5.10 – Satisfactory Academic Progress

A. Purpose

To define, establish and enforce minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP), as amended and mandated, in the Higher Education Act of 1965 for students who may receive or are receiving Title IV federal student aid.

B. Policy

The college will maintain procedures to determine satisfactory academic progress in accordance with Title IV Federal Student Aid (FSA) regulations.

C. Procedures

Frequency and Timing of Evaluation

The evaluations below will result in a designated satisfactory academic progress status for each student of satisfactory, warning, probation, probation appeal approved or probation appeal denied.

Evaluation of the academic progress of students with an active associate degree program will occur annually.

Evaluation of the academic progress of students with an active certificate program, lasting one year or less, will occur after each semester.

Evaluation of the academic progress of students who have an appeal approved status will occur after each semester.

In order to allow for the appropriate due process, an appeal process is included to allow for extenuating circumstances.

Student Types

New and Returning Students

Regular students who attend OTC with or without financial aid are evaluated on the satisfactory academic progress standards as if they had received Title IV federal student aid from the beginning of their attendance at OTC as well as from the start of attempting college credit hours while attending high school.

Transfer Students

Students who transfer to OTC at the beginning of the spring semester will be eligible for Title IV federal student aid and will have their eligibility evaluated at the end of the spring semester.  All other transfers with a start of summer or fall will be evaluated according to their program of study. All college credit hours, to include those attempted during high school, are evaluated.

Higher Education Graduates

Students who have already completed a certificate, associate, bachelor degree or higher level credential and apply for financial aid will be considered to have met the pace maximum.  The students will be considered over the maximum timeframe and must request and complete a financial aid appeal in order to request an extension for Title IV federal student aid.

Quantitative and qualitative measures are established for evaluating the progress of student types.

Quantitative (Pace & Maximum Timeframe)

Title IV Federal Student Aid (FSA) regulations allow students up to 150% of program length which is the maximum timeframe FSA can be awarded.  All courses, in all semesters, including those attempted during high school, are counted in the pace, and all credit hours transferred and accepted from other colleges and universities will be included in the total pace. If a student changes majors or programs, no additional time will be allowed over the 150% maximum timeframe.

Pace is the percentage of all credit hours completed with a passing grade divided by the total attempted credit hours. Students must successfully complete two-thirds (66.5%) of all attempted credit hours to maintain their satisfactory progress.

Students who graduate or complete the requirements within their program of study will be considered to have met the maximum timeframe.

All classes, including remedial coursework, with a grade of A, B, C, D, F, I, W, NA, NB, NC, ND, NP, N, P, AU, AG, BG, CG, DG, FG, NAG, NBG, NCG, NDG, NPG and S are counted in the pace calculation, including any classes which are repeated or associated with academic amnesty known as OTC Academic Fresh Start.

Qualitative (Grade Point Average)

Grades for credit hours transferred and accepted from other colleges and universities will be included when determining the cumulative GPA.

Grades of A, B, C, D and F are counted when determining a student’s cumulative GPA.

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average as follows in the graduated standard below unless they are on an appeal approved status.

 

Associate Program of Study

Hours Attempted 1 – 25 26 – 40 41+
Minimum Cumulative GPA 1.50 1.75 2.00

 

Certificate Program of Study

Hours Attempted 1 – 12 13 – 20 21+
Minimum Cumulative GPA 1.50 1.75 2.00

 

Associate of Arts Teaching Degree

Hours Attempted 1 – 24 25 – 40 41 – 50 51+
Minimum Cumulative GPA 1.50 1.75 2.25 2.75

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Evaluation Status

Satisfactory Status

Students who meet the pace, timeframe, and GPA requirements are eligible to receive Title IV federal student aid.

Warning Status – Certificate Program of Study Only

This status, according to Title IV federal student aid and the SAP procedures created by the school, will only be provided to those students who are seeking a certificate program of one year or less. Students who fail to meet either the pace requirement or GPA requirement, will be placed on a financial aid warning in the subsequent academic term the student enrolls and does not exclude them from receiving Title IV federal student aid.

Probation Status

Students who fail to meet the pace requirement or maximum timeframe, or GPA requirement, will be placed on financial aid probation which will result in the loss of Title IV federal student aid for subsequent academic terms. If the student is able to meet the pace requirements in a subsequent academic term, they may be reinstated to satisfactory and will be eligible for Title IV federal student aid. Students on probation are eligible to request reinstatement through the conditions for appeal process.

Probation Appeal Approved Status

Students who are on an appeal approved status must meet conditions to continue their approval into the subsequent academic term.

Conditions

        1. GPA for the most recently completed semester, is equal to or greater than 2.00.
        2. May not withdraw from all classes while on probation appeal approved status.
        3. Program of study approved by the committee may not be changed except in extenuating circumstances approved by Academic Advising.

Probation Appeal Denied Status

Students who did not fulfill the conditions for probation appeal approved status may appeal the denied status decision under specific extenuating circumstances through the grievance appeal process.

The Process for Appeal

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, allows for the college to implement an appeal process for reinstatement of Title IV federal student aid and the process of when an appeal may be requested.

