Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress
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)
The qualitative standard is the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). The qualitative standard requires that a student achieve no less than a cumulative GPA of 2.00 at the end of each payment period. The cumulative academic record as transcribed by River Parishes Community College (including grades received at the college as well as transfer grades transcribed by RPCC for attempted coursework) will be included in the cumulative GPA calculation. A student’s cumulative grade point average will be calculated based upon all courses on the student’s transcript- passed, failed, courses from which the student withdrew (officially or unofficially), repeated, and non-credit remedial/developmental coursework. The cumulative GPA calculation will not be rounded.
Quantitative Measure – Credit Hour Completion (Pace)
In calculating the quantitative standard, the college will measure the “pace” at which the student is progressing. This is calculated by dividing the cumulative hours completed by the total cumulative hours attempted then rounding, if necessary, to the nearest whole number (e.g. 0.667 would be rounded to 67%). All students not on an academic plan (see below) must pass 67 percent of all overall hours attempted. All courses passed, all courses failed, courses from which the student withdrew (officially or unofficially), repeated courses, course for which the student received an incomplete, and non-credit remedial/developmental coursework will be considered in the calculation, even if the student did not receive financial aid.
Maximum Time Frame Limitation – 150% Rule (Degree Completion)
Students may receive financial aid if they have attempted no more than 150% of the hours required to complete their program of study. The maximum timeframe will be calculated by multiplying the total number of hours required for a given program of study by 1.50. For example, if 60 credit hours are required to complete the program, the maximum allowable attempted hours for the degree is 90 (60 hours x 1.50= 90).
For both native and transfer students, hours attempted includes all hours pursued, received, withdrawn, and failed. All of these hours are counted as attempted even if the student did not receive federal financial aid. All calculations will be based upon the cumulative academic record as transcribed by the college at the time of SAP evaluation.
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 receive federal financial assistance if any of the following occurs:
- The student’s GPA is below the minimum requirements as defined.
- The student does not make the incremental progress as defined.
- 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 study and who does not meet SAP, may appeal to have their program reset to be able to receive 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.
Effective Summer 2017, ALL Transfer students will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Status of TRANSFER. Transfer students that have been fully admitted to a degree seeking program may be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid on TRANS SAP Status for the semester they have been admitted.
After review, all Transfer students that are not meeting SAP at the end of the semester, may submit an appeal based on extenuating circumstances.
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.