Updated June 6, 2016


Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid be enrolled as a regular student in a financial aid eligible program. An eligible program is one that leads to an associate or bachelor’s degree, a one- to two-year program leading to a vocational certificate, or a specialized program that meets federal criteria. Continued eligibility requires meeting the criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  It is the responsibility of all financial aid recipients to understand the terms and conditions of the Napa Valley College (NVC) Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy in order to maintain their eligibility to receive aid. “Making SAP” means meeting all the standards and requirements of this policy.


Three standards are used for the assessment of Satisfactory Academic Progress. These standards are reviewed at the end of each semester and are subject to change.

Standard #1:  Qualitative GPA

Students are required to maintain a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA. The GPA will include all aided and unaided terms at NVC.  

Standard #2:  Quantitative Pace

Minimum PACE at NVC is 67% of all cumulative units attempted.  PACE is the rate at which a student completes requirements for their educational goal and is calculated by dividing the number of cumulative units completed by the number of cumulative units attempted.  Remedial and ESL units do count when calculating Pace for SAP.

To measure whether students are progressing on pace for completion of their course of study within the maximum time frame, NVC evaluates the pace rate of financial aid students at the end of each term. At each term’s end, students are expected to have completed at least 67% of all units attempted. Classes with grades of A, B, C, D, P (Pass), and CR (Credit) are considered to have been completed. Classes with grades of W, F, I, NP (No Pass), NC (No Credit), and RD (Report Delayed) are not considered completed.

All units on a student’s transcript count as attempted units, whether they were completed with a “W”, “P/NP”, and “C/NC”, were retaken for a better grade, or eliminated from the GPA calculation through the Academic Renewal policy. Note: transfer of credit from schools previously attended will count as both units attempted and units completed.

Standard #3:  Quantitative Timeframe

The maximum TIMEFRAME at NVC is 150% of published length of the student’s declared program. TIMEFRAME is used to determine the maximum number of units for which a student may receive financial aid for their educational goal. Timeframe includes transfer units and all aided and unaided terms of attendance.

All financial aid students are expected to complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program. Students enrolled in 60‐unit AA/AS, 4‐year transfer, or vocational programs are expected to complete their programs by the time they attempt 90 units. Students enrolled in vocational programs of less than 60 units are allowed a maximum time frame (attempted units) that is 150% of their program’s length.

For clock hour programs, the maximum timeframe must be no longer than 150% of the cumulative clock hours required for completion of the program, as expressed in calendar time. Example: For a program that is 40 weeks in length, requires 1200 clock hours and meets 30 clock hours per week, the maximum is 150% of 40 weeks, or 60 weeks.


SAP will be evaluated at the end of each semester.  The number of units a student attempts and completes will be used to calculate SAP status. Clock hour programs are evaluated at the end of each payment period.


SATISFACTORY is the status assigned to a student in good standing who is making SAP and is not subject to disqualification.


WARNING is the status assigned to a satisfactory student who fails to make SAP. A student on WARNING status may continue to receive aid for one semester only. WARNING status does not require an appeal or other student action. In addition, students who have never applied for financial aid, but have attempted and completed units at NVC, will be placed on Warning if their cumulative GPA is below 2.0 and/or if their cumulative PACE rate is below 67% at the time they enter the Financial Aid program.

At the end of the WARNING semester, a student is expected to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Students who have failed to make SAP will be notified by email from the Financial Aid Office about their loss of eligibility, and with instructions about an appeal process.


PROBATION is a status assigned to a student who was disqualified for failure to make SAP, who has successfully appealed, and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.

PROBATION status will be granted for one semester only after the student has appealed and has had eligibility reinstated based on approval of the appeal. Probation and reinstatement of aid are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will not be granted automatically.

According to federal regulations, if it has been determined that a student cannot mathematically finish their program of study with the required cumulative GPA and PACE within the allotted timeframe, the student will be considered ineligible for financial aid and Probation will not be granted.


Students placed on DISQUALIFICATION status are not eligible to receive financial aid. Students are subject to DISQUALIFICATION based on any of the following:

1)     Failure to meet SAP standards while on WARNING status.

2)     Withdrawing from all units during a semester (may be required to repay all or part of the funds received).

3)    Receiving failing grades ("F", "NC", "NP", "I", and/or "W") for all attempted units for a semester (may be required to repay all or part of the funds received).

4)     Being placed on NVC Dismissal status.

5)     Exceeding Timeframe.

6)      Completion of a Bachelor’s degree or higher (at any school, foreign or domestic).

7)      Completion of an Associate’s degree or vocational certificate.

8)      Failure to meet the terms and conditions of an approved appeal or academic plan.

9)      Exceeding the 600% FTE Federal Pell Grant limit (Timeframe equivalent of 144 units attempted).

10)   Other criteria as stated in the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, or required by law.


Students who are DISQUALIFIED from financial aid may re-establish financial aid eligibility by meeting all SAP standards.

A.       Students who failed to make SAP, but have not yet exceeded timeframe may re-establish financial aid eligibility by meeting all of the following requirements:

Without benefit of aid, students on Financial Aid Disqualification must:

1)       enroll in at least 6.0 units for a semester, and

2)       complete 100% of units attempted for the semester, and

3)       achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 or better, and

4)       achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and

5)       achieve a minimum 67% PACE.

