Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to be Eligible for Financial Aid
Federal and state regulations require that, if you are receiving financial aid, you must maintain specific standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Central Piedmont applies these standards to all federal, state, and institutional funds in order to maintain a consistent procedure for all students receiving assistance while ensuring your success.
These standards apply to you if you receive financial aid from any of the following programs:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
- Federal Work-Study
- North Carolina Community College Grant
- North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship
- institutional grants, scholarships, and loans
Definition of Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is defined as when you:
- pass 67% of all hours attempted
- achieve a required grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
- do not exceed 150% of the total attempted hours needed to complete an approved program as defined by the Department of Education.
You must not be suspended according to the college’s academic suspension policy.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Increments
The college’s Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress before aid is awarded and again after grades are posted at the end of each semester, starting with the first semester of your enrollment. To reasonably measure your satisfactory academic progress toward completion of your degree, certificate, or diploma, your total educational record is evaluated, regardless of whether or not you have received financial aid in the past. If you are dually enrolled in high school and at Central Piedmont, your college transcript ;will also be evaluated by the satisfactory academic progress process.
Some certificate programs are ineligible for financial aid. However, credits from these programs will be counted toward all satisfactory academic progress requirements (GPA, completion rate, maximum timeframe, and developmental maximum) if you enroll later in an eligible program.
In order to be eligible for financial aid, you must meet the following guidelines.
You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain in good academic standing. The calculation includes grades of A, B, C, D, F, P, R, P1, P2, and P3. The GPA evaluation excludes transfer credits.
- You must have earned a cumulative 2.0 GPA (or higher) when grades are reviewed at the end of the semester.
- If you do not earn the required cumulative 2.0 GPA, you will be placed on financial aid warning for the next semester.
- While on financial aid warning, you remain eligible for financial aid if:
- you earn a cumulative 2.0 GPA (or higher) by the end of the financial aid warning semester, the warning will be lifted (provided you meet all other standards of academic progress guidelines) and you will be satisfactory.
- you do not earn a cumulative 2.0 GPA by the end of the financial aid warning semester, your financial aid will be suspended. You will not qualify for financial aid effective the next semester of attendance and until such time as you again meet all standards of academic progress guidelines.
- Potential graduates must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.0 out of a possible 4.0 in all of your program courses, including general education courses, to be eligible for graduation. A 2.0 average must be achieved by the end of the second year for all Title IV recipients.
You must earn 67% of the total cumulative credit hours attempted (e.g., if you have attempted 50 credit hours, you must have earned credit for at least 34 hours). The number of hours attempted is defined as the total cumulative number of credit hours for which you were enrolled at the 10% point of each term. The total number of hours earned is defined as the total cumulative number of credit hours for which you received a passing grade as noted on your academic transcript.
- You must earn a cumulative 67% completion rate. Grades are reviewed at the end of each semester.
- If you do not earn a cumulative 67% completion rate, you will be placed on financial aid warning for your next semester of attendance.
- While on financial aid warning, you remain eligible for financial aid:
- If you complete sufficient credits to earn a 67% completion rate by the end of the financial aid warning semester, the warning will be lifted (provided you meet all other standards of academic progress guidelines).
- If you do not complete sufficient credits to earn a 67% completion rate by the end of the financial aid warning semester, your financial aid will be suspended. You will not qualify for financial aid effective the next semester of attendance and until such time as you again meet all standards of academic progress guidelines.
You must receive satisfactory grades in 67% of cumulative credits attempted. This calculation divides the cumulative total number of successfully completed credits by the cumulative total number of credits attempted. All credits attempted at Central Piedmont (except audits, entered as AU by the class census date) are included. All credits accepted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits.
Cumulative Credit Hours Attempted
Cumulative credit hours attempted are defined as all credit hours attempted at Central Piedmont, and all credit hours transferred from other institutions. Attempted credits include courses with grades of "A" through "F," “P,”,P1,” P2,” “P3,” “R,” "W,” "I/A,” "I/B,” "I/C,” "I/D,” "I/F," or "I".
