Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – Effective Spring 2023
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:
- Completion of attempted credit hours
- Cumulative Grade point average
- Maximum timeframe to complete a degree or certificate
Completion of Attempted Credit Hours (Pace)
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 Incomplete (I) grade must notify the Financial Aid Office when the grade has been changed to a passing grade.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
Grade point averages are evaluated at the end of each term. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 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 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 Appeal from in the Financial Aid Office to be considered for any further aid. The appeal will be completed with an Advisor to create an academic plan through program completion. The student will be notified of any additional credit hours approved via student email. 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 by the Friday following the end of each term. A student who has failed to meet the any of the SAP 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. Students are notified of their warning or suspension status through the MyClarkState portal and the Clark State student email.
Financial Aid Warning
Students placed on Financial Aid Warning may continue to receive their financial aid for the warning term. At the end of the warning term, the student is expected to meet the required SAP 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 were extenuating circumstances that affected academic progress. These circumstances must be documented and submitted to the Financial Aid Office for review with a completed SAP appeal form. 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 not meeting the minimum SAP requirements may appeal for unforeseen situations, i.e., illness/injury, death of an immediate family member, unexpected military service, or for these reasons - transfer credits not applying to current program, significant prerequisites were required, or other unforeseen events.
Complete appeals are reviewed by a financial aid staff member within 7 to 10 business days of receipt. They are reviewed holistically taking into considering academic history, extenuating circumstances, academic plan, written statements, and any other supporting documentation. Prior to a denial, a second opinion is requested from another staff member or director.
For any appeal beyond two approved will go through a committee review process. The committee members include:
- Office of Student Support Staff Person
- Faculty member
- Academic Progress Coordinator
- Financial Aid Staff Person (ex officio)
Circumstances for subsequent appeals must differ from those previously submitted.
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 probation 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 probation and must complete their approved degree or certificate within the approved number of credit hours.
The Advisor and student develop the academic plan to define the financial aid probation period for each student. This includes courses remaining to complete the program along with a specific point in time when the student will meet minimum cumulative results. Successful completion of the academic plan results in program completion or Financial Aid Satisfactory status and continued aid eligibility. They are used to guide decision making and to calculate need for extended 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.
Conditions of Approved Appeals
Students on Probation, whether for GPA/Completion Rate or Maximum Timeframe need to meet criteria in order to keep financial aid eligibility
- Maintain a 2.00 grade point average or higher
- Complete at least 67% of attempted courses [Courses dropped within the 100% refund period do not count as attempted.]
- Complete program within 150% or within the newly allotted timeframe detailed in approval notification
- Academic program does not change (Approval is based on active program detailed in the Academic Plan)
Academic Plan Evaluation
Academic plans are reviewed during the end of semester SAP evaluation. The evaluation first assesses satisfactory status of cumulative qualitative and quantitative SAP components. If on Warning or Probation and the cumulative standards are satisfactory, the financial aid status is updated to 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 on financial aid probation status and retains federal financial aid eligibility. Those on Probation due to a new degree or maximum timeframe will remain on Probation through either program completion or until all extended timeframe credit hours have been used.
If cumulative and by semester 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 is 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.