Satisfactory Academic Progress | ACTC

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal Regulations mandate KCTCS modify its Satisfactory Academic Policy to hold students to a higher level of accountability. At the end of the academic term all students will be reevaluated to determine if they meet the Federal requirements for Title IV Financial Aid that went into effect July 1, 2011. SAP regulatory guidelines include:

  • Limiting students to only one consecutive probationary period.
  • Students must be on pace to progress toward graduation by a 150% of credit requirement.
  • Students must be enrolled in a program other than Undecided or Pending after attempting 30 credit hours.

Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 67% of their classes to remain eligible for financial aid. Students, who fail to maintain this standard for more than one consecutive term exclusively or in combination, will no longer be eligible for Federal or state aid.

Students must be evaluated to determine if they are able to graduate from their stated degree by attempting no more than 150% of the hours required to obtain the degree. This is referred to as Maximum Time Frame (MTF). For example, a student enrolled in a 60 credit hour associate degree program cannot receive financial aid beyond their 90th credit hour attempted.

Students must be enrolled in a declared major or accepted in an eligible program other than pending or undecided to receive aid beyond their 30th credit hour attempted. Students enrolled in a pending program must be evaluated to determine if they are eligible to be accepted in the desired program within a reasonable period. A reasonable period is a term that allows a student to be accepted and graduate prior to a student becoming ineligible for financial aid because he/she exceeds maximum time frame.

Students who are not meeting SAP standards will be responsible for payment to ACTC Student Billing by the billing due date. Students who are not meeting SAP standards are not eligible to charge books at the ACTC Bookstore.

Appeal Process

When a student loses Federal Student Aid (FSA) eligibility and are put on SAP Suspense Status because he/she failed to make satisfactory progress, the student may appeal that result on the basis of: his/her injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other extenuating/special circumstance that prevented them from meeting SAP standards.  To appeal, students must complete a SAP Appeal Form available in their Student Self-Service.

Extenuating/special circumstances are defined as situations beyond the student's control that created an undue hardship and caused the student's inability to meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Appropriate documentation may be required at the discretion of the student’s home college.  If a student cannot provide requested documentation the student must communicate in their appeal why documentation cannot be provided. 

Special circumstances include but are not limited to:

  • Death of an immediate family member or person who share the student's household (parent, spouse or significant other, sibling, child)
  • Issues related to a divorce
  • Injury or illness to student or immediate family member (parent, spouse or significant other, sibling, child) that required hospitalization, convalescence in an institutional setting or confinement at home for at least seven (7) days

Simply stating that a student dropped a course or changed a major or was young and didn’t know in and of itself would not be grounds to support an SAP appeal.  More information supporting an extenuating circumstance related to these actions would need to be provided. The same may apply for any of the following possible reasons for extenuating circumstances:

  • The difficulty of a course
  • The teaching method or dislike of an instructor
  • Too many hours attempted in a semester
  • Promises to perform better in the future
  • The length of time since last attended
  • Voluntary change in work hours

Students who were determined to have exceeded Maximum Time Frame (MTF) may request their coursework be evaluated based on classes needed for their current credential.

SAP Meeting Dates

SAP appeals are generally reviewed within 14 days after due date. SAP appeal decisions are delivered via KCTCS student email.

The Financial Aid Office is currently reviewing SAP Appeals for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

1.1 Purpose and Scope

Federal regulations mandate that a student receiving financial aid under Title IV programs must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in his/her course of study regardless of whether financial aid is awarded each semester. Students are responsible for understanding and adhering to the satisfactory academic progress policy. SAP will be measured at the end of each term for all students and is measured based on the standards below. Federal Regulations specify minimum standards for these measures, but KCTCS may set stricter standards in its policy.

  • Qualitative (cumulative Grade Point Average)
  • Quantitative (67% Rule – Hours earned divided by Hours Attempted)
  • Maximum Time Frame (150% of required hours for program completion)

1.2 Qualitative Standard – Grade Point Average (GPA)

KCTCS qualitative standard is determined by the student’s earned Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). KCTCS uses a 4-point scale for GPA. To meet the Qualitative Standard, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.   

1.3 Quantitative Percentage Standard (QPS or 67% Rule)

The satisfactory academic progress policy must also include a quantitative measure to determine the number of credit hours attempted and percentage of credit hours completed (passed).  The minimum percentage of work a student must successfully complete by the end of each term is 67% of all attempted hours.  If a student fails any combination of two (2) consecutive terms of cumulative qualitative and/or cumulative quantitative standards, their financial aid will be suspended

For example:

  • At the end of the 2nd semester a student has cumulatively completed 16 credits while attempting 24 credits
  • Quantitative measure equals – 16 completed/24 attempted = 67%
  • In conjunction with maximum time frame (see below), the quantitative measure indicates if student is progressing at a pace to graduate within the maximum time frame

1.4        Maximum Time Frame (MTF) Standard - Pace

Students are expected to complete their degree/diploma/certificate credentials within a Maximum Time Frame (MTF) of 150 percent of the required number of credit hours to graduate from their enrolled program of study.  MTF of 150% includes all classes required for the credential plus 50%.  An example is provided in Table 1. 

