Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations require North Idaho College (NIC) to establish satisfactory academic progress standards (SAP) for student financial aid recipients. The purpose of SAP standards are meant to ensure that students and academic institutions are held accountable to the taxpayer-funded Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs while students complete their academic goals in a timely manner. This process monitors student performance in all terms of enrollment, including terms in which the student did not receive financial aid.
North Idaho College Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards
Same As or Stricter Criterion
Federal regulations require a SAP policy for students receiving Federal Student Aid to be at least as strict as that for students who are not receiving FSA funds. The SAP policy at NIC requires the same GPA of 2.0 as NIC’s graduation requirement.
Consistent Application of Standards
North Idaho College has developed a SAP policy which consistently applies sap standards to all categories of students including full-time, part-time, less than one year programs and programs over one year in length. All students receiving FSA funds must meet the federal minimum requirements of cumulative 2.0 GPA and 66.67% completion rate as well as complete their program within 150% of maximum time frame.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Timeline
All students who are enrolled in an AA, AS or AAS program will be evaluated on an annual basis. This process will be completed at the end of each summer term.
Please note: Students who are enrolled in programs lasting one year or less will be evaluated on a term by term basis. Students who are on SAP probation as the result of a successful appeal will also be evaluated on a term by term basis.
GPA StandardThe grade point average standard (GPA) defines the quality of the student’s academic work. Students enrolled in an academic program must have a GPA standing consistent with NIC’s graduation requirements of cumulative completed credits resulting in a 2.0 GPA.
Pace of Progression Standard
The pace of progression standard measures the rate at which students must progress through their program of study to ensure that they will graduate within the federal maximum time frame. This completion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed credits by the total number of attempted credits. A student must maintain a minimum completion rate of 66.67% while receiving Federal Financial Aid.
Please Note: During an evaluation review, if it is determined that a student cannot mathematically complete the program of study within the maximum time frame, the student automatically becomes ineligible for Federal Financial Aid. This Unsatisfactory status may be appealed.
Maximum Time Frame StandardFor undergraduate students, Federal Student Aid funds cannot be paid to a student who exceeds 150% of the published length of their current degree program. The 150% is measured on the basis of NIC and transfer attempted credits. For instance, if an associate degree program requires 64 credits for graduation, it must be completed within 96 credits. Because programs’ credit hour requirements vary, check the Academic Catalog for the precise number of credits required for program completion, then multiply the figure by 1.5.
If the number of attempted credits by the student equals or exceeds 150% of the program requirements for graduation, the student will be placed on a Maximum Time Frame status.
Treatment of Credits and Grades
The following items describe the treatment of academic programs, coursework, and grades in the measurement of the SAP standards:
- All NIC attempted coursework is included in the measurements whether or not the student received financial aid.
- Course credits are treated as attempted credits if a student is enrolled as of the census date of the course’s term.
- Grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-,D+ D, D-, S, and P will be treated as attempted and earned credits that are successfully completed.
- Failures (grade of “F”), official student withdrawal (grade of “W”), unsatisfactory work (grade of “U”), institutional withdrawal (grade of “IW”), no credit earned (grade of “NG”), and Incompletes (grade of “I”) are considered credits attempted but not earned.
- Credits from coursework that earns an A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-,D+ D, D-, and F will be included in the calculation of cumulative grade point average (GPA).
A student’s SAP evaluation will include all attempted and completed credits when calculating their current status. Incompletes (grade of “I”) are considered credits attempted but not earned. Incomplete grades may negatively impact a student’s GPA or pace standard at the time of the initial evaluation; however, if the student completes the class successfully at a later date, they may request a retroactive SAP evaluation which may have a positive impact on the original evaluation.
Withdrawals from courses will impact the student’s completion rate and pace of progression throughout their program of study. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed credits by the total number of attempted credits. A student must maintain a 66.67% completion rate and complete their program within 150% of the published length of their current degree program.
Course RepetitionsRepeated courses, and courses for which the student has been granted academic renewal, are included in the calculation of both attempted and an earned credits. NOTE: The Financial Aid SAP policy abides within the College’s academic policies regarding the treatment of repeated courses in the determination of the cumulative GPA.
A student is permitted to receive Federal Financial Aid to retake a course only once after successful completion. A student may receive financial aid to repeat unsuccessful attempts of a course.
Audit courses, and a grade of “AU”, are not considered credits attempted or earned and do not factor into the SAP calculation.
Transfer CreditsHours accepted toward a student’s educational program must now count as both attempted hours and completed hours when calculating pace for satisfactory academic progress.
Transfer credits are not counted in the calculation of the Cumulative GPA standard; only courses taken at North Idaho College are included in the GPA calculation.
Remedial CreditsRemedial and English as a Second Language credits will be included in all measurements.
Credit-By-ExamCredits earned by examination or testing are not counted in any measurement.
Changes of Major or Program of Study
All periods of the student’s enrollment count when assessing progress. This includes periods in which the student did not receive FSA funds; therefore changing programs or majors will count when calculating maximum time frame and may negatively impact students in completing their program of study.
Academic AmnestyNorth Idaho College will allow a student to petition the Registrar, under certain circumstances, for academic renewal. If approved, previous poor academic work at NIC would be eliminated from the computation of credits and grade points (GPA) in the student’s academic record as well as for academic standing and eligibility for graduation.
Federal regulations, however, make no provision for academic amnesty. If a student’s prior coursework was given special treatment under NIC’s provisions for Academic Renewal, the student’s cumulative GPA as well as attempted and completed credits must be calculated based on the inclusion of all courses attempted at NIC. If the student does not have/maintain a 2.0 GPA and 66.67% completion rate, the student must appeal to the Financial Aid Office for special consideration.
