Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that schools participating in federal financial aid programs determine whether students are progressing through their programs of study in a satisfactory “qualitative” academic manner (academic standard), and at a satisfactory “quantitative” rate (rate of progress standard).

If a student does not maintain Satisfactory Progress according to the following guidelines, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester. Students under financial aid probation have access to any aid that they are eligible for during that semester. If the following satisfactory progress guidelines are not met during the probation period, the student will then be placed on financial aid suspension, which terminates eligibility of federal financial aid. Adjustments are made for less-than-full-time students.

Standard for Satisfactory Academic Progress

FPCC establishes a standard for satisfactory academic progress to be consistently used for all students. Meeting this standard is also a requirement for all students to continue to receive financial assistance, unless otherwise provided by the requirement of a specific type of assistance.

In accordance with the 1976 Amendments to the student aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and other applicable regulations, FPCC has established a policy to define and administer standards of satisfactory academic progress for all students receiving financial assistance for all aid programs. The purpose of this policy is to satisfy regulatory intent that students receiving financial assistance maintain progress in an eligible program of study cumulating with a degree.

FPCC offers two-year associate programs (minimum of 60-semester credits) and one-year certificate programs (minimum of 30-semester credits). However, FPCC recognizes, in some cases, it may take longer to complete the requirements of a one-year or two-year program. In these cases, students must complete 67% of the cumulative semester credits attempted. Adjustments in the number of credit hours and cumulative grade point averages are made for part-time students. For purposes of financial aid, a student is considered full-time if enrolled in twelve (12) semester credits.

  • One-Year Certificate Programs
    Full-time students enrolled in one-year certificate programs must successfully complete enough credits that directly apply to their certificate program and achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 at the end of three semesters.
  • Two-Year Associate Programs
    Full-time students enrolled in two-year degree programs must successfully complete enough credits that directly apply to the degree program and earn at least a cumulative grade point average of 1.5 at the end of the first year (30 or more earned credits) and earn at least a cumulative grade point average (grade point average) of 2.0 at the end of the sixth semester (90 or more earned credits).

Guide For Measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students receiving financial aid are required to make “satisfactory academic progress” in their degree program. An evaluation of semester grades will determine satisfactory academic progress. Students who are making satisfactory academic progress must have successfully completed a certain percentage (see Minimum Percentage of Completed Hours) of their required credits each academic year. Successful completion of those credits requires passing grades. Grades of “F, N, I” and “W” do not count toward successful completion. Adjustments are made for part-time students.

Measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Minimum Percentage of Completed Hours
    To earn enough credits to graduate within the maximum number of attempted hours, students are required to successfully complete two-thirds (67%) of the cumulative hours attempted as monitored at the end of each semester.
  • Credit Hours Attempted
    The number of credit hours attempted per semester by a student will be determined by his/ her highest number of credit hours enrolled in for the term at the close of business on the following days: last day to add a full-term course, and the last day of the final examination period.
  • Credit Hours Completed
    Courses completed are counted if a student receives a “passing” grade. Grades of “I, W” and “F” will not count as credit hours completed.
  • Required Grade Point Average
    At the end of their first academic year, students must receive a cumulative grade point average of at least 1.5 and at least 2.0 at the completion of their program of study.

A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is needed to graduate.

Rate of Progress Standard (Quantitative Determination)

Maximum Time Frame: The length of time a student may receive financial aid may not exceed 150% of the published length of the program of study. For example, a student enrolled in a four-semester program must complete his/her degree within 150% of the published length of the program or six semesters. Also, students must complete their program of study within 150% of attempted credits. Students who exceed this number of attempted credits will no longer be eligible for financial aid. Adjustments are made for less than full-time students.

Transfer of Credits

Students who transfer credits from another institution will have transfer credits evaluated and counted toward the maximum time frame by the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Probation

If a student fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standard, he/she will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester. Students are eligible to receive financial aid during their probationary period but must achieve the minimum standard. If they do not, they are placed on financial aid suspension at the end of their probationary period. A student may only have one probationary period per academic year.

