Tyler Junior College students who receive financial aid and have passed less than 67% of their classes will go on suspension and possibly lose their aid if they don’t bring their completion rate up the next semester.
Last spring 2,523 students were in good standing with their financial aid, 1,434 students received their first strike, and 1,838 went on financial aid suspension. The Satisfactory Academic Progress measure (SAP) has been at TJC but was changed by the federal government and when into effect at TJC this fall.
The changes to the SAP include students being able to appeal their financial aid suspension and get a probationary period only once, students have a 150 percent time period to complete their classes and students are still required to maintain a 2.0. In a Nov. 16 email sent to students receiving aid a 150 percent time frame were given the example of a student seeking a General Studies degree needs 62 credit hours to earn an Associate’s degree. Multiple 62 times 150 percent minus 93. Student’s seeking a General Studies degree are allowed 93 attempted hours to be funded by financial aid.
Devon Wiggins, director of Financial Aid believes the changes to the SAP are a result of the federal government making sure that colleges enforce the rule the same way and to insure that funds are being distributed to students who are trying to be successful.
“I think that the SAP policy was so different among schools that they wanted to bring more consistency among schools,” Wiggins said.
“It’s going to most effect those students who are not serious students.”
Wiggins believes that the change will help students who are having an off semester, but may hurt some who have had a series of them.
“It could be an advantage to some students. It might give them a break in a sense because if they don’t complete 67% of their hours for that particular term but they have a very high completion rate cumulative wise then they may not be placed on suspension for that term,” Wiggins said. “On the flip side, if they have had a lot of bad semesters but they complete 100% of their classes for the term but they had bad semesters that have caused their completion rate to go lower than 67% then they may go on suspension even though they completed 100 percent of their hours.”
The 150 percent suspension is final but Wiggins believes there is still hope for students who have lost their aid to retrieve it.
“150 percent is a permanent suspension. You can’t make that up in any way,” Wiggins said.” But if their GPA goes below a 2.0 or if their completion rate is not correct, they can take classes and try to make that up on their own.”
Some students like Daniel Patterson, sophomore and sonography major agree with the policy.
“You can only spend other people’s money for so long,” Patterson said.
However, some believe that the rule should better accommodate some students who are putting in effort but just don’t understand the work.
“Everyone is different. They could be trying and sill not getting it,” Rebecah Siva, freshmen and advertising and communications major, said. “They still deserve their financial aid.”