Student Complaint Policy. This school has a Certificate of Approval from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The TWC-assigned school number is: S3586. The school's programs are approved by TWC.
Students must address their concerns about this school or any of its educational programs by following the grievance process outlined in the school's catalog. Schools are responsible for ensuring and documenting that all students have received a copy of the school's grievance procedures and for describing these procedures in the school's published catalog. If, as a student, you were not provided with this information, please inform school management.
Students dissatisfied with this school's response to their complaint or who are not able to file a complaint with the school, can file a formal complaint with TWC, as well as with other relevant agencies or accreditors, if applicable.
Information on filing a complaint with TWC can be found on TWC's Career Schools and Colleges Website at http://csc.twc.state.tx.us/.
Student Rights and Responsibilities. As a student, you have the right to:
- Know what financial assistance is available, including information on all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs;
- Know the deadlines for submitting applications for each of the financial aid programs available;
- Know the cost of attending The Center and The Center's refund policy;
- Know the criteria used by The Center to select financial aid recipients;
- Know how The Center determines your financial need. This process includes how costs for tuition and fees, room and board, travel, books and supplies, personal and miscellaneous expenses, etc. are considered in your budget;
- Know what resources (such as parental contribution, other financial aid, your assets, etc.) are considered in the calculation of your need;
- Know what portion of the financial aid you received must be repaid, and what portion is grant aid. If the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, the payback procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan, and when repayment is to begin;
- Know how The Center determines whether you are making satisfactory academic progress, and what happens if you are not.
As a student, it is your responsibility to:
- Review and consider all information about The Center's program before you enroll.
- Complete all application forms accurately, and submit them on time and to the appropriate office.
- Return all additional documentation, verification, corrections, and/or new information requested by either the financial services office or the agency to which you submitted your application.
- Read and understand all forms that you are asked to sign and keep copies of them.
- Accept responsibility for all agreements you sign.
- If you have a loan, notify the lender of changes in your name, address, or school status.
- Perform the work that is agreed upon in accepting any grants, loans, or other academic award.
- Know and comply with The Center's refund procedures.
- Know the policies and procedures as outlined in this document
Cancellation and Refund Policy, for 1 Year Seminar. If a course is cancelled before the course has begun, the student will receive a full refund of that course fee (approximately $727.27). If a course is cancelled during a quarter, the student will be refunded the pro rata portion of tuition, fees, and other charges that the number of class hours remaining in the course after the effective date of termination bears to the total number of hours in the course.
Cancellation and Refund Policy, for 10 day Seminars. If the seminar is cancelled before it has begun, the student will receive a full refund of that fee ($10,000.00). If a seminar is cancelled during the 10 day period, the student will be refunded the pro rata portion of tuition, fees, and other charges that the number of seminar hours remaining in the seminar after the effective date of termination bears to the total number of hours in the seminar.
Additional terms, for all courses and seminars.
If a student enrolls in the Austin Center for Design, pays for tuition in full (as is required), and then seeks a refund, the following policies apply:
- The refund must be requested in writing.
- Refund computations will be based on the period of enrollment computed on basis of course time (clock hours).
- The effective date of termination for refund purposes will be the earliest of the following: a) the last date of attendance; or b) the date of receipt of written notice from the student.
- If tuition and fees are collected in advance of entrance, and the student does not enter school, not more than $100 shall be retained by the school.
- If the student fails to enter the seminar, withdraws, or is discontinued at any time before completion of the seminar, the student will be refunded the pro rata portion of tuition, fees, and other charges that the number of class hours remaining in the seminar after the effective date of termination bears to the total number of class hours in the seminar.
- A full refund of all tuition and fees is due in each of the following cases: a) an enrollee is not accepted by the school; b) if the seminar of instruction is discontinued by the school and thus prevents the student from completing the seminar; or c) if the student's enrollment was procured as a result of any misrepresentation in advertising, promotional materials of the school, or misrepresentations by the owner or representatives of the school.
- Refunds will be totally consummated within 60 days after the effective date of termination.
