Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards

Federal and state regulations require that students meet certain academic standards to be eligible for financial aid. The basic standards are:

  • Students are expected to maintain a satisfactory grade point average;
  • Students are expected to successfully complete at least 67% of the classes they attempt; and
  • Students are expected to complete their program in a timely manner.
All coursework is evaluated for financial aid purposes whether or not financial aid was received for that work. These standards will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Following is more information on each of the standards listed above.

Notification
It is the students’ responsibility to stay informed of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and to monitor their progress.  This status may be checked at any time on Charger Net.  The Financial Aid Office will notify, via Columbia State e-mail, any student who does not meet the minimum requirements as well as the results of any appeal at the end of each semester.  It is the responsibility of the student to check their Columbia State e-mail.  Appeals and supporting documentation must be submitted by deadlines published each term on the Columbia State website.  Classes will be held from purging due to a submitted appeal and pending decision only if purge is scheduled prior to committee decision and student notification.

Term Grade Point Average (Qualitative)
Students who do not earn any credits (zero hours) in any one semester will be considered to be in violation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. Additionally, these students may be responsible for repayment of federal aid received for that term. The GPA includes grades of W, F, FA & I and also includes Learning Support hours.

Cumulative Grade Point Average Requirement (Qualitative)
Students must meet the retention standards of Columbia State in order to maintain eligibility. A student must earn the overall combined Grade Point Average (GPA) below to remain in good standing. The overall GPA includes Learning Support hours, but not Transfer hours. Students in violation of the cumulative GPA requirement may also be on Academic Probation or Academic Dismissal with the Records Office. The Records Office is responsible for reviewing any appeals related to a student who is on Academic Probation or Academic Dismissal.


Associate Degree Programs
Certificate Degree Programs
Overall Combined GPA Hrs.
Minimum Cumulative GPA
 Overall Combined GPA Hrs.  Minimum Cumulative GPA
 00.1 - 14.0
No minimum
1 - 25%
1.0
 14.1 - 26.0
1.0
25.1 - 50%
1.5
26.1 - 40.0
1.4 50.1% and above
2.0
40.1 - 48.0
1.7    
48.1 - 56.0
1.9    
56.0 and above
2.0    

Pace: Measurable Progress Requirement
(Quantitative)
Students are expected to maintain progress toward the completion of their degree. Therefore, students must have an overall completion rate of 67% of all college level hours attempted including learning support. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours attempted including Learning Support and Transfer hours. A grade of A, B, C, D or P will be required for successful completion. Grades of W, I, F, or FA are not considered completions. Classes that are dropped/withdrawn, repeated, or earn incomplete grades after semester census date (14th day of classes) are counted as attempted hours. Students who do not keep pace with this progression requirement will be considered to be making unsatisfactory academic progress.

Maximum Time Limit: Reasonable Length of Time Requirement
A reasonable length of time for completion of an educational program is defined as no longer than 150% of the length of the program. For example, a student enrolled in a degree program that requires 60 credit hours must complete all requirements by the time they have attempted 90 hours (60 hours x 150% = 90 hours). Students will not be considered to have reached the 150% hour maximum until after the semester in which they reach or exceed the attempted hours allowed. It is important to note that transfer hours accepted by the college count toward the attempted hours. Learning Support hours count towards the attempted hours.

Learning Support Limit
Students may receive aid for up to 30 attempted semester hours of Learning Support coursework. Transfer credits will be included in the total hours of eligibility. All attempts, including withdrawals and repeats, count toward the maximum number of hours attempted. This time limit cannot be appealed.

Repeated Courses
All credits from repeated courses will be counted toward the maximum hours. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be eligible for payment on the repeat (2nd attempt). If student passes class, then retakes class again and receives W grade for 2nd attempt, student is not eligible to receive financial aid again for that class. Grades of W, I, F or FA count as 2nd attempt for class. Students may repeat a failed course until it is passed and be eligible for payment. These students will eventually be in violation of Cumulative GPA, Pace, and/or Maximum Time Frame.

Transfer Students
All academic transcripts must be received and evaluated by the institution prior to determining Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for financial aid. Only transfer credits officially accepted by Columbia State Community College will be counted in determining Satisfactory Academic Standards.

