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.

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 and transfer hours, if applicable. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 after the completion of 56 attempted hours.

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%
 14.1 - 26.0
26 - 50%
26.1 - 40.0
1.4 51% and above
40.1 - 48.0
48.1 - 56.0
56.0 and above

Students who do not meet the retention standards will automatically be placed on financial aid warning and may continue to receive financial aid for one payment period, UNLESS the student has more than 56 GPA hours without maintaining a 2.0 GPA. These students ARE NOT eligible for a warning 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 cannot appeal or regain financial aid eligibility until the minimum cumulative GPA requirement has been met.

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. 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, or F are not considered completions. Classes that are dropped/withdrawn, repeated, or earn incomplete grades after the beginning of the term are counted as attempted hours. Students who do not keep pace with this progression requirement will be considered to be making unsatisfactory academic progress.

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 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 maximum hours. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be eligible for payment on the repeat. Students may repeat a failed course until it is passed and be eligible for payment.

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.

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. It is the responsibility of the student to check his or her 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.

Appeal Process
Any loss of eligibility as a result of this policy, with the exception of the cumulative GPA requirement, may be appealed in writing to the Scholarships and Financial Aid Committee and submitted to the Financial Aid Office. The appeal form is available on Charger Net and must be signed by the student. Appropriate supporting documents must be attached. Appeals will be considered for documented circumstances such as: the death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other extreme circumstances. The appeal must include why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will now allow them to meet the standards. The student will be notified by 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.

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. Conditions may be imposed by the committee for a student’s continued eligibility to receive aid. 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.

Appeal Deadlines
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. No classes will be held due to a pending appeal decision.

Fall Semester
August 20
Spring Semester
January 4
Summer Semester
May 15

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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