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Maintaining Eligibility

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and Procedures

Federal regulations require all students receiving Federal Title IV aid to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of a degree or certificate. In addition, students receiving the Alabama Student Assistance Program grant must also meet SAP minimums.

SAP is calculated at the end of each term once all grades for the term are rolled into history by the Office of the Registrar. Once SAP is calculated – students are placed on one of four broad options (see below). 

SAP Status Eligible for Aid What Does This Mean?
Passing Yes Student will remain eligible as long as they continue to meet the SAP minimums
Warning Yes Student will remain eligible for the next terms of enrollment. At the end of the next term, if minimums are met student regains full eligibility. If minimums are not met, student will be placed on Fail Status.
No Student may appeal or pay by some other means.
Max No Student may appeal or pay by some other means.

At the end of each semester, once SAP processes are complete, students will receive an email instructing them to view their status in the OneACCS student portal. Students who are in the Warning Status, do not need to do anything, they will have aid for one more semester. 

Students in the Failing Status (GPA/Pace) have the right to complete the appeal process. The appeal form is available under Financial Aid forms and instructions are on the form.  Students who are in Fail Status, must provide a written statement as to the reasons they are not meeting SAP standards. The reasons should be extenuating circumstances (beyond the student’s control) and must be documented with professional third party documentation. 

According to 34 CFR 668-16€, there are two components of satisfactory academic progress. The qualitative component (cumulative GPA) and quantitative component (completion rate). See below for the minimum SAP standards for Coastal Alabama Community College based upon total credit hours attempted.

Semester Hours Attempted Cumulative GPA Required Completion Rate Required
1-21 1.5 58%
22-32         1.75 62%
33 and above         2.00 67%

If a student repeats a course which was previously successfully completed, the hours obtained the second time the course is attempted do count toward the minimum number of academic hours required for program completion. Failing grades, withdrawals, incompletes, and/or repeated classes may result in financial aid suspension because these classes are considered as attempted hours not successfully completed (these hours are included in the maximum number of hours attempted).

Maximum Timeframe for Completion - Eligible students may receive federal financial aid for a period not to exceed 1.5 times the normal length of their program of study. As an example, students enrolled in a 30-credit hour certificate program may receive financial aid for a maximum of 45 credits (30 credits x 1.5). Students enrolled in a 60 credit hour Associate degree program may receive financial aid for a maximum of 90 (60 credits x 1.5) semester hours attempted. All credits transferred into the college will be counted toward the maximum number of hours attempted. Students who exceed maximum timeframe, immediately lose their financial aid. 

Students can have a 4.0 cumulative GPA and a 100% completion rate and fail maximum time frame and be required to file an appeal.  Max timeframe appeals must include a degree plan signed by the student and advisor and must include total semesters to completion with an expected graduation date. If an appeal is granted, the student is placed on an Academic Plan and 100% semester completion with a minimum 2.0 semester GPA requirement until graduation. A student may change programs of study more than once and may appeal but will not be allowed to receive federal financial aid for more than 180 credit hours attempted. If a degree plan indicates that a student will exceed 180 hours, the appeal will be denied. 

Developmental Courses – A student receiving federal financial aid may not enroll in the same developmental (remedial) course more than three times and continue to receive federal financial aid. A federal financial aid recipient may not receive aid for more than 30 semester hours of developmental work. Credit hours attempted for developmental courses are included when determining a student’s satisfactory academic progress. 

Credits earned at another College/University - All college/university transcripts should be received by Coastal Alabama Community College prior to admission to the college, as stated on the admissions application.  These transcripts are evaluated by the college registrar and are then placed on the student’s transcript. These credits count toward a student’s satisfactory academic progress and can affect a student’s rate of completion and maximum time.   The transfer credits do not impact the GPA calculation.   
If the financial aid office discovers that a student has not reported their attendance at a previous college, the registrar’s office is notified, and a hold is placed on the student that will not allow any further registration activity until the transcript is received.  Also, any financial aid processing is halted until all transcripts are received.  This processing includes, but is not limited to packaging, verification, appeals for satisfactory academic progress and professional judgements.

Academic Suspension – Is different than Financial Aid Suspension. A student who is readmitted academically or who has successfully appealed their academic suspension, may not be able to receive financial aid and MUST contact the financial aid office. Approval of the student’s appeal to the admissions committee for readmission does not reinstate the student’s eligibility for financial aid.

Change in ProgramIf a student changes programs, he or she will be allowed to continue to receive federal financial aid for 1.5 times the normal length of a degree program. Students changing programs /majors may have their satisfactory academic progress limited to courses that apply to the new program only. If the student fails to complete a degree by 90 attempted credits, the student must appeal as Max Time appeal. The student must also appeal if they have earned a degree and are continuing to a second degree. Appeals must have a stated reason as to why the student did not complete and why the student changed programs. The appeal must have attached a degree plan signed by the student and the student’s advisor indicating the courses by term that the student will need to graduate and the anticipated graduation date. If the appeal is granted, a completion rate of 100% and the signed academic degree plan must be followed. If a student fails to follow the stated degree plan, federal aid will be suspended. Students who are on an appeal have their files checked at the end of each enrollment period. A student may change programs of study more than once and may appeal to use federal financial aid. Students granted an appeal based on change of program must have 100% completion rate and earn a minimum 2.0 GPA each semester to continue on appeal for the approved program. Students not meeting the terms of the appeal, will be denied future appeals for federal financial aid. Students whose appeal is denied, may pay for their classes out of pocket or pursue other funding sources.

Pass/Fail Courses - Courses taken for pass/fail will be excluded from the qualitative calculations but will be included in the quantitative calculation. All courses will be included in attempted credits and only pass credits will be included in earned credits.

Withdrawals Due to COVID-19 - The college recognizes the hardship that COVID 19 has had on a student’s educational pursuit. On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency. Therefore, any student who has a negative satisfactory academic progress outcome due to withdrawal from courses caused by the institutions COVID 19 rules or by the virus causing illness, will be allowed to appeal. In the appeal, the student must state the reason for the withdrawal and if possible, any documentation that supports the reason for the withdrawal. Only courses withdrawn after March 13th qualify for this exception. This information will be reviewed and will have a positive effect on a student’s appeal.