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Standards of Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients

FINANCIAL AID: SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois student aid regulations, Richland Community College is required to establish satisfactory academic progress standards to qualify for federal and state financial aid.  The purpose of the policy is to ensure that students are making progress toward the completion of their education program. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy is subject to change without notice to comply with federal or state regulations.

Financial Aid Programs Covered

The SAP policy applies to students who are requesting or receiving funds from the following federal and state financial aid programs: Federal PELL Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Student and Parent Loans, Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, Illinois Veterans Grant (IVG), Illinois National Guard Grant (ING), and the Illinois MIA/POW Scholarship.

(NOTE: IVG, ING, and the MIA/POW Scholarship only require students to meet the cumulative GPA requirements of this policy).
 

Evaluation of Progress

Academic Progress will be evaluated at the end of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.  At the time of evaluation, students will be placed in good standing, warning, or suspension.

The SAP policy measures a student’s academic progress in three ways.  Students must meet all three progress standards.  The standards are grade point average (GPA), completion rate, and maximum time frame.  Students will be notified via Richland Community College (Zimbra) email if they are placed on warning or suspension; however, students are responsible for knowing their SAP status.
 

Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress

1. Grade Point Average Standard

To remain in good standing, students must have a 2.0 semester GPA and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 once they have 31 credit hours.  Students with less than 31 credit hours must meet the cumulative GPA standards listed below: 

Cumulative Hours Attempted GPA Required
1-15 hours 1.70
16-30 hours 1.85
31 + hours 2.00

Students receiving IVG, ING, and the MIA/POW Scholarship are required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA.  Students who do not meet that standard will have one warning semester to improve their GPA.  If the cumulative GPA does not meet the standards at the end of the warning semester, the student will not be eligible for IVG, ING, or MIA/POW. Students will have the option of attempting an appeal.

Grades for development course (courses below 100 level) will count towards the semester GPA requirement but will not be calculated in the cumulative GPA requirement. 

2. Completion Rate Standard

To remain in good standing, students must complete 67% of the credit hours that they attempt each semester and maintain an overall completion rate of 67% for classes attempted at Richland Community College.  Attempted credit hours are the credit hours that the student is enrolled in after the drop with a refund period.

Grades of A, B, C, D, and P are considered successful completion of a course for financial aid purposes.  Grades of I, W, and F are NOT considered as successful completion.   

3. Maximum Credit Hour Standard

To remain in good standing, students cannot exceed 150% of the credit hours needed to complete the program.  For example, if a student is completing a program that require 60 credit hours, they will reach the 150% maximum credit hours standards when they have attempted 90 credit hours.

IVG, ING, and MIA/POW do not have a maximum credit hour standard because the amount of benefits is set by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission or the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 

Students who have completed an associate’s degree and are returning for a second degree will be eligible for aid unless they have met the maximum credit hour standard.  Students who have met the standard may attempt a financial aid appeal.
 

Scope of Evaluation

A student’s total academic record including courses that financial aid did not pay for, dual credit courses, transfer work showing on the Richland Community College transcript, and development coursework* will be evaluated for SAP.  

*Developmental courses are counted in the semester GPA standard (but not the cumulative GPA standard), in the semester and cumulative completion rate standard, and in the 150% calculation as attempted credits.  Student are allowed to receive financial aid for 30 credit hours of developmental coursework.  

Courses that are not evaluated for SAP include Adult Education courses, noncredit course, audited courses, and English as a Second Language courses.

 

Repeat Credit Hours

Students may receive financial aid for repeating a course where a passing grade was not earned (F or W). Students who have successfully complete a course (grade of D or higher), may receive financial aid for one repeat of the course. Grades for repeated courses supplant the previous grade.  All course repeats are used in determining SAP.  
 

Financial Aid Warning and Suspension

Students who do not meet the GPA or completion rate standard will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester.  Students on Warning are eligible to receive federal and state financial aid.  Students who do not return to good standing after their Warning semester, will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.  Students that meet the maximum credit hour standard will be placed on Suspension.  

Students on Financial Aid Suspension are not eligible to receive federal or state financial aid.  
 

Financial Aid Appeal

Students who are placed on Financial Aid Suspension may request an appeal.  Students wishing to appeal will complete a Financial Aid Appeal Form and include an explanation of the mitigating circumstances that caused or contributed to the student’s inability to meet SAP standards along with documentation to support the explanation.  

Students who are placed on Financial Aid Suspension for meeting the maximum credit hours standard can also appeal using the Financial Aid Appeal Form.

Students who appeal successfully on placed on Financial Aid Probation.  Students on Probation must maintain a 2.0 semester GPA, 100% semester completion rate, and only take courses that count towards their degree.  Progress will be reviewed each semester.  Students who meet those requirements may be placed on Continued Probation until they meet SAP standards or complete their degree. Students who fail to meet those standards will return to Financial Aid Suspension status.  

Once a student has met the SAP standards they will be notified via Richland (Zimbra) email that they have returned to good standing.  
 

Regaining Eligibility

A student who has been on financial aid suspension can regain eligibility through the appeal process or by returning to SAP standards through improving their GPA and completion rate.  The SAP standards that bring a student back to good standing are the same as the standards listed above to remain in good standing.  


 

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Richland Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs. The following person(s) has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies:
Alex Berry, Title IX Coordinator at phone 217-875-7211 EX 6314
Leanne Brooks, 504 Coordinator, at phone 217-875-7211 EX 6362
For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.