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Failure to Meet the Requirements

Financial aid warning* semester: Students must meet all of the SAP standards to be considered to be in satisfactory academic standing. The College issues a formal warning semester to students at the end of the first semester during which they fail to meet one or more of the SAP standards. During the SAP warning semester students may receive Title IV aid if they meet all other eligibility criteria. Students who enroll during their warning semester and who still have not met all of the SAP standards at the end of their warning semester are immediately ineligible for Title IV financial aid for the subsequent semester. Students who have not met all of the SAP standards are ineligible for Title IV aid at the end of the warning semester whether not they received financial aid during the warning semester.

Students may not be eligible for a warning semester if they previously failed one or more SAP requirements and continued their enrollment without being issued a warning term. Students are subject to current SAP standards and requirements regardless of those that may have been in place during their past semesters of enrollment.

Students who meet all of the SAP standards during their semester of warning are returned to satisfactory academic standing for financial aid. If a student who has returned to good standing subsequently completes a semester and has not met all of the SAP standards the student will again be placed on warning for the subsequent semester of enrollment.

Students who fail to reach all of the cumulative SAP standards after a warning semester and are therefore not in satisfactory academic standing are ineligible to receive further Title IV funding, unless they have submitted an appeal (as below) which is approved. Students who submit an appeal, which is approved, will be placed on probation* and required to follow an academic plan*.

Financial aid probation: Students who fail to reach all of the SAP standards and are therefore not in satisfactory academic standing are only eligible to receive further Title IV funding if they enroll using their own resources until they reach the SAP standards or submit an appeal (as below) which is approved. Students who submit an appeal that is approved will be placed on probation and must continue to follow their academic plan. During any probationary semester the student must meet the SAP standards based upon a minimum 2.00 term GPA and must complete 100.00% of the credits attempted during the probationary term, or meet the cumulative SAP standards, in which case the student has achieved Good Standing. Students who fail to reach all of the SAP standards after the probationary semester are also not in satisfactory academic standing and are ineligible to receive further Title IV funding, unless they have submitted an appeal (as below, that reflects new extenuating circumstances) which is approved. Students are also required to meet the College’s academic standards during any probationary semester.

SAP appeals: HEA regulations allow but do not require an institution to permit students who are not in satisfactory academic standing to appeal their status in order to receive Title IV funds. PCC permits up to two appeals during the student’s academic career at PCC. Title IV applicants and recipients, who are not in satisfactory academic standing, may appeal their status by accessing the College’s SAP appeal process as described on the website. All students who submit an appeal must also include a completed academic plan. Students should note that classes that are required in the academic plan may or may not be eligible for Title IV aid. It is possible that a class that is included in the academic plan, such as a prerequisite that is not a program requirement, is not eligible for Title IV financial aid.

Students who are eligible for a recalculation of their SAP status may be required to submit an academic plan depending upon the outcome of the recalculation. In order to develop the academic plan, the student must meet with an advisor/counselor. If the SAP appeal has been approved students must adhere to all the requirements detailed in their academic plan as a condition of receiving financial aid. The financial aid office will review the student’s progress at the end of each probationary semester to determine if the terms of the academic plan have been met.

Students who enroll under an approved SAP appeal are required to follow their academic plan without deviation. Students who deviate from their academic plan are ineligible for financial aid. Students who wish to change their academic plan must appeal to do so.

Types of changes that require you to appeal include changes to your program of study, changes that you initiate and deviations from the college’s course catalog. Modifications that are not considered changes and therefore do not require you to appeal include alterations in the sequence of courses, approved course substitutions, advisor approved adjustments or corrections and schedule updates that are initiated by the college such as to program of study requirements, course numbers, course descriptions and course cancellations.

Students should note that classes that are required in the academic plan may or may not be eligible for Title IV aid. It is possible that a class that is included in the academic plan, such as a prerequisite that is not a program requirement, is not eligible for Title IV financial aid.

Students who wish to appeal to change their academic plan should submit the appeal to change the academic plan form to the financial aid office. Students can obtain the academic plan appeal form from their campus financial aid office. In the appeal, students must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they can achieve academic progress. The appeal form to change the academic plan must be accompanied by appropriate documentation.

Students can access the SAP appeal form and instructions on the College’s web site. Students who wish to appeal must submit the SAP appeal form and a completed academic plan along with appropriate documentation to the financial aid office for evaluation. Students are responsible for developing and composing their own SAP appeals. SAP appeals that were completed by anyone other than the student are not acceptable and will be rejected. The financial aid office will respond to the appeal in writing by Pima Community College email, usually within 2 weeks of receiving the complete appeal form and supporting documents.

As required by federal regulations, PCC reviews academic progress at the end of the semester for those students on probation, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan and has met all SAP standards based upon the semester’s grades and completion of credits the student is eligible to re­ceive Title IV aid so long as the student continues to meet those requirements. Federal and institutional SAP requirements continually change and evolve. As such, the student’s original SAP appeal is also subject to review at the end of the semester and may be rejected if it does not meet current SAP requirements, regardless of the student’s academic performance during the probationary semester.

