Student Financial Aid
To be eligible for Federal Student Aid funds, the Federal Department of Education requires students make satisfactory academic progress while taking courses toward a degree or certificate program. The College must also have a reasonable policy for monitoring academic progress, which applies to all terms of enrollment. Academic progress is measured by cumulative grade point average, percentage of credits successfully completed, and the time it takes to complete your program. Academic progress is checked at the end of each semester (fall, spring, and summer).
NOTE: This policy does not include PA State Grant academic progress requirements for maintaining PA State Grant (PHEAA) funding.
Academic progress standards
- Completion Rate/Pace
Students must complete at least 66.67% of all credits attempted, which is calculated by dividing cumulative credits earned by cumulative credits attempted. Incomplete, withdrawn, and failing grades count as attempted, but not as completed/earned credits. Transfer credits count as attempted and earned credits.
Special exception to pace calculation due to the COVID-19 Pandemic:
The College will automatically exclude any courses from which the student has withdrawn due to COVID-19 from their pace calculation for the semester and will continue to exclude them cumulatively in future academic progress evaluations. This only applies to COVID-19 related withdrawals after the date the president declared a national emergency: March 13, 2020.
- Maximum Time Frame (150% Rule)
The maximum time frame for students to complete program requirements is 150% of the published program length. For example, if the student is enrolled in a 60-credit program, the student may only receive financial aid for up to 90 credits in that program. All cumulative credits attempted and all transfer credits applicable to the student’s program of study are considered.
- Cumulative GPA Minimum Requirements
Students must earn at least the minimum cumulative grade point average as shown in the table below based upon the number of credits attempted.
|Cumulative Credits Attempted||Minimum Acceptable Cumulative GPA|
Unique impacts to academic progress
Developmental Courses/English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses
Developmental and ESL courses are evaluated in your progress calculation, including completion rate, maximum hours and cumulative grade point average. You may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of developmental coursework. There is no limit on ESL courses; however, all ESL courses will count towards attempted credits and will cause you to advance toward maximum time frame status more quickly towards the end of your program.
Incomplete, Audited and Repeat Courses
Incomplete and audited courses do not count as a passing grade. These courses are counted in attempted credits. Once an Incomplete grade has been changed to a passing grade, academic progress can be recalculated upon written request. Audited courses do not earn academic credit and are not eligible for financial aid payment. As such, they are not evaluated in the review of the student's satisfactory academic progress. Repeated coursework is also counted as attempted credits.
Change of Major and Second Degrees
Once you complete all the requirements for your program, you can no longer receive financial aid unless you enter a new degree program. You may apply for financial aid for the completion of two associate degree programs. All applicable courses in the completed program will count as part of the 150% attempted credits in your second degree program.
Falling below financial aid academic progress standards
If you fall below any of the three academic progress standards, you will be notified by email to your MCCC student email account and in the satisfactory academic progress section in Self-Service. You will be placed into either a warning or a suspension status for financial aid.
- Warning Status
If you do not meet satisfactory academic progress standards, you will receive a financial aid warning. Once you are in financial aid warning status, you may continue to receive financial aid in the next semester, but will be expected to meet the minimum standards by the end of the next semester. Failure to meet the minimum standards after the warning term will result in financial aid suspension.
- Financial Aid Suspension for Continued Unsatisfactory Progress
Your financial aid is suspended when you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for one or both of the following reasons:
- You have been assigned a warning status, a probation status, or you are in a monitoring term after your probation, and you fail to meet the requirements of your warning status or academic plan.
- You have exceeded the maximum time frame limits for your degree.
Appealing financial aid unsatisfactory academic progress
If you experienced unique circumstances that affected your academic progress, you may appeal the academic progress suspension. Extenuating circumstances include: personal serious illness or injury; the death, accident or serious illness of your immediate family member or significant person in your life; or other unique circumstances beyond your control. To appeal, you must complete the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeal Form, provide acceptable supporting documentation and complete all required steps outlined on the form. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee an approval or eligibility for financial aid. While the number of appeals a student may submit over the course of their studies at Montco is not limited, an appeal submitted for consecutive semesters of poor academic progress will be considered very carefully. General practice is that three or more appeals are usually not granted.
The Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeal Form, will require you to explain the following:
- The circumstances that kept you from meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards in the past.
- Your plan for corrective action — that is, tell us what changes you have made that will allow you to be successful in the future.
- Describe your current educational objective and your plan for successfully achieving this goal at Montgomery County Community College. If you are transferring in new academic credit, please explain how the transfer credit relates to your current educational objective at Montgomery County Community College.
Your appeal will not be reviewed unless all required items have been completed and submitted.
Regaining financial aid eligibility
- Probation Status
If your appeal is approved and it is mathematically possible for you to meet academic progress requirements by the end of the next semester, you will be placed on financial aid probation status, your financial aid will be restored, and your progress will be measured again at the end of the next semester.
- Academic Plan Status
If your appeal is approved and it is mathematically impossible for you to meet academic progress requirements by the end of the next semester, you will be placed on an academic plan, your financial aid will be restored, and your progress will be monitored to ensure you are meeting the conditions of the plan. During academic plan status, you:
- Must follow the academic plan from your Academic Progress Appeal Form and
- Maintain a minimum semester pace of 66.67% and
If you’ve attempted: You must maintain a minimum semester GPA of at least: 1-23 credits 1.51 24-35 credits 1.75 36-47 credits 1.83 48 or more credits 2.0
- And, if you reach the point where you are unable to complete your program within its maximum timeframe, you must complete all remaining courses with a C or higher grade.
Failure to follow your academic plan and meet the above requirements will result in loss of federal financial funding.
- Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility without an Appeal Approval
If you do not meet satisfactory academic progress requirements and choose to enroll at the College without financial aid assistance, we will check your progress at the end of that term of enrollment. At that time, if you meet the academic progress requirements, your eligibility for financial aid will be reinstated.