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Policy Satisfactory Academic Progress for US Federal Student Aid Procedure

Satisfactory Academic Progress for US Federal Student Aid Procedure


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Intent

To specify the conditions and requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) that students in receipt of US Federal Student Aid must meet in order to receive continued funding.

Scope

This procedure applies to all students who are US citizens or eligible US non-citizens, who apply for US Federal Student Aid while studying at James Cook University (JCU) Townsville or Cairns campus.

This procedure applies to new and continuing, international and domestic US Federal Student Aid students enrolled at JCU.

Definitions

Except where otherwise indicated in this procedure, the definitions used in this procedure are found in the US Federal Student Aid - SAP & Return to Title IV Policy or the Policy Glossary.

Financial Aid office/administrator: Staff member/s suitably trained and familiar with the legislative requirements in the administration of the Title IV program at JCU. JCU’s Financial Aid office is located within the compliance unit, International Directorate.

Financial Aid Warning: A status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress at the end of an evaluation period.

Financial Aid Suspension: A status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress after two successive evaluation periods.

Financial Aid Probation: A status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.

Introduction

JCU is registered as a provider to certify and administer US Federal Student Aid (Title IV funds) for eligible students from the United States, and who are undertaking study at the University.

This Procedure operates separately and in addition to the JCU Academic Progression policy and the Higher Degree by Research Requirements policy, and serves to detail how JCU will monitor and administer the express criteria of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Title IV recipients (section 668.34) as governed by the Federal Regulations of the Offices of the Department of Education, and in accordance with the US Federal Student Aid - SAP & Return to Title IV Policy.

Procedure

Satisfactory Academic Progress for US Federal Student Aid students will be evaluated at the conclusion of each Teaching Period to consider their progress under the following criteria:

(a) Academic Standing

(b) Maximum Timeframe

To receive US Federal Student Aid, students need to meet minimum standards for both the above-mentioned components, while simultaneously adhering to the University’s academic progress rules and to Australian legislation (where applicable).

1. Academic standing

1.1 Coursework students are required to meet the course and progression requirements set out within the JCU Academic Progression policy. Students in receipt of, or applying for, US Federal Student Aid must also meet the additional requirements specified within this procedure.

1.2 The Financial Aid office will identify the students who are currently in receipt of US Federal Student Aid funding and who are not meeting academic progression requirements, at the end of each teaching period.

1.3 Students who are continuing in their studies at JCU and apply for US Federal Student Aid for the first time, will have their academic progression assessed as part of their application for funding.

1.4 A student will be identified as meeting academic progression requirements in a teaching period if they:

(a) Pass all core subjects; and

(b) Maintain a course Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.00 or above; and

(c) Pass more than 50% of completed credit points

1.5 A student is also required to complete their award course within the maximum timeframe specified within this procedure, while carrying a normal full time student load.

1.6 The subjects counted as enrolled for the Teaching Period may include subjects in study periods’ 1 and 2, as well as trimester and intensive study periods which fall within the relevant teaching period for which the student received US Federal Student Aid.

1.7 Students who receive interim results, as articulated in the Student Results Policy, may be required to finalise their grades prior to an assessment of academic progression taking place. This may delay future disbursements of US Federal Student Aid funding.

1.8 Students who are unfamiliar with the Grade Point Average (GPA) system used in Australia should refer to section 6 below.

1.9 Research students must continue to successfully complete the milestones and reporting requirements outlined in the Higher Degree by Research Requirements policy.

1.10 Where a student is identified as not meeting academic progression requirements, they will be subject to the following outcomes, and will be notified in writing.

2. Financial aid warning

2.1 Where a student receiving US Federal Student Aid has been identified as not meeting academic progression requirements, in the first instance, they will be placed on a Financial Aid Warning.

While placed on this warning, students may continue to receive US Federal Student Aid as long as they meet satisfactory academic progress in the following teaching period.

3. Financial aid suspension and probation

3.1 Where a student is identified as having not met qualitative and/or quantitative components of this SAP procedure, after being on a Financial Aid warning status in the previous teaching period,  will lose eligibility to US Federal Student Aid and aid will be suspended.

4. Appeals

4.1 Students who have US Federal Student Aid suspended due to not meeting academic progression requirements may appeal a suspension if the appeal is based on illness, medical, compelling, compassionate and/or other mitigating circumstances. Appeals need to be made in writing, addressed to the Financial Aid Office, and sent to financialaid@jcu.edu.au.

