Frequently Asked Questions - Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions - Colleges

Are community colleges operating normally this fall?

Many classes will be taught online during the fall semester. Face-to-face classes will be held in some programs, particularly for those workforce education courses that are difficult to conduct online. In-person classes are held with extensive safety measures in place, including social distancing, mask wearing and increased santizing. See the website for your local college for more information.

In the spring of 2020, in-person classes were halted across the System, with a few exceptions for programs to train nurses, first responders and respiratory therapists, deemed necessary for North Carolina's workforce during the pandemic. See Numbered Memo CC20-021 for more information.

(Last updated  8/28/2020)


What should students without internet access at home do if their in-person class is shifted online?

There are a number of options available for students, and they should get in touch with their college's student services office for help with their specific situation. The Federal Communications Commission has announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative which can make internet access more affordable for students. More information is availble at the link provided.

(Last updated 3/19/2020)


Will Career and College Promise dual enrollment classes continue?

Yes, Career and College Promise courses will continue to be offered by the colleges.

(Last updated 8/28/2020)


If a student is unable to continue their instruction as a result of COVID-19 through no fault of their own, will they be required to pay back financial aid they have received?

The System Office is seeking guidance from the US Department of Education on this question, and will update this response as soon as we receive clarification.

(Last updated 3/19/2020)


Do colleges have flexibility in spending during this time?

On March 19, the State Board of Community colleges voted to grant colleges flexibility in how they spend bookstore receipts, student activity fees, and technology fees. You can learn about the temporary measures here.

Additionally, per 01 NCAC 05B .1602 and 09 NCAC 06B .1302, colleges have authority to make purchases for emergency needs.

(Last updated 3/19/2020)


What should colleges do about additional expenses they incur in their response to COVID-19?

Colleges should keep track of all additional expenses and/or revenue lost as a result of COVID-19. The State Office of Budget and Mangement has requested that agencies share this information as it is available. The State Board of Community Colleges has provided temporary relief to colleges via temporary rules permitting colleges flexibility in expenditure of recieipts from bookstores, student activity fees, and technology fees.

(Last updated 3/19/2020)


Can colleges donate or sell state-purchased Personal Protective Equipment to local hospitals?

Yes. State Board approval is not required. According to statute, prior notice and Board of Trustees approval are required. Given the emergency situation, colleges are urged to act in the best interest of their communities, regardless of notice and approval provisions. Notification of the college's Board of Trustees is sufficient, and individual presidents can decide how best to involve the local board. College staff should record the sale or donation, and should ensure that the equipment meets medical-grade standards.

(Last updated 3/23/2020)


Will colleges receive direction about what to do with the courses we are converting to online? Do the classes need to be recoded on the schedule?  What will we need to be concerned with from an attendance/compliance perspective?

There is no need to recode courses. Document your changes and maintain documentation for compliance services.

(Last updated 3/26/2020)


Should colleges consider Pass/Fail grades?

Grading is a local decision, but we strongly encourage colleges to grade out the class using their normal grading systems. We are concerned that issuing pass/fail grades may impact the transferability of credits to senior institutions.

(Last updated 3/26/2020)


Will veterans be permitted to participate in classes that are online, specifically those numbered less than 100? 

Per verbal approval from the VA, veteran students will be paid if they take 100% of their Dev. Ed. courses online up until December 21, 2020.

(Last updated 3/26/2020)


As the transition classes move to online is proctoring of Tier tests necessary?

This is a college decision, However, RISE will no longer require Tier tests to be proctored.

(Last updated 3/26/2020)


Can a college use a high school GPA that is more than ten years old for placement into gateway courses?

Yes, there will be no expiration on high school GPA for the purposes of placement into gateway math and English courses for the summer or fall 2020 semester.

(Last updated 3/26/2020)


What methods are available to alter course section dates to accommodate extended time needed for the completion of face-to-face or online courses?

The document titled Adjust Curriculum (CU) Section Meeting Dates Due to an Unplanned Event has been published to the NCCCS Service Portal at This document is available to assist colleges that may have a need to adjust Curriculum section meeting dates.

Colleges may use their current Emergency/Inclement Weather Make Up Plans to mitigate the impact of covid-19; the make up plans may adjust delivery methods, start dates, meeting dates, end dates, etc., just as they currently do to remedy inclement weather situations. Note: course-section end-dates may be extended past the semester end date. Colleges use this method as a paper process. Compliance can be demonstrated by documenting changes for audit purposes.

Colleges may want to consider giving a special Incomplete for courses that were not able to complete in the spring term. A separate section can be created in the summer term to create structure for students to complete the course. This may be useful for classes that require hands on training. The separate section should not have a charge or contact hours attached since the student is currently enrolled in the course and has paid tuition.

(Last updated 3/26/2020)