Academic Progress and Return of Financial Aid Policy

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.

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

Contact Information

WCTC Financial Aid Office

College Center, Room C-019

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday

  • 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


  • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

A student’s complete WCTC academic record is used to determine if he or she meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Criteria as outlined below. All credits attempted at or transferred to WCTC, 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 here 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 semester Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Minimum 67% semester 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 who believe their circumstances merit reconsideration and are in the Suspension - Need Appeal status may appeal their suspension by filing a SAP Appeal form. The appeal requires students to explain why they failed to meet the standards and what has changed that will allow them to meet these standards during the next term. Appeals cannot be based on a need for aid or lack of knowledge of the warning status. An appeal must be based on an unusual situation or condition which prevented the student from being successful (i.e. illness, injury, etc.). Documentation may be required. Students choosing not to file a SAP Appeal form must meet all satisfactory academic progress criteria listed in this document in order to 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 semester Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Minimum 67% semester 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 Title IV Policy

The Return of Title IV Federal Funds Policy (R2T4) applies to students who have received federal financial aid assistance and have officially or unofficially withdrawn from Waukesha County Technical College. Federal financial aid assistance includes the PELL Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Direct Student loans (subsidized or unsubsidized), and Plus loans for parents. The official withdrawal date is defined as the actual date the student begins the College’s withdrawal process. The student’s last date of academically related activity is used for unofficial withdrawals. 

The amount of the federal financial assistance that a student earns is determined on a pro-rata basis. Once the student has completed sixty percent (60%) of the term, all financial aid is considered to be earned. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for the 60 percent refund dates.

If a student withdraws from school before 60 percent of the term has been completed or does not officially withdraw and receives all failing grades for the term, the Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of unearned financial aid and return the funds in the following refund distribution order: Unsubsidized Direct Loan, Subsidized Direct Loan, Direct Plus Loan, Federal PELL Grant, SEOG, and Other Title IV assistance programs.

If a student receives all “F” grades for a term, they will be considered an unofficial withdrawal. If a student receives all “F” grades for a term, but attended at least one class the entire term and “earned” the grade of “F”, the student will not be considered an unofficial withdrawal and no aid will be returned. If the student received financial aid and failed to attend classes, they are considered a “no show” and have not established eligibility for any financial aid. No shows must repay in full any funds received. 

Any unearned Title IV aid must be returned to the federal government within 45 days of the date of the determination of your withdrawal. Waukesha County Technical College’s Financial Aid Office will notify you with instructions on how to proceed if you are required to return funds to the government. Any funds returned after the Return of Title IV Aid calculation is completed and processed are then used to repay Waukesha County Technical College funds, state funds, other private sources, and the student, in proportion to the amount received from each non-federal source, as long as there was no unpaid balance at the time of withdrawal. All aid sources are repaid before any funds are returned to the student.

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Financial aid returned by you and/or your parent or the school must be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  6. Federal Teach Grant

A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if, prior to withdrawing, the student earned more federal financial aid than was disbursed. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement for Title IV funds, it will be processed for the student and a refund will be issued within 14 days of the credit balance.

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Waukesha County Technical College must get the student’s permission before it can disburse the loan. Students may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that s/he does not incur additional debt. A notice will be sent out to the student, and the signed, original document must be returned to the school within 14 days.

Waukesha County Technical College may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. However, the school needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give his/her permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce the student’s debt at the school. It is also important to understand that accepting a post-withdrawal disbursement of student loan funds will increase a student’s overall student loan debt that must be repaid under the terms of the Master Promissory Note. Additionally, accepting the disbursement of grant funds will reduce the remaining amount of grant funds available to the student should the student continue his/her education at a later time.

Consult with the Financial Aid Office prior to any withdrawal to discuss your situation or if you have any questions regarding your financial aid. Students who want to dispute an amount should address all concerns in writing to: Director of Financial Aid Waukesha County Technical College, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072.

How Return of Title IV Funds are Calculated

Federal regulations assume that students “earn” federal financial aid in direct proportion to the percentage of the term they complete. Federal law requires schools to calculate how much federal financial aid a student has earned if that student:

  • Completely withdrawals, or
  • Stops attending before completing the semester, or
  • Does not complete all modules (classes which are not scheduled for the entire term) for which he/she registered at the time those modules began, or
  • Receives all F’s and W’s (or a combination of both) for all classes in any semester

Based on this calculation, Waukesha County Technical College students who received federal financial aid and do not complete all their scheduled classes during a semester could be responsible to repay a portion of the aid they received.

How is the financial aid that I earn calculated?

Students who received federal financial aid earn the aid they receive by staying enrolled and participating in college. The amount of federal financial aid the student earns is determined on a pro-rated basis. Students who withdraw or do not complete all registered classes during the semester may be required to return some of the financial aid they were awarded.

For example, if you complete 30 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30 percent of the aid you originally were scheduled to receive. This means that 70 percent of your scheduled awards remain unearned and must be returned to the federal government. Once you have completed more than 60 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all of your federal financial aid.

The following formula is used to determine the percent of unearned aid that has to be returned to the federal government:

For Credit Hour Programs

The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (minus any scheduled breaks that are at least five days long).

For Clock Hour Programs

The percentage earned is equal to the number of clock hours the student was scheduled to complete in the period divided by the total number of clock hours in the period.

The payment period for many students is the entire semester. However, for students enrolled in modules (classes which are not scheduled for the entire semester), the payment period only includes those days for the module(s) in which the student is registered.

The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent minus the percent earned.

Withdrawals from all classes before aid disburses could result in a post withdrawal disbursement of aid based on percent earned before aid was disbursed. One hundred percent withdrawals, class cancellations, not attending and complete withdrawals may require adjustments and repayments of federal financial aid funds.

What is the withdrawal date?

The withdrawal date used in the return calculation of a student’s federal financial aid is the actual date the student begins the College’s withdrawal. 

How are the unearned federal funds returned? 

The College is responsible for returning unearned federal financial aid to the federal government. Amounts that must be returned will be applied in the following order: 

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant

The College must return the lesser of 1) the total amount of unearned aid or 2) institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage.

The College will bill the student for any funds that were returned due to the Return of Title IV Aid calculation. The student must contact the Student Accounts office to make payments.

What happens if I don’t repay? 

If a student does not pay funds due to the College that resulted after the College returned their unearned portion of the federal funds, the student’s record will be placed on hold. The student will not be permitted to register for classes or receive transcripts until the balance is paid in full.