Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


Federal Regulations require Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) to establish policies to monitor the academic progress of students who apply for and/or receive financial aid. These standards are designed to ensure that students are making progress toward completion of their program of study and apply to the following financial aid programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study Program (FWS), Federal Direct Loan Program (subsidized and unsubsidized), Federal Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP), and other programs as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

The Federal Government requires institutions to also monitor the academic progress of non-recipients. This includes all transfer credit hours accepted by the College as well as developmental courses. Be aware that academic progress during any semester in which financial aid is not received will be a factor in determining eligibility for aid in subsequent semesters. Students applying for financial aid must be making satisfactory progress as outlined in this policy prior to the initial awarding or certification of financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to understand and adhere to these standards to continue receiving aid at COTC.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are measured using the following criteria:

I. Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement:

Students must maintain a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of 2.0 which will be monitored at the end of every semester (including summer). COTC does not round up. (i.e.: 1.99 does not meet the 2.0 requirement) Hours transferred in from another college do not affect the GPA.

II. Credit Hours Completed Requirement:

Students must maintain a minimum semester and cumulative completion ratio of 67% which will be monitored at the end of each semester (including summer). Hours transferred in from another college will be included in the hours attempted and successfully completed. The completion ratio is calculated by dividing the number of hours successfully completed by the number of hours attempted. COTC does not round up. (i.e.: 66.6% does not meet the 67% completion ratio)

Credit Hour Completion Example:
Hours attempted = 12, Hours completed = 8
8/12 = 66.66% completion ratio

Successful completion of course work is defined as a letter grade/notation of A, B, C, D, S, X, AA, AP, AS, CE, LE, MC, PA, or any other transfer credit, (X = proficiency, AA = Articulation Agreement, AP = Advance Placement, AS = Advanced Standing, CE = Credit Equivalency, LE = Life Experience, MC = Military Credit, PA = Passing.)

Hours attempted not only include successful completion of courses but also include hours for which there are grades/notations of E, EN, F, FN, I, IA, IB, IC, ID, IE, IF, IP, IU, NG, NP, U, UN, W, or Repeated courses. (FN = Failed/Non-Attendance, I = Incomplete, IP = In Progress, NG = No Grade, NP = Non-Pass, U = Unsatisfactory, UN = Unsatisfactory/Non-Attendance, W = Withdrawal.)

It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any grade changes or when an Incomplete course (I) has been completed successfully.

III. Maximum Time Frame (MTF) Measurement Requirements

Federal Regulations stipulate that an undergraduate student must complete their academic program within 150% of the published credit hours required for their program to remain eligible for financial aid (definition of Maximum Time Frame.) All classes attempted at COTC and transferred in from another institution are included in the MTF calculation which also includes proficiency credits, repeat courses and all other grade/notations as listed above. Progress will be assessed each semester (including summer) after grades are posted.

Financial Aid cannot pay for courses not listed on your current Plan of Study. However, classes taken that are not on the published Plan of Study (POS) will be counted in SAP. It is very important that the student follows the POS to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Taking courses not on the POS will cause the student to reach MTF faster. Students are not eligible for federal assistance for the period in excess of 150% of the academic period normally required to complete the program of study.

MTF Example:
Program length in semesters hours = 66
Max Time reached at 99 hours (66 x 150% = 99 hours)

Consequences of not meeting GPA, Completion Ratio, and/or Maximum Time Frame

Academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester (including summer) according to the criteria stated above.

  1. The first semester a student fails to meet the semester and/or cumulative minimum GPA or completion ratio criteria set in the policy, they are placed on Warning Status, sent a warning email, and may still receive aid.
  2. Failure to meet the semester and cumulative minimum GPA and/or completion ratio while on Warning Status will result in the student being placed on Cancellation Status and sent a cancellation email. While on cancellation status, the student is ineligible for federal, state, and most institutional financial aid.
  3. Once the student has attempted 150% of the published number of hours of their program, they will be placed on Cancellation Status and sent a cancellation email. (Once a student attempts 135% of the published number of hours of their academic program, the Office of Financial Aid will send a notification to the student as a courtesy that they are getting close to exhausting their financial aid eligibility.)

    Students on warning, cancellation, or probation status for SAP WILL NOT have aid released for the subsequent semester until all current semester grades have been posted and academic progress has been reviewed. Therefore, fees may not be paid by the published due date.

Reinstatement of Aid/Right to Petition for reinstatement

A student who is ineligible for financial aid can become eligible for financial aid again by fulfilling one of the following conditions:

  1. Eliminate all academic deficiencies by completing the number of credit hours that are lacking and/or complete enough credit hours successfully to achieve the minimum 2.0 GPA and/or 67% completion ratio at the student’s own expense. Once the student meets all minimum SAP standards, the student will return to Eligible Status and regain financial aid eligibility; or
  2. Successfully petition the ineligible status by demonstrating unforeseen, documentable, extenuating circumstances. (i.e.: illness/injury of student, death of close relative, unexpected work schedule conflicts, day care or transportation problems) Multiple program changes and taking courses not on the Plan of Study are not considered unforeseen, extenuating circumstances. Therefore, SAP petitions for Maximum Time Frame in these situations are likely to be denied.
    1. It is extremely helpful to discuss the situation with a financial aid advisor before starting the petition process. A student with unforeseen, documentable, extenuating circumstances who has been denied financial aid may submit a SAP Appeal. For each semester the student did not meet the minimum GPA of 2.0 and/or a completion rate of at least 67%, the student must submit information and documentation explaining why the SAP standards were not met and what has changed that will allow the student to meet the SAP standards in the future. The petition form and all required supporting documentation must be submitted by the stated deadline for the semester. Incomplete petitions will result in automatic denial. If verification is incomplete at the time the petition is reviewed, the petition may not be considered until the next semester. (In general, the petition process is not to be used to extend the student’s financial aid eligibility. Therefore, SAP petitions for Maximum Time Frame may be denied.)
    2. A student regaining eligibility through the petition process will be placed on Probation or an Academic Plan and may have specific requirements to meet in order to regain and maintain financial aid eligibility. They are required to sign and return a copy of the probation email/letter stating that they understand the stipulations of probation. While on probationary status, the student must meet the terms outlined in the probation email. Failure to do so will result in immediate cancellation of aid and it is highly unlikely a second petition would be considered. If a second petition is submitted, it cannot be for the same circumstances as the first. An email is sent to the student if the SAP petition is denied.
    3. The deadlines to petition the SAP cancellation are generally one week before the semester starts.  You may contact the Office of Financial Aid for specific dates.

NOTE: Neither paying for classes nor sitting out periods of enrollment, in and of themselves, affects a student’s academic progress standing; therefore, neither action is sufficient to regain financial aid eligibility.

Transfer hours earned at another institution after Cancellation Status is imposed can be included in the completion ratio. However, the GPA earned at another institution cannot be transferred to COTC. Contact the Office of Financial Aid if transfer hours need to be considered for SAP.

Additional Institutional SAP Policies

Repeat Courses or Fresh Start:

A student may receive financial aid for repeating courses. However, if retaking a previously passed course, financial aid can only be used for one repeat of the course even if the second attempt results in a lower grade. Any courses that are repeated will be used in the SAP calculation. Each repetition will count toward the attempted hours; however, only the courses being counted in the GPA calculation will be counted in completed hours for SAP. Repeated hours may be subtracted from the completed hours but remain in the attempted hours for the SAP calculation. In both situations, the student’s GPA could improve, but the credit hour completion ratio may stay the same or decrease.

Per Federal Regulations, all classes attempted and those transferred in from another institution must be included in the total number of credits attempted at COTC when determining the denominator portion of the credit hour completion ratio. This includes Incompletes, withdraws, and repeated classes.

Remedial/Developmental Courses:

A student enrolled in an eligible program for Federal financial aid is permitted to attempt a maximum of 30 semester hours of developmental courses while receiving federal financial aid. COTC offers 21 semester hours of remedial courses; all of which are at high school level or equivalent. The remedial courses will be included in all SAP measurements. Developmental courses that are no longer available are still included in determining the 30 developmental credit hour limit. A student cannot receive aid if taking remedial courses solely in a remedial program because it is not a financial aid eligible program. However, COTC does not have a remedial program.

Program Changes:

A student who has changed their major is more likely to reach maximum time frame for SAP purposes. If a student changes their program during their enrollment at COTC, the MTF hours will change to coincide with the new program which may cause the student to go directly to Cancellation Status. Petitions to reinstate financial aid in this situation are likely to be denied.

Second Degrees at COTC:

COTC’s Office of Financial Aid policy states a student may receive aid for no more than two degrees. A student who is pursuing a second degree will need to complete the Graduate/Second Program Petition process.

Double Degrees/Double Majors:

Some students seek two simultaneous degrees or majors from COTC which requires the appropriate paperwork and approval by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Seeking two degrees/majors may cause the student to reach MTF hours and go to Cancellation Status more quickly. [Definitions: Double Degrees: a student is seeking a degree from two different programs at the same time. Double Majors: a student is seeking two degrees within the same program.]

Petitions for Retro-Drops/Withdraws:

Occasionally, a student petitions to have a class(es) retroactively dropped due to extenuating circumstances. If the petition is approved, the adjustment to the student’s class(es) does not automatically change the SAP status for that semester. The student will have to self-identify that SAP needs recalculated. In some situations, the SAP status will not improve.

Completing Coursework for a Degree:

If a student has completed all required courses for a degree, they may not receive aid for any more classes.

High School Option Courses:

All courses taken at COTC while attending high school are included in the total number of credits completed and attempted and in the GPA. A student could possibly transition to a regular degree seeking student upon graduating from high school and immediately be on cancellation status. A student who is on cancellation status in their first semester due to high school option courses will be placed on a “probation” status (code HP1) and have one semester to work their way back to an eligible status. If the student does not meet the SAP requirements for GPA and/or completion or exceeds MTF at the end of the first semester as a regular student, they will go to cancellation and could submit the SAP Petition as normal procedures require. Occasionally, a high school student will obtain an associate’s degree when completing high school graduation requirements. If this happens, the student will need to complete a Graduated/Second Program Petition to be considered for financial aid.