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Financial Aid
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Our Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Policy was created to measure your academic progress.

Clark State is required by federal law to establish and publish standards for measuring a student’s academic progress for the purpose of receiving federal financial aid. Students are required to make satisfactory progress toward the completion of a degree or certificate. The financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP) is applied to the following financial aid programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant
  • Federal Direct Student Loans (including Parent Loans)
  • Federal Work Study

This policy is applied to the student’s entire academic record and regardless of whether they have previously received federal financial aid. In addition, Clark State’s Fresh Start Program has no bearing on the SAP policy. Please read these standards carefully. It is the responsibility of the student to understand and adhere to these standards. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

This policy includes three components:

  1. Completion of attempted credit hours
  2. Grade point average
  3. Maximum timeframe to complete a degree or certificate

Completion of Attempted Credit Hours
Students must successfully complete at least 67% of all credit hours attempted. (Number of credit hours completed divided by the number of credit hours attempted) Successful completion of a course is defined as receiving one of the following grades: A, B, C, D or S. The following grades are NOT considered to be a successful completion: F, Z, W, I, U, UW and PG. Students receiving an I (Incomplete) must notify the Financial Aid Office when the grade has been changed to a passing grade. The federal CARES Act (March 2020) provided flexibility to institutions to exclude attempted credit hours from the calculation of completion if the course was not completed due a qualifying emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Clark State did not include "W" (with reason COVID-19) or "I" grades in the  completion rate calculation at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Once an "I" grade is changed to the earned grade, it will be included in the future semester's SAP calculations, beginning Fall 2020 semesters.

Grade Point Average
Grade point averages are evaluated at the end of each term. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in order to retain eligibility for federal financial aid.

Maximum Timeframe to Complete a Degree or Certificate
In order to continue receiving federal financial aid, a student must complete their first degree or certificate within 150% of the published program hours as measured by credit hours attempted. (To determine the maximum timeframe, multiply the number of credits in the program by 150%) Once a student reaches 150% of the program hours, they will no longer be eligible for federal financial aid. All attempted credit hours are considered including CPE classes, withdrawn classes and transfer credits.

Additional Degrees and Certificates
Students who have received one or more associate degrees or certificates and are returning for an additional degree or certificate must complete a New Degree form in the Financial Aid Office to be considered for any further aid. The form will be forwarded to the Record’s Office to determine additional credit hour eligibility. The student will be notified of any additional credit hours. Once the student has reached the additional limit, financial aid will be terminated. Students completing transfer degrees may not be eligible for more than one additional program. Financial aid will be limited to only those classes required for the new program(s).

Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated at the end of each term. A student who has failed to meet the completion rate and/or grade point average standards outlined above will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. If after the warning term, the student has not met SAP, financial aid will be suspended.

Financial Aid Warning
Students placed on Financial Aid Warning may continue to receive their financial aid for the warning term. The student will have one term to meet the required standards. If the student has not met SAP at the end of the warning term, financial aid is suspended. Financial Aid for the upcoming term will not be released until grades have been evaluated. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the Cashier’s Office for tuition and fees.

Financial Aid Appeal Process
Students may appeal their suspension if they feel there are extenuating circumstances that affected academic progress. These circumstances must be documented and submitted to the Financial Aid Office for review by the Appeals Committee. The student must also explain in a personal statement why they did not maintain SAP and how the circumstances have changed to enable their continued success. All appeals must include documentation of the credit hours needed to complete the student’s degree or certificate program. Appeal forms are available on the website and in the Financial Aid Office. Appeals do not guarantee eligibility; the decision of the Appeals Committee is final. The deadline to submit appeals is 10 days before the start of classes for the semester the student is requesting consideration. Students may have a maximum of 2 approved appeals while enrolled at Clark State.

Students not meeting the minimum credit hour completion percentage and/or minimum grade point average requirement may appeal for unforeseen situations, i.e., illness/injury, death of an immediate family member, unexpected military service.

Students exceeding the maximum time frame may appeal for these reasons - transfer credits not applying to current program, significant prerequisites were required, or other unforeseen events.

Approved Appeals
Students will be notified in writing of the appeal decision and of the terms and conditions of the appeal. Students who were suspended due to not meeting the GPA and/or completion rate will be placed on financial aid warning and must meet the terms and conditions of the approved appeal each semester until they have regained the minimum standards. Students who were suspended due to maximum timeframe will be placed on financial aid warning and must complete their degree or certificate within the approved number of credit hours.

Academic Plans
The Success Coach and student develops the academic plan to define the financial aid warning period for each student. Successful completion of the academic plan results in program completion or Financial Aid Satisfactory status and continued aid eligibility.

Failure to meet the academic plan results in federal financial aid suspension for future semesters. A student may file a SAP appeal to regain federal aid eligibility. The SAP appeal may be approved if the student documents extenuating circumstances during the probationary semester.

Academic Plan Evaluation
Academic plans are reviewed at the end of semester SAP evaluation. The evaluation first assesses satisfactory status of cumulative qualitative and quantitative SAP components. If the cumulative standards are satisfactory, the financial aid status is Satisfactory and the student is no longer monitored under the terms of the academic plan. If the student does not meet the cumulative standards but meets the academic plan requirements for the semester, the student remains in financial aid warning status and retains federal financial aid eligibility. If cumulative and academic plan standards are unsatisfactory, federal financial aid is suspended for future semesters. Student may appeal to regain their eligibility if they have a different extenuating circumstance for which the prior appeal was approved.

No Appeal or Denied Appeal
If the student does not appeal, or if their appeal is denied, they can request reinstatement of eligibility after successfully completing coursework at Clark State without the assistance of federal financial aid (pay out-of-pocket) and meet all components of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. It is the student’s responsibility to request reinstatement to the Financial Aid Office.

Treatment of Developmental Courses, Repeated Coursework and Incompletes
Developmental coursework are included in attempted and completed hours in the Pace and Maximum Time frame end of semester SAP calculations. The grade earned in the course is calculated in the GPA and included in the cumulative calculation of SAP at the end of the semester.

All courses attempted are calculated in the pace of completion and maximum timeframe. The financial aid SAP policy abides by the College’s academic policy regarding the treatment of repeated courses and the replacement of grades in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.

Incompletes are included in attempted and completed hours in the Pace and GPA calculation in the end of semester SAP calculations. The grade earned in the course is calculated in the GPA and included in the cumulative calculation of SAP at the end of the semester. Once the grade replacement is processed by Records and Registration Office, the financial aid office gets notification and SAP is calculated on an individual basis for the grade replacement.

Fresh Start and Re-Entry
Students who apply for and receive a Fresh Start are subject to meeting all requirements of the current SAP policy. All attempted courses are considered when evaluating SAP. Students re-entering Clark State after any period of separation are also subject to the current SAP policy.