Admissions & Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

(Effective 9/2/2014)

This policy was established to adhere to Federal regulation which require all Title IV institutions to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy in place that ensures financial aid recipients (students) are moving through their academic program at a reasonable rate and are making progress toward their degree.  A student must be eligible by this policy whether or not they are a recipient of aid during the evaluated period of attendance.  

POLICY  


To be eligible for financial aid at Alma College, students must meet ALL of the following Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements based on federal, state, and institutional requirements.  Alma College measures SAP in three areas:  Minimum Cumulative Financial Aid GPA, Completion Ratio (Pace), and Maximum Time Frame.  Students must meet all requirements in ALL THREE areas at the end of each term (fall, winter, spring) to maintain eligibility for financial assistance.

Categories

Federal and State Requirements

  • Overall Credit Completion Rate (PACE)
  • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Maximum Time Frame Requirement
  • Alma College Academic Standing Requirement

Institutional Aid Requirements

  • Alma College Academic Standing Requirement
  • At the end of each term an evaluation will occur to determine if a student is meeting SAP
  • All financial aid applicants in approved degree programs are evaluated whether they received financial assistance in prior terms or not.
  • Students attending Alma College in the past that re-enroll will be reviewed for SAP for financial aid purposes on all previously attempted courses and transfer credits regardless of how long ago they attended Alma or whether or not aid was received.
  • If you do not meet all of the SAP requirements for each aid category (Federal/State, or Institutional) then you will be placed on warning* and you will one term to meet these criteria to remain eligible for the aid in the specified category. 

*Warning – only for those that were in good standing upon review.  If you were already on warning prior to review your aid is now suspended.  If you are suspended from any of the aid categories you may go through the appeal process detailed in this document.

 

CATEGORIES


FEDERAL AND STATE AID REQUIREMENTS

A.      Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0

B.      Overall Credit Completion Rate Requirement of 67% of ALL attempted credit hours. (PACE)

To remain in good standing on the overall credit completion rate requirement, you must complete 66.7% of your overall attempted credits.

ATTEMPTED CREDIT HOURS INCLUDE GRADES OF:

 

IP, IN

 

=

 

INCOMPLETE

 

F, E

 

=

 

FAIL

S

=

PASS/SATISFACTORY

0.0 – 4.0

=

ALL OTHER COURSE GRADES

W, WP, WF

=

WITHDRAWL

 

 

 

 

EXAMPLE:   A student enrolls for 17 credit hours, however, withdraws from 6 credits on the last day to withdraw.  The student completes 11 credit hours with a 3.2 cumulative grade point average. (is the end of fall term and the student was originally in good academic standing)    11 completed credits/17 attempted credits = 64.7 65%  completion rate

The student in this example is placed on academic warning status due to completing less than 67% of the attempted credit hours.

C.      Maximum Time Frame Requirement (MTF)

A student may receive financial assistance until they have attempted 150% of the credits required for their program of study.  The 204 credit hours reflects 150% of the credits required to complete a 136 credit hour bachelor’s degree program.  All attempted credits are counted in the maximum time frame evaluation; this also includes any transfer credits accepted by Alma College and any courses taken even while on suspension and not receiving aid.  Please refer to Alma’s academic catalog or consult with an academic advisor for the specific hours required in your degree program.  NOTE:  The Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are limited to 6 years.

Second undergraduate degree students, double majors or change in majors are monitored like any other student under this policy.  If or when the student were to exceed the maximum time frames allowed for their program they could appeal.

The following are 2 scenarios that will affect a student’s financial aid status as a result of MTF.

  1. Student’s attempted credit hours + the number of credit hours remaining to complete the current degree program exceeds MTF (150%).

Example:  The student attempted 150 credit hours, but has 68 credit hours left to complete the current bachelor’s degree.  This student is not on target because the number of credits attempted + the number of credits remaining exceed MTF for the degree. (150 + 68 = 218) > 204

2.  Student’s completed credit hours exceed the number of credit hours required to complete the current degree program.

Example:  The student has completed 140 credit hours towards a bachelor’s degree.  This student is not on target because the number of completed credit hours have exceeded the 136 credit hours required for the current bachelor’s degree.  140 > 136

NOTE:  All college level attempted hours are included in the Maximum Time Frame calculation to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) including:

  • MTH099, ACP100, ENG100
  • Repeated, incomplete, and transfer credit hours
  • Withdrawn credit hours
  • Credit hours attempted for which the student did not receive financial aid

D.     Alma College Academic Standing Requirement

The student must meet the Alma College Academic Standing requirement to be eligible for federal aid.  Please go to the following link for more informationhttp://www.alma.edu/offices/registrar/academic-catalogs.  Select the current catalog and it is under the “Academic Rules and Procedures” section.   This requirement will be evaluated at the end of each term.  To receive aid, the student must have an Alma College academic standing of Jeopardy, Probation, or Warning.  If you are on an Alma College academic standing of dismiss then you are also on federal financial aid suspension.

