Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. The requirements of this policy apply to all students seeking a baccalaureate degree as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid.
The SAP policy must measure a student's progress both qualitatively (Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and quantitatively (Completion Ratio). In addition, students are also required to complete their degree requirements within a certain period of time (Maximum Time Limit). This requirement applies to all applicants and recipients of financial aid. Financial Aid is defined as all federal, state, and institutional aid.
For SAP purposes, student academic records are evaluated by the Office of Student Financial Aid at the end of each semester. Students will receive one of three SAP conditions, Good, Warning or Cancelled. If aid is cancelled, the student may appeal (see Appeal Process section). If the appeal is granted, the status will be moved to Probation. The Office of Student Financial Aid will send notification of eligibility to students through their official UNC Asheville e-mail account.
Students who are suspended or dismissed from the institution will immediately become ineligible for financial aid. Students who have withdrawn from all courses in more than two consecutive semesters while receiving financial aid will not be eligible for reinstatement based on appeal. In such cases, the student will be expected to successfully complete a full-time semester of coursework (i.e., with all passing grades) before appealing for reinstatement.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Undergraduate Students
Cumulative Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)
Undergraduate students cumulative and semester GPA must meet university standards. The minimum GPA is a 2.0 for the semester and academic year.
Some institutional scholarships or grants may require a higher academic achievement than those defined by the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria. Private aid offered by agencies outside the University is not subject to the conditions of this policy, but will be administered according to donor specifications.
Completion Ratio (Quantitative Measure)
UNC Asheville recommends students earn at least 30 semester hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years. To remain eligible for financial aid, students must earn a minimum of 67% of the total cumulative hours attempted. Attempted hours include all credits accepted in transfer as well as those attempted at UNC Asheville. Students must receive grades of A, B, C, D (including “+/-”), or S to earn hours.
For financial aid purposes, the following are not included as part of the cumulative earned hours at UNC Asheville; however, they are included in the attempted hours.
- Grades of F, I, IP, U, W or X/Y (audit) do not earn hours.
- Audited courses (X/Y) count toward attempted hours but not toward earned hours. Therefore, auditing classes may negatively affect the student's ability to earn the required number of hours.
- If a student repeats a course, the total attempted hours will increase with each repeat, but the student will only earn hours for a successfully completed course once. Repeating courses may negatively affect the student’s ability to satisfy the Completion Ratio standard.
- Incomplete grades (I) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the Incomplete (I) grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.
- In-Progress grades (IP) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the IP grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.
Federal regulations have amended the definition of a full-time student to allow repeated coursework to count toward enrollment status in term-based programs. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be paid with Title IV aid accordingly. Students may also repeat a failed course until it is passed and be paid. However, as stated above, grades of “F” do not count as earned hours. Repeating any coursework may ultimately impact a student’s maximum time limit, GPA and completion ratio as it relates to Title IV eligibility.
Maximum Time Limit Measure
To remain eligible for financial aid, undergraduate students seeking their first degree must complete their requirements within 150% of the published length of their academic program. This includes students who are seeking more than one major or minor. Therefore, students seeking a first baccalaureate degree must complete their requirements within 180 attempted hours to remain eligible for financial aid. However, because most UNC Asheville programs require no more than 120 hours to complete, students are not eligible to receive additional Title IV aid once they have fulfilled requirements to graduate. If a student elects to postpone taking required courses to avoid graduation, while continuing to take courses not required for their program, they will no longer be eligible for aid.
Student records are evaluated at the end of each semester for Satisfactory Academic Progress. If the SAP review shows that the student who has surpassed the 120-hour minimum requirement (100%), cannot complete his or her program within 180 credits (150%), the student will no longer be eligible for Title IV aid.
Students will not be eligible for federal or state aid once they exceed the Maximum Time Limit, even if they have not graduated.
