Federal and State financial aid regulations require that all schools participating in Title IV student aid programs establish academic standards that measure a student’s progress towards an educational objective. These standards apply to all students requesting Title IV aid whether or not they were recipients of financial aid previously at Merritt College or at other post-secondary institutions attended.
(Neither the Secretary of Education nor the Institution has the authority to waive this requirement for any student or group of students. Sec. 484, FHEA.).
For the purpose of determining eligibility to receive financial aid funds, including some scholarships, Merritt College requires students to meet both a qualitative and quantitative standard for academic progress. In order for students to receive Title IV financial aid assistance, or some scholarships, the following Satisfactory Academic Progress standards must be met:
|Qualitative Standard||A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 in all coursework attempted.|
|Quantitative Standard||A minimum course completion rate of 66.7% of all coursework attempted.|
Frame (Unit Limit)
|Attempted units may not exceed 150% of the number of units required to complete your educational objective.|
In determining the above standards, course grades A, B, C, D, P, and CR are counted as successful completion of units in relation to financial eligibility; grades of NC, NP, I, F, W, EW, FW, and IP do not signify successful completion of units for financial aid eligibility and will be included as attempted units for financial aid purposes. However, under District academic policy, the grades of I and IP may be replaced with letter grades which may yield unit credit.
MAXIMUM TIME FRAME (UNIT LIMIT)
Students must complete their educational goals within 150% of the program length. A student’s maximum time frame is based on total credit hours attempted at Merritt College plus any transfer credits that have been determined applicable to their current program of study at Merritt College by a counselor or by Admissions and Records. Students who do not complete their program within this time frame are no longer eligible to receive financial aid.
Official transcripts from all previous institutions attended may be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office to determine credits for the maximum time frame calculation.
|Educational Goal||Units Required to Complete Goal*||Maximum Attempted Units (150%)*|
|AA/AS||60 units||90 units|
|Transfer||60 units||90 units|
|Certificate||30 units||45 units|
*Program lengths vary. See the college catalog for the exact length of the program.
FREQUENCY OF EVALUATION
Academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each term to determine continued eligibility. Students who fail to meet academic progress will be placed on Warning (see Financial Aid Warning Status).
Incomplete grades are calculated similar to an ‘F’ until the incomplete grade is changed to a complete grade.
Multiple Retakes – Repeated courses affect academic progress as follows:
- Cumulative Grade Point Average – Only the most recent grade counts in the student’s Cumulative GPA.
- Cumulative Completion Rate and Maximum Time Frame – When a course is repeated, each course attempt will be counted as attempted credit hours/units.
REMEDIAL AND ESL COURSEWORK
Remedial and ESL courses toward the completion of an academic program are treated the same as other courses for satisfactory academic progress purposes and must meet semester and cumulative completion rate and GPA. Students will be exempted from 30 credit hours/units of remedial and ESL courses from the 150% program time frame and must meet course requirements towards a degree.
TRANSFER CREDIT HOURS/UNITS
Transfer credit units that are accepted toward the student’s academic program count in the overall maximum time frame calculation and in the cumulative completion (pace) calculation. Transfer credit hours/units have no effect upon the cumulative grade point average.
CHANGES OF MAJOR/DEGREE PROGRAM
Students who change majors or change programs are still held to the 150% maximum time frame rule but only credits hours/units applying to the new major or degree program are evaluated. The 150% maximum limit will be measured based on the number of credits hours/units required for the new major/program.
Students who enroll in a second-degree program are still held to the 150% maximum time frame rule. However, only the credit hours/units from the first degree which apply to the second degree will be counted as attempted credit hours/units.
TIMING OF REVIEWS
Current active students will have their academic progress reviewed at the end of each semester.
New financial aid recipients (i.e., those students who had never previously applied for aid) or students reactivated for enrollment at Peralta Community College District will have their academic progress reviewed when the Financial Aid Office receives the results of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
At the time of the review students who are not meeting the minimum requirements will be placed on financial aid suspension.
Students may receive financial aid only twice for the same course with a grade D or higher or with a grade of CR (Credit). However, all repeated semester units will count toward the maximum units allowed for each repeated course.
The Financial Aid Office has the authority under federal regulations to place a student on warning, probation, or disqualification for future financial aid due to academic history indicating a pattern of inability or unwillingness to progress. A pattern of inability or unwillingness to progress may include continued or numerous withdrawals, failure to meet reasonable academic progress standards, or enrollment inconsistent with the student’s educational objective. If grades are not yet posted, any financial aid award offered is tentative until the academic record is reviewed. If at any point in time it is determined that the student cannot complete their course of study within the 150% timeframe they will be immediately disqualified from future financial aid.
FINANCIAL AID WARNING STATUS
Students who have not earned a 2.0 cumulative GPA or did not complete 66.7% of all units attempted at the time of the SAP evaluation will be placed on Financial Aid Warning status. Financial aid is available to students during a Warning period; however, satisfactory progress will be evaluated at the end of the Warning term. While on Warning status, students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and a minimum course completion rate of 66.7% of all coursework attempted. There is no Financial Aid Warning Status issued to students who have met the maximum time frame for their program of study. The following actions will be taken for students who are issued a Financial Aid Warning status:
- On the first non-consecutive occurrence, the student will be sent a Financial Aid Warning Notification informing the student they did not meet the satisfactory academic progress standards. In order for the student to continue receiving financial aid the following semester, they must improve and meet the minimum requirements to avoid a Warning status.
