Eligibility Policies & Requirements

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Recipients (updated 8/17/2011)

To qualify for financial aid, a student must make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of an eligible certificate or associate degree program. This policy applies to all students who apply for help from any federal or state financial aid program. It also applies to any other program administered by the College which requires satisfactory academic progress as a criterion for eligibility.

STANDARDS FOR ELIGIBILITY

Students are making “Satisfactory Academic Progress” if they meet the following conditions:

  1. Qualitative Component – Maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of not less than the following:

     Credit Hours Completed

     Minimum GPA Required

    1 – 11

    1.50 cumulative

    12 and above

    2.00 cumulative

  2. Pace of Progression – Complete with a passing grade (that is, an A, B, C, D, or P, including a grade with a “+” or “-“) two-thirds of the cumulative hours attempted.  All withdrawal grades, incompletes, no-credit grades, transfer credits and repeat classes are considered as hours attempted.
  3. Maximum Time Frame – Complete their declared major within the maximum limit: For Federal aid programs, once you have attempted 150% of the number of credits normally required to complete a degree, you will not be eligible for any additional federal aid at M.C.C.  Transfer credits classes do not count in the calculation of the GPA, but are included in the calculation of the maximum limit.

    Credits Required

    150% limit

     Regular ASA/AAS degree

    62

    93

    *Nursing

    65

    97.5

    *Respiratory Therapy

    94

    141

     * number of credits depends on the catalog year the student enters the program

 ADDITIONAL SAP STANDARDS AND DEFINITIONS
  • Transfer credits, incompletes and withdrawal grades do not count in the calculation of the GPA.
  • Repeating a class – a student may receive financial aid for a previously passed course only one additional time. You are allowed to repeat a failed or withdrawal course until it is passed, if otherwise maintaining SAP.
  • Up to 30 remedial credits may be eligible for financial aid if they are required by the student’s academic degree program provided the total doesn’t exceed the maximum number of credits allowed by the maximum time frame standard.
  • SAP calculations include all cumulative attempted credits (regardless who paid for them) registered for at the semester’s or course’s census date.
  • Financial aid eligibility status – students are evaluated for SAP at the end of each semester enrolled. Eligibility status is categorized as Satisfactory, Warning or Suspension.
  • The Pace of Progression is calculated by dividing the cumulative hours successfully completed by the cumulative hours attempted. Monitoring the pace of progression will ensure completion of the degree program within the maximum time frame.
  • Only courses that apply to a student’s declared degree program are eligible for financial aid.
  • The financial aid SAP Policy is separate from the College’s general probation/dismissal policy (see “Dismissal, Academic” in the index of the college catalog).
EXPLANATION OF SAP ELIGIBILITY STATUS
  1. Satisfactory Status:  The student is in good standing and meets all conditions of the SAP policy standards.
  2. Warning Status:  The student has failed to meet one or more conditions of the SAP policy standards at the end of a semester. A student placed on warning will be allowed to receive aid for one additional semester.
  3. Suspension Status:  The student has failed to meet one or more conditions of the SAP policy standards after two consecutive semesters. A student placed on suspension is not eligible for additional aid until they 1) raise the cumulative GPA up to the minimum required, and/or 2) earn enough credits to meet the minimum cumulative completion rate required. The student would be responsible to pay for any additional classes needed to bring them back into good standing.
  4. Financial Aid Probation Status: A student placed on probation has successfully appealed their suspension status by demonstrating that they have the ability to earn a cumulative 2.00 GPA and 67% completion rate by the end of their next semester. If after one semester on probation the student is not back to satisfactory status, they would not be eligible for future aid unless they were successfully following a Financial Aid Academic Plan.
  5. Financial Aid Academic Plan: A student on suspension that cannot return to a satisfactory status within one additional semester must meet with an MCC Counselor and develop a Financial Aid Academic Plan. The Plan must be strictly followed and the conditions set-forth must be met. The student will remain on the Plan until returning to a satisfactory status. If the conditions are not met, all future aid will be cancelled. The student would be responsible to pay for any additional classes needed to bring them back into good standing.
SAP – LOSS OF ELIGIBILITY, APPEAL, AND REINSTATEMENT

If you are denied aid under this Policy, you have the right to appeal.  If you feel there are mitigating circumstances in your case, you must complete the “Appeal Form for Satisfactory Academic Progress”. The appeal form must be submitted to the Student Welcome Center AT LEAST 30 DAYS BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE SEMESTER YOU WISH TO ATTEND. You must address the problem(s) of why you have been unsuccessful in the past and what has changed that will allow you to be successful in the future. The Committee will normally consider such things as illness, a change in job schedule, or other extenuating circumstances (which were beyond your reasonable control) as grounds for a successful appeal. Be sure to include documentation (for example, a doctor’s statement) and a Financial Aid Academic Plan, if appropriate. To complete a Financial Aid Academic Plan, contact the Counseling and Advising Center at 231-777-0362.

