In accordance with U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois student aid regulations, Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) is required to establish minimum standards of a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for all students applying for and/or receiving financial aid. This policy is required to ensure that students are making progress toward the completion of their financial aid eligible program of study. Students who do not meet the minimum requirements of this policy will become ineligible for financial aid. Standards are subject to change each academic year in accordance with federal and state reforms.
Programs Affected By SAP
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG Grant
- ISAC MAP
- Federal Work Study
- Regular Student Work
- Federal Direct Loans
- Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA): You must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
- Cumulative Completion Rate (PACE): You must successfully complete at least 67% of all attempted credit hours
- Maximum Timeframe (a component of PACE): You must complete your program of study within 150% of its published length.
It is ultimately students’ responsibility to know and understand their SAP status and how it affects financial aid eligibility.
What Is Evaluated?
- All prior semesters of attendance are included in the evaluation of SAP, whether or not financial aid was used to pay for those previous semesters
- Dual credit courses are included in both CGPA and PACE
When Are Courses Evaluated?
- Students applying for financial aid will not have a SAP status evaluation until they submit the FAFSA
- SAP is evaluated at the end of each semester after all grades are posted. Students who do not qualify for the meet status will be notified in a message through their SWIC student email account
- Only incoming transfer credits counting toward your primary program(s) of study are included in PACE if evaluated and posted to the SWIC transcript. Transfer credit is evaluated according to Enrollment Services procedures
Course Completion Status
- Complete: Courses graded with an (A), (B), (C), (D)* or (P)
- Incomplete: Courses graded with an (I), (PR), (W), (WF), (FLW), OR (F)
* Although passing, courses graded with a (D) will lower semester and cumulative GPA.
Causes of Financial Aid Suspension
- Enrolling in courses outside your primary program of study
- Withdrawing, repeating and failing courses (including remedial classes and pass/fail courses).
- While there is no federal regulation against pursuing a secondary program of study, SAP (specifically maximum timeframe) is only calculated on the primary program of study at SWIC
- Taking courses outside your primary program of study will negatively impact your maximum timeframe status
A student is considered to be on meet (i.e., good standing) if he meets all 3 mandatory SAP requirements.
A student is placed on plan after having a financial aid suspension appeal granted due to failing one or all of the mandatory SAP requirements. This status is reviewed at the end of each semester to ensure academic plan requirements are being met according to the official letter of approval. Students who lose their plan will return to a financial aid suspension status.
A student is placed on suspension after the 2nd consecutive semester he fails the CGPA (2.0) and/or PACE (67%) requirement. If, by the end of the suspension semester the student meets both the CGPA and PACE requirements, he/she will regain good standing and receive financial aid again. Students remain on suspension until they have completed enough credit hours to meet both the CGPA and PACE requirements. A student is not eligible for financial aid while on suspension.
Timeframe Notice Status
A student is placed on timeframe notice when his total hours remaining to complete a program plus total hours already attempted exceed 130% of the program’s length. This is a proximity warning to prevent a student from progressing to timeframe suspension. A student may still receive financial aid while on timeframe notice.
AA degree = 64 credit hours
130% x 64 credit hours = 83.2 credit hours
Hours needed + hours attempted = 86 credit hours
Student is on timeframe notice
Certificate = 32 credit hours
130% x 32 credit hours = 41.6 credit hours
Hours needed + hours attempted = 43 credit hoursStudent is on timeframe notice
Timeframe Suspension Status
A student is placed on timeframe suspension when his total hours remaining to complete a program plus total hours already attempted exceed 150% of the program’s length. A student is not eligible for financial aid while on timeframe suspension.
AA Degree = 64 credit hours
150% x 64 credit hours = 96 credit hours
Hours needed + hours attempted = 105 credit hours
Student is on timeframe suspension
Certificate = 32 credit hours
150% x 32 credit hours = 48 credit hours
Hours needed + hours attempted = 52 credit hours
Student is on timeframe suspension
A student is placed on warning after the 1st semester he fails the CGPA (2.0) and/or PACE (67%) requirement. By the end of the warning semester, the student must meet both the CGPA and PACE requirements to regain good standing. If a student fails either requirement a 2nd semester in a row, he will be placed on suspension for the next semester. A student may still receive financial aid while on warning.
If you qualify for a financial aid suspension appeal, contact the Financial Aid and Student Employment Office for a financial aid suspension appeal coversheet to begin the process.
- First day to submit an appeal: First day of enrollment for the semester
- Deadline: Last day of the semester (i.e. last day of finals)
- Time before a decision is made: The review process takes a minimum of 1 to 2 weeks
Suspension Appeal Process
Students who have failed to meet all requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy due to documented extenuating circumstances may qualify to submit a financial aid suspension appeal. An appeal represents a formal request to have one’s loss of financial aid eligibility re-evaluated based on unusual circumstances that resulted in poor academic performance. According to the mandatory SAP requirements. The SAP Appeal Committee will evaluate each appeal on a case-by-case basis.
- Severe illness/injury to self or immediate family member
- Death of an immediate family member
- Separation/divorce for self or parents
- Military reassignment
- Other mitigating circumstances
What You Need to Know
- All appeal decisions will be communicated through your SWIC student email account
- The processing of your financial aid will be delayed until a committee decision has been made.
- You are responsible for tuition, fees, and books throughout the appeal process.
- You must have a documented extenuating circumstance that addresses each semester that has contributed to your current suspension status (dates of documentation must coincide with semesters in question).
- Incomplete appeal packets will not be evaluated by the committee and will be returned to the student by mail.
- Your appeal will be reviewed by the SAP Appeal Committee. The committee’s decision is final.
- The review process takes a minimum of 1 to 2 weeks.
If Granted an Appeal
- Students with a bachelor’s degree will only be granted a loan and work-study eligibility upon approval of their appeal.
- You will be placed on a PLAN (probation) status which signifies your agreement to follow your academic plan according to your appeal. During the probationary period, you may continue to receive FSA funds.
- Your academic plan only follows your program(s) of study according to your appeal submission.
- You must wait until the financial aid process is complete prior to using financial aid on tuition and books.
- You must meet all the requirements in the letter of approval to maintain PLAN status and financial aid eligibility each semester.
- You will be evaluated at the end of every semester to ensure PLAN status requirements are being met.
- Loss of your PLAN status will return you to a financial aid suspension status.
- 2nd appeals cannot re-use the extenuating circumstances that were used in the original appeal.
The following reasons will result in the loss of your appeal:
- Earning less than a 2.0 semester GPA
- Earning less than a 67% completion rate (PACE)
- Exceeding Maximum Timeframe
- Changing your program/taking ineligible classes