Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations, HEA Sec 484(c), 34 CFR 668.16(e), 34 CFR 668.32(f), and 34 CFR 668.34, require schools offering Federal Student Aid to establish policies to monitor the academic progress of students who apply for and receive federal financial aid. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, which is administered by the Financial Aid Office, may differ from BridgeValley’s Academic Standing Policy, which is administered by Academic Affairs.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)
Students must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of an eligible degree in order to receive financial aid administered by BridgeValley Community and Technical College. SAP for financial aid is calculated at the end of each semester, including summer, to verify that students meet all Federal SAP standards. Federal regulations require academic progress be evaluated both quantitatively (Pace) and qualitatively (GPA). BridgeValley's SAP policy is applied consistently to both full time and part time students and to all eligible degree and certificate programs offered at BridgeValley. Students receiving assistance from any of the following aid programs must meet standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress:
- Pell Grants
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
- Federal Work-Study Programs (FWS)
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (DL) Program including:
- Subsidized Loans
- Unsubsidized Loans
- Parents’ Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
- West Virginia Higher Education Grant
- Promise Scholarship
- WV Nursing Scholarship
- WV Engineering, Science and Technology Scholarship
- WV Invests Grant
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress include a Quantitative Standard-Cumulative GPA, a Qualitative Standard-Pace, Evaluation Increment, and Maximum Time Frame.
Qualitative Standard-Cumulative GPA
Note: The attempted hours and GPA used in calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress must include credits that may not be calculated in an academic GPA, examples including but not limited to, incomplete grades, developmental courses, academic forgiveness, including D/F repeats, transfer credits, etc. The Financial Aid Office is not permitted to use Academic Amnesty in evaluating GPA. We must count all classes in the calculation of GPA.
All students must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA on 4.0 scale. Some programs require that the cumulative GPA be higher than 2.0. When GPA is evaluated for a program requiring a higher standard, BridgeValley must use the higher GPA requirement to determine SAP.
Incomplete grades will not be used in the calculation of the GPA during the semester in which they are received. Incomplete grades will be calculated in the GPA in the semester in which a letter grade replaces the incomplete grade. Upon completion of the incomplete course, the instructor will submit a Grade Change form to the Office of the Registrar to update the grade. Students who do not complete the incomplete course work by the published date in academic calendar will be assigned a failing grade.
All students must maintain a 67% percent completion percentage throughout their program of study. The calculation of pace is cumulative. To calculate your completion percentage, you divide the total number of credit hours you have passed by the total number of credit hours you have attempted. Attempted hours include all college classes you began, including classes from which you withdrew, failed, took at another college, or received an incomplete.
Please Note: Withdrawal, academic forgiveness, incomplete, repeated and non-credit remedial hours are counted for the calculation of hours attempted and GPA (if hours are graded). In cases of repeated courses, a student may continue to repeat a failed course and receive Financial Aid until it is passed. Students may only attempt 30 semester hours of developmental (remedial) courses. Once a student has reached the 30 semester hour limit, Financial Aid may not be used to pay for further developmental (remedial coursework), new or repeated. Attempted hours also includes all credit hours even if they do not count towards the degree at BridgeValley.
A student is eligible to receive Financial Aid for one repeat when repeating a previously passed course to obtain a higher grade.
- Allowable: Repeated coursework may be included when determining enrollment status in a term-based program if a student needs to meet an academic standard for a particular previously passed course, such as a minimum grade.
- Not permissible: A student enrolls in four classes in the fall semester and passes only three of them; the institution requires the student to retake the failed class and also the other three classes because of failing the one class. When the student repeats all four classes in the spring semester, the failed class would be included in the student's enrollment status, but the three classes passed would not be.
BridgeValley evaluates satisfactory academic progress for both the qualitative and quantitative standards at the end of each semester for all full time and part time eligible degree and certificate program students.