Students that successfully appeal are placed on either Financial Aid Probation OR placed on a Financial Aid Academic Plan that ensures they will meet SAP standards by a specific point in time.

If you want federal aid to earn a second degree, you must appeal in writing, stating your academic goal, and provide a Financial Aid Academic Plan including documentation (such as a “graduation audit”) of the classes needed to accomplish your goal.

This policy states the minimum required for most financial aid programs. However, some scholarship and loan programs require a higher standard (usually a higher GPA). Therefore, you may qualify for most aid programs by meeting the above conditions, but be denied a specific scholarship or loan unless you raise your GPA or pass additional credit hours.

RETURN OF TITLE IV FUNDS (R2T4)
Overview – Federal Financial Aid awards are based on a student’s enrollment status (number of credit hours) and the assumption that the student will attend class for the entire term for which assistance is awarded.  When a student ceases to be enrolled prior to the end of the term, a R2T4 recalculation must be completed to re-determine earned and unearned award amounts.

Federal Student Aid awards included in the R2T4 recalculation at Muskegon Community College (MCC) are listed in the order unearned funds are returned: Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan, Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan, Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG).

Dropping Courses – Students may drop courses during the refund period using WebAdvisor and no grades will be recorded on the transcript.  For additional information on MCC’s refund policy, please visit the Refund Policy.
Official Withdrawal – Official withdrawal from college is defined as the student’s formal withdrawal from all courses currently in progress.  You may withdraw from a course after the refund period is over on WebAdvisor until the Friday prior to final exams for 15 week classes or until the day before the last day if the class ends before final exam week.

Withdrawal from a course will generate a grade of “W” on your academic record and tuition/fees are not refunded.  A “W” grade is not figured in with your G.P.A.

A student’s official withdrawal date is the last day of physical attendance, determined once MCC receives notice from the student that they are withdrawing.  It is the student’s responsibility to officially drop or withdraw from any class that they will no longer be attending.

Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their instructor and a counselor prior to processing a withdrawal.  They are urged to contact the Financial Aid Office before dropping, withdrawing or stopping attendance in any courses to understand the impact on financial aid awards, such as reduction of aid and Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Weeks of Classes Drops Allowed Withdrawals Allowed
15 Week Classes (Fall and Winter) 1st-9th day from start date of class 10th day- the 14th week.
12 Week Classes (Summer Only) 1st-6th day from start date of class 7th day-the 11th week
Early ending sections Through the Refund Period After the refund period until one day prior to the end date of the class.
Military Withdrawal – Any currently enrolled student who is called for military duty shall be dropped from all uncompleted courses with a grade of “WM”-Withdrawal Military and will be granted a refund of all tuition and fees paid upon receipt of a copy of military orders, completed Tuition Refund Appeal Form to the Student Welcome Center and deliberations of the Petitions Committee.
Unofficial Withdrawal – If a student ceases attendance in a class, but fails to initiate the official withdrawal process, the withdrawal date will be the last date of attendance reported by the instructor.  If you stop attending a course and do not formally withdraw, the instructor has the option of initiating a grade of “W” or a grade of “E”.
Changes in Enrollment Status – Students who drop classes during the 100% refund period or marked for never attending class will have a reduction in credit hours for the semester.  This represents a change in enrollment status, and financial aid will be recalculated according to MCC policy. Financial aid funds may be owed back from the student based on the reduction in credit hours.
Changes in Attendance – Students who do not complete all days in the term they were scheduled to attend by withdrawing or stopping attendance in any class will be reviewed by the R2T4 recalculation process.  In accordance with federal regulations, a student’s financial aid is recalculated based on the following questions:
  1. Did the student withdraw or stop attending a course they were scheduled to attend? If no, the student does not require a recalculation at this time.  If yes, go to question 2.
  2. When the student withdrew or stopped attending this course, was the student still attending any other courses? If no, go to question 3. If yes, the student does not require a recalculation at this time, but recalculation could be required in the future if the student does not complete all the days they were scheduled to attend in the term.
  3. When the student withdrew or stopped attending this course, did the student confirm attendance in another course beginning later in the term? If no, the student’s financial aid must be recalculated.  If yes, the student does not require a recalculation at this time, but recalculation could be required in the future if the student does not complete all the days they were scheduled to attend in the term.

