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Maintaining aid eligibility is an ongoing process. The Financial Aid Office will review your eligibility at the end of each quarter. In addition to reapplying each year, you will need to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to avoid jeopardizing your financial aid eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

When students accept financial aid, they also accept responsibility for making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This progress is based on the number of credits students enroll in per quarter, cumulative grade point average(s) as well as the length of enrollment at Pierce College in addition to any transfer courses accepted by the College.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed prior to awarding aid, even if the students did not receive financial aid in past quarters. *The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is subject to change at any time due to federal regulations and/or requirements established by the Office of Financial Aid.

How do I remain eligible for financial aid?

1. Complete the level of enrollment for which your aid was calculated and disburse.

Enrollment on Financial Aid Freeze Day Minimum # of Credits Needed to Maintain Good Standing Financial Aid Warning
Full Time (12 or more credits) 12 6-11 credits
Three Quarter Time (9 to 11 credits) 9 6-8 credits
Half Time (6 to 8 credits) 6 Fewer than 6 credits
Less than Half Time (3 to 5 credits) All Credits No warning status

*Failure to complete 50% of the minimum # of credits needed to maintain good standing will result in an automatic suspension of financial aid funding.

2. Complete your degree or certificate within 125% of the program length (e.g., 90 credit program must be completed before you take more than 112 credits).

3. Maintain a cumulative and quarterly GPA of 2.0 for both college-level classes and developmental coursework.

4. Maintain a progression rate of 72% or higher (Total Successfully Completed Credits / Total Attempted Credits = Progression Rate). 

Refunds and Repayments

Refunds

Students must officially withdraw from a class to receive a refund. Tuition refunds for classes at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup are made in accordance with the tuition and fee refund schedule.

Federal Repayment

Financial aid (federal/state) is awarded to the student with the assumption that they will attend school for the entire quarter. When the student withdraws (officially, unofficially, or is dismissed from Pierce College prior to the end of the quarter), they may no longer be eligible for the full amount of funds that were originally awarded.

If a student withdraws before completing 60% of the term, the amount of financial aid earned must be determined. All unearned federal aid MUST be returned (cancelled from the student's account). The student will be notified in writing if any aid must be returned and their total amount owed to Pierce College.

The amount of unearned aid is determined by a daily prorated ratio. Once the student has completed more than 60% of the term, they are considered to have earned all of their federal assistance they were scheduled to receive.

Students considering withdrawing from Pierce College are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine any financial aid impacts.

Official Withdrawal

An official withdrawal is when a student submits a Schedule Change Form and returns it to the Registration Office by the last day to withdrawal. The separation date used to determine financial aid eligibility will be the date the form is processed by the Registrar's Office.

Unofficial Withdrawal

An unofficial withdrawal is when a student stops attending school and does not notify the school of his or her withdrawal. The following circumstances are classified as unofficial withdrawals:

  • The student did not initiate attendance or academic activity in any of their registered courses.
  • Student received all "NC" grades for the quarter.

In the event the university determines the student has unofficially withdrawn, the withdrawal date will be the last date of academic activity or if no consensus can be met it will be the midpoint of the payment period. In the event a student is considered to be an unofficial withdrawal, the student could be subject to a 50% or higher loss of aid eligibility that could result in an outstanding balance due.

Return of Title IV Funding Calculation

The amount of aid to return to the Department of Education is determined by taking a percentage of the payment period (quarter) = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the quarter. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may develop an outstanding balance to the Pierce College.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal.

Federal Aid Adjustments

The Student Financial Services Office has 30 days in which to determine the amount of a student's federal aid that was earned and unearned as defined in federal regulations, and then return aid in the following order:

  • Federal Direct PLUS loan
  • Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  • Federal Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG Grant
  • Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Other Title IV Programs

*Work-study wages earned are not included in the return of federal financial aid calculations.

State Gift/Grant Aid Repayment Policy Requirements

General

State grant recipients who withdraw from the institution, are expelled, or otherwise complete zero credits in any given term must repay state grants on a prorated basis.

For the purposes of this policy, "Award" is the amount of state grant for which the student was eligible during the enrollment period, after the school made any required adjustments for need and enrollment level. All monies, whether disbursed to the student account or directly to the student, shall be included in the repayment calculation.

Known Last Date of Attendance

  • If a student's last date of attendance can be verified and is prior to or on 50% of the term, the state grant repayment will be based on the percent of the term not completed (or the percent of the scheduled hours remaining in the payment period for clock hour schools).
  • If the last date of attendance occurs after 50% of the term, the state grant award is considered 100% earned and no state grant repayment is due.

