Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy and Time Limitations
Federal regulations require that colleges establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for students receiving financial aid that is at least as strict at that for all general students. Financial aid students are expected to achieve satisfactory grades and progress toward the completion of their program in a reasonable period of time and within a reasonable number of credit hours. It is the responsibility of students to be aware of his/her Satisfactory Academic Progress status for financial aid eligibility. Progress will be reviewed at the end of each term of enrollment. SAP is evaluated by both qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (completion percentage) standards and there are limits on how long a student may receive aid.
- Qualitative standard: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.
- Quantitative standard: Students must successfully complete 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted.
- Hours attempted are measured at the 10% (census date) of the term.
- Successful completion means the student receives a passing final grade on the DCCC transcript.
- Example: if the student attempts 12 credit hours during a term, the student must successfully complete 8 credit hours or more to meet the 67% standard (12 hours attempted x 67% = 8 hours).
- Time Limit Standard: Students may not exceed 150% of the Maximum Time Frame for their program of study. Maximum time frame is measured in credit hours. For example: a degree requires 64 credit hours for completion; 150% of 64 is 96 (1.5 x 64), therefore the 150% time limit for the program is 96 attempted credit hours.
- When the 150% maximum time frame has been reached or it has been determined that the credits needed to complete the program will exceed the 150% limit, financial aid will cease even if the student is meeting other SAP standards.
- Dual program students may reach Maximum Time Frame (150%) limits prematurely due to calculations combing all attempted credits on the transcript. Students may require secondary review to determine continued Financial Aid SAP eligibility.
- There is a 6-year lifetime limit on the use of the Pell Grant (or until completion of the first bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first).
- The measure refers to Lifetime Eligibility Used or LEU.
- Students have eligibility for no more than six academic years (or its equivalent) of full-time Pell Grant funding.
- This will be calculated by the federal processors.
- Part-time students will have the terms reviewed on a fractional basis.
- Those planning to transfer to a 4-year institution should not exhaust more than 6 of their full-time semester awards at DCCC to allow for remaining eligibility to complete their first bachelor’s degree.
- A maximum of 30 credit hours of Pre-curricular classes may be attempted and counted toward enrollment for financial aid purposes. After attempting 30 hours, no further federal or state aid may be paid for those courses.
- Qualitative SAP evaluation is required for Pre-Curricular classes. At DCCC grading for these courses does not calculate in the institution’s GPA. Most are graded on a Pass/Repeat format. SAP for these course is determined by using the 67% completion measure as a benchmark to confirm progress.
SAP and Maximum Time Frame Factors
- Audits – Audited courses may not be counted towards the total number of hours of enrollment for a term as no credit will be earned.
- Credit by Exam – Credit awarded base upon an institutionally administered exam are not counted in the total number of hours of enrollment and therefore no aid is awarded.
- Incompletes – Incompletes (I) will not affect a student’s GPA in the SAP review because it is temporary and will be replaced with a final grade. SAP will be evaluated on the final grade during the next term’s review.
- Pre-curriculum (Developmental) Courses – Pre-curriculum courses (courses numbered less than 100) are allowed and calculated in a student’s enrollment status for students needing skill-building course work. A maximum of 30 credit hours of pre-curriculum work is allowed and these hours are considered in SAP calculations. After the maximum has been met, no further federal or state aid may be disbursed for pre-curriculum hours.
- Repeats – Federal rules allow a one-time repeat of a previously passed course. Courses not previously passed may be repeated by students within the college’s course repeat policy and overall SAP conditions. When a course is repeated the most recent final grade will be used to determine the assigned grade for GPA purposes. The previous hours attempted will be still counted as hours attempted when reviewing SAP completion rate and maximum time frame.
- Summer Courses – Summer Session grades and hours attempted and earned will be included in the calculation of SAP as for any other term.
- Transfer Credits – Hours accepted from other institutions and evaluated in the student’s current program are included in the calculation of the completion rate and maximum time frame. Transfer hours count both as hours attempted and hours completed.
- Withdrawals – Withdrawals (W) Withdrawal-Failing (WF) and Withdrawal-Passing (WP) adversely affect a student’s SAP by reducing the number of hours successfully completed and may result in a recalculation of a student’s award for the term.
Evaluation and Financial Aid Statuses
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be evaluated at the end of each term after final grades have been posted with the Records Office. Students will be notified of their status via their DCCC email account.
- Satisfactory – Students in their first term at DCCC or those who have attended and meet or exceed the SAP requirements are considered in satisfactory status for financial aid purposes.
- Financial Aid Warning – The first term a student fails to meet SAP, the student will be notified that he or she has been placed on financial aid warning for the next academic term. The student may continue to receive financial aid during the warning term, but must improve GPA and/or completion rate to prevent progressing to financial aid probation.
- Financial Aid Suspension – The second or subsequent term a student does not meet SAP, the student will be notified that financial aid has been suspended.
- Probation on Appeal – The status granted to allow a student with extenuating circumstances the opportunity to improve SAP over time with specified conditions. This include traditional SAP Probation for GPA and/or Completion Rate improvements
- Financial Aid Termination – When a student previously granted a SAP Appeal fails to meet required conditions for continued eligibility.
