Federal regulations require RPCC to establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress(SAP) for the purpose of the receipt of financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The law requires institutions to develop policies regarding satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Each institution must design criteria which outlines the definition of student progress towards a degree and the consequences to the student if progress in not achieved. River Parishes Community College students who wish to be considered for financial assistance must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their selected course of study as set forth in this policy. The programs that are included under this policy are Pell Grants, Direct Loans and Go Grants.
The Office of Financial Aid evaluates student academic progress at the end of each semester or before aid is initially awarded. Evaluations are done based on three measures: qualitative, quantitative, and maximum time frame. Students will be notified by email regarding failure to meet SAP requirements.
Qualitative Measure - Grade Point Average (GPA)
In order to receive any type of financial assistance at RPCC, a student must maintain a minimum qualitative measure of progress defined as a cumulative GPA. The lowest cumulative GPA that a student can have to receive any type of aid is a 2.00. Some financial assistance programs require a higher GPA..
New, transfer, continuing and re-entry students who have never received aid at RPCC must also have earned a cumulative 2.0 GPA on all hours attempted during all previous college semesters, even if they did not receive financial aid at the previous school.
Quantitative Measure - Credit Hour Completion (Pace)
Students are also required to meet a measure of incremental progress, or pace.
Student must complete 67% of all course work attempted at River Parishes Community College to qualify for financial assistance. In calculating the quantitative measure, all hours attempted will be considered. These include, but are not limited to, courses passed, courses from which the student withdrew, repeated courses, transfer courses, and non-credit remedial/developmental courses. Students must earn/pass at least 67% of the hours attempted.
New, transfer, continuing and re-entry students who have never received aid at RPCC must also have earned 67% of all hours attempted during all previous college semesters, even if they did not receive financial aid at the previous school.
Hours attempted includes all hours pursued, earned, dropped and failed - even if the student did not receive aid.
Maximum Time Frame Limitation - 150% Rule (Degree Completion)
Students are also subject to a maximum time frame limitation which is measured in credit hours attempted (not weeks, months or years). A student receiving federal aid funds is expected to reach his or her chosen academic goal by the time the student has attempted 150% of the number of semester hours required for the student's degree.
Also, a maximum of 30 hours of remedial/developmental courses will be used to determine eligibility for financial aid. After a student has attempted 30 hours of remedial/developmental hours, s/he cannot receive federal financial aid for developmental/remedial hours.
Students who wish to earn a second degree must present a written statement to the appeals committee outlining his or her plans. Additional courses beyond the first degree are limited to the courses required for the second degree.
Students are notified of the SAP policy in the River Parishes Community College Catalog, the Financial Assistance Sheet, and the River Parishes Community College website.
Loss of eligibility
A student will loose eligibility to recieve federal financial assistance if any of the following occurs:
1. The student's GPA is below the minimum requirements as defined.
2. The student does not make the incremental progress as defined.
3. The student reaches the maximum time frame for completion of his/her program of study as defined.
A student whose eligibility to receive federal financial aid funds is suspended because of any of the above, may regain eligibility to receive federal financial assistance in a future semester by earning the appropriate cumulative grade point average and cumulative semester hours for hours attempted.
Financial Aid Status - Warning, Probation, Suspension
Financial Aid Warning
is the status given to students the first time they fail to meet SAP. Students who are placed on Financial Aid Warning are given one semester of financial aid without having to appeal to regain their eligibility and will have their eligibility reevaluated after the Warning semester. If the student fails to meet SAP after the Warning semester, their financial aid eligibility will be suspended. Financial Aid Warning is for one semester only.
Financial Aid Probation
is the status given to students who have not met SAP and have had an appeal approved by the Appeals Committee. Students on probation are expected to meets SAP after their probation semester. Students may be required to have an Academic Plan as part of their approved appeal if their circumstances are such that they will not be able to meet SAP after their initial semester on financial aid probation. The Academic Plan
may specify the number of hours a student must successfully complete over a specified period of time in order to regain financial aid eligibility. Students who fail to follow the Academic Plan will have their financial aid eligibility suspended.
