General Conduct & Policies

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service > General Conduct & Policies

General Policies

Developing and maintaining a good class attendance record is an important facet of each student’s professional development.  Each student is expected to attend all classes as scheduled, on time, and to remain in the classes for their full duration.  The student also has the responsibility to complete assigned work and be present for the examinations at the time they are administered to the entire class.


CIFS’s attendance policies are based on students being present and participating in class activities during the scheduled class meeting time.  Instructors check and record attendance in each class hour.  To be counted present, the student must be in attendance for the entire period.  Students arriving late or leaving early will be marked absent. Absences are NOT classified as excused or un-excused.  The daily attendance is transferred weekly to the Master Attendance Record.  Any AAS student who accumulates absences of more than 10% of their scheduled class hours in a quarter, will have their enrollment with CIFS terminated. Any Certificate of Funeral Directing student who is absent for more than 10% of the total course hours will have their enrollment terminated.

Students enrolled under various Veterans’ programs or other funding agencies will be required to meet the requirements for attendance of the sponsoring organization.  Additionally, a negative attendance record can affect most forms of Title IV funding.


Students enrolled in online courses must meet certain attendance standards. All students enrolled in online courses at CIFS are expected to maintain ongoing course engagement in order to uphold positive academic standing with the college. In an online environment, “attendance” is more than just logging into a course. Online attendance is measured by students’ academic engagement with the course content, course tools, course instructor, and with other students in the course.

During the first week of class, all online students are expected to log in to their courses, view each course syllabus and pertinent messages, and become familiar with course layouts, schedules, and due dates.  Throughout the academic quarter, all CIFS students are expected to maintain an ongoing online presence in their online courses by participating in course related activities. This may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Reading announcements
  • Submitting assignments
  • Taking examinations or quizzes
  • Posting to discussion boards or forums
  • Contacting instructors with questions about material
  • Carrying out any other requirements set forth by an instructor

An online student may be terminated if they have more than two consecutive assignments missing in a single online course and/or they have missed all scheduled assignments for a single week in all of their enrolled courses combined.

Federal regulations require that online students establish attendance/participation in coursework each term to be eligible for Title IV funding. CIFS verifies student attendance in accordance with this regulation.  Students who have not established attendance/participation in online courses may have their Title IV funding eligibility adjusted.


A student may appeal an attendance termination.  Documentation supporting medical or family emergencies must be submitted to the Dean of Academics within three business days of the termination notification.


Students who wish to withdraw from CIFS prior to the end of the quarter are required to complete a written Withdrawal Form and submit it to CIFS.  The Withdrawal Form will include (1) intended withdrawal date (2) specific reason(s) for withdrawal (3) if he/she plans to return at a later date, and (4) his/her permanent mailing address.  Absence from scheduled classes will not be regarded as formal withdrawal.  Failure to comply with this policy can result in the recording of failing grades in all courses in which the student is enrolled.  The deadline for submitting a completed and approved Withdrawal Form is the end of business on the last business day of the 8th week of the quarter.  Students following proper withdrawal procedure will have a “W” recorded on the official transcript. 


Leaves of absence may be granted only in emergency situations and for military service obligation.   A leave of absence may not exceed twelve school days (on campus) or 3 consecutive weeks (online), and only two leaves of absence are permitted during any consecutive 12-month period.  A student requesting a leave of absence must do so in writing.  An official Leave of Absence Form is available upon request.  The request must contain the specific start and return dates and a reason for the requested leave.  If a student fails to return from leave as scheduled, their enrollment will be terminated, and a proper refund will be made in accordance with the refund policy of CIFS; if any refund is due.  All exams and make-up work must be completed within seven class days upon returning from leave.  No Leave of Absence will be authorized after the completion of the 8th week of any academic quarter.


At the end of each quarter, student progress is evaluated.  Students are placed on academic warning for the subsequent quarter by failing to maintain a cumulative grade point average that meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements explained in a previous section.  Students who fail to maintain the GPA requirements at the end of their second consecutive academic warning quarter will have their enrollment terminated by CIFS.


Once a student’s grade point average has improved and they meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements, they will be removed from Academic Warning and return to good standing with the school.  Failure to remedy the status of Academic Warning will result in the termination of a student’s enrollment.


At the end of each quarter, student progress is evaluated.  A student earning a letter grade of “D” or “F” in any course, other than the General Education core, will be dismissed for academic reasons, and their enrollment agreement will be terminated.  Any specialized course in which a final letter grade of “C” or better was not achieved must be repeated. 

If the student desires to remedy an academic dismissal termination, then they will be required to reapply and get re-accepted into their academic program.  This will include a new application, a new application fee, and a $100 administrative fee.  Once the failed course(s) are successfully completed, the student will then move forward with the remainder of the program.  Full course tuition will be charged to repeat failed course(s).

Students who have unsuccessfully attempted any single course three times will be permanently dismissed from CIFS without consideration for re-admission.


