Academic Progress and Return of Financial Aid Policy | Waukesha County Technical College

Academic Progress and Return of Financial Aid Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

This policy is subject to change at any time should federal regulations require.

The Federal Student Aid program requires that schools maintain a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy in order to ensure that students are progressing successfully through their program(s) as a condition of receiving financial aid.  A student’s complete Waukesha County Technical College academic record is used to determine if he or she meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Criteria as outlined in this document.  All credits attempted at or transferred to Waukesha County Technical College, including those attempted without the use of financial aid, are included in these calculations.

Each student's Financial Aid SAP status is calculated upon receipt of his or her Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as at the end of each term if a student has submitted a FAFSA and attempted coursework. Students that have not met the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements as outlined in this document are notified via their WCTC student email account.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Criteria

To maintain financial aid eligibility, students must meet all four Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria as outlined below:

Term Criteria

  • Minimum 2.0 term Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Minimum 67% term completion rate (also known as Pace)
    • Completion Rate = credits completed divided by credits attempted

Cumulative Criteria

  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Cumulative GPA is calculated on all credits attempted at WCTC
  • Minimum 67% cumulative completion rate (also known as Pace)
    • All credits completed at WCTC and transferred to WCTC divided by total credits attempted

*While grades of W (student withdraw), AW (Administrative Withdrawal) have no impact in the academic GPA calculations, these grades are included in these calculations as non-completions with zero grade points (this is the same as receiving a final grade of “F” in a course, as required by Federal regulations). All Repeated coursework are included as the final grade or status that was earned for each attempt. Incompletes (I) are excluded from Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations until such a time that a final grade is issued. Once a final grade is issued, the results will be included in the cumulative results of any and all subsequent Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations. The academic GPA and/or completion rate shown transcripts may not match your GPA and/or completion rate as calculated for Satisfactory Academic Progress purposes due to these differences. Remedial/Developmental courses are also included in SAP calculations.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Statuses

Financial Aid Warning

Students failing to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria listed above will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Warning status. Students on Financial Aid Warning remain eligible to receive financial aid. Students on Financial Aid Warning are not restricted in the number of credits they may take, but must meet all four Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria as outlined above in all future terms to avoid being placed on Suspension - Need Appeal status.

Suspension - Need Appeal

Students in Financial Aid Warning status who fail to meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria will be placed in Suspension - Need Appeal status.
Students in Suspension - Need Appeal status may file a SAP Appeal Plan form and appeal to have their aid eligibility reinstated. Students choosing not to file a SAP Appeal Plan form must meet all satisfactory academic progress criteria listed in this document in order to have their aid reinstated and be eligible to receive any further financial aid.

Approval Appeal

Students who submit the SAP Appeal form and are approved must follow the terms of their approved SAP Appeal. This includes the following requirements:

  • Minimum 2.0 term Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Minimum 67% term completion rate (also known as Pace)
    • Completion Rate = credits completed divided by credits attempted
  • Taking only courses required to complete the current active program listed on the SAP Appeal
  • Any and all other criteria as outlined on the SAP Appeal form
  • Complete the Back on Track (BOT) program before the end of the term in which their appeal was approved

Students with an Approved Appeal are strongly encouraged to meet with their program advisor to ensure that they are only taking required coursework.  Students on Approved Appeal that do not meet all of the criteria outlined above will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students are placed into Financial Aid Suspension status if they have:

  • Completed a SAP Appeal and it has been denied
  • Had a SAP Appeal approved, but did not meet a future term’s SAP criteria specified by the approved SAP Appeal
  • Have exceeded the maximum duration limit of financial aid eligibility (150% Rule) as outlined below

Students in the Financial Aid Suspension status are NOT eligible to receive financial aid and are NOT eligible to appeal the suspension.

Students on Financial Aid Suspension may regain financial aid eligibility if they complete financial aid eligible coursework with alternate funding sources and meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria.  Students that meet this criteria will be sent the SAP Reinstatement form via student email and will be eligible to receive aid once the form is approved and processed by the Financial Aid Office. Students that have had their financial eligibility reinstated as a result of the SAP Reinstatement form being processed and do not meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria in any subsequent term will immediately be placed back on Financial Aid Suspension.

