Rights and Responsibilities: Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy - Financial Aid Office

In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, the Financial Aid Office of Ohlone College establishes the following Standards of Progress. These standards apply to all students who apply for and receive financial aid from the following programs.

  • Cal-Grants B and C
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Direct Loan Program
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)

NOTE: The Board of Governor’s Waiver (BOGW) was established in 1984 as an integral part of legislation that first created the community college enrollment fee. Its purpose is to ensure that the enrollment fee does not pose a barrier to the enrollment of low-income students. This program is omitted from the listed programs because these provisions do not dictate eligibility for BOGW. As long as a student is eligible to enroll under the college’s satisfactory academic progress provisions, fee waivers from BOGW will be granted irrespective of the student’s status under these provisions.

General Requirements

Students receiving financial aid must be enrolled in a course of study leading to an A.A. degree, an A.S. degree, a certificate requiring one year or more of study, or transfer program to a 4-year college or university.

High School Diploma or the Equivalent

Federal regulations require financial aid recipients to either have graduated from high school or have completed a recognized equivalent (such as the California High School Equivalence exam or the GED). Current regulations specify that students who fail to meet the above requirement must achieve a certain score on a federally approved Ability to Benefit test. The Ohlone College Placement Testing Center administers the Acuplacer Test, which is one of the federally approved Ability to Benefit Tests. Students must achieve scores at or about the mandated cut score in both verbal and math to be eligible for federal financial assistance.

Effective October 29, 2010: Federal regulatory eligibility has been extended to students who have been determined by the institution to have the ability to benefit from the education or training offered by the institution based on the satisfactory completion of 6 semester hours that are applicable toward a degree or certificate offered by the institution.

Educational Plan

It is the student’s responsibility to declare an academic major, be familiar with its required courses, and enroll in courses toward his or her educational goal. Students are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with a college counselor to have a Student Educational Plan [SEP] prepared. Financial aid may be denied for courses not applicable to the declared educational goal.

When a student reaches 125% of the units required to complete their declared academic program, they will be required to obtain a current Student Education Plan, which indicates the courses required to complete their academic program. Academic programs include Associate degrees, transfer programs, or Certificate of Achievement programs of 18 or more units. Financial Aid will be awarded only for approved courses included on their SEP.

Class Completion Requirements

The financial aid award outlined in the award letter will be based on full-time enrollment. Prior to the first financial aid disbursement, the student’s enrollment will be verified and the disbursement will be adjusted accordingly. Federal Pell Grant and Cal Grant checks will be processed according to that assumption Prior to the second disbursement, attendance verification will be performed to determine the enrollment status of the student.

Adjustments will be made to the student’s award accordingly:

  1. Federal Pell Grants and Cal Grant B’s will be adjusted up or down in accordance with the enrollment status of the student.
  2. As long as the student remains in at least six [6] units, FSEOG, FWS, and Direct Loans will not be reduced. Students who drop below six [6] units are no longer eligible to receive FSEOG, FWS, Direct Loans, or Cal Grant.
  3. Students who have applied for Direct Loans and who have dropped below six units before the loan is disbursed are no longer eligible for the loan. Students who have applied for Direct Loans and who completely withdraw from the college may be eligible for a pro-rated loan disbursement only after the 30-day delayed disbursement period at the beginning of the semester.

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that all financial aid recipients maintain satisfactory academic progress and remain in good academic standing. Academic progress is reviewed each semester, prior to the check disbursements.

Determining Enrollment Status

Prior to each financial aid disbursement, the Financial Aid Office will verify the number of units in which a student is enrolled. Based on the verified unit enrollment, a determination is made as to whether the student is eligible for funds. For purposes of the federal financial aid satisfactory academic progress, units attempted means the number of units the student is enrolled in at the time of the first disbursement for each term.

In determining whether or not a student is making satisfactory academic progress, the student’s enrollment status is also defined as the number of units the student is enrolled in at the time of each disbursement for the term.

If the student is enrolled in 12 or more units when his or her final disbursement for the term is made, the student is considered to be full-time.

If the student is enrolled in 9 to 11.5 units when his or her final disbursement for the term is made, the student is considered to be ¾ time.

If the student is enrolled in 6 to 8.5 units when his or her final disbursement for the term is made, the student is considered to be ½ time.

If the student is enrolled in .5 to 5.5 units when his or her final disbursement for the term is made, the cost of attendance will be adjusted and the student is responsible to complete at least one class for the semester.

Completed units means that credit was received for the units enrolled. Classes in which a student receives a grade of F, W, NP, I, IP or RD will not be counted as completed classes for satisfactory academic progress, but will be counted as units attempted unless the student was no longer enrolled in those classes at the time of the last disbursement. Students are allowed to repeat any course in which a grade below C was recorded, (see college catalog: "Repetition of Courses"). Although the college counts only the latest grade when the student repeats a course, financial aid must include the units from every attempt when calculating SAP.

In all enrollment categories, the student is expected to maintain a 2.00 (C average) term grade point average (GPA).

By the end of each semester, to be considered to be making satisfactory progress toward the educational goal, students must complete 67% of the units attempted for their enrollment status, as indicated:

Enrollment Status
Enrollment Status Unit Completion Requirement
Full-time (12 + units/semester) 16.0 units/year
¾-time (9-11.5 units/semester) 12.0-15.5 units/year
½-time (6-8.5 units/semester) 8.0-11.5 units/year
Less than ½-time (.5-5.5 units/semester) reviewed case by case

Units earned from credit-by-exam courses are not counted for financial aid purposes.