A student who either voluntarily withdraws from CIFS or is dropped by the school will have their enrollment terminated.  A student’s enrollment may be terminated for the following reasons:

  • Official withdrawal
  • Academic dismissal
  • Attendance policy violation
  • Failure to pay tuition and/or other fees
  • Student conduct/behavior policy violation

If a terminated student wishes to re-enroll at CIFS, then they will need to contact the Admissions Counselor for re-enrollment procedures.  This will include re-applying (new application, application fee, and an administrative fee) and re-acceptance, and the process must be completed by the stated acceptance deadline for the quarter in which they wish to re-enroll.  Upon a student’s third termination of enrollment from CIFS, the student will be permanently dismissed and not eligible to re-enroll.    


CIFS has an open-door policy.  Therefore, students are welcome to visit directly with faculty and staff.  For course-related issues, students are encouraged to first address the matter with their instructor, if possible.  If the problem is not resolved, then the student may proceed to the Dean of Students OR the Distance Education Coordinator, the Dean of Academics, and the CIFS President, IN THAT ORDER.




Dean of Students OR Distance Education Coordinator


Dean of Academics



CIFS has established a grievance procedure to be used by our students to ensure their right to due process.  This right to due process is administered without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.  The grievance must be submitted in writing to CIFS within 30 days of the event.  Failure to file any grievance within the specified time periods shall be deemed a waiver thereof.

If the grievance reaches the level of the Dean of Academics, he/she shall investigate the alleged grievance, and an attempt will be made to resolve the matter informally with the parties involved.

A member of CIFS’s administration (Dean of Students or Distance Education Coordinator) may act as the hearing officer and resolve the matter of alleged violation through an informal hearing.  The legal rules of evidence do not apply at the informal hearing. Evidence that possesses probative value and is commonly accepted by reasonable people in the conduct of the affairs may be admitted.  The student is presumed innocent of the alleged violation unless the hearing officer is convinced by the evidence that the student is guilty of the violation. The hearing officer may impose one of more of the following penalties, if the student is found guilty of the alleged violation: suspension of eligibility for extracurricular activities, letter of warning, suspension for up to the remainder of the current quarter, restitution for damages, denial of degree, or permanent severance from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service.

A student is entitled to appeal the decision of the hearing officer or Dean of Academics to the President of CIFS.  The President shall review the matter and render the final decision in a timely manner.  No reprisal of any kind will be taken by the Board of Regents, an administrator, or an employee of CIFS against any person bringing a grievance under this procedure. 

Students must address their concerns about CIFS or any of its educational programs by following the outline in the official grievance procedure.  CIFS is 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 CIFS published Catalog.  If, as a student, you were not provided with this information, then please inform school management.

Students dissatisfied with CIFS’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


Some courses or elements of our curriculum require proctored examinations.

If on-campus proctoring is required, then please contact CIFS at (281) 873-0262 to arrange a proctored exam. Examinations in the CIFS testing facility are by appointment only. Appointments are on a first-come, first-serve basis. At times, testing facility space is at a premium; therefore, CIFS requires 24-hour notice when cancelling an examination appointment. Failure to contact CIFS regarding a cancellation or repeated cancellations (even with 24-hour notice) may result in the loss of future scheduling privileges.

All CIFS online courses utilize a third-party remote proctoring service.  The use of a webcam, a microphone, and a reliable/high-speed internet connection is required.


CIFS reserves the right to require a student to take a proctored examination onsite in Houston, TX.


Funeral service is generally a conservative field, and CIFS expects you to take pride in your personal appearance.  Personal grooming and a businesslike appearance are vital to each student’s success.

For daily classes, business casual clothing is acceptable, as long as it does not cause a disruption in the educational environment. Hats and sunglasses are not permitted in the classroom. On days of field trips and guest speakers, students are expected to dress in the mode of contemporary funeral service practitioners: navy or black suits, white shirt or blouse, dark shoes, conservative ties, and avoid extreme hair styles.

Any student that is out of compliance with the dress code policy will be issued an absence for the day and removed from class.  This removal from class may adversely affect the student’s academic success.

Please see the complete Dress Code policies in the Student Handbook.


Commonwealth Institute complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.  For the complete policy, please refer to the Student Handbook and/or school website.


If a student is pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or becomes pregnant during the quarter in which she participates in the clinical embalming externship, then she will be expected to immediately notify the clinical coordinator.  Such a notification shall be oral and in writing.

The student shall have the option to remain in the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service program throughout the pregnancy period, but they must take a leave of absence from all embalming clinical activities.  The student realizes that a delay in completing clinical requirements may delay the completion of the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service program.

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Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service

415 Barren Springs Drive
Houston, Texas 77090

Office Telephone: (281) 873-0262
Toll Free: (800) 628-1580
Fax: (281) 873-5232
Email: [email protected]

Campus Hours

Mon-Fri 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Lecture Classes
Mon-Thu 8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Mon-Thu 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
Mon-Thu 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Mon-Thu 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Mon-Thu 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM

Embalming Labs
Mon-Thu 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Fri – 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

The dates and times of laboratory sessions are scheduled at the beginning of each quarter.

2024-2025 CATALOG

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