Students exceeding the maximum duration of financial aid eligibility (150% Rule) as outlined below cannot regain financial aid eligibility regardless of academic performance.

150% Duration Limit Rule

Students that have not graduated by the time they have attempted 150% of the published credits for their current active program, as listed on their program curriculum requirement sheet, will immediately become ineligible for financial aid and will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

All credits that a student has transferred to Waukesha County Technical College, as well all credits attempted at Waukesha County Technical College count toward the 150% limit. All attempted credits are included in this calculation regardless of:

  • Program status
  • Program(s) being pursued
  • Financial Aid received/not received
  • Length of time since the credits were attempted

The maximum duration of financial aid eligibility is calculated by taking the number of credits required to complete your current active program requiring the most credits and multiplying by 150% (1.5). For example, a program requiring 60 credits to complete would have a maximum duration of eligibility of 90 credits. This is because 60 Credits x 150% (1.5) = a maximum of 90 credits.

Note: The maximum duration of eligibility for students active in more than one program is calculated using the active program requiring the most credits to complete. It is not calculated on the basis of multiple programs.

Students who meet or exceed the 150% limit for a certificate or technical program, who are subsequently accepted into a larger associate program, must notify the Financial Aid Office to have financial aid eligibility reassessed under the SAP policy.

Return of Federal Aid

For students considering withdrawing from all credit classes, WCTC recommends talking with an academic advisor or program counselor - especially if receiving financial aid. Those who choose to withdraw from WCTC must understand the college's tuition refund policy, grading policy and federal law relating to the return of financial aid.

  • Federal law states that students who stop attending classes prior to the 60 percent point of the semester do not earn all of their financial aid; therefore, a portion must be returned to the federal government. Students may owe WCTC and the federal government.
  • The withdrawal date is defined as the last date of attendance or academically related activity, such as submitting an assignment or taking a test.
  • The approximate 60 percent dates are early November for the fall semester, early April for the spring semester, and mid-July for summer.

Of the federal funds used to pay tuition, the amount that is to be repaid is a proportional part of that tuition. The formula to calculate this repayment is as follows:

  • Number of days completed by student (up to withdrawal date) divided by the total number of days in the semester.

Auditing a class or failing to attend any class results in full aid repayment.

Students will be billed for any funds the college is required to repay. Contact the billing specialist at 262.691.5283 for payment arrangements. This calculation is separate from WCTC's state-approved tuition refund policy.

This federal refund requirement for the treatment of Title IV federal funds when a student withdraws is applicable whether or not the school assesses any charges to the student or adjusts institutional charges after the student’s withdrawal. The federal refund must be completed as soon as possible after a student withdraws, but no later than 45 days after the date the school determined the student withdrew. Notification of a student’s eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement must occur within 30 days of the school’s determination that the student withdrew. A student withdrawal will result in the loss of employment under the work-study employment program, as it does if a student drops below half-time enrollment.

Pro Rata Calculation

The formula used in this federal return of funds calculation divides the aid received into earned aid and unearned aid. The amount of assistance a student has earned is determined on a pro rata basis.

  • Divide the number of calendar days the student has attended classes by the number of calendar days in the semester (minus any scheduled breaks of five days or more).This percentage is multiplied by total federal funds disbursed to the student. This is the earned aid that a student may keep or be eligible for as a post-withdrawal disbursement. For example, if the student completed 30 percent of the period of enrollment/term, the student earns 30 percent of the assistance originally scheduled to be received.

Generally, all financial aid is disbursed to the student account at the start of a term, but funds are actually earned as the term is completed. If a student has completed more than 60 percent of the semester, all aid is considered to be earned, and the return of funds regulations (34 CFR 668.22) no longer apply and no federal funds must be returned.

