Academic Requirements for Receiving Financial Aid
For a student to be eligible to receive financial assistance from Title IV Federal funds (Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Student Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loan, and Federal Work Study Program), State funds (North Carolina Need Based Scholarship) or Belmont Abbey College funds, he/she is required to make satisfactory academic progress.
When is Satisfactory Academic Progress Evaluated?
Belmont Abbey College evaluates satisfactory academic progress at the end of each semester. A student will be notified via his/her Abbey email account if after his/her evaluation, he/she is determined to not be making satisfactory academic progress.
Criteria for Determining Satisfactory Academic Progress
A student must successfully complete 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted AND must have received a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
In addition, a student must be making progress toward graduation as follows:
- Degree Completion: Undergraduate degrees at Belmont Abbey College consist of 120 credit hours – maximum of five and a half years or 11 semesters to complete these 120 hours and receive Title IV federal student aid. Progress will be measured by dividing the cumulative number of hours you have successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours you have attempted. This calculation includes any hours you transferred in. Full time students must progress at a pace of 67% per semester. Federal law prohibits students who have earned more than 180 credit hours from receiving Federal financial aid.
- Any part-time hours will count in the maximum time frame calculations above.
- Hours are counted for all terms, even terms in which the student did not receive financial aid
Change of Major
A student may change his/her major up to two (2) times. Any change in majors must be made by the fall of the junior year.
It is important to understand how various grades and enrollment decisions impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations.
Withdrawing, Dropping a Class, Incompletes, Transfer of Credits
- Withdrawing from a class: This could cause the student to fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress by reducing the number of hours successfully completed. Please see the Financial Aid Office for advice prior to withdrawing from a class.
- Dropping a Class during drop add – Dropping a class and not replacing it with another class could cause the student to fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress. Please see the Financial Aid Office for advice prior to dropping a class.
- Incompletes- Incompletes must be completed with an assigned letter grade by the end of the following semester. Failure to do so could result in a student failing to make satisfactory academic progress.
- Transfer of Credits – Any credits transferred into Belmont Abbey College will be used to calculate progress toward graduation (see above).
- Summer Courses – Summer Session hours attempted and earned will be included in the calculation of Satisfactory Academic Progress as for any other term.
Note: Credit hours earned through competency assessments, challenge exams, co-curricular activities, CLEP, etc., are not counted. No credit is given for W or I grades. The grading system and calculation of GPA are explained in the Academic Catalogue.
What are the consequences for not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements listed above?
If a student fails to meet any one of the requirements stated above at the end of a semester, he/she will be considered not making satisfactory academic progress and will automatically be placed on financial aid warning for one semester. The student will be notified via his/her Abbey email accounts that he/she is on financial aid warning. At the end of the next semester, the student must be making satisfactory academic progress or will not be awarded any Federal Title IV aid, state aid, or Belmont Abbey College institutional aid unless the student successfully appeals to the Financial Aid Review Committee and is put on Financial Aid probation.
Once a student is placed on financial aid probation, he/she has one semester to attain satisfactory academic progress or he/she will forfeit all financial aid the following semester. A student is allowed one (1) satisfactory academic progress appeals.
If an appeal is granted by the Financial Aid Review Committee, the student may be required to follow a college mandated academic plan in order to retain his/her financial aid. The Academic Plan will be structured according to the students needs and his/her progress toward graduation. Failure to follow the prescribed academic plan will result in immediate loss of financial aid funds.
Appealing to the Financial Aid Review Committee
IMPORTANT: In order for an appeal letter to be considered, it must be written by the student himself/herself, signed, dated, and submitted to the Financial Aid Office prior to the submission deadline, as indicated in your Satisfactory Academic Progress letter. Appeals must also contain the following information:
- Your description of the extenuating circumstances that you believe prevented you from meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. Examples of extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to the following:
- Unexpected death or major hospitalization of an immediate family member
- Extended hospitalization or medical condition of student
- Victimization of a violent crime or natural disaster
Examples that are NOT considered extenuating circumstances include, but are not limited to the following:
- Work conflicts or lack of transportation to school
- Change of major or pursuit of a double major
- The time of day the class is being held
- The professor who is teaching the course
- Your plan of action – what you will do to resolve the cause of the circumstance which led to unsatisfactory academic progress.
- Your contact information. Provide us with a telephone number and email address.
- Copies of supporting documentation such as doctor’s letters/bills, death certificate, obituary, police reports etc.
Submitting Your Appeal
A student must submit your appeal via email (remember to attach any supporting documentation) to SAPappeal@bac.edu by the cutoff date listed on his/her Satisfactory Academic Progress letter. Appeals sent to any other email address will not be reviewed by the Financial Aid Review Committee.
After Submitting Your Appeal
The appeal will be reviewed within 2 weeks of the deadline listed to submit the appeal. The review of the appeal may take longer during peak periods. The student will be notified via his/her Belmont Abbey College email account of the committee’s decision. The decision of the committee is final.
During the review process the following factors may be considered:
- Validity of reasons for failing to meet SAP standards
- Resolution of the problems leading up to your failure to meet SAP standards
- Prior academic history (credits earned vs credits attempted, GPA, number of repeats, etc.)
- Any correspondence from your academic advisor
- If you are a residential student, your campus disciplinary status (any violations etc.)
- Your demonstrated motivation to succeed
- Quality of the appeal
- Quality and thoroughness of supporting documentation.