STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS FOR FINANCIAL AID
The Federal regulations governing the funds from which financial aid is provided, state that students must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the educational goal they are pursuing, according to the standards established by the institution. As such, the Board of Trustees has established the following policy and procedures to measure satisfactory academic progress for students receiving federal financial aid. The financial aid standards apply to all semesters or enrollment periods regardless of whether a student received financial aid during a given semester or enrollment period (see definition of semester below). Certain state and locally administered financial aid programs have a more stringent progress standard. In these cases, the more stringent progress standards will be applied in addition to the College standard where applicable.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): At the completion of each semester or enrollment period, students’ progress toward an educational goal is measured in three ways:
- Successful Completion Ratio: Students must maintain an overall successful completion ratio of at least 67 percent. This ratio is cumulative of all courses attempted, including transfer courses, and is calculated by dividing the total number of attempted credit hours into the number of credit hours successfully completed with a grade of “D” or higher. This successful completion ratio establishes measurement of the time-frame requirement for students at a maximum of 1 ½ times the normal length of time required for a student to complete a given program, regardless of enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or any combination of both).
- Grade-Point Average (GPA): With the exception of the Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0. Upon acceptance into the Bachelor of Science Degree Program in Early Childhood Education, students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5. In the event a student enrolls in a semester in courses where a grade-point average is not applicable (e.g., all preparatory courses), the cumulative grade-point average achieved by the end of the previous semester will be used. In the event there are only courses where a grade-point average is not applicable, the successful completion ratio will be the only measurement applied to the students until a GPA is applicable. For repeated courses, only the latest grade will be included in the GPA measurement.
- Maximum Hours: Students are allowed up to 150% of the published length of their academic program to successfully complete their degree. This measurement includes all course attempted regardless of performance (including withdrawals and failed classes).
All students who otherwise qualify for financial aid and who enroll at or above the postsecondary level in an eligible program of study for the first time at SJR State will be eligible to receive financial aid. First-time students with course history that does not meet the satisfactory progress standard will be placed in a financial aid warning status based on the applicable transfer history grades. Dual enrollment courses taken at SJR State will be included in all satisfactory academic progress measurements.
Transfer students whose previous academic transcripts have not yet been evaluated will have all of their previous coursework included in the evaluation of their SAP status. If their previous academic performance meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress definitions above, the student will be noted as maintaining SAP. If the student has reached maximum hours or fails either the GPA or completion ratio based on all of their courses attempted previous to their enrollment at SJR State, the student will be noted as not making SAP. Once transfer credit evaluation has been completed, only those courses which are accepted by SJR State as applicable to the degree will be included.
A semester is defined as either of the major semesters/terms: fall, spring, and summer. An enrollment period is defined as the term or portion of a term for which a student enrolls. The words semester and term as used in this procedure, also mean enrollment period where applicable. Satisfactory academic progress is measured at the end of each semester.
Successful completion is defined as any course completed with a final grade of A, B, C, D, P, or S. Courses for which students receive grades of W, WF, I, IF, F, N, NR, U, or X, as well as the previous attempt(s) of repeated courses regardless of previous grade, are counted as courses attempted but not successfully completed.
Failure to meet the minimum standards of progress will result in one of the following actions:
- Financial Aid Warning: This occurs at the end of the semester for which satisfactory progress is measured and the student failed to meet either one or both of the measurements outlined above. Students in this status continue to receive financial aid without penalty.
- Financial Aid Suspension / Financial Aid Probation: If at the end of the semester of enrollment during which a student is on Financial Aid Warning and for which satisfactory progress is measured, a student has failed to maintain either one or both of the measurements outlined above, the student will no longer be eligible to receive Federal financial aid and will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students may appeal this decision and, if their appeal is granted, they will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Financial Aid Probation may be granted for one semester if this is all of the time needed to return the student to Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students seeking more than one semester to return to Satisfactory Academic Progress must complete a Satisfactory Progress Academic Plan which identifies how long the student will need to return to Satisfactory Academic Progress. This Satisfactory Progress Academic Plan must be completed in consultation with an Academic Advisor.
