Outdoor and Experiential Education Program Partnerships

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Western Colorado University's Extended Studies program has developed partnerships with quality outdoor wilderness education and other experiential education programs to offer college credit. Extended Studies offers students the opportunity to earn credit while participating in valuable learning opportunities provided by our contract partners through field expeditions and cultural exploration, as well as through leadership training and various certifications.

If you are planning to enroll in a course and would like to earn college credit, please complete the OUTDOOR PROGRAMS APPLICATION REQUEST FORM to receive your credit registration packet.

Outdoor Programs Staff Contact Information
Anne Chavez
archavez@western.edu
970.943.2889

Mailing Address:

Western Colorado University
Extended Studies, Taylor 303
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

Phone: 970.943.2885
Fax: 970.943.7068
Email: outdoorprograms@western.edu

Credit Registration Process
  1. Register with your Program first.
  2. Once you are registered with your Program, complete our Online Application Request Form.
  3. After you complete the Online Application Request Form, you will be emailed Western's Credit Registration Packet.
  4. Complete the Credit Registration Packet and submit it to outdoorprograms@western.edu 30 days prior to your program's start date.
  5. Once Western Extended Studies receives your Credit Registration Packet, you will receive a "Forms Received" email.
  6. Western Extended Studies will then verify your enrollment with your Program.
  7. Once enrollment is verified, you will receive an invoice that will include your student ID. 
  8. When you receive your invoice, initiate payment through your 529 Plan or AmeriCorps portal.
    • If paying with a credit card, email outdoorprograms@western.edu. We will set up your account and send you an email with the phone number to call.
    • If you are paying for credits only, call the Cashier's Office at 970.943.3003 anytime 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to pay for your credits only.
  9. Once we receive funding, you will be registered for credit and your funds will be sent to your program.
  10. Our registration process is complete once your funding has been received and processed.
  11. Once the registration process is completed, you will receive a registration confirmation email that will contain your assignment (if applicable) and a paid in full invoice.

Payment Process
Credits Only
  • Once you receive your invoice, call the Cashier's Office at 970.943.3003 between 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to pay for your credits.
  • This option is for credits only.
  • Registration and credits must be paid no later than two weeks before the start of the course.
AmeriCorps Vouchers
  • You will receive an invoice with your amount due. This total is your program course fee + your Western credit costs.
  • Once you receive this invoice, log on to your AmeriCorps portal and submit an educational voucher to Western Colorado University in the amount that is listed on your invoice.
  • Once Western receives your request, we will review your voucher and authorize it to be certified for Outdoor Program courses.
  • When the voucher is certified, Western will charge the credit amount to your account and send the remaining balance to your program for your course fee.
  • If you paid a deposit, your program will refund you directly once they receive funds.
  • Registration and AmeriCorps payment must be complete no later then 30 days prior to your program tuition due date.
529 Plans
  • You will receive an invoice with your amount due. This total is your program course fee + your Western credit costs.
    • Once you receive this invoice please contact your 529 to initiate payment.
  • If you are paying out of pocket then being reimbursed by your 529, pay your program and Western separately.
    • When Western receives your funding, we will charge the credit cost to your account and send the remaining balance to your program.
  • If you paid a deposit, your program will refund you directly once they receive funds.
  • Registration and 529 payment must be complete no later then 30 days prior to your program tuition due date.
 Private Student Loans
  • Please note that this is not financial aid. FAFSA and government loans are not available through our office for Outdoor Programs.
  • Once you have submitted your Credit Registration packet and received an invoice, have your loan sent to Western Colorado University.
  • Registration and Private Student Loan payment must be complete no later then 30 days prior to your program tuition due date.

AmeriCorps Reimbursements

If you are paying for your course and credit with AmeriCorps funding, you may have the opportunity to be reimbursed for required expenses related to your Outdoor Programs course. All expenses must be verifiable and auditable as eligible current educational expenses, and Western may only certify AmeriCorps funds directly related to educational expenses. Eligible expenses include course and credit fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses. This also applies to approved travel expenses to and from courses that are not included within the program course fee billed in the tuition payment. Personal expense reimbursement requests for relocation, alcohol, entertainment or any item not directly required for your course are not eligible expenses and will not be approved.

