Satisfactory Academic Progress

The following policies and procedures have been established as required by the Higher Education Act (HEA) which was revised effective July 1, 2011. Undergraduate students applying for Title IV (federal) financial aid must meet the following standards regardless of whether or not they previously received financial aid.

Students are required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to be eligible for all federal and institutional financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans (parent PLUS included) and work-study. This includes both a qualitative (grade point average) and a quantitative (credits earned) component. The qualitative component requires that full and part-time students must also have an academic standing consistent with requirements for graduation. The full policy regarding minimum GPA requirements based on credits earned may be found in the LVC Catalogue under Undergraduate Academic Regulations and Procedures and online (a summary is also included below). The quantitative requirement specifies a number of credits to be earned per semester and at the end of two consecutive semesters. The policy is outlined below.

Qualitative Policy

To maintain good academic standing at the College, students must achieve minimum cumulative grade point averages appropriate to progress toward their degree, and they must complete coursework at a regular and sustained pace. Minimum cumulative GPAs are as follows:

Semester Hours Completed Required Cumulative GPA
1-27 1.60
28-55 1.70
56-83
1.80
84 or more 1.90

At the conclusion of each semester, the College examines students’ academic records. Students who have not achieved the above minimum grade point averages will be given an Academic Warning, placed on Probation, or Academically Suspended from the College.

Quantitative Policy

Full-Time Students (enrolled for 12 or more credits per semester)
In order to make SAP, full-time students enrolled in the fall, spring, or summers semesters (also known as payment periods) must earn a minimum of 24 new credits at the end of two payment periods. Students who earn less than 12 credits during any payment period will be notified in writing of the deficit and specifically the number of credits needed, and placed on Financial Aid Warning for the subsequent payment period. These students then have the opportunity to reach the 24-credit requirement by the end of their warning semester in which they are still receiving financial aid.

Students on Financial Aid Warning who fail to earn the total number of credits specified will receive a letter informing them that they are on Financial Aid Suspension for the subsequent payment period until the earn the appropriate number of credits. This means ineligibility for all federal and institutional aid (including federal loans). Students who want to remain part-time and use their Financial Aid Warning semester to make up credits should be in contact with the Financial Aid Office to determine the number of credits for which aid should be processed. Summer may be used to make up credits (without receiving any financial aid) to satisfy SAP or students experiencing extenuating circumstances may appeal the policy (See Appeal Process). In addition, students are directed to contact the Registrar’s Office regarding transferability of credits before signing up for classes at another institution.

Part-Time Students (enrolled between 6-11 credits per semester)
In order to make SAP, part-time students must earn the minimum number of credits per semesters specified below:

  • Half-time students (enrolled between 6 – 8 credits per semester) must earn at least 6 credits per semester.
  • Three-quarter-time students (enrolled between 9 – 11 credits per semester) must earn at least 9 credits per semester.

Students who are meeting SAP standards will be notified on their subsequent semester's financial award letter. Students falling in any other category will be sent a letter at the end of the payment period and in addition, may also be notified electronically.

Repeating Course Work

Students are permitted to repeat the same course once after having earned a D- or better, therefore having earned the credits for that course, and still be permitted to receive financial aid for that course. Credits earned for a repeated course will not be counted a second time if the original grade earned was a D- or better. This is important when considering the number of credits that will be earned for the payment period and SAP standards.

Maximum Time Frame and Pace

Students must complete his/her degree within 150% of the number of credits necessary to complete the educational program. Students will be reviewed at the end of every payment period and those who do not earn a minimum of 67% of their total credits attempted will not be on track to meet this requirement and will be prohibited from receiving any federal or institutional financial aid. A student who earns a minimum of 24 credits each academic year will stay on pace to earn his/her degree within the maximum timeframe; however, students who are not on pace to meet this requirement will be identified at the end of each payment period and notified accordingly. Students with extenuating circumstances may appeal maximum timeframe and pace components of SAP policy (see Appeal Process).

