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Maintaining Eligibility

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

Northeast State, as required by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), has established a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standard for all recipients of financial assistance through any Title IV program including, but not limited to, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program, Student Support Services Grant, and Tennessee Student Assistant Award (TSAA). Progress is measured by the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) and credits earned in relation to those attempted and the length of the academic program. The policy is published on the Northeast State website and is available upon request from the Financial Aid Office. These policies are updated annually as the DOE mandates changes to be made and it is therefore necessary to be familiar with these policies.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for student financial aid. Federal regulations require Northeast State's Office of Financial Aid to establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor your progress toward completion of your certificate or degree program. If you fail to meet these standards, you will be placed on financial aid Warning, Removal or Denial.

Note: Financial Aid eligibility is not directly linked to the student's Academic Status. Additionally, the result of an Academic Appeal does not change the status of a student's Financial Aid eligibility status.

Required Federal Standards

Note: Students must meet each of these standards to remain eligible for Financial Aid.

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA): Northeast State students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of: 2.0 or higher

The Office of Financial Aid is required to evaluate the student’s overall GPA at Northeast State Community College.

Minimum Completion Percentage (Pace): Students must complete 67% of ALL classes (including transfer courses) attempted with a grade of: A, B, C, D or S

For example, a student that has attempted a total of 60 credit hours must successfully pass 41 hours. The following grades are not considered passing: F, FA, AU, I, N, and W.

Maximum Time Frame: Recipients majoring in Associate Degree Programs and eligible Certificate Programs are limited to 150% of the required hours of their program of study, excluding learning support hours. The maximum cumulative attempted hours will be reviewed after each term. All attempted hours are included in the Maximum Time Frame calculation.

For example, if an associate degree program requires students to complete 60 credit hours of study; a student could receive financial aid for a total of 90 attempted credit hours.

  • Transfer Students: Transferred courses/hours officially accepted by Northeast State Community College are included in the Maximum Time Frame limitations as stated above.
  • Repeated courses: All credits from repeated courses will be counted toward the Maximum Time Frame. Students may repeat a previously passed course once but may repeat a failed or dropped class until it is passed or until the student is no longer making satisfactory progress.
  • Change of Majors: Changes in majors do not extend the maximum hours allowed.
  • Prior Degree/Certificate Students: Students who enroll to obtain another credential (degree or certificate) are subject to the above limitations as well. Creditsfrom a prior enrollment at Northeast State (or other institution) will be included in the maximum hour limitation.

A Degree Works audit is required once you have exceeded the Maximum Time Frame. Students who graduate with any credential will be required to provide a SAP appeal with a degree audit as well. A degree audit can be requested by visiting your academic advisor or submitting a request to the Advising Resource Center at >Campus Resources >Advising Resource Center >Forms >Request for Degree Works Audit for SAP. Turn in the degree audit at the same time as the SAP Appeal form. Once a student receives two Associate’s Degrees or reaches the Max Time Frame limitations, whichever comes first, financial aid at NESCC will end.

Learning Support Hours: Students are allowed to receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 cumulative attempted hours of learning support (developmental).


Warning – The first time a student does not comply with the GPA and/or Pace standards, the student will be placed on financial aid warning. The student may receive financial aid for one more semester. The student’s status will be evaluated after the “warning” term and must meet all required Financial Aid academic standards by the end of the following term to continue to be eligible to receive financial aid.

Removal – Students who are in warning status will be removed from financial aid if they do not make SAP according to the standardsstated above. Additionally, any student who exceeds the Maximum Time Frame and/or graduates with any credential will be placed on Financial Aid Removal. Students who are placed on financial aid removal after grades are posted and reviewed or who pre-register for a subsequent semester before grades are evaluated will owe tuition and fees since they did not maintain satisfactory progress. The aid posted for future term will be cancelled as a result of being placed on financial aid removal. Students are placed on Financial Aid Removal or Financial Aid Denial if any of these conditions occur:

  • Students in “warning” status fail to meet SAP in their nextsemester of enrollment
  • Students are placed on academic suspension
  • Students fail to meet the conditions of the Financial Aid Academic Plan
  • Students meet the Maximum Time Frame limitations
  • Students who have graduated with any credentials (degree or certificate)

Students placed on Financial Aid Removal or Denial may continue to enroll at Northeast State without financial aid if they are eligible to re-enroll according to institutional policies and have the resources to pay their own fees. However, Financial Aid will not be disbursed to any student who is on Financial Aid Removal or Denial.


Students who lose eligibility for Financial Aid can appeal that decision to the Office of Financial Aid. Appeals will be considered for the following reasons:

  • Serious injury or illness of the student
  • Death, serious illness, or injury of immediate family member (mother, father, sibling, spouse, child)
  • Family trauma which occurred during the semester in question
  • Change in work schedule or responsibilities
  • Change in household or marital status
  • Other extenuating circumstances (must be documented)

Process for filing an appeal:

  • Complete the (SAP) Appeal form. (Forms are available on the Northeast State website and in the Financial Aid Office).
  • Include a detailed statement indicating what occurred that resulted in unsatisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will now allow for student success. Make sure to sign and date your statement if you do not use the online form.
  • Provide documentation supporting the appeal.
  • A Degree Works audit is necessary if you have exceeded the Maximum Time Frame or have graduated with any credential.

Submit the appeal and accompanying documents to the Financial Aid Office. An appeal must be complete. An appeal that is submitted after the census of a term will be considered for the next enrollment period. A SAP Committee will review your appeal and send a response. The response will be available via MyNortheast and either a letter will be sent to the address you have listed with the Office of Admissions & Records or an email will be sent to your Northeast State email address.


Plan – Students will be placed on the Financial Aid Plan if their SAP appeal is approved. The student must sign the Financial Aid Plan form before Financial Aid funds will be released. Students on the Financial Aid Plan must pass 100% of attempted hours with an A, B, or C. Failure to meet the Financial Aid Plan's requirements will result in the student being automatically placed on Financial Aid Denial for future semesters (See the Financial Aid Plan located online under Financial Aid forms).

Denial – A student will be placed on Financial Aid Denial if their SAP appeal is denied or if the student failed to meet the requirements of the Financial Aid Plan.

Appealing Financial Aid Denial Status: The SAP Committee will review an appeal from a student who is on Financial Aid Denial. The SAP Committee's decision on the appeals are final. Unless there are new extenuating circumstances, a student will remain on Financial Aid Denial until all satisfactory academic progress standards have been met.

Northeast State offers counseling, career guidance and testing, tutoring and academic advising free of charge in order to assist students in achieving their educational goals. The Financial Aid Office encourages all studentsto use these services as needed.

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Northeast State Community College, a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. For questions or concerns, please contact the Affirmative Action Officer.