Satisfactory Academic Progress

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

  • A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may regain eligibility after taking classes at his/her own expense (self-pay) and meeting minimum requirements of 2.0 GPA and a completion rate in accordance with the completion rate chart within the 150% time frame.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when these conditions have been met.
  • All classes (including those taken at other institutions) will be taken into consideration for reinstatement purposes.
  • Students who exhaust the 150% time frame may appeal.

How to Keep Financial Aid Eligibility

Federal Return of Funds Policy

Students who withdraw from the college must do so in writing. Students who stop attending must immediately notify the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid will be prorated according to federal regulations. Refunds to federal aid programs will be accomplished in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
  2. Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
  3. Federal PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. FSEOG
  6. Other Title IV aid programs
  7. Other federal sources of aid
  8. Other states, private, or institutional aid
  9. The student

NJ state aid will be removed if withdrawal occurs during the refund period and if the student withdraws from class(es) before state aid is finalized, such aid will not be awarded. If the student has been paid with federal funds to cover non-billed educational costs (i.e., transportation), and subsequently withdraws or stops attending, repayment of federal funds may also be required.

Financial Aid Warning is a status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress at a school that evaluates academic progress at the end of each payment period and chooses to allow students who fail progress standards to continue to receive aid. This is for one semester.

Financial Aid Probation is a status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. This is for one semester.

Academic Plan is a plan of action that will help the student achieve minimum satisfactory academic progress. The academic plan is part of the appeals process.

The Process

Students not making satisfactory academic progress after their first semester will be placed on a Warning and notified accordingly. A Warning allows a student to continue to receive Title IV and State aid automatically. This Warning period lasts for only one semester.

No Aid Status (Suspension)
If after the Warning period the student still does not meet SAP standards, the student is placed on a No Aid Status (Suspension) but has the right to appeal if they have extenuating circumstances. Sussex may choose to reinstate federal and state eligibility based on the appeal.

The Appeals Process
The circumstances under which a student would be permitted to submit an appeal are the death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances.

  • A student will be required to submit (as part of the appeal process), information regarding why the student failed to make SAP, and what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.
  • Submission of an Appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of eligibility for financial aid. Each appeal is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. All appeal decisions are final.
  • An appeal may be approved only if the school has determined that the student will be able to meet SAP standards.

Academic Plan

Part of the successful appeals process will be the development and acceptance of an Academic Plan. The Academic Plan is set up to help the student meet the minimum standards for academic progress.

At the end of the semester of probation, the Financial Aid Office will determine if the student is meeting the minimum standards for satisfactory academic progress.

  1. If the student is meeting the minimum standards for satisfactory academic progress the student will no longer be considered on a probation status for financial aid.
  2. If the student is not meeting the minimum standards for satisfactory academic progress, the Financial Aid Office will determine if the student met the terms of his/her academic plan.
  3. If the terms of the plan are met, the student will be eligible to continue on a probation status for financial aid.
  4. If the terms of the plan are not met, the student will be ineligible for financial aid until the student is meeting the minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress on a self-pay basis.

Once the appeal is granted and an academic plan is created, the student is then placed on Financial Aid Probation. A student on Financial Aid Probation may receive federal and state funds for one payment period. If after the one semester of Probation the student still does not meet SAP standards, the student will lose financial aid eligibility. If the terms of the academic plan are met, the student will be eligible to continue on a probation status for financial aid.

Students seeking second degrees and students with double majors are monitored like any other students under this policy. Students will be limited to receive financial aid for only 2 majors. Sussex coursework from a previous major will not count toward attempted credits.

If or when the student exceeds the maximum time frame allowed for their respective programs, students may appeal if they have mitigating circumstances. All transfer hours accepted by Sussex will be included when determining maximum time frame eligibility.

Sussex will count Transfer credit hours that are accepted toward a student’s educational program as both attempted and completed hours.

Repeated courses may include any repetition of the course in a student’s enrollment status for a term as long as the student has never passed the course. If the student passes the course, SCCC may include one repetition after passing the course. Any second or subsequent repetition of the passed course may not be included in the student’s enrollment status for purposes of the Title IV, HEA, programs.

If a student receives an F the first time he or she takes a course and subsequently passes the course with a D, the student may only receive financial aid for one additional attempt to improve their D grade. If a student is required to repeat a course due to changes in the advancement of technology and science, the repetition is considered as not being done for grade improvement but rather for degree requirement and therefore is eligible. Documentation of requirement must be provided.

Remedial Coursework will be excluded from the completion rate but will be included in the GPA calculation. Students may receive financial aid for developmental credits up to a maximum of 30 credit hours.

ESOL courses do not count in this 30 credit hour limitation.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid recipients

Sussex has a policy concerning the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements for financial aid recipients. These rules impose limits on how long a student may continue to receive federal and state aid in order to make up deficiencies in meeting SAP standards.

A review of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be done at the end of each semester/payment period, including the summer terms. The evaluation period will be based on attendance in all prior semester(s) and will include all classes attempted whether federal aid was received or not.

A student who receives either federal or state assistance (including student/parent loans) must make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the attainment of his or her degree or certificate as a condition of receiving financial aid.

To be considered making satisfactory academic progress

A student must have a 2.0 CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average), and complete a certain percentage of their credits (see chart*). Students must keep within a maximum timeframe which would be limited to no more than 150% of the published length of the program for undergraduate study. Remedial coursework is counted in the cumulative GPA. This is why the cumulative GPA on a student’s transcript may not match the cumulative GPA derived from the financial aid calculation.

*Credits Completion Rate

0-12                      50%

13-18                     60%

19 and greater        67%