Satisfactory Academic Progress

student sitting on a bench on campusVolunteer State Community College has established the following standards of "Satisfactory Academic Progress" applicable to all Title IV funds. These funds include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study Program, and Federal Direct Student Loans. The following institutionally awarded state funds are subject to the same "Satisfactory Academic Progress" standards, Tennessee Student Assistance Award, Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarships, and Access and Diversity Grants. The purpose of this policy is to maintain a consistency for all students receiving these sources of aid.

Federal and state regulations require that students maintain adequate academic progress toward receiving a degree or certificate in order to continue eligibility for Title IV financial aid programs. The following standards are for Title IV financial aid purposes only and neither replace or override VSCC academic policies.

Criteria Requirements

Qualitative: Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement

Maintain a minimum grade point average based on the number of credit hours attempted at VSCC (including remedial, developmental and learning support classes). Transfer credits and the grades received in those courses are not considered in this GPA calculation. The following chart outlines the cumulative GPA which Title IV funded recipients must maintain according to the number of institution combined GPA hours attempted:

Associates Degree GPA Requirements

Institutional Combined Hours Attempted 0-14 14.1 26.1 40.1 48.1 56.1
Cumulative GPA - 1.0 1.4 1.7 1.9 2.0

Certificate Programs GPA Requirements

Institutional Combined Hours Attempted 0-6 6.1 13.1 20.1 27.1  
Cumulative GPA - 1.0 1.5 1.9 2.0  

Quantitative: Pace - Measurable Progress Requirement

Students must complete, with a passing grade, 67 % of all classes attempted including all transfer hours. Grades of W, I, K, YC, or F are considered in this calculation and will negatively impact the student where measurable progress is concerned.

Maximum Time Frame (MTF)

Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program. For associates degree programs, students are allowed to receive Title IV financial aid up to the first 90 hours attempted. Students enrolled in Title IV eligible certificate programs may receive aid through completion of 150% of the individual program length. Transfer credit and repeated coursework will negatively impact the student.  All VSCC coursework is included in this measurement even if it does not apply to the student's current program.   Students are limited to 30 attempted hours of remedial, developmental, and learning support coursework.  

Financial Aid Warning and Probation

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate each of these measurements at the end of each academic term (including summer term). Students, who do not meet the standards of the GPA or Pace will be placed on Financial Aid Warning.

Students in this status may continue to receive Title IV Financial Aid for one additional term.  At the end of that tem if they have not met the GPA and/or Pace requirement, they will be placed on Financial Aid Probation (suspension). Students on Financial Aid Probation will be ineligible to receive any Title IV Financial Aid (including loans) and must take classes at their own expense until GPA and/or Pace meet the standards outlined in this policy.

Students who do not meet the Maximum Time Frame (MTF) measurement are not eligible for a Financial Aid Warning Period and immediately become ineligible for Title IV Financial Aid.

Students earning zero credit hours with a 0.00 GPA during any term which enrolled will be placed on Warning Zero status.  When placed on Warning Zero status for the first time, the student will be permitted to enroll for the upcoming term and encouraged to work with the assigned Academic Advisor or Professional Advisor to review the proposed course load and to also determine the most productive path to reaching the status of good standing.  The student will still be evaluated for Title IV aid eligibility based on the Federal PACE, GPA, and Maximum Time Frame (MTF) requirements as listed above.

Appeal Process

A Financial Aid Appeal can be filed to possibly regain eligibility if there were extenuating circumstances that impeded the student's academic progress, which subsequently placed the student on Financial Aid Probation/Suspension status and prevented the student to be from receiving Title IV financial aid. To successfully appeal:

  1. Complete a Financial Aid Appeal Form. The student must provide an explanation of the circumstances which caused their past unsatisfactory performance during the previous two semesters and documentation of the extenuating circumstance.
  2. The appeal must state how the issues have been corrected or list the steps they are currently taking to ensure that circumstances do not reoccur.  
    The Financial Aid Appeal Form can be accessed at the My VolState Portal under Financial Aid. The request with supporting documentation should be returned to the Financial Aid Office. For the request to be considered, you must submit all paperwork by the set deadline. All requests will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeal Committee.
  3. On an individual basis, the Financial Aid Appeals Committee may recommend that a student be placed on an Academic PLAN for the subsequent semesters at VSCC.  The Academic PLAN requires that the student works with their Academic Advisor to complete a PLAN form. A course plan will be created for each student to follow.  A copy of the completed form must be turned into the Financial Aid Office.  Students must not deviate from the PLAN and pass each term with at least a 2.0 GPA.  Any deviation from this plan will result in the student losing financial aid eligibility unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances.  The purpose of the plan is to enable the student to reach Satisfactory Academic Progress.

**Once the Appeals Committee has reached a decision, the Financial Aid Counselor will notify the student of the decision via the student's VSCC Email address.**

A student wishing to appeal the action of this committee should submit a written appeal to the Vice President of Student Services within five calendar days from the date of notification of the committee's decision.  If further action is deemed necessary, an appeal of a decision of the Vice President of Student Services should be made in writing to the President of the College.

Appeal Process for Maximum Time Frame (MTF)

Students who have exceeded the MTF may have their limit extended by an amount equal to any transfer credit work applied to academic history that does not apply to their current program of study, or the number of hours remaining to graduate. In order to appeal MTF, the student must complete the Financial Aid Appeal Form and provide documentation where required. Based on the review of this request and the student degree audit, students may have their MTF limit extended.

Appeal Priority Dates

Appeals should be submitted by the priority dates provided by the Financial Aid Office.  Students must anticipate a minimum of three weeks for the Appeals Committee to review the appeal and make a decision on their request.  Failure to provide required supporting documentation will delay the appeal process.  The Financial Aid Appeals Committee may limit the number of appeals on a case-by-case basis. 

Students who have filed an appeal at the beginning of the semester are responsible for fee payment pending the review of their appeal. 


The Office of Financial Aid will notify students who are receiving financial assistance that do not meet minimum satisfactory academic progress.  This notification will be sent to their Vol State email account.  The termination of eligibility to receive financial assistance has no effect on the right of the student to enroll at Volunteer State Community College.

Transfer Students

Transfer students will be listed under a Warning-Transfer status until all outstanding transcripts have arrived and been evaluated.

  • While on the warning-transfer status, the student may be tentatively awarded aid, however no funds will be paid until the student is removed from the warning-transfer status and found to be in good standing.
  • If the student is found to be in a Max-Time Frame status when the transcripts have been evaluated, the student will be required to complete a Financial Aid Appeal to determine aid eligibility.
  • If the student is found to be in poor academic standing with either their GPA or PACE the student will be placed on a Warning Term.
  • If the student is found to have had earned 0 hours in their last term enrolled, the student will be placed on Suspension/Probation from aid and be given the opportunity to complete a Financial Aid Appeal.