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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

FA-201/Revised 12/11/12

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 (SAP). This policy has been established to explain the requirements of eligibility to receive these funds and to ensure that students who are receiving financial aid are making measurable progress toward completion of a degree, diploma or certificate program in a reasonable period of time. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is monitored each semester for all enrolled students who are receiving or who have applied for financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) must include both a qualitative component; i.e., cumulative grade point average (CGPA) and a quantitative component; i.e., maximum time frame for completion of program. The following criteria are applied to determine satisfactory progress and financial aid eligibility at Florence-Darlington Technical College:

  1. The maximum period for financial aid is 150% of the published time frame for a specific program of study.
  2. The required percent of credit hours earned is 70% of the total taken during a semester.
  3. The required cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is 2.0.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of each semester for all students who have a financial aid record and are enrolled in classes. Results of that review will be used to determine the eligibility of a student for the subsequent semester. Students are held responsible for maintaining the minimum cumulative GPA and for completing the required percent of credit hours each semester.

**Satisfactory Academic Progress must be maintained even during semesters in which financial assistance is not received and affects future eligibility of aid.**

Satisfactory Academic Progress Scope

The above policy applies to all students applying for or receiving Federal grants, loans, and work-study assistance as well as those receiving State funds. In reviewing a student’s eligibility for financial aid, not only are the attempts and completions of credit hours at FDTC taken into consideration, but also those completed at other schools attended. Financial Assistance received at other schools contributes to a student’s maximum eligibility quotas.

Students who receive federal and/or state financial aid have both rights and responsibilities. Students who fail to fulfill their academic responsibilities as described above may experience cancellation of their awards and/or be required to repay any funds already received.

Satisfactory Academic Progress – Monitoring Procedures

The Financial Aid Center will monitor SAP for all students receiving or applying for federal or state financial aid to ensure 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. Details regarding SAP monitoring are explained 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 courses with non-passing grades (including withdrawals and incompletes) will be considered in assessing their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Students who fail to successfully complete at least 70% of their 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 will pay for a maximum of 30 credit hours in Developmental Studies course work. Students enrolled in ONLY Developmental Studies classes must receive grades no lower than a C or SC (Successful Completion). Failure to successfully meet this requirement will receive a warning for the next term in which they are enrolled at FDTC. Continual failure to meet this academic requirement could result in the loss of Financial Aid.

Transfer Students

A determination of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be made for Transfer Students at the end of the first semester of classes completed at FDTC following the transfer of credits as well as subsequent terms of enrollment. It should be noted that the number of credit hours accepted into our college through transfer will be included in the calculation of the 150% maximum time frame for receipt of financial aid that was previously discussed.

Change of Major(s)

Students are allowed to change their program curriculum two times. Requests for additional changes will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who change their major are still responsible for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Performance in accordance with previously discussed criteria. SAP reviews are based on one’s current program of study and students should remember that changing from an associate program into a diploma or certificate program of study may cause them to lose eligibility for federal and/or state financial aid if changing their program causes them to exceed the 150% completion rule.

Fresh Start that may be granted through Registrar Services

In very rare circumstances, a student may be eligible for the Fresh Start program. This program allows students whose extreme situation adversely affected their ability to function as a student. Although the student’s academic record would be wiped clean, the effect of those grades on one’s Financial Aid records from the initial enrollment would remain in effect. Regardless of whether or not a student began a new program of study, the timeframe restraint of the 150% rule would still include those credit hours attempted from the initial enrollment date. This would also be true regarding the maximum lifetime Pell grant awards and student loan amounts. The maximum amounts of both of these types of funding would include those monies already awarded from the initial date of enrollment.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Length of Eligibility – Maximum time frame (150% Completion Rule)

The Financial Aid Center monitors the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of all students receiving federal and state aid. Qualifying financial aid recipients are eligible for assistance until they have attempted up to one and a half (1.5 times) or 150% of the semester hours required for a program of study in which they are currently enrolled. A qualifying student is one who is meeting the academic progress standards of:

  1. A CGPA of 2.0
  2. Earning credit for 70% of the total credit hours attempted per semester.
Examples of Maximum Time Frame
Academic Program Hours Required for Program Maximum Allowable Attempted Hours
Associate in Nursing 68 150% of 68 = 68 x 1.5 = 102 hours
Associate in Arts Degree 62 150% of 62 = 62 x 1.5 = 93 hours
Early Childhood Development Diploma 42 150 % of 42 = 42 x 1.5 = 63 hours

Students who choose to pursue multiple programs of study through Florence-Darlington Technical College must still adhere to the 150% rule regarding the maximum time frame for receipt of financial aid. When a multiple program student reaches 150% of the hours required in the program of study with the greater numbers of hours, he becomes ineligible for financial aid.

