Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal regulations require that Rhodes State College develop and enforce standards of satisfactory academic progress prior to awarding students any federal financial assistance (HEA Sec. 484(c) [34 CFR 668.16(e), 668.32(f), 68.34]). A SAP review process evaluates whether a student is “making measurable progress toward completion of their course of study and eligible to continue receiving federal assistance.” All credit hours attempted, from a student’s first term of enrollment, at Rhodes State College must be included in the SAP review process.

If a student is not in compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, they are ineligible to receive the following:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Student Worker Wages

A student may still receive various scholarships, if he/she meets the eligibility and requirements for such scholarship awards.

Notification of Satisfactory Academic Progress

A student who fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress during a term will receive a warning status letter. The letter informs the students that failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress in any subsequent term will result in suspension of federal aid. If after one term of warning status the student still has not corrected the SAP deficiencies, a suspension letter will be mailed informing the student that his/her financial aid has been suspended.

Repeating Courses

Department of Education will allow for repeating coursework previously taken in a program. Students CAN receive financial aid:

  • To repeat a course that has already been passed (D- or higher) only one additional time. Any repeated attempts after that will not be eligible for financial aid. Note that this applies even if you earn a failing grade (E) or withdraw (W) during the second attempt.
  • As many times as necessary to repeat a course in which the only previous grade earned has been a failing grade (E).

Auditing

Prior to the 15th day of the term, audited hours will not receive federal financial aid. After the 15th day of the term students who change to an audit will be subject to a return of Title IV Funds. Auditing a course (s) is not considered successful completion of the course(s)and will affect a student’s financial aid status.

Criteria for Determining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The criteria used in determining student academic progress at Rhodes State College include:

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA)
  2. Credit Hours Attempted/Completed
  3. Maximum Time/Credit Hours for Program Completion

A. Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement

A student must maintain a minimum GPA based on the number of credit hours attempted. The minimum required GPA is:

Cumulative GPA Divisor Hours (Attempted Hours) Minimum Cumulative GPA
0-29 1.5
30-59 1.75
60+ 2.00

The GPA will be checked after each term. A student will be placed on warning status when he/she drops below the required Minimum Cumulative GPA hours. Failure to achieve Minimum Cumulative GPA in the subsequent term will result in the suspension of all federal financial aid.

A.1. Options for Reinstatement of Financial Aid – GPA:

  1. Submit a written appeal to the Office of Financial Aid if the failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress was due to extenuating circumstances. If an appeal is granted, the student’s eligibility for federal aid will be restored, but the student will be placed on probation status until specific requirements of the approved appeal are met. If the appeal is denied, the student may submit additional written documentation or follow option 2 or 3.
    - OR -
  2. Complete a minimum of three (3) credit hours required within the academic major, with a 2.0 term GPA, without the use of Federal financial aid funds and maintain a cumulative GPA that meets the College’s GPA requirement. Students would then need to submit a letter to the Office of Financial Aid requesting a SAP review to determine if aid will or will not be restored. It may be necessary for some students to take more than four credit hours to reach the required financial aid minimum GPA.
    - OR -
  3. Make up any deficient hours and/or bring up college GPA to a 2.0 without the use of Federal financial aid funds. Once completed, submit written notification to the Office of Financial Aid, requesting a SAP review to determine if aid will or will not be restored.

B. Credit Hours Attempted/Completed

Students must complete 67% of all credit hours attempted each term. Students will be placed on warning status the first term in which their cumulative completion rate drops below 67%. Failure to raise the completion rate in the subsequent term will result in the suspension of all federal financial aid. Successful completion is defined as receiving a letter grade “D” or higher or an “S”. For example, if a student registers for 12 credit hours in the Fall term and passes only 7 hours, the student would be placed on warning status for the Spring term. The student must then achieve the 67% completion rate for the Spring term. If the student does not complete at least 67% of registered credit hours, the federal financial aid will be suspended for the next term.

