Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is “Satisfactory Academic Progress” and how does it affect my financial aid?

To be eligible for financial aid, Federal and Massachusetts regulations and official GCC policy require students to be making “Satisfactory Academic Progress.” Each semester the Financial Aid Office monitors students’ GPA, and also reviews the success of financial aid students in earning credits toward their degrees and certificates. Students also need to earn their degrees within a certain number of attempted credits, usually about 90 credits for an associate degree. If you are not making satisfactory academic progress, you may appeal the status and if successful have your eligibility for financial aid reinstated.

What happens to my financial aid if I stop attending classes?

Financial aid is awarded under the assumption that the student will attend Greenfield Community College for the entire semester for which financial aid was awarded. Federal regulations require the school to determine whether the student established eligibility for each Title IV eligible class. Students who stop attending or participating in classes, without formally withdrawing from GCC, are considered to be withdrawn unofficially. GCC does not have an attendance policy. However, the college monitors attendance based on mid-term early progress reports and final grades. If you failed to pass any of your classes the college will consider you to have unofficially withdrawn. The college will attempt to determine your last day of attendance by using the dates on early progress and final grade reports. Instructors may also be contacted for further information regarding your participation and attendance. Once it is determined that a student has unofficially withdrawn, the college will process the refund calculation at 50%. Any financial aid awarded to you, but not fully earned by you, for the semester must be refunded to the Federal Department of Education. As with the official withdrawal from the college, the student will be responsible for any outstanding charges.

Students must maintain a G.P.A. of 2.0 at all times. Students who walk away from their classes are automatically placed on Unsatisfactory Financial Aid Progress and must complete the Appeal Process, if enrolling in a future semester and applying for financial aid funds.

We understand that sometimes students must withdraw from the college. Whenever you are contemplating withdrawal or feel that you may not be able to complete the semester we strongly encourage you to first contact your academic advisor as well as the financial aid office. You may find that there are other options available to you that you may not have considered. We can discuss support options like peer mentoring or tutoring, community resources, and on-campus support systems.

I was a student several years ago. I didn’t do that well and now I’m re-entering GCC under Fresh-Start. How does my previous academic history affect my financial aid status today?

All previous academic history is counted as credits attempted toward a degree, even if the student enters under Fresh Start. Fresh start waives the student’s previous academic progress and standing but it does not affect Financial Aid Progress.

I’ve earned 27 credits at GCC and I’ve also withdrawn from three 3-credit courses and two 4-credit lab science course. Do withdrawals count toward satisfactory financial aid progress? My GPA is 3.50.

All credits, attempted and earned, are counted toward degree completion.  Attempted credit hours include all withdrawal credits, including medical withdrawals, all failed or incomplete credits, all transferred credits, and all developmental course work.

Even with a G.P.A. of 3.50 this student is not making satisfactory financial aid progress. In this example, the student has attempted a total 44 credit hours and earned only 27.  Students must maintain a completion rate of 67% or more in order to maintain their good standing. This student’s completion rate is only 61%.

I’ve been at GCC for three years and I’ve earned 66 credit hours but I haven’t completed a degree program yet. I want to change my major, but my new major requires 45 credit hours that I still have to earn. Can I continue to receive financial aid for my new degree option?

Students must complete a degree or certificate within 150% of the required number of credits for that degree or certificate.  Most associate degree programs at GCC require 60 credit hours of course completion.  Because this student has already earned 66 credit hours without having earned a degree, he may not have enough financial aid eligibility remaining to cover his new change in major.  He can only receive financial aid for 24 remaining credit hours.