Wilkes Community College
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients
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.
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.
- Qualitative Standard
- Must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0.
- Must not be suspended according to the College’s academic suspension procedure.
- Quantitative Standard
- Must earn 67 percent of the total cumulative credit hours attempted (e.g., if the student has attempted 12 credit hours in a semester, the student must have earned credit for at least 9 hours).
- Number of hours attempted: Total cumulative number of credit hours for which the student was enrolled at the general 10% point of each term.
- Total number of hours earned: Total cumulative number of credit hours from each term at WCC for which the student received a passing grade as noted on the student’s academic transcript.
- Maximum Time Frame
- Must complete program of study in a time frame not to exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program for full-time students. 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 are included in the calculation of the maximum time frame.
- Once students have earned an associate degree from WCC, students may return and receive aid again as long as they are maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (67% cumulative completion rate and 2.0 cumulative GPA) until they run out of their 600% lifetime eligibility. 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.
- Withdrawal – Withdrawing from classes will affect a student’s ability to satisfy the quantitative standard. 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” – Students will not be affected by “incomplete” at the time of review. Should the grade become final before the review, the actual grade, credits attempted, and credits earned will be used to determine if the student is making SAP.
- 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 under 100, ex., DMA…, DRE…) are included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress.
- Summer Session – Credit hours attempted and earned during a summer session will be included in the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Forgiveness of Grades – 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 which will impact a student’s Maximum Time Frame status.
- Returning Students – Returning students are evaluated on a continuing basis from the first enrollment at WCC. Returning students who were previously enrolled under an academic progress policy other than the current academic progress policy will be required to meet the standards of the current policy upon returning.
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.
Students are considered to be satisfactory when they are maintaining a 2.0 cumulative GPA, have a 67% cumulative completion rate and have not hit max time.
The first term after failure to make satisfactory academic progress is known as “warning” status. Financial aid recipients will be granted one-term following the first term of failure to meet cumulative satisfactory academic progress. During the warning term, a student may continue to receive financial aid provided he/she is otherwise eligible. Warning statuses at WCC are WB (both GPA & Completion Rate), WG (GPA), and WC(Completion rate). If a student is able to regain satisfactory academic progress with the courses completed successfully during the Warning term, the Warning status is lifted.
- Warning Max Time Frame
Students who are nearing the Maximum Time Frame status should receive a WM (Warning Max Time Frame) status to indicate they have almost reached 150% and have not completed a degree or diploma.
- Suspension Status
Students who do not meet SAP (satisfactory academic progress) standards at the end of the warning term will be placed on suspension and will be ineligible for financial aid. Suspension statuses at WCC are SB (both GPA & Completion Rate), SG (GPA) and SC (completion rate)
- Max Time Frame
Students who have attended for 150% of the published program length of their program and have not completed their program will be placed on Max Time Frame. All hours transferred in and earned at WCC are counted in this calculation. Students are usually not eligible to appeal a Max Time Frame status if their cumulative GPA is below 2.0 and their cumulative completion rate is below 67%.
- Probation (Approved Probation or MP 1, MP2, MP3 or MP4)
If a status of Suspension is appealed and approved, a status of Probation is assigned. This status requires students to maintain both a term GPA greater than or equal to 2.0 and a term completion rate equal to 75%. If a student withdraws or fails a course during a term dropping the term completion rate below 75%, or does not maintain a term GPA of 2.0, the appeal is terminated and the student’s financial aid will be terminated. Probation status at WCC is AP (approved probation) or for Max Time Frame it is MP1, MP2, MP3 or MP4.
A student who has previously had an appeal approved by the financial aid office and does not meet the requirements of the appeal will be terminated. They will no longer receive financial aid assistance and will not have the option of subsequent appeals. If a student is able to improve their completion rate to 67% and/or their GPA to 2.0 they may be able to receive financial aid in the future unless they are at Max Time Frame. They will need to contact the financial aid office if they believe they should be eligible.
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
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.
Approved Appeals/Academic Plan
- Approved Probation (AP)
Students who were suspended due to not meeting the cumulative GPA and/or 67% completion rate and are approved for probation will be placed on “Approved Probation” (AP) after they have met with a Student Services representative. The must be done and the form turned in to the financial aid office before aid will be reinstated.Students who are on AP must earn a 2.0 GPA each term and successfully complete 75% of their classes each term until satisfactory academic progress is regained or graduation is achieved, whichever comes first. Failure to meet these requirements will result in termination of financial aid.
Note: Satisfactory academic progress is a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and 67% successful completion of the total cumulative credit hours attempted.
- Maximum Time Frame
Students who were suspended due to not meeting maximum time frame requirements and are approved for probation will be assigned a status of MP1, MP2, MP3 or MP4 (Approved Max Time Frame Appeal and number of semesters). These students must earn a 2.0 GPA each term and successfully complete 75% of their classes each term.
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 timeframe 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.