Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Effective Fall Semester 2011 Federal and state regulations require that students meet certain academic standards to be eligible for financial aid.

The basic standards are:

  • Students are expected to maintain a satisfactory grade point average;
  • Students are expected to successfully complete at least 67% of the classes they attempt; and
  • Students are expected to complete their program in a timely manner.
All coursework is evaluated for financial aid purposes whether or not financial aid was received for that work. These standards will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Following is more information on each of the standards listed above.

Qualitative: Term Grade Point Average
Students who do not earn any credits in any one semester will be considered to be in violation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. Additionally, these students may be responsible for repayment of federal aid received for that term. The GPA includes grades of W, F, FA & I and also includes Learning Support hours.

Qualitative: Cumulative Grade Point Average Requirement
Students must meet the retention standards of Columbia State in order to maintain eligibility. A student must earn the overall combined Grade Point Average (GPA) below to remain in good standing. The overall GPA includes Learning Support hours. Students in violation of the cumulative GPA requirement may also be on Academic Probation or Academic Dismissal with the Records Office. The Records Office is responsible for reviewing any appeals related to a student who is on Academic Probation or Academic Dismissal.


Associate Degree Programs
Certificate Degree Programs
Overall Combined GPA Hrs.
Minimum Cumulative GPA
 Overall Combined GPA Hrs.  Minimum Cumulative GPA
 00.1 - 14.0
No minimum
1 - 25%
1.0
 14.1 - 26.0
1.0
26 - 50%
1.5
26.1 - 40.0
1.4 51% and above
2.0
40.1 - 48.0
1.7    
48.1 - 56.0
1.9    
56.0 and above
2.0    

Students who do not meet the retention standards will automatically be placed on financial aid warning for 1 semester and may continue to receive financial aid for one payment period. A student who meets the retention standards while on warning status will return to good academic standing. A student who fails to meet the retention standard while on warning status will be considered to be in violation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and will have to appeal to regain financial aid eligibility. These students are then placed on a Financial Academic Plan or Financial Aid Probation to assist the student in reaching good standing with SAP.

Quantitative: Pace: Measurable Progress Requirement

Students are expected to maintain progress toward the completion of their degree. Therefore, students must have an overall completion rate of 67% of all college level hours attempted including learning support. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours attempted. A grade of A, B, C, D or P will be required for successful completion. Grades of W, I, F, or FA are not considered completions. Classes that are dropped/withdrawn, repeated, or earn incomplete grades after semester census date (14th day of classes) are counted as attempted hours. Students who do not keep pace with this progression requirement will be considered to be making unsatisfactory academic progress.

Students who do not meet the retention standards will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Warning for 1 semester and may continue to receive financial aid for one payment period. A student who meets the retention standards while on warning status will return to good academic standing. A student who fails to meet the retention standards while on a Financial Aid Warning status will be considered to be in violation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and will have to appeal in order to regain financial aid eligibility. These students are then placed on a Financial Aid Academic Plan or Financial Aid Probation to assist the student in reaching good standing with SAP.

Maximum Time Limit: Reasonable Length of Time Requirement
A reasonable length of time for completion of an educational program is defined as no longer than 150% of the length of the program. For example, a student enrolled in a degree program that requires 60 credit hours must complete all requirements by the time they have attempted 90 hours (60 hours x 150% = 90 hours). Students will not be considered to have reached the 150% hour maximum until after the semester in which they reach or exceed the attempted hours allowed. It is important to note that transfer hours accepted by the college count toward the attempted hours. Learning Support hours do count towards the maximum time frame.

Learning Support Limit
Students may receive aid for up to 30 attempted semester hours of Learning Support coursework. Transfer credits will be included in the total hours of eligibility. All attempts, including withdrawals and repeats, count toward the maximum number of hours attempted. This time limit cannot be appealed.

Repeated Courses
All credits from repeated courses will be counted toward the maximum hours. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be eligible for payment on the repeat (2nd attempt). If student passes class, then retakes class again and receives W grade for 2nd attempt, student is not eligible to receive financial aid again for that class. Grades of W, I, F or FA count as 2nd attempt for class. Students may repeat a failed course until it is passed and be eligible for payment. These students will eventually be in violation of Cumulative GPA, Pace, and/or Maximum Time Frame.

Transfer Students
All academic transcripts must be received and evaluated by the institution prior to determining Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for financial aid. Only transfer credits officially accepted by Columbia State Community College will be counted in determining Satisfactory Academic Standards.

