Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements are established by federal and state statutes and must be uniformly applied to all applicants for federal or state financial aid programs. Effective with the passing of the Program Integrity Rules of July 1, 2011, new regulations to measure satisfactory academic progress have been mandated. Texas Southmost College will apply these new standards at the conclusion of each payment period to include Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Financial Aid SAP is based on the following quantitative measures:

  • Grade Point Average: The qualitative measure requires undergraduate students working towards a certificate or an associate’s degree to maintain a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.000. This includes grades earned for developmental, dual enrollment and/or transfer coursework.
  • Completion Rate: The quantitative measure requires undergraduate students maintain a cumulative completion rate of 70% of the attempted coursework (including developmental, dual enrollment and/or transfer hours accepted by TSC). This percentage is determined by dividing the number of hours completed by the total number of hours attempted. Attempted hours are the total number of hours completed plus hours of “Wâ€, “Iâ€, “F†(as well as repeated coursework).
  • Timeframe to Complete Academic Program: This measure limits the number of credit hours attempted in the pursuit of an undergraduate certificate or a degree. The maximum attempted hours are 150% of the credits required to complete the students’ program of study. For the purposes of obtaining an associate’s degree at TSC requiring 60 credit hours, the maximum is typically 90 credit hours, including developmental, dual enrollment and/or transfer coursework. Students contemplating degree plan changes or an Academic Fresh Start, should consider the ability to complete a new plan with the maximum allowable limits.  A student is ineligible at the evaluation point where indicated will exceed max time frame NOT at the point when they actually reach the max timeframe.

Compliance with SAP must be met in order for a student to retain their financial aid eligibility.  Students are advised to check their status through their TSC Online account.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress include all credits for which a student is registered for on the official record date (according to the published Academic Calendar) during any period of credit-hour enrollment offered at TSC, including mini sessions and summer terms, and all accepted transfer credits, even for courses taken during periods when the student was not receiving financial aid and periods of dual enrollment. Earned hours are those credits for which a student receives a passing grade (according to Grade Standards published in the Undergraduate Catalog).

Courses with grades of A, B, C, D, P, S and CR are considered as attempted and earned credit hours. Courses with grades of F, G, U, W, WC, WF, WM, WP, WS, NR, DF, DP and DR are considered as credit hours attempted, but not earned. Incomplete courses (with grade of I) are considered as attempted hours until a final grade is posted. Students are required to request a re-evaluation after successful completion of an incomplete course. Repeated course hours (designated as R) are included as attempted hours, but excluded from earned hours, regardless of course grade. Withdrawn courses are considered attempted credits, but are excluded from earned credits, regardless of reason for withdrawal.  If a student was granted an Academic Fresh Start, those hours will still be counted for financial aid SAP purposes. 

Change of Major and Transfer Credits

Students receiving financial aid must declare a major in an eligible certificate or degree program.  Students should only register for courses approved for their designated degree plan/catalog year.  Change of majors must be initiated with an Academic Advisor.  Transfer credits that are applicable to the students’ degree plan will be counted in both the attempted and completed credits. 

Student Notification

Students who are not meeting SAP standards at the end of a payment period will be notified that they will be entering Financial Aid Warning for the following semester via e-mail.

Students in Financial Aid Warning status who fail to meet SAP standards for the next semester will not be eligible to receive financial aid and will be placed in Financial Aid Suspension. These students have the option to complete and submit a Financial Aid Appeal.  Should the Financial Aid Appeals Committee approve the Financial Aid SAP Appeal, the student will be placed in Financial Aid Probation.  The information below describes each status in more detail:

Good Standing

Students are considered to be in Good Standing with Financial Aid if they meet all three (3) standards of progress outlined above.  These students may participate in any financial aid programs provided they meet all other eligibility criteria, subject to availability of funds.

Warning Status

Students who fail to meet the grade point average requirement, the completion rate requirement, or attempt 85% or more of the 1.5 times the minimum number of credits required for a degree program, will be placed in Financial Aid Warning Status for the following semester.  A student cannot have two consecutive Warning periods back to back.  Students will be notified via their TSC email of their warning status.