Financial Aid Suspension
occurs when a student does not meet SAP after a Warning semester or has their financial aid appeal denied by the Appeals Committee.
Financial Aid Reset
Students who are changing their major or course of student from an academic program to a technical program, or a technical program to an academic program, and who does not meet SAP, may appeal to have their program reset to be able to received financial aid. Academic history prior to the reset is not considered when determining financial aid eligibility. This reset is allowed one time only at RPCC and must be approved by the Appeals Committee.
Any student may appeal the loss of eligibility for federal Title IV funds if the student believes the loss of eligibility occurred due to mitigating or extenuating circumstances. Mitigating or extenuating circumstances include personal injury, illness, death of a family member, natural disasters, etc. If the student believes that extenuating circumstances (such as illness, death in the family, etc.) have affected the student's academic performance, the student may complete a SAP appeal request form and submit a letter with documentation of the circumstances to the Office of Financial Aid. All appeals will be reviewed by the Appeals Committee. Appeals not accompanied by documentation will be denied.
If an appeal is approved the student will be placed on financial aid probation and will be eligible to receive financial aid for one semester. The student's academic record will then be reevaluated after that semester to determine whether or not the student made progress during that semester.
If an appeal is denied the student will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid until such time as the student reestablishes eligibility. The student must attend at his/her own expense.
Consequences of Loss of Eligibility
A student who becomes ineligible for aid because he or she failed to meet SAP requirements will continue to be ineligible until such time as the student re-establishes eligibility.
A transfer student's eligibility for Title IV programs will be evaluated according to the same standards as other RPCC students. A transfer student's hours attempted will include all transfer hours accepted towards a degree, credit hours earned and grade point average at RPCC.
A student who has received federal aid benefits while attending a non-accredited school will be treated as a new student because RPCC does not accept credit hours from non-accredited schools.
A transfer student who wishes to receive aid must ensure that the Office of Admissions receives official transcripts from all previous accredited institutions and all transfer credit work has been evaluated and posted by the Office of Admissions to the student information system. Aid will not be processed for students admitted provisionally due to lack of college academic transcripts.
Withdrawals, Repeated Courses, Non-Credit Courses, Remedial Courses and Incomplete Grades
A grade of a "W" (withdrawal) will not be used in calculating a student's grade point average. However, in measuring a student's adherence to the SAP standards, all credit hours in which a student receives a "W" will be included in the number of semester hours attempted.
A student will be allowed to repeat a course according to the policies stated in the College Catalog. However, in measuring a student's adherence to the SAP standards, all credit hours for repeated courses will be included in the total hours attempted.
Non-credit courses or audited courses will not be counted in hours attempted.
Semester hours for developmental or remedial courses will be counted as hours attempted. Also, the grade for a developmental or remedial course will be counted in the student's cumulative GPA.
Any course in which an "I" grade is given counts as hours attempted. However, it is not included as earned until such time as the course is complete and a letter grade is given. The Registrar submits a copy of the grade change form to the Office of Financial Aid once any "I" grade is resolved. At this point, the Satisfactory Academic Progress/Verification screen is updated for the individual student but it is the student's responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid that s/he would like to complete the processing of aid once the grade is changed.
The Registrar at RPCC processes all grade changes. Once the grade change is processed, the Registrar submits a copy of the grade change form to the Office of Financial Aid. The Office of Financial Aid updates the Satisfactory Academic Progress/Verification screen at that time. If any programs currently in progress are affected by the change, appropriate adjustments are made at that time. If the grade change makes the student again eligible for Title IV aid, it is the student's responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid of the regained eligibility and of his or her interest in receiving aid.
The summer term is considered to be a trailer for purposes of the academic award year. Only students who do not use all of their financial aid eligibility during the previous fall/spring semesters will be eligible to receive Title IV aid for the summer term. Qualitative and quantitative measures are evaluated for the summer semester according to the same guidelines used in the fall/spring semesters.