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Academic Standards Related to Federal and State Financial Aid

Academic Standards Related to Federal and State Financial Aid

 

In order to continue to qualify for federal and state financial aid programs, student recipients must meet certain academic standards as described below.

Federal Academic Progress Requirements

In order to maintain eligibility for the Pell Grant, SEOG, Federal Work Study, and the Direct Student Loan Programs, a student must meet two academic standards: a qualitative standard and a quantitative standard.

The Qualitative Standard:
The Cumulative GPA Chart

In order to qualify for federal aid, a student must demonstrate academic achievement according to the chart below. Students matriculated into degree programs are evaluated once an academic year at the end of each spring semester; students matriculated into certificate programs are reviewed at the end of each fall and spring semester.

Total Credits Attempted*GPA
0-11 .00
12-24 .50
25-36 .75
37-48 1.30
49-60 1.50
61-75 1.70
76 and above 2.00

*The Total Credits Attempted include all credit-bearing courses including withdrawals, incompletes and failures. The GPA is calculated according to the College's published academic policies. Note that non-credit-bearing, remedial and ESL courses are not calculated in the cumulative GPA; however, students are limited in receiving federal aid for remedial courses to one academic year, or 30 credits. ESL courses are not included in the 30-credit limitation.

The Quantitative Standard: Pursuit of Program

In addition to meeting the College’s standards for academic achievement, students must also demonstrate progress by accumulating credits toward a degree or certificate according to the time frames noted below.

In order to retain eligibility for federal financial aid, students must complete their program of study within a maximum time frame of 150% of the length of the program. For purposes of this calculation, the total number of credits needed to attain the degree or certificate defines the length of each individual program.

Toward that end, the College will measure program pursuit for students matriculating in a degree program once an academic year at the end of the spring semester. Students matriculating in certificate programs will be measured after each fall and spring semester. Students are deemed to be making satisfactory academic progress for federal financial aid purposes if they meet the minimum standards described below.

Total Credits
Attempted
Minimum Percent
to be Achieved*
0-11 0%
12 – 24 30%
25 – 48 45%
49 – 72 60%
73 and above 67%

 

*Percentage is calculated by dividing the total earned credits in the student's RCC academic history by the total attempted credits in the student's RCC academic history. All credit-bearing courses, including withdrawals, incompletes and failures are considered attempts. Transfer credits are counted both as attempts and completions. However, “X” grades (awarded for successful tuition refund appeals) are excluded from both the earned credits and attempted credits.

Failure to Meet the Federal Standards

Students failing to meet the qualitative GPA standard or the quantitative pursuit standard are notified in writing by Financial Aid and are no longer eligible for federal aid unless they successfully appeal the decision to the Director of Financial Aid. The appeal process for federal aid is outlined below.

Change of Major and SAP Determinations

A student cannot change his or her major to avoid the consequences of unsatisfactory academic progress. After one or more semesters in a new major, the Director of Financial Aid may consider a change of major during an appeal. That is, the Director may consider excluding courses outside the student's current program of study if the student's appeal demonstrates the grounds to do such.

RCC graduates who return to the College must continue to meet published Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. Financial Aid measures SAP for prior graduates based upon all courses taken since the last graduation has occurred.

Appeal Process for Federal Aid

Students who fail to meet either the qualitative or quantitative federal standard may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid to regain eligibility. Appeals will be evaluated based upon mitigating or exceptional circumstances that caused hardships for the student during his or her program of study. Events such as illness, injury, personal tragedy, and medical or family emergencies will be considered.

The Financial Aid Director will notify the student in writing of the results of the appeal and the revised standards, if any, that the student must maintain in order to continue eligibility. A student approved for an SAP appeal is considered to be in Financial Aid Probation and must meet the revised SAP Standards outlined in the academic plan provided with the SAP appeal approval notice. If an appeal is denied, a student has a right to request a grievance hearing following the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.

New York State Academic Progress Requirements for TAP, Part-time TAP and APTS

Failure to make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree or certificate may result in the loss of one or more semesters of New York State TAP, Part-time TAP or APTS. At the conclusion of each semester, the College reviews all grades to determine if recipients of New York State TAP programs are making satisfactory academic progress. To remain in good standing for TAP purposes, a student must achieve a certain GPA before being certified for the next semester’s TAP payment. Loss of good academic standing results in a loss of TAP for the next semester, unless the student is eligible to receive a one-time waiver for extenuating circumstances (see Waiver section below).

TAP Satisfactory Academic Progress Chart based on the Education Law of 2011

  • For Students Receiving their First TAP Payment in 2010-2011 or Thereafter and Who Do Not Meet the Definition of Remedial Student (as defined below):

 

Before being certified for this payment* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
A student must have earned at least this many credits 0 6 15 27 39 51 N/E
With this cumulative GPA 0 1.3 1.5 1.8 2.0 2.0 N/E

*Each semester payment is worth six TAP points.

TAP Satisfactory Academic Progress Chart based on Section 665 of the Education Law of 2007-2008

  • For Students Receiving Their First TAP Payment Prior to 2010-2011
  • For Students Who Meet the Definition of Remedial Student (as defined below)

 

Before being certified for this payment* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
A student must have earned at least this many credits 0 3 9 18 30 45 N/E
With this cumulative GPA 0 .5 .75 1.3 2.0 2.0 N/E

*Each semester payment is worth six TAP points.

Definition of Remedial Student

New York State defines a remedial student as:

  • A student whose scores on a recognized college placement exam or nationally recognized standardized exam indicated the need for remediation for at least two semesters; or
  • A student who was enrolled in at least six semester hours of non-credit remedial courses in the first term he or she received a TAP award.

2.0 “C” Average Standard

In order to maintain eligibility, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 after receiving two academic years, or 24 points, of TAP. TAP points used at other institutions count toward the 24 points. Therefore, a student who has used TAP at another New York State college will reach the 2.0 GPA standard faster than a new student at RCC who has not previously received TAP at any other institution.

TAP Pursuit of Program

In addition to academic achievement, TAP award recipients must demonstrate program pursuit by completing a reasonable number of credits each semester in order to remain eligible for TAP. In semesters related to the first two payments, a student must complete at least six credits or credit equivalents; in the semesters related to the third and fourth payments, a student must complete at least nine credits or credit equivalents; and, in the semesters related to the fifth and sixth payments, a student must complete 12 credits or credit equivalents. Credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing remedial and ESL courses with a passing or failing grade may count in the calculation of this standard. Courses graded with W, NA, AU, and X cannot be used to meet the pursuit of program requirement.

Another condition within the pursuit of program standard addresses students who fully withdraw from their studies. A student who withdraws from all of his or her classes or who does not meet the pursuit of program credit completion minimums previously described loses TAP eligibility for the subsequent semester, unless the student is eligible to receive a one-time waiver for extenuating circumstances.

Waiver of SAP and Pursuit of Program Standards

If it can be documented that the loss of good academic standing for TAP purposes was a function of extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student (such as illness, death of an immediate family member, fire, etc.), is unlikely to re-occur, and that the student was otherwise progressing in the program, the student may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid for a one-time waiver of pursuit and progress standards. All circumstances must be fully documented. A student is allowed to use this waiver for extenuating circumstances one time only.

Waiver of the 2.0 “C” Average Standard

New York State requires the same standards as the Waiver of SAP and Pursuit of Program but it does not prohibit the use of this type of waiver on more than one occasion.

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