Students who experience new extenuating* circumstances, that were reasonably unforeseeable at the beginning of the probationary semester and that are beyond the student’s control, may appeal. The circumstances that are cited in the appeal must be timely to the semester of enrollment during which the academic difficulty occurred. These extenuating circumstances must have been sufficiently disruptive that the student was prevented from continued enrollment and/or successful completion of the semester and meeting of the SAP standards.

Students who are otherwise in good academic standing but who have exceeded (or will exceed) 150.00% of the published length required for their certificate or degree and who have changed their program of study at Pima no more than three unique times (excluding those programs in which they earned a degree or certificate) may appeal based solely upon their change of program without presenting extenuating circumstances. Such students may request that their SAP status is recalculated based only on those credits which are applicable to their current program of study. Students who have failed one or more of the SAP standards or have changed their program of study at Pima more than three unique times (excluding those programs in which they earned a degree or certificate) are required to present and document extenuating circumstances with their appeal.

Circumstances such as youth, being a first time college student, difficulty adjusting to college, time management issues, failure to balance social life against academic workload requirements, lack of focus, prioritization of other activities above coursework and inability to afford enrollment expenses in the absence of financial aid are not alone sufficient to qualify as extenuating.

Documented extenuating circumstances might include, but are not limited to:

  • The student’s major illness or injury
  • Major illness or injury in the student’s immediate family
  • Student’s spouse’s major illness or injury
  • Student’s loss of employment
  • Student’s parent’s loss of employment
  • Student’s spouse’s loss of employment
  • Student’s separation or divorce
  • Student’s parent’s separation or divorce
  • Death in the student’s immediate family
  • Student’s spouse’s death
  • The student’s deployment to active duty/reserves
  • The student’s spouse’s deployment to active duty/reserves
  • The student’s parent’s deployment to active duty/reserves
  • Natural disaster affecting the student
  • Natural disaster affecting the student’s parent(s)
  • Natural disaster affecting the student’s spouse

All SAP appeals will be evaluated by the SAP appeals committee or its designee. The SAP appeals committee determines whether or not the circumstances that the student submitted in the appeal are extenuating. As noted in the instructions that accompany the SAP appeal process, the student must document all extenuating circumstances, explain changes that will allow for academic success during future enrollment and must submit an advisor-approved academic plan.

Documentation typically consists of provider confirmation of injury or illness, an employer’s separation letter, police incident or accident report, attorney’s letter, divorce decree, deployment orders, obituary or death certificate as applicable; however, the SAP appeals committee or its designee solely determines the sufficiency of documentation in accordance with the circumstance(s) presented.

The student’s extenuating circumstances must have been reasonably unforeseeable and also must have been beyond the student’s control. Please note, having extenuating circumstances does not in any way guarantee that your SAP appeal will be approved. If your circumstances were reasonably foreseeable, pre-existing, are deemed to have been within your control, or were present and you decided to enroll anyway, your SAP appeal is likely to be denied. Your SAP appeal is also likely to be denied if you enrolled for more than two semesters without seeking intervention and treatment for an existing issue (or issues).

If a SAP appeal is approved for a student who does not enroll for the next scheduled semester, the approval is subject to submission to the SAP appeals committee or its designee for reevaluation. If the SAP appeals committee or its designee confirms that the approval is still valid the student is eligible to receive financial aid so long as all other eligibility criteria are met. If the SAP appeals committee or its designee determines that the approval is not valid the student is ineligible for any financial aid that is governed by the SAP policy. The student may be eligible to submit a new SAP appeal and should review the current SAP appeal guidelines.

Re-appealing: If your SAP appeal is denied you can only re-appeal if you have extenuating circumstances and/or documentation that you did not include with your initial appeal submission. Re-appealing because you do not agree with the committee’s decision is not a valid basis upon which to submit another appeal. Your re-appeal letter and documentation must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid within two weeks of the date your denial was posted in your MyPima. If your re-appeal is denied by the SAP Appeals Committee  or college designee you are not permitted to appeal again and all subsequent appeals that are based upon the same circumstances will be rejected.

The decision of the SAP Appeals Committee is final and can neither be appealed elsewhere in the College, nor can it be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.

Reestablishing eligibility for Title IV aid: Students who choose not to appeal, or whose appeals are not approved, may be able to reestablish eligibility for Title IV aid. Such students may (if they are otherwise eligible) continue to enroll for courses at the College at their own expense until they have met all of the SAP standards that are applicable for the receipt of Title IV aid. Neither paying for one’s classes nor sit­ting out for a semester affects a student’s academic progress standing, so neither (alone or together) is sufficient to reestablish aid eligibility, if the student has not met all of the SAP standards.