Maintaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

SAP is used to define successful completion of coursework—both for establishing and maintaining eligibility for financial aid and scholarships. Federal regulations require all colleges and universities to publish and apply standards that monitor students’ progress towards completion of their certificate or degree program. Two departments monitor SAP at the completion of each semester. The Registrar’s Office monitors course work for academic standing, and the Office of Student Financial Aid Services ensures that all students (including full-time, part-time, and students without aid) are meeting the requirements for SAP. These standards apply to all students regardless of whether or not a student has received previous financial aid or transferred from another institution. The federal regulations set minimum requirements, but schools can choose their own acceptable thresholds. This means that SAP standards can vary from one institution to the next.

Students failing to meet SAP standards will receive communication via email to their C of I email address. All students should check their email on a regular basis for any changes or updates to their student account, financial aid awards, or requests for documentation.

In order to maintain SAP the student must

  1. Have a grade-point average which meets the minimum requirements for continuation of study at C of I;
  2. Earn a minimum number of credits for each academic year; and
  3. Complete all degree requirements within a specified timeframe.

Evaluation of Academic Progress

At the end of each semester academic progress will be measured by comparing the number of attempted credit hours (including accepted transfer credits) with the credit hours earned and by the student’s cumulative grade-point average. This includes any course for which the student has remained enrolled past the Add/Drop period. The following criteria are considered when evaluating a student’s SAP:

Credits Attempted

Credits attempted are defined as all classes for which a student receives a passing grade (D- or better, or P), or an F, I, W, L, or WA. Excluded credits are counted as withdrawals – attempted, but not completed.

Credits Completed

Credits completed are defined as all classes for which a student receives a passing grade of D- or better, or P.

Credits Excluded from the Pace Calculation

Remedial credits will not be counted as credits attempted or completed.

Audit credits do not count as credits attempted or completed.

Repeat Courses

Repeat courses count as attempted and completed credits. Financial aid will be paid for repeat courses when the initial grade is an F. Financial aid will only be paid twice for a repeat course if the course has been passed with a D- or better at any time.

By rule, SAP standards must include both a qualitative standard and a quantitative standard:

  • Qualitative Requirement: A student must maintain an acceptable GPA in order to continue to receive financial assistance. The criterion is the maintenance of a 2.0 cumulative GPA; initially, students with less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA will be placed on “Warning” and have one semester to improve their academic record before being placed on “Suspension.” Grade-point averages are monitored by the Registrar’s office; see the “Policies and Procedures” section for additional information. Students placed on “Warning” are eligible to receive financial aid.
    Please note: College scholarships and some state and federal grants are reduced if the student’s cumulative GPA falls below a 3.00. Students should refer to their award letter and Financial Aid Handbook or the Office of Student Financial Aid Services for additional information.
  • Quantitative Requirement: A sliding scale is used to monitor a student’s quantitative requirement. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the number of successfully completed credits by the number of attempted credits over the student’s entire academic career, including all accepted transfer credits and any credits earned during periods of enrollment when the student was not receiving financial aid. If a student changes course of study (major), the hours attempted under all courses of study are included in the calculation of attempted and earned hours.

Maximum Time Limit (PACE)

Pace is required to ensure students complete their program of study within the maximum time frame. Timeframe is calculated by a student’s ability to complete the graduate program, measured in credit hours, a period no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program. Example; A full time student (12 credits) would complete their program in 1.5 years.

The number of credits required varies with the program and credits candidates bring.

    • Master of Arts in Teaching; 35-36 credits (maximum 54 credits)
    • English as a New Language (endorsement only); 20 credits (maximum 30 credits)
    • Master of Education with English as a New Language endorsement; 33-36 credits (maximum 54 credits)(depending on previous coursework in language)
    • Bilingual (endorsement only); 20-26 credits (maximum 39 credits)(depending on previous coursework in language)
    • Master of Education with Bilingual endorsement; 33-42 credits (maximum 63 credits depending on previous coursework in language)

Please note: If a SAP review makes it clear the student cannot mathematically complete the degree in the allotted time frame or is unable to raise the GPA to the minimum 2.00 within the maximum time frame, the student is placed on “Suspension.”

Pace of Progression

Pace is calculated by dividing cumulative credits successfully completed by cumulative credits attempted.

Cumulative Credits Successfully Complete ÷ Cumulative Credits Attempted = %

Pace to Completion

To ensure federal compliance, students who enroll in a degree-seeking program and have earned the required credits, including transfer and regular credits, should be on an academic plan or Applying for Graduation, at which time a Credit Evaluation will be completed.

