Title IV Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

(Effective Fall 2011)

To be eligible for student financial aid, you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. The Financial Aid Office has established guidelines (based on federal regulations) for evaluating your progress, taking into consideration both your cumulative GPA and the number of hours that you have attempted since you have been in school. The Financial Aid standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress are not exactly the same as the academic standards of the college. Acceptance for admission does not necessarily indicate that Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines have been met for Financial Aid. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress is not measured until a student has attempted at least 6 hours and is calculated at the end of every semester.  Students may continue to receive financial aid while meeting the minimum standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply to the following Title IV federal financial aid programs:
• Federal Pell Grant
• Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
• Federal Work Study
• Federal Direct Loan Program

Students Receiving Federal Financial Aid Must:
1.    Complete a minimum percentage of hours attempted with passing grades
2.    Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA); and
3.    Complete a diploma or degree program within a maximum time frame

Hours Earned and Grade Point Average Required for Eligibility
Total Attempted Hours
0 – 30
31 – 48
49 and above
Cumulative GPA should be at least
Completion Rate Percentage should be at least

Academic history is reviewed for all students applying for financial aid, regardless of whether financial aid was received during past enrollment.  It includes transfer hours, withdrawal hours, incomplete hours, repeated hours and developmental hours.  Attempted hours include all HCC and transfer hours in which the student has enrolled.  Earned hours include all HCC and transfer hours completed with a passing grade. 

The formula for calculating the completion rate is:  Earned Hours/Attempted Hours.

Example A:  A student has attempted 42 credit hours and successfully completed 36 of those hours, dropped 3 hours and failed 3 hours.  Their completion rate will be 36 hours earned divided by 42 hours attempted which equals 85.7% completion rate.  Therefore, the student has then met the measurable progress component of this requirement.

Example B:  A student has attempted 42 credit hours and successfully completed 20 of those hours, and has either dropped, failed, repeated, has an incomplete, or has withdrawn from the other 16 hours.  Their completion rate would be 20 hours divided by 42 hours attempted which equals only a 47.6% completion rate. Therefore, the student has not met the measurable progress component of this requirement.

Maximum Time Frame for Eligibility
In order to comply with federal guidelines, Holmes Community College must place students on financial aid suspension when they have attempted 150% or more of the hours required to complete their respective degree.  (This is generally 93 attempted hours.)  Students who have changed majors, or are considering changing majors, are encouraged to communicate with the Office of Financial Aid any extenuating circumstances that may have resulted in the accumulation of extra hours, particularly those students considering changing to a Career/Technical major.  These circumstances will be considered and an extension may be granted for a limited time based on appeal.  Once a student earns an associate degree from HCC, they are not eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs without an appeal and a graduation plan.

SAP Review and Notification
• Academic progress is reviewed at the end of each term to determine compliance with the grade point average (GPA), completion rate and maximum time frame standards.
• Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress standards will be notified in writing and their status will be updated for view in the Doghouse.
• Student who fail to meet the GPA and completion rate standard for the first time are automatically placed on probation
• Students who fail to meet the maximum time frame standard for the first time are automatically placed on suspension.
• It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with SAP and to monitor his/her progress each term.

Students are placed on Financial Aid Probation if:
• Their completion rate is below the minimum standard
• Their cumulative GPA is below the minimum standard
• They have been approved by appeal due to mitigating circumstances

Standards for Students on Probation are:
• Must earn a 2.0 GPA for all hours attempted during the probationary term
• Must not receive any withdrawn, failing, or incomplete grades

If a student has failed to meet the cumulative GPA and completion rate standards, but has met the
minimum standards for probation and/or the conditions of the appeal, the student may retain financial aid eligibility under a “continued probation” status.

Students are placed on Financial Aid Suspension if:
• Their cumulative GPA remains below the minimum standard after probationary status
• Their completion rate remains below the minimum standard after probationary status
• They fail to complete the requirements (GPA and completion) for courses taken during the probationary term approved by appeal
• They have reached the 150% maximum time frame for completion of a diploma/degree

Reinstatement of Eligibility
• Enrolling at HCC without financial aid and passing sufficient hours to meet minimum standards for GPA and completion rate or
• Being approved through the appeal process.

NOTE:   Students who have exceeded the maximum time frame may only be reinstated by the appeal process.
Appeal Process

A completed appeal form must be submitted to the financial aid office. The appeal will be reviewed and determined whether the suspension is justified. Only exceptional circumstances or an improved academic record will be considered. The student will be notified in writing and by email of the decision made within 10 business days of receiving the appeal. Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on financial aid probation and may be given an academic plan which they must follow. This plan will assure that they will be able to complete their degree with the timeframe to meet SAP.  If you are denied aid based on your academic progress, that denial takes precedence over any previous award notification you may have received.

Return the appeal along with any supporting documents by:

  • Fax to (662) 472-­‐9170
  • Submit to any campus Financial Aid Office