FINANCIAL AID SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) POLICY STATEMENT FOR THE WEB

The Sinclair Community College (Sinclair) Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy changed effective August 15, 2013 and was updated most recently on May 21, 2015. The following is a summary of policy provisions. Please see a Sinclair Financial Aid Officer for additional information or for a copy of the complete details of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

There are no changes to the minimum requirements of SAP. They are:

  • Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA;
  • Maintain at least a 66.67% cumulative pace of completion (i.e., credit hours successfully completed divided by the credit hours attempted); and
  • Complete a program before attempted credit hours equals or exceeds 150% of the credit hours required for program completion (example: if the published program length of the Creative Writing program is 60 credit hours, the program must be completed before the student attempts more than 90 credit hours).
 

Major Changes

  • Students may no longer be enrolled in multiple programs of study unless granted an exception.
  • GPA for Financial Aid: Credit hours for developmental and English as a Second Language that earned a grade of “S”, “P”, “N”, or “U” are included in the calculation of cumulative GPA. The grades have been assigned a grade level of 2.0 for an “S” and “P”, and zero for “N” and “U” and dash (No Grades).
  • Pace of Completion: Transfer credits are included in the calculation of cumulative pace of completion. They are treated as both attempted and successfully completed.
  • Maximum Time Frame: Uses a new “Alert Process” that will notify a student at the end of a term when he/she is within 24 credit hours of reaching the end of his/her aid eligibility (no lengthy monitoring process).
  • Alerts will also be sent to students whose GPA drops below a 2.5 and whose pace of completion drops below 75% to warn them that their federal student aid may be lost if the minimum standards are not met.
 

Federal regulations require students receiving federal student financial aid to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a federal aid eligible program. A student that registers for a term for which the school has received a federally processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding award year will have his/her academic record evaluated at the end of the term.

 

Multiple Programs of Study

 

A student may not be enrolled in multiple academic programs concurrently. If the student was granted an exception to this policy and has more than one active program of study, the active, highest-credential program with the most recent start date will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress. The SAP standards will include all credits and grades of institutional and transfer credits.

 

A student must be enrolled in a federal aid eligible program before they are evaluated on GPA, pace of completion or maximum timeframe.    If a student is not enrolled in a federal aid eligible program they will be given a SAP status of ineligible program (or IEP). Federal aid ineligible programs include: Ohio.Transfer.Module, SCC.Graduate, and non-degree programs with program code ending in ND. In addition, new degree programs, certificate programs (CRT), and short term certificate (STC) programs are ineligible until approved by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Title IV programs. Some programs will never be eligible for federal aid. Students should check with their Academic Advisor to determine if a program of study is eligible for federal aid.

 

Timing of SAP Evaluations

 

SAP is performed at the end of each term, i.e., Fall, Spring, and Summer.  Note: An intersession is combined with the term that follows, and credit hours attempted are evaluated at the end of that term, i.e., Fall, Spring, or Summer.

SAP requirements are calculated on cumulative data, whether or not a student received financial aid for the attempted hours.

If there is a change in the student’s status or a loss of aid eligibility, the student is notified via e-mail at his or her my.sinclair.edu address within 5 business days of the SAP evaluation that occurs at the end of the term.

Measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

 

The following three measures are used to evaluate satisfactory academic progress under the federal regulations:

Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) – 2.0 cumulative GPA (qualitative measure)

A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 must be maintained for aid eligibility. It is computed by dividing the total grade value (given the successfully completed credit hours) by the total attempted credit hours at Sinclair, including credit hours from developmental and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Transfer credits accepted from other institutions have no grade value. They are excluded from the GPA calculation.

The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy differs from the SCC Academic Policy in its calculation of GPA and definition of maximum time frame. Sinclair’s Academic Policy calculates cumulative GPA excluding the credit hours graded with a colon, which designates a Fresh Start course. In addition, there is no grade value for S, P, P:, U, and N in the Sinclair grade scheme. However, they are assigned a grade value for Financial Aid SAP, because the grades for remedial courses for which a student received federal aid must be included in the qualitative SAP measure. For SAP purposes, all credit hours graded for developmental and English as a Second Language courses are included in the cumulative GPA calculation.

Minimum Cumulative Pace of Completion – 66.67% successfully completed credit hours (quantitative measure)

A cumulative pace of completion of at least 66.67% must be maintained for aid eligibility. It is computed as a percentage of the total successfully completed credit hours relative to total attempted credit hours. Sinclair credit hours for college level, developmental, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, are counted in attempted and, if appropriate, completed hours. In addition, transfer credits accepted from other institutions are counted in both attempted and completed credit hours.

Maximum Time Frame –150% of credit hours required for program completion (quantitative measure)

The maximum time frame of federal aid eligibility toward the completion of a program is 150 percent of its published length in credit hours. It is computed as a percentage of credit hours attempted relative to 150% of the number of credit hours required for program completion. Sinclair credit hours for college level courses and transfer credits are counted in attempted credits. 

A student must to be able to complete mathematically the program of study within the maximum time frame.

The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy differs from the Sinclair Academic Policy in its definition of maximum time frame to complete a program. Sinclair’s Academic Policy allows six years for the completion of an associate degree program. Students will not receive federal financial aid for any courses taken that equal or exceed 100% of the financial aid maximum time frame calculation, which is a measure of attempted credit hours divided by 150% of the credit hours required to complete the program of study, unless approved through the SAP appeal process.

 

Categories of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Statuses

A student will be assigned a SAP status in one of the following categories: Financial Aid Satisfactory, Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Unsatisfactory, Financial Aid Maximum Time Frame, or Financial Aid Probation. See the following table for a summary of how each status is treated.

