sent on behalf of Enrollment Management
Dear Faculty, and Staff,
I wanted to provide a quick update about an upcoming Financial Aid process called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). We will run SAP after the registrar's office finalizes Spring 2021 grades. Many of you might be familiar with SAP and the general rules have not changed. That being said, we do expect a significant increase in the number of students caught in a bad SAP status. https://financialaid.appstate.edu/apply/applying-financial-aid/receiving-my-financial-aid/eligibility-requirements/satisfactory
We expect the "PACE" requirement will catch more students than in prior years. The government states that students must pass at least 67% of all of the courses they attempt. The increased number of withdrawals and no credit grades over the past few semesters will have an impact on the overall completion percentage of courses.
It is too early to say exactly how many students will be impacted by SAP. Federal regulations are firm, if a student is below the 67% requirement then we must place the student in a bad SAP status. There is no way to waive the SAP process. However, any student that has a bad SAP status can appeal their status. We will be reviewing all appeals with care and we expect a sizable percentage of COVID-related appeals. The Financial Aid staff are ready to support all students as quickly as possible but the sooner we receive the appeal the faster we can move to help each case. Appeals do take time and each appeal is different since each situation is specific to the student.
Our SAP process is completely online and there are two main pieces to a Financial Aid SAP appeal: 1) A statement from the student explaining the situation, and how they are going to overcome this in future semesters. 2) Supporting document(s)- these documents vary based on the student's situation. Supporting letters from families and/or academic staff are appropriate in many cases with COVID.
There are two other main types of SAP status:
- Academic Suspension - this is determined by the Registrar's office. Students should appeal their Academic standing before appealing their Financial Aid standing. Learn more here: https://registrar.appstate.edu/resources/policies/academic-policies/academic-probation-and-suspension
- Maximum Time Frame: The Education Department requires us to monitor the total number of hours a student has attempted. Once a student has reached a specific benchmark then the student has to appeal their Financial Aid status. During the appeal, we have to determine if the student can complete their degree within the time frame that is allowed by the government. These timelines vary based on the type of degree being pursued. Learn more about Financial Aid SAP: https://financialaid.appstate.edu/apply/applying-financial-aid/receiving-my-financial-aid/eligibility-requirements/satisfactory
We wanted to reach out since we anticipate an increase in SAP cases and we are sure some students will reach out to you for assistance. We know that you all support and care for these students during their academic careers. Our goal is to resolve as many of these appeals as quickly as possible. I know the SAP notice and appeal process will add a stressor to many students that are already facing other hurdles. We will support each student as best we can through this federally required process. I will admit that SAP appeals are rarely considered enjoyable, we are talking about college finances and grades. I am hopeful that in Spring 2022 that the number of students facing SAP will return to our old normal or drop past our old levels.
I appreciate your time, and I greatly appreciate the effort you put into supporting each of your students.
Wesley R Armstrong
Office of Student Financial Aid and University Scholarships
NASFAA FAAC® (Certified Financial Aid Administrator)
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Appalachian State University
ASU Box 32059 / Boone, NC 28608
828.262.2190 Office / 828.262.2585 Fax
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Heather H. Norris, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608