SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS POLICY FOR ESSEX COUNTY COLLEGE STUDENTS
Effective July 1, 2014, the Office of Financial Aid will implement a new Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for students receiving Financial Aid at Essex County College. To be considered in “good” academic standing, all students must complete 67% of all attempted college level credits (including Transfer Credits) during a semester/term with a College Credit Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or better and meet all other requirements for receiving aid. SAP will be evaluated once a year for all students after the spring semester or Summer I if the student attends Summer I. Students in a program of study that is one year or less in length will be evaluated at the end of each evaluation period. All college level and Transfer Credits will be counted in the attempted and earned calculation even if students paid for classes with their own resources. Remedial and English as a Second Language (ESL) credits, will be excluded from the attempted credit calculation. If students fail to meet the minimum SAP Policy standards, those students will be ineligible for financial aid. Students may appeal and eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The SAP standards are defined below:
- Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)
The qualitative component is measuring the quality of a student’s SAP by reviewing the student’s cumulative College Credit Grade Point Average (GPA). To meet the qualitative SAP requirement, the student must have a minimum College Credit GPA of at least 2.0 or meet the minimum GPA for the student’s program of study. Specific federal, state and scholarship grant programs may require a different GPA for renewal (example: State Aid), and they may have separate requirements for continued eligibility.
- Quantitative Measure
The quantitative component is measuring the pace at which the student must progress through his/her program of study to ensure program completion within the maximum time frame permitted. Pace is calculated by taking the cumulative number of college credit hours the student has successfully earned and dividing it by the number of attempted college credit hours. Credits accepted from other schools are included in the calculation as both attempted and earned credit hours. To meet this requirement, the student’s completion pace must be 67% or higher.
- Maximum Time Frame Measure (maximum number of credits)
Maximum Time Frame: A student may attend and continue to receive aid, but cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the student’s program of study. For example: if the student’s program of study requires 66 credits for graduation, the student may not receive financial aid for more than 99 attempted credit hours (66 x 150% =99 credit hours). This policy is true even if the student changes his/her major. When a student has reached or exceeded the maximum number of credits, the student is no longer eligible for financial aid unless he/she successfully appeals. The student may appeal Maximum Time Frame only if the student can complete his/her program of study within one semester. The appeal must be based on extenuating circumstances such as death in the family, illness, etc. The appeal must include documentation of the extenuating circumstances and be submitted to a Counselor/Advisor. After the Counselor/Advisor’s evaluation, the Office of Financial Aid will determine student’s eligibility to receive aid.
Registration Schedule and Enrollment Changes
- Part-Time Students: Students enrolled less than full-time are required to meet the same minimum standards outlined for SAP.
- Remedial Courses
- Effects of Remedial Credits: Remedial (0 Level) and English as a Second Language (ESL) credits are excluded from the calculation of the credits attempted (Quantitative Measure) and earned (Qualitative Measure) in the SAP requirements at Essex County College. Although these credits are excluded from the attempted credit count, the student who is enrolled in all remedial or ESL credits must maintain a 2.0 GPA for that semester to meet SAP.
- Maximum Number of Remedial Credits: Federal aid will pay for a maximum of 30 remedial credits. English as a Second Language (ESL) courses do not count against that limit. Once a student attempts 30 remedial credits, aid will be paid for only college level credits.
- Repeated Courses
All repeated courses are counted as credits attempted. A repeated course is only counted toward progression if it replaces a previous course for which the student received no credit. In accordance with federal regulations, financial aid will pay for only 1 repeated course for which the student previously received a passing grade. However, if the student repeats a course in which all previous attempts were failures, federal regulations allows for funding of those courses.
- Effects of Withdrawal and Incomplete Grades
If the student withdraws from a course during any given semester (e.g. student receives a grade of “W” for a course), the course credits are included in the count of attempted credit hours. Therefore, withdrawn courses are calculated in the pace ratio calculation and maximum time frame measures.
Credits for an Incomplete course (e.g. student receives a grade of “I” for the course) are always counted as credits attempted for quantitative and maximum time frame measures, but they are not included in the GPA or credits earned count until the incomplete grade changes to a passing or a failing grade.
- Effects of Changing Majors
If a student changes majors, the credits the student earns at Essex County College and other schools under all majors will be included in the calculation of qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame measures for the new major. Only two (2) changes in majors will be permitted in the SAP calculation.
