grant Recipients 8%

Subsidized FFEL or Direct Loan Recipients (excludes Pell Grant Recipients)

9%

Neither Pell Grant nor Subsidized FFEL or Direct Loan Recipients

4%

Source: Institutional Research Services, 2020.

Graduation Rates

The three-year graduation rate for online associate degree seeking students is 14% based on all students in the 2015-16 entering cohort. The six-year graduation rate for online bachelor’s degree seeking students is 20% based on the 2012-13 entering cohort. The three-year graduation rate for online master’s degree seeking students is 50% based on the 2015-16 entering cohort. The six-year graduation rate for online doctoral degree seeking students is not available based on an initial entering cohort of 2018-19.

For prior year enrollment and graduation rates, please refer to http://assessment.ashford.edu on the Ashford University website.

Median Loan Debt

For information about the median loan debt of students who completed academic programs, please refer to http://www.ashford.edu/pd on the Ashford University website.

 

Student Body Diversity

Ashford University provides the following information regarding its student body. This information is based on data reported in the 2019-20 IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey.

Gender Percentage
Male 30%
Female 70%
Race Percentage
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 2%
Black or African American 32%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander   1%
White, non-Hispanic 42%
Two or more races 4%
Nonresident alien 0%
Race and ethnicity unknown 4%
Pell Grants Percentage
Students who received Pell grants 56%

 (Source: Institutional Research Services, 2020)

Retention Rate

The retention rate for First-time/Full-time bachelor’s degree-seeking students at Ashford University beginning in Fall 2018 was 24%.

(Source: IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey 2019-2020)

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