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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

FA-201/Revised 9/06/11

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Introduction


All students receiving federal and state student financial aid must adhere to Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Financial Aid policy on standards of satisfactory academic progress. This policy has been established to meet the requirements The intent of this policy is to ensure that students who are receiving federal and state financial aid are making measurable progress toward completion of a degree, diploma or certificate program in a reasonable period of time. The policy is separate from the institution’s standards of progress and is monitored each semester for all enrolled students who have applied for financial aid.

Satisfactory academic progress must include both a qualitative component, grade point average (GPA) and a quantitative (maximum time frame). The following three criteria/rules are applied to determine progress at Florence-Darlington Technical College:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester for all students who have a financial aid record and are enrolled. Results of that review will be used to determine the subsequent semester’s eligibility for financial aid. Students are responsible to ensure that they maintain the minimum semester and cumulative GPA and to ensure that they complete the required minimum number of credits each semester.

Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained even during semesters in which financial assistance is not received.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Scope


This policy applies to all students applying for or receiving federal grants, loans, federal work-study and state funds. To reasonably measure a student's satisfactory academic progress toward completion of his/her degree, diploma, or certificate the student's total academic record will be evaluated. This includes all academic work attempted for any FDTC program and transferred credits accepted from any other schools attended.

As the recipients of federal or state financial aid, students have certain rights and responsibilities. Students' failure to fulfill their part of the agreement as described may result in the cancellation of their awards, and/or repayment of any funds already received.

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Monitoring Procedures

The Financial Aid Center will monitor satisfactory academic progress for all students receiving federal or state financial aid to ensure that they are making progress toward program completion. Associate degree, diploma and certificate programs will be reviewed for satisfactory academic progress at the end of each term enrolled. The standards defining satisfactory academic progress for Florence-Darlington Technical College students are outlined below.

Course Withdrawals, Incomplete Courses, Repetitions, Remedial or Noncredit Remedial:

Students who receive federal or state financial aid must be aware that repeated courses; noncredit remedial courses and grades of F, W, WF, and I will be considered in assessing their progress toward completion. Students who do not satisfactorily complete at least 70 percent of attempted hours for two consecutive semesters will no longer be eligible for federal and/or most state assistance (i.e., South Carolina Need-Based Grant).

Developmental Studies (Remedial rule) Standards of Progress:

Financial Aid recipients may take a maximum of 30 credit hours in Developmental Studies course work. Students enrolled in Developmental Studies classes only must receive grades of A*, B* C* and SC* in at least 70 percent of their classes to remain in good standing. Developmental Studies students who do not meet this requirement will receive a warning during the next term in which they enroll in the college.

Transfer Students:

All transfer students will be considered to be making satisfactory progress based on the number of credit hours accepted toward their program of study. Each academic record will otherwise be reviewed at the end of the required period of enrollment (i.e., at the end of each enrolled term).

Change of Major(s):

Students will be allowed two changes in curriculum.  Any requests for additional changes will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A student who changes majors is still responsible for maintaining satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the procedure as outlined. A review of satisfactory academic progress will be based on the student's current program of study. A student changing from an associate program into a diploma or certificate program of study may lose federal and state eligibility immediately upon making the change due to the 150 percent completion rule.

Fresh Start that may be granted through Registrar Services:

Per federal regulation excludes federal student aid from a schools fresh start policy and  requires the Financial Aid Center to track students' academic progress from the first date of enrollment, whether or not financial aid was received.

Students approved for the Fresh Start Program should be aware that financial aid requirements regarding prior attendance and cumulative eligibility must be considered from the first date of enrollment. Federal and state regulations prohibit the awarding of financial assistance beyond 150 percent of the published program length.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards


Length of Eligibility (Completion rule)

The Financial Aid Center monitors the satisfactory academic progress of all students receiving federal and state aid. Financial aid recipients are eligible for assistance until they have attempted up to one and a half (1.5) time the semester hours required for the program of study in which they are currently enrolled.

Examples of Maximum Timeframe

Academic Program

Hours Required In Program 

Maximum Allowable Attempted Hours (150%)

Associate in Nursing Degree

68

( x 1.5) = 102

Associate in Arts Degree 

62

( x 1.5) = 93

Early Childhood
Development Diploma

42

( x 1.5) = 63

Students pursuing multiple programs of study through Florence-Darlington Technical College will be limited to a maximum timeframe of 150 hours attempted. In all instances, financial assistance will be limited to a maximum of 150 hours attempted.  At the time it is determined that a student cannot complete their program of study without reaching 150 hours, the student becomes ineligible for financial aid.

