Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements
Title IV Federal regulations require colleges to establish policies to ensure that students receiving federal financial aid funds make satisfactory academic progress (hereafter referred to as SAP) toward completion of their eligible program of study. SAP requirements apply to all students who receive assistance from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal Direct Loan (including PLUS) programs. To fulfill these requirements, Enterprise State Community College has established the following SAP policies. It is the responsibility of each student to read and understand all policies associated with financial aid funding.
ESCC’s SAP policy must be at least as strict as that for students who are not receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds, and it must apply consistently to all educational programs and to all students within categories, e.g. full-time, part-time, etc.
ESCC’s SAP policy calls for an academic progress evaluation at the end of each term. Currently enrolled students can check their SAP status at the end of each term. SAP status is located under the Financial Aid Tab on the student’s MyESCC account. After accessing the Financial Aid Tab, students can click Financial Status to view SAP status (either Good, Warning, or Suspension). Clicking on the blue hyperlink for SAP status takes the student to a personalized explanation of their SAP status.
The U. S. Department of Education (USDE) considers a SAP policy to be reasonable if it meets both the qualitative and quantitative criteria explained in the section below.
Grades and Pace of Completion
ESCC’s SAP policy specifies that both the qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) standards are evaluated at the end of each term. The SAP policy outlines the qualitative standard (cumulative grade point average, or GPA) that a student must have at each evaluation point.
Remedial coursework will be factored into GPA and Pace Calculations. Transfer coursework is included in Pace assessments.
GPA requirements for long-term certificate and degree seeking students
- If the student has attempted 1-21 hours they must maintain a 1.5 GPA.
- If the student has attempted 22-32 hours they must maintain a 1.75 GPA
- If the student has attempted 33 or more hours they must maintain a 2.0 GPA.
Completion rate (attempted class hours) required by long-term certificate and degree seeking students
- If the student has attempted 1-21 hours they must maintain a 58% completion rate.
- If the student has attempted 22-32 hours they must maintain a 62% completion rate.
- If the student has attempted 33 or more hours they must maintain a 67% completion rate.
GPA requirements for short-term certificate (24-29 credit hours) students
- If the student has attempted 1-12 hours they must maintain a 1.5 GPA.
- If the student has attempted 13-29 hours they must maintain a 2.0 GPA.
Completion rate (attempted class hours) required short-term certificate (24-29 credit hours) students
- If the student has attempted 1-12 hours they must maintain a 58% completion rate.
- If the student has attempted 13-29 hours they must maintain a 67% completion rate.
Students who were enrolled less than full time in the fall and spring semesters may be eligible to receive a portion of a Pell Grant for less than half-time enrollment. Summer Pell amounts are prorated based on enrollment just as in fall and spring. Students must be enrolled full-time (12 or more hours) to receive their full offer and meet the SAP requirements.
- Maximum timeframe (MAX) is a period no longer than 150% of the published length of the program. Students who are approaching this limit will receive a warning notification in their MyESCC portal before exhausting their eligibility.
- Example: An AA or AS in General Studies requires coursework totaling 60-64 credits. Students may receive aid for up to 96 attempted credits to complete the degree program successfully within the 150% timeframe. If the student does not complete his/her program in the allotted 96 hours, all federal financial aid is suspended. NOTE: Programs are not all the same length, so students should check the catalog or their degree program for the number of hours required for completion of their program.
Maximum timeframe can be appealed. Those situations will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine which coursework may be excluded. Students approved on appeal will be required to follow their graduation plan on MAX. Failure to follow the plan will result in voiding the appeal.
All ESCC coursework (as well as transfer credit accepted by the institution) is included in the Pace calculation. Remedial coursework will be factored into GPA and Pace Calculations.
Grades and attempts on coursework made while the student was enrolled in high school as a dual enrollment class are included in SAP calculations.
