Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal regulations, HEA Sec. 484(c) §668.16, 668.34, require institutions participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs to develop academic progress standards and review student records to ensure they are complying with these standards and making adequate progress toward their academic goals. At Victor Valley College’s (VVC) Office of Financial Aid (OFA), SAP is reviewed each semester. Students who do not meet the minimum SAP standards are not eligible for financial aid, unless they have been granted a WARNING, APPROVED APPEAL, or PROBATION status as described below. The Financial Aid SAP policy should not be confused with academic PROBATION or GOOD STANDING assigned by the institution for academic performance. The academic status and financial aid status are different and have different requirements.
Failure to maintain SAP will result in the loss of all federal and state aid, including:
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Federal Work-Study Program
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • State of California Financial Aid Programs including CalGrant, Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG) and California College Promise Grant (CCPG-formerly Board of Governor (BOG) waiver), Chafee Grant
  • Other Grant and/or Scholarship programs which require Satisfactory Academic Progress verification
Components of SAP:
Victor Valley College’s definition of satisfactory academic progress for receiving financial aid includes the following three components:
  1. Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)
Students are required to maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative Financial Aid GPA. All attempted units at Victor Valley College, including remedial and repeat courses, as well as transfer units regardless of whether or not you received financial aid for  those terms of enrollment are included in SAP evaluation (exclusions: transfer courses accepted as “NO CREDIT). Grades that are not associated with quality points cannot be used to calculate the GPA. They do, however, count as attempted units.
  1. PACE (Quantitative Measure)
Completion Ratio -- Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% (will round up if over 66.50 or greater) of the cumulative credit units attempted (cumulative earned units/cumulative attempted units). Grades   of F, W, WF, U, I, and NR do not indicate successfully completed courses. They will be counted as attempted, but not earned units.
  1. Maximum Time Frame
Students are expected to complete their program of study within 150% of the units/units required for their program of study program. For example, if a student is enrolled in an Associates program of study program that requires 60 credit units, a student may attempt a maximum of 90 (60 units multiplied by 150% = 90 units). If the Office of Financial Aid becomes aware that a student cannot mathematically complete their program of study within the 150% maximum timeframe, the student is no longer eligible for aid at the point of this determination, even if the student has not attempted their maximum number of units allowed.
Students completing multiple program of studies/majors at VVC are also expected to complete each program of study in a timely fashion. A student may need to appeal for Maximum Timeframe if there are multiple program of studies completed and/or in progress.
Eligible Coursework Requirement
Federal regulations require that financial aid funds can only be used to pay for coursework that is required toward the completion of the official program of study on record in the Admissions and Records Office at the time of taking the   course(s). A student is expected to know and understand his/her program of study requirements and work with an academic counselor to ensure that courses will meet program of study requirements. If it is determined that a student takes a course that does not meet program of study requirements, the student is required to repay all or a portion of the financial aid received while taking ineligible course(s).
Remedial Courses
Students who have taken remedial courses cannot receive financial aid for more than 30 semester units of remedial coursework. If remedial courses must be taken beyond 30 semester units, students must enroll at their own expense to take the remaining remedial coursework.
Repeated Courses
All repeated courses and grades will be included in SAP calculations. Students may only receive Title IV Aid for one repeat of a previously passed course.
Transfer Students
Transfer students are also subject to the 67% Minimum Pace of Completion, the Maximum Allowable Total Attempted Units and the minimum 2.0 overall GPA requirement. All units attempted while enrolled at VVC and all transfer units accepted by the VVC from other schools are included in the SAP determination.
Changing Majors/Program of Study
Students who change majors during the academic year are strongly encouraged not to withdraw from any courses as they still must successfully complete coursework with a minimum 67% of the units attempted at VVC, including all units accepted in as transfer credit. Students who change majors/program of study are at risk of exceeding eligibility limits before obtaining a degree. Students who decide to change majors or programs of study should do so early in their academic career so as not to jeopardize future eligibility for student financial aid at the institution. Students are not encouraged to change their major/program of study in the middle of a term, as this could also result in the loss of or repayment of financial aid for ineligible coursework. Major changes are not considered mitigating circumstances for financial aid appeal purposes.
Dual Majors/Programs of Study
Students should work closely with their academic counselor to map out a plan for graduation.  If a student can hold out at least one class in each major until their last semester of enrollment, they will continue to qualify for all forms of financial aid.  If a student finishes one major before the other, he/she will not qualify for the federal aid, but may qualify for state, and/or institutional aid.
Program of Study Requirements Met
A student who completes the academic requirements for a program of study, but does not yet have a conferred degree or show graduated, is not eligible for further Title IV aid for that program. Adding an additional major will not permit the student to extend the length of a program of study and eligibility for financial aid funding.
The Admissions and Records Office, along with an academic counselor, will determine if the student has completed all course requirements for the program of study. This includes courses for double majors or minors. After an audit for the program of study has been completed, the student will be identified as a potential graduate. If the student fails to meet graduate requirements, he/she may no longer be eligible to receive financial aid funds.
Students who are not eligible to receive financial aid funding through the Office of Financial Aid for the next semester of enrollment will have to pay out of pocket with an alternative funding source.