Students may appeal the Suspension of Aid if extenuating circumstances resulted in poor academic performance/progress. Appeals should be submitted within 30 days of notification of their SAP status.
- Appeals should be submitted via the Financial Aid (SAP) Appeal Form; to email@example.com accompanied by a statement and any supporting documentation.
- The appeal must detail the circumstances resulting in the students of unsatisfactory progress such as:
- Extended illness/injury of student or family member
- Death of a relative
- Completed appeals will be reviewed within 15 business days of receipt and students notified of the results via DCCC email account, however incomplete appeals may delay a decision.
- Students awaiting review are responsible for any enrollment charges. Financial aid will not be available, nor students’ school charges held.
- Successful appeals will result in the students being granted the status of Probation (on Appeal) for a specified number of terms.
- Probation on Appeal status requires students to meet a higher term-based standard for SAP evaluation. This is in an effort to improved cumulative SAP measures in the shortest possible time.
- Students granted Probation on Appeal (unless otherwise documented) must earn a minimum term-based GPA of 2.50 and complete 100% of hours attempted.
- Students meeting Probation on Appeal standards will be granted continued Probation on Appeal status for the remaining terms with the continuation of the conditions listed above with the requirement to achieve the cumulative SAP standard by the final term of Probation on Appeal.
- Students who regain cumulative SAP standards before their final term of Probation on Appeal may be returned to Satisfactory SAP status. Students unsuccessful in meeting Probation on Appeal standards or who do not reach cumulative SAP standards by the final term of Probation on Appeal will have financial aid at DCCC Terminated.
- SAP Appeal denials will be communicated to the via DCCC email. Denial of appeal will result in financial aid termination. Students not satisfied with the result may appeal the decision following the process outlined in the College’s General Complaint Policy, beginning with Step 2.
Reinstatement of Financial Aid
Students whose aid has been terminated/suspended based upon SAP standards may seek reinstatement of financial aid after regaining cumulative Satisfactory Academic Progress standards or after meeting all SAP standards for at least two consecutive terms and earning a total of 12 credit hours.
- Requests for reinstatement of financial aid may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Reinstatement Request. The message must include the student’s full name and DCCC ID along with the request and a statement regarding the circumstances contributing to the student’s progress and goals. A transcript may be attached to document improvement.
- Reinstatement requests will be reviewed within 15 business days of receipt and students notified of the results via DCCC email account.
- Students awaiting a decision are responsible for any enrollment charges. Financial aid will not be available, nor students’ school charges held during this time.
- Reinstatement of SAP eligibility does not imply that additional funds have or will be provided; only that the student has regained is SAP eligibility for available funds within annual and lifetime limits.
Withdrawal and Return of Federal and State funds Policy for Financial Aid Students
Federal financial aid is awarded to eligible students under the assumption that they will remain enrolled for the full length of the enrollment period. It is earned by students in a prorated manner based upon the percentage of the term they attend. If a student completely withdraws, resulting in zero current hours of enrollment, the school must determine if there is a portion of financial aid that is unearned. The review of withdrawals will take place within 30 days of the processed withdrawal form and return of funds completed no later than 45 days after.
- Students receiving federal financial aid who find it necessary to withdraw from all classes after the 10% census date, but before completing 60% of the academic term will have the amount of their federal and state financial aid award(s), recalculated.
- Students are responsible for submitting the Schedule Change Form to the Office of Academic Advising to officially withdraw from classes.
- Students should contact the Financial Aid Office to ensure they are informed of the impact the total withdrawal may have on their current award and ability to meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements.
- If, in the recalculation, the student has earned federal financial aid funds for the current term that have not yet been disbursed, a Post-withdrawal Disbursement of Federal Financial Aid will be processed and applied to the student’s account.
- Recalculation of financial aid may result in overpayment and the need to return funds to the appropriate federal and/or state program(s) such as direct loans, Pell and other federal and state scholarships and grants.
- When an overpayment has been calculated, the student must repay any unearned portion of the award to the College. The College will return the funds to the appropriate federal and/or state programs.
- Unearned aid is returned to federal programs in the following order (unless the student did not receive aid from that source): Unsubsidized Direct Loans, Subsidized Direct Loans, PLUS Loans, Pell Grant, SEOG, other federal grant programs.
- The amount of federal aid to be returned (overpayment) is calculated by multiplying total institutional charges (tuition and fees) by the percentage of unearned aid.
- The earned portion of federal financial aid is determined by dividing the number of days completed by the student by the total days in the term. This determines the percentage of the term completed and the percentage of aid earned by the student.
- The unearned portion of financial aid will be 100% minus the percent earned.
- Unearned aid shall be returned first by the College from the student’s account.
- If the total amount of unearned aid is greater than the amount returned by the College from the student’s account, the student owes an overpayment to DCCC.
- The student will be responsible for any portion of institutional charges outstanding after financial aid funds are returned and will be billed accordingly.
- E-mail notification will be sent to the student’s campus e-mail to notify them of the calculation. Students must check their StormTrac account for the exact amount of the return owed to DCCC if applicable.
- If the student fails to repay their portion of the refund to the College, within 45 days the debt will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education as an overpayment and federal aid eligibility will be lost until satisfactory arrangements are made to pay the debt.