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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal regulations require that all financial aid recipients progress at a reasonable rate (make satisfactory academic progress) toward achieving a certificate or degree. Progress is measured by: (1) the student’s cumulative grade point average, (2) pace of progression (the number of credits earned in relation to those attempted), and (3) the maximum time frame allowed to complete the academic program. These requirements apply to all semesters regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid. Progress is reviewed at the end of each semester.

1. CUMULATIVE GRADE POINT AVERAGE. Students who drop below the following minimum cumulative NCU GPA will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. (Transfer students who do not meet the minimum NCU GPA requirement when progress is evaluated will have transfer credits calculated into the cumulative NCU GPA).

 

Number of Credits AttemptedMinimum Cumulative GPA
0-29*1.6
30-59*1.8
60 & above2.0

*Students in a One Year Certificate program must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. Progress will be checked after the first semester. Students in an Associate Degree program must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA after earning 30 or more credits.

2. PACE OF PROGRESSION. Students who fail to complete the required 67% of credits attempted will be placed on Financial Aid Warning.

3. MAXIMUM TIME FRAME. Maximum time frame for a degree program is 150% of the published number of credits required for that degree program. A student is ineligible for federal and state financial aid when it is determined at an official evaluation that it is mathematically impossible to complete the program within 150% of the length of the program. See the chart below for attempted credit limits.

 

DegreeAttempted Credit Limit
1 Year Certificate47
Associate Degree93
Bachelor’s Degree186

Note: Students in the Elementary Education Degree with a Middle School Emphasis and students in the Secondary Education Vocal Music program have a higher credit requirement. See course catalog for published program length.

Students who do not meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at the end of a semester will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the following semester. Notification of Financial Aid Warning status will be communicated to the student. Financial aid may still be received during the warning period. At the end of the warning period the student must have achieved satisfactory academic progress as outlined above or financial aid will be terminated. Students will be removed from Financial Aid Warning if they have achieved satisfactory academic progress.

Repeated Courses: Courses in which the student received a grade of “F” may be repeated and may be eligible for financial aid. Other courses in which the student received a passing grade may be repeated once and may be eligible for financial aid. When a course with a passing grade has been repeated, subsequent repeats of the course will not be included in the total number of credits for the semester when determining financial aid eligibility. Credits attempted in repeated courses will be included in the cumulative credits attempted.

Withdrawn Courses: Withdrawn courses count towards the cumulative credits attempted. However, if a student drops a course during the first four weeks in a semester, it does not count towards the cumulative credits attempted unless the student completely withdraws from school. Students may retake courses from which they have withdrawn. When retaken, these courses will be included in the total number of credits for the semester when determining financial aid eligibility.

Incomplete Grades: The grade of “I” (Incomplete) is a temporary grade awarded by the professor which indicates that, for extenuating circumstances (i.e., serious illness, death in the family, etc.), the student was unable to complete the work by the end of the term. Any student requesting an extension, must complete the Incomplete Grade Request. The form must be signed by the instructor and approved by the Registrar prior to the beginning of finals week.

Any student receiving an “I” must work closely with his/her professor to successfully complete all outstanding work within 6 weeks of the last day of the term. This means that, together, a shared responsibility exists between student and professor for the fulfillment of course requirements and the submission of an appropriate earned grade within the 6 week period. In all cases, professors may require an earlier completion time frame. Requests to exceed the 6 week incomplete period will be reviewed and determined on a case-by-case basis.

All unresolved incompletes will become a failing grade on the last date of the following term. No student with an “I” for a given semester is eligible for school honors in that semester. Graduating seniors who end their last semester with an “I” must complete all course requirements within the given time-frame in order to receive a diploma.

Grade Changes: A student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress is re-evaluated at the time the Financial Aid Office is notified by the Registrar’s Office of a grade change.

Audit Courses: Audit courses receive no credit and do not influence grade point average. They are not counted in credits attempted and are not eligible for financial aid.

Remedial Courses: Remedial courses will be included in the total number of credits for the semester when determining financial aid eligibility.

Pass/Fail Courses: Pass/Fail courses are not calculated in the cumulative GPA but will be included in credits attempted.

Transfer Students: Transfer credits are calculated into the credits attempted and affect pace of progression and maximum timeframe, but are not factored into the cumulative NCU GPA. Transfer students who do not meet the minimum NCU GPA requirement when progress is evaluated will have transfer credits calculated into the cumulative NCU GPA.

Summer School: Students attending in the summer semester will have SAP evaluated again at the end of the semester.