Bachelor’s Degree – 120 credits required to graduate. In order to remain eligible for financial aid a student must earn his/her degree by the time attempting 180 credits (120 x 150% = 180)

Associate’s Degree – 60 credits required to graduate. In order to remain eligible for financial aid a student must earn his/her degree by the time attempting 90 credits (60 x 150% = 90)

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits that are accepted toward a student’s educational program will be counted as both attempted and completed hours. Credits that have been attempted, but that do not count toward the degree, will not be counted for the purpose of determining maximum time frame and pace.

Grades Included for SAP

The following grades are included in both the qualitative and quantitative measures of the SAP policy: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F. Incomplete (I), withdraw grades (W), and in progress (IP) do not count in either the qualitative or quantitative measure for SAP; however, they do count in the total number of attempted credits for the purpose of determining the maximum timeframe for degree completion (see Maximum Timeframe and Pace). Once the I and/or IP grade changes, it is counted in both measures. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the Financial Aid Office of all grade changes to be certain SAP has been reviewed accurately. Audited courses are not eligible for financial aid or to be counted toward SAP.

Appeal Process

Students experiencing extenuating circumstances, i.e. death in family, medical reason, etc., may appeal the SAP policy by the deadline stated in the letter sent to the student. In order to appeal, the student MUST complete the following and submit the documents to the Financial Aid Office:

  • Appeal Form – Sent to the student by the Financial Aid Office upon request from the student
    AND
  • A letter signed by the student including an explanation of why the student failed to meet SAP AND what has changed that will allow the student to make SAP by the end of the next semester. Any supporting documentation should also be included. Supporting documentation is not required; however, it is encouraged to substantiate the appeal.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee will review all appeals and respond to the student in writing of the decision and any required steps the student must take.
  • Students whose appeal is approved may also be placed on an Academic Action Plan (AAP) to be developed by the student and the Assistant Dean of Student Success and Advising. Determination of who will be placed on an AAP will be made by the *SAP Appeals Committee based on the students’ past academic performance and circumstances of the appeal. The Academic Assessment Plan Inventory (a printable PDF) must be completed and submitted to the Assistant Dean of Student Success and Advising in order to establish the AAP. Students who have been approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and eligible for federal and institutional aid for the upcoming payment period. His/her performance will be reviewed, as well as the AAP, at the end of the payment period and a determination will be made regarding eligibility for the next semester.
  • Students whose appeal is approved and who are NOT placed on an AAP will also be placed on Financial Aid Probation and eligible for federal and institutional aid for one payment period. His/her performance will be reviewed, as well as the AAP, at the end of the payment period and a determination will be made regarding eligibility for the next semester.
Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, students will be notified by the Financial Aid Office in writing of his/her status and any "next steps" which may include an AAP.

*SAP Appeals Committee

  • Director of Financial Aid (Chair)
  • Assistant Dean of Student Success and Advising
  • Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Registrar

PHEAA Grant Recipients
PHEAA requirers state grant recipients to earn a minimum of 24 credits per academic year. This evaluation is conducted by the Financial Aid Office at the conclusion of the academic year (not on a per semester basis). As a result, there is no warning semester.

The academic transcripts of transfer students who are PHEAA grant recipients will be collected in order to evaluate the academic progress of these students during their most recent academic year of enrollment. Transfer students who failed to make progress at their previous institution will not be eligible for a PHEAA state grant until they earn the remaining credits - per PHEAA State Grant policy. There is an appeals process if extenuating circumstances exist. Students appealing for federal and institutional aid will also be instructed how to appeal through PHEAA for state grant eligibility.

Important SAP Terms

Financial Aid Warning:
The first time a student fails to meet SAP standards as defined above. Students receiving this notification will remain eligible for federal, state, and institutional aid.

Financial Aid Suspension:
The second time a student fails to meet SAP standards as define above. Students receiving this notification will be ineligible for federal, state and institutional aid.

Financial Aid Probation:
Students who have appealed the Financial Aid Suspension due to extenuating circumstances and been approved. These students are eligible for federal and institutional aid for one payment period. In addition to making SAP standards during the semester on probation, the student may also be required to complete an Academic Action Plan as outlined by the SAP Appeals Committee.