Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations require that students receiving Title IV financial assistance must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). See below for a complete explanation of that requirement.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Criteria
At Forsyth Technical Community College, Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured using three standards:
- Cumulative Grade Point Average (cum GPA)
- Completion Rate – the percentage of credit hours attempted that are successfully completed
- The maximum number of credit hours allowed before graduation from the student’s program
These standards are checked at the end of fall, spring, and summer terms; for clock hour programs scheduled for less than 30 weeks, SAP is measured at the mid-point and end of the program.
Cumulative GPA – A student must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average. Transfer credits, credits by examination, W, WP, Pass and Satisfactory grades are not counted as part of the GPA calculation. WF, R, and U grades are counted as F. A class that has been repeated will have the last grade received counted in the GPA.
Completion Rate – Students must complete, with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, P, or S, at least 67% of all coursework attempted. This includes every course (a cumulative history) on their Forsyth Tech transcript. Transfer courses accepted by the College are included in addition to all courses taken at Forsyth Tech. Hours for each attempt of a repeated course will be included. However, courses dropped during the 75% refund period are not shown on the transcript and, therefore, are not counted. Once a student graduates from a program, the completion rate starts over if the student enrolls in a new program.
Credit Hour Limitation – Students are required to complete their program of study within a maximum credit hour limitation, excluding up to 30 hours to complete any necessary remedial courses determined by institutional testing. The maximum for a program may not exceed 150% of the number of credits required for the program. For example, a student enrolled in a program that requires 64 credits for graduation may receive federal aid for up to 96 hours. All periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not the student received aid, are included. Withdrawals, incompletes, repeated courses, transfer credit, and credit by examination will count toward the 150% credit hour limitation. The college is required to suspend aid eligibility as soon as it is determined that the student cannot meet the 150% requirement. If a student has not completed the graduation requirements for the program by the 120% point, the aid office will suspend the student’s financial aid eligibility until the student and Program Chair can certify that the student will be able to graduate within the 150% deadline or until the student graduates from a program.
Incomplete: Incompletes will count as credit hours attempted, but not completed.
Withdrawal: All grades of “W”, “WP”, and “WF” will count as credit hours attempted but not completed.
R and U Grades: R and U grades will count as attempted credits and as a failure for the purpose of financial aid.
Repeated Course: Repeated courses count as credit hours attempted for each enrollment. If a student has passed a course but repeats it one time after receiving a passing grade, the credits will be counted as part of the student’s enrollment for the purpose of financial aid. Subsequent repetition of the same course will not be eligible for financial aid, but will be counted as hours attempted.
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.
Program Change: Students who change programs should be aware that all hours attempted, regardless of the program, will count toward the maximum credit hour allowance unless the student graduates. Students who graduate from one program, and wish to earn another Associate Degree, Diploma, or Certificate will be allowed to complete a new program within a new 150% credit hour allowance.
Academic Forgiveness: Forsyth Technical Community College sometimes allows academic forgiveness for academic purposes. However, it is not allowed for financial aid. Both the grade and the credits will continue to be included in the satisfactory academic progress calculation.
Consequences of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress: Students receiving financial aid who do not satisfactorily complete either the cumulative GPA or the 67% completion rate will be placed on financial aid warning status. Students will be sent an email through the campus email system. A student who has not met the requirements will have the next enrolled term to reestablish satisfactory academic progress. If a student does not earn the required cumulative grade point average and completion rate at the end of the following term of enrollment, he/she will be ineligible for financial aid and placed on financial aid suspension status. Federal and state aid will remain suspended until the student enrolls for subsequent semesters/terms, at his or her own expense, and completes the work necessary to regain satisfactory progress. If a student reaches the 120% time frame, federal and state financial aid will be suspended until the student and Program Chair certify the student can graduate within the 150% time frame. If it is determined the student cannot complete the requirements within the 150% time frame, the student will be ineligible for financial aid until the student graduates from a program.
Note: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress for financial aid may not be the same as remaining in good standing in a program. Each program has its own requirements. As a result, even though a student may meet satisfactory progress for financial aid purposes, they may not be meeting the requirements necessary to continue in their program. It is the student’s responsibility to know his or her program requirements.
Appeal Procedures for Financial Aid Suspension: Students who have had financial aid suspended due to unsatisfactory progress may appeal this decision. However, the student must be able to document mitigating circumstances. A student must indicate in writing to the Office of Student Financial Services why the aid should not be suspended. An appeal may be made if there are unusual situations such as injury to or illness of the student, death of a family member, undue hardship, or other serious crisis. External documentation may be required. The appeal will be reviewed to determine whether or not reinstatement of aid is justified, and the student will be notified of the decision through a campus email. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on academic probation which will allow one term of financial aid. The student will be given an academic plan that must be met at the end of the next enrolled term. The academic plan generally requires a term GPA of 2.5 and a 100% successful completion rate; under certain circumstances other conditions may apply. If the probation requirements are met at the end of the term, the student may be allowed an additional term on academic probation in order to reach satisfactory standing. A student granted approval of an appeal must return within three terms; otherwise, the approval will expire and the student will have to file a new appeal. If the appeal is not approved, the student has the right to request a second appeal with the Forsyth Technical Community College Financial Aid Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee’s decision will exhaust all avenues of the appeal process. The student may appeal financial aid suspension a maximum of two times during the student’s enrollment at Forsyth Tech. If a student is on financial aid probation and does not meet the academic plan, financial aid will be terminated until the student has returned to satisfactory status or graduated. There is no appeal for failure to meet the academic plan.
For students receiving financial aid, Satisfactory Academic Progress notifications will be sent to the Forsyth Tech e-mail address after grade posting in the fall, spring and summer. Students may access this e-mail via TechLink at www.forsythtech.edu/techlink.
If, at any time during the year, students have any questions about financial aid and their SAP standing, they should contact the Office of Student Financial Services.
Requirements to Repay Financial Aid if the Term is Not Completed
All students receiving federal and/or state financial aid who stop attending and/or completing coursework before the end of the term will have to pay the unearned portion of their aid funds back to the federal and/or state government or risk losing financial aid eligibility at all colleges across the country. Forsyth Technical Community College uses the calculators provided by the appropriate entities to determine the amount that must be repaid. In addition, some outside scholarships require a return of funds if a student withdraws before the end of the term.
Students on aid who stop attending their classes will be notified in writing about the amount they must repay.
Students receiving veteran’s benefits may have to repay the VA if they don’t complete their coursework.
Q: How can you avoid this problem?
A: Stay in school and complete your classes! It is as simple as that.
Additional details may be viewed by visiting the Requirements page or in the Office of Student Financial Services.