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Keep Your Financial Aid Eligibility

1. Satisfactory Academic Progress

To maintain your Financial Aid eligibility, you need to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP)

The Federal Government mandates that students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the completion of their degrees within a reasonable period of time in order to be eligible for Title IV financial aid programs including Pell, SEOG, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Work Study and State Grants.

Satisfactory Academic Progress will be monitored every semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Is Defined As:

  • A student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
  • A student must maintain a minimum cumulative completion rate of 67%.
  • Maximum Timeframe –A student must successfully complete the program of study within its timeframe. Federal regulations specify that the timeframe may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program. When students exceed the timeframe for their programs of study, they are no longer eligible to receive financial aid. However, students can submit an appeal to have their eligibility extended if there are extenuating circumstances.**

*Credit hours attempted will be cumulative and will include all hours for which the student was enrolled as of the census date of each academic term, or for which the student received a grade. The census date is defined as the day following the last day for registration and payment as outlined in the College catalog.  Credit hours completed with grades of A, B, C, D, E, QA, QB, QC, QD or T will be considered credit hours attempted and completed. Grades of F, QF, QI, I, W, QW and WF will be considered credit hours attempted but not completed.  A student’ completion rate can be calculated by dividing the number of credit hours completed by the number of credit hours attempted.

**For each program of study, a maximum timeframe will be calculated by taking the total credit hours required for the program as outlined in the College catalog and multiplying the total by 150%. Timeframes will vary from program to program.

Key points to remember regarding the maximum timeframe:

  • Since the timeframe sets the limit for the number of credit hours a student may attempt and remain eligible to receive financial assistance, it is very important that the student plan class schedules carefully with his or her academic advisor and/or the counseling staff. It is the responsibility of the student to register only for classes listed in his or her chosen major in the College catalog and for scheduling only the number of hours he or she is capable of completing. Students are responsible for knowing the policy concerning the limitation on hours attempted for financial aid purposes. Registering for more courses than a student is capable of completing, having to withdraw from classes, registering for courses for which the student has already received credit, taking courses in error, etc. all impact the timeframe and could result in losing financial aid eligibility before completing a program of study.
  • The timeframe is cumulative; therefore, by switching programs without completing the initial program, the student runs the risk of losing financial aid eligibility.
  • The timeframe begins when the student first attends the College and continues until that student successfully completes a program of study regardless of the number of years that may elapse between enrollment periods.
  • Only students who successfully complete a program of study will have attempted and completed credit hours from earning a degree, diploma, or certificate deducted from the maximum timeframe calculation for the next program of study.
  • Students who take course work and are unclassified will have those hours attempted added to their timeframe if and when they enter a specific program of study.
  • Students accepted into a program of study who are required to take developmental/remedial course work, as determined by placement testing results, will have those credit hours deducted when calculating maximum timeframe. (Financial aid can only pay for 30 credit hours of developmental/remedial course work).
  • The credit hours for course incompletes, withdrawals, and repetitions will be counted as hours attempted toward the timeframe.

Program of Study

A student must declare an eligible program of study to be eligible to receive federal financial aid.

Remedial Courses

Remedial credits do count for the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress and are included in the metrics for the calculation of cumulative GPA, Completion rate and Maximum Time Frame. Note: Maximum of 30 attempted Remedial credits are funded with federal financial aid.

ESL Courses

ESL coursework does count for the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress and is included in the metrics for the calculation of cumulative GPA, Completion rate and Maximum Time Frame.

Repeated Courses

All Repeated courses will be counted in the total number of attempted credits for SAP calculation.  A student who passes a course (with a letter grade of D or higher, may retake the class one additional time and receive financial aid for that course. Students repeating coursework because he/she received a grade of QD, F, WF, or W, may repeat the course and remain eligible for financial aid if Satisfactory Academic Progress is maintained.