- Financial Aid Continued Probation: Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Probation and have requested more than one semester to return to Satisfactory Academic Progress may be placed on Financial Aid Continued Probation as long as they successfully complete 100% of all courses attempted in the semester, but do not reach the 67% cumulative successful completion ratio or minimum GPA requirements as measured at the end of the semester during the time in which their academic plan is in force. Students in this status continue to receive financial aid without penalty, as long as they have not yet reached the maximum hours limit and there are sufficient hours remaining to complete their programs of study before reaching the maximum hours limit.
- Maximum Hours Suspension: This occurs at the end of the semester when students enrolled at the college credit level reach a total of 150% of the published length of the program of study [90 attempted credit hours for most Associate level programs, 180 attempted credit hours for Baccalaureate level programs and the Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) program, or when students enrolled at the postsecondary adult vocational level (PSAV) reach a total of 45 attempted credit hours (1350 clock hours)]. All federal financial aid is suspended.
- Financial Aid Termination: This occurs when students fail to successfully complete any course(s) in the Satisfactory Progress Academic Plan or Program Completion Plan under the Appeals process (see below). Eligibility for federal financial aid is terminated.
Students will be notified if they are placed on Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Suspension, Financial Aid Termination, or have reached Maximum Hours by an email sent to their campus email box.
Appeals: Students on financial aid suspension (see #1 below) or reaching the maximum hours suspension (see #2 below) may file an appeal for reinstatement based on mitigating circumstances. These might include death in the immediate family, accidents, personal tragedy, medical emergencies, or other circumstances such as changes in degree goal(s). The Committee reviews the appeal, determines whether there are sufficient reasons to allow additional financial aid, and notifies the Dean of Enrollment Management. The Dean informs the student of the Committee’s decision. Students approved to receive aid for an additional semester will be in an “approved appeal” status which is the equivalent of the financial aid warning status for the additional semester, and the students must again meet the satisfactory progress requirements by the end of the additional semester or be placed back on Maximum Hours as applicable. The decision of the Committee is final. Except as noted below in Exceptions to the appeal process, when an appeal is denied, students may submit another appeal, but only after enrolling in and receiving a passing grade in each attempted course in an additional semester.
- Financial Aid Suspension Appeals: Students in the Financial Aid Suspension category must submit an appeal form with a written letter of appeal along with supporting documentation to the Dean of Enrollment Management (the Dean). The appeal will then be forwarded to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee (the Committee) for their consideration.
- Satisfactory Progress Academic Plan: As part of the appeal for students in Financial Aid Suspension who will need more than one semester to regain their Satisfactory Progress, students will be required to submit a Satisfactory Progress Academic Plan. The Satisfactory Progress Academic Plan will identify the specific courses in which the student plans to enroll as well as the semesters in which the enrollment will take place. The plan should allow for the mathematical possibility of regaining both GPA and Completion Rate percentages. If the appeal is granted, the student will only be allowed to enroll in the classes listed on the plan for financial aid, and if the student fails or withdraws from any of these courses, the student’s financial aid will be terminated.
- Program Completion Plan: As part of the appeal process, students in the Maximum Hours category must meet with an Academic Advisor to complete a Program Completion Plan. The Program Completion Plan identifies only the specific courses students need to complete their current program(s) of study at SJR State. The Plan is signed and agreed to by the students and an Academic Advisor. The Academic Advisor lists the specific courses, and the students agree to follow the specific plan to complete their current program(s) of study. Students with a primary and secondary program of study may submit both plans to the Appeals Committee for consideration.
- Financial Aid Termination: By design, this status is final and cannot normally be appealed. An appeal may be considered for extreme mitigating circumstances involving the student such as personal illness or accident. Documentation of individual circumstances must be submitted to the Dean for review and consideration. The Dean will review the individual circumstances and determine whether the appeal should be submitted to the Committee for consideration.
Exceptions to the appeal process: Students enrolled in Postsecondary Adult Vocational programs of less than one year in length cannot appeal the maximum hours status. Students in the Financial Aid Termination status may file an appeal only if documentation can be provided to show personal mitigating circumstances beyond the students’ control.