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress
Failure to meet these standards results in the loss of eligibility of financial aid, including, but not limited to: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Loans, Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), Federal Work Study, Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA), Tennessee Lottery Programs, and Tennessee Promise. Once a student becomes ineligible for financial aid due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress, they are not eligible to receive these funds until the standards have once again been met or an eligible appeal has been approved. Students may attend classes and pay for these classes from their own resources until the guidelines have been re-established, if eligible appeal not approved.

Appeal Process
Any loss of eligibility as a result of this policy may be appealed in writing by the dates published on the website to the Director of Financial Aid and the Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee. All appeals may be submitted to any Columbia State Community College campus, faxed to 931.540.2793 or scanned and submitted to FinancialAid@ColumbiaState.edu. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal (SAP) form is available on the Financial Aid website. The appeal must include a written statement explaining why student failed to make satisfactory academic progress AND what has changed in the student's situation that will allow satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. Appropriate supporting documents may be attached. The student will be notified via their Columbia State email of the results of the appeal. All decisions made by the committee are final.

For Maximum Time Limit appeals, only a SAPMAX Appeal for Financial Aid Additional Coursework form needs to be submitted. The student will be notified by Columbia State email of the result of the appeal. If an appeal is denied one semester, the student may submit another appeal for a future semester.

Financial Aid Probation
A student who has appealed and has had his or her eligibility reinstated will be given the status of Financial Aid Probation. Students are put on Financial Aid Probation if the student can reach good standing within one semester, have not attended in the past 2 years, or have extreme circumstances (i.e. major illness/injury/surgery, death) which occurred during the last semester student attended. Any extreme circumstances must be documented. The student may receive aid for one payment period while on probation. The next enrollment semester after Financial Aid Probation, the student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress to remain eligible. If not meeting SAP standards, the student must file another appeal. Students successful on this appeal are then placed on a Financial Aid Academic Plan designated by the Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee to assist the student in reaching good standing with SAP.

SAP Improvement Plans

Students may be assigned a SAP Improvement Plan to assist in reaching good standing with the standards. The Improvement Plan may require the student to complete a specified percentage of credit hours, earn a specified GPA, and meet with an academic advisor. Students remain on the Improvement Plan until back in good standing with SAP.  If a student fails to meet the SAP Improvement Plan terms, the student is terminated from financial aid eligibility until in good standing with SAP. The student may regain financial aid eligibility by improving their academic and/or PACE status. The student may then appeal to the Admissions & Financial Aid Appeals Committee to reinstate financial aid eligibility with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal form available on the website. 

Students are are sent the details of any SAP Improvement Plan via their Columbia State email. It is important for the student to review and understand the plan requirements.

Termination of eligibility to receive financial aid has no effect on the right to enroll as a student at Columbia State.

Appeals not reviewed by Committee (Reviewed by Financial Aid Director and/or Scholarships Coordinator)

  • Maximum Time Frame – If a student is meeting the Pace & Cumulative GPA guidelines of the SAP policy and is only in violation of maximum time frame, students may be granted an extension of hours to complete their degree. A SAPMAX Appeal for Financial Aid Additional Coursework form is submitted for this appeal.
  • Term GPA/Zero Hour Completion violation – If a student is meeting the Pace & Cumulative GPA guidelines of the SAP policy and is only in violation of Term GPA/Zero Hour Completion, students may be given a Warning.
  • Pace – If a student can reach good standing within one semester, have not attended in the past two years, or have extreme circumstances (i.e. major illness/injury/surgery, death) which occurred during the last semester student attended, student may be placed on Probation for one semester. If a student is still in violation after Probation semester, then the student must re-appeal.
  • Cumulative GPA violation - If a student can reach good standing within one semester, have not attended in the past two years, or have extreme circumstances (i.e. major illness/injury/surgery, death) which occurred during the last semester attended, student may be placed on Probation for one semester. If a student remains in violation after Probation semester, then the student must re-appeal.


A Great Place To Start. Invest in Columbia State.

1665 Hampshire Pike, Columbia TN 38401 | 931-540-2722
Content © 1996-2013 Columbia State - All Rights Reserved. Columbia State Community College, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.