Financial Aid - Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
FINANCIAL AID - SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) POLICY
The Federal Government mandates that students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the completion of their degrees within a reasonable period of time in order to be eligible for financial aid programs.
Monitoring Satisfactory Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be monitored every semester.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Is Defined As
- Qualitative Standard (Cumulative Grade Point Average) – A student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.*
- Quantitative Standard (Completion Rate) – A student must maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate by successfully completing 67% of credits attempted. **(66.5% or higher will be rounded up to 67%)**
- Maximum Timeframe – A student must successfully complete the program of study within its maximum timeframe, as defined by federal policy. Federal regulations specify that the maximum timeframe may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program. For example, if a program of study takes 60 credits to earn a degree, 150% of the maximum time frame would be 90 credits. When students exceed the timeframe for their programs of study, they are no longer eligible to receive financial aid.***
*Cumulative GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total credit hours attempted for which the student received grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, E, F, I, T, QA, QA-, QB+,QB, QB-, QC+, QC, QC-, QD, and QI.
**Credit hours attempted will be cumulative and will include all hours for which the student was enrolled as of the census date of each academic term, or for which the student received a final grade. The census date is set by the College and marks the last date of the add/drop period of a semester. Credit hours completed with grades of A, B, C, D, E, QA, QB, QC, QD, or T will be considered credit hours completed. Grades of F, QI, I, W, and WF will be considered credit hours attempted but not completed. A student's completion rate is calculated by dividing the number of credit hours completed by the number of credit hours attempted. Transfer credits should count as both attempted and completed credits.
***For each program of study, a maximum timeframe will be calculated by taking the total credit hours required for the program as outlined in the College catalog and multiplying the total by 150%. Timeframes will vary from program to program.
Key points to remember regarding maximum timeframe
- Since the timeframe sets the limit for the number of credit hours a student may attempt and remain eligible to receive financial aid assistance, it is very important that the student plans class schedules carefully with guidance from their academic advisor and/or the counseling staff. It is the responsibility of the student to register only for classes listed in the chosen major in the College catalog and for scheduling only the number of hours that a student is capable of completing. Students are responsible for knowing the policy concerning the limitation on hours attempted for financial aid purposes. Registering for more courses than a student is capable of completing, having to withdraw from classes, registering for courses for which the student has already received credit, taking courses in error, etc. all impact the timeframe and could result in losing financial aid eligibility before completing a program of study.
- The timeframe is cumulative; therefore, by switching programs without completing the initial program, the student runs the risk of losing financial aid eligibility.
- The timeframe begins when the student first attends the College and continues until the student successfully completes a program of study regardless of the number of years that may elapse between enrollment periods.
- Only students who successfully complete a program of study will have attempted and completed credit hours from earning a degree, diploma, or certificate deducted from the maximum timeframe calculation for the next program of study.
- Students who take course work, and are not enrolled in a program of study, will have those hours attempted added to their timeframe if and when they enter a specific program of study.
- The credit hours for course incompletes, withdrawals, and repetitions will be counted as hours attempted toward the timeframe.
Remedial credits do count for the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress and are included in the metrics for the calculation of cumulative GPA, Completion rate and Maximum Time Frame. Note: Financial Aid will not be awarded for a maximum of 30 remedial credits as mandated by Federal Regulation.
ESL courses do count for the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress and is included in the metrics for the calculation of cumulative GPA, Completion rate and Maximum Time Frame.
All Repeated courses will be counted in the total number of attempted credits for SAP calculation. A student who passes a course (with a letter grade of D or higher, may retake the class one additional time and receive financial aid for that course. Students repeating coursework because he/she received a grade of QD, F, WF, or W, may repeat the course and remain eligible for financial aid if Satisfactory Academic Progress is maintained.
