Standards of Academic Progress
Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress. VGCC applies these Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) to all federal and state financial aid funds in order to maintain a consistent procedure for all students receiving assistance. To receive financial aid, students must meet VGCC’s SAP requirements. Each student is expected to maintain SAP toward completing the requirements of a degree, diploma or certificate. These standards are applied to a student’s entire academic history at VGCC, including transfer hours from other schools and periods when financial aid was not received. Keeping your financial aid involves making continued successful progress toward obtaining a degree. A complete copy of the VGCC Financial Aid SAP requirements, definitions, and procedures is available upon request. It is also available for print at VGCC Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress. VGCC Financial Aid STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP):
- 2.0 GPA Rule: Students must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.0 on a 4-point scale.
- 67% Completion Rate Rule: Students are required to successfully complete at least 67% of courses attempted with a passing grade.
- 150% Maximum Timeframe Rule: The maximum timeframe for a student to complete a program is 150% of the published length of the program.
Calculating Completion Rate:
Credit Hours Completed divided by the Credit Hours Attempted (and then multiplied by 100) = Completion Rate Calculating Maximum Timeframe – Example: If 75 credit hours are required to complete a degree, the student may attempt a maximum of 113 credit hours before the student exceeds his/her eligibility for financial aid (75 credit hour program multiplied by 150% = 113). One academic year of credit (30 credit hours) may be added for required remedial coursework. After completing graduation requirements, one may possibly regain eligibility for an additional program of study. Transfer credit hours received from other colleges count in the 150% calculation. Caution!
- Students’ grades and progress are checked at the end of each semester. Students are sent a SAP notification of their academic progress status to their VGCC email account.
- Students who change majors repeatedly may exceed the 150% limit of credit hours and lose their eligibility.
- Students prior to withdrawing from courses should discuss the potential consequences of withdrawing such as losing financial aid eligibility and overpayments with the Financial Aid Office.
Clock Hour Programs
Students enrolled in clock hour programs (e.g. Cosmetology) will have SAP evaluated at the end of each payment period. At the time of review, students must have successfully completed both the clock hours and weeks of instructional time required for the payment period. Maximum Timeframe is measured in cumulative clock hours required to complete the program and expressed in calendar time. (Note that a student in a clock hour program cannot receive aid for hours beyond those in the program; the maximum timeframe applies to the amount of calendar time the student takes to complete those hours.) For example, if the program is 1500 clock hours and meets 30 clock hours per week, that means the program is 50 weeks in length. 150% of 50 weeks is 75 weeks. A student may receive aid while enrolled in this program for up to 75 weeks to complete the 1500 clock hours required for graduation.
Definitions of SAP Statuses
- Satisfactory – Students who are meeting all SAP requirements are given a Financial Aid Satisfactory status and remain academically eligible for financial aid.
- Academic Warning – Students (who are not currently on Warning status) who are not meeting SAP requirements are placed on Financial Aid Academic Warning and are considered to be making unsatisfactory academic progress. Students with a Financial Aid Academic Warning status are eligible to receive financial aid for one payment period (term), provided they are otherwise eligible, to regain satisfactory academic progress. At the end of the academic warning period, a student’s grades are checked for academic progress. If SAP requirements are met, the Warning status is lifted and the student is set to a Satisfactory status. If SAP requirements are not meet, the student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension.
- Financial Aid Suspension – Students who fail to meet all SAP requirements at the end of the academic warning period will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and are not academically eligible for financial aid. Students may remain enrolled if they are satisfying the VGCC academic requirements; however, no federal or state financial aid will be provided until SAP requirements are met.
- Warning Near Maximum Timeframe – Students who have attempted approximately 100% of the maximum allowable credit hours for their academic program will receive a courtesy notification status of Warning Near Maximum Timeframe. Students receiving this status are reviewed to ensure the academic program may be completed within the timeframe permitted. Under this status, students will continue to receive financial aid until they reach 150% of their academic program, at which time they will have their financial aid suspended and be assigned a status of Maximum Timeframe.
- Maximum Timeframe – Students who exceed their academic program timeframe will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension for Maximum Timeframe and are not academically eligible for financial aid.
- Continued Probation – Students who receive an approved Financial Aid Academic Appeal to improve SAP over time or graduate from their academic program with specified conditions are placed on Continued Probation status.
- Terminated – Student who was previously granted (approved) a Financial Aid Academic Appeal and fails to meet the required conditions for continued eligibility. Students with a Terminated SAP status are not academically eligible for federal or state financial aid.
SAP Appeal Process
Students suspended from financial aid may submit a Financial Aid Academic Appeal Form to the Financial Aid Office for reinstatement of aid. An appeal should only be submitted if a student’s failure to maintain the standards of academic progress is based upon extenuating circumstances or if the student’s maximum timeframe is exceeded. Circumstances may include, but are not limited to, medical issues, death, injury or illness. Students should attach documentation of extenuating circumstances with their appeal. The Financial Aid Academic Appeals Committee is permitted to request such documentation before an appeal decision is made. Submission of an appeal form does not guarantee reinstatement of financial aid. Appeal forms are available to print on the VGCC Financial Aid webpage or obtained in the Financial Aid Office. Students are expected to explain their poor performance and plan for future success. Appeal forms are reviewed by the Financial Aid Academic Appeal Committee each month. Their decision is final. The approval or denial notice will be sent to the student’s VGCC email address. Appeal Denial
If the appeal is denied, the student may not submit another Financial Aid Academic Appeal in the current or following years until he/she has successfully completed a minimum of nine (9) credit hours with a 2.5 GPA and 100% completion rate (no F/RF, failing grades, or withdrawals). Students who are not meeting SAP, but have completed a minimum of 9 hours with a 2.5 GPA and 100% completion rate, are expected to submit an appeal form so progress can be reevaluated by the Financial Aid Academic Appeal Committee. If SAP requirements are met prior to completing the minimum of 9 hours, a student may request a reevaluation of academic progress to the Financial Aid Office. Appeal Approved
If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Continued Probation. Before aid is awarded for an approved appeal, the student must establish a Financial Aid Academic Plan for one or more semesters with the Financial Aid Office. The Academic Plan outlines the requirements a student must meet in order to remain eligible for financial aid and achieve Satisfactory SAP status. In addition to the academic plan, students with an approved appeal for maximum timeframe are required to provide a degree completion plan signed by their academic advisor. Students with a Continued Probation status will be evaluated at the end of each payment period (term) to determine his/her SAP status. Until the student achieves a Satisfactory SAP status or graduates, the student is expected to meet the Academic Plan requirements to remain eligible for financial aid. Failure to meet the Academic Plan requirements will result in the termination of financial aid eligibility.