Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations require that all students receiving federal financial aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or Alabama Student Assistance Programs) must make satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a degree or certificate. Academic progress must be monitored for all terms of enrollment, whether or not financial aid was received. A student’s academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Notices will be sent to students via email if they are placed on Financial Aid Warning or Financial Aid Suspension.
According to 34 CFR 668-16(e), there are two major components of satisfactory academic progress: the qualitative component (cumulative in-program GPA) and quantitative component (timeframe of completion).
Qualitative Requirement (GPA): Financial Aid recipients must maintain the following grade point averages (GPA) according to the number of hours attempted. This includes all hours attempted at WCC, whether or not financial aid was received or courses were successfully completed. Also, grades for developmental courses, incompletes, and periods where academic bankruptcy was applied shall be factored into the GPA calculation. Grades of “W” shall not be calculated into the GPA. Repeated Courses: The first repeat shall not be factored into the GPA calculation; however, all additional attempts shall be factored into the GPA calculation. GPA is only calculated using coursework taken at WCC.
GPA requirements for long-term certificate and degree-seeking students
- If the student has attempted 0-21 hours, the student must maintain a 1.5 GPA.
- If the student has attempted 22-32 hours, the student must maintain a 1.75 GPA
- If the student has attempted 33 or more hours, the student must maintain a 2.0 GPA. GPA requirements for short-term certificate (24-29 credit hours) students
- If the student has attempted 0-12 hours, the student must maintain a 1.5 GPA.
- If the student has attempted 13 or more hours, the student must maintain a 2.0 GPA.
Quantitative – Pace of Progression Requirement (PACE): All credit hours attempted by the student will be calculated in the completion rate which includes the following: Transfer courses accepted by the institution, developmental coursework, incompletes, periods where academic bankruptcy was applied, and forgiven courses.
Completion rate (attempted class hours) required by long-term certificate and degree-seeking students
- If the student has attempted 0-21 hours, the student must maintain a 58% completion rate.
- If the student has attempted 22-32 hours, the student must maintain a 62% completion rate.
- If the student has attempted 33 or more hours, the student must maintain a 67% completion rate.
Completion rate (attempted class hours) required short-term certificate (24-29 credit hours) students
- If the student has attempted 0-12… hours the student must maintain a 58% completion rate.
- If the student has attempted 13 or more… hours the student must maintain a 67% completion rate.
Quantitative – Maximum Time-Frame (MAX): The maximum timeframe for the completion of an undergraduate degree program is defined as no more than 150 percent of the normal timeframe required to complete the degree program. Example: For degree programs that require 64 credit hours to graduate, the maximum timeframe is 96 attempted credit hours. Please review the appropriate College Catalog for the normal length of time as each program varies.
Developmental Courses – A federal financial aid recipient may not receive aid for more than 30 semester hours of developmental course work.
Repeat Courses – A student, who has subsequently passed a course with a grade of A, B, C, or D, shall be allowed to receive financial aid to repeat that course one time. If a student repeats a course which he or she has successfully completed, the student will only receive credit for one class toward the total number of hours completed and such a repeat will affect the completion rate. Failing grades, withdrawals, incompletes and/or repeated classes may result in suspension of financial aid because these classes are considered as attempted hours not successfully completed (these hours are included in the maximum timeframe calculation).
Financial Aid Warning – Academic progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester. If the student is not making academic progress, the student will be notified that he/she is placed on Financial Aid warning and is in jeopardy of losing financial aid eligibility. If a student fails to meet the Qualitative Standard – Grade Point Average (GPA) and/or the Quantitative Standard – Pace of Progression (Pace) for Satisfactory Academic Progress the student will be placed on a one- semester warning (WARN).
Financial Aid Suspension – Academic progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester. If the student has been placed on financial aid warning, and is not making academic progress for a second semester, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. The student will be placed on Failing SAP Status (FAIL) when the Qualitative Requirement - Grade Point
Average (GPA) and/or the Quantitative Requirement - Completion Rate (PACE) have not been met. There is no warning semester for Maximum Timeframe (MAX).
If a student is academically suspended and readmitted on an admissions appeal, this does not automatically qualify a student for reinstatement of financial aid. Financial Aid will be reinstated when the student attends college at his/her own expense and meets the minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress or if the Financial Aid Appeal Committee reinstates eligibility.
Change in Program - A change of program of study is allowed. However, all credit hours attempted by the student in the previous programs and transfer credits will be included, and a student may only receive aid up to 150% of the normal time frame of the new program of study. If the student has reached max timeframe for the current program of study, the student may file an appeal for additional hours due to mitigating circumstances. See the appeals process below.
Lifetime Maximum - Students may receive Pell Grant for up to 6 full years, 12 full semesters for a total of 600% Lifetime Eligibility Used, as determined by the Department of Education. Once a student has received a Pell Grant for a lifetime maximum of 600%, the student will no longer be eligible for additional Pell Grants.
Appeals Process – If a student wishes to request consideration for re-instatement of federal financial aid due to mitigating circumstances, the student must complete a Financial Aid Appeal Form and provide appropriate documentation. A written explanation regarding the mitigating and/or extenuating circumstances, plan for improvement, and supporting documentation must be included with the Financial Aid Appeal Form. The Appeal form and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office no later than 10 days before the first day of class. The student will be notified by email of the decision by the Financial Aid Department. The decision of the Financial Aid Appeal Committee/Director is final and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Students re-instated on Financial Aid PROBATION or PLAN will be required to follow all requirements (Successfully earn 75% of credits attempted with a cumulative term GPA of 2.0). Failure to meet these guidelines will result in suspension and loss of aid. Students are limited to one appeal per academic year.
Administrative Review - The college reserves the right to conduct an Administrative Review on a case-by-case basis when a student fails to meet the requirements of PROBATION or PLAN if there was a significant one-time unanticipated life-changing event while on Probation causing the student to withdraw from classes during a probationary semester. Request for an Administrative Review should be sent to the Financial Aid Office.