Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal student aid maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the institution. These regulations require that a schools SAP policy include both 1) a Qualitative measure and 2) a Quantitative measure. The Tri-County Community College Financial Aid Office is required to review a students entire academic record (regardless of the age of the record or whether or not aid was received) to determine if he/she is in compliance. A student's SAP is evaluated at the time of application for aid and at the end of each semester. Students must meet all of the standards listed below. Failure to meet these standards will result in the loss of financial aid.
Qualitative Measure: Students must achieve and maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better on all coursework attempted each semester. This includes all periods of enrollment (including those for which the student did not receive financial aid). Only letter grades of A, B, C, D, M, or S are counted as completed credits. Letter grades of F, I, NM, U, W, WF and WP are counted as credit hours attempted but not successfully completed. A letter grade of NA is not counted as attempted or earned credit hours. Audited (Y) or Credit by Exam (X) are not funded by financial aid and are excluded from all calculations.
Quantitative Measure: Students must successfully complete at least 67% of the total attempted credit hours to maintain SAP. Total credit hours attempted are calculated as all hours enrolled per semester, minus any hours withdrawn or dropped during the 75 % refund period. Hours attempted also include transfer credit hours accepted toward a students educational program. For example: a student who attempts 12 credit hours and successfully completes 9 credit hours has a 75% completion rate (9 credit hours completed divided by 12 credit hours attempted = 75%). Remedial and repeated courses will also be calculated as hours attempted (See list below).
In addition to measuring successful completion of 67% of total attempted credit hours, students must also complete their program of study in a time frame not to exceed 150% of the published length of the program. This is called Maximum Time Frame and it measures all attempted credit hours. For example: If a students primary program of study completes in 72 hours, the student must complete the program prior to amassing no more than108 total credit hours (72 x 1.50 = 108). The students academic history, including transfer hours accepted from other institutions for his/her current program of study are considered when evaluating academic progress within the established time frame. Students who exceed the maximum time frame will automatically lose all financial aid eligibility. Please contact the Financial Aid Office about possibly regaining eligibility. The following key points may also affect maximum time frame:
• Changing Program of Study – students who change their program are still responsible for adhering to the 150% maximum time frame of the new program. Students who decide to change their program are advised to do so early in their academic program, and only after consultation with their advisor and the Financial Aid Office.
• Secondary Program of Study – students who declare a second program run the risk of exceeding the 150% maximum time frame. All hours attempted for both programs will be calculated into the maximum time frame. Students should consult with their advisor and the Financial Aid Office before adding a secondary program of study.
• Course Incompletes, Withdrawals, and Repeats – All credit hours for course incompletes, withdrawals, or repeated courses will be counted as hours attempted toward the maximum time frame.
• Remedial Courses – students who have been accepted into a program of study and are required to take remedial courses as determined by placement testing are limited to 30 semester hours of remedial course work. Such courses will be calculated as hours attempted, however such courses will extend the 150% time frame by the number of credit hours earned in each remedial course.
• Graduates – students returning to TCCC to pursue an additional degree will be given a new maximum time frame. Only the successfully completed credit hours that apply to the additional degree will be counted towards the next maximum time frame.
Students are strongly encouraged to consult with the Financial Aid Office regarding changes to their program of study.
Each student’s financial aid eligibility status will be updated at the end of each semester. Students will be notified of their SAP status via their student email account. Students are responsible for knowing their SAP status. Failure to receive the SAP notification or not enrolling for one or more semesters does not change the student’s status.
Explanation of Terms Related to SAP Status
Satisfactory: “Satisfactory” status is achieved when the GPA, completion rate, and maximum time frame requirements are met.
Warning: “Warning” status is assigned to students who fail to meet the eligibility standards for the completion rate and/or GPA requirements during their first period of enrollment. Students with a “Warning” status may continue to receive financial aid for ONE additional semester provided all other eligibility requirements are met. This gives the student the opportunity to improve his/her academic results. A student is responsible for meeting SAP standards by the end of the warning period (semester).
If a student fails to improve his/her academic standing after the “Warning” period, the student will be notified and financial aid will cease. Once financial aid is lost, a student may submit a SAP Appeal in an effort to have his/her financial aid reinstated. The SAP Appeal form allows a student to explain and document any mitigating circumstances as to why he/she:
• Failed to meet the cumulative completion rate and/or GPA requirement at the end of a “warning” period.
• Failed to complete his/her program before the Maximum Time Frame limit (150%) was reached.
