Isothermal Community College

Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal, state, and institutional regulations require students receiving financial aid to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Financial aid includes, but is not limited to, the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study, all North Carolina Community College aid programs, and all institutional aid programs. The institution’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy must include two major components: 1) a qualitative measure and 2) a quantitative measure (comprised of progression rate, maximum timeframe, and developmental coursework). These components are explained below. Individual programs may have additional or varying requirements as stipulated by the guidelines of that program. Both the qualitative and quantitative standards are cumulative and include all periods of enrollment at ICC, even those for which the student did not receive financial aid funds.

Qualitative Measure

A student receiving financial aid at Isothermal Community College (ICC) must maintain a financial aid cumulative grade point average (FA-GPA) at or above a 2.00. The cumulative FA-GPA will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Any student having a cumulative FA-GPA that is less than 2.00 shall be placed on financial aid warning during the next term they attend, consecutive or otherwise. The student will be notified of his/her warning status in writing by the Financial Aid Office and may receive financial aid during the warning term of enrollment. If the student’s cumulative FA-GPA does not come up to the 2.00 requirement by the end of the warning term, he/she will be placed on financial aid suspension and all aid will be terminated until he/she earns the minimum required cumulative FA-GPA.

Please note the following conditions:

  • For the qualitative measure, the FA-GPA will be cumulative and all grades, including developmental, for classes in which the student was enrolled as of the census date of each academic term will be counted. 
  • Cumulative FA-GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned by the total credit hours attempted for which the student received grades where the first letter is one of the following: A, B, C, D, F, I, or R. These grades could be followed by an *, ., or %, but that has no effect on the actual grade. No quality points are earned for grades of F, R, or I. For financial aid purposes, an incomplete grade (I) is treated as a failing grade until proven otherwise.
  • Classes in which the student has been listed as a “No Show” have no grade value and therefore will not be included in the FA-GPA calculation.

Quantitative Measures

1. Maximum Timeframe

Any student receiving financial aid will have a maximum time frame in which he/she is expected to complete1 a program of study. Regulations require that the time frame be no more than 150% of the established length of the program. At ICC, the 150% time frame will be measured in terms of credit hours attempted.2 Once the student has attempted 150% of the credit hours allowed in his/her program, he/she is no longer eligible for financial aid at ICC. Developmental course are excluded from this calculation.

Example: If a program requires 60 credit hours to complete, then a student must complete their program within 90 attempted credit (60 x 150% = 90).

In order for a program to be considered complete the student must complete all required hours for the program, submit an application for graduation, and have that application approved by the Registrar’s Office.

2 For the quantitative measure, credit hours attempted will be cumulative and all hours for which the student was enrolled as of the census date of each academic term and received a grade where the first letter is one of the following: A, B, C, D, F, I, W, W, or R will be counted. These grades could be followed by an ., #, %, or another letter, but that has no effect on the actual grade.

2. Progression Rate

Students are also required to successfully complete 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted. Grades of A, B, C, D, CE, and CR will be counted as hours attempted and successfully completed. Grades of F, I, W, and R will not count as hours successfully completed, but will count as hours attempted. Grades of NS (no show) and Y (audit) will not be counted as attempted hours or hours successfully completed. Developmental course are excluded from this calculation. 

Quantitative progress will be evaluated at the end of each term. Any student not successfully completing 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted shall be placed on financial aid warning during the next term they attend, consecutive or otherwise. The student will be notified of his/her warning status in writing by the Financial Aid Office and may receive financial aid during the warning term of enrollment. If the student is not back within acceptable standards by the end of the warning term, he/she will be placed on financial aid suspension and all aid will be terminated until he/she has successfully completed 67% of the classes being attempted.

