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Academic Progress Standards (SAP) 2011- 2012

(Revised for 2011-2012: Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Summer 2012)

Effective with the Fall 2011 term, a revised Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy will be initiated.  New federal regulations required that we review and revise the RCC policy.  All recipients of Federal and/or State aid are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in their course of study.  SAP will be evaluated at the time an application (FAFSA) is received and at the end of every semester. All enrollments at RCC and all applicable transfer credits will be considered whether or not aid was awarded or received.  If eligibility for financial aid is suspended for lack of Satisfactory Academic Progress, a student has the right to appeal.  A student may appeal their loss of financial aid eligibility if it is due to unusual mitigating circumstances. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, sudden illness of the student or an immediate family member, death of a family member, or other unusual circumstances.

If a student wishes to appeal a loss of financial aid eligibility, he/she should follow the instructions outlined in the Rappahannock Community College Catalog on the RCC Website

Failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress does not prohibit enrollment at the College.  A student may still enroll in classes at RCC but without financial aid assistance until such time as eligibility is regained by meeting the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

To be eligible to receive financial aid at Rappahannock Community College, students are required to make satisfactory progress towards successful completion of the program of study to which they have been admitted. Cumulative grade point averages and completion rates must be in compliance with the following minimum standards:

1. Minimum Qualitative Progress Standards  (GPA Rule) 

Effective when grades are posted end of Fall 2011 term

Minimum Cumulative GPA  Total Number of Credit(s) Attempted
1.5 1 to 15
1.75 16 to 30
2.0 31 +

2. Minimum Quantitative Progress Standards  (67% Rule)

-Financial aid recipients must satisfactorily complete 67 percent (%) of all course work attempted.

Completion Rate (67% Rule): Students must, at a minimum, receive satisfactory grades in 67% of cumulative credits attempted. This calculation is performed by dividing the cumulative total number of successfully completed credits by the cumulative total number of credits attempted. All credits attempted at the College (except audits, which must be entered as such by the class census date) are included. Developmental coursework is included in this calculation. All credits accepted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits. This evaluation will be made prior to aid being awarded and after grades are posted at the end of each semester a student is enrolled at the College. Credits with satisfactory grades at the College are those for which a grade of A, B, C, D, S, or P is earned.

3. Maximum Timeframe (150% Rule)

In order to continue receiving financial aid, a student must complete his/her program of study before attempting 150% of the credits required for that program.  Developmental and ESL coursework are excluded in this calculation. Attempted credits from all enrollment periods at the College plus all accepted transfer credits are counted. All terms of enrollment at the College are included whether or not the student received financial aid and regardless of the age of the coursework.

Additional Considerations for Quantitative or Pace of Completion Standards

  • • Withdrawals (W grades) that are recorded on the student’s permanent academic transcript will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to meet the requirements of the completion rate for financial aid.
  • • Incomplete Grades: Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade are included in cumulative credits attempted. These cannot be used as credits earned in the progress standard until a successful grade is assigned.
  • • Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative grade point average. Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed but repeating courses adversely affects the student’s ability to meet completion rate requirements.  Financial aid can be considered for successfully completed classes that are repeated to achieve a higher grade but for only one additional attempt.  Only the latest attempt will count toward the cumulative grade point average.

Additional Standards

1. Developmental Coursework: Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of Developmental Studies courses as long as the courses are required as a result of placement testing, the student is in an eligible program of study, and SAP requirements continue to be met.

2. English as a Second Language (ESL): Credits are unlimited in number as long as they are taken as part of an eligible program and SAP requirements continue to be met.

3. Audit Coursework: A student cannot receive financial aid for an audited course. Changing from credit to audit will reduce financial aid eligible courses by the number of credits changed to audit.

4. Repeated Coursework: Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed.  There is no limit assuming all other SAP requirements are met.  Repeated coursework will be included in the evaluation of completion rate and maximum timeframe.  Students may only repeat a passed course once as long as it is in order to meet an academic standard (i.e., a higher grade is required for graduation or their program of study).

5. Students who drop classes or audit classes are highly advised to schedule a meeting with the financial aid office to determine the impact of the changes on their financial aid.

6. Students should schedule a meeting with the financial aid office prior to requesting a curriculum/program/plan change.

7. New financial aid recipients who have previously been enrolled at the college and returning students will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress based on prior performance at RCC regardless if they received financial aid previously or not.

8. A student cannot receive financial aid for noncredit and credit courses in ineligible curricula.

9. (150% Rule)  A student receiving financial aid must take no more than 150% of the published amount of credits required to complete his/her program and be able to meet the 2.0 cumulative grade point average by the time the student completes graduation requirements.  Developmental and ESL course work are excluded in this calculation. Attempted credits from all enrollment periods at the College plus all accepted transfer credits are counted.  All terms of enrollment at the College are included whether or not the student received financial aid and regardless of the age of the coursework.

Automatic Warning Period

Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress for the first time (excluding students who have already attempted 150% of the credits required for their programs of study) will be automatically placed in a Warning Status for one (1) term and are expected to meet SAP requirements by the end of that term. Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the end of the warning status term will lose their eligibility for financial aid. However, with a successful SAP appeal, those students will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will retain financial aid eligibility.

Financial Aid Probation 

Students who have successfully appealed the loss of their financial aid are placed on probation.  Students on probation are eligible to receive financial aid for one (1) semester, after which they MUST be meeting all of the satisfactory academic progress standards or the requirements of an academic progress plan that was pre-approved by the College Financial Aid Appeal Committee.

Reinstatement and Appeals

Students who have lost their eligibility for financial aid due to their GPA, completion rate, or 150% timeframe may request that their eligibility be reinstated once they have brought their averages into compliance with minimum standards. Students who have mitigating circumstances which prevented them from meeting the minimum standards may appeal their suspension/termination of eligibility by writing to the financial aid officer. Conditions for reinstatement of aid will be determined by the financial aid officer on an individual basis and may include one or more semesters of satisfactory progress funded by the student.

Students whose appeals have been denied by the financial aid officer have the right to pursue final appeal through the Student Affairs Committee. The student will need to complete the “Appeal of Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Status for Financial Aid Students” form that can be picked up at either campus Financial Aid Offices. This appeal must be in writing to the dean of student development and will require an appearance before the committee.

If any case arises not specifically covered by this policy that is considered an abuse of the financial aid program, the student may be placed on financial aid probation or have eligibility for financial aid terminated by the financial aid officer. If such an occasion arises, the student will be notified in writing. The student will have the right to appeal to the Student Affairs Committee. The Student Grievance Procedure is included in the student handbook.


Financial aid is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend college for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded.  When a student withdraws (officially or unofficially) from ALL classes after beginning attendance, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of aid that the student was originally scheduled to receive. The College is required to determine the earned and unearned portions of Federal (Title IV) and/or State aid as of the date the student ceased attendance based on the amount of time the student spent in attendance. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, THE STUDENT WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAYING THE UNEARNED FUNDS. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, he or she is eligible to receive a post-withdraw disbursement of the earned aid that was received.  RECOMMENDED: For the complete policy please go to and read the information concerning Withdrawing from courses and the Return of Title IV Financial Aid Funds Policy.

Effective July 2011


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