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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Students Receiving Financial Aid

(Effective Summer 2012)

Federal regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain strict academic (Qualitative) and progress (Quantitative) standards while perusing their educational goals. Students receiving financial aid should note that the college wide Probation Policy for academic progress contains the same grade point average (GPA) requirements as the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy; however, the SAP policy for students receiving financial aid is stricter than the college wide Probation Policy for students enrolled in the same educational program who are not receiving financial aid. The SAP policy is applied to all student categories, i.e. full-time or part-time, who receive financial aid within eligible curriculum degree, diploma and certificate programs established by the school.

Students receiving financial aid are evaluated at the end of each semester to determine progression. Students must meet the Academic Standard (Qualitative), the Program Completion Standard (Quantitative) and stay within the Maximum Timeframe Standard (Quantitative) to remain in a satisfactory status.

Academic Standard (Qualitative):
Students receiving financial aid must maintain a cumulative 2.0 SAP GPA. SAP GPA includes “all” curriculum classes taken at South Piedmont Community College and any accepted transfer credits, regardless of timeframe. Classes with an “incomplete” (I) or any “withdrawal” (W) grade are included in the SAP GPA just like an “F” and count toward the attempted credit hours. All classes that are repeated count toward the SAP GPA and the attempted/completed credit hours.

If a student’s cumulative SAP GPA falls below 2.0, the student is placed on a financial aid warning status and will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs. The student then has a warning period of enrollment, which is the next semester the student is enrolled at SPCC, to achieve the cumulative 2.0 SAP GPA. The student is eligible for financial aid during this warning period of enrollment. If at the end of the warning period a cumulative 2.0 SAP GPA is not achieved, the student is no longer eligible to receive financial aid and will be placed in a financial aid unsatisfactory status. The student may regain financial aid eligibility by reaching a cumulative 2.0 SAP GPA through self-pay or outside resources.

Program Completion Standard (Quantitative):
All students receiving financial aid must complete at least two-thirds or 67% of all curriculum hours attempted at South Piedmont Community College including accepted transfer credits, regardless of timeframe. The percentage is determined by taking the cumulative total of credit hours completed divided by the cumulative total of hours attempted. For example, a student who has completed 32 hours and attempted 64 hours has a completion rate of 50% (32 divided by 64). Attempted but not completed credit hours include: incompletes, withdrawals, repeated classes and courses with a grade of “F”.

If a student’s percentage rate falls below 67%, the student is placed on a warning status and will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs. The student then has a warning period of enrollment, which is the next semester the student is enrolled at SPCC, to earn a 67% or more completion rate. The student is eligible for financial aid during this warning period of enrollment. If at the end of the warning period a cumulative 67% completion rate is not achieved, the student is placed in an unsatisfactory status and is no longer eligible for financial aid. The student may regain financial aid eligibility by reaching a cumulative 67% or more completion rate through self-pay or outside resources.

Maximum Timeframe Standard (Quantitative):
All students receiving financial aid must complete their educational program within 150% of the published length. The Maximum Timeframe Standard includes all curriculum hours attempted at South Piedmont Community College and any accepted transfer credits or developmental credit hours, regardless of timeframe. The SPCC college catalog provides a course listing for each educational program and the number of credit hours needed to complete the program. The published program lengths do not include developmental hours that may be required for individual students. For example, the Associate Degree in Computer Information Technology is 66 credit hours in length, therefore, a student receiving financial aid enrolled in that program may attempt, including accepted transfer and developmental credit hours, up to 99 credit hours (66 credit hours times 150%) and remain eligible for financial aid.

Students who exceed the 150% maximum timeframe are not eligible to receive financial aid at South Piedmont Community College. The maximum timeframe standard does not provide for a warning or probationary status.

Additionally, students who cannot mathematically complete their program of study by the 150% maximum timeframe will also no longer be eligible for financial aid. Example: A student is in a program which would allow for a maximum of 99 hours and the student has attempted 90 hours and needs 4 additional courses which total 16 hours to complete the program. Adding the 90 hour attempted to the 16 hours still required equals 106 which is more than the 99 hours allowed. So, mathematically the student could not complete the program prior to the 150% maximum timeframe and would no longer be eligible for financial aid at South Piedmont Community College.

Appeal Process:
Students in an unsatisfactory SAP status may appeal their loss of financial aid eligibility. Appeals must be made at least 10 days prior to the start of the semester in which a student wishes to receive financial aid. Financial Aid Reinstatement Appeal forms are available on the college website or in the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs. Student statements on the form and attached documentation must include: (1) the circumstances that rendered them unable to meet the standard(s), (2) what has changed to allow the student to meet the standard(s) and (3) the student’s educational goal and plans to meet that goal. The reinstatement appeal form and supporting documentation can be submitted in person, by mail, by FAX, or via email to the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs. The Director of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs will consider reinstatement appeals and the decision will be final. Students will be notified through email of appeal decisions.

Students who have their appeals granted will be placed on probation and will be eligible for financial aid, provided they meet all SAP requirements and complete the SAP Academic Success Plan. The SAP Academic Success Plan requires that students receiving financial aid successfully complete all registered classes and achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher. Withdrawing from or failing a class does not constitute successful completion. During the students probationary semester of enrollment the student will also be required to meet with a counselor and complete all assigned intervention modules. The modules are designed to improve the student’s academic focus and promote student success. Students who follow and complete all requirements within the SAP Academic Success Plan will stay on probation in a continued probation status as long as they successfully complete all registered classes and achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility:
If a student loses financial aid eligibility by failing to meet the Academic and or Program Completion standard and after self-pay or the use of outside resources feels that the standards are met, the student must contact the Office of Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs to have their SAP status re-calculated. If the standards have been met, the student will regain financial aid eligibility for the semester following the semester in which the standards were met provided all other financial aid requirements have been completed.