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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

According to federal and state regulations, students receiving financial aid must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The Financial Aid Office at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College monitors a student’s academic progress as a condition of eligibility when the student applies for financial aid and at the end of each enrollment period (semester). These requirements are applied to a student’s entire academic history at A-B Tech, including transfer hours from other schools and including periods when financial aid was not received. A student is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress when the following three requirements are satisfied:

1.  Qualitative Standard (Cumulative Grade Point Average) – A student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

2.  Quantitative Standard (Completion Rate) – A student must complete a minimum number of credit hours of the total credit hours attempted. (See chart below.)

3.  Maximum Timeframe – A student must successfully complete the program of study within its timeframe. Federal regulations specify that the timeframe may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program. When students exceed the timeframe for their programs of study, they are no longer eligible to receive financial aid. However, students can appeal to the Director of Financial Aid to have their eligibility extended if there are extenuating circumstances.

Monitoring Satisfactory Progress. A-B Tech will monitor satisfactory progress using the chart below. The chart has been designed to accommodate all federally-eligible programs of study offered by the College and the variable enrollment status of students (e.g. full-time, 75% of the time, 50% of time and less than 50% time).

Credit Hours
Attempted* Minimum 
Credit Hours
to be Completed** Minimum 
Cumulative
GPA Required***
1-18 33% 2.00
19-40 50% 2.00
41 and over 67% 2.00

*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 grade. The census date is defined as the day following the last day for registration and payment as outlined in the College catalog.

**Credit hours completed with grades of A, B, C, D, T, CR, P, or AP only will fulfill this requirement. Grades of I, NS, U, W, X, and Y will not fulfill this requirement.

***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, B, C, D, F, and U.

The second quantitative standard referred to as the maximum timeframe will be measured independently of the monitoring chart. 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 the maximum timeframe:

1.  Since the timeframe sets the limit for the number of credit hours a student may attempt and remain eligible to receive financial assistance, it is very important that the student plan class schedules carefully with his or her academic advisor and/or the Student Services counseling staff. It is the responsibility of the student to register only for classes listed in his or her chosen major in the College catalog and for scheduling only the number of hours he or she is capable of completing. SOME STUDENTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO TAKE PROVISIONAL COURSES, WHICH WILL ALSO BE COUNTED AS HOURS ATTEMPTED. 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.

2.  The timeframe is cumulative; therefore, by switching programs without completing the initial program, the student runs the risk of losing financial aid eligibility.

3.  The timeframe begins when the student first attends the College and continues until that student successfully completes a program of study regardless of the number of years that may elapse between enrollment periods.

4.  Only students who successfully complete a program of study will be given a new timeframe should they decide to enter a subsequent program of study. The credit hours attempted to complete the first program will not be included as hours attempted in the timeframe for the second program of study.

5.  Students who take course work and are unclassified will have those hours attempted added to their timeframe if and when they enter a specific program of study.

6.  Students accepted into a program of study who are required to take developmental course work, as determined by placement testing results and the professional judgment of a Student Services counselor, will have the credit hours attempted for such course work count toward their timeframe. (Financial aid can only pay for 30 credit hours of developmental course work).

7.  The credit hours for course incompletes, withdrawals, and repetitions will be counted as hours attempted toward the timeframe.

8.  Students switching from a degree program to a vocational program who have or nearly have exceeded the initial timeframe may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid for a timeframe extension.

9.  Credit hours transferred in will be counted toward the maximum timeframe of eligibility. Prior degrees earned will be taken into consideration when determining transfer hours.

SAP Status. Based on these calculations, students will be assigned certain satisfactory academic progress statuses. Please see the statuses and their definitions listed below:

Satisfactory. Satisfactory status is achieved when the cumulative GPA, completion rate and timeframe are met.

Warning. Students who fail to meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and fail to complete a minimum percentage of classes (completion rate) are given a warning. Students in the status of warning remain eligible for financial aid for one payment period (semester). Participation in the following success strategies while on warning may positively impact a student’s performance as well as positively impact any appeal of loss of financial aid if it becomes necessary. It is recommended that students do the following.

1.  Complete the one-hour “What It Means To Be a Successful Student at A-B Tech” academic success workshop during the semester on warning. (See Financial Aid Office for specifics.)

2.  Meet with their academic advisor to review academic success strategies during the semester on warning.

Participation in the success strategies mentioned above will affect whether any appeal of suspension is positively received.

Suspension. Students who fail to meet the conditions of a warning, which are to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and complete a minimum percentage of classes (completion rate), are placed on suspension. Students who are placed on suspension forfeit their financial aid. A student may either appeal to have their financial aid eligibility reinstated or may notify the Financial Aid Office when the student is meeting the satisfactory academic progress policy for students receiving financial aid so that their financial aid eligibility can be reconsidered. If an appeal is approved, the suspended student is placed on probation.

Probation. Probation occurs when students on suspension have their eligibility for financial aid reinstated by the Director of Financial Aid. Students who are suspended may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid to have their financial aid eligibility reinstated for one payment period (semester) on probation. (See the appeal process outlined below.) A student on probation may not receive financial aid for the subsequent payment period unless:

1.  The student is now meeting the financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy at the end of the probation period (semester); or

2.  The student meets with his or her academic advisor to be placed on an individualized academic probation/suspension success plan. A copy of this plan must be provided to the Financial Aid Office by the student. The plan may include one or more of the following strategies:

         • Limiting the number of hours attempted

         • Scheduling developmental courses as needed

         • And scheduling repeat of courses

Students will be notified of their status at the end of each payment period (semester) or when they first apply for financial aid. This notification will be sent to their student email account.

Appeal Process. Students who are suspended for not meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility for one semester, if they have extenuating circumstances that are generally beyond their control such as a death in the family, serious illness or injury. The procedure for appeal is:

1.  Print out and complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request Form from the financial aid web page.

2.  The student will indicate in writing to the Director of Financial Aid the reasons why he or she did not make satisfactory academic progress and why financial aid should not be suspended. Also, changes that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation should be addressed.

3.  Documentation to support the appeal is required and must be attached to the letter of appeal. Appeals submitted without documentation will not be reviewed.

4.  The Director of Financial Aid will review the appeal and documentation to determine whether or not the student’s financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. The student will be advised of the decision via their student email address.

5.  Decisions of the Director of Financial Aid, regarding loss of aid, may be appealed through the Student Appeals Policy.

Submission of an appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of eligibility for financial aid. Each appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Paying out of pocket for classes or sitting out a semester is not grounds for reinstatement of aid. Students must bring their academic progress back into compliance or have an appeal approved to have aid reinstated.

Federal Return of Title IV Funds Policy; Financial Aid for Students Who Withdraw or Drop Out. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended Oct. 1, 1998 allows institutions participating in any Title IV program (e.g. Pell Grant, Direct Loan Program etc.) to implement the policy and make a “good faith effort” to enforce it prior to the writing of the final regulations, which became effective on October 7, 2000.

In general, the law focuses on the return of Title IV Funds received for the semester the student was enrolled if that student completely withdraws or partially withdraws (terms with modules) from the College prior to the 60 percent point of the semester.

If a student withdraws after the 60 percent point of the semester or minimester, the student will be considered to have earned all funds disbursed and no return of funds will be required unless, of course, a student had received a loan that was subject to repayment under the terms of the loan.

Any student who decides to completely withdraw from the College prior to the 60 percent point of the semester and who has been disbursed Title IV funds may be required to repay a portion of those funds based on the federal formula calculation.

Students may request a copy of the complete policy and the calculation sheet used to determine liability from the Financial Aid Office located in the K. Ray Bailey Student Services Center.

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