Cumulative Credit Hours Completed
Cumulative credit hours successfully completed are defined as grades "A" through "D," “P,” “P1,” P2,” “P3,” "I/A," "I/B," "I/C," "I/D," "I/F." Credit hours not successfully completed are defined as “I,” “I/F,” "F," “R,” "W."
A GPA below the exact minimum requirement is not rounded up in order to meet the minimum standards. For example, if you have a 1.999 GPA, you will not meet the minimum GPA requirements. Additionally, a completion percentage below the exact minimum requirements is not rounded up to meet the minimum standards. For example, if the number of credits earned divided by the number of credits attempted equates to.6666667 (a 66% completion rate), it will not meet the minimum credits attempted requirement.
Maximum Hours (150% Rule)
The maximum timeframe within which to complete a degree (or another program of study) is 150% of the published length of the program. For example, if the published length of a program of study is 64 semester hours, you may attempt up to 96 semester hours (64 x 150% = 96). To determine the published length of a program, you can refer to the Central Piedmont College Catalog. You become ineligible when it becomes mathematically impossible for you to complete the program within 150% of its length. The 150% calculation excludes developmental coursework.
If you exceed the maximum allowable timeframe for completing a program of study, you may appeal if the experience documented extenuating circumstances by providing a Maximum Timeframe Recalculation Request form. If the plan is deemed reasonable and the circumstances are valid, you will receive financial aid on a probationary basis for one or more semesters until you complete your degree. Failure to comply with the plan will result in the suspension of your financial aid.
You may request a "recalculation" of the maximum timeframe component in the following scenarios:
- a change in the program of study
- you attempt multiple programs
- you successfully complete a program and are returning to pursue another program
If deemed appropriate, the recalculation would include only the credit hours that are applicable to your current program(s) of study. In the case of multiple degrees, each program will be calculated separately to only include the credit hours that are applicable to each program. You may only request the recalculation twice in your academic career at Central Piedmont. A review of your remaining aid eligibility and the ability to complete will be taken into consideration if you are completing multiple programs. You must be meeting the GPA and completion rate requirements for a recalculation to be approved. You may request a recalculation of eligibility for maximum timeframe by submitting a Maximum Timeframe Recalculation Request form to the Financial Aid Office.
Changing Programs or Completing a Second Program
If you change programs or attempts a second degree or certificate, all credits earned from the first degree or certificate are included in hours attempted and completed. Depending on the circumstances, an appeal might be warranted.
You may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of pre-curriculum or developmental courses as long as the classes are a requirement as a result of placement testing, you are in an eligible program of study, and you meet satisfactory academic progress requirements. Developmental courses (designated by course numbers below 100, or beginning with DMA or DRE) are included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress. If you are enrolled in developmental courses, you must receive grades of P, P1, P2, or P3 to remain in good standing. Developmental hours attempted in excess of 30 semester hours cannot count towards enrollment status for federal and state grants or the cost of attendance for any campus-based programs. If you exceed this limit, you will be denied financial aid for additional pre-curriculum/developmental courses. A denial for pre-curriculum/developmental coursework cannot be appealed.
If you are a transfer student and would like to calculate satisfactory academic progress to apply for financial aid, you must request official transcripts from all other colleges attended. You must have official transcripts submitted directly to one of the campus Student Records Office. Credits officially accepted in transfer will be counted in the 67% rule and in determining the maximum number of allowable credit hours for financial aid eligibility. If you are transferring from another institution, you will be considered making satisfactory progress at the time of enrollment. Your maximum timeframe for receiving financial aid will include the number of transferred credit hours applied towards your program of study at Central Piedmont.
The college has the option on an individual student basis to put transfer students on Financial Aid Warning status or Suspension status immediately upon evaluation for financial aid if academic history at previous colleges indicates a pattern of unsuccessful academic work. Credits taken at other institutions under a consortium agreement will be considered as transfer credits.
Early College High School Graduates
Early college high school graduates enrolling at Central Piedmont as a first-year college student will be considered a transfer student and will receive credit for college courses completed during high school that transfer into his/her program of study.
