Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements for Financial Aid Eligibility

Federal regulations require students to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of their degree or certificate program in order to qualify for financial aid. This policy applies to any student entering or returning to NCC. A student’s entire academic record for the current degree or certificate program is reviewed even when a student was not a financial aid recipient during prior enrollment. College-approved academic restarts are not considered when computing financial aid for satisfactory academic progress. Only courses required for your current degree or certificate program are eligible for financial aid consideration. The following requirements must be met to determine eligibility for federal financial aid (grants, loans, and work-study):

Important Definitions

  • All credits in which you were registered at the end of the add/drop period, including those with grades of F, W, WP, WF, N, I, NC, X including all attempts at repeated courses
  • All earned credits (e.g. transfer credits, credits earned through prior learning, and PC grades)

    *Special exception to completion rate calculations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic during Spring 2020:

    The College will automatically exclude any courses from which the student has withdrawn during the Spring of 2020 due to COVID-19 from their completion rate calculation for the semester and will continue to exclude these semester withdrawals cumulatively in future academic progress evaluations. This only applies to COVID-19 related withdrawals after the date the president declared a national emergency: March 13, 2020, during the Spring 2020 semester.

  • Courses that you have completed and have earned credit for
  • Repeated courses where credit has been earned (with a grade of D or more or PC) may only be counted once
  • Transfer credits
  • Credits earned through prior learning (e.g. challenge exams, portfolio assessment, or CLEP/Advanced Placement)

Audited (AU) classes are not considered attempted or earned and are not eligible for financial aid.


You must successfully complete sixty-seven percent (67%) of all credits attempted at NCC.

You must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average based on the total number of credits attempted including transfer credits.

Total Credits Attempted
Including Transfer Credits
Minimum Cumulative
GPA Required
<25 1.50
26-40 1.75
41+ 2.0

For federal financial aid eligibility, students must complete their program within a maximum time frame not to exceed 150% of the length of the current degree or certificate. This includes all semesters of enrollment even if no aid was received. Once you attempt more than 150% of the credits that it normally takes to complete your current degree or certificate, you are no longer eligible for financial aid. Up to 30 credits of developmental courses (courses numbered below 100) and all English as a Second Language (ESL) coursework will be excluded from this calculation.

Length of Program Maximum Time Frame
60-credit program 90 credits attempted
Example: 30-credit program 45 credits attempted


An evaluation of academic progress will be done after the end of each semester or when students reapply for financial aid. If you do not meet the requirements, you will be notified via NCC e-mail and messaging within the financial aid portal upon review of grades.

Falling below financial aid academic progress standards

If you fall below any of the three academic progress standards, you will be notified by NCC e-mail and messaging within the financial aid portal. You will be placed into either a warning or a suspension status for financial aid.

If you do not meet satisfactory academic progress standards, you will receive a financial aid warning. Once you are in financial aid warning status, you may continue to receive financial aid in the next semester but will be expected to meet the minimum standards by the end of the next semester. Failure to meet the minimum standards after the warning term will result in financial aid suspension.

Your financial aid is suspended when you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for one or both of the following reasons:


  • Your last semester status was
    • Warning status or
    • Probation status and you fail to meet the requirements of an academic plan
    • And you are not meeting the standards of academic progress
  • You have exceeded the maximum time frame limits for your degree and are not meeting the terms of your academic plan

Appeal Process

Students who do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and go into Financial Aid Suspension have the right to appeal in the event of extenuating circumstances. The appeal may be submitted electronically via in our financial aid portal (located in Workday Student).


An appeal should include the following:


1. The circumstances that kept you from meeting satisfactory academic progress standards in the past.

2. Your plan for making progress going forward — that is, tell us what changes you have made that will allow you to be successful in the future.


After review of the appeal, supporting or third-party documentation may be requested by the appeal committee.


Students who have an appeal granted will be granted a semester of financial aid probation status and placed on an academic plan.

Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility

Students may regain financial aid in the following ways:


1. After a semester of probation a student is then meeting academic progress standards (completion rate, GPA, and maximum time frame).

2. A student may enroll in courses without financial aid and will continue to be evaluated each semester. Financial aid will then be reinstated when all 3 standards of progress have been met.


For students who were not able to meet the academic progress standards in one semester of probation, financial aid probation status will be continued for as long as you continue to meet the terms of your academic plan.

PHEAA State Grant Academic Progress Policy

Note: State grant eligibility is based on standards set by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Institutional appeals do not cover State grants. Loss of State grant eligibility may be appealed directly to PHEAA in cases of illness or death in the family.


A student is required to successfully complete a minimum of 6 credits per semester for each part-time State grant received and a minimum of 12 credits per semester for each full-time State grant received. Credits earned for repeat courses that were previously counted when State grant progress was verified cannot be counted again. Failures to meet the minimum credit requirements mean that a student is not eligible for further State grant aid until that student has successfully completed the required number of credits.


Grant Minimum required credits
earned per semester
Part-time Grant 6
Example: Full-time Grant 12


A student is eligible for 4 semesters of full-time grants (or the equivalent) at a two-year institution.


Full-time students progressing at the rate of only 24 credits per year (or the equivalent), while meeting the minimum State grant progress standard, will utilize all of their State grant eligibility before completing their program.


Note: PHEAA (PA State Grant) - Students taking more than 50% of their semester credits online may not qualify or may be eligible for a reduced PA state grant award. PHEAA also has a Remedial Course Exception Policy which limits the number of developmental courses considered for State grant eligibility. For further information please check the NCC Web site under Financial Aid / Types of Aid / Grants and Scholarships / Grants / Pennsylvania State Grants. You can also contact PHEAA at 1-800-692-7392 or

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