Maximum Time Frame
Federal regulations require a maximum time frame for completion of a degree or certificate. A student will not be eligible for Title IV federal aid if the degree is not completed within 150% of the normal credit hours required to complete the degree or certificate program. Financial Aid will be suspended for students who have attempted 90 or more credit hours for a two year degree or 45 credits for a certificate. The number of attempted credits used in determining maximum time frame will include transfer, remedial, failed and withdrawn credits. Attempted hours also includes all credit hours even if they do not count towards the degree at BridgeValley.
If a student changes their course of study, the hours attempted under all courses of study are included in the calculation of the maximum time frame. The Financial Aid Office will review a student’s eligibility at the end of each semester and will notify students if he/she will no longer be eligible for federal aid programs (grants and loans) for any future semester.
If a student has previously completed an associate degree, or a bachelor degree, all financial aid will be suspended, but the student has the right to request an appeal.
If a student has met all requirements to receive a degree in his or her stated major, the student must apply for graduation. Change of major is not an option. Refusal to graduate in the intended major will result in financial aid suspension with no possibility to appeal.
Students who have exceeded maximum hours are limited to 2 major changes. Students are permitted to change majors at any time; however, this may result in financial aid suspension.
A student, who has exceeded the maximum hours for his or her major, may not receive Financial Aid to repeat courses on the academic evaluation that are failed or withdrawn.
Admission Status Based Evaluations
Transfer and Readmission
Students who transfer into BridgeValley Community and Technical College or are seeking readmission to the college who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements will be automatically placed on financial aid suspension, but have the option to request an appeal.
Transient students should seek financial assistance from their home school.
First Time Freshman Students
First time freshman students will be awarded financial aid, providing they are in good academic standing and meet all eligibility requirements to receive federal and state funds.
Students who have a provisional admission status will not be granted financial aid until fully admitted to the college.
Definitions of SAP Ineligible Status
- Suspension Status - Students are placed on financial aid suspension status at the end of the semester causing the student not to meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Students on suspension cannot receive financial aid. Students will be removed from Financial Aid suspension and/or probation when they are in compliance with the GPA and Completion Ratio standards and have not yet exceeded maximum hours allowed.
- Probation Status - Probation status is granted to students who have successfully appealed. Students can receive aid during their probationary period after signing and submitting a financial aid appeal Contract to the Financial Aid Office.
- Warning Status - Warning status may be granted to students with extenuating circumstances (i.e.: A student who was forced to withdraw due to an accident or illness). Appropriate documentation must be provided.
- Maximum Time Frame Evaluation Status - Maximum Time Frame Evaluation is a probation status granted to students who have successfully appealed a maximum time frame suspension. Students can receive aid during this period after signing and submitting a financial aid appeal contract to the Financial Aid Office.
Regaining Eligibility for Title IV Aid
Students who have lost eligibility for aid may regain eligibility in one of two ways.
Paying for classes on your own: You may pay for classes on your own and regain eligibility by increasing your pace of completion and/or your GPA. Once you meet the SAP policy minimum standards you will regain eligibility.
Appeals: An approved appeal allows a students to receive federal financial aid while working to meet the pace and GPA standards.
The student may submit documented reasons to the Financial Aid Office for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students may appeal Pace, GPA and/or maximum time frame. Any appeals granted must be well documented as they would otherwise be violations of federal standards. Due to the condensed timeframe, appeals are not processed for summer terms. Students on financial aid suspension will need to pay for any summer costs on their own.
Request to Appeal Satisfactory Academic Progress Suspension
Appeals may be decided by the Director of Financial Aid or their designated representative in Financial Aid. The following documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office:
- Appeal Form and Academic Plan for Improvement
- Letter of Extenuating Circumstances
- Supporting Documentation
Deadlines for Appeals
Students planning to appeal should appeal as soon as they are notified of their financial aid suspension. Tuition and fees are due by the specified date set by the Business Office each term. In order to avoid difficulties involved in late payment of tuition and fees, students should submit the appeal promptly and observe the deadline dates.
For an appeal to have meaning, the appeal must be granted in time to allow the student’s award to be processed before grades are released for that semester. In addition, student loans cannot be processed after October 25th for the fall semester and March 25th for the spring semester. Federal regulations require that once the standing of a student is known, then the award must reflect that information. Thus, a student granted an appeal before the end of the semester and awarded after the end of the semester may become ineligible for the award by the time the award is granted. Financial aid appeals cannot be retroactive.
