Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Undergraduate Students
Federal regulations and Rocky Mountain College policy require students to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. All federal and institutional scholarship, grant, loan, and work study programs are covered by this policy. Students currently enrolled and re-admits are subject to SAP measurement. New students, including transfer students, while subject to SAP, are not measured for satisfactory progress until grades have been posted for the first term of attendance at RMC. The following standards represent the minimum performance requirements to receive financial assistance and do not necessarily coincide with academic program requirements.
There are three dimensions to the satisfactory academic progress standards: maintaining the minimum required cumulative grade point average (GPA), successfully completing a degree at the required pace, and completing within an established time frame.
Minimum Cumulative GPA
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. Students must meet this qualitative standard in addition to the quantitative standards below.
Students must complete at least 67 percent of all credits attempted. Pace is measured by dividing the cumulative number of earned credit hours by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted at the end of each academic period. Attempted credits are determined based on a student's credit load at the end of the drop/add period for each term.
Maximum Time Frame
Federal regulations state undergraduate students must complete their degree objective within 150 percent of the published length of the educational program. For example, a student enrolled in a bachelor's degree program requiring 124 semester credits in order to graduate could attempt up to 186 credits before federal student financial aid would be terminated.
RMC also expects students to complete their degree within a reasonable time frame. Institutional assistance is available to full-time students up to the number of semesters it would take to normally receive the degree they are seeking. If a student is in a four-year program, institutional aid will be granted for four years. Students can appeal this institutional aid policy if they have planned carefully and successfully completed 15 to 16 credits per semester, but still need an additional semester or two to complete their degree.
Considerations for Evaluating a Student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress
Grades of A, B, C, and D are considered attempted and successfully completed. Grades of I, IP, W, F, and NP are considered to be courses attempted but not successfully completed. I, IP, NP, and W grades do not affect the cumulative GPA, but they do reduce the completion ratio (pace) and are considered in hours attempted toward the maximum time frame. An I grade must be made up within one year. If a student successfully completes the coursework within one year, the actual grade will be registered, the student will receive credit for the course, and the new grade will be factored into the SAP components. If it is not made up within one year, it will be permanently recorded as an F. F grades negatively impact all SAP measurements.
Audit classes are not considered in SAP measurement.
Remedial courses count towards enrollment status in the term in which they are registered, but do not count toward total credits attempted and completed. Grades earned in remedial classes are included in the student’s cumulative GPA calculation.
Transfer credits that are accepted by RMC are included in the calculations of the cumulative GPA, as well as both attempted and earned hours.
RMC does not monitor changes of majors. All grades earned, credits attempted, and credits completed are included in the SAP determination, even if the student has changed majors.
Students seeking to earn additional degrees will be placed into the grade level progression based on the number of credits accepted towards the additional degree, and financial aid eligibility will be based on the grade level determined in this way.
All periods of a student’s enrollment count when assessing progress, even periods in which the student did not receive Title IV or institutional funds.
Students may receive Title IV funding for repeating a class they previously failed for an unlimited number of times. If a student repeats a failed class and successfully completes it, the student will receive credit for the course, and the new grade will be factored into the SAP components. Students may receive Title IV funding for one repeat of a previously passed course. If a student repeats a previously passed course, the newest grade will be registered and will be factored into the SAP components.
Financial aid satisfactory academic progress at RMC is measured at the end of each semester and summer term. The overall cumulative grade point average (GPA), pace, and maximum time frame assessment will be based on the student's entire academic record.
Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students will be notified in writing if they have failed to meet the above standards.
Financial Aid Warning:
A student is usually put in a warning status the first time he or she fails to meet the above standards. A student on financial aid warning may continue to receive financial aid, with the exception of work study, for one payment period. A student does not need to take any action at this point unless he/she wishes to participate in the work study program while in the warning status. Work study termination may be appealed in writing to the director of financial aid. The appeal should include a personal statement that clearly details the circumstances that hindered the student's academic performance, how the circumstances have been resolved or managed to permit the student to meet the standards, a plan of action to meet the conditions of the warning, and why working will not jeopardize that plan. Relevant documentation should accompany the appeal letter. At the end of the warning period, a student's satisfactory progress will be evaluated again. If it is determined that the student is meeting the minimum progress standards, the student will be considered to be in good standing and may continue to receive financial aid.
Financial Aid Termination:
If the student fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic standards after the warning period, aid will be terminated for the subsequent payment period. Financial aid will be terminated for students with less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA after four semesters of attendance. The Academic Standards Committee may place a student on academic suspension if their term GPA is less than a 1.00. If a student is suspended for this reason, their aid will be terminated as well. If a student repeatedly withdraws from classes, financial assistance is terminated immediately when it is determined to be mathematically impossible for the student to be able to complete their degree objective within 150 percent of the published length of the program. Aid is also terminated for students who are dismissed from RMC.
Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility:
Students whose financial aid has been terminated may regain eligibility for financial assistance by re-establishing the required GPA and/or completion ratios using their own resources. If a student regains satisfactory progress, they may receive financial assistance for the payment period in which they regain eligibility, but not for any payment period in which the student did not meet the standards. It is the responsibility of the student to notify financial aid personnel when he or she has re-established satisfactory academic progress.
Right to Appeal
Financial assistance terminations, like academic suspensions, may be appealed. Generally, appeals will be granted for extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's ability to control, such as those described below. Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the director of financial assistance by November 15 for the Fall Semester, March 31 for the Spring Semester, and May 10 for the Summer Term. The Academic Appeals Committee must grant academic reinstatement to students on academic suspension before the Financial Aid Office will consider an appeal for financial aid eligibility reinstatement.
The appeal should include a personal statement that clearly details the circumstances that hindered the student's academic performance, how the circumstances have been resolved or managed to permit the student to meet the standards, and relevant documentation should accompany the appeal form. Acceptable reasons to appeal include, but are not limited to: illness or injury of the student, illness or death of an immediate relative of the student, divorce or separation of the student, etc. Relevant documentation may include a physician’s letter, hospital records, death certificate, obituary, or court documents.
A student whose aid is terminated due to maximum time frame or credit limit must clearly detail what circumstances prevented their graduation within the applicable time frame or credit limit, what coursework is needed to complete the degree with their appeal, and how long it will take to complete the degree. Acceptable reasons to appeal maximum time frame include, but are not limited to: change of major, transfer credits that did not apply toward your degree/program, etc.
The appeal will be reviewed by the financial aid director and staff. All decisions of the SAP appeals committee are final. A written decision regarding the appeal will be sent to the student in a timely manner. If the appeal is approved and it is determined that the student should be able to make satisfactory progress during the subsequent payment period and meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, the student will be placed on financial aid probation and will be eligible to receive financial assistance, with the exception of work study, for one payment period.
At the end of the probationary period, a student's satisfactory progress will be evaluated again to determine continuing eligibility. If the appeal is approved it is and determined that the student will not achieve the minimum SAP requirements within one payment period, they will be placed on financial aid probation and required to complete an Academic Recovery Plan (ARP) outlining how, if followed, the student will achieve the minimum academic standards, as well as a time frame in which the student expects to be back in compliance with the standards. Students approved on an ARP will complete and sign the plan with the Associate Dean of Student Life. The plan will be recorded in the Financial Aid Office and progress toward meeting the goals of the ARP will be monitored at the end of each term. If a student is not academically progressing as planned, financial aid will be terminated. The student’s responsibilities during a probationary period include successfully completing the appropriate number of credits and earning cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 by the end of the probationary term.