In accordance with Central Piedmont’s procedure, you are permitted to retake courses. You can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed, but repeating courses adversely affects your ability to meet completion rate requirements. Financial aid can be considered for successfully completed classes that are repeated to achieve a higher grade but for only one additional attempt. For example, for courses in which a grade of “D” or higher is received, federal financial aid will pay for one repeat. All attempts will count toward your financial aid cumulative grade point average and cumulative completion rate.
Credit hours taken for a grade of "audit" do not apply toward an associate degree, diploma, or certificate program. Therefore, credit hours with this designation are not included in determining enrollment status for financial aid or satisfactory academic progress.
If you change your grade type to an "audit" (AU) after the disbursement of financial aid, there will be an enrollment status change. This change may result in a reduction of financial aid eligibility and a balance owed to the college.
Incomplete grades are treated as an F in the SAP calculations. Once you provide notification that the final grade has been submitted, the actual grade, credit hours attempted, and credit hours earned will be used to determine if you are maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Courses with grades of "I" (Incomplete) are considered as credit hours attempted and not completed. If you have made arrangements with the instructor to complete the required coursework, you will not be required to re-register for the same class during a subsequent semester to complete the work. Any course carried forward to the next semester for completion will not be counted as part of the new semester enrollment status. If the "incomplete" grade results in your being placed on financial aid probation or suspension, once completed, you may appeal for a re-evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress by submitting the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal form to the Financial Aid Office at Central Piedmont. Should the grade become final before the review, the actual grade, credits attempted, and credits earned will be used to determine if you are making satisfactory progress.
If you withdraw from classes officially or unofficially, you should understand how withdrawals affect your eligibility for financial aid as determined by this satisfactory academic progress procedure. A “Withdrawal” will count as attempted, not completed, and will not count in the GPA calculation. Consequently, if you withdraw, you may have difficulty meeting the completion rate component of the satisfactory academic progress requirements. Discuss your possibility of withdrawing with a financial aid representative before doing so.
Incomplete Emergency and Withdraw Emergency (Coronavirus)
In response to the national emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Central Piedmont added two grades: the Incomplete Emergency (IE) and Withdraw Emergency (WE) grades. "IE" and "WE" grades may only be authorized by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
You may receive an "IE" when extraordinary circumstances have prevented you from completing a course as scheduled. When you receive an "IE" grade, your instructor must submit an online Grade Change Request form. You must resolve an "IE" grade within the timeframe specified by your instructor, but no longer than 12 months from the end of the term when you got the "IE" grade. Once you resolve an "IE" grade, your final grade will be recorded as the letter grade (e.g., B) and your GPA will be recalculated. If you do not resolve an "IE" by the specified date, your grade will be changed to an "IE"/"F." If you get an "IE" grade for a spring 2020 course, you are expected to resolve the "IE" grade by July 31, 2020.
The "WE" grade is an option if you must withdraw from the course due to situations related to COVID-19. The new grade and number of credits will be used to determine whether you are meeting financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
"IE" and "WE" grades are not included in your quantitative satisfactory academic progress calculation.
Courses dropped within their add/drop period are not factored into satisfactory academic progress.
Reducing enrollment during any semester can create severe consequences for financial aid recipients:
- Satisfactory Academic Progress may be affected
- You may be required to repay a percentage of financial aid received for the semester in cases of complete withdrawals. (Review Return of Title IV Funds information.)
EFL (English as a Foreign Language Studies) Credits
EFL credits are eligible for financial aid as long they are taken as part of an eligible program and so long as you are meeting satisfactory academic requirements.
Multiple Programs/Dual Enrollment
In the case of multiple degrees, each program will be calculated separately to only include the credit hours that are applicable to each program. If you reach the maximum timeframe, request a recalculation to calculate the 150% timeframe for each program by submitting a Maximum Timeframe Recalculation Request form to the Financial Aid Office. You may not receive federal aid from more than one institution at the same time. If you transfer to Central Piedmont from other schools, you must have any aid received at former schools canceled.
