Students who receive federal and/or state funds administered by the Vernon College (VC) Office of Financial Aid, must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. The VC Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy is separate and stricter than VC Admissions and Records academic standards. Coursework attempted and grades earned in semesters forgiven through the state of Texas’ “Academic Fresh Start” program will be included in the satisfactory academic progress calculation. The student’s Financial Aid Transcript that is located in Campus Connect under the Account Information option, and not the VC academic transcript, is the transcript used for all satisfactory academic progress calculations. The financial aid cumulative GPA and the number of hours attempted and earned could be different than the student’s academic cumulative GPA and number of hours attempted and earned. All periods of enrollment at VC must be counted, including any semester in which the student did not receive financial aid. Students who do not have a VC academic history (first time college enrollment or incoming transfer students) will be assumed to be making satisfactory progress at the time of first enrollment. There are three standards for satisfactory progress: qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame.
- QUALITATIVE – The qualitative measure evaluates the quality of academic work using standards measureable against a norm. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Grades of A, B, C, D, F and WF contribute toward the GPA. Grades of W, P, I, AU and U do not. All grades, including developmental coursework and repeated courses, are included in the student’s GPA. Transfer grades are not included in the GPA calculation.
- QUANTITATIVE – The quantitative measure is the pace of completion required to make sure the student completes within maximum timeframe. Students must have a successful pace of completion rate that is at least sixty-seven (67%) percent of all courses attempted at VC. This includes both developmental and college-level coursework. Successful completion is measured by grades of A, B, C, D, and P Grades of F, W, WF, U, I, and AU are counted toward the total hours attempted but not successfully completed. Repeated courses are included in the pace of completion calculation. Pace of completion is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. The VC Office of Financial Aid will use standard rounding rules when calculating percentages under the quantitative measurement.
- MAXIMUM TIMEFRAME – Federal regulations specify that the maximum time frame for program completion may not exceed 150 percent (150%) of the published length of the program. Time frame is measured by the number of credit hours attempted. If the student switches degree or certificate programs, Vernon College will not count toward the one hundred fifty (150%) percent maximum time frame the credits attempted in the old major. However, any courses that apply to the new program must be counted. For transfer students, Vernon College will count accepted transfer credits that apply toward the new or current program in the maximum timeframe calculation. Students who exceed the one hundred fifty (150%) percent maximum time frame limit will no longer be eligible for financial aid. Developmental classes do not count toward the one hundred fifty (150%) percent maximum time frame. Credits that have been repeated will be counted toward the one hundred fifty (150%) percent maximum time frame. Once it is determined that it is mathematically impossible for the student to complete his/her program within the maximum time frame, the student immediately becomes ineligible for aid.
FAILURE TO MAINTAIN SATISFACTORY PROGRESS:
- FINANCIAL AID WARNING - Students who fail to meet one or more of the satisfactory academic progress standards will be placed on financial aid warning status for their next semester of enrollment. A student on financial aid warning will be eligible to receive financial aid. If the satisfactory academic progress standards are met at the end of the warning semester, the warning status will be removed. If at the end of the warning status semester the satisfactory academic progress standards are not met, the student will be placed on financial aid suspension. Students cannot appeal a financial aid warning status.
- FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION - Financial aid suspension occurs when the student does not meet the satisfactory academic standards for two consecutive semesters. Financial aid suspension also occurs if the student receives all F’s or a combination of all F’s and W’s for attempted classes in a semester. The Director of Financial Aid also reserves the right, through professional judgement, to place a student of financial aid suspension. Students will not receive financial aid, including student loans, while on financial aid suspension. Students placed on financial aid suspension may continue to enroll at Vernon College, but must pay for their coursework and expenses from their own funds. Enrolling and paying for courses as well as successfully completing courses can assist in regaining the student’s eligibility. Financial aid suspension will last a minimum of one semester. Students can regain eligibility by reenrolling at Vernon College and having a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, a cumulative successful pace of completion of at least 67%, and remain within the 150% maximum timeframe. When this is accomplished, the student will be removed from financial aid suspension and therefore eligible for financial aid. STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR NOTIFYING THE OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AID WHEN THEY BELIEVE THEY HAVE REGAINED ELIGIBILITY FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE.
- FINANCIAL AID PROBATION – Students who successfully appeal their financial aid suspension status will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester. Vernon College can require that a student on financial aid probation fulfill specific terms and conditions, such as taking a reduced course load or enrolling in specific courses. A student on financial aid probation may receive financial aid. At the end of that semester, the student must meet Vernon College's satisfactory academic progress standards or the requirements of the established individual academic plan. Failure to do so will result in the student being placed on financial aid suspension.
Student progress will be reviewed at the end of each long semester (December for students enrolled in the Fall, Fall I and/or Fall II semester[s]; May for students enrolled in the Spring, Spring I and/or Spring II semester[s]; and August for students enrolled in the Summer, Summer I and/or Summer II semester[s]). Notification of a student’s satisfactory academic progress status will be posted on his or her Campus Connect account. Students should access Campus Connect to verify their status.
Students placed on financial aid suspension due to lack of satisfactory progress may appeal the denial of financial aid due to an unusual or extraordinary situation that affected the student’s progression toward the successful completion of his or her program of study. Examples of unusual circumstances include: injury or illness of the student or family member, death of a relative of the student, maximum time limit exceeded, or other special circumstances. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Financial Aid office and must include supporting documentation to support the appeal. Appeals submitted without supporting documentation will be denied. The appeal must address why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress. This includes, if applicable, the semester the student was placed on warning, and what has changed in the student's situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. An appeal may be approved only if the Financial Aid office has determined that the student will be able to meet satisfactory academic progress standards after the subsequent semester. The Financial Aid office also has the option to develop an academic plan with the student that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet satisfactory academic standards by a specific point in time. Students, who are appealing the maximum time frame limit, must be meeting the requirements for 67% completion and a 2.0 cumulative GPA in order for this appeal to be approved. The Financial Aid office will notify students in writing of the results within 30 business days after submitting all requested documentation. Students whose appeal is denied may submit a second appeal in writing to the Scholarship Committee. The second appeal should also be submitted to the Financial Aid office who will, in turn, submit it to the Scholarship Committee. The Scholarship Committee's decision will be final and will be reported to student in writing within 30 business days after receipt of the second appeal.