Probation on Appeal: “Probation on Appeal” status is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and who has had their eligibility reinstated as the result of an appeal (See “Appeal Process” section below). A “Probation on Appeal” student will only receive financial aid for ONE additional semester. A “Probation on Appeal” student may not receive financial aid for subsequent payment periods unless:
• The student meets SAP standards at the end of the probation period (semester), or
• The student meets all requirements specified by the institution in the academic plan.
If a student placed on a “Probation on Appeal” status fails to meet the SAP standards at the end of the probationary period, he/she will lose all financial aid eligibility.
Continued Probation: “Continued Probation” status is assigned to a student who, after failing to make SAP and after submitting a SAP Appeal Form (See “Appeals Process” section below), has been placed on an Academic Plan (See “Academic Plan” section below). A student placed on an Academic Plan must successfully follow and complete the conditions of the plan. The student will continue to receive financial aid as long as the student meets all requirements and continues to make progress as designated in the Academic Plan.
If a student placed on “Continued Probation” status fails to meet the conditions of his/her Academic Plan, he/she will lose all financial aid eligibility.
How to Regain Financial Aid Eligibility
If a student has lost his/her financial aid by failing to maintain SAP, the following options are available to regain eligibility:
• Pay for classes on your own – a student must enroll in a subsequent semester(s) at his/her own expense and complete enough classes to meet the 67% completion rate and the cumulative 2.0 GPA requirements.
• Notification of a grade change – the student’s financial aid may be reinstated as a result of a grade change, provided that the change results in the student meeting both the completion rate and GPA requirements.
• Complete a Degree – a student who has lost his/her financial aid due to exceeding the 150% maximum time frame may regain eligibility once he/she has earned a degree.
• Appeal Process – a student may appeal his/her loss of financial aid by submitting a SAP Appeal Form explaining the mitigating circumstances as to why he/she did not meet SAP.
Students MUST contact the Financial Aid Office when they feel they have regained eligibility.
NOTE: Students should contact the Financial Aid Office when they believe that they have regained eligibility, in the meantime, students seeking to regain eligibility for financial aid remain ineligible and must be prepared to pay tuition, fees and other related expenses.
Although a student may lose his/her financial aid eligibility, the student has the right to appeal their status to the Financial Aid Committee and possibly have eligibility reinstated due to mitigating circumstances* that can be documented.. A student that submits a SAP Appeal Form will have his/her overall academic history evaluated by the Financial Aid Committee. If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed either on “Probation on Appeal” or “Continued Probation.” The student will receive a Financial Aid Academic Plan Form, informing him/her of their appeal status and instructions for completion.
The procedure to appeal is as follows:
1) A student must complete a SAP Appeal Form and submit it to the Financial Aid Office (SAP Appeal Form is available on the Financial Aid page at www.tricountycc.edu or in the Financial Aid Office).
2) In order to be considered for appeal in a given semester, a student’s SAP Appeal Form must be accompanied by supporting documentation and received by the following dates: January 10 for Spring; June 1 for Summer; August 20 for Fall. Once the SAP Appeal Form and all documentation have been received, the Financial Aid Office will review the appeal.
3) The Financial Aid Office and/or Committee will review the appeal and notify the student of its decision.
4) The decision of the Financial Aid Committee is final.
*Mitigating circumstances may include an injury or illness of the student, death of a relative, change in employment situations, and/or undue hardship caused by special circumstances.
Possible Outcomes of Appeals
Appeal Granted - Probation on Appeal: If the student is placed on “Probation on Appeal,” the student will only receive financial aid for ONE additional semester. If the student does not meet SAP standards at the end of the designated semester, he/she will lose all financial aid eligibility.
Appeal Granted - Continued Probation: If the student is placed on “Continued Probation,” the student will receive financial aid while following an Academic Plan. The student will be required to meet specific criteria and make progress up to a designated period of time. If the student does not meet the requirements at any point during the plan duration, he/she will lose all financial aid eligibility.
What is an Academic Plan? The Financial Aid Committee will structure an Academic Plan based on the content of a student’s appeal. The plan will include specific requirements the student must meet to assist in the completion of his/her program of study and to continue receiving financial aid. Also, the student will be required to complete a Financial Aid Academic Plan Form with the college counselor and with his/her advisor and submit the form to the Financial Aid Office. As long as the student is making satisfactory progress, he/she will remain on “Continued Probation” status for the designated period of time. If the student fails to meet the requirements set forth in the Academic Plan, the student will lose all financial aid eligibility and aid will not be reinstated until the student is making SAP.
Appeal Denied: If the appeal is denied, financial aid will not be reinstated until the student has met all SAP standards.
For further explanation of SAP and related issues, please contact the Tri-County Community College Financial Aid Office at 828-837-6810.