  1. Requirements for an AmeriCorps Reimbursement Request
    1. Your AmeriCorps award must continue to be active for six months after your course end date to allow you to submit a reimbursement request.
    2. If your AmeriCorps award expires within six months of your course end date, your reimbursement request will not be processed.
    3. You must complete you course and receive a letter grade of a "C" or above or a passing grade of "S." If you receive a grade lower than a C, your AmeriCorps reimbursement request cannot be processed.
    4. You must submit your reimbursement within 30 days of your course end date. If your reimbusement request is submitted later than 30 days after your course ending, it will not be processed.
  2. Steps in completing an AmeriCorps Reimbursement Request
    1. Email outdoorprograms@westerm.edu and request a reimbursement request packet.
    2. Be sure you have saved all receipts. Receipts must be itemized, clearly numbered and show paid transactions.
    3. Attach numbered receipts to your reimbursement packet.
    4. Send your completed AmeriCorps Reimbursement Request to outdoorprograms@western.edu.
  3. Reimbursement requests can take 8-10 weeks after submission to process.
  4. Once you receive an email confirming your approved amount, you may log into your AmeriCorps account and send Western a voucher for reimbursement.
  5. Travel Expense Reimbursement Policy
    1. Students must depart and return from their home address as stated on original registration forms.
    2. Students are expected to travel to and from courses in a reasonable time frame surrounding their course (1-2 days on either end of the course).
    3. Car rental receipts must clearly show dates in a reasonable time frame surrounding course.
    4. Gasoline receipts that show dates and locations along a route directly TO the course location and back FROM the student’s home address on file with our office will be verified without further documentation requested. Please submit a MapQuest of your route along with your receipts.
    5. Air ticket receipts must clearly show dates in a reasonable time frame surrounding course.
    6. Baggage fees will be approved with paid receipt.
    7. Daily transport services to and from course venue (such as light rail or bus) during course dates are reimbursable with valid receipts showing dates and locations.
  6. Lodging and Meals
    1. Lodging and meals while traveling to and from a course from home address on original course registration forms are reimbursable with valid receipts showing dates and locations along travel route and within 1-2 days of course beginning and course end.
    2. Total meal reimbursement per day may not exceed the domestic (CONUS) per diem rates as regulated by Western in compliance with the State of Colorado Travel Fiscal Rule.
    3. Be sure alcohol is not listed on your itemized receipts from hotels or eating establishments. (Request a separate receipt from your server for any alcoholic beverages.)
  7. Personal Travel (applies to airfare reimbursement only)
    1. Students must provide a written explanation of their personal travel circumstances at the same time the reimbursement request packet is submitted. Students must detail where they are traveling from, their final destination and the reasons.
    2. When this information has been provided, Western will review and determine what a reasonable round trip ticket would cost from the student’s home address in a reasonable time frame surrounding the course. The cost of this ticket (if less than actual ticket purchased), is the adjusted amount that will be approved.
  8. Cash Advances
    1. Western may not certify a cash advance from your AmeriCorps account for travel. The reimbursement process takes place at the end of course, after either a grade of C or above or a passing grade of S is received by Extended Studies.

Papers, Grades and Transcripts

Please refer to Section C of your Credit Registration Packet or your Registration Confirmation email to determine if you are required to submit an assignment. If your Section C or your Registration Confirmation email does not include assignment details no further action is required from you—your program will send Western your grade 3-6 weeks after your course is complete.

  1. Once you are registered and payment is received you will receive a Registration Confirmation email. Your confirmation will include:
    1. Assignment instructions and deatils.
    2. Assignment due date.
  2. All assignments must be emailed in a Microsoft Word or PDF format to outdoorprograms@western.edu by your assignment due date.
  3. If your assignment is turned in after your assignment due date, 1 percent will be deducted from your final grade for every day that it is late.
  4. Due date extensions are only granted for confirmed extenuating circumstances. An extension request must be submitted in writing to the Extended Studies office before the orginal coursework due date and be accompanied by documentation of the reason for the request.
  5. Students are in charge of submitting their assignments but we cannot accept evaluations from students. Student evaluations will be submitted by your program.
  6. Once Western receives the students evaluation and assignment those documents will be handed to Western faculty to be graded.
  7. Within 3-4 weeks of paper and evaluation submission the student will receive a "grade ready" email to their Western email account. Do not order a transcript before you receive a grade ready email.
    1. To order a transcript visit www.getmytranscript.com.
    2. To look at your grade without ordering a transcript:
      1. Go to western.edu
      2. Click the "Current Students" button on the top of the page.
      3. Click the red MyWestern button and log in using your student ID and password.
      4. Click on 'student'
      5. Click on 'student records'
      6. Click 'Transcripts-view'
      7. Select the transcript level and keep type as web transcript and submit.
    3. Failure to submit an assignment will result in a Technical Fail (TF) on your permanent transcript.

Course Changes
Incompletes, Withdrawals and Drops

Once a student has attended a NOLS course, they are considered enrolled. Enrolled students who are unable to complete a course for reasons beyond the student’s control (e.g., illness/injury) should notify Western Extended Studies in writing within a week of departure from a course and send documentation of the situation. Extended Studies will verify student status and date of departure with the NOLS office. For a grade of Incomplete (IN) to be recorded, the student must have attended 50 percent or more of the course. The student and the Instructor of Record must agree upon a plan for the completion of their assignment within a time period not to exceed one month from original course date end. If the work is not completed, the IN will revert to a Technical Fail (TF). For a Withdrawal (W) on the permanent transcript or a complete credit drop to be processed, the percentage of course attended will be calculated by Extended Studies to find which range is allowed according to the Registrar’s policies. Failure to notify Extended Studies of departure during the course date range will result in an automatic Technical Fail (TF) on the student’s permanent transcript. There is no refund of credit cost for an Incomplete, Withdrawal or Drop once a student is enrolled.

