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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Effective July 1, 2011

Federal regulations require that students meet certain academic standards in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. To ensure financial aid recipients are making Satisfactory Academic Progress, academic transcripts are reviewed at the end of each semester to determine eligibility for the following semester. All terms of attendance are reviewed, including periods in which the student did not receive financial aid.

Summer terms are treated on the same merits as fall and spring semesters for the purpose of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Students will be placed on Financial Aid Warning or Financial Aid Probation if they do not meet the following standards:

  • Qualitative Progress – Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.0. Withdrawals and audited classes are not used to determine a student’s GPA.
  • Quantitative Progress
    • Maximum Time Frame – Federal regulations require a student to complete the course work for their program within 150 percent of the published length of the educational program. This includes credit hours for transfer courses, withdrawals or repeat courses. For example, if a degree requires 66 credit hours, the student can attempt 66 credits multiplied by 150 percent (or 99 credit hours) before they are ineligible for financial aid.
    • Pace of Progression – Students must complete 67 percent of the semester hours (registered credit hours) attempted at Mesalands Community College. Any course with a grade of Withdrawal (W), Incomplete (I), Audit (AU), or Fail (F), is not considered completed course work.
  • Incremental Progress Students must complete 67% of the semester hours (registered credit hours) attempted at Mesalands Community College (MCC). Any course with a grade of Withdrawal (W), Incomplete (I), Audit (AU), or Fail (F), is not considered completed course work.

If a student withdraws or takes an incomplete in a course, the credit hours will still count as hours attempted (albeit not completed). This may affect a student’s quantitative and incremental progress. When an incomplete grade changes, the student may request that their satisfactory academic progress be re-evaluated at that time. If the student does not submit a request, their academic progress will be automatically re-evaluated upon completion of the following semester.

Required pre-collegiate courses for credit do affect a student’s enrollment status, GPA, and completion rate. Non-credit courses are not reflected on a student’s transcript and are not calculated into the enrollment status, GPA or completion rate. Students are allowed up to a maximum of 30 credit hours for pre-collegiate courses.

Students are allowed to repeat courses to meet prerequisite or degree requirements while receiving financial aid. The new grade will replace the old grade for the purposes of calculating the student’s cumulative GPA (regardless of any improvement in the grade). The credit hours for the original course and repeated course will be counted in the earned and attempted hours for completion rate calculation.

Students who transfer into a degree program at Mesalands Community College will have the transfer hours calculated with the attempted and earned hours for the purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

A student who changes his or her degree program (or pursues a second degree at the College) must request a transcript evaluation to determine how many hours will be needed to earn the new degree before he or she will be considered for financial aid. Once the number of remaining hours needed is determined, the student will be allotted 150 percent of that total to obtain the degree while being eligible for federal financial aid.

If a student fails to meet the requirements of satisfactory academic progress, he or she will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester. Students on Warning will still be able to receive financial aid. Students who fail to meet Financial Aid requirements by the second semester will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. A student may be released from Financial Aid Warning or Probation by reestablishing satisfactory academic progress.

Students placed on Financial Aid Probation due to adverse academic progress may submit a Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid. The Petition should explain any unusual or mitigating circumstances that have affected the student’s academic performance. Examples of mitigating circumstance include—but are not limited to—prolonged and/or severe illness that results in the student or their dependent being placed under a doctor’s care, accidents requiring hospitalization, or death of an immediate family member. Documentation is required to support the circumstance(s). The petition will be presented to the Student Appeals Committee for a decision.

If an appeal is denied or the student does not have unusual or mitigating circumstances, the student will remain ineligible for financial aid. He or she may reestablish eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs by successfully meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements based on their cumulative hours and GPA. The student will not be able to receive financial aid beyond 150 percent of the degree program until they have reestablished other requirements of satisfactory academic progress.