Monday, April 20, 2015


 CSN Financial Aid
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Effective with the Summer 2011 Evaluation

Important Notice: The following SAP Policy applies to satisfactory progress evaluations beginning with the summer 2011 semester only.  For satisfactory progress evaluations up to and including the spring 2011 semester, please click on the link:

CSN SAP Policy up to and including spring 2011

 Please note:   Student must be enrolled in classes when submitting an Appeal for Satisfactory Academic Progress for semester being appealed.  Non enrollment for that semester will result in appeal being returned to student.
 Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal guidelines require that financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards for recipients be the same as or stricter than the standards the school uses for students who are not receiving Title IV aid.

In order to provide financial aid funds to students, the college is obligated to review an applicant’s academic record as part of the eligibility screening process.  Federal regulations defines that an applicant’s academic record includes: 
  • Transfer credits from other schools counting towards the student’s degree program
  • Prior CSN semester grades even if the student was not a financial aid recipient at the time of his/her previous enrollment.

Applicants who do not have a CSN academic record are assumed to be in compliance with the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy based upon his or her admissibility.

All students with prior post-secondary credits are obligated to submit academic transcripts to the CSN Registrar and request a Transfer Credit Evaluation. SFS will review an applicant’s aid eligibility only after this process is completed.

The policy contains three inter-related academic assessments that measure progress on a qualitative and quantitative basis. Applicants are considered eligible for financial aid if they meet or exceed the GPA and Pace standards, and do not exceed the Maximum Time Frame standard. 

The standards for satisfactory academic progress are as follows: 

  • Qualitative Measure: CSN grade point average (GPA) must be greater than or equal to a 2.00.
    • Only the CSN average is assessed; transfer credits grades do not impact the college’s GPA.

Example of the qualitative measure in use:

Fall semester, Kim Coyote enrolled in 15 credit hours and received a 1.9 GPA during her first semester at CSN. Kim is notified that she is now on SAP Warning indicating she did not meet the financial aid 2.00 GPA or higher standard for the fall semester.

SAP Warning means that Ms. Coyote is still eligible to receive financial aid next semester of enrollment. Kim Coyote decided to take the spring semester off. She re-enrolled for 6 credit hours during the summer semester and receives financial aid, but unfortunately obtained another 1.9 GPA.

Kim Coyote had two semesters in which she did not meet the 2.00 cumulative GPA SAP policy standards. Consequently, Kim’s financial aid eligibility is now SAP Suspended and she is no longer eligible to receive financial aid assistance.


  • Quantitative Measures:
    • The student must graduate within a “Maximum Time Frame”, defined as 150% of the credit hours required to earn the applicant’s declared academic credential:
CSN declared major in a:
The maximum amount of credits allowed:
Certificate program
Associate degree
Bachelor degree


      • Students having already earned a post-secondary credential (college degree or certificate) are ineligible for financial aid at CSN, but are permitted to appeal to explain why they seek an additional degree.
    • The financial aid applicant must therefore demonstrate that he/she is on “Pace” to graduate by successfully completing at least 2/3 of all attempted coursework at any given time.
      • All registered CSN credit hours recorded with a grade (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, P,F) or with S, AU, W, WT, I, NR count as attempts. Repeated and remedial courses also count as attempted credits. Required ESL courses do not count towards the quantitative standards.
      • Transfer credits accepted by the college count as attempted and earned credits for the quantitative measure.

Example of the quantitative measures in use:

During the fall semester, Kim Coyote enrolled in 15 credit hours at CSN. She dropped a 3 credit hour class 30 days after classes began and successfully completed the remaining 12 credit hours.   Kim Coyote’s completion rate was 12/15 = 75%. She is deemed “SAP Good” because her successful completion rate of 75% was above the minimum 66% policy standard.

Kim Coyote then enrolled in 12 credit hours during the spring semester. She subsequently withdrew from 7 credit hours two weeks after the semester began and successfully completed the remaining 5 credit hours.

At the end of the spring semester Kim Coyote’s successful completion rate for all semesters of enrollment is 17/27 = 63%.

[ Explanation:  12 credit hours completed in the fall plus 5 credit hours completed in the spring (12+ 5=17), divided by 15 credit hours attempted in the fall plus12 credit hours attempted in spring (15+12=27) equal 17/27 = 63% overall. ]

Kim Coyote’s financial aid eligibility is changed to SAP Warning. Kim Coyote remains eligible for financial aid, but will have to perform better to overcome her “PACE” deficiency. If she does not do better, she could become SAP Suspended and consequently would not be eligible for additional funding.