State grant repayment formula: Known last date of attendance, prior to or on 50% of the term.

  1. The percent of state grant earned is calculated by dividing days in attendance by calendar days in term. Scheduled breaks of five or more days should be excluded from the calculation.
  2. Subtract the percent of state grant earned from 100%; this equals the percent of unearned state grant.
  3. Multiply the percent of unearned state grant by the grant amount.
  4. Multiply the amount from step 3 by 50% to determine the state grant repayment due.

Example: Known last date of attendance, prior to or on 50% of the term:

A student is awarded $400 for a state grant and completed 20% of the term prior to withdrawal. The state grant repayment is calculated as follows:

  1. The unearned percentage equals 80% (100% less 20% completed).
  2. Unearned aid equals $320 (80% of $400 state grant award).
  3. The repayment equals $160 ($320 X 50% reduction).

Unknown Last Date of Attendance

If a student attends a portion of a term and withdraws with no verified last date of attendance, the state grant repayment will be 50% of the grant amount with no additional adjustments.

No-Show Repayments

If a state grant recipient never attends courses in the term for which they received a state grant award, the state grant repayment is 100% of the award. If a school is unable to distinguish between a no-show and an unofficial withdrawal, the no-show policy shall apply.

General repayment policies:

  • Repayments are based on the state grant award amount, including enrollment and packaging adjustments.
  • Verified withdrawal dates after 50% of the term equate to 100% earned state grant.
  • Unofficial withdrawals/no known last date of attendance equate to repayment of 50% of the state grant award.
  • No shows are 0% earned and equate to repayment of 100% of the state grant.
  • Official withdrawals or verified last date of attendance repayment calculation:
  • State grant award amount multiplied by the percent of unearned state grant multiplied by the 50% reduction equals the state grant repayment due.
  • The 50% reduction applied at the end of the repayment computation addresses un-reimbursable start-up education costs and reduces the barrier for students intending to return to school.
  • Repayments of less than $50 should not be returned to the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC).

Institution Repayment Refund Policy

Public institutions may choose from the following options:

  1. Return the repayment amount directly to WSAC and collect from the students.
  2. Return the repayments to their institutional State Grant fund (if the repayment is from within the current year) and collect from the students.
  3. Refer students directly to WSAC.

Withdrawing From Classes

What are the impacts of dropping a class?

Changes in your credit level could affect your financial aid eligibility. It is best to check with a Financial Aid representative before withdrawing to see how it will affect your aid.

If you withdraw, you may be put on financial aid academic suspension, lose your eligibility and have your aid cancelled for future quarters, or have to repay some or all of your financial aid funds.

Official Withdrawal

An official withdrawal is when a student submits a Schedule Change Form and returns it to the Registration Office by the last day to withdrawal. The separation date used to determine financial aid eligibility will be the date the form is processed by the Registrar's Office.

Unofficial Withdrawal

An unofficial withdrawal is when a student stops attending school and does not notify the school of his or her withdrawal. The following circumstances are classified as unofficial withdrawals:

  • The student did not initiate attendance or academic activity in any of their registered courses.
  • Student received all "NC" or "0.00" grades for the quarter.

In the event the university determines the student has unofficially withdrawn, the withdrawal date will be the last date of academic activity or if no consensus can be met it will be the midpoint of the payment period. In the event a student is considered to be an unofficial withdrawal, the student could be subject to a 50% or higher loss of aid eligibility that could result in an outstanding balance due.

Appealing Loss of Financial Aid

Students who are suspended from financial aid funding (both federal and state) due to an extenuating circumstance are able to appeal to have their financial aid reinstated. Types of extenuating circumstances can include, but are not limited to illness, injury, death of a relative, or other circumstances beyond their control.

How do I appeal?

Download the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form from your Financial Aid Portal or the Financial Aid Forms. Attach documentation for the extenuating circumstance you are citing in your appeal and return the appeal form and documentation to the Financial Aid Office.

How long does an appeal take to get a response?

Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing. This turnaround time may be shortened depending on the time of year your appeal was received.

What happens after my appeal is approved?

If your appeal is approved, we will reinstate your financial aid for the academic year. You will receive a formal notice of the conditions of your reinstatement and will be placed on a probation status. In order to remain eligible you will need to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for the quarter you enroll in. Failure to do so will result in a loss of aid eligibility for future quarters.

What happens if my appeal is denied?

If your appeal is denied, your aid will stay in a suspended status. After you have demonstrated Satisfactory Academic Progress, you can re-appeal to have your aid reinstated. Students who have received two denials from the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee will no longer be eligible for financial aid at Pierce College.

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