The following describes the refund policy for students called to active military service. A student of the school or college who withdraws from the school or college as a result of the student being called to active duty in a military service of the United States or the Texas National Guard may elect one of the following options for each program in which the student is enrolled:
- if tuition and fees are collected in advance of the withdrawal, a pro rata refund of any tuition, fees, or other charges paid by the student for the program and a cancellation of any unpaid tuition, fees, or other charges owed by the student for the portion of the program the student does not complete following withdrawal;
- a grade of incomplete with the designation "withdrawn-military" for the courses in the program, other than courses for which the student has previously received a grade on the student's transcript, and the right to re-enroll in the program, or a substantially equivalent program if that program is no longer available, not later than the first anniversary of the date the student is discharged from active military duty without payment of additional tuition, fees, or other charges for the program other than any previously unpaid balance of the original tuition, fees, and charges for books for the program; or
- the assignment of an appropriate final grade or credit for the courses in the program, but only if the instructor or instructors of the program determine that the student has satisfactorily completed at least 90 percent of the required coursework for the program; and demonstrated sufficient mastery of the program material to receive credit for completing the program.
Enrollment Agreement. In order to successfully enroll in the Austin Center for Design, a student must sign an enrollment agreement. No students will be permitted to take courses at The Center prior to signing this agreement.
Attendance Policy. Austin Center for Design recognizes the necessity of each class period, and therefore assumes students will attend all classes held, and will arrive on time for class. Each instructor may set a policy regarding absences, lateness, and make-up work; a recommended, but not required, policy is as follows:
- During the 1 year seminar, students who are absent for more than four class periods during a quarter will receive a failing grade in that course
- Students who are more than twenty minutes late for a class period are considered "absent" for that class period
- No make-up work is accepted
The actual policy for absence, lateness and make-up work must be published in the Syllabus for the course, handed out on the first day of each course.
Student and Disciplinary Policies
Student Conduct Policy. Austin Center for Design recognizes its students as responsible and dedicated men and women. An integral part of their career and professional development is the expectation that they conduct themselves during the education process in the same manner as will be expected in all employment situations. As members of Austin Center for Design community, students have responsibilities and duties commensurate with their rights and privileges. In this policy, Austin Center for Design provides guidance to students regarding those standards of student conduct and behavior that it considers essential to its educational mission. This policy also provides guidance regarding the types of conduct that infringe upon the fulfillment of Austin Center for Design's mission. Any student who is found to have violated the student conduct policy is subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including suspension or permanent dismissal, as further described below.
The following is a list of behaviors that violate Austin Center for Design Student Conduct Policy; although not exhaustive, this list provides examples of unacceptable student behaviors.
- Persistent or gross acts of willful disobedience or defiance toward school personnel
- Assault, battery, or any other form of physical abuse of a student or school employee
- Verbal abuse of a student or school employee
- Conveyance of threats by any means of communication including but not limited to, threats of physical abuse and threats to damage or destroy school property or the property of other students or school employees
- Any conduct that threatens the health or safety of another individual
- Harassment by any means of any individual, including coercion and personal abuse. Harassment includes but is not limited to, written or verbal acts or uses of technology, which have the effect of harassing or intimidating a person
- Any form of sexual harassment, including but not limited to unwanted sexual attention, comments or unwanted sexual contact
- Violations by guest of a student on school property. Students are responsible for the actions of their guests
- Theft, attempted theft, vandalism/damage, or defacing of school property or the property of another student, faculty or staff member
- Interference with the normal operations of the school (i.e., disruption of teaching and administrative functions, disciplinary procedures, pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or other school activities)
- Unauthorized entry into, or use of, school facilities
- Forgery, falsification, alteration or misuse of school documents, records or identification
- Dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly supplying false information or deceiving the school and/or its official.
- Disorderly, lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct. This would include but is not limited to any type of clothing or materials worn or brought onto the premises by any student or guest deemed to be lewd, indecent or obscene as determined by school officials
- Violation of school safety regulations, including but not limited to setting fires, tampering with fire safety and/or fire fighting equipment, failure to exit during fire drill, turning in false fire alarms and bomb threats
- Use, sale, possession or distribution of illegal or controlled substances, drug or drug paraphernalia on school property, or at any function sponsored or supervised by the school. Being under the influence of illegal or controlled substances on school property, or at any school function is also prohibited
- Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or other weapons on school property or at school sponsored functions
- Failure to satisfy school financial obligations
- Failure to comply with direction of school officials, faculty, staff or security officers who are acting in the performance of their duties
- Failure to identify oneself when on school property or at a school-sponsored or supervised function, upon request of school official acting in the performance of his/her duties
- Violation of federal, state or local laws and school rules and regulations on school property or at school sanctioned or school sponsored functions.
