Resolving Misconduct Issues at Post University

Post University is a for-profit school based in Waterbury, Conn., owned since 2004 by Post Education, Inc., which is incorporated in Delaware.

The school combines online learning with two in-person campuses in Waterbury and one in Wallingford, Conn. It also has entered into recent agreements with schools in Scottsdale, Ariz., (Scottsdale Community College) for Equine Studies, and Denver, Colo., (American Sentinel University) to add to its Nursing and Health Sciences programs.

Post University gets just over 80% of its funding from federal (Title IV) financial aid; the federal government requires that a for-profit school receive no more than 90% of its funding from Title IV.

The school offers certificates and associate, bachelor's degrees, and graduate degrees.

Academic Expectations

Post University tracks student progress after each 8-week term using two calculations: Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Pace of Completion standards.

  • Academic progress is your cumulative grade-point average, based in part on how many credits you're taking. If you fall below the standard, you're placed on “Warning” status for the next eligible term, and may retake two courses if you failed them.
  • Pace of completion means whether you're making steady progress toward earning your degree or certificate. It's calculated by dividing the number of coursework hours that have been successfully completed by the number that you have attempted.

For in-person classes, a student is allowed four unexcused absences in a semester (16-week) course or two unexcused absences in a one-term (8-week) course. Exceed those absences, and you risk a failing grade.

Course participation is measured differently for online students; it is based on “academic activity,” such as submitting an assignment, posting to a discussion board, or taking a test or quiz. If you haven't shown any academic activity by midnight “on the second Monday following the beginning of a term,” you'll be dismissed from the course and charged a drop fee. You can also be dropped from a course for not participating for two consecutive weeks.

As a student, you can request an “Incomplete” (IN) grade for a course if you've finished less than 60% of the required coursework and have “a compelling reason” for not being able to catch up by the end of the term or semester. If the instructor agrees, the two of you can negotiate a contract that allows you to do the work within a specified time period. If you get it done, you're graded based on the work for the full course. However, if it isn't completed on time, you get the “default” grade you'd earned at the end of the term.

This is important because, if you're already on Warning status—that is, your Satisfactory Academic Progress is lagging—your financial aid can be held up by not finishing a course.

Another grade to avoid at Post University is the “Unearned F” (UF), given for not completing the graded assignments after the midpoint of a course. This can affect not only your financial aid but your ability to enroll in future courses.

And members of the military can opt to withdraw from a course if they're deployed when the course is more than half-finished, but this “M” designation can also affect their Satisfactory Academic Progress score.

Code of Conduct Violations

Post University defines student misconduct as “any behavior that interferes with the success of the University's mission statement,” and it takes violations seriously. A “flagrant violation” could mean immediate expulsion and “denial of any financial reimbursements.”

Academic integrity violations include:

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism and self-plagiarism (turning in work you've submitted previously, but presenting it as new without sufficient revision)
  • “Unauthorized” collaboration (sharing work or devices with other students)
  • Use of materials purchased online, or “paraphrasing tools” that change another author's work to make it seem new

Post University instructors report violations to the Program Chair and other administrators as needed. A student's first violation is considered an “Integrity Warning,” punishable by a ‘zero' on the assignment with an opportunity to rewrite it. Additional violations are classified as:

  • Infraction 1: A ‘zero' on the assignment and no opportunity to redo it
  • Infraction 2: An ‘F' grade and removal from the course where the violation occurred
  • Infraction 3: “Academic dismissal from Post University”

For Integrity Warnings and the first two types of infractions, a meeting is also required with the school's Center for Academic Success, for “a lesson associated with the specific violation.”

Appeals Processes

Post divides its student complaint policy into levels, saying a student should take their concerns first to the instructor or staff member involved. When that doesn't work, the Director or Dean of the department where the problem occurred is the person to handle a formal complaint.

If you're facing suspension or a threat to end your financial aid, you must appeal in writing, directly to the Dean of your school and the Academic Appeal Committee, but the timeline for doing so is tight. You can begin the appeals process “one week before the end of the term/payment period when [you] expect to have [your] federal financial aid eligibility suspended and be dismissed from Post University.” The appeal must include:

  • A letter explaining what caused your academic decline
  • “Supporting documentation of those circumstances”
  • A plan for improvement

There is even a specific format for the letter. It must be sent as a Word document or PDF, and “correct grammar, spelling and punctuation are required.”

  • Paragraph 1 – “Explain the mitigating circumstances that caused your dismissal…”
  • Paragraph 2 – “Describe, in detail, what you have done or will do to improve this situation.”
  • Paragraph 3 – “Identify why you hope to come back to school and what your education means to you.”

If the appeal is approved and you are reenrolled, you'll be placed on academic probation. This means you'll have one term/payment period to raise your grades and improve your pace of completion.

If your appeal is rejected, the third step is a complaint to the Provost.

Sexual Misconduct at Post University

Post University also prohibits gender-based and sexual misconduct, including

  • Sexual or gender-based harassment or assault
  • Dating or domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Attempts at the above
  • Retaliation

Allegations of sexual misconduct are adjudicated by the university's Sexual Misconduct Board and Title IX office, and sanctions range from verbal warnings to dismissal from Post U.

Individuals accused of sexual misconduct at Post are permitted to have the assistance of an advisor throughout the proceedings and during the hearing. While you may select a professor or other staff member, it is important to consider that, as employees of the university, they have a conflict of interest. It is better to retain skilled outside counsel, whose only loyalty is to you.

An Experienced Advocate

Post encourages a student with a grievance to try to resolve it with “open and honest conversation.” But that isn't always possible. Perhaps you're facing an infraction you know is unfair, or the school is keeping funds you believe should be returned to you.

Whatever your situation, you need an experienced advocate—and you'll have one in Joseph D. Lento. The Lento Law Firm can help you navigate academic misconduct charges and other school-related issues. Schedule a consultation online, or by calling 888-535-3686.