Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Eligibility
Federal financial assistance programs are authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended, and require the establishment of minimum standards of academic progress that students must meet to maintain eligibility for financial aid. While students meeting these standards are generally eligible for aid, some aid programs require higher standards that may preclude the student from qualifying for those programs. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Eligibility applies to all federal, state, and most institutional aid programs. This policy applies to all students seeking or receiving assistance whether or not aid may have been received previously.
The undergraduate student category includes students pursuing their first or subsequent undergraduate degree(s), teacher licensure, multiple major and/or minor concentrations.
The GPA requirement (Qualitative Standard): Students must meet the minimum criteria listed below:
|Total Credit Hours Earned
|60 or more
The total credit hours (inclusive of transfer, AP, CLEP, etc.) posted as earned hours must be included when determining the appropriate Qualitative Standard cumulative GPA for each incremental assessment. Since the acceptance of transfer credits can occur any time, the transfer student’s standards may differ from one assessment period to another.
The Pace to Completion (Quantitative Standard): Pace to Completion is calculated as hours earned divided by hours attempted. Students are allowed one and a half times the normal time frame to complete their first undergraduate degree. Students are allowed 150% of the normal time frame to complete their first undergraduate degree. CofC requires a minimum of 122 credit hours for an undergraduate degree; therefore, the SAP policy requires the degree to be completed within the maximum time frame of 183 attempted hours. Students must meet a minimum Pace to Completion.
The required Pace to Completion rates are:
|Total Credit Hours Earned
||Pace to Completion
|20 or more
The minimum cumulative percentage of credit hours completed does not consider hours attained through AP, IB, CLEP, unaccepted transfer credits, audit or non-credit courses, e.g., cooperative education experiences, developmental and continuing education, and EDLS 100 Learning Strategies .
NOTE: Courses with withdrawn status must be counted in attempted hours. Therefore, if the student wishes to drop a course from his/her schedule, it is important to drop the class prior to the end of the Add/Drop Period. Otherwise, the course will be included in the total attempted hours.
General Information Applicable to All Students:
Assessment: SAP assessment is performed annually at the end of spring term after grades have been posted. Re-assessment occurs at the end of each subsequent term when a student who is placed on suspension, files an appeal and is approved for a probation semester. Additionally, all students are reviewed at the end of each term for compliance with the 150% program length of study time frame for degree completion.
Withdrawal: Students will be evaluated based on the number of enrolled hours at the end of the Add/Drop period. Withdrawn courses are included in the attempted hour calculation.
SAP Suspension: Students who are not in compliance with the SAP policy at the annual review, which occurs after spring term grades are available, will be placed on SAP suspension making them ineligible to receive financial aid. Students on SAP suspension may appeal.
Termination of Aid: Students who are dismissed from the College of Charleston for any reason are terminated from financial aid.
SAP Probation: Students who file successful appeals may be continued on financial aid for an additional semester after which they must be re-evaluated. E.G., a student files an appeal at the end of spring term and it is approved and the student chooses to enroll in summer school, then the student would be re-evaluated for full SAP compliance at the end of summer. The student may need to file another appeal and be approved in order to receive any financial aid awarded for the fall term.
Readmit Policy: Students applying for readmission to the College are eligible for financial aid if: (1) they meet the SAP standards in effect at the time of readmission; or (2) they file an appeal and it is approved.
Repeat/Transfer Credits: Repeated courses and transfer hours accepted by CofC will be counted in both attempted hours and hours earned.
Academic Forgiveness: The SAP policy will not automatically apply to any hours or grades forgiven. Students who have been granted forgiveness must contact the Office of Financial Aid for further assistance.
Second Degrees: Students who are completing a second degree will be required to appeal once they reach their maximum time frame. This appeal will require documentation from the student’s academic department indicating the number of credit hours needed to complete their second degree.
Change of major: Students who need to remain enrolled beyond their maximum time frame (183 attempted hours for undergraduates) due to a change of major will be required to submit an appeal.
SAP Appeal form: The SAP Appeal form is available via the financial aid download forms website at http://finaid.cofc.edu/. Appeals for reinstatement of eligibility are the responsibility of the student. The appeal must be submitted within the published time frame and include the term for which reinstatement is requested. Appeals must specifically reflect the unique circumstances that were beyond the control of the student. The appeal must provide a specific resolution to circumstances and supporting documentation as indicated on the appeal form.
Students submitting an appeal remain ineligible to receive aid during the appeal process. Students whose appeals are approved may have their eligibility for aid reinstated. Financial aid may be awarded if the student meets routine eligibility criteria, subject to availability of funds.
Aid programs covered by SAP standards include the Federal: Pell, SEOG, and TEACH Grants, College Work Study, loans such as Perkins, Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Direct, and PLUS.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Calendar
Summer: Students appealing eligibility for this period must have submitted an appeal by the first weekday in June.
Fall: Students appealing eligibility for the academic year may submit an appeal from the second Monday in May, until the last weekday in September. Students who are attempting to make up deficiencies from the previous academic year in the summer are strongly encouraged to appeal for the fall semester immediately after summer grades are available in MyCharleston.
Spring: Students appealing for the Spring Semester may submit an appeal from the first weekday in January, until the last weekday in February.
The SAP Policy is subject to change. For the most current policy see our website at: http://finaid.cofc.edu/.
Return of Title IV Funds Policy
The Return of Title IV Funds Policy applies only to federal financial aid programs. Federal regulations require each educational institution to have a written tuition and fees refund policy (see “basic fees and expenses”) and a Return of Title IV Funds policy to be applied to students who withdraw during a term for which aid has been received. The Return of Title IV Funds Policy applies if the student completely terminates enrollment (i.e., cancels his/her registration, withdraws, or is dismissed) or stops attending classes before completing more than 60 percent of the enrollment or payment period.
The amount of Title IV aid that a student must repay is determined in accordance with the federal formula for return of Title IV funds as set forth in Section 668 of the Higher Education Act. This law also specifies the order of return of the Title IV funds to the program from which they were awarded.
A repayment may be required when aid has been credited to a student’s account from financial aid funds in excess of the amount of aid the student earned during the term. The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by multiplying the total Title IV aid (other than federal work study) for which the student is qualified by the percentage of time during the term that the student was enrolled.
If less aid was disbursed than was earned, the student may receive a late disbursement for the difference. If more aid was disbursed than was earned, the amount of Title IV aid that must be returned (i.e., that was unearned) is determined by subtracting the earned amount from the amount actually disbursed.
The responsibility for returning unearned aid is allocated between the College of Charleston (CofC) and the student, according to the portion of disbursed aid that could have been used to cover CofC charges and the portion that could have been disbursed directly to the student once CofC charges were covered. CofC will distribute the unearned aid back to the Title IV programs as specified by law. The student will be billed for the amount the student owes to the Title IV programs and any amount due to CofC resulting from the return of Title IV funds used to cover charges.
U.S. Department of Education Consumer Service Office
For general information about planning and paying for college, repaying federal student loans, and resolving disputes, please go to: http://studentaid.gov. To access your individual federal student aid history, please go to: www.nslds.ed.gov.