Transfer credits accepted by Middlesex County College will be included in the overall computation of attempted and completed credits, but will not be included in the GPA calculation. All attempted credits will be used in the calculation of Maximum Time Frame and Completion rate.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Review
Review of a student’s SAP is evaluated at the end of each academic term (fall, spring and summer). The review process will assign a SAP status for each student of:
- SATISFACTORY: Student has met progress standards and is eligible for aid for the following semester or academic year.
- WARNING: Student has NOT met progress standards, but may continue to receive financial aid. Student is encouraged to seek tutoring to assist with the improvement of his/her GPA and progress. A student's SAP in the ‘Warning’ category is calculated based on a cumulative evaluation through prior term enrollment.
- UNSATISFACTORY: Students who fail to meet the conditions of a warning, which are to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a minimum cumulative completion rate of 67% (66.5% or higher will be rounded up to 67%), will be placed on unsatisfactory status. Students who are placed on unsatisfactory status are no longer eligible to receive Financial Aid. A student may at this point submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, and if the appeal is approved the financial aid award will be reinstated.
- MAXIMUM TIME-FRAME: Student is no longer eligible to receive Federal or State financial aid due to having exceeded the maximum allowed credits for the program of study.
- PROBATION: Probation occurs when students who are unsatisfactory have their eligibility for financial aid reinstated for one more semester due to an approved Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. A student on probation may not receive aid for future semesters unless the student is meeting the financial aid Satisfactory Academic progress policy at the end of the probation period (semester).
- FAILED PROBATION: This status indicates that the student was on probation, but failed to meet the requirements of the satisfactory academic progress at the end of the probation period. As a result, they were placed on failed probation status. Students who are placed on failed probation status are no longer eligible to receive Financial Aid. A student may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, and if the appeal is approved, the financial aid award will be reinstated.
- ACADEMIC PLAN: Academic plan occurs when students on unsatisfactory status have their eligibility for financial aid reinstated by an approved Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. Students in the status of Academic Plan must submit a Financial Aid Academic Plan and will have their financial aid eligibility reinstated. Students who fail to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, but have met the requirements of the financial aid student academic plan will remain on the academic plan at the end of each semester. Students in the status of academic plan may remain eligible for financial aid until they complete their program of study. After the student has completed the program of study, the financial aid student academic plan is no longer applicable for receiving additional financial aid.
- FAILED ACADEMIC PLAN: Students on an academic plan but failed to meet the requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and the academic plan at the end of the semester will be placed on failed academic plan status. Students who are placed on failed academic plan status are no longer eligible to receive Financial Aid. A student may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, and if the appeal is approved the financial aid award will be reinstated.
- APPEAL DENIED: If the appeal is denied, the financial aid award will not be reinstated.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
Students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. All appeals will be reviewed and approved or denied by the Financial Aid Ad Hoc Appeals Committee. An appeal can only be submitted if a student’s failure to make Satisfactory Academic Progress is based upon events beyond their control. Applicable circumstances would include medical issues, death/illnesses, and any other uncontrollable events. Students will need to submit the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form, their program evaluation, and all required documentation to the Financial Aid Office. Incomplete appeals (those with no explanation of the extenuating circumstances and the required supporting documentation) will be automatically denied. Students will be notified by email of the committee’s decision within 30 days.
Students with an approved appeal will be placed on Probation or Academic Plan status. Students who have appeals denied will be permitted to appeal the decision of the committee to the Director of Financial Aid. The Director of Financial Aid will review the student’s second appeal, and this decision is final.
Regaining financial aid eligibility after an appeal is denied and/or academic progress is unsatisfactory
If a satisfactory academic progress appeal is denied and/or the academic progress is unsatisfactory at the end of the previous term, the student may submit another appeal in future semesters, if 6 credits are completed with a C or better, and the courses are paid for using personal financial resources.
It is important for students to remember that Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (PLEU) cannot be waived through the submission of an appeal. For further information on PLEU, visit http://www.middlesexcc.edu/financial-aid/pell-grant-eligibility/