Grades and Credit Evaluation
Passing grades are “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, and “P”. These grades and credits by examination will count as credits attempted and earned satisfactorily. Non-passing, unsatisfactory grades are “W”, “I”, “F”, “AU”. The remedial course grades, “M” and “N”, are not calculated in the GPA, but are counted towards the 30 credit remedial attempted count. Repeated courses will be counted as credits attempted. You may repeat a failed course until you pass it; however, you may repeat a previously passed course only once.
Financial Aid Academic Status
Financial Aid Probation
Financial Aid Probation status is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP but has successfully appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. A Counselor/Advisor and the student must establish an Academic Plan which the student must follow to be placed on Financial Aid Probation. A student that is placed on Financial Aid Probation may receive one semester of financial aid for the student’s next enrollment period. The terms and conditions of the Academic Plan includes: successfully passing 100% of all courses with a GPA of 2.0 or better or regains SAP eligibility; and may not receive the following grades during the financial aid probation semester/term: “F”, “I” (Incomplete Grade), “W” (withdraw from any course), or “NS” (No Show). If a student earns any of those grades during the financial aid probation semester/term, SAP must be calculated to determine if student meets SAP. At the end of the financial aid academic probation period, the student must either meet the SAP standards or fulfill the requirements specified in the Academic Plan to maintain aid eligibility.
Students may register at any time for classes; however, if students register before SAP has been reviewed at the end of the financial aid probation semester, students must be prepared to pay their registration bills in full or sign up for the College’s Payment Plan until their eligibility for continued aid has been determined.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING AN ACADEMIC PROGRESS APPEAL
Procedures and Deadlines for Appealing
If a student fails one or more of the three measures (qualitative, quantitative or maximum time frame), the student is not eligible for federal, state, or financial aid which includes grants, scholarships and work-study. However, students failing SAP standards who have mitigating circumstances (i.e., death in the family, illness, involuntary military leave, etc.) may request reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility by completing and submitting the Financial Aid Probation Appeal Form to a Counselor/Advisor. The Counselor/Advisor and the student must establish an Academic Plan that the student must agree to follow before being placed on Financial Aid Probation. The Counselor/Advisor will send a copy of the appeal form and the academic plan to the Office of Financial Aid for final reviewing and determining student’s eligibility to receive aid.
If the student is eligible for an Academic Plan, the student’s file is reviewed for all aid eligibility, and student will be awarded for one semester. If the student is ineligible for an Academic Plan and/or does not meet the eligibility criteria for aid, the student is denied aid. The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student of his/her appeal status via E-mail and/or the final determination will be posted on the Essex County College Portal. Students must log into the Essex County College Portal to review the notification. Students may obtain the forms for appealing SAP on our website at www.essex.edu/fa. Student should allow two weeks for the appeal to be reviewed and for the Office of Financial Aid to determine aid eligibility.
Student must include the following information in the appeal as well as adhere to and take the following steps for the appeal process:
- Explain in detail the reasons for failure to meet SAP standards.
- Explain in detail what has changed that will enable student to comply with SAP standards and fulfill the corrective action of an Academic Plan agreement.
- Meet and discuss the appeal with a Counselor/Advisor and establish an Academic Plan. Both the student and the Counselor/Advisor must sign-off on the Academic Plan. The signature of the Counselor/Advisor establishes a contract with the student who agrees to follow the Academic Plan.
- The student must submit the appeal by the published filing deadline.
- Students must allow two weeks for the appeal to be reviewed and determination of eligibility decided by the Office of Financial Aid.
- All appeal decisions are final.
The SAP Academic Plan:
Students that successfully appeal and are approved for one semester/term, are placed on Financial Aid Probation. To gain eligibility in the subsequent term, a student must meet the standards of SAP or meet the requirements of his or her academic plan. The academic plan consists of the following:
- Pass 100% of all courses with a College Credit GPA of 2.0 or better at the end of the Financial Aid Probation period or regain SAP eligibility.
- Obtain a cumulative College Credit GPA of at least 2.0.
- Not receive a “F” “W”, “I” or “NS” grade in any course during the Financial Aid Probation semester (“W“-Withdrawal, “I”-Incomplete or “NS”- No Show). If a student earns any of those grades during the financial aid probation semester/term, SAP must be calculated to determine if student meets SAP or regain SAP eligibility.
- Meet the minimum SAP standards.
If the student fails to meet SAP standards or the terms and conditions of the Academic Plan, the student will be ineligible to receive financial aid. A student will remain ineligible for financial aid until the student meets the minimum SAP standards or successfully appeals based on mitigating circumstances.