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Financial aid is a big deal, and can really help support your academic career. To maintain your financial aid, there are a few things you'll need to make sure you're doing.

Federal and state aid are meant to help you as you make academic progress. The key there is progress, and to be sure that's happening, there are some standards and rules – and SCC is responsible for monitoring your progress. (We have to follow the rules, too – we're all in this together.)

Here we go:

  • The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress in 2006, mandates institutions of higher learning (that's us!) define, establish, and enforce minimum standards of satisfactory progress to receive financial assistance. Students receiving assistance from federal and state sources must meet the college's satisfactory academic progress policy to maintain their financial aid eligibility.
  • The policy is based on cumulative attempted academic hours, and is applied consistently to all federal and state student financial aid programs. (Note some state programs may have award-specific criteria you'll have to meet as well.)
  • The policy is applied equally to new, continuing, and transfer students. All students are required to meet the cumulative requirements to be eligible to participate in the federal and state financial aid programs administered by St. Charles Community College.
  • Students not receiving financial assistance are held to the same standards.

What Does "Satisfactory Academic Progress" Mean?

There are several things you need to know (and it's your responsibility to read and understand them!)

  1. Grades: Successful completion is receiving a grade of A, B, C, D, or P (pass). A grade of F (Failure), W (Withdrawal), I (Incomplete), or R (re-enroll) is considered unsatisfactory. All coursework must be completed within the regular semester timeframe. (While SCC allows you until mid-term of the following semester to complete an "I" grade, it doesn't count for financial aid).
  2. Grade Point Average: Students must meet the following grade point averages:

    Cumulative Hours Attempted Cumulative GPA
    1-15 1.5
    16-30 1.8
    31 or more 2.0

Here's how it works:

  • The highest grade counts towards your GPA for courses that have been repeated
  • All repeated classes are counted as attempted hours
  • SAP is reviewed each semester!

You've Got Questions?

Cool, because we've got answers!

Is it better to withdraw? Or take an "F"?

A "W" won't affect your GPA, but it will have a negative impact on your completion ratio. An "F" will have a negative impact on both your GPA and your completion ratio.

How do "hours attempted" and "hours earned" work?

It's simpler than it sounds:

  • You have to complete 67% of all coursework attempted, including remedial coursework.
  • Coursework attempted during all semesters (fall, spring, summer) is evaluated cumulatively (and reviewed each semester).
  • Participating in SCC's financial aid program? You'll need to submit official transcripts from all institutions you've attended previously.
  • Transfer credits accepted from other colleges and universities are included in the number of credit hours attempted and earned.
  • Financial aid applications can't be processed until all transcripts have been received and evaluated.
Is there a maximum hour limit?

Yes! For students enrolled in an associate of arts degree program, it's 96 attempted credit hours.

If you're in the associate degree nursing program, though, the limit goes up to 108.

This includes:

  • Hours transferred from other colleges
  • Hours previously completed at SCC (even if you didn't receive financial aid)
  • Withdrawals
What if I change programs? Does that affect my limit?

No. You may change programs, but this doesn't change the maximum number of credit hours.

  • The maximum number of credit hours for a certificate program is based on the number of hours to complete that program. For example:
    • A certificate program that requires 36 credit hours will have a maximum of 54 hours of financial aid eligibility.
What if I already have a degree?

Students who have earned an associate's or bachelor's degree are considered to have met the maximum attempted credit hours limit.

What happens if I don't meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards?
  1. Warning – If you fail to meet all parts of the SAP policy, you'll receive a financial aid warning. You may continue to get financial aid for one semester, but you must meet all parts of the SAP policy by the end of the warning semester.
  2. Suspension – If you fail to meet the minimum required GPA or completion ratio in your warning semester, your financial aid will be suspended.

    If you don't complete at least 3 credit hours in a semester with a passing grade or if you withdraw completely from SCC during a semester, your financial aid will automatically be suspended (even if you didn't receive aid in that semester).
Can I get state and federal financial aid reinstated?

You can regain your eligibility by earning your required GPA and 67% completion ratio out of all hours attempted (both at SCC and other schools).

Can I appeal a suspension?
Yes, you can appeal in some cases – students whose financial aid is suspended due to extenuating circumstances may appeal through the Enrollment Services Appeals Committee. Appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

If your appeal is approved and your financial aid is reinstated, you'll be granted "Probation" status, and your progress will be monitored on a term basis (instead of cumulative).

You'll also be required to meet with a financial assistance counselor to develop an academic plan, and you can only enroll in the courses that are part of that plan.

You'll need to maintain a term GPA of at least 2.0 and a term completion rate of 100% for each future term of enrollment – if you don't, you won't be eligible for any future financial aid until your cumulative GPA is 2.0 and your completion rate is 67%.

No additional appeals will be considered, but you can still attend SCC at your own expense.

What Is Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Federal and state financial aid is intended to assist students as they make successful progress toward completing a degree. As a student, you have the responsibility of demonstrating satisfactory academic progress. In simpler terms – in order to maintain eligibility, you must academically qualify for your funding by meeting certain academic standards. If you are not receiving financial assistance, you are also held to these same standards.

How do I maintain SAP standards?


How is my cumulative completion ratio calculated?


Contact Information

Kirsten Perschbacher,
A+ Coordinator
Email »
Abby Vernon,
Student Loan Coordinator
Email »
Kristin Thomas,
Title IV Program Coordinator
Email »
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