4.2 All relevant and supporting documents must be included in the appeal application. The Financial Aid office will assess the appeal and provide an outcome within 10 business days of lodgment.

4.3 A student who chooses to lodge an appeal which is deemed successful, will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Students can remain on this probation and receive financial aid for one teaching period only. After the probation period, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to receive US Federal Student aid in future teaching periods.

4.4 Students who choose not to appeal the US Federal Student Aid suspension, can return to a US Federal Student Aid eligible status and have aid reinstated once they meet satisfactory academic progress for a new teaching period.

5. Maximum timeframe

5.1 Students applying for, or in receipt of, US Federal Student Aid must complete their program within the timeframe specified by this procedure. The US Federal Student Aid maximum timeframe, as covered within this procedure, is different to the JCU Maximum Time to Complete procedure.

  • International students who are studying on an Australian Student Visa must be enrolled full time in accordance with the visa conditions. In this case, the expected timeframe will be based on the published full time program duration, as measured by the total credit points required to meet course guidelines.
  • International students and/or domestic students who are not studying on an Australian Student Visa must indicate at the commencement of their program, whether they intend to study at a part time or fulltime rate.  In this case, the expected timeframe will be based on the program duration determined by the initial study plan, as measured by the total credit points required to meet course guidelines.

5.2 Students will become ineligible for US Federal Student Aid when it is determined that they can no longer complete within 150% of the expected timeframe for the program, not when they reach the maximum timeframe.

5.3 The maximum timeframe will be calculated based on the published full-time program duration, multiplied by 1.5, and rounded down to the nearest academic period end.

5.4 As a general guideline, where the expected timeframe is based on the published full time program duration, this will equate to:

  • 6 years for a 4 year program
  • 4.5 years for a 3 year program
  • 3 years for 2 year program
  • 2 years for 18 month program

5.5 Credit received through study in another program will count toward the maximum timeframe. This means that where the expected timeframe for the program is shortened due to a credit transfer, 150% will apply to the new duration, as determined by the initial study plan.

5.6 Students who change from fulltime to part time enrolment (or visa versa) after the program has commenced, will be required to obtain a new official study plan and provide a copy to the Financial Aid office.  The Financial Aid office will determine whether maximum timeframe can still be met based on the total credit points required to meet course guidelines and the timeframe already passed.

5.7 Students who have met academic progression requirements but fail a subject/s, withdraw from a subject/s without academic penalty, or undertake a less than half time enrolment, will have the pace of completion re-assessed to ensure that the student will still complete the program within the maximum timeframe. This will be calculated either by dividing the cumulative number of credits successfully completed by the cumulative number of credits the student has attempted, or by determining the number of credits that the student should have completed at the evaluation point in order to complete the program within the maximum timeframe.

6. Grade Point Average scale

6.1 The Grade Point Average (GPA) is a calculation of a student’s average grade or result. This can be calculated on a teaching period basis or for the program as a whole.  It is calculated on the following basis:

  • Each result is assigned a number known as the grade point;
  • The higher the result, the higher the corresponding grade point.

6.2 The standard system of reporting results, including the grade point average score, shown below is the current model effective from 1/1/2022, as published in the Student Results Policy.

GPA table

Related policy instruments

US Federal Student Aid - SAP & Return to Title IV Policy

Return to Title IV for US Federal Student Aid Procedure

Academic Progression Policy

Coursework Enrolment Procedure

HDR Variation and Extension of Candidature procedure

Student Fee Payments and Refunds Policy

Student Results Policy

Related documents and legislation

The Higher Education Act of 1965, re-authorised by The Higher Education Opportunity Act - 2008

Code of Federal Regulations (34, Subtitle B, Chapter VI, parts 668.16)

Code of Federal Regulations (34, Subtitle B, Chapter VI, parts 668.34)

Code of Federal Regulations (34, Subtitle B, Chapter VI, parts 668.22)

Administration

NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Vice Chancellor

Version no

22-1

Date for next Major Review

27/07/2024

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

22-107/02/202208/02/2022Amended to clarify requirements for completion time and the grade point average scale.International Compliance Officer

21-1

27/07/2021

27/07/2021

Procedure established to support establishment of ‘US Federal Student Aid - SAP & Return to Title IV Policy’

International Compliance Officer

Keywords

SAP, US Federal Student Aid, Title IV, United States (US) student funding

Contact person

Manager, International Compliance