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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Statement of Purpose:
Undergraduate students are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress and to remain in academic good standing to retain eligibility for financial aid. Both full-time and part-time students are subject to the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. Students enrolled less than full-time must notify the Office of Financial Aid and may be subject to reductions in financial assistance.

Federal regulations require a College's Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) to include the following 2 components for students to receive Federal, State, and Institutional Financial Assistance:

  1. Quantitative Measure:
    1. To remain in good academic standing and retain eligibility for financial aid, students must successfully complete at least two-thirds of all hours attempted (or 67%) including Pass/Fail, repeated courses, incompletes, and courses dropped after the last day to drop a course without penalty (as published in the academic calendar).
    2. For undergraduate programs of study, the maximum time frame for receipt of federal financial aid must be no longer than 150% of the published length of an educational program. At Catawba College, it typically takes 124 credits hours to receive a degree; therefore, students are allowed up to 186 attempted hours (including all transfer hours accepted toward completion of a student's program) to be considered for federal financial aid. The maximum time limits include all hours attempted regardless of whether or not financial aid was received.
    3. Catawba College does not offer remedial coursework; therefore, there is no provision for it under the present academic progress policy. Audits and non-credit courses are not counted by the registrar as hours for which the student is registered; therefore, these hours are not counted for financial aid purposes. Courses which are being repeated are counted as attempted hours for financial aid purposes.
    4. Please note that grades of W (Withdrawal), WF (Withdraw Failing), WN, FN, and U are not considered satisfactory completion of a course and therefore are not earned hours. They will, however, count as attempted hours. Incompletes (I) are counted as attempted if the final grade has not yet posted, and earned hours once final grade has been assigned to the course in question. The following chart demonstrates examples of a student's required ratio of attempted hours to earned hours to be considered as progressing toward degree completion within the maximum 150% limit. It is imperative that students who receive Federal Direct Student Loans realize that there is a maximum aggregate amount they may borrow in their undergraduate career. Students who are enrolled for more than four years or eight semesters, and who receive federal loans during that time, are in jeopardy of meeting their aggregate loan limit for federal student loans.

      When total hours attempted are: Students must have earned at least:
      35 hours 24 hours
      64 hours 43 hours
      95 hours 64 hours
      125 hours 84 hours
      155 hours 104 hours
    5. Transfer Students: Transfer students are evaluated based on the number of hours accepted by Catawba College. Once transfer credit has been evaluated by the Registrar's Office and the student has been awarded credit hours, then that student will fall under the same quantitative and qualitative requirements as previously mentioned based on that designated classification. Transfer grades are not factored into the student's cumulative GPA for SAP proposes, but the overall hours attempted and hours earned (quantitative measures) do fall under the standards for SAP. The maximum time limits for eligibility for federal financial aid also apply to transfer students based on the number of credits accepted by Catawba College.

  2. Qualitative Measure: Students must maintain the following minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) on all attempted hours:

    For hours attempted: A minimum GPA must be maintained:
    fewer than 24 1.0
    25 to 47 1.5
    48 to 63 1.75
    64 or more 2.0
    Graduate Students 3.0

    ***Certain academic awards and some endowed scholarships may require higher academic performance than this Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy.***


Satisfactory Academic Progress Procedures
Grades and progress will be evaluated at the end of every Fall and Spring semester once final grades are posted for the term.

Note: If a student does not meet these standards, the financial aid administrator may approve financial aid to be given under a formal 'warning' for one semester. The student's cumulative G.P.A. would then be reviewed for the next academic progress evaluation period. In most cases, students will receive one formal warning notice of failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, where they will have one full semester to improve his/her academic standing with Catawba.

If the student has received one warning notification and at the end of the next term he/she is still not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress, he/she is formally notified by letter regarding the loss of financial assistance. Students have an opportunity to appeal the revocation of aid. Students also can reclaim eligibility by attending one academic term or summer school [at minimum] at Catawba College without financial assistance and significantly improving their cumulative grade point average. When eligibility is restored, financial assistance will be awarded provided funds are available. Prior awards cannot be held while the student is restoring eligibility. Students may not improve their cumulative grade point average by attending another college.

Students who formally withdraw from Catawba and are afterwards re-admitted will have their Satisfactory Academic Progress status continued.

Course withdraws and formal withdraws from Catawba College will have grades issued as "W" on the academic transcript and therefore those courses are include in the number of attempted hours.


Formal Appeal Process:

A student may submit a written statement of appeal for additional financial assistance if he or she feels that special circumstances prevented him or her from meeting the minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Acceptable appeal requests (per Federal Regulations) are allowable based on: illness or injury, death of a relative, or other exceptional circumstances. Any supporting documents or statements should also be submitted that will provide the Appeals Committee with additional information pertinent to its review. The student must complete and submit the Catawba College Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request (this form is provided with revocation letter)
along with the written statement from the student to the Office of Financial Aid. These documents are due to the Financial Aid Office within 3 weeks of being notified or at the very latest 5 days before the first day of classes of the upcoming semester or term. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee will review the request form, the written statement, and any other submitted documentation to determine if the student can meet satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of the next term, get back on track to graduate, and thereby have his/her Financial Aid reinstated. If the Committee determines that the student cannot meet the required standards after completion of one term, he/she will be denied the appeal and financial aid will not be reinstated. All students will be notified in writing of the Appeals Committee's decisions. After an approved appeal notice, the student's academic progress will be placed on "Probation" and reviewed again at the end of each term to ensure that satisfactory academic progress and the Academic Plan for Improvement is being met. Additional information on the Academic Plan for Improvement is provided below. Students may not appeal more than once for the same reason.


Academic Plan For Improvement:

If the student does not have valid reasons for submitting an appeal based on special circumstances, or if more than one semester is needed to bring up his or her academic progress deficiencies, then submitting an Academic Plan For Improvement is required for consideration of an appeal approval. The student should contact his/her academic advisor as well as the Student Affairs Office to set up an appointment to develop the academic plan for meeting the minimum standards of academic progress. The academic plan is a strategy that presents the student's goal to "get back on track" and meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) while completing degree requirements. The plan will have strict conditions that the student must follow in order to retain eligibility for financial aid. This Academic Plan for Improvement should be endorsed by the student's academic advisor as well as a designated representative from the Student Affairs Office.

It is imperative that any student not making Satisfactory Academic Progress understands that failure to submit a successful appeal for Financial Aid Probation or an Academic Plan for Improvement to the Appeals Committee will mean that no additional financial aid will be awarded to that student for future semesters of enrollment. It is necessary that immediate action be taken upon a student's receipt of the notification that he or she is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

**Students are not guaranteed replacement of any previously awarded financial aid package if an appeal is approved.**

***Students seeking to re-establish financial aid eligibility remain ineligible to receive financial aid assistance or deferment of payment until the appeal process is complete and a decision has been made by the Financial Aid Office. Students should be prepared to pay tuition, fees, and other educational expenses until s/he has been approved to receive financial aid.***

If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.