  • If the remaining credits needed to complete the master’s degree plus the credits already attempted will cause the student to exceed the maximum allowable attempted credits, the student will be required to complete a petition.  
  • Students are no longer eligible for financial assistance once they have reached the maximum credits during their academic career or after they have graduated.
  • The exception to this is the fifth-year internship program through the Education Department, which occurs after a student graduates.

Return to Title IV Funds (R2T4)

Repayment of Unearned Financial Aid

  • Students should understand that if they are enrolled beyond the census date in any semester in which they receive financial aid and then withdraw (officially or unofficially) or otherwise do not complete the full length of the semester, repayment of a portion of the financial aid received for that semester may be required.
  • If a student enrolls but do es not attend classes, he/she will need to repay all financial aid. Students who do not attend classes have not established eligibility for the financial aid received, and all financial aid must be repaid within 30 days.
  • Students agree that if they withdraw or otherwise cease attendance up through and including the 60 percent point of a semester, they may owe a repayment of a portion of the financial aid received and agree to pay back any and all amounts due to either C of I or the U.S. Department of Education.
    NOTE: If (as determined by classroom instructors) a student attends beyond the 60 percent point of a semester, that student is considered to have earned 100% of the aid received for the semester.

These procedures apply to all financial aid recipients. Financial aid is awarded and disbursed to students in anticipation of students’ successful completion of their courses and progression toward graduation. The U.S. Department of Education regulates the management of Title IV funds and, in some cases, a student who receives Title IV financial aid but does not complete their coursework is not considered to have “earned” the Title IV aid they received.

When a student officially withdraws from all of their courses, audits all of their courses, receives unsatisfactory grades in all of their courses, or otherwise fails to attend the full period of enrollment, C of I is required to determine the earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid the student was scheduled to receive.

The earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid are determined as of the date a student ceased attendance, based on the amount of time the student spent in attendance. Up through the 60% point in each period of enrollment, a prorated schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal.

After the 60% point in the period of enrollment, a student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the period.

For a student who officially withdraws at any time through the 60% point of a period of enrollment, the official withdrawal date is the earlier of:

  • the date the student begins the official withdrawal process (submits a signed complete withdrawal form);
  • the date the student otherwise provides official notification of intent to withdraw.

For a student who fails to officially withdraw (does not complete the official withdrawal process but receives unsatisfactory grades in all their courses):

  • for a student who unofficially withdraws due to circumstances beyond their control, the date C of I determines is related to the circumstance that was beyond the student’s control.
  • for all other students who unofficially withdraw, the midpoint of the enrollment period or the last date the student participated in an academically related activity will be counted as the last date of attendance(as reported by his/her instructors), whichever is later.

When a student is determined to have withdrawn, either officially or unofficially, C of I will use federal law/regulation to make the following determinations and complete the following activities:

  • Determine the amount of the student’s institutional charges.
  • Determine the Title IV aid disbursed to the student.
  • Determine the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed to the student (if any).
  • Determine the student’s official withdrawal date.
  • Calculate the amount of the student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid.
  • Calculate the amount of Title IV aid the College must return.
  • Calculate the amount of Title IV aid the Student must return.
  • Notify the student of the determinations and calculated values used in the R2T4 calculation
  • Notify the student of the resulting balance owed to the College and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

The following list is of financial aid programs, Title IV, to which the Return of Title IV funds requirement applies. The financial aid programs are listed in order that the school must return per the federal formula:

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  2. Subsidized Direct Loans
  3. Parent PLUS Loans
  4. Pell Grant
  5. Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  6. Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant

Amounts required to be returned to the U.S. Department of Education by C of I become debts immediately due and payable to C of I upon completion of the R2T4 calculation and will be billed to the student. The student MUST make prompt payment or payment arrangements to satisfy the debt owed to C of I and C of I reserves the right to refer the debt to a collection agency for servicing. Amounts returned by C of I to the U.S. Department of Education on the student’s behalf and owed to C of I must be paid directly to Business Office. Do not send payments to any other department or agency.

Most of the awards that appear on the Financial Aid Award Notification are automatically applied to your student account with receipt of a signed award letter or via electronic acceptance by the student on Web Advisor and confirmation of attendance following 10th day of the semester (census day). Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Outside Scholarships are applied when the scholarship check is received by The College.
    NOTE: Please notify the Office of Student Financial Aid Services if receiving any outside scholarships.
  • Federal Subsidized Stafford Student Loan and/or Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loans are applied directly to your student account.
  • Federal PLUS Loan is applied directly to your student account.