Transfer Credits (T) and Credits by Exam (E)

Transfer Credits and Credits by Exam will be included in attempted and completed credits, but not the GPA calculation. All Attempted credits will be used in the calculation of Maximum Time Frame.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Review

Students are evaluated at the end of each academic term (fall, spring and summer). The review process will assign a status for each student of:

  • SATISFACTORY: Student has met progress standards and is eligible for aid for the following semester or academic year.
  • WARNING: Student has NOT met progress standards (failed GPA or completion rate requirement or both), but may continue receiving federal aid for one more semester. Student is encouraged to seek tutoring to assist with the improvement of his/her GPA and progress. If the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress at the end of semester, they will become unsatisfactory and will not be eligible for any federal or state aid.
  • UNSATISFACTORY: If a Warning student failed to meet the progress standards (failed GPA or completion rate requirement or both) at the end of the Warning semester, the student is not eligible for federal or state financial aid from now on.
  • MAXIMUM TIME-FRAME: Student is no longer eligible to receive Federal or State financial aid due to having exceeded the maximum allowed credits for earning his/her program of study.
  • Academic Plan: Student is either approved to be placed on an academic plan or is making satisfactory academic progress as outlined on their academic plan. They are currently eligible for the federal and state aid.
  • Failed Academic Plan: Student who was placed on an academic plan has failed to make progress as outlined on their academic plan. They are not eligible for federal or state financial aid from now on.
  • Appeal Denied: Student’s appeal is denied. The student is not eligible for federal or state financial aid from now on.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process

Students who are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.  All appeals will be reviewed and approved or denied by the Financial Aid Ad Hoc Appeals Committee.  An appeal can only be submitted if a student’s failure to make Satisfactory Academic Progress is based upon events beyond their control.  Applicable circumstances would include medical issues, death/illnesses, and any other uncontrollable events.  Students will need to submit the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form, their unofficial transcript and/or program evaluation, and all required documentation to the Financial Aid Office. Incomplete appeals (those with no explanation of the extenuating and the required supporting documentation) will be automatically denied. Students will be notified by email of the committee’s decision within 30 days.  Students with an approved appeal will be placed on Academic Plan for one semester of financial aid and will be evaluated accordingly at the end of each semester. If a student receives an appeal approval, they must adhere to the terms of the academic plan or will be denied financial aid the following semester. Students who have appeals denied will be permitted to appeal the decision of the committee to the Director of Financial Aid.  The Director of Financial Aid will review the student’s second appeal, and this decision is final.

Paying out of pocket for classes or sitting out a semester is not grounds for reinstatement of aid. Students must bring their academic progress back into compliance or have an appeal approved to have aid reinstated.  Students may re-appeal after a denied appeal once they have successfully completed at least six (6) credit hours with:

  • a 2.0 or higher GPA; and
  • have not failed, withdrawn, or unofficially withdrawn from courses attempted after the denied appeal.

It is important for students to remember that Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (PLEU) cannot be waived through the submission of an appeal.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form

MCC SAP Appeal Form (click to download)

2. Understanding the Consequences of an F Grade

Financial aid students, who stop attending all courses during the semester, and receive all final grades of F, will not be considered as withdrawing from any classes. To withdraw from all classes, students must follow the procedures made available in Enrollment Services.

A pro-rated portion of the federal aid received, based on the documented last date of attendance, must be returned to the federal aid programs. If the college is unable to document the last date of attendance, one-half of all federal aid received during the semester must be returned to the federal aid programs.

The student maybe required to repay part or all of the financial aid awards received if all final grades of F were received for the semester.

If all final grades of F were received, the student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress may be affected and an appeal needs to be submitted to regain financial aid eligibility.

The student will also be notified via email and postal letter informing them of their financial aid award adjustments.

3. Never attending a class

Financial Aid programs will not pay for a course or courses that a student does not begin attendance. If an instructor reports that the student never began attendance, that course will be removed from the total eligible credits financial aid programs can pay. This will reduce the student’s refund or cause a bill to be generated.


Student Support Services

The Financial Aid Office encourages any student experiencing academic difficulties to utilize academic services available at Middlesex County College. These are valuable resources to assist you if you are struggling to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Learning Center
Phone: (732) 548-6000 x3222
Location: Johnson Commons Learning Center, IRC 241

Academic Advising
Location: West Hall, Second Floor

Counseling Services
Location: Edison Hall, Rm 100

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