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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (sometimes abbreviated as SAP) is a measure of a student’s success in pursuing an academic degree, calculated from your GPA, from the percentage of classes successfully completed compared to those that a student has not completed or has failed, and if it is mathematically possible for the student to graduate in 150% of the published program length.

Check your SAP status in myPellissippi. Under the main “Financial Aid” menu, choose “Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status” and then select the aid year. Click on the “Academic Progress” tab and your SAP status for that semester will be listed.

Federal regulations require that Pellissippi State establishes and applies reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for the purpose of awarding financial assistance under the Title IV programs authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended (34 CFR 668.34).

Pellissippi State complies with this requirement by monitoring each student’s qualitative and quantitative academic progress as well as the maximum time frame. Qualitative progress is measured by the overall combined cumulative grade point average (GPA). Quantitative progress is measured using a completion ratio known as “PACE.” This measures the number of credit hours completed versus the number of credit hours attempted. Maximum time frame allows for students to complete their course program of study within 150% of the published program length. 

This policy is applicable to all Federal Title IV Programs (Pell, SEOG, Direct and Plus Loans and Federal Work-Study), as well as State programs including the Tennessee Student Assistance Award and the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (Hope). 

The following standards apply whether or not a student received financial aid during the period(s) being measured. SAP is evaluated annually, at the end of every spring semester. Students that now meet all SAP standards will be considered to have regained eligibility and can be updated into good standing at the end of any term. In general, students should be aware that they must maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher, pass 67% of all attempted courses and complete their program within 150% of the published program length in order to remain eligible to receive financial aid.

Qualitative Standard (GPA)
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 or higher in order to maintain satisfactory progress toward graduation. This includes college lever, ESL, and learning support courses. This does not include transfer credit of credit by exam (AP credit).

Quantitative Standard (Pace) 
Students must maintain at least a 67% overall class completion rate (PACE) of all classes attempted at the college and/or transfer courses attempted. Pellissippi will not allow rounding up of any decimal points to reach a 67%. Grades of W, I, X, F, WF, NR, FA, FN and AU do not count as earned courses for the student but do count as attempted. Repeats of previously passed courses can cause a student’s completion rate to decrease. PACE is calculated by dividing the overall combined earned hours by the overall combined attempted hours.

Maximum Time Frame (MTF)
Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program.

For associate degree programs, students are allowed up to their first 90 hours attempted or at the point in which it is determined they cannot complete programs within the maximum time frame. Students enrolled in Title IV eligible certificate programs may receive aid up until 150% of the individual program length. The college will consider a student to have reached this limit at the end of the semester in which he or she reaches or exceeds the maximum hours attempted.

The majority of transfer and career associate programs offered at Pellissippi State Community College take 60-61 credits to reach graduation but some programs may take upwards of 67 credits to reach graduation. All students will still be considered MTF upon 90 hours and those that have a longer program length will be taken into consideration, should the student appeal for MTF.

Transfer credit and repeated coursework count toward the attempted hours. All college coursework and transfer coursework accepted is included in this measurement even if it does not apply to the student’s current program of study. At any point, when it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to complete their program of study within the MTF, the student will become ineligible for all federal financial aid programs.

This timeframe limitation does not include remedial or developmental courses for which the maximum federal limitation is thirty (30) attempted credit hours.

Remedial Coursework
All remedial courses (passed and failed) will count towards attempted and completed hours in the pace calculation and towards overall combined GPA. 

Repeat Coursework
Students should refer to the academic regulations within the undergraduate catalog to determine how course repeats are counted in the institutional GPA calculation.

In relation to the SAP policy, all attempted college level credit hours (including repeated coursework credit hours) are included in the quantitative/pace and Maximum Time Frame measurements. Additionally, all attempted remedial/developmental coursework, also referred to as learning support courses, (including repeated remedial/developmental credit hours) are included in the remedial/developmental thirty (30) attempted credit hour limitation.

A student may repeat a failed course until passed (depending on eligibility). However, for a passed course, a student may only be paid federal financial aid one additional time. Passed courses are any course with A, B, C, D, or P grades. Repeats of a passed course can impact a student’s completion rate (PACE), as a student may only earn hours for the course once. 

Transfer Coursework
A transfer student’s eligibility will NOT be processed until ALL final (no in-progress courses), official transcripts have been received and evaluated by the Records office. All passed in-program transfer courses will be included in the PACE calculation and overall combined GPA.

All unsatisfactory transfer courses (in-program and out of program) of W, FA and F are considered and are counted in the PACE calculation and overall combined GPA.

International Students
All International Students who wish to receive credit from the International College transcript(s) or receive financial aid funding must have his/her transcript evaluated by a credentialing service. International students who have not taken college courses will need to provide credentialed proof of high school completion or take the HiSet to prove they meet high school completion standards. If the student does not choose to have his/her transcripts evaluated the student remains ineligible for financial aid.

Dual Enrollment
All recent high school graduates with dual enrollment hours will be placed in good standing for initial review. Dual enrollment hours will be calculated in the student’s SAP status and review of academic progress will be conducted annually at the end of the spring period. Dual enrollment hours that are part of a student’s course program of study, will count in both a student’s PACE, GPA and maximum time frame (MTF).

Grade Changes
In cases where a student is assigned a grade of ‘I’ or has a change in grade, the student will be evaluated accordingly. Incomplete grades do not impact GPA but do impact PACE. These grades do not count as completed or earned hours but do count as attempted in the PACE calculation. If the grade is subsequently changed, the student’s SAP status will be re-evaluated upon notice of any grade changes.  

Bachelor’s Degree 
Students (including International students) who have completed a FAFSA and indicated that they have earned a Bachelor’s degree are only eligible to receive Federal loans. The student’s eligibility will be evaluated following regular SAP guidelines. 

Financial Aid Appeals
There are two separate types of appeals in the Financial Aid office; State program (Hope, TN Promise and TN Reconnect) appeals and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeals.

Students can file a SAP appeal to regain eligibility if there were extenuating circumstances that warrant a student to continue receiving Title IV aid. Appeals submitted without appropriate documentation will be denied. SAP appeals are open at the beginning of registration and closed on the 14th day. Once an appeal form and supporting documentation is submitted, the appeal will be submitted to the SAP committee for approval or denial. If the appeal is approved, the student must follow the academic plan they have been given, to continue federal aid eligibility. Plans will be reviewed at the end of each semester. If the appeal is denied, the student will remain on financial aid suspension and is not eligible to receive financial aid until meeting all required SAP standards. 

Deadline to Submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

If you are a currently-enrolled Pellissippi State student, you cannot file an SAP appeal until all of your final grades have been posted. Your appeal will not be submitted for review until you have uploaded documentation supporting your reason for appeal.

Fall 2020 Spring 2021 Summer 2021
Appeal deadline: September 8

Appeal deadline: February 2
Deadline to submit supportive documentation: March 1

Appeal deadline: June 5
Deadline to submit supportive documentation: July 1

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