If a student earns a passing grade in a class that is shorter in length than the total number of days the student was scheduled to attend for the term, recalculation may still be required.

R2T4 Recalculation Process – The R2T4 process determines the percentage of the term the student completed (days completed divided by the number of days scheduled to attend) and must be completed within 45 days from the date of withdrawal.  If the student does not exceed 60% completion, the student’s financial aid awards are prorated to the amount earned for the portion of the term attended.

If the student was disbursed more than the revised award, the student will be sent a  revised award notification email, a statement indicating the amount due, payment options and actions that will be taken for delinquent accounts.  Unearned funds must be returned to the Department of Education within 45 days.

If the student was disbursed less than the revised award, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement.  For loan funds, the college must get the student’s permission before it can disburse them.  The student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds to avoid incurring additional debt.  For grant funds, the college may automatically use all or a portion for institutional charges and any remaining funds will be disbursed to the student.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES

Federal regulations require that, in order for an award to be renewed under a federal program, the student:

  1. Must not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan.
  2. Must not have any drug convictions while receiving federal financial aid.

In addition, the College also reserves the right to withhold all services including the issuing of academic transcripts from any students who have not met their financial obligations to the College.

FEDERAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PENALTIES FOR DRUG LAW VIOLATIONS

If you answered “yes” to question 23 on the FAFSA because you had a conviction for possessing or selling illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid, you may be ineligible for aid for a period of time based on the type and number of convictions.  When you complete your FAFSA online, you will be linked to an electronic worksheet to assist you in determining whether your conviction affects your eligibility for federal student aid.

ACCREDITATION

Muskegon Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of College and Universities. Student who wish to review a copy of the document describing the College’s accreditation should contact the the President’s Office, Room 400; 231-777-0303.

STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

In compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Muskegon Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, mental or physical handicaps, age or sex in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes, but is not limited to, admissions, employment, financial aid, educational services, programs and activities.

Information regarding drug abuse prevention programs is available by contacting the Human Resources Office at 231-777-0407 or the Counseling Office at 231-777-0362.  It includes health counseling, information and referral services.

MCC’s Code of Conduct applies to all agents or employees of the College.  The Financial Aid Office adheres to the expanded Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) related to student loan activities. The code of conduct requirements are set forth in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) signed into law on August 14, 2008.  In addition, the law includes requirements related to publication of the code and annual disclosures.

STUDENT’S ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO ACCEPTING FINANCIAL AID
  • I understand that I must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to be eligible for most financial aid.  I understand that the SAP Policy requires that I maintain a cumulative specified minimum grade point average and a minimum of two-thirds rate of credit completion.  I understand that if a deferred payment is extended to me and I have pending grades from the current or prior semester, my financial aid may be canceled if I have not maintained SAP after grades are posted.  I agree that I have read and understand the SAP policy in the Financial Aid Contract.
  • I understand that I am required to be enrolled and attending a minimum number of credit hours in order to be eligible for financial aid.  I am also required to remain enrolled in my classes to receive those funds.  If I never attend, cease to attend, drop, withdraw, or receive all “E’s”, my financial aid may be reduced or canceled.  I will also jeopardize my eligibility to receive financial aid in both the current and future semesters.
  • I understand that any violation of the regulations governing the financial aid programs is sufficient grounds for termination of my financial aid and referral for disciplinary action.  Violation include, but are not limited to, falsification of any document used to obtain financial aid, using financial aid funds for non-educational purposes, and transfer of financial aid funds to others (e.g. using your book voucher to purchase items for others).
  • I understand that, if my financial aid is reduced or canceled for any reason, I will be responsible to pay for all outstanding balances of tuition, fees, books, or other expenses incurred at the college.
  • REPAYMENT: Federal law requires that all or part of Federal Financial Aid has to be paid back if the student withdraws from ALL classes before attending at least 60% of the semester. This is about 9-1/2 weeks after the start of a 15 week semester and about 7-1/2 weeks after a 12 week semester.
OMBUDSMAN FOR STUDENTS

The U.S. Department of Education provides an Office of the Ombudsman to help resolve loan disputes and problems. The following options are available for contacting the office: call toll free at (877) 557-2575, visit the Web site at www.fsahelp.ed.gov, or write to: Office of the Ombudsman, Student Financial Assistance, U.S. Department of Education, Room 3012, ROB #3, 7th and D Streets, SW, Washington DC 20202-5144