The student must submit a Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form to the Financial Aid Office, using the official college Appeal Form, and include documentation to support the reason for granting an appeal.
Appeals cannot be processed if the student is placed on Academic Suspension with the Academic Affairs’ Office.
The Satisfactory Academic Progress standing can be appealed when one of the following conditions exists:
- Illness or injury of the student
- Illness, injury, or death of a family member
- Natural Disasters i.e.: floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes
- Criminal acts inflicted on the student or student’s family. For example: terrorism, kidnapping, or theft.
- Military involvement i.e.: draft or US service duty
- Emotional problems supported by documentation from a counseling agency, counselor or psychiatrist.
- Documented errors of an official designated representative of the Vice President of Academic Affairs resulting in unacceptable academic progress.
- Legal entanglements i.e.: divorce, child custody, extended jury duty or bankruptcy
Students will be informed within fifteen (15) business days of the appeal decision once all documents are received.
Appeal Supporting Documentation
Required documentation to be submitted with an appeal may include but is not limited to:
- A signed statement from the student explaining her reasons for not meeting SAP.
- Statement from third party familiar with the student’s circumstances and/or
- Documentation from the student’s physician in cases of illness or injury and/or
- Documentation from the student’s academic advisor or course professors and/or
- Insurance claim and/or.
- Police reports and/or.
- Death certificate.
Students will be placed on Financial Aid Probation with an academic plan if the appeal is approved. Students may remain eligible to receive aid while on probation with an academic plan as long as they meet the conditions of the plan which are detailed in the SAP Contract. Students may appeal again if not meeting the academic plan but must demonstrate that the circumstances that caused the initial problem have changed significantly.
Students will be notified of financial aid suspension and appeal status via letter to the home address BridgeValley has on file in the student record. Additional communication may also be made via campus email.
Glossary of Terms
- Academic Plan- A plan developed by the institution and the student to ensure that the student is able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards by a specific point in time.
- Academic Year - An academic year consists of the fall and spring semesters and may include a following summer session.
- Direct Loan – federal loan funds borrowed from the U.S. Department of Education which must be repaid with interest once the student graduates or falls below half-time status.
- Federal Work-study - A federal need-based work program available to many students if they are in compliance with this policy.
- GPA - The cumulative Grade Point Average is reported in the Banner Student System. The GPA used in calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress must include credits that may not be calculated in an academic GPA, examples including but not limited to, developmental courses, academic forgiveness, transfer credits etc. Students must have a GPA consistent with graduation requirements.
- Hours Attempted - We count, in hours attempted, every credit hour one has ever taken at a college or university of higher education. The hours attempted include only those hours from colleges and universities from which BridgeValley accepts credit.
- Hours Passed - These are semester hours for courses where a grade of D or better has been earned.
- Maximum Time Frame - The maximum hours allowed for a degree or certificate.
- Pace- A measure of a student’s progress toward completion of his or her program of study which compares hours earned to hours attempted, expressed as a fraction.
- Pell - A federal need-based grant available to eligible students if they are in compliance with this policy.
- Probation Status- The status granted after a successful appeal.
- Qualitative component: The specified GPA, or other comparable assessment measured against a norm, that a student must have at each SAP evaluation.
- Quantitative component: The pace at a student must progress through his or her program of study to ensure that he or she will graduate within the maximum time frame.
- SAP Contract - the SAP contract lists the detailed terms and conditions based on the academic plan that must be met each semester by the student in order to remain eligible for financial aid.
- Satisfactory Academic Progress - Satisfactory progress is compliance with the academic progress policy as stated in this document. The policy has three major components: GPA, pace, and maximum time frame.
- Semester - A semester is one academic term which may be defined as fall, spring or summer term or combined parts of term.
- Warning- A status a school assigns to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress. The school reinstates eligibility for aid for one payment period and may do so without a student appeal.