An appeal of academic suspension DOES NOT automatically lift the federal aid suspension; please petition AND submit a document proving the academic suspension has been successfully appealed.

INSTITUTIONAL AID REQUIREMENTS

A.      Alma College Academic Standing Requirement

The student must meet the Alma College Academic Standing requirement to be eligible for federal aid.  Please go to the following link for more informationhttp://www.alma.edu/offices/registrar/academic-catalogs.  Select the current catalog and it is under the “Academic Rules and Procedures” section.   This requirement will be evaluated at the end of each term.  To receive aid, the student must have an Alma College academic standing of Jeopardy, Probation, or Warning.  If you are on an Alma College academic standing of dismiss then you are also on federal financial aid suspension.

An appeal of academic suspension DOES NOT automatically lift the federal aid suspension; please petition AND submit a document proving the academic suspension has been successfully appealed.

COURSE CONSIDERATIONS – EFFECT ON SAP STATUS


  • Repeating Passed Courses

Previously passed courses can only be repeated once; the first repeat counts in credits taken, attempted, and earned.  The second and any subsequent repeats do not count towards the credits requirement to receive aid for the term but do count as attempted and earned (if successfully completed).

  • Repeating Failed Courses

Previously failed courses can be repeated multiple times up to when a passing grade is earned.  The repeat counts in credits taken, attempted, and earned.

  • Repeatable Courses (Determined by Alma College’s course catalog)

Courses may be taken multiple times.  All occurrences count towards the credit requirement to receive aid for the term, attempted credits, and earned credits (if successfully completed).

  • Remedial Courses

Courses are included in the GPA calculation, the percentage of completion calculation the maximum time frame calculation, and count toward the minimum term requirement.

  • Transfer Courses

Transfer credits accepted by Alma College are counted in the maximum time frame calculation regardless of whether they count toward your degree.     If a transcript is provided after SAP has been determined, SAP will be reviewed at the end of the currently enrolled term.

  • AP/CLEP/IB  Credits

Credits obtained through testing that are transferable and creditable are counted as attempted and completed, and count in the maximum time frame calculation.

  • Incomplete Courses

Are counted as attempted but not completed for PACE and maximum timeframe.  A grade change done within the 30th day will be considered and SAP will be recalculated to determine status.

  • Withdrawals

Withdrawals are counted as attempted but not completed.

  • OTHER

Credit hours earned through advanced placement examinations, international baccalaureate, high school dual enrollment, or Alma College proficiency examinations are included in both the measurement of attempted and earned hours and maximum timeframe.

FINANCIAL AID STATUSES


GOOD  -  MEETING SAP

Student is currently meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress in all three measurements: Minimum Cumulative GPA, Completion Ration (Pace), and Maximum Time Frame.

WARNING  (keeps aid for one more term)

A Student is placed on Warning the very first time they do not meet any one of the three SAP measurements OR the first time after getting back in good standing.  Student will continue to be eligible for financial aid for ONE term only.  There is no limit to the number of times a student can be placed in this status.

SUSPENDED  - Did not meet SAP – NO AID

A student is placed on Suspension when they fail to meet any of the three measurements for the second consecutive time or more.  This status is also for a student who has failed to meet the requirements of their assigned financial aid academic plan.  A student in this status is not eligible for financial aid.  The student may submit a written appeal.

PROBATION  - not meeting SAP – Academic Plan in place

A student is placed on Probation after submitting a written appeal and the appeal is approved.  An individualized financial aid Academic Plan is assigned to the student.  The student must adhere to the requirements of the Academic Plan to continue receiving financial aid.  The academic plan will be reviewed at the end of each term.  If a student does not adhere to the academic plan and is not maintaining SAP by the end of the next term, the student will be placed on suspension.  No other appeals will be accepted unless specific circumstances exist.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Students who lose aid eligibility due to not meeting SAP and who are subsequently granted a probationary status after an appeal may have certain types of federal, state, or institutional aid reduced or canceled due to limited funding.  Examples include but are not limited to MI State Grant/Scholarship, FSEOG, Perkins Loan, and Alma College Long Term Loan.  Students will have the opportunity to reapply for these funds the following academic year.

