2.18 – Program Discontinuation and Teach-Out

A.       Purpose

To develop standards for discontinuing a program of study at the college and processes for assisting students enrolled in the discontinued program.

B.    Policy

The college may determine the need for a program to be discontinued. A teach-out plan for discontinued programs will be offered to students who are currently enrolled in the discontinued program.

C.     Procedures

The college regularly reviews degree programs to ensure that current programs have adequate student demand and meet regional workforce needs. On occasion, after review, the college may determine that a program is no longer viable. In that case, the program may be discontinued. The college’s decision to discontinue a program must comply with the requirements of the college’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, the program’s accrediting agency (if applicable), and external regulatory bodies.

Faculty teaching in the program being discontinued will be notified, in writing, as early as possible. This will allow time for faculty and the college to make alternate plans related to the teaching position and the possibility for future employment with the college.

The college will notify students, in writing, who are currently enrolled or who have been enrolled in good standing in the last year and are eligible for readmission into the program, and will maintain open communication with them throughout the process. These students will be informed about the status of the program and will be able to address concerns with administration. Once an announcement of program discontinuation is made, the program will not admit additional students into the program. Appropriate documentation will be provided to all regulatory bodies and placed on each enrolled student’s official college record. Documentation will be monitored by the accreditation liaison of the college and will follow the policies of relevant accrediting bodies including HLC’s policy on approval of institutional teach-out arrangements (FDCR.B.10.010).

The college will continue to provide the necessary resources and support to the program by meeting all of the teach-out requirements. The teach-out plan will be determined by the department chair/program director and the division dean, with approval of the provost of the college. The plan will be fair and equitable to students and will give students reasonable opportunities to complete their program of study before the teach-out end date.

The dean and department chair/program director will ensure that all remaining courses required for students enrolled in the program will be offered in a sequence and on a schedule that will enable students to complete the program. The schedule will be within a determined time period and in compliance with the teach-out end date. Students are expected to take the courses required to complete their program when offered. Failure of students to take a required course when offered or dropping a course in the established sequence will not obligate the institution to offer the course again.

The college will assist students currently enrolled in the program who would like to transfer to another program or institution. Students who transfer will thereby have voluntarily removed themselves from the teach-out plan offered by the college once they have been accepted for transfer.

Students who fall out of sequence in the program as a result of course failure may retake the failed course only if it continues to be offered at the college and the student can complete the retaken course prior to the teach-out end date. If the course is no longer offered, the student, with prior approval of the division dean, may take a comparable course for substitution at the college or may complete an approved equivalent course at another institution to be transferred back to the college for program completion.

Students who are dismissed from the program, or after filing an appeal are denied readmittance into the program, will lose their right to continue under the teach-out plan.

Students who are dismissed or withdraw from the program after the announcement of the discontinuation of the program but before the teach-out end date, will not be allowed to return to the program unless approved by the provost and only if the courses required by the student for completion of the program are in the planned sequence of course offerings. The student must be able to complete those courses prior to the teach-out end date to be approved for readmission. Active military personnel who have been required to take a leave of absence from a program that is discontinued during their service will be aided on a case-by-case basis to allow them to complete the program or develop an alternative educational plan.

Should the college be unable to adhere to the terms of the established teach-out plan of the discontinued program, students enrolled when such a determination is made will be allowed to request a full refund of all tuition and fees paid for program specific coursework. All credits earned by students will remain on their transcripts.

The college will continue to maintain student records for discontinued programs in accordance with the State of Missouri Records Retention Policy. At any time, students may request a copy of their student records from the college’s Office of the Registrar.

D.   Definitions

Discontinuation of a program occurs when the program does not have sufficient enrollment, there is not sufficient demand in the state of Missouri’s workforce, or the program no longer contributes to the institution’s mission.

Teach-out is the process during which an institution engages in an orderly closure of a program while providing students who are currently enrolled or who have been enrolled in good standing in the last year and are eligible for readmission into the program an opportunity to complete the program, regardless of their academic progress at the time of closure.

Teach-out end date is the final date that the program will be offered. This date should occur within 12 months of the announcement of program discontinuation but should not exceed 18 months.

E.    Authority

This policy is maintained under the authority of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

F.      Related Policies

3.12 Employment agreements and voluntary separation

G.     Implementation

Policy approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees on 10/11/2021.

Revised 10/23/2023. Purpose and procedures approved and adopted by the Cabinet on 11/28/2023. Set for review in fiscal year 2026-2027.