Students who exceed the maximum timeframe requirement will not be granted a warning semester, but will be immediately placed in Financial Aid Suspension. Students in this status are not eligible to receive financial aid, but may submit a Financial Aid Appeal, Academic Plan, and a Personal Statement to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for consideration.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students in Financial Aid Warning status who fail to meet SAP requirements for the next semester will not be eligible to receive financial aid and will be placed in Financial Aid Suspension. These students are sent a financial aid suspension notice via their TSC email and can continue to enroll but at their own expense. A student may appeal the suspension status at this time.

Financial Aid Probation
Financial Aid probation is a status assigned to students who submitted an appeal and have been approved.   Students will remain in probation status for subsequent semesters as long as the requirements of the Academic Plan are met and are considered eligible for federal student aid. If a student fails to meet the requirements of the Academic Plan, the student is not making SAP and is not eligible for Title IV funds. 
Students desiring a modification to their approved Academic Plan may request a revision by submitting a new Financial Aid Appeal Form for review by the Financial Aid appeals Committee. This request must include an explanation of what occurred to make the change necessary and how the student will make Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress in the future.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

Students may appeal their financial aid suspension status.  The appeal should include a personal statement (with appropriate documentation) detailing the extenuating circumstances that resulted in their failure to meet the required standards and actions the student will take to achieve and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.  In addition, students must submit a declared degree plan, signed by an academic advisor, clearly showing courses earned towards the program, courses still needed, and the anticipated graduation date.  Appeal Form, complete with instructions, are available in the Financial Aid Office and online. Completed appeal packets must be submitted to the TSC Financial Aid Office. Incomplete appeals will be denied.

If the appeal is approved, student will be placed in Financial Aid Probation and eligibility is reinstated subject to program requirements.  Progress is reviewed at the end of the semester to make sure that the student is meeting the Academic Plan and following their declared degree plan.  Failure in either of these criteria will again result in financial aid suspension. Students will be notified via email regarding the outcome of their appeal.
Students desiring a modification to their approved Academic Plan may request a revision by submitting a new Financial Aid Appeal Form for review by the Financial Aid appeals Committee. This request must include an explanation of what occurred to make the change necessary and how the student will make Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress in the future.
Appeal Requirements
The Financial Aid SAP Committee will consider Appeals based on the following reasons:

  • Personal illness or serious injury supported by hospital records, insurance explanation of benefits, and receipt of doctors’ visits, etc.
  • Serious illness or injury of an immediate family member supported by hospital records, insurance explanation of benefits, and receipt of doctors’ visits, etc.
  • Other extenuating circumstances with supporting documentation.

Academic Plan

According to regulations (34 CFR 668.34(c)(3)(iii)(B), the academic plan must be designed to ensure that the student is able to meet TSC’s Financial Aid SAP policy standards by a specific point in time.  The Academic Plan outlines the following requirements:

  • Student must earn a minimum semester GPA of 2.0 during each enrolled sessions/semester until student regains good standing based on the Financial Aid SAP standards.
  • Student must complete 100% of all enrolled courses until student regains good standing based on the Financial Aid SAP standards.
  • Student must remain on schedule to complete current program of study within 150% of the minimum number of hours required for graduation.
  • Student must enroll only for courses from current program of study or in developmental or preparatory courses.
  • If student does not meet the conditions of the appeal and academic plan, student will be placed back in suspension until good standing is regained.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make payment arrangements if appeal is not submitted by priority deadline.
  • Additional requirements may be added to the academic plan on a case by case basis as deemed necessary.

Denied Appeals

Students may re-establish financial aid eligibility by paying for courses without financial aid and regaining GOOD standing based on the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards:

  • A minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.000
  • A minimum Completion Rate of 70%
  • On schedule to complete current program of study within the 150% of the maximum number of hours required for graduation.

Students who are on suspension due to Completion Rate or GPA may be considered for a re-appeal after they have completed one (1) semester, preferably two (2) at their own expense at Texas Southmost College or another school and can demonstrate their ability to succeed academically.  A student does not automatically regain eligibility under this option, but would be considered for a re-appeal based on their ability to demonstrate progress.

Deadlines

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will establish and publish priority deadline dates each semester for the submission of Appeal.  Students are responsible for making payment arrangements with the Cashiers Office if appeals are submitted after the priority deadline.  The latest an Appeal will be accepted or completed for consideration for the current semester will be the last day to withdraw for that semester (see academic calendar).

Financial Aid Appeal Form and Academic Plan form is available here:
pdfFinancial Aid Satisfactory Academic Process (SAP) Appeal Packet