 

RE-ESTABLISH ELIGIBILITY FOR AID


If you are on suspension you may submit an appeal.  If your appeal is approved you will receive one probationary term with performance requirements.  Approval is not guaranteed and you are responsible for any debts incurred if you enroll while on financial aid suspension.  Aid eligibility may be reinstated for the term during which your petition is approved but not for prior term(s) that you may have attended while on financial aid suspension.

The process for filing an appeal, valid/acceptable reasons for an SAP appeal, academic plan information, and tips on writing an appeal letter can be found in the sections below.

SAP APPEAL PROCESS

SAP Appeal Reasons 

1.  Acceptable Sap Appeal Reasons

  • Physician documented medical condition or serious illness
  • Physician documented learning disability (or disability validated through Nate Payovich)
  • Death of a family member or friend
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Exceeding Maximum Time Frame to complete degree
  • Other extenuating circumstances(case by case basis)

 2.   Acceptable Appeal Reasons for Failed Academic Plan   (only for students who were on probation)

  • Death of an immediate family member (spouse, mother, father, guardian, sister, brother, son or daughter)
  • Major medial issue (i.e. requires hospitalization) experienced by the student or an immediate family member of the student (as designated above)
  • Domestic violence
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Other extreme circumstances (case by case basis)

NOT  ACCEPTABLE APPEAL REASONS

Incarceration resulting from a guilty verdict

Voluntary pause, lapse, or termination of employment

Unpreparedness for college coursework

Lack of awareness of withdrawal policies

WRITING YOUR APPEAL & DOCUMENTATION                            

First Appeal

  • Include your name and student ID at the top
  • The first paragraph should explain what happened – why you were not able to maintain SAP
  • The second paragraph should explain what circumstances have changed that will allow you to make SAP in future terms

NOT your first appeal

  • Include your name and student ID at the top
  • Explanation of what has changed since your last appeal

DOCUMENTATION

GPA and/or failure to complete 67% hours attempted

  1. Medical Problems (physical or mental) – Identify the inception and duration of the illness, supported by medical reports.  Both the appeal letter and supporting documents should clearly state if the medical condition is under control, thus allowing the student to be academically successful.  The documents should include but are not limited to medical reports and letters from a doctor or professional counselor.
  2. Accidents – Identify the date of the accident and describe medical problems that were a result.  Supporting documentation should include, but is not limited to, police and medical reports.
  3. Family Problems (divorce, separation, spousal abuse, death, illness) – The student should identify the relationship to the family member(s) involved and the inception and duration of the problem.  It should state clearly what actions have been taken to control these problems, allowing the student to be academically successful.  Appropriate supporting documentation should include, but is not limited to, police and medical reports, death certificates, obituaries, and letters from a professional counselor.
  4. Military Service – Identify the dates and status of military tour(s) or duty.  Appropriate supporting documentation would include military orders and discharge papers.

Maximum Hours/Time

Maximum Time Frame SAP appeal should describe every circumstance that caused the student to accumulate hours in excess of the number allowed.  The appeal must enable SAP committee to understand clearly the number of terms that will be required for the student to complete the degree.

REINSTATEMENT AFTER SELF-FUNDING

If you decide to not appeal or if your appeal is denied you may attend without any financial aid funds and may be eligible for a private loan.  To regain financial aid eligibility you must successfully meet SAP requirements for each aid category listed above after the completion of the term.

 

IMPORTANT SAP APPEAL FACTS

Read and understand the following information before beginning your appeal.

 

  1. Financial Aid policies are not directly related to policies for academic admission.   Reinstatement to the College after academic suspension or dismissal does not ensure that a student’s financial aid will also be reinstated.
  2. The SAP Appeal Committee realizes a student may not be able to continue his/her education without financial aid.  However, financial hardship is not an extenuating circumstance that can be considered by the committee per federal regulations.
  3.  If a student was employed while attending Alma College, that employment may have a negative impact on his/her academic performance.  Similar to financial hardships, the impact of employment is not an extenuating circumstance that can be considered by the committee.
  4.  Incomplete appels will not be considered.
  5.  Including supporting documents, such as medical records, although not required, may significantly increase the chance of your appeal being approved.
  6. SAP Committee decisions on appeals are final.
  7. The SAP Committee decision will be mailed (current preferred address) and e-mailed (Alma College e-mail account) to the student.
  8.  If a student decides to enroll in classes while under Financial Aid Suspension, he/she is responsible for all costs incurred regardless of the outcome to the SAP appeal.