Academic Progress (Minimum CGPA and the 70% Rule):

To remain in good academic standing, students who are pursuing a degree, diploma or certificate and who are enrolled in regular curriculum classes must maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) that is no lower than a 2.0. They are also required to earn credit hours in at least 70% of the hours ATTEMPTED during the semester.

Warning Semester

Students will receive a Financial Aid Warning if they are in one of the following categories:

  1. Students who fail to achieve a first semester GPA of at least 2.0 or who fail to earn credit for 70% or more of credit hours attempted during the semester.
  2. Students previously in good standing whose present semester’s grades prevent them from maintaining a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of at least 2.0 or who fail to earn credit for 70% or more of credit hours attempted during the semester.
  3. Students who are approaching the maximum allowable time frame to complete their program.

Students in all programs of study who receive a financial aid warning may receive Title IV financial aid for one additional payment period (warning period). A review of the student’s standing will take place at the end of the warning period and the criteria and standards for SAP will be applied. Students who met the standards at the end of the warning semester will be returned to Good Standing status.

Students who failed to increase their CGPA to a 2.0 or who failed to earn credit in 70% of the credit hours attempted during the warning semester will lose federal and state aid eligibility and will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. A review of the status of students who were placed on a warning due to approaching the maximum time frame will be made. If the student has reached the 150% maximum, he will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Suspension as a result of failing to meet the eligibility criteria listed above may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Center for evaluation of documented special circumstances that may have contributed to the student’s failure to meet SAP standards.

Note:Satisfactory Academic Progress must be maintained even during semesters in which financial assistance is not received and criteria for SAP will be used if or when the student applies or reapplies for financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) - Notification Process and Appeal Procedure

At the time in which all students’ grades for a semester have been submitted, a SAP review report is processed which determines whether students have made satisfactory progress per the eligibility criteria. If a student is deemed to have failed to meet the standards for progress, he/she will be notified in writing of the resulting ineligibility for federal and/or state funds through his/her FDTC student email account. Previous awards based on eligibility criteria that is not met will be cancelled upon becoming ineligible.

SAP – Reestablishing Eligibility for Financial Aid

To be reconsidered for eligibility status, students will need to submit an appeal form with required documentation. This form can be retrieved from the FDTC website as well as the Financial Aid Center that is located on the third floor of the 5000 building. This requirement is both for students who were suspended previously and have since increased their CGPA to a 2.0 and have passed 70% of the attempted credit hours as well as those students who have been suspended but have documented unusual circumstances that realistically would have significantly contributed to their inability to meet the minimum requirements for SAP.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide all the documentation required at the time the appeal is submitted. Students are encouraged to read the appeal form carefully and completely. The appeal form gives both instructions and examples of what is required. If a student has questions concerning what documentation is needed, those questions should be addressed prior to submitting the appeal. Financial Aid Center counselors will be glad to answer your questions. Paperwork submitted without the required documentation will not be reviewed.

Satisfactory Academic Progress - Appeal of Financial Aid Ineligibility

Reviews of SAP Appeals are done by committees of individuals who are familiar with the criteria of eligibility for federal/state financial aid. The decision of the committee will be sent in writing to the student through FDTC student email as well as through letter in some instances. The time frame for decisions is usually within 10-20 business days, depending upon the quantity of appeals submitted during various times of the year. It is the student’s responsibility to submit evidence that he/she has once again met the minimum requirements for eligibility. In the case of an appeal due to unusual circumstances, it is the student’s responsibility to provide the required documentation for review so that an informed decision can be made.

If the SAP Appeal Committee decides to approve/reinstate a student’s financial aid eligibility due to unusual circumstances, the student is in a probationary status during which time he/she is required to meet stipulations set forth by the committee in its approval of the appeal. Stipulations could include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Pass all classes with a minimum of a C grade.
  2. Do not drop or withdraw from any class during the semester.
  3. Increase CGPA to a 2.0 in a specific timeframe (Academic Plan).
  4. Limit the number of credit hours attempted in a semester.
  5. Limit the amount of loan money available until eligibility or stipulation criteria is met

Failure to meet the stipulations set forth by the committee would place the student back on Financial Aid Suspension. The student would then have the option to submit another appeal, following the same procedures as in the previous appeal.

If the SAP Appeal Committee denies the appeal, the student may still attend school but will not receive financial aid for the semester in question. If a student whose appeal has been denied does not understand the decision, he has the option to request to communicate those concerns with the Financial Aid Director. The process for this is to email the Financial Aid Office (financialaid@fdtc.edu) and request to be contacted by the Director. Include your student ID and good contact information in the email. Once a student has attended for a semester without financial aid and has neither made a grade lower than a C nor dropped/withdrawn from a class during that semester, he/she may submit an additional appeal for the SAP Committee to consider.

SAP Committee decisions regarding appeals cannot be appealed on the federal level.

If you have questions regarding information found above, you may call the Financial Aid Center (843-661-8085) for further explanation.