Notification
It is the students’ responsibility to stay informed of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and to monitor their progress. This status may be checked at any time on ChargerNet. The Financial Aid Office will notify, via email, any student who does not meet the minimum requirements as well as the results of any appeal at the end of each semester. It is the responsibility of the student to check their Columbia State email.

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress
Failure to meet these standards results in the loss of eligibility of financial aid, including, but not limited to: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), Federal Work Study, Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) and may also result in the loss of eligibility for the Tennessee Lottery Programs. Once a student becomes ineligible for financial aid due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress, they are not eligible to receive these funds until the standards have once again been met or an eligible appeal has been approved. Students must attend classes and pay for these classes from their own resources until the guidelines have been re-established, if eligible appeal not approved.

Appeal Process
Any loss of eligibility as a result of this policy may be appealed in writing to the Director of Financial Aid and the Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee. All appeals may be submitted in person to any campus by the established deadlines to be forwarded to the Director of Financial Aid or the appeal may be submitted to FinancialAid@ColumbiaState.edu or faxed to 931.540.2793. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal (SAP) form is available on the Financial Aid website. The appeal must include a written statement explaining why student failed to complete classes in good standing AND what has changed to allow student to be successful in future semesters. Appropriate supporting documents must be attached. The student will be notified via their Columbia State email of the results of the appeal. It is the responsibility of the student to check his or her Columbia State email. All decisions made by the committee are final.

For Maximum Time Limit appeals, only a Request for Financial Aid Additional Coursework form needs to be submitted. Prior to submission to the Financial Aid Office, the form needs to be reviewed with an Academic Advisor, Retention Coordinator, Academic Dean, Campus Director or Campus Coordinator who assists the student in completing a degree audit analysis. The student will be notified by Columbia State email of the result of the appeal.

Students who fail to provide the required written statement explaining why they failed to complete classes in good standing AND what has changed to allow them to be successful in future semesters along with documentation, if applicable, will result in appeal being denied. Students are notified via email of an incomplete appeal prior to the committee meeting. It is the responsibility of the student to check their Columbia State email. Students are then given 5 business days from date of notification to submit the mission documentation to the Financial Aid Office. Failure to submit the documentation will result in the appeal being denied. Students will be notified via email of the appeal decision. It is the responsibility of the student to check their Columbia State email. All decisions made by the committee are final. If an appeal is denied one semester, student can submit another appeal for future semesters.

Financial Aid Probation
A student who has appealed and has had his or her eligibility reinstated will be given the status of Financial Aid Probation. Students are put on Financial Aid Probation if the student can reach good standing within 1 semester, have not attended in the past 2 years, or have extreme circumstances (i.e. major illness/injury/surgery, death) which occurred during the last semester student attended. Any extreme circumstances must be documented. The student may receive aid for one payment period while on probation. After Financial Aid Probation, the student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress to remain eligible, or file another appeal. Students successful on this appeal are then placed on a Financial Aid Academic Plan the next semester designated by the Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee to assist the student in reaching good standing with SAP.

Appeal Deadlines 2014/2015 Academic Year
Appeals and supporting documentation must be submitted by the following dates.
Appeals submitted after the deadline or without supporting documentation may be held until the next semester for committee review. Classes will be held from purging due to a submitted appeal and pending decision only if semester purge is scheduled prior to committee decision and student notification. Dates are subject to change based on the semester start date.


Fall Semester (if violation occurred during the preceding summer semester)
August 19, 2014
Spring Semester
December 23, 2014
Summer Semester
May 20, 2015

Academic Plans
Students are placed on a Financial Aid Academic Plan by Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee to assist student in reaching good standing with SAP. The Academic Plan may require the student to complete a certain % of classes each semester, get a certain GPA each semester, and/or meet with an academic advisor depending on the student’s SAP violation. Students are required to sign/initial a Financial Aid Academic Plan Acknowledgment form indicating the student understands and agree to the terms of the Academic Plan BEFORE any financial aid disburses each semester the student is on the Academic Plan. Students remain on the Academic Plan until back in good standing with SAP or failure to meet the terms of the Academic Plan. If a student fails to meet the Academic Plan terms for 1 semester, the student is terminated from receiving financial aid until student is back in good standing with SAP. If a student is terminated, students can regain financial aid eligibility by paying for their classes from their own resources for one semester. The student may then appeal to the Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee to reinstate eligibility with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) form available on the website.

The Financial Aid Academic Plan Acknowledgment form is mailed to the student via postal service and a duplicate emailed to the student. Letters are mailed to the address on file with the Records Office or the FAFSA address whichever is most current. Students are encouraged to update their address as needed with the Records Office.

Termination of eligibility to receive financial aid has no effect on the right to enroll as a student at Columbia State.

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