- On the second consecutive occurrence (while on Warning) the student will receive a Financial Aid Warning status notification indicating they failed to meet the terms of the Financial Aid Warning notification and therefore will no longer be eligible to receive further financial aid (federal or state, with the exception of the CCPG).
Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Warning status must have their academic progress reviewed before their financial aid eligibility for the following semester can be determined. Due to the short time period between semesters, there may be a delay in notification of eligibility. If determined eligible, any disbursements of student aid may be delayed as a result of the evaluation needed after the semester in which the Warning status was issued. All students placed on Warning status are encouraged to seek academic counseling and should take advantage of all other student services available to ensure success while attending Merritt College.
FINANCIAL AID DISQUALIFICATION STATUS
Students who fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards while on Warning, as stated in this policy, will be placed on Financial Aid Disqualification status and will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid, with the exception of the California College Promise Grant – CCPG (Formerly known as BOGW). Additionally, students who have reached the maximum time frame for their program of study will be placed on Disqualification status… Any student on Disqualification status may follow the appeal process or meet the conditions of reinstatement to be considered for financial aid in future semesters.
Any financial aid previously offered, awarded, or reserved for a now-ineligible student will be withdrawn. Withdrawn aid is not necessarily recovered even if the student’s aid eligibility is later reinstated.
A student placed on Disqualification status for failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Standards may regain eligibility by successfully appealing to the Financial Aid Office or by attending Merritt College without financial aid and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a minimum course completion rate of 66.7% of all coursework attempted.
Under certain conditions, students placed on Disqualification status may file an appeal for consideration of reinstatement of financial aid eligibility if extenuating circumstances occurred that prevented the student from meeting the SAP standards. The following are examples of reasons a student may file a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal:
- Death of an immediate family member
- Unable to complete their program of study within the maximum time frame due to a change of academic major • Documented serious injury, illness, or medical condition requiring doctor’s care
- Documented extenuating circumstances that were beyond a student’s control
The following are not considered extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control for SAP Appeal purposes: • Personal problems not requiring professional intervention
- Poor time management
- Unaware of academic progress policies or other college requirements
- Not following an Academic Counselor’s recommendations • Child care problems
- Transportation problems
To file an appeal, the student must submit a Satisfactory (SAP) Appeal form online by the deadline dates outlined on the online SAP Appeal form. Students must also meet with an academic counselor to obtain a Comprehensive Student Education Plan. The typed statement must indicate the circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the SAP standards and what has changed to allow the student to meet SAP standards at the next evaluation period. Supporting documentation must be submitted, via the online portal, for any semesters where there was a lack of progress. In cases, where students have reached the maximum time frame and a change of major occurred, extraordinary circumstances must be present to be considered for approval. If an appeal is approved, the student may receive financial aid during the periods in which Probation status is granted. If an incomplete appeal form is uploaded online it may be automatically denied.
Students are prohibited from appealing retroactively for prior terms. Any appeal submitted past the deadlines provided on the appeal form will only be considered for future terms. No exceptions will be made for late submissions. Each appeal will be reviewed, on a case-by-case basis, by the SAP Appeal Committee for approval or denial based upon the students’ individual circumstances. Appeals considered for approval must demonstrate that the student will be able to meet the SAP Policy at the end of the financial aid Probation period. If a student’s progress is such that there is no way they will be able to meet the SAP Policy at the end of the financial aid Probation period, their appeal may be denied. Submission of an SAP Appeal does not guarantee approval. All decisions made by the SAP Appeal Committee are considered final and there is no higher appeal process.
APPROVED APPEAL – PROBATION STATUS
Students who successfully appeal will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Financial aid is available during this Probation period, only for the semester in which they were approved and forward. Eligibility of federal, state, and institutional funds will be determined after the appeal has been approved. Continued eligibility will be based on the following: • Student must earn C’s or better
- Students may not receive any substandard grades during the Probation period and must successfully complete 100% of all enrolled units.
o Substandard grades include: NC, I, F, W, EW, FW, and IP
- Students must be following the MAP that was approved during the appeal process
- Must be enrolled in and attending an eligible program for the purposes of completing an AA/AS degree, transfer
requirement or certificate program.
If a student fails to meet the conditions of approval while on Financial Aid Probation status, they will become ineligible to receive financial assistance until they meet the terms of reinstatement. If reinstatement is not possible for the student to achieve while attending Merritt College, due to reaching the maximum time frame, a student may submit only one additional appeal for consideration.
Students who are on Financial Aid Probation status must have their academic progress reviewed before their financial aid eligibility for the following semester can be determined. Due to the short time period between semesters, there may be a delay in the notification of eligibility. If determined eligible, any financial aid disbursements may also be delayed.
Students whose appeals are denied may regain eligibility by meeting the terms of reinstatement. Reinstatement can be done by meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards without the assistance of financial aid. If after the successful completion of one academic semester a student is still not meeting academic progress, a student may submit an SAP Appeal form for reconsideration of financial assistance in future semesters. Financial Aid applicants who have become disqualified due to lack of satisfactory progress will be considered one time only for an appeal.
**This policy is subject to change without notice in order to remain compliant with Title IV aid regulations.