Financial Aid Warning: Students may receive financial aid for the semester they are on warning. If they fail to meet the necessary SAP requirements at the end of their warning semester, their financial aid will be terminated until they have regained satisfactory progress status. When a student has been placed on financial aid warning for a semester and has regained SAP at the completion of that semester, that student will be removed from financial aid warning and will be eligible to receive financial aid.

Financial Aid Termination: Financial aid termination will result in the loss of all federal, state and institutional aid, including grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. If a student successfully completes a semester without receiving financial aid and meets the SAP requirements, the student will then regain financial aid eligibility.

Financial Aid Probation: If a student completes their warning semester and is not meeting the SAP requirements, that student may appeal their status. If their appeal is approved they would be eligible to receive financial aid during the following semester. The student would be on financial aid probation status during this semester.

Academic Plan: If it is not possible for a student to meet the SAP standards in one semester, a student who appeals may be given an academic plan. The first semester of a student’s academic plan would be considered financial aid probation. This plan would specify a point in time at which the student will be able to meet North Central’s SAP standards.

Readmitted Students: If a student is placed on financial aid warning or termination status and does not return the following semester, they will be given the same status if they return at a later date. When a student withdraws or is dismissed from North Central and is later readmitted, the semester in which they withdrew or were dismissed is included when the student’s satisfactory academic progress status is evaluated.

Change of Majors or Degrees: If a student changes majors or degrees the credits earned under all majors or degrees will be included in the calculation of attempted and earned credits and affect pace of progression, maximum timeframe, and cumulative NCU GPA calculation.

Second Degree: Students may attempt up to 150% of the credits required for a subsequent program of study (typically 186 credits for a first baccalaureate degree, plus an additional 186 credits for a second baccalaureate degree).

Student Notification: Students who are not meeting the minimum Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be notified by the Financial Aid Office of their Warning or Termination status. Students who submit an appeal will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office within 30 days from the receipt of the appeal stating the decision of the Financial Advisory Committee of financial aid Probation, placement on a financial aid Academic Plan, or financial aid Termination. Students whose financial aid status had been at a Warning, Probation, placement on a financial aid Academic Plan, or Termination status, but are meeting minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards when reviewed will be notified by letter of the change in their status.

Amendments to Policy: This policy will be amended whenever applicable federal or state laws or regulations are changed. Upon approval of the President and the Financial Advisory Committee, the Financial Aid Director is authorized to incorporate and implement changes required in this policy by federal or state laws or regulations. The Financial Advisory Committee is to be appraised of these changes. Other amendments to the policy, not required by changes in laws or regulations, will be considered through the revision procedures of the Financial Advisory Committee.

Appeal Process

Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress standards and lose financial aid eligibility can appeal this decision. Appeals should be made within thirty days after the student receives notification of their financial aid termination status. Appeals must be made in writing and submitted to the Financial Aid Office for consideration by the Financial Advisory Committee. Acceptable reasons for an appeal include the following:

  • Medical difficulty. Documentation may be requested.
  • Family difficulty. Documentation may be requested.
  • Emotional difficulty. Documentation may be requested.
  • Learning disability. Documentation may be requested.
  • Change in/or addition to a degree program requiring more than the maximum allowable Credits Attempted, documented by a statement from NCU’s Registrar.
  • Other special, significant or unusual circumstances.

The Financial Advisory Committee reserves the right to initiate action on a student’s status if they are aware of mitigating circumstances.

Student Notification: Students who submit an appeal will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office within 30 days from the receipt of the appeal stating the decision of the Financial Advisory Committee of financial aid Probation, placement on a financial aid Academic Plan, or financial aid Termination.

Appeal Approval: If an appeal is approved a letter will be sent to the student detailing any specific requirements established by the Financial Advisory Committee to help the student achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress. It is the responsibility of the student to follow the stated requirements. Students should consult with a financial aid counselor if they have questions.

Appeal Denial: If an appeal is denied the student may choose to enroll without benefit of financial aid. If a student successfully completes a semester without receiving financial aid and is not meeting SAP requirements another appeal may be submitted. If a student successfully completes a semester without receiving financial aid and meets the SAP requirements the student will regain financial aid eligibility.

Regaining Eligibility: Students on financial aid Termination may regain aid eligibility by meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress minimum requirements as stated in NCU’s Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy available online or in the Financial Aid Office.

If you wish to appeal your financial aid termination status, please complete and submit the Appeal of Financial Aid Termination form.

If you have any specific questions regarding satisfactory academic progress relating to financial aid please contact the Financial Aid Office at (612) 343-4485 or finaid@northcentral.edu.