Example: 32 cumulative credit hours attempted. 32 x 67% = 21 cumulative credit hours must be successfully completed

3. Developmental Coursework

Students who are required to take developmental courses, as determined by placement testing, may receive financial aid for up to 30 attempted credit hours of developmental course work. Once a student has attempted the maximum 30 credit hours, developmental credit hours will no longer be included when calculating the student’s enrollment status. Grades earned in developmental courses will be included in calculating the financial aid grade point average for financial aid purposes. Developmental course work is not included in the Maximum Timeframe or Progression calculation.

Effects of Previous Credits

  1. Transfer Students – any student transferring from another college who has no previous ICC credit will be considered to be making satisfactory progress at the time of his/her enrollment. Credit hours accepted for transfer will be considered hours attempted and hours successfully completed. Transfer credit hours will be counted in the students maximum timeframe .
  2. ICC Returning Students – returning students will have their cumulative FA-GPA carried forward, subject to the institutional policy regarding transfer of credit within the institution. All quarter hours attempted will be converted to semester hours and carried forward. This policy is in accordance with federal regulations stating that satisfactory academic progress standards must cover all periods of the student’s enrollment regardless of whether they received financial assistance during those periods.
  3. ICC Graduates – if a student graduates from a program at ICC and desires to pursue another degree, that student will assume the maximum time frame of the new program. All previously attempted credit hours will be included.

Procedure for Reinstatement of Financial Aid

Students who have had their aid terminated may reestablish eligibility for financial aid in one of two ways: 1) by enrolling in subsequent semester(s) at his/her own expense until satisfactory academic progress is achieved, or 2) by the appeals process, if approved. If a student appeals, and the appeal is denied, the student must successfully complete twelve (12) credit hours before they will be eligible to submit another appeal request. The twelve (12) credit hours can be completed at another institution and transferred to ICC, but they must be completed after the date their appeal was denied. Retroactive payments of financial aid for periods in which a student did not meet satisfactory progress standards are prohibited.

Procedure to Appeal Financial Aid Suspension

To appeal financial aid suspension, a student must be able to demonstrate the existence of mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances are defined as, but not limited to, serious injury or illness of the student, death of an immediate family member (spouse, child, sibling, or parent), significant trauma in the student’s life, or undue hardship caused by unusual circumstances. Documentation of the mitigating circumstance is required. The student must prove that the mitigating circumstances have been resolved and will no longer be a detriment to the student’s performance. The student’s prior academic performance and withdrawal rate will be closely scrutinized in the appeal process. The following steps shall be taken in the appeal process:

  1. The student must complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form and return it to the Financial Aid Office along with supporting documentation. If the student is appealing as a result of Maximum Timeframe ineligibility they should complete a Maximum Timeframe Appeal form. Documentation to support the appeal is REQUIRED by both appeals. Incomplete forms or forms received without supporting documentation WILL NOT be reviewed.
  2. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form along with the supporting documentation will be reviewed by a financial aid counselor to determine whether or not mitigating circumstances did exist and the appeal is justified. The student’s transcript and past performance will also be reviewed to determine if the student can reasonably benefit from an additional term with the help of financial aid. The student will be advised of the decision in writing. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation with an academic plan. The academic plan will specify what criteria must be met at the end of the appeal term in order for the student to receive financial aid for the next semester they attend. If the student fails to meet the specified criteria, aid will be terminated at the end of the probationary term. The student may submit additional appeals if NEW mitigating circumstances exist. The student must have successfully completed twelve (12) credit hours and made improvement to their standing before an additional appeal will be allowed.
  3. The Maximum Timframe Appeal form will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student’s transcript and past performance will also be reviewed to determine if the student can complete their program within a reasonable amount of time. The student will be advised of the committee’s decision in writing. If the appeal is approved, the student will be granted a limited amount of time where they can continue pursuing their degree with the help of financial aid, if otherwise eligible. If the student fails to complete their program within the designated amount of time aid will be terminated. The student may submit additional appeals if NEW mitigating circumstances exist. The student must have successfully completed twelve (12) credit hours and made improvement to their standing before an additional appeal will be allowed.

These policies are subject to change based on institutional, state, and federal guidelines