Wilkes Community College
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients
Effective End of Summer 2020
Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). WCC applies these standards to all federal and state financial aid funds in order to maintain a consistent procedure for all students receiving assistance. These standards are checked at the end of each semester/term.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards
In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must meet the following minimum guidelines. ALL CLASSES, EVEN IF TAKEN IN HIGH SCHOOL OR WHEN NO FINANCIAL AID WAS RECEIVED, STILL COUNT IN THE SAP CALCULATION.
- Cumulative GPA
- Must maintain at least a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0.
- Transfer credits, credit by exam, audit, and W grades are not counted as part of the GPA calculation.
- F and R grades will be counted as an F.
- Grades of P, P1, P2, and P3 will be counted as an A.
- Completion Rate
- Must complete, with a grade of A, B, C, D, P, P1, P2 or P3, at least 67 percent of the cumulative credit hours attempted. Grades of F, I, R and W do not count as classes successfully completed but will count as hours attempted.
- ALL courses taken at WCC are included in the calculation.
- Transfer credits accepted by WCC are included as hours attempted and completed.
- Grades of WE and IE earned during the COVID-19 pandemic will not count in this calculation.
- Maximum Time Frame
- Maximum time frame is calculated on your current program of study
- Regulations require that you complete your program of study in a time frame not to exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program. This will be measured in credit hours (e.g., if the academic program length requires 60 credit hours, maximum time frame cannot exceed 90 credit hours attempted).
- Transfer credit hours accepted from other institutions that count in your program of study are included in the calculation of the maximum time frame.
- Once it has been determined you cannot complete your program within the 150%-time frame, you are no longer eligible for financial aid at WCC.
- Once students have earned an associate degree from WCC, students may return for an additional degree and receive aid again as long as they are maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress. This means a 67% cumulative completion rate and 2.0 cumulative GPA as well as not having hit Maximum Time Frame. Students returning for a second degree or diploma will likely reach maximum time frame prior to completing the degree or diploma and will be required to submit an appeal in order to be considered for additional aid.
- Students enrolled in multiple programs of study will have Max Time Frame calculated on each program.
- Withdrawal – Withdrawing from classes will affect a student’s ability to satisfy the completion rate. Before withdrawing from classes, students are encouraged to meet with a Financial Aid representative to discuss how withdrawing will impact their financial aid eligibility for future semesters.
- Grades of “Incomplete” – Incomplete grades will count as credit hours attempted, but not completed. Students should contact the FA Office when a grade is received for the course.
- Repeated Courses – In accordance with WCC procedure, a student is permitted to retake courses. For financial aid purposes, all hours attempted will continue to be counted in each component of the student’s academic progress. Financial aid will cover retaking a course one time if credit has already been earned (i.e., have a grade of A, B, C, or D).
- Developmental (Non-Credit) Coursework – Developmental Education courses (designated by course numbers starting with 0XX) are included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress.
- Summer Term – Credit hours attempted and earned during a summer term will be included in the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Academic Forgiveness – WCC allows academic forgiveness for academic purposes. There is no provision in the federal regulations for the concept of forgiveness of grades. Therefore, WCC must always include all courses when evaluating satisfactory academic progress.
- Complete Academic Record – In order to measure a student’s satisfactory progress toward degree, diploma or eligible certificate programs, the student’s total record at WCC must be evaluated whether or not the student received financial aid for the entire time of enrollment. This includes, but is not limited to, courses taken through Career and College Promise, the Wilkes Early College, or the Ashe Early College.
- Transfer Credits – Transfer credits will be factored into the completion rate requirement as attempted and completed credits. Transfer courses that are part of your program of study will count in Maximum Time Frame status. They are not included in the GPA calculation.
- Returning Students – Returning students are evaluated on a continuing basis from the first enrollment at WCC. Returning students will be required to meet the standards of the current policy.
- Audit or Credit by Examination – Audits and proficiency exams are not covered by any type of financial aid. Students are responsible for all costs incurred with these types of courses. Credit by exam hours do count toward credit hours attempted and earned. Audits do not carry credit hours and are not counted as attempts or completions.
Review Process / SAP Status
It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of his/her Satisfactory Academic Progress status for financial aid eligibility. To determine a student’s academic progress status and eligibility for financial aid, a student’s academic record will be evaluated at the end of each term. SAP Status is available on Self-Service under Student Finance.
Students who have become ineligible for financial aid due to a failure to meet the minimum guidelines for satisfactory academic progress or have reached maximum time frame to earn a degree may appeal their status to the Financial Aid Office. Appeals will be considered for special circumstances. These may include:
- Extended student/family illness or injury (documentation required)
- Death of a relative (documentation required)
- Significant trauma in student’s life/personal issues/family emergency (documentation required)
- Change of degree program or second degree (valid reason for change/second degree required)
The appeal form is available on the Financial Aid website. Students must provide information in the appeal form that documents the extenuating circumstances for each semester of unsatisfactory academic performance. Third party documentation must be submitted with the appeal for it to be considered.
The appeal form should be submitted to the Financial Aid office by the priority deadline for the semester that the student is trying to establish eligibility. The Financial Aid Office and the SAP Appeals Committee will determine if the appeal is approved or denied. Their decision is final.
Students appealing after the priority deadline should be prepared to pay for their semester expenses. After the priority deadline has passed, but prior to the final submission deadline, the SAP Appeals Committee will meet on a regular basis to review appeals. Appeals submitted after the final submission deadline will not be considered for current semester aid.
All appeals along with requested supporting documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office, Wilkes Community College, Post Office Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. Appeals will be reviewed by the SAP Appeals committee, and approval or denial notices will be sent to the WCC student email accounts. Note: Students on probation are not eligible for the Federal Direct Loan Programs or for Federal Work Study.
A second appeal may be considered but cannot be submitted for the same issue that led to the first appeal, such as the same medical condition. A student must have very unusual circumstances to warrant a second appeal. As a result, very few second appeals are approved.
If a student’s appeal is denied or if he/she did not meet the conditions of an approved appeal, the following items should be considered.
- The student may attend at his/her own expense and earn the deficiency in either the credit hours, GPA, or both. Note: A student cannot make up a deficiency if the appeal was due to exceeding the maximum time frame to earn a degree.
- If a student did not maintain satisfactory academic progress due to a deficiency in credit hours, he/she may take the credit hours at another institution as long as WCC accepts the transfer hours.
- Once the deficiency has been satisfied, a student should contact the Financial Aid Office so that his/her progress can be reevaluated.