Exceptions to 180 Credit Hour Max:
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree must complete their requirements within 230 cumulative attempted hours. Students in the Mechatronics or Teacher Licensure programs must complete their degree in 192 cumulative attempted hours. Students seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree must complete their degree in 188 cumulative attempted hours.
Financial Aid Warning
Financial Aid WARNING status will be assigned at the end of the semester to students who fail to make SAP. Students under WARNING status may continue to receive Title IV aid for one payment period. No appeal is required.
If at the end of the one payment period the student is still not making SAP, an appeal will be required. The appeal must be approved by the SAP Appeal Committee in order for the student to continue to receive Title IV Aid. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is considered and a decision rendered.
Financial Aid Cancellation
Failure to achieve the required GPA and/or completed credit hours while on Financial Aid Warning will result in Financial Aid Cancellation. Students are no longer eligible to receive financial aid while on Financial Aid Cancellation. To regain eligibility to receive financial assistance, students must improve their GPA to the minimum requirements of a 2.0 and/or complete 67% of the credit hours attempted. Students may have experienced unusual circumstance and if so they may submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form. Some students may be eligible to be accepted into the University’s Academic Recovery Program (ARP) by invitation only.
All “F” Grades or Zero GPA
Students receiving all F grades, or having a zero GPA in one semester, will have their status moved directly to CANCELLED without a semester of WARNING. Until the required hours are earned or the GPA requirement is met, the student is responsible for all charges due to the university.
Students in this situation will be required to pay for one semester even if they are meeting all other SAP requirements. They will also be required to submit an Academic Plan for review by the SAP Committee and the Enrollment Services Committee. If a student unofficially withdraws, aid for that semester is subject to the R2T4 Federal Calculation of repayment, and state refund calculation.
Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid
If students lose eligibility to receive financial aid because they do not meet the qualitative and/or quantitative measures, they can regain eligibility by:
- Raising their cumulative GPA by taking courses and earning hours at UNC Asheville. These courses cannot be taken at other institutions.
- Successfully completing a minimum of 67% of the attempted coursework at UNC Asheville.
- Completing the Academic Recovery Program (ARP). See ARP below
Once the Maximum Time Limit has been exceeded, students are not eligible for federal or state aid, even if they have not graduated.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
Students whose financial aid was cancelled due to GPA and/or completion ratio standards may be eligible to appeal for reinstatement. If one of the following circumstances exists, students should submit a completed Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, providing the required documentation. Appeals submitted without proper documentation will be denied.
- Death in the family
- Medical Illness (Personal/Immediate family)
- Loss of a job
- Divorce or Separation
Students with chronic conditions are responsible for properly balancing work with known chronic conditions, and appeals for more than one waiver will not be considered.
Students seeking to re-establish financial aid eligibility remain ineligible to receive financial aid assistance or deferment of payment until the appeal process is complete and a decision has been made by the SAP Appeal Committee. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is reviewed and a decision rendered.
Submitting an appeal with the required documentation does not guarantee that the appeal will be approved. The documentation will be reviewed by the SAP Appeal Committee and a decision will be made at that time. Notification regarding the decision of the appeal will be sent to the student’s UNC Asheville email address.
Steps for Appealing
- Complete the UNC Asheville Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form.
- Attach a personal letter, describing in detail the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, and what steps you intend to take to assure that you will maintain SAP in the future.
- Submit the SAP Appeal form and all of the required documentation to the UNC Asheville Office of Financial Aid.
Acceptable documentation for the appeal is as follows:
- For Death of Immediate Family Member: A copy of the Death Certificate or newspaper clipping that states your relationship to the deceased.
- For Illness: Statement from physician explaining the type of illness and the date and length of the illness.
- Other: proper documentation surrounding the circumstances.
Appeals must be received in the Financial Aid Office 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which you are trying to establish eligibility. Students appealing after this time frame should be prepared to pay for the semester expenses. If the appeal is granted, students cannot submit appeals for other semesters citing the same extenuating circumstances. Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on PROBATIONARYstatus.
