Satisfactory Academic Progress For Federal Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): The Higher Education Amendment Act of 1965, as amended, mandates institutions of higher education to establish a minimum standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress “(SAP)” for students receiving federal financial aid. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University makes its standard applicable to all federal, state and some institutional funds.

The satisfactory academic progress policy applies to all terms regardless of whether financial aid was received. Satisfactory Academic Progress will be evaluated for all students (full or part-time) annually (at the end of each spring semester). Students who enroll at the mid-point (January) of an academic year or attend one semester only will also be evaluated at the end of the spring semester. Students who begin enrollment in the summer will not have their satisfactory academic progress status reviewed until the end of the next spring semester.

Students re-admitted under the “three year rule” or any other rules must also meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to receive financial aid.

To ensure Satisfactory Academic Progress students must meet all of the following standards:

  • Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Minimum Completion Standard for Attempted Credit Hours
  • Maximum Time Frame for Degree Completion

 

Undergraduate SAP Requirements

To ensure Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), undergraduate students must meet all of the following standards:

  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher at the end of each semester
  • Must earn 67 percent of hours attempted.
  • Must not exceed 150 percent of hours required for degree completion.

Students who fail to meet one or more of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards at the time their academic progress is reviewed are not eligible for financial aid and will be placed on financial aid suspension.

Graduate and Doctoral SAP Requirements

All graduate and doctoral students must maintain the following minimum requirements to be in compliance with SAP:

  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher at the end of each semester.
  • Must earn 67 percent of hours attempted.
  • Must not exceed 150 percent of hours required for degree completion.

 

Completion Standard for Attempted Credit Hours

All graduate and doctoral students must maintain the following minimum requirements to be in compliance with SAP:

  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Must earn 67 percent of hours attempted.
  • Must not exceed 150 percent of hours required for degree completion.

Students who receive financial aid must successfully complete a minimum of 67 percent of all attempted hours. If the number of completed hours drops below 67 percent, the student will no longer be eligible for financial aid. Attempted hours include all hours attempted at the university and transfer hours, whether or not the student earns a grade or receives credit. Successful completion of a course means that the students must obtain a grade of A, B, C, D, P or S. Courses with grades of F, I, U and W will not qualify in meeting the minimum standard.

To calculate 67 percent, multiply the total number of attempted hours by .67 (rounded downward to the nearest whole number). As an example if a student attempted credit hours are 30, he or she must complete a minimum of 20 credit hours (30 x .67 = 20) in order to ensure SAP for the year.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal regulations require that a student complete their program of study within 150 percent (1.5) of the credit hours required for graduation or program of study, as published in the University Bulletin. If the published number of hours required for graduation is one hundred twenty (120), an undergraduate student may not attempt more than one hundred eighty credit hours (120 x 1.5 = 180) and continue to receive financial aid. All attempted hours are counted in determining the 180 hours limit, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received or the course work was successfully completed.

Graduate students must complete their degree within 150 percent of the program of study as indicated in the Graduate Catalog.

Second Degree

Students who have already earned a degree and are pursuing another degree must submit a completed Second Degree Form from their academic department. The hours listed on the Second Degree Form indicate how many hours are required to complete the second degree. Second degree students cannot exceed their aggregate loan limit. Second degree undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

All students must pass 67 percent of the total number of hours attempted. Second degree students who previously attended the university will have their attempted and earned hours reviewed beginning with their enrollment in the second degree at the university. Second degree students must complete their degree requirement based on the Second Degree Form within 150 percent of the hours required for the second degree.

Withdrawal

  • Withdrawal “W” grade – A withdrawal is recorded on the student’s academic record and will be included as credits attempted and have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to maintain SAP. Students who officially withdraw from the university must make up the deficit hours and are encouraged to attend summer school to remove the deficient hours.
  • Incomplete “I” grade – An incomplete grade indicates that a student has not finished all coursework required for a grade and is included in the cumulative credits attempted. An incomplete will count toward attempted hours but not as hours passed until a final passing grade is posted in the Registrar’s Office and may negatively impact the required 67 percent completion rate.
  • Repeated courses – Students (undergraduate) may only receive federal financial aid for one repetition (repeat) of a previously passed course. For the purpose of federal and state financial assistance, students who have passed a course with a grade of a “D” or better may only repeat the class one additional time and receive financial aid for that course. All repeated courses are included in the total attempted hours for SAP evaluation.
  • Change of Major - A student may change from one degree to another during attendance at the university. Students who change from one major to another are still expected to maintain SAP and complete the coursework within the timeframe or hours limitation stated unless an appeal is approved. All attempted hours from a prior major are included in the total attempted hours. A Satisfactory Academic Plan of Action may be established for the new degree.
  • Audited courses - Courses audited do not count as either attempted or earned hours.
  • Hours Enrolled - The number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled on the day following the published last day to add/drop a class will be used as official enrollment for financial assistance purposes; full-time status is twelve or more hours. If a student withdraws from classes after the last day to add/drop a course they may not meet the minimum number of hours to be earned in one academic year. Re-admitted students will be reviewed on their previous academic records in order to determine eligibility for assistance, whether or not financial aid was received. Readmitted students not maintaining SAP must submit a letter of appeal.
  • Transfer Credits - Courses accepted as transfer credits are included in the total attempted and total earned hours in determining whether or not a student is maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress.

 

Readmitted, Academically Suspension or Dismissal

Re-admitted students are not automatically eligible for financial aid. A student who has left the university for one or more terms and has been readmitted will have Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid reviewed after readmission. Students readmitted under any readmission policy, as well as students placed on Academic Suspension or Dismissal must meet the SAP standards to receive financial aid.

