5.10 – Satisfactory Academic Progress
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.
The college will maintain procedures to determine satisfactory academic progress in accordance with Title IV Federal Student Aid (FSA) regulations.
Frequency and Timing of Evaluation
Each student with an active degree or certificate program will be evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress at the conclusion of each term. 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.
Satisfactory Academic Progress standards shall be used to determine a student’s eligibility for Federal student aid (Title IV aid). State, institutional, and private aid programs may require separate standards to establish eligibility.
To allow for the appropriate due process, an appeal process is included to allow for extenuating circumstances.
Higher Education Graduates
Students who have already completed an associate, bachelor’s degree or higher-level credential and apply for financial aid will be considered to have met the maximum timeframe. The students must complete a financial aid appeal in order to request an extension for Title IV federal student aid eligibility.
Quantitative (Pace & Maximum Timeframe)
Federal Student Aid (FSA) regulations allow students to receive federal financial aid for up to 150% of their certificate or program’s length. The certificate or program being evaluated shall be the one which is active at the time SAP is reviewed following each semester. All courses taken at OTC or elsewhere which are accepted by the college for credit, including those attempted during high school, are included in the maximum timeframe. No additional time over the 150% maximum timeframe will be allowed if the student changes degrees or programs.
Students who graduate with a two-year or higher credential or complete the requirements within their degree program will be considered to have met the 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 a minimum of two-thirds (66.5%) of all attempted credit hours to maintain their satisfactory progress.
All courses, including remedial, repeat and incomplete coursework, for which a grade is assigned are counted in the pace and maximum timeframe calculation, including any courses which are associated with academic amnesty known as OTC Academic Fresh Start. Courses assigned an X or WH status are not included in the GPA, pace, or timeframe calculations.
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 according to their program and outlined below. Students on an approved appeal must maintain a semester GPA of 2.0 or greater regardless of their program.
|Minimum Cumulative GPA
|Minimum for completion per course catalogue
|Minimum Cumulative GPA
|Minimum for completion per course catalogue
|Minimum Cumulative GPA
|Minimum for completion per course catalogue
Satisfactory Academic Progress Evaluation Status
Students who meet the pace, timeframe, and GPA requirements are eligible to receive Title IV federal student aid.
Students who fail to meet either the pace requirement or GPA requirement will be placed on a financial aid warning status in the subsequent academic term the student enrolls and are not excluded from receiving Title IV federal student aid. A student may receive financial aid on a warning status for only one semester.
Students who are over the maximum timeframe or have exhausted their one warning status and continue to not meet the pace and/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. Students on probation are eligible to request reinstatement through the probation appeal process. If the student meets the requirements in a subsequent academic term, they will be automatically reinstated to satisfactory status and will be eligible for Title IV federal student aid in the next term of attendance.
Methods of Regaining Eligibility
Students on probation may regain Title IV aid eligibility through one of three processes:
- Probation Appeal
- Grievance Appeal
- Petition for Reinstatement
Students may request an appeal for any significant and unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, including but not limited to death of a family member, illness or injury, or lack of reliable childcare. While there is no limit to the number of times a student may appeal their SAP status, the extenuating circumstance may not be presented more than once.
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. The student will be notified once a request has been approved or denied. Only OTC staff delegated by the Financial Aid Office may review appeals.
Probation Appeal Process
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.
Deadlines to appeal within each semester will be provided on the college’s website.
Students who have a probation status may request a reinstatement of aid through the appeal process. Students must complete their degree audit plan for their active program. Degree audit plan completion is required to help students understand the overall courses required for their academic program of study.
The college will provide the appeal form to the student using an online form available on the OTC financial aid website.
The online appeal must address how the student arrived at probation and address how the student will be academically successful in the future.
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 of an approved Probation Appeal:
- GPA for the most recently completed semester is equal to or greater than 2.00.
- May not withdraw from all courses while on probation appeal approved status.
- Program approved at the time of the appeal approval may not be changed except in extenuating circumstances approved by a student success team member.
Probation Appeal Denied Status
Students who did not fulfill the conditions of their approved probation appeal will not be eligible for Title IV financial aid. They may appeal the denied status under specific extenuating circumstances through the grievance appeal process.
Grievance Appeal Process
Students who have already been granted eligibility through the probation appeal process and do not meet the approval conditions will have the opportunity to request a grievance appeal. The responsibility to review Grievance Appeals shall rest with the Financial Aid Office.
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 for their active program.
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 the student will be academically successful in the future.
5. Submit evidence of the extenuating circumstance which affected the student’s success during the term in which they failed to meet appeal approved conditions. Students may request an appeal for any significant and unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, including but not limited to death of a family member, illness or injury, or lack of reliable childcare.
If the Financial Aid Office denies 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.
The student will be notified through OTC email once a decision to approve or deny the appeal is reached. If approved, the extenuating circumstance which prompted the grievance appeal may not be presented again in a future grievance appeal.
Request for Reinstatement
Students who did not meet the approval conditions of a probation appeal or grievance appeal, and did not have extenuating circumstances for doing so, may request their Title IV eligibility be reinstated.
1. Students may request reinstatement no less than 1 calendar year after the end of the term for which they received aid under an approved probation or grievance appeal.
2. Students must initiate the reinstatement request with their Student Success team member.
3. If the Student Success team member determines the student is likely to benefit from reinstatement, they will convey their recommendation to the Financial Aid Office.
4. The Financial Aid Office shall continue the reinstatement application process and will be responsible for conducting a review.
The decision of the Financial Aid Office is final.
Accepted by the College: Any prior course, grade, or academic progress which appears on a student’s academic transcript.
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.
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.
Pace: A measure of a student’s progress toward completion of their program which compares hours earned to hours attempted, expressed as a fraction or percentage.
Petition for Reinstatement: The process through which a student may request to regain Title IV eligibility after failing to meet the terms of a previously approved appeal when there was no extenuating circumstance causing them to not meet the conditions of their last approved appeal.
Probation Appeal: The first process through which a student may regain Title IV eligibility after exhausting their warning status
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 complete academic work at the postsecondary level.
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 standards 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.
Title IV Eligible Program: A degree or certificate which is offered by the College. In general, A.A., A.S, A.A.B., A.A.S., A.I.S., A.I.T.S., and Certificate of Achievement are eligible programs. A Certificate of Specialization is not an eligible program. Programs intended as a primary or dual-enrollment track for high school completion are not considered eligible programs for SAP purposes.
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.”
This policy is maintained under the delegated authority of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
F. Related Policies
1. Purpose, procedures, responsibilities, and definitions approved and adopted by the Cabinet on 10/22/19. Revisions approved by the Cabinet 04/21/2020 and 12/08/2022.
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.
Set for review 2025 – 2026