- Any form of "hazing" and any act that endangers the safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. "Hazing" includes any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student club or any pastime or amusement engaged in with respect to such a club that causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm, to any student or other person attending the school
- Any in-school or off-campus act considered inappropriate or of misconduct that adversely affects the interests of Austin Center for Design and/or its reputation
- Any violation of the institutions policies on the responsible use of technology including but not limited to:
- Theft or abuse of computer, e-mail, Internet or Intranet resources - Unauthorized entry into a file, to use, read, or change the content, of for any other purpose
- Unauthorized transfer of a file
- Unauthorized downloading of copyrighted materials in violation of law
- Use of computing facilities utilizing peer to peer file sharing applications
- Use of computing facilities solely to download pornographic materials, whether images, videos or sounds
- Unauthorized use of another individual's identification and/or password
- Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member, or school official
- Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages
- Use of computing facilities to interfere with normal operation of the school's computing system
- Harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other criteria protected by state, federal or local law.
- Any member of Austin Center for Design community, such as faculty, staff, student, may file a complaint against any student for misconduct or for otherwise being in violation of Austin Center for Design policies. The complaint shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Director or his/her delegate. Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged violation occurred.
- The Director shall review and investigate the complaint to determine if the allegations have merit, to identify violations of the student conduct policy, and to impose sanctions for such violations.
- Unless otherwise provided by law, Austin Center for Design generally will not disclose the name of the person making the complaint to the accused student ("STUDENT") unless it determines in its sole discretion that the circumstances warrant it.
- Notification and Adjudication
- Within a reasonable period of time after the complaint is received, The Director or his/her delegate will notify the STUDENT of the complaint and the alleged violation of the student conduct policy. This notification may be in written form or through oral communication. The STUDENT will meet with the Director or his/her delegate to discuss the complaint and alleged violation. The Director or his/her delegate will render and communicate the decision to the STUDENT.
- If a good faith effort has been made to contact the STUDENT to discuss the alleged violation and the STUDENT fails to appear for the meeting, the Director or his/her delegate may make a determination of violations of Austin Center for Design policies on the basis of the information available, and impose sanctions for such violations. This decision shall be communicated to the STUDENT.
- The Director or his/her delegate's determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the STUDENT violated a rule, regulation or policy of Austin Center for Design.
- Procedures Regarding Student Dismissals. When the Administration proposes to dismiss/expel a student from Austin Center for Design the following procedures should apply unless the students forego them.
- The charges against the student shall be presented to the STUDENT in written form, including the time, place and nature of the alleged offense(s). A time shall be set for a hearing not less than two nor more than fifteen calendar days after the STUDENT has been notified of the charges and his/her proposed dismissal from school. Maximum time limits for scheduling of hearings may be extended at the discretion of the Director or his/her delegate.
- Hearings shall be conducted by the Director or his/her delegate (herein referred to as the "Hearing Officer") and may also include faculty, staff and students according to the following guidelines:
- Hearings normally shall be conducted in private. Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Dean of Student Services or his/her delegate.
- In hearings involving more than one STUDENT, the Hearing Officer, in her or her discretion, may permit the hearing concerning each student to be conducted separately
- The complaining party (which may be a member of the Administration) and the STUDENT may present witnesses at the hearing. Those witnesses may be questioned by the Hearing Officer
- Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by the Hearing Officer at his/her discretion
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Hearing Officer
- After the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall determine whether the STUDENT has violated the rules, regulations or policies that the STUDENT is charged with violating. The Hearing Officer will issue a written determination. If the Hearing Officer determines that a violation has occurred, the Hearing Officer's determination will also address whether dismissal from the Institute is an appropriate sanction for the offense(s)
- The Hearing Officer's determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the STUDENT violated a rule, regulation or policy of Austin Center for Design.