Academic Progress (minimum GPA and 70 percent rule)

In order to remain in good academic standing, students pursuing a degree, diploma or certificate who are enrolled in regular curriculum classes must maintain a minimum credit hour Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0. Students are also required to have earned at least 70 percent of credit hours attempted to have continued federal and state eligibility for financial assistance. All Developmental Studies courses will be included in the calculation of 70% of credit hours.

Warning Semester

Students who fail to earn the required GPA as specified above or who fail to earn 70% of credits attempted will receive a financial aid warning for the next term in which they enroll at the college. Students in all programs of study who receive a financial aid warning may receive Title IV funds for one payment period. Students placed on warning will be advised to participate in a Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Workshop.  Workshops will be offered each month by the Financial Aid Center. Students must meet the FDTC Financial Aid Center’s SAP standards and will be reviewed at the end of the warning term. Students who fail to obtain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or who fail to bring cumulative completion rate up to 70% or greater will lose federal and state aid eligibility and will be placed on suspension.

Students placed on suspension may be allowed to submit one Appeal Request Form to the Financial Aid Center for evaluation of special circumstances that may have contributed to not meeting satisfactory progress standards. Students who have not yet attended the Satisfactory Progress Workshop will not be allowed to submit an appeal until the workshop has been completed. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Declaration of Ineligibility Procedures

Following a review, if a student is deemed not to be making satisfactory academic progress, he/she will be notified in writing of the resulting ineligibility for federal and/or state funds.  Awards will be canceled upon becoming ineligible. To receive federal or state assistance, the student will need to submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Center.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Re-Establishing Eligibility for Financial Aid

A student will be reinstated for financial aid eligibility at such time as he or she successfully completes sufficient hours (70% of attempted hours) and has a sufficient grade point average (2.0) to meet the minimum requirements for eligibility as set forth in this policy. If a student is suspended from school or financial aid eligibility, the student must appeal in order to re-establish eligibility for federal student aid. It is the student's responsibility to present evidence to the Financial Aid Center at the time he or she has met minimum requirements for reinstatement or is appealing.

Satisfactory Academic Program Appeal of Financial Aid Ineligibility

  1. An ineligible student may appeal by indicating in writing to the Financial Aid Director a detailed account of the appeal (a) why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and (b) what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. Each appeal will be considered individually on its merit. Individual cases will not be considered as precedent. Some reinstatements are considered if the following circumstances have occurred:
    • Death in the student's immediate family that has been documented.
    • Personal illness requiring a loss of the equivalent of more than five consecutive class days that is supported by a letter from a physician.
    • Serious illness in the student's immediate family that can be supported by at least one letter of documentation from a family members' physician.
    • Divorce or separation in the student's immediate family that can be documented for the time frame in question.
    • Change in job schedule/responsibilities required by the employer and documented by the employer.
  2. The Financial Aid Director will review the appeal, and determine whether the financial aid probation or suspension action is justified. The student will be advised in writing of the Financial Aid Director's decision within 10 business days.  If a student’s appeal is denied by the Director of Financial Aid, the student has the right to submit an appeal to Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  The student will have the opportunity to present his or her appeal to Financial Aid Committee, which is comprised of personnel from the financial aid center as well as staff and faculty from other areas of the college.
  3. If a student is approved for reinstatement by the Financial Aid Director, that students who is reinstated with an approved appeal is considered to be on probation and is required to meet all reinstatement stipulations in order to continue eligibility for federal and/or state financial aid.  Reinstatements stipulations include, but not limited to, require a student to pass all courses attempted with a grade of “C” or higher.  Withdrawing or failing a class is considered not meeting stipulations.  Should a student fail to meet any of the stipulations of their probationary term, he or she may submit a second appeal request to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee along with documentation of extenuating circumstances that caused them to fail or withdraw from a course.
  4. Deadlines to submit appeals will be published each term. Appeals not submitted by the deadline will be reviewed the next term.
  5. Committee decisions on appeals are final and cannot be appealed at the college or federal level.