B.       Students who complete a semester on DISQUALIFICATION must have their academic progress reviewed before financial aid eligibility is determined for the following semester. Re-instatement of aid is not automatic.  Students will be responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office once SAP standards have been met.  Due to the short time period between semesters, there may be at least a 6-8 week delay in the notification of eligibility. If eligible, any disbursements of student aid will also be delayed.

C.       Under certain circumstances, students who are DISQUALIFIED from financial aid may submit a Financial Aid Appeal. ALL APPEAL DECISIONS ARE FINAL AND INCONTESTABLE!




1)       A student who has lost eligibility due to failure to make SAP may file an appeal, known as a SAP APPEAL. An appeal will be reviewed only for documented “extenuating circumstances” beyond the student’s control. Appeals not meeting the “extenuating circumstances” category will not be accepted. Submission of an appeal does NOT GUARANTEE the reinstatement of financial aid. Therefore, students should be prepared to pay for their books and other school-related expenses pending the outcome of their appeal. If an appeal is approved, the student will receive financial aid for the semester at the soonest payment date following approval.

2)       Students placed on Disqualification may file an appeal for consideration of reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. The Financial Aid Appeal Form and submission deadline dates can be found on the Financial Aid forms webpage at www.napavalley.edu/financialaid.  The following are examples of reasons a student may file an appeal:




Serious physical or emotional illness of student or immediate family member

Attach medical documentation confirming onset and duration of illness or condition

Death in the family

Attached copy of obituary, funeral notice, or Death Certificate

Accident or injury to student or immediate family member

Attach medical and/or other documentation verifying the date and duration of the occurrence

Disasters affecting student’s attendance

Attach documentation of insurance claims or other 3rd party information verifying location and date and nature of disaster

Loss or change of employment

Attach letter from the employer verifying the circumstances and dates of loss or change in employment

Student made significant improvement during WARNING semester even though cumulative criteria do not meet SAP standards yet (e.g. enrolled at least 6 units, completed all units attempted with 2.0 or higher semester GPA, but Standards 1 & 2 have not been met)

Attach copy of course and grades for preceding semester.  These will be verified by the Financial Aid Office

Change in academic major, or

Exceeded Timeframe

Detailed explanation disclosing reasons for change in major and reasons for exceeding the posted unit limitation.

Extenuating circumstances that were beyond the student’s control

Any documents that would help verify student’s circumstances. Should include date and duration.





















The following are NOT considered for appeal:  Incarceration, circumstances such as wrong or difficult classes, too many units in the term, poor time management, instructor’s teaching style, transportation problems, not having the assigned books or course, taking online classes and not having a computer and/or online access, personal problems not requiring professional intervention, being unaware of academic progress policies or other college requirements, not following placement test and/or Academic Counselor’s recommendations, or child care problems.



1)       Students who exceed the maximum unit TIMEFRAME for their educational goal will not be eligible for further financial aid.

2)       Students who have a Bachelor’s Degree and those students who have already received 6 or more full-time equivalent years of Federal Pell Grant aid are not eligible for further Federal Pell Grant aid.  These students may only be eligible for fee waivers, Federal Work Study, and Federal Student Loans.  They must have an approved appeal on file to receive Federal Student Loans and Federal Work Study. 

3)       Students who meet these criteria may submit a Financial Aid Appeal Form, printable from Financial Aid Forms at www.napavalley.edu/financialaid.

4)       In order to maintain financial aid eligibility, if a Timeframe Appeal is approved, the student may only take courses listed on the approved student educational plan submitted with the appeal form and may not amend the appeal or submit a later appeal. The appeal will be considered invalidated if the student does not meet GPA and PACE requirements.


1)       Students are disqualified from receiving further financial aid, including loans, and will be unaided until or unless they are able to reestablish eligibility. Reinstatement of eligibility requires achieving SAP standards:

a.        enroll in at least 6.0 units for a semester, and

b.       complete 100% of units attempted for the semester, and

c.        achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 or better, 

d.       achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and

e.       achieve a minimum 67% PACE of all cumulative units attempted.



1)       Classes that a student is repeating may be included when determining the student’s enrollment for Financial Aid as long as the repeat is NOT a result of:

a.        More than one repeat of a previously passed course, or

b.       Any repeat of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework required to be taken simultaneously, or

c.        Any repeat of a previously passed course for the sole purpose of gaining eligibility for financial aid.

2)       Repeated coursework may not be eligible for federal aid, if:

a.        A student repeats a previously passed course (grade of “D” or better) more than once. A student who has received a passing grade in a course two times, cannot have that class count toward financial aid if enrolled in for a third time;

b.       A student repeats a previously passed course due to failing other related coursework, and

c.        A student repeats a previously passed course only for the reason of obtaining financial aid.


Students may receive aid for no more than 30 units of remedial coursework.


Students enrolled in ESL courses may receive financial aid as long as they are in an eligible program and meet all other eligibility criteria.


Loans are a form of financial aid beyond grants. Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students to help pay for the cost of a student’s college education. Repayment is necessary when a student graduates, drops below 6 units a semester, or withdraws from all of their classes. NVC College has the right to reduce or deny loans on a case-by-case basis for students at high-risk for default. Students who are on Warning or Probation status are considered to be high-risk and should plan accordingly to meet their educational costs without dependence on maximum annual limits.

References: Code of Federal Regulations, 34 CFR 668.16, 668.32, 668.34