Loss of Financial Aid Eligibility
Students who are enrolled in an AA, AS or AAS program will be evaluated annually. Students that earn less than 66.67% and/or 2.0 GPA cumulatively for the school year (Fall, Spring, Summer or any combination thereof) will be placed in an Unsatisfactory status and be ineligible for financial aid unless he or she is placed on financial aid probation through an approved appeal.
Students who are enrolled in programs lasting one year or less will be evaluated at the end of each term. Students that earn less than 66.67% and/or 2.0 GPA for that term will be placed in an Unsatisfactory status and will be ineligible for financial aid unless he or she is placed on financial aid probation through an approved appeal.
Students who exceed maximum time frame or if it is determined that a student cannot mathematically complete the program of study within the maximum time frame, the student automatically becomes ineligible for aid unless he or she is placed on financial aid probation through an approved appeal.
Students who are currently on SAP probation as the result of a successful appeal will be evaluated at the end of each term. Students that earn less than 66.67% and/or 2.0 GPA for that term will again be placed in an unsatisfactory status and will be ineligible for financial aid and must re-appeal.
Federal regulations allow an institution to use professional judgment on a case-by-case basis to determine if an unusual or extraordinary situation affected the student’s progression toward the successful completion of his or her program of study. The decision to permit appeals and the methods involved in reviewing appeals is up to each institution, but these must be clearly outlined in the institution’s SAP policy.North Idaho College recognizes that unusual and extraordinary situations do occur and therefore allow SAP appeals for the following conditions:
- Illness or injury of the student or the student’s dependent (medical documentation required)
- Death of a family member (death certificate or Obituary notice documentation required)
- Interpersonal problems with family or friends, difficulty balancing responsibilities (documentation required – Two letters, one personal and one professional)
- Financial difficulties (documentation required – Bills, statements, collection notices, or eviction notices)
- Maximum Time Frame Students (Current degree audit which shows the students current program, number of classes needed to complete program and current registration status).
The following information must be included in the appeal:
- Why the student believes he or she failed to make SAP
- What has changed in the student’s situation that will allow him or her to succeed at next evaluation
- Documentation as noted above
Appeal FormsAn Appeal Form is available from the Financial Aid Office and online at www.nic.edu/financialaid. Submit appeal form and any accompanying documentation directly to the Financial Aid Office.
- Please note that students who appeal should be prepared to meet their own educational expenses.
- Appeals should be made in a timely manner, but no later than mid-term of each semester.
- Appeals submitted by Tuesday at 5 p.m. will be reviewed that same week by Friday. A decision will be emailed to the students Cardinal Mail including a link to the financial aid probation contract.
ProbationFinancial aid probation status can only be granted after a student has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.
A probationary period is based on the stipulations set forth by the Appeals Committee. A student placed on probation must complete their program of study and/or transfer by term specified on the appeal form. A contract must be signed by the student confirming their understanding of the ramifications of not meeting the designated timeline. Failure to maintain a cumulative completion rate of 66.67% and/or GPA of 2.0 for each subsequent term (i.e. Fall, Spring, or Summer) will place the student in an Unsatisfactory status and they will be ineligible for financial aid.
Please Note: Students who are on probation will be evaluated for SAP on a term by term basis to measure GPA, completion rate, and assigned graduation or transfer timeline. In addition, students who are on probation for maximum time frame are required to take classes which pertain only to their current program of study or are prerequisites for a degree at a four year institution.
Sometimes, it may be mathematically impossible for a student on financial aid probation to achieve minimum SAP standards at the conclusion on one payment period; therefore an institution may consider a long-range academic plan with appropriate check points and milestones to be achieved by the student. The regulations do not specify what must be included in an academic plan; therefore North Idaho College will evaluate each student on a case-by-case basis and determine an academic plan which ensures the student is able to meet the school’s SAP standards by the expected graduation date indicated on their appeal form.
An academic plan can be voided by NIC if the student changes their program of study, violates the academic plan, does not take classes which pertain to their current program of study, or does not enroll for the payment period that the academic plan was applicably designed.
Notwithstanding these terms and conditions within the probationary period, the student on financial aid probation must meet the minimum SAP standards of a 66.67% completion rate and a minimum GPA of 2.0 at the next SAP evaluation or fulfill the requirements of the required academic plan in order to retain future financial aid.
A student that is making unsatisfactory progress and is ineligible for financial aid due to below minimum completion rate or GPA may enroll in subsequent semesters at his/her own cost. Financial Aid eligibility may be reinstated once all satisfactory academic progress minimum standards are met. A student’s eligibility will be automatically calculated at the end of each year. If a student is achieving satisfactory academic progress before the end of the school year, they must notify the Financial Aid Office to have their SAP evaluated on a case by case basis.
Neither paying for one’s classes without financial aid nor sitting out for a term will restore a student’s satisfactory academic progress standing, and is not sufficient to re-establish eligibility for financial aid funds.
Notifications and DisclosuresStudents will be informed of their Satisfactory Academic Progress standing via their Cardinal Mail account at the end of the evaluation period if they fall below satisfactory standing.
Notification to students regarding their SAP status at North Idaho College will be individual, confidential, timely and informative.
The goal of the North Idaho College Financial Aid Office is to provide clear and consistent communication to current and potential students in order to help students successfully complete their education. Satisfactory Academic Progress has been implemented to ensure student success and accountability to the taxpayer-funded Federal Student Aid programs.