Suspension

If a student is dismissed by NOLS due to behavior or disciplinary issues, Western reserves the right to process a "TF" based on the student’s dismissal and failure to complete the course. Student does not receive a refund.

Cancellations and Course Tranfers

Students must notify Extended Studies a minimum of 10 business days before their course begins of any credit registration cancellation, credit registration changes, NOLS course cancellation or NOLS course transfer. Non-attendance does NOT constitute cancellation through Western. Registration and assignments may not be changed once student is on course. At no time may credit registration changes take place after course has ended. In the event of a course transfer, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Extended Studies Office directly and submit new registration forms for the new course. Failure to update credit registration for a new NOLS course will result in a TF in the original course and no credit will be issued for the new course. AmeriCorps funding that has been processed may only be transferred for a new course within the same term. A $50 processing fee will be assessed for cancels, transfers and credit changes.

Question and Answer

Q. Do I need to register for credit to use my AmeriCorps award or 529 funding?
A. Yes. AmeriCorps and 529 funds are to be used for educational purposes through an accredited university.

Q. Are there any fees associated with using a 529 plan?
A. The only fees associated with Western are your Western credit costs.

Q. How do I submit my 529 funds?
A. Contact your 529. The most common ways 529 plans send funds are:

  1. Sending a check directly to Western
  2. Directly depositing the funds directly into your account
  3. Reimbursing you once you have paid out of pocket
  • If your 529 will reimburse you, pay your program and Western separately.

Q. I need an invoice to release my 529 funds as well as for tax purposes.
A. Once the student’s enrollment is verified, you will receive a "Total Due" invoice. Once payment is received and the student is registered you will receive a "Paid in Full" invoice.

Q. I need a student ID to release my 529 funds. How do I get that?
A. Once the student’s enrollment is verified, you will receive an invoice that will include the student ID.

Q. My AmeriCorps voucher says “pending institutional action." What does that mean?
A. Western certifies vouchers once a week. Once you are registered and your voucher is certified that note will disappear.

Q. My award expires before my course starts. Can I still use it as long as I pay before the course starts?
A. No. Your award cannot expire before the first day of your course.

Q. Can I request reimbursement before my course ends and my grade is received?
A. No. Reimbursements are only processed once your course is complete and Western receives your grade back as a "C" or above or an "S."

Q. How many credits should I take for my course?
A. Please refer to Section B in the Credit Registration Packet. The number of credits correlates with the number of days your course runs.

Q. Have I been registered yet?
A. Please refer to our registration tab for more information on our registration process.

Q. When is my assignment due?
A. Please refer to your registration confirmation email. Your due date is included within that confirmation email.

Q. What is my assignment?
A. Please refer to your registration confirmation email. Your assignment was included as an attachment. If you cannot find your registration confirmation email, please email outdoorprograms@western.edu.

Q. I was kicked out of my outdoor program course. Can I still turn in a paper or assignment and earn a grade?
A. No. If you were kicked off a course by a course instructor, you will receive a TF on your permanent transcripts and will not be reimbursed for any credit costs.

Q. My course was canceled, what do I do?
A. Email outdoorprograms@western.edu immediately to inform us of your course cancelation. If you fail to notify the Extended Studies Office directly of any course cancelation, course transfer or withdrawal from a course in progress, you will receive an automatic TF on your transcripts.

Q. I did not complete my course due to an illness, injury or family emergency. Can I still turn in a paper or assignment for a grade?
A. There is a possibility of you earning some of the credits you registered for. Please send an email to outdoorprograms@western.edu explaining your situation as soon as you return from your course. If our office is not informed of your early departure within 1 or 2 days of your return home, the possibility of earning partial credit lessens. Our outdoor program staff will review your email and decide how many credits you are eligible for based on how long you were on course, as well as on instructor evaluation(s) received for the time you were on course. We cannot reimburse students for credits that are not earned.

Q. How do I cancel my credit registration?
A. Students must notify Extended Studies a minimum of two business days before their course begins. Registration cannot be changed once a student is on course or the course has ended. A $50 cancellation fee will be assessed to the students account.

Q. How do I transfer my credits to another course?
A. You must notify Extended Studies immediately of your course transfer. Along with an email to Extended Studies you will need to fill out a new Credit Registration Packet. A $50 fee will be assessed to the students account.

Q. Are the credits I earn through Westerns transferrable to other universities?
A. You will need to contact your home universities Registrar to see what credits they will accept as transfer credits.

Q. How do I see my grade and order a transcript?
A. Please visit to Papers, Grades and Transcripts tab for more information.