Maintaining Financial Aid

Adjustments and Cancellation of Aid

Financial aid award amounts must be based on the number of credits for which students are enrolled at the beginning of the term. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust financial aid awards. Reasons for adjustments may include:

  • Enrollment in non financial aid eligible courses
  • Dropping/adding or withdrawing from classes
  • Receiving additional financial aid
  • Selection for verification resulting in revisions to FAFSA data

Some reasons for cancellation of financial aid awards may include:

  • Default on a federal student loan
  • Repayment to a federal student grant program
  • Verification process was not completed
  • Academic progress was unsatisfactory
  • Non-attendance

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student's successful completion of coursework toward a federally eligible certificate/degree program. Federal and State regulations require the Financial Aid Office to monitor the academic progress of each student receiving financial aid. Students who fail to achieve the minimum standards for grade point average and completion rate may lose eligibility for all types of federal and state aid administered by the Financial Aid Office.

SAP standards for financial aid purposes must be as strict as our Academic SAP policy for students not receiving Financial Aid. Students participating in federally eligible non-credit programs must adhere to the SAP standards defined by the academic department.

For a better understanding of the institutional and/or non-credit satisfactory academic progress policies please speak with an Academic Advisor.

SAP Requirements

There are three components in maintaining SAP. Failure to comply with any one of these requirements may result in a loss of Title IV Federal Aid and/or MHEC State Grant eligibility.

  1. Maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0. (or equivalent).
  2. Maintain a minimum completion rate for attempted credit hours.

    While students are expected to complete all credits attempted for financial aid, each student must complete at least 67% of all credit hours (ex. 7 of 10) attempted each semester. While some grades do not affect a students' GPA, it may count against their completion rate.

    Only courses for which the student received grades of A, B, or C are acceptable. If an "I" grade has not converted to passing grade by the end of the following term, the grade will be considered an "F" for SAP purposes.

    A letter grade of D may be considered an acceptable passing grade as long as the course the D grade was received in is not a pre-requisite to another course that is required for the student's declared program of study.

  3. Complete a degree or certificate program within the maximum timeframe.

    Students receiving financial aid are subject to the 150% Rule. According to this rule, students who attempt more than 150% of the credit hours needed to graduate from their program of study will be ineligible to receive financial aid. Under this rule, all credits, taken at Cecil College or transferred to Cecil College*, are counted in this 150% rule calculation.

    Please note that this rule applies to all courses taken, credit or clock hour, regardless of how they were paid for (cash, financial aid, tuition reimbursement, etc.), and all course types (developmental, audited, repeated, waived, dual enrollment/ECA, etc.) are counted in the formula. The formula for the 150% rule calculation is as follows: Total credits required to complete a program X 1.5 (ex. 60 credit AS program X 1.5 = 90 credits to complete).

    *Should a student's transferred credits total 25% or more of their total attempted credits, the student will automatically be granted Probation approval and notified of their need to complete an Academic Success Plan (ASP) with an Academic Advisor. Please note that this applies only if a student has not yet completed a SAP appeal at Cecil College.

Updating Students About SAP

At the end of each semester, the Financial Aid Office will review the progress of each student receiving Title IV funding. New financial aid applicants and transfer students are evaluated upon registration for the first term after applying for financial aid. Students who do not satisfy the SAP requirements listed above will be notified via Cecil College Campus email that they have not achieved SAP.

If a student has questions about accessing their Cecil College email account, they should contact the Registration Office for assistance. The Office of Financial Aid is no longer sending notifications via US Post Mail.

For more information about academic progress notifications, please see the Academic Information & Standards section of the college catalog.

Financial Aid Warning

A warning status is assigned to a student who fails to meet the standards of SAP at the end of a semester (fall, spring, or summer). During the warning period, eligible students will continue to receive financial aid. However, after two consecutive semesters of not achieving SAP, a student will be placed on financial aid suspension. One warning is issued per academic year. Students cannot appeal a warning status.

Financial Aid Suspension

If a student fails to make SAP after the Warning semester, they will be placed on financial aid suspension. This status immediately halts all federal and state aid. Students may appeal a suspension status, if and only if, extenuating circumstances exist.

Please note that if the system indicates that a student has reached (or is about to reach) the 150% program length, they will be place directly into suspension status without a warning period.

Appealing Financial Aid Suspension

Students placed on a financial aid suspension have the option to file an appeal if they have not previously completed one. A student with extenuating circumstances and proper documentation (i.e., doctor's notice, death in the family, etc.), may appeal the suspension by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and submitting it to the Director of Financial Aid within 15 days of a suspension notification. This form is available on the student portal at MyCecil under the Finance tab. The appeal should include the following information:

  • A signed and dated statement (in ink) in the students own words explaining why he/she failed to achieve the required GPA and/or completion percentage.
  • The actions the student will take, or has taken, to correct or prevent the situation from reoccurring.

If the appeal involves a medical reason, documentation from a doctor indicating the student is cleared to return to school and the medical condition will not prevent the student from being successful in the future.

If the appeal involves exceeding the maximum timeframe requirement, documentation from the student's degree audit which lists the remaining courses required to complete the degree is required. This can be located under the Advising tab at MyCecil.

Note: SAP appeals should be received within 15 days of notification of financial aid suspension. Upon suspension, all financial aid may be canceled and a financial aid hold will be placed on the student’s account. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee that financial aid will be reinstated. If an appeal is approved, additional steps must be taken to have aid reinstated.​