Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal and State Financial Aid Regulations require that students who receive financial aid be required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. Whatcom Community College Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requires students to maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative academic grade point average for the academic program in which the student is enrolled and requires that the student cumulatively complete a minimum of two thirds of the program credits for which the student has enrolled. Satisfactory Academic Progress is checked prior to awarding aid, even if students did not recieve financial aid in past quarters. Students are urged to carefully plan their academic class load each quarter, as any classes which are started and then dropped adversely affect the student's Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students have a maximum time frame for completing a program of study. To remain eligible for financial aid the student must be mathematically capable of completing their program within at least 150% (or 125% for State Need Grant) of the total number of credits that are required for their declared program (note: all program credits attempted are counted in this calculation).

Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed at the completion of each quarter for every student who is receiving financial aid. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress is based on cumulative program credits for all financial aid awards except for Washington State Need Grant and Washington State Work Study awards for which the SAP eligibility is based upon quarter-by-quarter academic performance (see section below entitled Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for State Need Grant and State Work for details).

The Financial Aid Office will notify students who have Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress compliance issues via the Financial Aid Portal and via the student's FAFSA email address as soon as the Satisfactory Academic Progress is completed at the end of each quarter (Satisfactory Academic Progress information is typically available on the Financial Aid Portal approximately 5 business days after the last day of classes). At the end of a quarter, if a student has concerns about their Satisfactory Academic Progress status they should monitor their Financial Aid Portal account. If the student is terminated from financial aid eligibility and wants to re-establish financial aid eligibility the student must submit a  Petition for Reinstatement of Aid prior to the start of the quarter for which the student is requesting reinstatement of their aid, SO TIMING IS CRITICAL. Students who are submitting a Reinstatement Petition should register for a maximum of 10 credits for the quarter for which they are requesting reinstatement of their financial aid.

The Financial Aid Director will review and process all Financial Aid Reinstatement Petitions. The Financial Aid Director will use the Financial Aid Advisory Committee as a resource for determining if Petitions for Reinstatement of Financial Aid for students who are already on Financial Aid Probation should be approved and for other Petitions with unusual circumstances for which the Director determines the guidance of the Committee is appropriate. The Financial Aid Advisory Committee meets on the second day of classes each quarter. Financial Aid Petition for Reinstatement decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Full Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Financial Aid Warning-Federal

A student who does not meet minimum cumulative Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be placed on Financial Aid Warning status for the following quarter (unless the student is already on Financial Aid Warning status or the student has not successfully completed any cumulative program credits). During the quarter that the student is on Financial Aid Warning status the student will be eligible to receive Federal financial aid awards.

Financial Aid Termination-Federal

If the student fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Standards during the quarter on which the student is on 1) Financial Aid Warning status, 2) Financial Aid Probation status, or 3) if the student has not successfully completed any cumulative program credits, the student will be terminated from future financial aid eligibility and all future financial aid awards will be suspended.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility-Federal

Students who are terminated from financial aid eligibility due to lack of Satisfactory Academic Progress may petition for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility by submitting a  Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid with required supporting documentation to the Financial Aid Office no later than the day prior to the start of the quarter for which reinstatement is being requested.

Students who were on Financial Aid Probation and who have not made Satisfactory Academic Progress for the quarter that they were on Financial Aid Probation may submit a "Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid" if their failure to make Satisfactory Academic Progress was due to extenuating circumstances.

Financial Aid Probation-Federal

Students who have their Reinstatement Petition approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation status for the next quarter of attendance. During the quarter that the student is on Financial Aid Probation the student will be eligible to receive financial aid (*except for the WA State Need Grant if student is in "denied for State Need Grant status").

Students who have their Reinstatement Petition approved and are placed on Financial Aid Probation for a subsequent quarter will be limited to taking a maximum of 10 credits while they remain on Financial Aid Probation status and the student will be required to meet with an Educational Planner to develop an approved Program Completion Plan before the student's financial aid awards for the subsequent quarter are reinstated.

If an approved Program Completion Plan is received by the Financial Aid Office by the end of the first week of the quarter, the financial aid awards for which the student is eligible will be reinstated and processed. It takes approximately one week after all reinstatement requirements have been completed for students with a credit balance to receive their financial aid disbursement. If an approved Program Completion Plan is not received by the end of the first week of the quarter, the student's financial aid awards will be cancelled.

Financial Aid Reinstatement Petition Not Approved-Federal

If a student does not have their Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid approved the student will be required to successfully complete a minimum of 10 credits of course work which applies to the student's academic program, which must be taken without financial aid assistance after the student's Petition was denied, before the student will be eligible to petition for reinstatement of aid. Proof of successful completion of 10 or more credits which apply to the student's academic program must be submitted with the student's Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Petition for Reinstatement decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Federal Aid Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for State Need Grant & State Work Study

To remain eligible for State aid at the end of each quarter, all students receiving State aid must be in good standing with the college and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher for the quarter and students must have completed at least one-half of the original amount of credits for which the aid was calculated and paid for the quarter.

Washington State Need Grant and State Work Study recipients may not exceed 125% of their program length in attempted credits toward degree requirements. If a student is still completing degree requirements beyond 125% of their program requirements, they will not be eligible to receive additional State funding.

State Need Grant Warning Status

Students who complete greater than half of the credits for which they were awarded for the quarter but less than the full number of credits for which the student was awarded are placed on SNG Warning Status for the following quarter. Students may not be on SNG Warning Status for two consecutive quarters.

Denied Status for Washington State Need Grant

A student with a Washington State Need Grant (SNG) award who completes less than 50% of the minimum number of credits for which the grant was disbursed for a specific quarter will be placed on "denied status" and future SNG awards will be cancelled.

Petition for Washington State Need Grant "Denied Status" Review

Students who are on "denied status" may petition the Director of Financial Aid for a review of their status after they have successfully completed at least one additional quarter of coursework during which they did not receive any State Need Grant funding.

Students who have encountered extenuating circumstances which caused them to be unable to successfully complete at least 50% of their enrolled credits for the quarter may petition for special consideration. An example of an extenuating circumstance would be a significant family emergency or major illness.

Financial Aid Petition for Reinstatement decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

State Aid Policies







Whatcom Community College

237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226

(360) 383-3000

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