- The Hearing Officer shall provide the STUDENT with a copy of the determination, including information regarding the student's right of appeal there from.
- Interim Suspension. Austin Center for Design may immediately remove or suspend a student from school and/or school-sponsored housing without applying or exhausting these procedures when, in Austin Center for Design's sole judgment, the student poses a threat of harm to himself, to others, or to property of Austin Center for Design or a member of Austin Center for Design community During the interim suspension, the student shall be denied access to school-sponsored housing and/or to the school (including classes, labs, library) and/or all other school activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Director or designee may determine to be appropriate.
- Violations of Law. If a student is charged with a violation of federal, state or local laws or regulations occurring away from the school, disciplinary action may be instituted and sanctions imposed against the student when the school has a reasonable belief that the health, safety or welfare of Austin Center for Design community is threatened. Disciplinary procedures may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law that is also a violation of the student conduct policy. Proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus. Austin Center for Design will cooperate fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal laws on school property. Search of Student's Property
- Sanctions. Austin Center for Design may impose sanctions for violations of the student conduct policy. The type of sanction imposed may vary depending upon the seriousness of the violation(s). Austin Center for Design reserves the right to immediately impose the most severe sanction if circumstances merit.
Although not exhaustive, the following list represents the types of sanctions that may be imposed upon any student or student organization found to have violated the student conduct policy:
- Warning: A notice in writing that a student has failed to meet some aspect of the school's standards and expectations
- Probation: Probation is used for repeated violations or a specific violation of a serious nature. The Director or his/her delegate defines the terms of probation.
- Suspension: Separation of the student from the school for a predetermined period of time. The student may be able to return to school once specified conditions for readmission are met. The student may not attend classes, visit school-sponsored housing, use school facilities, participate in or attend school activities, or be employed by the school during his/her suspension.
- Expulsion: The student will be expelled from Austin Center for Design immediately. The student will not be permitted to continue his or her studies at the school and may not return to the school or to school-sponsored housing at any time or for any reason.
- Restitution: Compensation for loss or damage to property leased, owned or controlled by the school. This may take the form of monetary or material replacement.
- Discretionary Sanctions: The student will be required to complete an educational service, attend counseling, or have restricted privileges. The above list is only a general guideline. Some sanctions may be omitted, and other sanctions not listed above may be used.
- Appeal Procedures. Students wishing to appeal a disciplinary decision may do so in the following manner:
- The student must obey the terms of the decision pending the outcome of the appeal, i.e., a student who has been suspended from school may not be on school property, a student dismissed from school-sponsored housing must leave in accordance with the directions indicated in the decision.
- The student must write a letter of appeal, addressed to The Director of Austin Center for Design or his/her delegate. This letter will give the student the opportunity to indicate his/her position on the decision. It must detail all bases for the appeal. It must be delivered to The Director or his/her delegate within seven calendar days following the student's receipt of the decision.
- The Director or his/her delegate shall appoint a committee to review appeals and make a recommendation regarding disposition of the appeal. This committee will be comprised of staff members not involved in making the initial disciplinary decision. The student making the appeal and the person bringing the charges may be provided an opportunity to address the committee in person. The student may be accompanied by one person (family member, friend, etc.) as an observer. The student may not be accompanied by an attorney. The committee may prohibit from attending or remove any person who disrupts the proceedings of the committee. The committee shall determine all matters relating to the conduct of the hearing including, for example, relevancy of evidence, duration of the hearing or any part thereof, procedures, the weight to be given any evidence.
- The committee will report back to The Director or his/her delegate with its recommendation following its review of the appeal. The Director or his/her delegate will render a written decision on the appeal within thirty calendar days from receipt of the appeal and communicate same promptly to the student.
- Procedure for Re-Entry After Termination
- A student terminated for violating any of the policies of the Center must appeal in writing to the Director for re-entry before the start of the semester in which he/she wishes to return. The appeal procedure described in the preceding section applies. If the appeal is granted, the re-entering student will be placed on probation during the quarter of return. A student is allowed one and only one re-entry appeal after being terminated.
