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Failure to Meet the Requirements

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards - Statuses

Satisfactory Academic Progress is determined at the end of each payment period. All payment periods at Pima Community College, as well as outside transcripts applied to the student's record, are included when determining a student's satisfactory academic progress, even if the student did not receive financial aid in the past.

There are defined outcomes once SAP has been determined at the end of each payment period, and they are as follows:

Financial Aid Good Standing Status: Student has met all of the requirements of satisfactory academic progress and will continue to be eligible for federal and state financial aid grants and loans, as long as all other financial aid requirements are met.

Financial Aid Warning Status: Student did not meet all the requirements of satisfactory academic progress and are now placed on "Warning". Students will receive financial aid if they are on "Warning" status, as long as all other financial aid requirements are met.

Students have the current term in which they have been placed on "Warning" to meet all of the conditions of satisfactory academic progress or they will be suspended from financial aid for the following term.

Students must meet all of the SAP standards to be considered to be in good 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. Students who receive a grade or are disbursed Title IV funds 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 or 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 cumulative standards at the end of their semester of warning are returned to good satisfactory academic standing for Title IV purposes. If a student who has returned to good standing subsequently fails cumulative SAP standards the student will again be placed on warning for the subsequent semester of enrollment.

Example: Fall 2017 - warning

Spring 2018 - good standing

Summer 2018 - warning

A student may not have more than one sequential warning status; but, must come into good SAP standing before additional warning statuses are applied.

Students who fail to reach all of the cumulative SAP standards after a warning semester are placed on suspension and are ineligible to receive further Title IV funding. A student may appeal their suspension (as below), and if approved by the PCC Financial Aid Appeal Committee or college designee, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation status.

Financial Aid Probation Status: 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 meet cumulative SAP standards or submit a SAP appeal (as below) and be approved by the SAP appeals committee or college designee. Students who submit an appeal that is approved will be placed on probation and must follow an academic plan prescribed by an academic advisor/counselor. During a probationary semester the student must pass 100% of attempted courses in the semester with a minimum 2.00 GPA or meet the cumulative SAP standards, in which case the student has achieved Good Standing. Students who fail to meet either conditions of the probationary semester will be suspended from further Title IV funding. A suspended student may submit a second appeal (as below, that reflects new extenuating circumstances). If approved, a student may be reinstated Title IV aid if all other eligibility requirements are met. Students are also required to meet the College’s academic standards during any probationary semester.

Financial Aid Suspension Status: Students who are not meeting cumulative SAP standards and are not eligible for warning status, and have not successfully appealed (or failed the meet conditions of approved appeal) will be placed or remain on suspension status. Students on financial aid suspension are not eligible for Title IV aid but may appeal their suspension.

Reestablishing Aid Eligibility: Students who choose not to appeal, or whose appeals are not approved, may be able to re-establish eligibility for Title IV aid. Such students may (if they are otherwise eligible) continue to enroll for courses at the College at his/her 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 re-establish aid eligibility, if the student has not met all of the SAP standards.

Appeal Process for Financial Aid Reinstatement or Extension

HEA regulations allow but do not require an institution to permit students who are not in satisfactory academic standing to appeal his/her status in order to receive Title IV funds. PCC allows Title IV applicants and recipients, who are not in satisfactory academic standing, to appeal his/her status by accessing the College’s SAP appeal process as described on the website. All students who submit an appeal must have a current FAFSA application on file and 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 his/her SAP status may be required to submit an academic plan depending upon the outcome of the recalculation. The recalculation is not considered an appeal. In order to develop the academic plan, the student must meet with an academic advisor/counselor.

If a SAP appeal has been approved, students must adhere to all the requirements detailed in his/her 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 payment period to determine if the terms of the academic plan have been met.

Students who enroll under an approved SAP appeal are required to follow his/her academic plan without deviation. Students who deviate from his/her academic plan are ineligible for financial aid. Students who wish to change his/her academic plan must submit a subsequent appeal to approve the change.

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 his/her 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.

As required by federal regulations, PCC reviews academic progress at the end of the semester or payment period 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 un-foreseeable 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 his/her certificate or degree may request that his/her SAP status is recalculated based only on those credits which are applicable to his/her current program of study.

Students who have failed one or more of the SAP standards are required to present and document extenuating circumstances with his/her appeal. 

Extenuating Circumstances: 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:

  • Major illness or injury for student, spouse of student’s immediate family
  • Loss of employment for the student, student’s spouse, or parents
  • Student or parents marital status change; i.e., separation or divorce
  • Death in the student’s immediate family
  • Deployment to active duty/reserves by the student, student’s spouse, student’s parents
  • Natural disaster affecting the student, student’s spouse, or student’s parents

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 un-foreseeable 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 resubmission 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 standards. The student may be eligible to submit a new SAP appeal and should review the current SAP appeal guidelines.

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 submission. Re-appealing because you do not agree with the SAP Appeal Committee’s decision is not a valid basis upon which to submit another appeal.

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

References:

Federal Student Aid Regulations: 34 CFR 668.42(c)(2), 34 CFR 668.4, 34 CFR 668.22(d)

Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1 pages 15-19