Table 1:  Maximum Time Frame Rule (Classes Required for Credential plus 50%)
Caption Text Goes Here
Credential Hours MTF Percentages Attempted Hours Permitted
Associates - 60 hours 150% 90
Diploma - 48 hours 150% 72
Certificate - 30 hours 150% 45

All hours such as transferred hours, repeated classes, bankrupted hours, incompletes, withdrawals, failed in graded courses, failed in pass/fail courses and audit (changed from credit to audit after the last day to add a class) are included in the maximum timeframe and quantitative standards calculations or pace

For a standard 16-week term, Student Aid enrollment status for payment purposes will be established at the close of the 7th calendar day beginning with the first day the term, including weekends but not holidays, or upon file completion whichever is later. Courses added after this date will not be considered for enrollment for student aid purposes but will be counted as attempted for quantitative and MTF standards.

SAP Outcomes

Students who do not meet one or more of the Quantitative, Qualitative or Pace of the program standards will be placed on “Warning” status.  For example, during the SAP evaluation, students earning a cumulative grade point average below a 2.0 at the end of a term will receive an SAP “Warning” status, whereby the student may continue to receive Title IV aid for one payment period. 

1.5 Other Elements

1.5.1 Grades

Grades of "A", "B", "C", "D", "P" and "S" will be considered in determining credit hours earned. Grades of "E", "F", "W", "WF", "WP", "MP", "U", or "I" will not be considered as credit hours earned but, will be considered as hours attempted for the semester (includes anything earned throughout enrollment period).

1.6 Failure to Meet the Standards of Academic Progress

If a student fails any combination of two (2) consecutive terms of cumulative qualitative and/or cumulative quantitative standards, their financial aid will be suspended.  Students who exceed Maximum Time Frame (MTF) will be suspended immediately upon exceeding the MTF threshold.

A student who fails to meet SAP standards for the first time will be placed on a “warning” status, allowing a student to continue to receive Title IV aid for one term without an appeal.  A student who fails to meet SAP standards at the end of the warning period or second consecutive term, will be suspended and not receive additional Title IV aid.  A student exceeding Maximum Time Frame may go directly to Suspense not having received a warning status.

Conflicting Information

All conflicting information is reviewed for SAP monitoring. For example, late posted grades or grade changes will be reviewed once per semester after the initial SAP review. Students may request that the SAP status be recalculated after they have confirmed with the registrar that the grade change has been posted to their academic record. 

Students with enrollment prior to July 1, 2011 who have failed to meet SAP Standards in a previous term and are in Probation 1 or Probation 2 SAP status are considered to be in warning status.  Failure to meet SAP standards for the next term of enrollment will result in immediate suspension and require an approved appeal to regain eligibility.

1.7 Appeal Process

When a student loses Federal Student Aid (FSA) eligibility and are put on SAP Suspense Status because he/she failed to make satisfactory progress, the student may appeal that result on the basis of: his/her injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other extenuating/special circumstance that prevented them from meeting SAP standards.  To appeal, students must complete a SAP Appeal Form available in their Student Self-Service.

Extenuating/special circumstances are defined as situations beyond the student's control that created an undue hardship and caused the student's inability to meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Appropriate documentation may be required at the discretion of the student’s home college.  If a student cannot provide requested documentation the student must communicate in their appeal why documentation cannot be provided. 

Special circumstances include but are not limited to:

  • Death of an immediate family member or person who share the student's household (parent, spouse or significant other, sibling, child)

  • Issues related to a divorce

  • Injury or illness to student or immediate family member (parent, spouse or significant other, sibling, child) that required hospitalization, convalescence in an institutional setting or confinement at home for at least seven (7) days

Simply stating that a student dropped a course or changed a major or “…was young and didn’t know”, in and of itself would not be grounds to support an SAP appeal.  More information supporting an extenuating circumstance related to these actions would need to be provided. The following possible reasons for extenuating circumstances are also examples that are not grounds for a SAP appeal in and of itself:

  • The difficulty of a course
  • The teaching method or dislike of an instructor
  • Too many hours attempted in a semester
  • Promises to perform better in the future
  • The length of time since last attended
  • Voluntary change in work hours

Students who were determined to have exceeded Maximum Time Frame (MTF) may request their coursework be evaluated based on classes needed for their current credential.