B.1. Options for Reinstatement of Financial Aid - Credit Hours Attempted/Completed

  1. Submit a written appeal to the Office of Financial Aid if the failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress was due to extenuating circumstances. If an appeal is granted, the student’s eligibility for federal aid will be restored, but the student will be placed on probation status until specific requirements of the approved appeal are met. If the appeal is denied, the student may submit additional written documentation or follow option 2 or 3.
    - OR -
  2. Complete a minimum of three (3) credit hours required within the academic major, with a 2.0 term GPA, without the use of Federal financial aid funds and maintain an accumulative GPA that meets the College’s GPA requirement. Students would then need to submit a letter to the Office of Financial Aid requesting a SAP review to determine if aid will or will not be restored.​
    - OR -
  3. Make up any deficient hours and/or bring up college GPA to a 2.0 without the use of Federal financial aid funds. Once completed, submit written notification to the Office of Financial Aid, requesting a SAP review to determine if aid will or will not be restored.

C. Maximum Time/Credit Hours for Program Completion

Students must complete the degree requirements of an academic program within 150% of the required hours for their degree program. Students lose eligibility for future awards after the term in which they exceed the maximum hours. To determine the maximum allowable hours for a specific program of study (major) refer to the Rhodes State College Catalog, note the total hours required for the program and multiply that figure by 1.5. All hours attempted are considered when determining financial aid eligibility, whether or not financial aid was received. Regardless of where the hours were attempted, Rhodes State College Satisfactory Academic Progress policy will apply. These hours include developmental courses, repeated courses, transfer courses and courses from which a student withdraws. Students transferring to Rhodes State will have their eligibility determined after all transfer credits have been applied to their academic record.

C.1. Options for Reinstatement of Financial Aid - Maximum Time/Credit Hours for Completion

  1. Submit a written appeal to the Office of Financial Aid to initiate an appeal for an extension beyond the maximum time/credit hours with evidence of extenuating circumstances, a one-time only major change, or pursuit of a second Associate Degree. Students who have been granted an appeal for maximum time/credit hours for program completion cannot take additional classes that are not listed on their educational plan. This appeal will be evaluated each term to make sure students have successfully completed those classes on the educational plan. If a course needs to be repeated, financial aid will not be available. Students who have already completed an Hours Appeal and completed one associate degree can appeal for a second degree. The classes from the first degree, which do not apply to the second degree, will be subtracted from the attempted hours. This also includes transfer credits that would apply to the second degree. Students seeking a third associate degree are not eligible for federal financial aid.

D. General Appeal Procedures for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

  1. A student whose financial aid eligibility has been suspended may appeal to reestablish their eligibility for financial aid.
    1. A student who has any Rhodes State College “hold” may submit an appeal. As part of the appeal process, the student will be responsible to resolve the hold prior to reinstatement of financial aid.
  2. The appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances that occurred within the term in which warning or suspension was applied. Circumstances may include: extreme medical issues, a death in the immediate family, employment related hardship, and/or extreme personal problems.
  3. As part of the appeal, the student must submit the following:
    • SAP Appeal Form
    • Signed Letter of Explanation
    • Supporting Documentation
    • Educational Planning Form
  4. A maximum of two (2) appeals are permitted during a student’s enrollment at the College. An appeal can be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid at any time, but only once after each end-of-term SAP evaluation period.
    1. The appeal documentation and academic records of the student will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid for the first two appeal decisions.
    2. Upon receipt of the documentation, the Director of Financial Aid will contact the respective Academic Chair regarding the student’s ability to progress.
  5. Each appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will incorporate professional judgment as appropriate. The merit of the appeal will be determined by considering:
    1. Extenuating circumstances and resolutions of those circumstances;
    2. Thoroughness of documentation;
    3. GPA;
    4. Pace of completion;
    5. Number of credit hours and length of time to completion of program;
    6. Prior appeals submitted;
    7. Reason for changing a program of study or pursuing a second or subsequent degree (only two (2) degrees from Rhodes State can be funded by federal financial aid);
    8. Prior SAP performance;
    9. Credit hours remaining to complete a program of study.
  6. Appeals may take 10 – 14 business days for processing.