Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

student sitting on a bench on campusVolunteer State Community College has the following standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress applicable to all Title IV funds. These funds include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP), 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 Educational Lottery Scholarships, and Access and Diversity Grants. The TN Promise and TN Reconnect scholarships have individual standards of satisfactory academic progress and are not subject to those standards set forth in this policy.

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 the Title IV financial aid purposes only and neither replaces or overrides VSCC Academic Status and Retention Standards as published in the VSCC catalog.

Criteria Requirements

1. Qualitative: Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA. Transfer credits and the grades received in those courses are not considered in this GPA calculation.

2. Quantitative: PACE - Measurable Progress Requirement

Student must complete, with a passing grade, 66.7% of all classes attempted including transfer hours. Grades of W, I, K, YC, FA, or F are considered in this calculation and will negatively impact the student where measurable progress is concerned.

3. 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. When it is first determined that a student cannot complete his/her program by the MTF limit, notice that the student is off aid will be sent. 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.

Learning Support Time Limit

Students are limited to 30 attempted hours of remedial, developmental, and learning support coursework. All attempts including withdrawals and repeats count toward the maximum number of hours attempted. Federal Aid for a student who has exceeded this maximum will be based on college level courses only. This time limit cannot be appealed.

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 term 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.

Warning Transfer Status

Students who are transferring in academic credits whose transcripts have not yet been evaluated will be placed on Transfer Warning (WARTRF) status. This means that the student will be tentatively awarded until the academic transcript has been officially evaluated and the students SAP can be calculated. If at that time the student is deemed to not be meeting SAP, the funds offered will be withdrawn and the student will be responsible for payment of their fees. The student will be given the opportunity to submit a Financial Aid Appeal to attempt to regain use of his/her aid eligibility if necessary.

  • 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, 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.

Procedures for Appeal

Students may file a Financial Aid Appeal to regain eligibility. Students placed on Financial Aid Probation/Suspension status will be prevented from receiving Title IV financial aid, Access and Diversity Grant, and Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship.

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

To appeal the student must:

  • Complete a Financial Aid Appeal Form. The Appeal form can be found by logging into the student portal then clicking on the Student Forms App. From there you will see the menu of Optional Financial Aid Forms and the Financial Aid Appeal is form #1.
  • The student must provide an explanation of the circumstances which caused their past unsatisfactory performance during the previous semesters and submit documentation of the extenuating circumstance.
  • The student must also state how the issues have been corrected or list the steps they are currently taking to ensure that the circumstances do not reoccur. The Appeal Form and required documentation must then be returned to the Office of Financial Aid for processing. All requests will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.
  • On an individual basis, the Financial Aid Appeals Committee may recommend the student be placed on a Financial Aid Academic PLAN for the subsequent semesters at VSCC. The Financial Aid Academic PLAN requires the student to complete a PLAN form with their academic advisor to map out all of the required remaining courses through the completion of the credential. The student must adhere to the PLAN until regaining Financial Aid good standing. Students placed on a Financial Aid Academic PLAN will be individually monitored by the Office of Financial Aid. Any unauthorized change to the PLAN will result in the student returning to Financial Aid Suspension status.
  • Any changes to the PLAN must be approved by the assigned academic advisor. A revised PLAN form must be forwarded to the Office of Financial Aid for approval.
  • Students who have exceeded the Maximum Time Frame (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 by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and the student degree audit, students may have their MTF limit extended.
  • To appeal the decision of the Appeals Committee, a student must submit a written appeal to the Vice President for Student Services within five business days from the date of notification of the committee’s decision. If further action is deemed necessary, an appeal of the decision of the Vice President for Student Services should be made in writing to the President.

Repeat Course Work

In relation to Financial Aid, all attempted credit hours (including repeated coursework credit hours) are included in the quantitative/Pace and Max Time Frame calculations. A student may repeat a failed course until passed (as long as the student still falls within the Pace and cumulative GPA requirements for aid). However, when a student has passed a course federal financial aid will only pay for the course one additional time. Repeats of a passed course can impact a student's completion rate (PACE).