Students failing to meet SAP requirements at the end of their first term are placed on Financial Aid Warning status, and are eligible to receive aid for one additional term. At the end of this Warning term, students failing to meet SAP requirements are placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students on Suspension are not eligible for Pell Grant, Direct Loans, SEOG or Federal Work Study until they meet the qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements as outlined above.
Course incompletes, withdrawals, repetitions and transfer credits from other schools can affect GPA and course completion percentages. Students who receive an Incomplete, ‘I’, for a grade is only counted in Pace. Once the Incomplete becomes a letter grade (student successfully completes the course or grade becomes an F) it is counted in both Pace and GPA.
ESCC is not allowed to exclude courses in which a student remains past the Add/Drop period and earned a grade of “W” (or its equivalent), nor can we routinely exclude from the SAP calculation certain hours attempted, such as those taken during a summer session. All periods of the student’s enrollment count when assessing SAP, even periods in which the student did not receive FSA funds.
A review of SAP is not complete until ESCC reviews both the required qualitative and quantitative measures. If a SAP review shows that a student does not have the required GPA or is not maintaining the required pace, the student becomes ineligible for FSA funds unless placed on financial aid Warning or PLAN (after a successful appeal), as explained below.
Financial Aid Warning, SAP Appeals, and Academic Plans
Students whose financial aid eligibility is suspended may file an appeal if they believe they have certain mitigating circumstances. In most cases, appeals may be approved only if the failure to maintain SAP is due to factors outside the student’s control. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, documentable accidents, personal medical conditions or procedures, death or illness of an immediate family member, and military service obligations. Personal actions or decisions taken by the student are not approvable mitigating circumstances. For example, a student’s personal decision to move out of their parent’s home (if it subsequently results in financial hardship and failure to maintain SAP) is not a mitigating circumstance. Likewise, ESCC cannot approve SAP appeals for students who return to ESCC after an initial poor academic showing (even after an extended period) without a documentable reason.
The Appeals Committee meets within 3 to 5 business days upon receipt of each SAP appeal received. Failure to provide documentation will result in the denial of the appeal.
Financial Aid Warning
Warning status lasts for one payment period only, during which the student may continue to receive FSA funds. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress after the warning period lose their aid eligibility.
A process by which students who are not meeting SAP standards may petition for reconsideration of eligibility for FSA funds. Students initiate a SAP appeal by completing the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal form. Students must submit the appeal form and all documentation pertaining to the appeal. To avoid delays, we recommend completing this process 2 to 3 weeks prior to the beginning of classes, if not sooner. Simply submitting a Financial Aid Appeal does NOT mean an automatic approval by the Appeals Committee.
Students will be notified in a timely manner by email regarding the Appeals Committee’s decision. Students must follow the terms of their approved appeal or their aid will be suspended again. Students must follow the Academic Plan in the appeal to progress toward completion of their program.
Program changes are not allowed while a student is on appeal. Students who fail to pass all attempted hours while on an appeal will void their appeal. These terms are outlined on the appeal form and in the email the student receives if approved for an appeal. Students in this situation will not be eligible to receive aid until they meet all SAP requirements. Students who fail to abide by the terms of an approved appeal must find other means to pay their cost of attendance. Students cannot be paid retroactively for prior semesters when they were not meeting SAP requirements. Students cannot regain SAP eligibility at ESCC by sitting out a semester, or by paying cash for their next term of enrollment. SAP eligibility can only be regained after a student is meeting both the qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time based) standards discussed above.
Lifetime Financial Aid Limits and Appeals
Students who have exceeded their 600% Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility (LEU) are not eligible to file an appeal to receive a Pell Grant. Students who have met their 150% Subsidized Direct Loan Eligibility (SULA) aggregate loan amount for their program at ESCC may only be eligible for unsubsidized loan eligibility if approved on appeal. As with Pell LEU, SULA limits cannot be appealed. Financial Aid appeals cannot challenge the rules in the administration of Financial Aid that are mandated by the USDE.