 
 
Categories of Satisfactory Academic Progress Statuses

If a student’s SAP status is one of  these categories:

 Financial Aid Satisfactory
Financial Aid Warning
Financial Aid Unsatisfactory
Financial Aid Probation
Financial Aid Maximum Time Frame

Is the student eligible for federal financial aid?

Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
 

 Meets all three SAP requirements:

·   Cumulative GPA is at least 2.0
·   Cumulative Pace of Completion is at least 66.67%

·   Maximum Time Frame is less than 100%. That is, total attempted credit hours are less than 150% of the credit hours required for program completion.

Fails one or both of requirements for cumulative GPA and cumulative Pace of Completion. Prior term’s SAP status must have been a Financial Aid Satisfactory status

Fails one or both of requirements for cumulative GPA and cumulative Pace of Completion. Prior term’s SAP status must have been a Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Unsatisfactory, Financial Aid Probation for One Term, or Financial Aid Probation with an Academic Plan.

Successfully files an appeal after being assigned to a Financial Aid Unsatisfactory or Financial Aid Maximum Time Frame status.

Fails to complete program of study before total attempted credit hours is equal or exceeds 150% of the credit hours required for program completion

Does the Student Need to Appeal to Reinstate Financial Aid Eligibility?

Appeal is not necessary.

Appeal is not necessary.

Warning Period is ONLY one semester.

Yes, if there are extenuating circumstances a student may appeal.

Appeal was filed and approved and the student remains eligible. 

There are two probation statuses:
· One term probation; or
· Academic plan probation.
Yes, if there are extenuating circumstances.
 
 
 
 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process  

 

A student may appeal the suspension of financial aid eligibility based on extenuating circumstances affecting enrollment and academic progress.

 

Timeframe for Appeal and Decision: A SAP Appeal may be filed at any time, but only once after each SAP evaluation period. Appeals will be reviewed by members of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee that meets at least twice per month. A student will be notified by email via his/her my.sinclair.edu email address within 10 business days of the Appeals Committee’s decision. The decision is final. If denied, a student may file another appeal if there are additional documented circumstances that were not included in any previous appeal.

If an appeal is approved, it is effective for the current term, if registered, or the next term in which a student is registered, and for which Sinclair received a federally processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. If registered in the current term, a student may be reimbursed up to the amount of the accepted awards, if any, for the cost of tuition, fees, and book expenses incurred for the term. Any credit balance of aid awarded will be issued no later than 14 calendar days from the date it occurs.

Note: A student is responsible for any tuition, fees, and book expenses incurred if enrolling in a term prior to a SAP appeal decision on aid eligibility. If an appeal is denied, no aid will be awarded. The College offers the FACTS payment plan as a payment option.

 

Appeal Form and Documentation of Extenuating CircumstancesThe written SAP appeal must include:

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal form, which is available online under 2015 -2016 Financial Aid Forms (Note: These questions are included on the Appeal form). The SAP Appeal form requests written statements that address: 

o   The circumstances that occurred that contributed to the student’s failure to meet the minimum standards of academic progress, and

o   What has changed in his or her circumstances to allow the student to achieve satisfactory academic progress within a reasonable period of time?

  • A written explanation and documentation of the extenuating circumstances: 

o   Additional documents may be requested by the Appeals Committee to evaluate the appeal;

o   Extenuating circumstances include illness, accident, grievous personal loss, employment change or relocation, or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. Extenuating circumstances does not include a dislike of an instructor or mode of instruction.

 

Appeals Committee DecisionEach appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will determine the merit of the appeal by considering: the extenuating circumstance(s) and its resolution, the thoroughness of documentation, GPA, pace of completion, number of credit hours and length of time to completion of program, and prior appeals submitted. If the appeal includes extending maximum time frame, the Committee will consider: the student’s reason(s) for changing a program of study or pursuing a second or subsequent degree; prior satisfactory academic progress performance; and credits hours remaining to complete program of study.

 

Submission of an appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. If approved, a student is placed on Financial Aid Probation status with aid eligibility, and the student is notified within 10 business days of the decision. Based on the time needed to achieve a Financial Aid Satisfactory status or complete the program of study, there are two Financial Aid Probation statuses: (See details under Categories of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) statuses- Financial Aid Probation).

  • One term probation: Probationary period is one term to achieve minimum SAP standards. If SAP appeal was for maximum time frame, the program of study must be completed.
  • Academic plan probation: Probationary period is defined by the academic plan, which is developed by an Academic Advisor and agreed to by the student. A student’s progress is reviewed at the end of each term and evaluated on the basis of the requirements of the academic plan. A change in academic program prior to successfully completing the academic plan will result in suspension of aid eligibility with no recourse for appeal.
 

If an appeal is denied, a student is notified of the loss of aid eligibility within 10 business days of the decision.

 

Reinstatement of Financial Aid

A student that is ineligible to receive aid as a result of not meeting the minimum SAP requirements, and did not file a successful appeal, will be included in the SAP evaluation at the end of a subsequent term of enrollment, if Sinclair has received a federally processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, for the corresponding award year. If the minimum SAP requirements are met, the student’s financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Financial Aid office and request a SAP evaluation, if not updated timely. The student will be notified within five (5) business days via letter and/or email (via his/her my.sinclair.edu email address) of the SAP evaluation if the SAP status is Financial Aid Satisfactory and the student is federal aid eligible. Financial aid awards cannot be paid retroactively for the term(s) during which a student was ineligible to receive financial aid.