      1. Deadlines to appeal within each semester will be provided on the college’s website.
      2. Students who have a probation status may request a reinstatement of aid through the appeal process.  Students must complete their degree audit plan in MyOTC for their active program of study.  Degree audit plan completion is required in an effort to help students understand the overall courses required for their academic program of study.
      3. The college will provide the appeal form to the student using an online form available on the OTC financial aid website.
      4. The online appeal must address how the student arrived at probation and address how future outcomes will be completed successfully.

Appeal Process

The process to appeal the loss of Title IV federal student aid will be maintained by the Financial Aid Office, using professional judgement, and communicated to students.  All conditions for appeal must be met before the request will be reviewed for approval or denial.  Once a decision of approval or denied has been determined, the student will be notified through OTC email.  The committee includes financial aid administrators and other institutional personnel.

Grievance Appeal Process and Conditions

Students who have already been approved through the appeal process and do not meet the probation appeal approved status conditions will have the opportunity to request a grievance appeal.  The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, allows for the college to implement an appeal process for reinstatement of Title IV federal student aid and the condition of when an appeal may be requested.

            The Process for Grievance Appeal    

        1. Deadlines to appeal within each semester will be provided on the college’s website.
        2. Students who have met probation appeal denied may request a reinstatement of aid through the grievance appeal process.  Students must complete their degree audit plan in MyOTC for their active program of study.  Degree audit plan completion is required in an effort to help students understand the overall courses required for their academic program of study.
        3. The college will provide the appeal form to the student using an online form available on the OTC financial aid website.
        4. The online appeal must address how the student arrived at probation appeal denied and address how future outcomes will be completed successfully.
        5. Submit documentation validating the extenuating circumstance which affected the student’s success during the term in which they failed to meet appeal approved conditions.  If the committee and the College Director for Financial Aid, using professional judgement, deny the grievance appeal for Title IV federal student aid reinstatement, the decision is final.  If the request is approved, the student status will be updated to probation appeal approved. The student is required to meet the conditions for probation appeal approved to receive Title IV federal student aid in subsequent academic terms.

Once a decision of approval or denial is determined by the committee, the student will be notified through OTC email.  If approved, the condition of extenuating circumstance may only be used once in this appeal process.

D. Definitions

Academic amnesty: A process offered by some institutions which allows students to have credits attempted and grades earned in previous terms excluded from the calculation of the student’s grade point average (GPA). No provisions for academic amnesty are made in FSA regulations.

Appeal: A process by which a student who is not meeting satisfactory academic progress standards or other eligibility requirements petitions the school for reconsideration of their eligibility for the Title IV programs.

Federal Student Aid (FSA): The office within the U.S. Department of Education with administrative oversight for Title IV aid.

Graduated Standard: Divided into or marked with intervals with increasing difficulty.

Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended: The authorizing legislation for most of the federal student financial assistance programs. Established in 1965 by Congress, Title IV of the HEA authorizes the following programs: Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan). Collectively, these programs are known as the Title IV programs and are administered by ED.

Maximum timeframe: For undergraduate programs, federal regulations specify maximum timeframe can be no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program, as measured in credit hours.  Example:  published program length for a specific program of study is 62 credit hours. Maximum timeframe (150%) of that program is calculated as 62 x 150% = 93; therefore when a student reaches 93 or more attempted credit hours they have reached maximum timeframe.  Once a student has met the program of study requirements or been assigned a graduated status, the maximum timeframe is met.

Pace: A measure of a student’s progress toward completion of their program of study which compares hours earned to hours attempted, expressed as a fraction or percentage.

Professional judgment (PJ): The authority provided under the HEA for financial aid administrators to exercise discretion and deal with unique circumstances affecting individual students on a case-by-case basis in a number of specific areas of federal student aid administration.

Regular student: A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible program at an eligible institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential offered by the institution.

Remedial coursework: Coursework that prepares a student to do academic work at the postsecondary level, typically numbered less than 100.

Repeated coursework: Any coursework which a student has completed and is enrolling in again either due to failure, program requirements, or to obtain a better grade.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP): The progress required of a financial aid recipient in acceptable studies or other activities to fulfill a specified educational objective. SAP contains both a grade or its equivalent (qualitative) and pace (quantitative) measures. It also must be the same as or stricter than academic standards used for students not receiving Title IV aid.

Title IV: The section of the HEA pertaining to administration of the federal student financial assistance programs.

Transfer hours: Credit or clock hours accepted at the student’s current school, which must count as both attempted and completed hours in the SAP evaluation.

U.S. Department of Education (ED): The Cabinet-level department of the United States government with oversight of the programs and funds authorized under the HEA that provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary educational programs. Also referred to as “the Department.”

E. Authority

This policy is maintained under the delegated authority of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

F. Related Policies

Academic Fresh Start

Grading

G. Implementation

1.    Purpose, procedures, responsibilities and definitions approved and adopted by the Cabinet on 10/22/19.

Revisions approved 04/21/2020. Set for review in 2023.

2.    Policy approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees on 1/12/98. Revisions approved on 10/22/19. Revisions approved on 05/11/2020.