Satisfactory Academic Progress & Return of Title IV

​Requirements for Continued Financial Eligibility

Federal regulations require that students maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in the program of study they are pursuing in order to receive financial aid.

The College’s records are reviewed at the completion of every semester of enrollment to determine compliance with the SAP policy. There are three components to the financial aid SAP policy:

  1. Minimum GPA - Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 or higher to remain eligible for financial aid. Academic records are reviewed at the completion of every term of enrollment (Fall, Spring, Summer) to determine financial aid SAP.
  2. Minimum Pace of Completion - Students must complete course work at a minimum cumulative rate of 67%. Completed course work is defined as any course for which the student receives a passing grade. Academic records are reviewed at the completion of every term of enrollment (Fall, Spring, Summer) to determine financial aid SAP. A Pace Calculator is available here.
  3. Maximum Time Frame (Duration of Eligibility) - Federal regulations limit financial aid eligibility to 150% (96 credits for a two-year program) of the published length of the education program, as measured in attempted credit hours. Transfer credit hours (if available) are counted in the calculation of duration of eligibility.

The student's total academic history is monitored regardless of whether he/she has previously received financial aid. Programs affected by financial aid SAP are:

  • Federal Pell
  • Federal SEOG
  • Iowa Vocational Technical Grant
  • Iowa Kibbie Grant
  • All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship
  • Federal Stafford Loan
  • Iowa Foster Care Grant
  • Federal PLUS Loan
  • Iowa National Guard Tuition Program
  • Federal Work Study

A printable guide concerning Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress at DMACC is available.

Detailed information concerning SAP can be reviewed by accessing DMACC’s Educational Services Procedures ES 4300: Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress.

There are two options a student may pursue in order to regain eligibility for financial aid:

  1. Complete the number of credit hours necessary to achieve the 67% requirement and/or minimum cumulative grade point average need for their grade level. This will be at the student's own expense.
  2. If special/extenuating circumstances exist, the student may submit a letter of appeal to the Financial Aid Office stating the reasons the standard requirements noted above were not met. This form is available online. In order to submit an appeal form, a student must also have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable school year.​ If the appeal is approved by a review committee, eligibility for financial aid will be reinstated on a probationary level. As outlined in DMACC procedure, financial aid recipients are allowed a maximum of two appeal approvals during their enrollment at DMACC. The student must also submit and agree to the terms of an Academic Improvement Plan. For details on how to appeal, see the college procedure policy ES 4300 for complete details. It’s important to note that there is a deadline for submitting appeals as indicated on the appeal form. Late appeals will not be considered until the following term.​​

Note: Students who completely withdraw or fail all classes during their first term of enrollment will automatically go to Suspension. We encourage students to visit with an academic advisor or counselor and complete an Academic Improvement Plan and submit it to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Appeals Committee for financial aid reinstatement consideration.


Never Attending Process (10th Day — NA):
A student cannot received financial aid for a course he or she did not attend. Therefore, DMACC's Financial Aid Office will verify that a student has attended with his or her instructor. If a student does not show up for class, he or she will have their financial aid reduced and/or eliminated. Prior to the 10th day of class, instructors can view their class lists online and must identify students who have never attended their class. Students will receive an email indicating the classes that they were reported as having never attended. If they have been reported as never-attending, the student is dropped from enrollment, and the student’s financial aid is adjusted accordingly. If a balance is due, a letter is sent to the student, indicating the amount and a due date. If an instructor error was made, instructions will be included within the notice concern how to re-establish enrollment within the dropped course.

Quit Attending Process (Mid-Term — QA):
Instructors are asked to report students who have quit attending. An email is sent to the student showing in which classes they have been reported as having quit attending. If all instructors report a student as QA, a Return of Title IV calculation (see below) is completed. If student is completely dropped from his or her classes he or she may receive a letter informing the student of any amount that may be owed to the College or the Department of Education and the methods of repayment. Those students who are reported in some, but not all of their classes as QA should consider officially withdrawing from the remaining courses in order to avoid receiving a failing grade.

Unofficial Withdrawals:
If a student unofficially withdrawals (stops attending without completing the official withdrawal process) he or she's last date of attendance may be verified with his or her instructors. The student’s last date of attendance may be used to calculate earned aid as identified below under “Return of Financial Aid Title IV Funds.”

Leave of Absence:
A leave of absence may be granted to a student who leaves DMACC for military reasons or for jury duty. Only one leave per academic year will be allowed. The student must return by the end of the leave of absence or the student is treated as a withdrawal.

Return of Financial Aid Title IV Funds:
A student’s financial aid is based on the number of classes the student is enrolled in and the number of days the student is enrolled in classes. When a student initiates a withdrawal from one or more classes the amount of financial aid the student is eligible to receive is affected. The Return of Title IV funds to the federal government is based on a calculation which determines how much aid the student is eligible to receive and how much the student is no longer eligible for, because he/she is no longer enrolled in school. This calculation is applicable until the student has completed more than 60 percent of the semester. Once the student has completed more than 60 percent of the semester, all financial aid is considered earned.

By federal law, unearned Title IV funds (Pell, Stafford loans, SEOG) must be returned to the federal government for a student who totally withdraws (official/unofficial) on or before the 60% point of the enrollment period. The amount of return is determined by the following:

  1. Determine percentage of enrollment period student completed.
  2. Earned aid = total awarded Title IV aid multiplied by same percentage.
  3. Unearned aid = earned aid subtracted from total dispersible aid.
  4. DMACC returns: the total institutional charges incurred by the student multiplied by the unearned percentage of Title IV aid.
  5. Student returns: unearned aid minus DMACC’s return; if a student received grants, the student's return will be multiplied by 50% after being reduced by the amount of loan funds the student is required to return. This amount is then subtracted from the initial amount of grant funds due from the student.

DMACC or the student is required to return unearned financial aid assistance in a particular order when a student officially or unofficially withdrawal:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
  3. Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal SEOG

Title IV Grant Overpayment:
If a student is required to repay an unearned grant (overpayment), the student will remain eligible for Title IV aid up to 45 days after the student has been notified of the overpayment. The student may resolve the overpayment by repaying the overpayment in full to DMACC, by making satisfactory repayment arrangements with DMACC, or by making satisfactory repayment arrangements with the U.S. Department of Education.

Outstanding Balance on DMACC Account:
If a student withdraws from DMACC prior to completing 60 percent of the semester, the student is responsible for paying any outstanding tuition and fee charges that remain after DMACC has repaid any unearned financial aid to the federal government.

Post Withdrawal Disbursement:
The federal law provides that if a student did not receive all of his/her earned financial assistance prior to leaving school DMACC may credit a student’s account for any outstanding institutional charges. However, DMACC must seek the student’s written permission within 30 days of the student’s withdrawal date to do so.

Questions Concerning Return of Financial Aid Title IV Funds:

Contact the DMACC Financial Aid Office by calling 1-800-362-2127, ext. 6282. As the regulations governing Return of Title IV aid are subject to change, refer to the Financial Aid website for up-to-date information.