Financial Aid Probation
The PROBATIONARY status is assigned by UNC Asheville’s Office of Financial Aid to all students who fail to make SAP, and who have appealed and had eligibility for Title IV aid reinstated. UNC Asheville’s Office of Financial Aid may impose conditions for student’s continued eligibility to receive Title IV aid. If the Financial Aid Office chooses not to impose conditions for a student’s continued eligibility, the student may receive aid for one additional payment period. If at the end of the unconditional payment period the student still fails to make SAP, all Title IV aid will be canceled until the student can regain SAP standards. No additional appeals will be granted. The student should be prepared to pay until SAP is obtained. After Financial Aid Probation, the student must be making SAP or must be successfully following an academic plan. There are no exceptions to this condition.
If the appeal is denied by the SAP Appeal Committee, and students wish to pursue it further, they may appeal to the Enrollment Services Advisory Committee. If the appeal is denied by one or both committees, students must pay for the semester expenses until satisfactory academic progress is reestablished.
If SAP wasn’t maintained due to a deficiency in hours (quantitative measure), students may take courses at another institution as long as UNC Asheville will accept the courses in transfer. This process must first be approved by the Office of the Registrar at UNC Asheville.
If the deficiency is due to GPA (qualitative measure), any additional courses must be taken at UNC Asheville since the GPA is calculated using only UNC Asheville courses.
After completing the semester being used to reestablish SAP, students must submit another appeal form to The Office of Financial Aid as outlined above in Steps for Appealing.
Academic Recovery Program (ARP)
The Academic Recovery Program is supported in the Advising and Learning Support Services of UNC Asheville. Some students that have lost their eligibility to receive financial assistance due to being moved to the CANCEL status may be asked to enroll in Tier 2 of the ARP program. During this time, a student may receive financial assistance. You may find additional ARP information at http://advising.unca.edu/arp
Title IV Refund Repayment and North Carolina State Repayment
UNCAsheville has a federally mandated Return of Funds Policy that governs the return of Title IV funds disbursed as well as a state refund policy for the state funds to students who completely withdraw from the University. If a student completely withdraws, he or she must return unearned student aid. Funds are earned in direct proportion to the length of time a student remains enrolled each semester. If the amount of funds disbursed is greater than the amount of funds earned by a student, a return of funds is required. Both the University and the student are responsible for returning a percentage of the unearned aid.
Important Graduation Notice
If you qualify for graduation but made a personal decision NOT to formally graduate, then you are no longer entitled to receive Federal Tittle IV Aid. Federal Title IV Aid includes Federal Pell grant, other federal and state grants as well as all federal student loans.
If you qualify for graduation in a particular major but made a personal decision to double major, you are no longer entitled to receive Federal IV Aid. Federal Title IV Aid includes Federal Pell grant, other federal and state grants as well as all federal student loans.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Post-Baccalaureate Students
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the same SAP requirements as listed above for students seeking their initial baccalaureate degree. Students seeking a second undergraduate degree must complete their requirements within 230 cumulative attempted hours.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Graduate Students
Graduate (MLA) students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and may not fail or withdraw from any classes to remain eligible for financial aid. Graduate students do not receive a WARNING period.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Teacher Licensure and Certification
Teacher Licensure students should follow the same SAP Policy as an undergraduate student.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Certificate of Major
Students seeking a Certificate of Major are not eligible for any financial assistance.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Study Abroad Students
Students who participate in study abroad during any term will be evaluated for SAP at the end of the term. If transcripts are not received by the end of the term, students will be placed on WARNING status for one semester. If transcripts are still not received by the review time for the following term, aid will be CANCELLED. If this happens, students will be required to follow the SAP appeal process to have aid reinstated. Students must complete at minimum 67% of the hours attempted.
Note: This policy became effective in the 2011-2012 academic year. Returning students who left UNC Asheville prior to the implementation of this policy will be reevaluated under the new policy