In the determination of enrollment status, it is permissible for a student to count units being taken concurrently at another college. Currently, Ohlone has a Concurrent Enrollment agreement with Chabot College.  Agreement forms can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office. Students may not receive Federal Financial Aid from more than one school per award period. Students may, however, receive a state BOGW from more than one school in an award period.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal law requires that students must complete their educational program within 150% of units required. Ohlone College expects a student to submit an Application for Appeal and Student Education Plan (SEP) when they reach 125% of attempted units. The SEP must outline the courses required to complete the student’s degree or transfer program. Students will receive financial aid only for the courses listed on the SEP.

Ohlone College offers a number of Certificate of Achievement Programs, each requiring a specific number of units for completion. Students enrolled in Certificate programs of more than one year in duration (24 or more units) qualify for Financial Aid. Students must complete their goals by the time they have completed 150% of the number of units required for the specific certificate. For example: a student enrolled in the American Sign Language & Deaf Studies Certificate Program, which is a 34 unit Certificate, must complete that goal by the time he or she has attempted 51 total units.

Students whose educational goal is only to receive a “Certificate of Accomplishment” are not eligible for financial aid.

All English as a Second Language classes and up to 30 units of remedial course work are deducted from the units attempted when determining satisfactory academic progress. Ohlone College Financial Aid will pay aid for a maximum of 30 remedial units.

It is the student’s responsibility to request transcripts from previously attended institutions, in accordance with Ohlone College Admissions' requirements. Transcripts from colleges accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations will be evaluated for use toward the student’s current educational objective. All units applicable toward the current education objective will be counted when calculating the maximum time frame for financial aid. All units attempted, although earned before the student was receiving financial aid, will be considered toward the maximum time frame.

Repeating Classes

It is Ohlone College policy to allow students to repeat courses for substandard grades. When a student repeats a course only the most recent grade to be used in calculating a student’s GPA. Units attempted must include all of the units from every course completed, whether or not it has been repeated. Financial Aid will not cover a previously completed course with a passing grade.

Academic Renewal

Ohlone College has an Academic Renewal policy through which a student may apply to have credits attempted and grades earned in previous semesters excluded from the calculation of the student’s GPA. The Federal Student Aid program regulations make no provisions for the concept of Academic Renewal. Ohlone College must include all courses applicable to a student’s major in evaluating a student’s SAP for financial aid purposes.

For more information, please see Academic Renewal.

Summer Financial Aid

Students who attend summer courses at Ohlone College may be eligible for financial aid during the Summer term.  Check with the Financial Aid office for eligibility requirements.

Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress and follow the same enrollment status for the Fall and Spring semesters. Students who do not receive aid during Summer will still have their Satisfactory Academic Progress calculated and applied for the following term.

Financial Aid Probation

If a student fails to meet federal aid standards for satisfactory progress because of not completing 67% of attempted units or the student’s GPA falls below 2.00, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. The student must attend a Financial Aid SAP Workshop in order to receive financial aid funds for the current semester. Students who fail to meet the minimum standards at the end of the probationary semester will be disqualified from financial aid.

Financial Aid Warning

A student is placed on Warning status when the student has attempted 125% of the units required for the declared major. Students must submit an Application for Appeal and counselor prepared Student Education Plan (SEP) when the student reached 125% of attempted units. That SEP must outline the courses required to complete the student’s degree or transfer program.

Financial Aid Disqualification

Students who have exceeded their maximum time frame [150%] or, have not completed the required number of attempted units for two [2] consecutive terms, or have a term grade point average less than 2.00 for two [2] consecutive terms, or three [3] combined terms not meeting standard while receiving financial aid will be disqualified from receiving future financial aid. Students who have been disqualified because of insufficient units completed or a grade point average deficiency will not receive further financial aid until they have had one semester in good standing under satisfactory academic progress.

A student who has been attending Ohlone College without the benefit of financial aid will be held to the regular college standards for good academic standing. If a student is disqualified by the College for failure to maintain a minimum 2.00 per term GPA or to maintain a 67% completion ratio, the student must be reinstated by the College before being eligible to receive financial aid.

Appeal Procedures

After disqualification, an Appeal for one additional semester of financial aid probation may be made to extend the period of probation for one, and only one, additional semester, in the event that the extenuating circumstance that caused the problems have now been resolved. Extenuating circumstances are normally defined as circumstances which are unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond a student’s control, and which may have affected his/her academic performance.

Any student who has been disqualified from financial aid may submit a written appeal which must include an SEP prepared by a counselor to the Financial Aid Office for review by the Financial Aid Advisory Committee. Each appeal will be reviewed and approved or denied based on the student’s individual circumstances, and his or her proposed course of action. Students will be considered one time only for an extended time frame.  If the student's petition is denied, he or she has the right to appeal the decision to the Vice President of Student Services. The decision made by the V.P. of Student Services is final.

A student who has reached the maximum time frame of units attempted may also submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office for review by the Financial Aid Advisory Committee. If approved for additional financial aid, the student will be given a specific length of time to complete his or her goal as outlined on their SEP.

To be considered for financial aid, the Application for Appeal must be submitted by the deadline date for the term. There are no exceptions. The deadline dates for the 2013-2014 academic year are as follows:

Financial Aid Fraud

A student who attempts to obtain Federal financial aid by fraudulent means will be reported to federal, state and campus officials for prosecution. Such actions are therefore, subject to Student Disciplinary actions and suspension of receiving financial aid for unsatisfactory conduct.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students should refer to the General Information section of the Ohlone College Catalog for specific information on:

  • Student Responsibility
  • Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act
  • Drug Free College Statement
  • Standards of Student Conduct
  • Return to Title IV

Revised October 26, 2011.

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