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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) to be eligible to continue to receive funding.  This policy applies to all students receiving assistance from any financial aid program administered by the Financial Aid Office at CFCC.

Qualitative and Quantitative Standards

Financial aid recipients must meet both a “qualitative” and a “quantitative” standard to maintain eligibility for financial aid.  Students must maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average (GPA) to meet the qualitative standard.  Students must also successfully complete 67 percent of all credits in which they enroll to meet the quantitative standard.

Developmental Education courses (designated by course numbers below “100”) are included in the calculation of a student’s enrollment status.  However, no more than 30 Developmental Education course hours can be used to determine a student’s enrollment status for financial aid purposes. “Foundation” courses in math and English are NOT eligible for financial aid funding or inclusion in the determination of enrollment status because their content is below the post-secondary level.

Transfer credits from institutions other than CFCC will be totaled and counted in the determination of completion rate and maximum time frame.

Grades of “W”, “WP”, “WF”, “NC”, “NS”, “I”, “U” and “F” do not count as successfully completed courses but do count as credits attempted and are used in the determination of enrollment status and maximum time frame.  Audited courses are not eligible for financial aid funding and are not included in the determination of a student’s enrollment status for financial aid purposes.

A student is permitted to repeat a previously passed course one additional time for the repeated course to be eligible for financial aid.  A student can repeata previously-failed course an unlimited number of times.  All earned grades will be used to determine a student’s compliance with the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement and all attempted hours will be included in the calculation of maximum time frame.

Timing of Measurement

Satisfactory academic progress is measured after every semester.  All terms of enrollment at CFCC are included in the measurement, even if the student did NOT receive financial aid.  Summer and mini-sessions are also included.

Failure to Achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress

If a student fails to meet either the qualitative (2.0 cumulative GPA) or quantitative standard (successful completion of 67 percent of all courses in which enrolled) or both, s/he will receive a warning notice.  The preferred method of notification is electronic; messages are sent to the student’s CFCC e-mail account.  Students on warning are eligible to receive one semester of financial aid and are expected to use this period to reestablish satisfactory academic progress.

If a student fails to meet either standard for a second consecutive semester, s/he will receive a suspension notice.  No financial aid will be awarded to a student on suspension until the student corrects the academic progress deficiencies.  Students who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements for financial aid eligibility can enroll at CFCC without financial aid to correct the deficiencies.

Appeal Process for Probationary Semester

The right to appeal is granted to any student whose financial aid eligibility has been suspended.  An appeal must be based on significant mitigating circumstances that seriously impacted academic performance.

The student should submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office.  An appeal letter must include why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will allow the student to make progress at the next evaluation (i. e., at the end of the next semester of enrollment).

An appeal letter must be accompanied by:

  1. A typed academic plan clearly stating how the student intends to meet progress standards, and
  2. A copy of the student’s program evaluation, which is available on the student’s Web Advisor account.  The program evaluation displays completed courses and courses still required for program completion.

An appeal submitted without adequate documentation will be denied.

The appeal letter and supporting documentation submitted by the student will be forwarded to the Financial Aid Subcommittee of the Judicial Board.  If the student chooses to make his/her own presentation to the Subcommittee, a written request to do so must accompany the appeal letter.

Please note that merely filing an appeal does NOT guarantee continued eligibility for financial aid.

Typically, appeals are reviewed within 15 business days.  Students will be notified of the Subcommittee’s decision.  The preferred method of notification is electronic; the decision notice is sent to the student’s CFCC e-mail account.  The decision of the Financial Aid Subcommittee of the Judicial Board is final and cannot be further appealed.

If the appeal is denied, the student may reestablish financial aid eligibility for subsequent semesters ONLY by taking courses, without benefit of financial aid, until s/he is in compliance with all components of the CFCC satisfactory academic progress policy (67% completion rate and 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA).

If the appeal is approved, the student regains financial aid eligibility for one probationary semester.  During the probationary semester and all subsequent semesters, the student must achieve a 75% completion rate and maintain a term GPA of 2.0.  Failure to do so will result in suspension of financial aid eligibility after which the student will regain eligibility ONLY by taking courses, without benefit of financial aid, until s/he is in compliance with all components of the CFCC satisfactory academic progress policy for Continued on Appeal status (75% completion rate and 2.0 minimum term GPA).

Maximum Time Frame

Federal regulations also establish 150 percent of the published length of the program as the maximum time frame allowed in which to complete an educational program.  Maximum time frames allowed to complete CFCC programs, measured by credits attempted as a percentage of credits required for graduation, is typically as follows, but will vary with each individual program:

Program Number of credits required for graduation Maximum number of attempted credits for financial aid eligibility
Certificate 18 27
Diploma 48 72
AAS 76 114
College Transfer / Age 65 98

Information on specific programs is available in the Office of Financial Aid.

If a student earns 67 percent of the credits attempted each semester, the student should complete the program of study within the maximum time frame.

The 150% count will include transfer credits and all credits attempted in all programs of study in which the student has been enrolled, regardless of whether or not a certificate, diploma, or degree was received.  The number of credits attempted will be measured against the student’s current active program of study.

Maximum Time Frame Appeal

Students who have exceeded the maximum time frame for their declared program of study must submit an “Exceeding Maximum Time Frame” appeal.  The student must be meeting the cumulative 2.0 grade point average and 67% cumulative completion rate in order to submit a maximum time frame appeal.

A complete maximum time frame appeal will include:

  1. The “Exceeding Maximum Time Frame” Appeal form, and
  2. A copy of the student’s degree audit, and
  3. A typed statement explaining the student’s circumstances.

Additional instructions appear on the “Exceeding Maximum Time Frame” Appeal form.  An appeal submitted without adequate documentation will be denied.  If the student chooses to make his/her own presentation to the Subcommittee, a written request to do so must accompany the appeal letter.

A student for whom a maximum time frame appeal is approved must complete 75% of all attempted credit hours with a minimum 2.0 grade point average each semester following the appeal approval.  Failure to do so will result in suspension of financial aid eligibility.

Student Responsibilities

It is the student’s responsibility to monitor satisfactory academic progress as it relates to maintaining eligibility for financial aid.  The Financial Aid Office assists with periodic measurement and notification to students who fail to meet the standards.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of any grade change made after the official posting of semester grades.

It is the student’s responsibility to follow up with the Financial Aid Office if s/he does not receive an appeal determination notice within three weeks of submitting the appeal.

NOTE:  The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for financial aid recipients is different than the College’s satisfactory progress standards maintained by the Counseling Department that places students on academic warning, probation or suspension for failure to achieve a 2.0 grade point average.

Rev. 12-2012



Wilmington Campus
411 North Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

North Campus
4500 Blue Clay Road
Castle Hayne, NC 28429

Burgaw Center
100 East Industrial Drive
Burgaw, NC 28425

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Monday-Friday: 8:00am to 5:00pm

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