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Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal regulations require schools offering Federal Student Aid to establish policies to monitor the academic progress of students who apply and/or receive financial aid. This policy differs from the Institutional Standards of Academic Progress. SAP describes the academic standards which students must maintain while completing their Associate or Certificate degree to maintain eligibility for financial aid. These standards consist of completing a quantitative (time-based) and qualitative (grade-based) measure, and a maximum time-frame measure (150%), which is reviewed at the end of each academic semester. Students will be notified by e-mail to their Northern e-mail address if not meeting SAP and further requirements are necessary.

Notification When a Student Fails SAP

Once prior semester grades are reported by faculty, future term Satisfactory Academic Progress will be determined for each student. If it is determined a student has failed SAP, the student will be notified via an email to thier school email account. Individual SAP status for the current term can also be viewed through the student's N.O.W. account.

Federal Student Aid Programs Monitored by these Regulations:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan

  • Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)

  • Federal Pell Grant

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

  • Federal Work-Study (CWS)

Minimum SAP Standards

  1. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) – minimum 2.0 required

    • Earned transfer credit will also be calculated into the GPA unless a Deletion of Outdated Coursework (see separate policy) has been petitioned with the Records Office 

  2. Pace (completion) Rate – minimum 67%

    • Calculation = Credit hours successfully completed (Total PASSED) / Total Credit Hours ATTEMPTED

    • All attempted* credit hours and transfer hours are calculated in the rate even if no financial aid was received for the hours.

* includes withdrawals, failed coursework, incompletes, and repeat coursework

Example: A student has attempted a total of 30 hours. In order for the student to be financial aid eligible he or she must have completed 21 hours (30 hrs x 67% = 20.1)

3.  Maximum Time-Frame (150%) – Students must complete their studies within a maximum time frame which would be limited to no more than 150% of the published length of their program. All attempted and transfer coursework is included in the calculation. A student is ineligible when it becomes mathematically impossible to complete the program within 150% of the length of the program.

  • AA/AAS/AS Degree Programs: Total credit hours required are 60, the maximum time frame is 90 attempted hours (60 x 150%)

  • CAS Programs: Total credit hours required are 30, the maximum time frame is 45 attempted hours (30 x 150%)

Review of SAP Standards

  1. A review will be done at the end of each semester/payment period. The evaluation period will be based on attendance in all prior semester(s) and will include all classes attempted (and transfer work) whether federal aid was received or not.

  2. After the first time the student does not meet the minimum SAP standards 1 and 2 above, the student is placed into a WARNING status. Financial aid warning means that you CAN receive federal financial aid for the next semester of enrollment.

  3. If, after the Warning period, the student is still unable to meet the minimum SAP standards the student is then placed on an APPEAL required status. When an appeal is required this means that you are NOT eligible for federal financial aid for the next semester. The student may appeal this decision if they have an extenuating circumstance.

  4. A student not meeting the 150% Maximum Time-Frame is automatically required to submit an Academic Plan appeal worksheet. This plan may be applicable for up to 3 semesters.

Re-establishing Eligibility

If you are on an Appeal because of failure to successfully complete the Minimum SAP Standards as described above, you must successfully meet the minimum GPA and PACE percentage by taking additional classes at your own expense, or submit a SAP appeal for consideration due to extenuating circumstances. If the SAP appeal is approved, the student is placed on Probation or Probation with an Academic Plan. If denied, the student may still attend WVNCC but at their own expense unless also academically ineligible. Please review the appeal process below.

SAP Appeal Process

All students who have their financial aid eligibility suspended due to SAP may appeal to the Financial Aid Office to receive financial aid in subsequent semesters. The SAP appeal form is available online or in the Financial Aid Office.

An appeal must be based on an extenuating circumstance or situation which prevented the student from completing/passing their courses, or which required that they withdraw from classes. A work conflict, repetitive withdraws and/or failures are not extenuating circumstances. The appeal response must include:

  • Information describing why minimum SAP standards have not been met and how the situation has changed so that SAP will be met at the next evaluation. Not being able to concentrate on college after being in high school is not an approved reason for not maintaining SAP.

  • 2nd appeals must be based on a reason different from the first.

  • Detail any extenuating circumstances, including supporting documentation form a 3rd party (e.g. police reports, detailed hospital bill or physician statement, death certificate, military deployment, etc.)

  • Be complete and turned in to the Financial Aid Office by the deadline date for each of semester of enrollment (See SAP appeal form for current term date).

Students required to submit an Academic Plan worksheet should be worked on between the student and their Academic Advisor. This is a plan outlining required courses of enrollment over the next 1-3 semesters. A Northern Navigator worksheet or Degree Evaluation through NOW are required as part of the appeal submission.

An appeal may be approved only if the school has determined that the student will be able to meet the minimum SAP standards after the subsequent semester. Approval of financial aid based on appeal is normally approved one time during a student’s academic career at WVNCC. If a student has not achieved the minimum SAP standards after the first probationary period, the student may be ineligible for aid until the minimum SAP standards are met unless some progression towards the degree completion is evident.

Additional SAP Policies

Remedial/Supplemental/Pre-requisite Courses: A student, otherwise eligible for federal financial aid, is permitted to attempt a maximum of 30 semester hours of remedial/supplemental/pre-requisite courses while receiving financial aid. It is our best practice to encourage completion of these required courses within the student’s first academic year at WVNCC. At the point it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to complete all required remedial/supplemental/pre-requisite courses within 30 credit hour attempts, the student is no longer eligible for financial aid for any remaining remedial/supplemental/pre-requisite courses.

Repeat Courses: A student may receive financial aid for repeating a previously passed (required) course once. For this purpose, passed means any grade higher than an “F”, regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher grade or measure to have passed the course. Any courses repeated will be used in the student’s PACE and 150% calculations.

Incomplete Grades: Classes in which students are issued Incompletes are considered attempted hours; therefore, they are used in all SAP calculations as such.

SAP Appeal Notifications

All notifications will be sent to each students’ WVNCC email address. Be sure to follow all instructions as indicated in the appeal, approval or denial notice. Some appeals may be approved with modifications, such as an approval for a reduced number of credit hours for the term in which you’ve applied. You may need to contact your Academic Advisor or Campus Service Center to adjust your schedule.


Remember: Financial aid is only eligible for courses required for degree completion. Students cannot take “filler” classes to be full-time for federal financial aid purposes, or take courses for future degree programs not required for completion of their current degree at WVNCC.