Satisfactory Academic Progress
and LCC’s SAP Policy
Federal regulations require schools to monitor student academic progress for financial aid purposes. All students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible for Title IV aid. Section 132 of the Educational Amendments of 1976 states that students are entitled to receive Federal Student Assistance Benefits, but only if they are “maintaining satisfactory progress in the course of study he/she is pursuing according to the standards of the institution.”
For the purpose of SAP Policies, financial aid includes the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, Federal Work-Study, and all grants offered by the State of North Carolina (NCCCG, NCELS and NC Childcare Grant). Federal regulations require students to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in three areas. A student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) which must remain at a minimum of a 2.0, the student’s PACE or completion rate which must be at least 67%, and the student’s academic program must be completed in a maximum timeframe of 150% of the timeframe allowed for the declared program. According to LCC’s SAP Policy students are also restricted to 30 hours of Title IV funding for remedial coursework, such as DMA or DRE classes, that may be required based on the student’s placement test scores. Academic records are reviewed at the end of each semester and students are then notified of their SAP standing.
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher in order to be eligible to receive assistance. Financial Aid will follow the College’s policy for calculating GPA for all courses except remedial courses. Grades of “I” are included in cumulative GPA calculations but grades of “W” are not included. All grades dating back to the student’s initial enrollment at the college, including those received while not on financial assistance, are included in the student’s cumulative GPA.
Students must receive a passing grade in 67% of all coursework attempted. Grades of “F” and “W” are not passing grades. The pace of completion is cumulative and includes all coursework attempted. Transfer credits accepted are included as both attempted and completed. Incompletes, grades of “I”, are included as attempted but not completed until they are replaced with an accurate grade.
Students must complete their program of study within the 150% maximum timeframe allowed for that program. For example, an Associate in Arts is meant to last two years or four full time semesters. A student has a limit of three years/six full time semesters to complete this program. Once a student reaches the 150% maximum or it becomes evident that the student will not graduate within the allotted timeframe, the student is no longer eligible to receive Title IV funding. Transfer credits that apply to the student’s program of study are included in the 150% timeframe calculation. Credits earned at LCC that apply to the program of study will count toward the 150% maximum timeframe calculation.
There is a 30 credit hour limit on remedial coursework that can be funded through Title IV. Remedial courses are not counted in pace of completion calculations, however, they are factored in cumulative GPA calculations in a unique way. There are only three possible grades that can be earned in remedial courses. A grade of “PA” is calculated as 4.00 quality points. A grade of “PB” is calculated as 3.00 quality points. A grade of “R” is calculated as 1.5 quality points.
What happens if I do not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress?
After one semester of enrollment, financial aid students who fail to meet the College’s SAP Policy through cumulative GPA and/or pace of completion will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. Students on warning may continue to receive financial aid for one additional semester. During this semester the student must re-establish satisfactory academic progress in order for the probation to be lifted at the end of the financial aid warning period. If SAP is not regained at the end of the warning period the student is place on Financial Aid Suspension and their Title IV funding is terminated.
How do I regain SAP after being terminated?
Students who fail to make SAP during the probation semester will be ineligible for aid until their progress is again deemed satisfactory. A student may register and pay for classes out of pocket until they regain eligibility by raising their GPA and/or pace rate. When the student’s SAP status meets the 2.0 cumulative GPA standard and their pace meets the 67% completion standard they are returned to a satisfactory status.
What is the purpose of the SAP Appeal?
SAP Appeals are considered in the cases of students who have experienced one of the following life events: extended illness or hospitalization, an accident which incapacitates the student for an extended period of time, or the death or extended illness of an immediate family member which results in greater family responsibilities for the student. The appeal must be in writing and must be submitted along with supporting documentation to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The committee will review all documents and notify students of their decision. All decisions made by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee are final.
What happens if my appeal is approved?
If a SAP Appeal is approved by the committee the student is placed on Financial Aid Probation. Students on probation meet with a counselor to develop an academic plan. The plan is designed to return the student to satisfactory academic progress within one, two or three semesters depending on the student’s individual case. Students must meet the standards of their academic plan each semester in order to continue to receive Title IV funding.
Tips for remaining Title IV eligible
- Seek advising when registering for classes. Your advisor or a counselor in Student Services can help you stay on track when choosing your classes each semester.
- Only register for as many classes as you can truly handle per semester. Trying to take on too many classes can result in withdraws which affect your completion rate, or low grades that can potentially lower your GPA.
- Consult a counselor or financial aid administrator before changing your major or taking classes outside of your major as these can affect your maximum time frame.
- Remember that any classes you are registered for on the day they begin will be included in your pace rate.
- All prerequisites taken at other institutions and are transferred in count towards your maximum time frame.
- If you have questions about grades or completion rates that will affect your SAP status contact your financial aid advisor.