Financial Aid Suspension

If a student is not making satisfactory academic progress as defined by this policy for two consecutive semesters, he/she will be placed on financial aid suspension. Students on financial aid suspension will not be eligible for financial aid until the minimum standard has been achieved. Therefore, in order to be reinstated, students must successfully attend one semester as a full-time student at their own expense.

Financial Aid Appeal

Under special circumstances, financial aid probation or suspension may be waived. These circumstances include (but are not limited to): injury to the student, illness of the student, death of an immediate family member (spouse, child, sibling, parent) or in a case of undue hardship. The appeal process includes the following:

  1. The student must submit a written appeals request to the Financial Aid Officer within 30 days of official financial aid status notification and indicate clearly why probation or suspension should be waived.
  2. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will be notified and meet within ten working days of the request.
  3. The student will be notified by mail of the decision of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. All decisions are final.

Withdrawal

Students who withdraw from classes and are receiving financial assistance will have their financial aid recalculated to reflect the current number of credits taken. If a student completely withdraws from college, their progress will be calculated under FPCC standard for Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines.

Repeated Courses

Courses may be repeated. The most recently earned grade will count toward grade point average and graduation. Repeated credits may count for financial aid purposes. Students should check with their advisor and financial aid officer before repeating a class.

Course Selection

Inappropriate selection of courses is not an acceptable reason for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students should contact an advisor for proper course selection. The financial aid officer has the right to refuse financial aid to students who abuse the inclusion of repeated courses, special assistance, and/or challenge courses to obtain federal and institutional funding.

Enrollment Status

  • Full-time student: 12 or more credit hours
  • Three-Quarter student: 9 to 11 credit hours
  • Half-time student: 6 to 8 credits hours
  • Less than half-time student: up to 5 credit hours

Professional Judgment

Students who believe that they have special circumstances that warrant a consideration of professional judgment should contact the Financial Aid Director at 406-768-6327. Some examples that might warrant special circumstance include loss of job and income, loss of nontaxable benefits, loss of resources due to death, separation, or divorce, increase in budget, or change from dependent to independent status. The Financial Aid Office has the right to deny or accept a request for professional judgment.

Incomplete Grades

Students who receive an incomplete grade (I) for attempted coursework shall be given an opportunity to achieve a passing grade in the following semester. If the student does not complete the required coursework and does not receive a passing grade by the prescribed date, the incomplete will become an “F” grade and no earned credits will be achieved. Students whose incomplete turns to an “F” grade will have their financial assistance adjusted according to the Standard of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Transfers

Students entering FPCC who were on financial aid probation or suspension from another school will automatically be placed on financial aid probation at FPCC during their first semester.

Pre-College Courses

As part of their minimum credit load, students may include certain pre-college courses that do not apply toward graduate requirements. For financial aid purposes, a student may enroll for no more than six credits in any given semester and may repeat a course only once.

Disbursement, Refund, and Repayment

Disbursement of federal financial aid shall be made:

  • After the student meets all eligibility requirements
  • After proper notification is given to the Business Office of the detail of the award

If a refund is due to a student who has been withdrawn, dropped out, or leaves FPCC for any other reason, the unused portion of the funds shall be returned to the account from which the student received the funds. Students who withdraw, drop out, or are expelled, may owe a repayment of cash disbursements received.

Return of Title IV Funds

If a student withdraws or ceases attendance on or before the 60% point in time of the payment period, which is calculated using school calendar days, a portion of the total of Title IV funds that have been awarded that student must be returned, according to the provisions of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. The following funds are returned: Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal PLUS Loan, Federal Pell Grant, and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant. The calculation of the return of these funds may result in the student owing a balance to the College and/or the Federal Government. Examples are available on request in the Financial Aid Office.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Fort Peck Community College, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has an established grievance procedure for handling a claim or allegation of discrimination based on disability. The purpose of this procedure is to promote the prompt and efficient resolution of complaints by any person alleging discrimination concerning program, activity, service or physical accessibility at FPCC. Copies of this procedure may be obtained from the Student Services Department.