 Process Overview and Responsibilities

After grades have posted, and prior to the release of financial aid for the following semester, Student Financial Services (SFS) will review and evaluate each applicant’s CSN academic record for compliance with the minimum standards of satisfactory progress. There are three possible eligibility outcomes:

1.    SAP Good”:

  • Student meets the minimum standard and, if otherwise eligible, can receive financial aid.
2.    SAPWarning”:
  • Student does not meet the minimum standard for GPA or Pace, or both GPA and Pace.
    • Can receive financial assistance for one additional semester, but will become suspended if he/she does not raise his/her academic performance during the next evaluation period in accordance with policy minimum standards.
3.    SAP “Suspended”:
  • The student is ineligible to receive financial aid funds. It can happen when:
    • The student has achieved a degree or certificate that is equivalent or that exceeds, the academic program declared in the FAFSA application;
      - For example, a student who has earned an Associate of Arts degree, or higher, if he/she remains enrolled at CSN.
    • The student has attempted credits that exceed the maximum time frame limit;
    • The student has completed all of his/her academic requirements but elects not to graduate; and
    • The student was previously on ‘Warning’ and fails to achieve the minimum policy standards during his/her most recent enrollment period.


The outcome of the SAP evaluation will be communicated through the MyCSN communications center.



If an applicant is suspended for failing to meet the requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, he/she may file an appeal by:

1. Submitting the Student Appeal Form outlining that the existence of a documented extenuating circumstance interfered with his/hers normal academic effort.
  • Examples include:
    • A death/injury/illness in the family
    • Foreclosure/eviction/sudden homelessness
    • Economic re-training / Displaced worker

Extenuating circumstances must be supported with third party documentation outlining the mitigating issues surrounding the appeal.

  • Documentation examples include:
    • Newspaper obituaries or death certificates to substantiate deaths;
    • Written statement from clergy, family member, or other third party who knows the student’s situation;
    • Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation certification;
    • Physician’s written statement.
Besides submitting information explaining why he or she failed to meet SAP standards, the student who appeals must also explain on the appeal form how personal circumstances have changed that would allow making possible SAP by the next evaluation.  
2. Presenting with the submittal of the Appeal form a CSN Degree/Academic Plan completed in collaboration with the student's respective advisor/counselor (CSN Academic Advisor/Counselor, TRiO Advisor, Health Science Advisor, or Re-Entry Advisor). The plan must provide a customized path which ensures that, if followed, the student will graduate while complying with SAP’s policy minimum standards.


A CSN student is limited to a maximum of two (2) Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy appeals during his/her entire academic career at CSN.


Appeals Processing

Submitted appeals that meet requirements 1 and 2 (above) will be evaluated by the SFS Appeals Committee. Committee members represent CSN Counseling, Advisement, Retention, and SFS operations. The committee is empowered to issue:

  1. Approvals- approved appeals allow a student to receive financial aid under “Financial Aid Probation”. 
    1. By the next compliance assessment, a student on “Financial Aid Probation” must:
      1. Meet conditions of his/her academic plan or;
      2. Achieve compliance to the policy’s minimum standards.
    2. By the next compliance assessment, a student unable to achieve any of the conditions outlined by the committee will be ineligible and his/her status changed to “Financial Aid Suspended.”
  2. Denials- a denied student remains ineligible for financial aid. Paying out-of-pocket for classes or sitting out a semester affect a student’s SAP standing. Either option is insufficient to re-establish eligibility.
The committee’s decision is final and will not be overridden by any other CSN administrator. A denied appeal may be reviewed a second time if additional, previously undisclosed information provided by the ineligible student. If a second denial is issued, NO FURTHER challenge is permitted.
A student on SAP-Suspension is financially responsible for all fees owed to CSN and should not anticipate an appeal approval.


Students are not permitted to appeal the Appeal Committee’s decision to any other CSN Administrator or to the US Department of Education.


 Federal Regulatory Citations
  • 34 Code of Federal Regulations, 668.16(e)
  • 34 Code of Federal Regulations, 668.32(f)
  • 34 Code of Federal Regulations, 668.34

If otherwise eligible, a student who becomes ineligible for financial aid due to a Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy suspension may continue to enroll and take classes at CSN, but must pay tuition and fees with personal funds. 

To regain eligibility, a student must do both of the following:
  1. Earn additional CSN credit hours to meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress compliance requirements.
  2. Submit a Request for Reinstatement Form to Student Financial Services for progress review and compliance confirmation.
    1. A compliant student will become eligible for financial aid.
    2. A student suspended for Satisfactory Academic Progress is financially responsible for registration charges, though they may receive reimbursement later if compliance is confirmed. 


Mandatory Pell Grant Recalculation


CSN awards financial aid to students according to their enrollment on the college's census date posted for each semester. The Federal Pell Grant is prorated according to the student's Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and Enrollment Status:     

Federal regulations mandate that students who never began attendance in some or all of the classes they are enrolled in must have their Pell Grant eligibility recalculated (34 CFR 690.80(b)(2)(ii).  This also applies to classes that have been cancelled by the college.  Therefore, if your Pell Grant is disbursed and it is determined that you never attended one or more of your classes, your Pell Grant will be recalculated and you will owe the college.