Change of Major
If you change your major (program of study), you are still responsible for maintaining satisfactory academic progress by the procedures outlined. A review of satisfactory academic progress is based on your current program of study. If you change from an associate program to a diploma or certificate program, you may lose federal and state eligibility immediately upon making the change. You will need to request a recalculation of the maximum timeframe component to calculate the 150% timeframe for the new program. A review of your remaining aid eligibility and the ability to complete will be taken into consideration if you are completing multiple programs. You must be meeting the GPA and completion rate requirements for a recalculation to be approved. You may request a recalculation of eligibility for maximum timeframe by submitting a Maximum Timeframe Recalculation Request form to the Financial Aid Office.
If you take courses over the summer, your satisfactory academic progress will be reviewed at the end of the summer semester. Credit hours attempted and earned during the summer session are included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress. Full-time status is the same for the summer session as it is for the fall and spring semesters (12 credit hours).
Forgiveness of Grades
There is no provision in the federal regulations for the concept of forgiveness of grades. Therefore, Central Piedmont must always include all courses when evaluating satisfactory academic progress.
Central Piedmont’s Financial Aid Office's satisfactory academic progress policy applies to you if you have a consortium agreement seeking to establish or maintain financial aid eligibility. You are a consortium student if you have an active consortium agreement for the current semester and Central Piedmont is the home institution. The standards apply to your entire degree program, including terms in which financial aid was not applied or disbursed. Attempted and earned hours for courses taken at an institution acting as the host school under an approved consortium agreement are included in the calculation of cumulative completion rate. All students attending Central Piedmont, either as their home school or host school, will have satisfactory academic progress calculated at the end of each term.
Federal Work-Study Students
If you participate in the Federal Work-Study program, are suspended from financial aid due to satisfactory academic progress or maximum timeframe, and your appeal has been denied, you will be ineligible for financial aid and cannot continue working until satisfactory academic progress is re-established.
Readmission for Service Members
If you are a service member and are called to active duty, you will be readmitted with the same satisfactory academic status that you had previously.
Communicating Satisfactory Academic Progress to You
Satisfactory academic progress is calculated at the end of each semester, after grades post. You will receive emails to your Central Piedmont email account notifying you of meeting guidelines, probation, or suspension. You can also view your satisfactory academic status on FA Self-Service in MyCollege.
Financial Aid Warning Status
To determine your academic progress status and eligibility for financial aid, your academic record will be evaluated at the end of each term. If you are not maintaining satisfactory academic progress, you will be placed on "Warning." You are granted one term to regain satisfactory academic progress. During the Warning term, you may continue to receive financial aid provided you are otherwise eligible.
If you are able to regain satisfactory academic progress with the courses completed successfully during the Warning term, the Warning status is lifted, and then you will be "Satisfactory." If you do not regain satisfactory academic progress, you will be placed on “Suspension” and will no longer be eligible for financial aid at Central Piedmont until your GPA and cumulative progress meet satisfactory standards. You can only regain satisfactory academic progress by earning enough credit hours and grades to bring up your cumulative averages. Paying for a semester or sitting out a semester does not permit you to regain satisfactory academic progress.
Warning statuses are:
- WB - Warning - Both (not meeting GPA and Pass Rate requirements)
- WG - Warning - GPA (not meeting GPA requirements)
- WP - Warning - Pass Rate (not meeting Pass Rate requirements)
Financial Aid Suspension
If you are on financial aid suspension, you are not eligible to receive federal, state, and most institutional financial aid. Suspension means you have an unsatisfactory standard of academic progress status. This status is assigned when:
- You fail to meet your progress requirements after a warning, probation, or academic plan.
- You are a returning student whose prior coursework does not meet SAP thresholds.
The following are suspension statuses:
- UB - Unsatisfactory – Both (not meeting GPA and Pass Rate requirements)
- UG - Unsatisfactory – GPA (not meeting GPA requirements)
- UP - Unsatisfactory – Pass Rate (not meeting Pass Rate requirements)