- Austin Center for Design Student Re-entry Process Any student who has left Austin Center for Design for any time period must go through the formal re-entry process. Each student's academic status must be reviewed before he/she can be considered for re-entry.
- Procedure for Readmissions: Any student who has left the school for any time period must go through the formal reentry process. To begin the process, the student must meet with the Director. The Director will ensure that the student's records will be reviewed. If approval is obtained, the Director may proceed in the facilitation of the reentering process.
Anti-Hazing Policy. Hazing involving Austin Center for Design students or student groups is strictly prohibited. Hazing is defined as any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any club or organization operating under the sanction of an institution of higher education. For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition that the initiation or admission into or affiliation with a club or organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be "forced" activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding. This policy is applicable to all students and members of a student club or organization at Austin Center for Design. Every student and member of a student club or organization is responsible for complying with this policy. Individuals and/or student clubs that force, require, and/or endorse violations will be held directly responsible through the Center's student conduct process and if appropriate, through local authorities, which may pursue criminal action. Students who wish to make a complaint under this policy should contact the Dean of Academic Affairs. The negligence or consent of a student or any assumption of risk by the student is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to this policy. Student club activities or programs must not interfere with the rights and activities of others and should always reflect the best interests of the members of the organization it represents and the Center community as a whole. In all cases of alleged violations of this policy, faculty and staff advisors and the national/international headquarters, if applicable, of any organization will be notified.
Non Discrimination Policy. Austin Center for Design admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its education policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
Sexual Harrasment Policy. The Center is committed to providing a workplace and education programs and activities for employees, faculty students and applicants for admission that are free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in any manner or form is expressly prohibited. All claims of sexual harassment will be promptly and thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action taken, based on the results of the investigation. Within The Center, a supervisor, faculty member, or administrator who uses implicit or explicit coercive sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, salary, or job of an employee or student is engaging in sexual harassment. Similarly, an employee of The Center who acts in this manner in the process of conducting Center business is engaging in sexual harassment. In addition, any faculty, staff or administrator who participates in the deliberate or repeated unsolicited verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature, which is unwelcome and/or interferes with the work productivity of an employee or academic performance of a student, is also engaging in sexual harassment. Employees, students, or other individuals who feel that they have been sexually harassed have several ways to make their concerns known. In some instances, bringing the offensive behavior to the attention of the person engaging in the conduct is all that is necessary to solve the existing or potential problem. Students who feel that they have been sexually harassed should bring their concerns to the Director. All information disclosed will be kept as confidential as possible, but some disclosure to those who need to know or for purposes of investigation may be necessary. Regardless of the method of resolution, a person who initiates a sexual harassment complaint will not be the subject of coercion, intimidation, retaliation or discrimination, nor will the initiation of the complaint affect employment, compensation, or work assignments for employees, or grades, class section, or other matters for students. All levels of administration and management are responsible for implementing this policy and helping to create an environment free of sexual harassment. A complaint of sexual harassment will be thoroughly investigated to determine validity. If the complaint is determined to be valid, disciplinary action will be taken up to discharge of an employee or expulsion of a student.
Student Grievance/Complaint Policy. In the event of a student complaint, the student should first begin with the faculty or staff member involved. If the concern cannot be resolved or is of such a nature the student is not comfortable discussing it with the party involved, the proper channel would be to go to the individual's supervisor. If the concern cannot be resolved with the supervisor, then, as a next step the proper channel would be to go to the Director.
At this step, the student should submit his/her complaint, and any supporting documentation, in writing and request an appointment where they may follow up on their specific issue.
FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect their son's or daughter's education records. Directory information about a student may be released, provided that the student has not requested that it remain confidential. Nondirectory information may be released with the written consent of the student. For more information, please see the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA information at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html or the registrar's FERPA website at http://www.utexas.edu/student/registrar/ferpa/.
Approved and Regulated Statement. Approved and Regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission, Career Schools and Centers, Austin, Texas.
Contact the Texas Workforce Commission for the purpose of complaints, at:
Texas Workforce Commission
Career Schools and Colleges
101 East 15th Street, Room 104-T
Austin, Texas 78778-0001