The percentage of federal aid to be returned (unearned aid) is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the semester when the withdrawal takes place divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester. Scheduled breaks of more than four consecutive days are excluded.

Calculations are done on a case-by-case basis after the withdrawal date is established.

Returning Funds

Once the amount of unearned federal aid is calculated, WCTC's repayment responsibility is the lesser of that amount or the amount of unearned institutional charges. Aid funds, for the purposes of this federal regulation are included below and are returned in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  • Federal Subsidized Direct Loans
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

If the amount to be returned is greater than the amount the school is required to repay, then the remaining balance is the student’s responsibility to repay. Waukesha County Technical College will return to the Department of Education the amount owed by WCTC as well as the amount owed by the student. WCTC will send a letter indicating that money is owed to WCTC as a result of the withdrawal and they now owe money to their student account. The Billing Specialist will send a separate bill.

Any loan funds that are returned by the student and/or parent are repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over the length of time allowed (for example standard repayment plans are based on a 10-year repayment schedule).

The amount of unearned Pell Grant funds to be returned is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that must be repaid is half of the grant funds received or were scheduled to receive. If the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less, then repayment is not required.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement Eligibility

If the student did not receive all of the funds that were calculated to be earned before withdrawing, a post-withdrawal disbursement may be due to the student. WCTC may automatically use all or a portion of a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges. The school must disburse grant funds no later than 45 days from the date the school determined the withdrawal date. Remaining grant funds can either be provided to the student or, with the student’s permission the school can use the remaining funds for other institutional charges.

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the school must notify the student, or parent in the case of a parent PLUS loan, within 30 days and receive permission from the student/parent before it can be disbursed. Permission must be received by the school within 14 days of this notification. Other actions such as completing entrance loan counseling and a promissory note may need to be completed before disbursement can occur. It is a student’s choice whether or not to accept none, some or all of the loan funds.

There are a number of federal financial aid funds that cannot be disbursed to a student once they withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, a student loan must be originated before a student withdraws or it is not eligible for disbursement. For campus-based funds such as FSEOG, the grant must be awarded before the withdrawal occurred.

Institutional Refunds and repayment of aid already received

Depending on how much of the semester has elapsed, students who withdraw from WCTC may be eligible for a refund of a portion of the tuition and fees paid to WCTC for the semester. The complete refund schedule for tuition and fees is as follows:

% of Hours Completed Refund
Through 11:59 p.m. the day prior to the class start date 100%
Prior to 11% of the total course meetings 80%
From 11% through 20% of the total course meetings 60%

If a student who is subject to the return of funds formula for financial aid also qualifies for a tuition refund, be aware that the refund amount will first be used to pay any amount to be returned to federal financial aid sources, as dictated by the formula. If there is any refund remaining after the federal aid funds have been repaid, it will be used to repay any state or institutional aid funds received.

As stated earlier, both the school and the student may be required to repay financial aid that was received, but not earned, according to the formula. The amount of aid earned is calculated on a pro rata basis through the 60% point in the semester. As this period is longer than that which WCTC has for its tuition refund schedule, it is possible that students whose accounts were paid in full before the withdrawal will owe money to the school after the withdrawal. This can happen when the federal formula requires a larger repayment to the aid sources than the amount provided by the tuition refund. When this happens, the student will be responsible for the difference, and will be billed by the WCTC Billing Specialist.

Unofficial Withdrawals for federal financial aid purposes

If a student leaves school without providing notification, WCTC has 30 days after the end of the semester to recognize this unofficial withdrawal and use the federal formula to decide if funds need to be returned. This most commonly occurs when all the grades for a given term reflect all letter grades of F, W or a combination thereof. In the absence of timely documented last date of attendance, WCTC may use the 50% point of the semester as the withdrawal date in these cases.

WCTC reserves the right to amend the Title IV return of funds policy at any time in order to comply with federal regulations.

Recommended Withdrawal Procedure

If you are unable to withdraw online or in person, call Registration at 262.691.5578 and choose option #4 to speak to a Registration operator.