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Financial Aid Processes

Satisfactory Academic Process (SAP) Process and Policy

Federal regulations require that Belmont College establish policies to monitor the academic progress of students who apply for and/or receive financial aid. SAP describes the academic standards which students must maintain while completing their Certificate or Associate degree to maintain eligibility for financial aid. These standards consist of completing a quantitative (time-based) and qualitative (grade-based) measure at the end of each academic period, and maximum time frame measure (150%).



The programs governed by these regulations are: 


  • Federal Pell Grant 
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant(FSEOG)
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)


Why is SAP important?



What are the minimum SAP standards?


Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA):

  • 1.6 GPA during first 30 attempted hours
  • 2.0 GPA after first 30 attempted hours


Completion Rate (Pace): At least 67% of all credits/billable hours attempted must have successfully passing grades*.  All attempted credit hours and program transfer hours are calculated in the completion rate even if no financial aid was received for the hours. The only exception is developmental/remedial course hours which are not calculated into the completion rate. The completion rate is calculated by dividing cumulative hours that you have successfully completed by the cumulative hours you have attempted.


Completion Rate = Credit hrs successfully completed
                                  Total Credit hrs attempted


Example: A student has attempted a total of 30 hours. In order for the student to be financial aid eligible he or she must have completed 21 hours (30 hrs x 67% = 20.1).


*Grades that are considered successfully completed are A, B, C, D, P.


Maximum Time frame: Students must keep within a maximum time frame which would be limited to no more than 150% of the published length of the program for undergraduate study. Coursework included in the calculation include: transfer, developmental, and all credit courses. A student is ineligible when it becomes mathematically impossible to complete the program within 150% of the length of the program.

  • Registered Nursing, AAS: Total credit hours required are 62, the maximum time frame is 93 attempted hours

(62 x 150%).

  • Medical Coding, CP: Total credit hours required are 33, the maximum time frame is 49.5 attempted hours

(33 x 150%).


How are SAP standards applied?


  • A review will be done at the end of each semester/payment period. Summer terms are considered a semester/payment period; therefore SAP will be evaluated at the end of the summer session as well, if the student enrolls and attends summer session(s). The evaluation period will be based on attendance in all prior semester(s) and will include all classes attempted whether federal aid was received or not.
  • Students are placed into a Warning status after the first time the student does not meet the minimum SAP standards. Financial aid warning means that you CAN receive federal financial aid for the next semester.
  • If, after the Warning period, the student is still unable to meet the minimum SAP standards the student is then placed on Suspension status. Financial aid suspension means that you are NOT eligible for federal financial aid for the next semester. The student may appeal this decision if they have an extenuating circumstance. If approved, the student is placed on Probation or Probation with Academic Plan (DCP) status. They are eligible for aid for one or more payment periods. 


Students whose financial aid is suspended may attend Belmont at their own expense unless academically ineligible.


Re-establishing Eligibility


If you are on Suspension because of failure to successfully complete the Minimum SAP Standards as described above,  you must successfully meet the minimum GPA and PACE percentage by taking additional classes at your own expense, or submit a SAP appeal for consideration due to extenuating circumstances.  If the SAP appeal is approved, the student is placed on Probation or Probation with Academic Plan (DCP) status. They are eligible for aid for one or more payment periods. Please review the appeal process below. 


What is the SAP appeal process?


All students who have their financial aid eligibility suspended may appeal to the Financial Aid Office to receive financial aid in a subsequent period of enrollment. GPA, completion rate, and maximum time frame are all appealable. The SAP Appeal Form will be available online or in the Financial Aid Office.


An appeal must be based on an extenuating circumstance or situation which prevented the student from completing/passing their courses, or which required that they withdraw from classes. A work conflict, repetitive withdraws and/or failures are not extenuating circumstances. The appeal form should:


  • Include information describing why minimum SAP standards have not been met and how the situation has changed so that SAP will be met at the next evaluation.   Not being able to concentrate on college after being in high school is not an approved reason for not maintaining SAP.  
  • 2nd appeals must be based on a reason different from the first.
  • Detail any extenuating circumstances; including supporting documentation from a 3rd party (e.g., police reports, detailed hospital bill or physician’s statement, death certificate, military deployment, etc.).
  • Include enrollment plans at minimum for the next two periods of enrollment (e.g., number of credit hours, change in major, Academic Improvement Plan details, any other academic-related documentation, etc.), including an Academic Plan (DCP).
  • Be complete and turned in to the Financial Aid Office by the priority deadline for each period of enrollment (See SAP appeal form for current term date).


An appeal may be approved only if the school has determined that the student will be able to meet the minimum SAP standards after the subsequent semester/payment period. Approval of financial aid based on an appeal is normally granted one time during a student’s academic career at Belmont. If a student has not achieved the minimum SAP standards after the first probationary period, the student may be ineligible for aid until the minimum SAP standards are achieved unless some progression towards completing a degree is evident.  Please see additional information on Regaining Eligibility above.


What is the Academic Plan for SAP Improvement?


  • An academic plan will, if followed, ensure that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time that does not exceed three terms of enrollment (including summer).
  • The Academic Plan for SAP improvement includes targets and specific plans for improvement.
  • The Academic Plan for SAP improvement may be a multi-semester plan (up to 3 semesters). The student must adhere to it each and every semester. Any deviation will make this plan void. Changes to a previous approved plan must be approved by the Financial Aid Office.
  • If it is not mathematically possible for a student to achieve minimum SAP standards within 3 semesters, they could be denied aid.


What are the benefits of successfully following a plan? What happens if the student doesn’t follow the plan?


  • A student who successfully follows an Academic Plan may continue to receive financial aid even though the student is not actually achieving progress according to the college’s published SAP standards.
  • A student who doesn’t follow the plan immediately loses financial aid eligibility. This includes withdrawing/auditing/failing any course(s) at any time during the Academic Plan, and any variance from the agreed upon course(s) for each semester.


Additional SAP Policies


Repeat Courses: A student may receive financial aid for repeating any previously passed course once. For this purpose, passed means any grade higher than an “F”, regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have been considered to have passed the course. Any courses repeated will be used in the student’s Completion Rate calculation.

Remedial/Developmental Courses: A student, otherwise eligible for federal financial aid, is permitted to attempt a maximum of 30 semester hours of developmental courses while receiving financial aid. It is our best practice to encourage completion of required developmental courses within the student’s first academic year at Belmont. At the point it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to complete all required developmental courses within 30 credit hour attempts, the student is no longer eligible for financial aid for any remaining developmental courses.

Program Changes: A student who has changed his major is more likely to reach maximum time frame for SAP purposes. If a student changes his program during enrollment at Belmont, the maximum time frame hours will change to coincide with the new program which may cause the student to go directly to Suspension status, and will need to submit an appeal with an Academic Plan to for consideration.

Second Degrees at Belmont: A student who is pursuing a second degree will need to complete a Change of Major with the Records Office, and a SAP appeal with Academic Plan. If a student completes a Certificate Program, and the 2nd degree is a typical succession into an Associate’s degree, and the student can complete the 2nd degree within the maximum time frame, an appeal may be waived.


SAP Appeal Notifications


All notifications will be sent to each students’ Belmont College e-mail address or mailing address if the email account is not set up. Be sure to follow all instructions as indicated in the approval or denial letter. Some appeals may be approved with modifications, such as an approval for a reduced number of credit hours for the term in which you may need to contact your Academic Advisor to adjust your schedule.


Please remember:

Financial aid is only eligible for courses required for degree completion. Students cannot take “filler” classes to be full-time for federal financial aid purposes, or take courses for future degree programs not required for completion of their current degree at Belmont.