1.7.1 Appeal Requirements

To appeal, students must complete a SAP Appeal Form available in their Student Self-Service and provide any additional information/documents required by the college.  The appeal will be evaluated by the SAP Appeals Committee of the home college.  Students will be notified of the committee’s decision, typically within ten days of the committee meeting.  Since deadlines for submission of appeals, frequency of SAP Committee meetings, and other details of the process may differ by college, students must refer to the SAP information provided on their college’s website (College SAP Website Links). 

Students are responsible for payment arrangements with the institution pending a decision of the appeals committee. 

1.7.2     Probation and Reinstatement of Aid

SAP appeals will be evaluated by the college SAP Appeal Committee.  Students will be notified of the committee’s decision, typically within ten days of the committee meeting.

Probation

To be placed on Probation (Plan of Action – PLOA), a student must:

  • Appeal and have it approved by the school; AND
  • Student expected (mathematically possible) to be making SAP in the next term; OR
  • Be successfully following an individual academic plan designed to ensure student will be able to meet SAP by a specific point in time

The appeal must include:

  • Why the student failed to make SAP; AND
  • What has changed that will allow the student to make SAP at the next evaluation
Reinstatement of aid  

If the SAP appeal is approved, the student will:

  • Be assigned a Financial Aid SAP Probation (Plan of Action – PLOA) status if appropriate
  • Given an individual academic plan of action/contract that stipulates certain conditions and academic requirements.
  • Upon acceptance of the academic plan of action/contract, the student may receive financial aid for one additional term.  At the end of that term, the student’s status will be re-evaluated.
  • Federal student aid for the next term will not be awarded or disbursed until the student has successfully completed all terms specified within the academic plan of action contract or is found to have met SAP requirements.

If the SAP appeal is denied, the student:

  • is not eligible for federal student aid will remain ineligible until they are again in compliance with SAP standards.
  • may continue to attend college at their own expense.
  • who is suspended from financial aid and achieves SAP standards without the assistance of federal financial aid, may request to be evaluated for re-instatement? All requests must be submitted to the local Student Financial Aid office of the home institution.

 

NOTE:  Students are responsible for all expenses such as tuition, fees, books, and supplies pending the decision of the SAP Appeals Committee and must contact the Business Affairs Office to make payment arrangements with the institution. Decisions made by the SAP Appeals Committee are final and are not subject to further appeal.

1.8 REPEAT CLASS POLICY

Federal student aid may only pay for the first repeat one of any previously passed course. All attempted hours are included in the denominator of the evaluation of Pace. Any given class will be included in the numerator one time. Subsequent attempts of that course would increase the denominator but not the numerator. KCTCS colleges will use the highest grade when calculating a student’s GPA but must include the credits from all attempts when calculating maximum time frame (MTF).

Example:  Student attempts BIO137 and earns a D on the first attempt. At this point, the student has a 1.0 GPA and 100% (QPS) (3 credits completed/3 credits attempted).  The next semester, the student attempts the course again and earn a B. At this point, the student has a 3.0 GPA and 50% (QPS) (3 credits complete/6 credits attempted)

1.8.1     Additional Information
  1. Student Aid will not be provided for:
    • Courses taken by audit
    • Credit hours earned by placement tests
    • Non-credit course work
  2. All transfer hours will count in the attempted hours.
  3. Grades in legacy software systems (before PeopleSoft) will be used as recorded and reflected on the student’s academic transcript.
  4. If the student receives a change in a grade for a class, he/she must report this to their local Student Financial Aid office in writing for the change to be evaluated in the student’s financial aid eligibility record.
  5. Developmental remedial course work may receive funding up to a maximum of 30 credit hours according to federal regulations – automated due to Course Auditor.
    • A student may only receive aid for up to a maximum of 30 credit hours as an undecided major.  Students attempting hours beyond the 30 hours must decide an eligible major to be considered for financial aid eligibility.
  6. Dual Enrollment Agreements (also known as Consortium Agreements) allow a student to receive funds for classes taken at more than one college outside KCTCS colleges. These forms are to be completed by the student and the student’s "visiting" college and submitted to their local KCTCS “home” College (where financial aid funds are received; usually the college from which the student plans to graduate). Classes taken at a visiting college (whether at KCTCS colleges or outside KCTCS colleges) must count toward the student’s graduation from their awarding college.
  7. If a student is admitted "conditionally" she/he may receive student aid for one semester only. No additional aid may be awarded until the student completes an admission file.

The student should check with their Home College Financial Aid Office SAP Appeal Policy for specific information on the appeal the process