Maintaining Your Financial Aid Benefits
Your financial aid will continue as long as you maintain satisfactory progress in the course of study you are pursuing, according to the standards and practices of MassBay.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
In order to receive financial aid, students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the Financial Aid Office. Please note that the definition of SAP used for financial aid purposes may be different from the Registrar definition for “Academic Probation and Academic Dismissal” as defined in the College Catalogue. Students who do not meet one or more of these standards will have their financial aid immediately suspended.
Federal and State regulations require all institutions which administer Federal and State financial aid to monitor the academic progress towards a degree or certificate of students applying for financial aid funds. All students who have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and wish to be considered for financial aid must meet the criteria stated in the policy regardless of whether or not they previously received financial aid. If you are enrolled in an Associate degree program, and are not on financial aid probation, SAP will be reviewed at the end of each academic year. If you are enrolled in a certificate program, SAP is reviewed at the end of each semester. If you are on probation, it will be reviewed at the end of each probationary semester. All students who enroll in the summer session(s) will have SAP reviewed again prior to the Fall semester to ensure that progress requirements are still being met.
The 3 standards used for measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress are:
- Qualitative: Cumulative Grade Point Average
- Quantitative: Completion Rate/Pace
- Quantitative: Maximum Attempted Credits
Each standard is outlined below.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) (qualitative)
The cumulative GPA requirement varies depending on the number of credits that the student has completed.
|First year student: 0-29 credits||Minimum cumulative GPA: 1.5|
|Second year student: 30+ credits||Minimum cumulative GPA: 2.0|
All credits, including ESL and development credits, are used to determine the cumulative GPA. Your GPA is calculated using all graded credits (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and F) appearing on the transcript. Grades received for repeat coursework that are excluded from your MassBay College GPA will also be excluded from your SAP GPA. (Note: Your cumulative College GPA on your MassBay transcript may differ from the cumulative GPA used to determine SAP).
Completion Rate/Pace (Quantitative)
Students are required to complete at least 67% of their total attempted credits. All transfer credits accepted from other institutions are considered to be attempted and completed. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the cumulative completed credits by the Cumulative attempted credits (including ESL and development credits).
Attempted credits: These include all credits with a letter grade, including pass/fail credits, as well as any incomplete, repeated, and withdrawn courses.
Completed credits: A credit is considered completed if a grade of D- or better is earned. Pass/fail credits that are successfully passed are considered completed.
*Example: If a student has attempted 24 credits, while attending MassBay, and has completed 18 of those credits, the student will have a completion rate of 75% (18÷24 = .75).
Students must be able to complete their program within the maximum timeframe. This is a federal regulation to ensure students complete a program in a timely manner then proceed on to further education. We count this timeframe in credits rather than time increments. The maximum timeframe is determined by calculating 150% of the published credit requirement of the program and comparing it to the total # of credits you have attempted (including transfer credits). This applies to certificate programs too and can have an impact on your financial aid if you decide to change from an associate degree to a certificate. The only courses that are excluded from the maximum attempted credit timeframe are ESL courses, non-credit courses, and up to 30 developmental credits. If you have attempted more than 30 credits of developmental coursework, all credits that exceed 30 will be counted in the calculation (example: 34 total developmental credits attempted, the first 30 are excluded and the other 4 are included).
Example: A student enrolled in a program which requires 60 credits must be able to complete their program within 150% of the 60 credits. In this case, the ’s maximum timeframe is 90 credits. The student’s aid would be suspended, if the student has attempted more than 90 credits according to their MassBay transcript or will not be able to mathematically complete their degree within 90 credits.
Important factors to consider for SAP
Repeated Coursework: When repeating or retaking a course students may receive financial aid for a course that they previously failed until they pass the course. Also, students may receive financial aid for repeating a course (limit 1 repetition per class) that they received a passing grade for (this is a D or higher grade). Keep in mind repeated course work will impact a student’s completion rate and maximum timeframe.
Developmental Coursework: If a student is admitted into an eligible program and takes remedial coursework within that program, he can be considered a regular student for financial aid purposes, even if he is taking all remedial courses before taking any regular courses. A student can receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 attempted developmental credits. Developmental coursework is factored in to the SAP requirements for cumulative GPA and completion rate. Also total attempted developmental coursework that exceeds 30 credits is included in the calculation for maximum timeframe.
Financial Aid SAP Suspension and Probation
Students who do not meet the SAP requirements will be placed on financial aid suspension and will be ineligible to receive any financial aid until the student is meeting the requirements of the Financial Aid SAP policy. If a student cannot attend without the assistance of Financial Aid, a student has the opportunity to appeal for a probation semester of financial aid eligibility, see below.
Your Right to Appeal:Upon being notified of the suspension, you have the right to appeal your suspension if you have not previously received a financial aid semester of probation, were close to meeting the minimum requirements, and had documentable extenuating circumstances that interfered with your academic performance and compromised your ability to meet the required standards. Students who would like to appeal must print the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form at www.massbay.edu/financialaid under the “financial aid forms and resources” link in the “Quick Links” box, and complete all sections of the form. You may also request an appeal form from the Financial Aid Office.
The SAP Appeal form includes:
- You must explain the circumstances that resulted in your unsatisfactory academic performance
(For example: death of a relative, injury, student illness, previously undiagnosed learning disability).
- You must also provide a thoughtful and realistic plan for your future success which will result in you meeting satisfactory academic progress in the future.
- Provide appropriate supporting documentation, see appeal form for examples.
- An academic progress plan completed by you and your academic advisor.
An appeal must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office within two weeks from your notification of Suspension for financial aid. During non-peak times of year students will receive a response to their appeal within three weeks. During peak busy times of the year (i.e. start of the term, end of the term) please contact the aid office for appeal deadlines and cutoffs. Appeals must be received before or during the term (must be submitted within the first 45 calendar days of the semester) for which the student is requesting aid. Any appeal received after the 45th calendar day of the current term will be considered for the next term for which the student enrolls. Appeal decisions are not retroactive. While a student is waiting for a decision on their Appeal, a student is responsible to pay his/her own expenses, such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc., without the expectation of financial aid reimbursement. If the SAP appeal is denied and you do not pay your bill, and do not withdraw or take a leave of absence before the first day of classes, you will incur charges for which you will be fully responsible.
Financial Aid Probation
If your appeal is approved, you will be placed on financial aid probation. Your probation will be contingent upon completion of both the academic progress plan and an acknowledgement that you understand the terms and conditions of your probation. During period(s) of probation, you are still eligible to receive financial aid. An approved probation term(s) provides a student one additional opportunity to demonstrate to the College, as well as to themselves, their ability to meet SAP standards and their commitment to the academic program in which they have enrolled. Students granted probationary status will have their Academic Program Plan reviewed at the end of each probationary semester:
- Students that meet the terms of their probation but still are not meeting SAP will have their financial aid probation continued to the next term, as long as their academic plan was for more than 1 term.
- Students that meet the terms of their probation and also are now meeting SAP will be removed from probation status, and will continue to receive financial aid.
- Students not meeting the terms of their probation and Academic Progress Plan will be placed on financial aid suspension and will be ineligible to receive financial aid. Please be aware, second appeals are unlikely to be approved.
A student may be able to raise his/her cumulative GPA and/or satisfy credit deficiencies by taking additional coursework at MassBay Community College while not receiving financial aid, or by transferring in credits from other institutions.