Academic Renewal
Institutional approval of Academic Renewal does not supersede SAP requirements. All attempted units and grades will continue to be included in the SAP determination.
SAP Determination
All new, first-time freshmen students are considered to be meeting SAP during their initial term of enrollment at VVC. All transfer student SAP calculations will be determined using transfer units accepted by VVC for credit. SAP will subsequently be calculated after grades are posted at the end of each semester. All courses are considered in this determination even if financial aid did not pay for the course.
Students who are not meeting SAP qualitatively (2.0 cumulative financial aid GPA and/or quantitatively (67% completion) are allowed to receive financial aid for one term with a status of WARNING. Students are notified by email when they are placed in a WARNING status and no appeal is necessary to receive aid for this status. Students must meet the SAP requirements at the end of their next term of enrollment or will lose financial aid eligibility. Students may only be placed on Warning if they were meeting the SAP standards for the prior term attended.
Financial Aid dismissal occurs when a student has failed to maintain satisfactory academic progress. When a financial aid status is dismissed, students are no longer eligible for aid until they are meeting the terms of academic progress for financial aid both qualitatively and quantitatively, or have an approved financial aid appeal. Students on financial aid dismissal are ineligible for aid. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to pay all tuition and fees by the payment deadline to prevent any possibility of the cancelation of registration.
Students who lose financial aid eligibility, but can regain financial aid eligibility mathematically in one term, and have an approved SAP appeal are placed on financial aid PROBATION. Students in this status may continue to receive aid for one semester. Students on financial aid PROBATION will have their progress checked at the end of the semester. Failure to meet minimum SAP standards (2.0 cumulative financial aid GPA and/or quantitatively (67% completion) at the end of the probation term will result in the immediate loss of financial aid eligibility for further terms until eligibility can be regained.
Students who lose financial aid eligibility and subsequently secure an appeal approved, with the conditions of a Financial Aid Academic Plan, can regain financial aid eligibility for the length of the Financial Aid Academic Plan as long as all conditions of the plan are met.  Students in this status will be reviewed at the end of each term to determine if the student met the conditions of the Financial Aid Academic Plan and can continue to the next term with financial aid eligibility. Failure to meet any of the conditions of the Financial Aid Academic Plan will result in the immediate loss of financial aid eligibility for further terms until eligibility can be regained and/or the program of study is completed. It is important to note that all stipulations and requirements of Financial Aid Academic Plan are final and are not subject to further consideration.
Students who lose financial aid eligibility and have already been on a financial aid academic plan or secured a successful appeal, but did not meet the necessary requirements will be placed into self-reinstatement status. No further appeals are accepted in this status. Students will stay in this status until they regain eligibility by taking classes at their own expense and meeting minimum SAP standards (2.0 cumulative financial aid GPA and/or quantitatively (67% completion).  
Students who have reached Maximum Timeframe limits and have already been on a financial aid academic plan or secured a successful appeal, will be placed into termination status. No further appeals are accepted in this status. Students will stay in this status until they complete their current program of study. If the student graduates and wants to pursue a different program of study then financial aid eligibility can be reassessed.  
SAP Appeals
Students who lose their financial aid eligibility may appeal based on mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances are defined as unanticipated and unavoidable events or situations beyond a student’s control that prevented him or her from successfully completing courses in a prior term. Examples of acceptable mitigating circumstances could include (but are not limited to) serious accident or illness of the student, serious illness or death of immediate family member (parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, children), and/or unexpected financial obligations, etc. Examples of unacceptable mitigating circumstances include (but are not limited to) withdrawal to avoid a failing grade, too many courses attempted, voluntary change of major, limited number of tests/assignments, disagreement with faculty member, voluntary change in work units, being out of school for a number of years, and/or incarceration. The Office of Financial Aid realizes that students may not be able to continue their education without financial assistance; however, this is not a reason that will be considered for an appeal, but we will make every effort to find other available funding sources for a student. Approval of all appeals is determined on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.
SAP Appeal Process
1) Print, complete, and sign the SAP Appeal Form.
2) Submit your SAP Appeal Form by the established deadline by the Office of Financial Aid.
      *Appeals submitted after the deadline will be considered for the following term.
3) Upload the SAP Appeal Form and supporting documentation through Financial Aid Self-Service on the web, or in person at the Office of Financial Aid during business hours.
      *Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed or considered.
      * Students will be required to provide a detailed explanation of mitigating circumstances,   
        supporting documentation, and a statement explaining what has changed that will allow     
        success in courses going forward.
4) Appeals are reviewed once per term prior to the start of a term-please allow 2-3 weeks (after the appeal deadline for the term) for review and decision on your appeal.  
     *Appeals will be reviewed and appeals recommended for approval may be reviewed by the                   Director of Financial Aid-the Director’s decision is final and may not be appealed.
     * Notification of the appeal decision and conditions of any approval will be sent by mail and/or             email to a student’s VVC email account.
     *Appeal approval is determined on a case-by- case basis and is not guaranteed.
Regaining Student Financial Aid Eligibility
A student may be awarded Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Direct Loans and state financial aid for the term in which the student is now making SAP or the term for which a SAP appeal and/or an academic plan has been approved.
All other rules and regulations governing federal and state student financial aid programs still apply.