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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy


School policy: 34 CFR 668.16(e), 34 CFR 668.32(f) and 34 CFR 668.34

To be considered administratively capable, a school must have a satisfactory academic progress policy that, for a Federal Student Aid recipient, is the same as or more strict than the school's standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving assistance under a Federal Student Aid program. 

Basic Elements of a Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

According to these federal rules, a school's policy must contain certain basic elements:

  • Students must maintain a cumulative (Financial Aid) GPA of at least a 2.0
  • Students must complete 67% or more of the coursework they attempt (cumulative), and
  • A maximum time frame in which a student must complete his or her educational program, (known as the 150% rule).

          The maximum number of hours a student may attempt is limited to 150% of the published length
          of the program.  For example, a certificate program that requires 30 hours would have a
          maximum time frame of 45 credit hours.

          All hours, including the following, shall be counted towards total hours attempted and earned:

  • Hours taken while not receiving Title IV aid,
  • Those taken under a different major,
  • Hours attempted during summer sessions,
  • Remedial hours,
  • ESL hours, and
  • Hours transferred in from previous/other institutions.

          Students that reach the maximum time frame are immediately given a status of "Exceeds Max Hours", making them ineligible for any student aid, including student loans, grants, state aid, etc.

Failure to Meet the Standards of Academic Progress - GPA and Percent Completion

A student who fails to meet the Financial Aid GPA of 2.0 and/or a Completion Rate of 67% will automatically be placed on warning for the next semester of enrollment.  Students on warning will still be able to receive student financial aid they would otherwise be eligible to receive. 

At the end of the next semester of enrollment, the student must be making Financial Aid satisfactory academic progress (Financial Aid GPA of 2.0 or greater and a cumulative percent completion of 67% or higher.)  If the student is not making satisfactory academic progress by the end of the semester, they will automatically be placed on financial aid suspension and will no longer be eligible for any student aid including loans, grants, state aid, etc.

Students on financial aid suspension for Financial Aid GPA and/or percent completion will remain on suspension until such time that the Financial Aid GPA and/or percent completion reaches the minimum requirements. 

The Appeal Process - GPA and/or Percent Completion

In rare circumstances, a student is allowed to appeal his/her financial aid suspension.  These circumstances may include:

  • A serious personal illness documented by a doctor,
  • The serious illness of an immediate family member where the doctor documents student was required to give care to the family member, and
  • Other rare, exceptional circumstances that prevent a student from attending class. 

The circumstances must have occurred during the semester(s) of attendance.  Please note that appeals will not be accepted without documentation and that appeals submitted with documentation are not automatically approved.

The deadline for submitting an appeal is 30 days after the official first day of classes for a semester.

A student who meets the condition to appeal must complete and submit the following:

  1. In a TYPED and SIGNED letter:
    1. Explain the rare, extenuating circumstances that caused you not to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
    2. Include the steps you have taken or will take, personally and academically, to prevent these circumstances from hindering your academic performance in the future.

  2. DOCUMENTATION is required for all appeals, and the documentation should support the explanation in the typed and signed letter. For example, medical or other legal documents, counselors, attorneys, doctors, or other objective persons who are knowledgeable about your circumstances.

  3. CONFIRMATION PAGE showing completion of SAP Counseling, "The Key Components to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Financial Aid Appeal Process."  Click here for link.
    *You will need to create a login to complete this counseling session.

Failure to Meet the Standards of Academic Progress - Maximum Hours

Students who reach the maximum timeframe will be placed on financial aid suspension and are no longer eligible to receive federal or state financial aid. There is no warning for this status. 

Please realize that the Financial Aid Office emails students each semester to inform them of their progress towards their maximum timeframe. 

The Appeal Process - Maximum Timeframe

An appeal to request an extension of hours can be submitted if there are extenuating circumstances that caused the student not to be able to complete within the 150% time period, but those circumstances must be documented.

Extenuating circumstances include:

  • A serious personal illness documented by a doctor,
  • The serious illness of an immediate family member where the doctor documents student was required to give care to the family member, and
  • Other rare, exceptional circumstances that prevent a student from attending class.

The deadline for submitting an appeal is 30 days after the official first day of classes for a semester.

A student who meets the condition to appeal must complete and submit the following:

  1. In a TYPED and SIGNED letter:
    1. Explain the rare, extenuating circumstances that caused you to exceed 150% of the published length of your program.
    2. Include the steps you have taken, or will take, personally and academically, to prevent future circumstances from allowing you to complete within the requested extension of hours.

  2. DOCUMENTATION is required for all appeals, and the documentation should support the explanation in the typed and signed letter. For example, medical or other legal documents, counselors, attorneys, doctors, or other objective persons who are knowledgeable about your circumstances.

  3. CONFIRMATION PAGE showing completion of SAP Counseling, "The Key Components to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Financial Aid Appeal Process."  Click here for link.
    *You will need to create a login to complete this counseling session.

  4. ACADEMIC ADVISOR:
    1. Attach an updated degree audit signed and dated by the Academic Advisor, noting the courses which are still left to complete on your current, declared degree program.
    2. Number of additional hours needed to complete program (include currently enrolled hours).
    3. Academic Advisor Signature and date

The Appeals Committee

All financial aid appeals are reviewed by a committee made up of faculty and staff from Collin College. Financial Aid employees are not involved in the review process. Students will be notified of the committee's decision via their school email account. An appeal that does not meet the requirements per the SAP policy will not be approved. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final. 

A student whose appeal is approved will be sent an email outlining the terms of their academic plan. Students must respond and state that they accept the terms outlined in the plan.  In order to remain eligible for financial aid while on an academic plan, the student may not withdraw from any coursework and must make a grade of at least "C" in every class until the student is back in good standing.

A student whose appeal is approved for maximum timeframe will have the approved hours added to the 150% of the program length.

All decisions of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee are final.

Click here to see an explanation of the different SAP statuses in Cougar Web.

To obtain an appeal form, go to the forms page here.




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