                                                                         Credit Load                     Enrollment Status
                                                                         12 and above                   full time
                                                                          9 to 11.5                         three-quarter time
                                                                          6 to 8.5                           half time
                                                                          Less than 6                     less-than-half time

Recalculation example (simplified):

  1. Bill enrolls in 4 classes at 3 credits each for the fall semester.  His enrollment in 12 credits results in an award of $1000 for full time enrollment. 
  2. At the end of the semester, Bill receives grades in three classes and an instructor reports that Bill never attended his fourth class. Bill actually only attended 3 of 4 classes (9 credits - three quarter time enrollment).
  3. Bill’s Federal Pell Grant is recalculated for the 9 credit enrollment ($750)
  4. CSN returns the difference of $250 to the Department of Education and debits the amount to Bill's student account.
  5. Bill has to repay the difference between the received Federal Pell Grant and the recalculated Federal Pell Grant.
Students can be subject to a Mandatory Pell Grant Recalculation and a Return to Title IV calculation in the same semester if a combination of not beginning attendance in some classes and withdrawing from the remaining classes exists.

Any past due balance exceeding $100.00  will result in ineligibililty for services at any NSHE institution of higher learning until the balance has been paid.  Students may make partial payments towards an owed amount, however, services such as but not limited to registration, enrollment, transcripts, and graduation applications will not be available until full payment has been made (NSHE Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 17, Section 2)



Return to Title IV (R2T4)



A financial aid recipient who considers withdrawing from all CSN classes should first contact SFS, Retention Services, and Academic Advising before ceasing to attend. Consequences for withdrawing from all classes need to be clearly explained and understood. Students who withdraw from their classes may also be affected by the CSN Satisfactory Progress Policy listed above.

Please do not ‘walk away’ from your classes – advice and help are available.

Financial aid applicants who completely withdraw from classes while attending CSN are subject to the Federal Return to Title IV Policy. Federal law mandates a recalculation of financial aid eligibility prorated to reflect the student’s actual period of attendance. This may mean that the student has not earned some - or all - of the financial aid paid to him/her.
  • The amount of assistance earned is determined on a pro-rata basis: if the financial aid applicant attended 30% of the payment period/period of enrollment, s/he only ‘earned’ 30% of the assistance. The student’s separation date is the earlier of:
  • The date recorded on the Student Information System on which the student began the official withdrawal process, or
  • The last date of an academically related activity as determined by CSN.
Recalculation example:
1.    Bill Taylor enrolls at CSN for the fall semester, which is to last a total of 100 days.
2.    Tuition and fee* charges are $1,100.
3.    Bill receives a Federal Pell Grant of $2,000 and a Direct Loan in the amount of $4,500.
4.    After the assistance is applied to tuition and fees, the remainder (residual) of $5,400 is refunded to Bill by Direct Deposit.
5.    Bill attends for 10 days and withdraws in accordance with CSN’s withdrawal policy by notifying the Office of the Registrar of the withdrawal.
6.    SFS reviews Bill’s file to determine the amount of aid the student earned.
             a.    Aid received
                           I.    Pell Grant                  $2,000
                          II.    Direct Loan              $4,500
                         III.    Total Aid received    $6,500
             b.    Minus CSN tuition and fees*   $1,100
             c.    Total refund to student         $5,400
             d.    Percentage of aid earned
                             I.    Bill attended 10 days
                            II.    100 days in the semester
                           III.    Bill earned 10% of the aid that was disbursed to him.
             e.    Tuition and fees not earned by CSN
                              I.    90% of $1,100 = $990
                             II.    By law, CSN uses CSN funds to repay $990 towards Bill’s Direct Loan
                            III.    Bill must repay the remaining $3,510 of his Direct Loan according to the terms of his 
                                     promissory note.
                            IV.    Bill has to reimburse CSN $990 because he did not withdraw from his classes in the 100% refund 
              f.     Aid not earned by Bill
                               I.    90% of $6,500                                                        $5,850
                              II.    Minus amount returned by CSN                            $   990
                             III.    Remaining amount not earned by Bill                   $4,860
                             IV.    Direct Loan received minus CSN repayment
                                      $4,500 - $990                                                         $3,510
                               V.   Unearned amount minus remaining loans
                                      $4,860 - $3,510                                                      $1,350
                              VI.   Pell Grant minus 50% protection amount
                                      $2,000 - $1,000                                                      $1,000
                            VII.    Amount of Pell Grant to be repaid by student      $   350
              g.    Summary
                                I.    Bill must repay $990 to CSN for the amount returned to his Direct Loan.        

                               II.    Bill must also repay $350 of his Pell Grant. He can pay this portion within 45 days of notification through CSN.
                                       After 45 days, the debt is referred to the U.S. Department of Education, and Bill needs to pay them directly.

* Tuition and fees are subject to change by the Board of Regents.