Academic suspension is determined by the Registrar’s Office. Students on academic suspension will not have their appeal reviewed until their suspension or dismissal is removed. Students who are academically suspended at the end of the spring semester are not eligible for financial aid during the summer term(s). Financial Aid appeals for summer term(s) are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Financial Aid Termination

Students who do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are not eligible for further financial aid, including Summer School. Students will be notified by Office of Student Financial Aid of their financial aid termination at the end of the spring semester through a letter to their permanent address and to their University e-mail account. Students whose financial aid is terminated must remove their academic deficiencies or have an appeal approved before their aid can be reinstated.

Academic Suspension

Students who are academically suspended at the end of the spring semester, but are allowed to enroll in the summer term as a condition of their reinstatement, are not eligible for financial aid during the summer terms.

Unofficial Withdrawal

Students who fail to earn a passing grade for any of the courses they attempted due to non-attendance or unofficially withdrawn from the University, may be required to repay all or a portion of aid for the term not completed and may not be eligible for future financial aid unless an appeal is approved.

Appeal Procedure

Students not meeting SAP may appeal for reconsideration of financial aid. This is not the same appeal process as the Academic Appeal for readmission to the University. To appeal for the reinstatement of financial aid eligibility, students must complete and submit the SAP appeal form to the Office of Student Financial Aid indicating the extenuating circumstance(s) (i.e. personal illness, injury, medical problems, military obligations, change in living arrangements, undue hardship, death of parent or immediate family member or relative, family emergency or other special circumstances) that may have prevented them from performing at his/her academic best and describe how the extenuating circumstance(s) has changed.

Documents supporting the student’s appeal must accompany (if applicable) the SAP Appeal form. Failure to provide supporting documentation may result in the denial of the appeal.

Effective Fall 2019, all students completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form must complete the following two Financial Literacy modules at https://www.igrad.com/schools/ncat and correctly answer at least 70 percent of the post-test questions: “Staying on Track with Student Loans While in School” and “Creating a Budget and Sticking to It” modules.

Students must also submit a signed Academic Plan of Action from their academic advisor or department detailing requirements to successfully get back on track and complete the academic semester, year or program of study. Students should adhere to the Academic Plan of Action developed for them or consult their Academic Advisor for revision. It is important to note that submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form does not guarantee an approval for reinstatement of a student’s aid eligibility.

Please note: Satisfactory Academic Appeals submitted indicating sexual or relationship violence will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator.

Conditions for Reinstatement

Students will be notified, in writing of the appeal decision within 14 business days. If an appeal is approved, the student will be placed on probation and they must sign a Satisfactory Academic Progress Action Plan with the Office of Student Financial Aid before any aid is awarded. Students who are granted an appeal and do not meet the requirements are placed on financial aid suspension until satisfactory academic progress is achieved.

A student on financial aid probation will be reviewed at the end of each semester as indicated on the Plan of Action to ensure the requirements are being met. Students who fail to meet the conditions of the Plan of Action at the end of a semester while on an approved appeal will not be eligible for aid for the upcoming semester. Students may submit another appeal. It is important to note that submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form does not guarantee an approval for reinstatement of a student’s aid eligibility.

Appeals are reviewed within the Office of Student Financial Aid by an in-house committee. If an appeal is denied, it will automatically be reviewed by the University’s Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The ex-officio member of the Appeals Committee notifies students of the Committee’s decision in a letter to their permanent home mailing address and to their university e-mail account.

Any student whose financial aid has been terminated may reestablish their eligibility based on the individual student’s academic standing by any of the following methods:

  • Enroll and pass a course or courses in Summer I, Summer II and/or Dual Session.
  • Students not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of the spring semester who attend summer school will have their SAP status reviewed again at the end of each summer session to determine whether or not SAP deficiencies have been removed.
  • Repeat and pass courses in which a grade of “F” was earned.
  • Satisfy requirements for all incomplete “I” grades.
  • Receive an Approved SAP appeal.
  • Complete a semester or semester(s) using their own resources.

It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of his/her SAP status. The awarding of financial aid will depend on the student’s eligibility and the availability of funds at the time of the appeal approval or reinstatement of eligibility.

Submitting an appeal does not guarantee approval. Appeals are reviewed and approved based on individual extenuating circumstances; individual academic performance and any documentation submitted.

Denied Appeals

If an appeal is denied, students may attend without financial aid to re-establish aid eligibility. Students will be responsible for all charges associated with their enrollment.

Students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards may explore alternative payment options. For instance, the University’s monthly tuition payment plan or applying for an alternative student loan.

Withdrawal

Students who withdraw from all classes in a semester may be required to return some or all of the financial aid paid to their account. Per federal regulations, the Office of Financial Aid will perform a Return of Title IV Funds calculation.

Once a student attends beyond the 60 percent point of the semester, the student is considered to have earned 100 percent of all aid. A withdrawal prior to the 60 percent point of the semester or non-attendance in classes may result in federal or state aid being return to the program and the student possibly owing a balance to the university.

Study Abroad

Students studying abroad are subject to the same SAP standards. Hours and/or grades earned from other institutions as a part of a consortium and/or study abroad agreement must be evaluated to verify the SAP standards are met.

Summer Award

Generally, students are awarded financial aid for the summer session before spring grades are posted. If it is determined that a student was awarded aid for the summer and is not meeting SAP at the end of the spring semester, the financial aid awarded for the summer will be canceled.

Deficient GPA - Students can only increase their cumulative grade point average by attending North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Deficient Hours – Students may remove their deficiency in hours may take courses at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University or at another institution if approval is granted by the academic department. Hours cannot be reviewed until they have been transferred to the university and are indicated on the student’s academic record at the university.