Federal and state regulations require that all student financial aid recipients maintain specific academic standards in order to maintain their financial aid eligibility. Except for some private and institutional funds, all forms of financial aid (grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships) are affected by this policy. These standards are applied to a student’s entire academic history at CNCC, including periods when financial aid was not received. 

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate student academic progress at the end of each semester based on three criteria:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Cumulative Completion Rate (%)
  • Maximum Time Frame

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Cumulative GPA

2.0 or above

Cumulative Completion Rate

Students must complete at least 67% of cumulative attempted credit hours. The completion rate is defined as the percentage of the total number of credits completed divided by the total number of credits attempted over the entirety of the student’s academic record at the school performing the calculation. Transfer and remedial credits are included when computing the student’s completion rate.

Maximum Time Frame

Students will be eligible for financial assistance for up to 150% of the number of credits required to complete their degree/certificate program.  (Example – degree is a total of 60 credits a student can receive financial assistance for up to 90 credits.) Transfer and remedial credits are included when computing the student’s maximum time frame. 

Students who meet these three academic standards will be considered in Good Standing. Students failing to meet these requirements will be ineligible for financial aid. Reinstatement will be made only after students have met the requirements to be considered making satisfactory progress or an appeal has been approved. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Warning

A student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Warning if he/she:

  • Fails to maintain a Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater.
  • Has a Cumulative Completion Rate of less than 67%.

Students maintain their financial aid eligibility while on warning but must bring their Cumulative GPA and Cumulative Completion Rate above the stated standards to avoid Ineligibility in subsequent terms.  

Satisfactory Academic Progress Alert

A student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Alert if he/she has attempted 110% of the number of credit hours required for their degree or eligible certificate program. This is your official ALERT that once you have reached 150% you will be Ineligible for Financial Aid.  

Ineligible For Aid

A student will be placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress Ineligibility if:

  • Student failed or withdrew from all of his/her classes in one semester or period of enrollment.
  • After a warning term the Cumulative GPA is below 2.0.
  • After a warning term the Cumulative Completion Rate is below 67%.
  • Student has attempted more than 150% of the required number of credits for a degree or certificate. If at any point in time it is determined that a student cannot complete their program of study within 150% of the program length, student will be ineligible for aid.

While ineligible for aid students lose their eligibility for financial aid. No aid will disburse to student accounts for terms that a student is ineligible for aid.  

Notification of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students in “warning”, “alert”, and “ineligible” statuses of Satisfactory Academic Progress will be notified by mail sent to their permanent home address on record at the institution.

Appeal Process


 Students who are submitting appeals, read this section carefully!


If a student is placed on Financial Aid Ineligibility, they have the right to submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office. The financial aid appeal form can be obtain from the Financial Aid Office. Appeals must explain any mitigating circumstances that prevented the student from successfully completing their coursework and must be accompanied by supporting documentation. Some examples of mitigating circumstances are medical issues, mental health issues, death in the family, birth of a child, divorce/separation.

The appeal must also explain why the circumstances no longer exist and what the student will do to ensure that they will meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards in the future. Appeals must be received at least four weeks prior to the end of the term in order to be considered for reinstatement for the current term, appeals can take up to two weeks to review. It is the responsibility of the student to submit an appeal in a timely manner if they wish to have their ineligibility reconsidered and aid reinstated. Appeal decisions will be email to the student’s college assigned email address.

Students with a successful appeal will be placed on “probation” for one payment period, during which time the student may receive financial aid funds.  At the end of the “probation” period the student must be in “good standing” to continue to receive financial aid funds.  If after the “probation” period the student has not met the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards the student will lose their financial aid eligibility. 

By student request, any student appeal that has been denied, can be sent to the Vice President of Student Services for review. The decision of the Vice President is final. 

How Satisfactory Academic Progress is Measured

Attempted Credit Hours

Defined as any credit hours for which a student is registered at the census date for the class.

Earned Credit Hours

Defined as any class for which a student has received credit. Grades of A,B,C,D, S, S/A, S/B, and S/C are considered earned.

Unearned Credit Hours

Grades of U, I, W, AW, Z, U/D, U/F, SP, and AU will affect your cumulative completion rate but not your cumulative GPA. Grade of F will affect both your completion rate and your cumulative GPA. Students are responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office of grade changes that affect their student academic progress standing. 

Incomplete grade of “I” will not affect a student’s cumulative completion rate or cumulative GPA. When an incomplete has been granted a student has until the assigned date, if no date is assigned then the course must be completed no later than the end of the next 16-week semester, to complete the course and receive a grade.  At the end of the assigned date, or next 16-week semester, the instructor of record will supply a final grade to the Registrar.  Once a final grade is received the student’s academic progress will be reassessed.

Grade Changes

Students are responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office of grade changes that affect their SAP standing. Check the college catalog for change of grade information.

Cumulative Completion Rate

Determined by dividing the total number of Earned Credit Hours by the total number of Attempted Credit Hours. Students must maintain a completion rate of 67% or more in order to maintain their good standing.

Maximum Time Frame

Defined by using the required number of credits needed in order to complete a certificate or degree. For example, an Associates Degree requires 60 credits, maximum credits would be 90 (60 x 150%). The same calculation applies towards certificates. Transfer credits and repeated courses will be included when determining maximum time frame. Students who have attempted 110% of the required number of credits for a degree or certificate will be sent a Alert notification. Students who have attempted 150% or more of their degree requirements will be ineligible for aid.  

Return of Title IV Funds

Federal regulations require a return of Title IV funds if a student received federal financial assistance and withdrew or ceased to attend for any reason on or before completing 60% of the enrollment period. The percentage of Title IV aid to be returned is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the enrollment period divided by the number of calendar days in the enrollment period. Scheduled breaks of more than five consecutive days are excluded from the total number of calendar days. The office of financial aid is required to calculate how much federal financial aid a student has earned if that student:

  • Completely withdraws in one semester or enrollment period, or
  • Does not complete all modules (courses which do not span the entire length of the payment period)

*For students enrolled in modules: A student is not considered as withdrawn if the office financial aid obtains a written confirmation at the time of the withdrawal that he or she will attend a module that begins later in the same enrollment period. The newly added courses will also count as a positive confirmation of future attendance if the student registered for the course or courses at the time of a withdrawal. Dropping courses in a later module while still attending a current module is also not considered to have withdrawn.

  • The official withdrawal date will be either the date the student begins the withdrawal process or the date the student provides official notification of intent to withdraw. The unofficial withdrawal (for a student with failing grade) will be reported by the instructors based on the last date of attendance.


 Return of Title IV Calcualtion:

Percentage of Title IV Aid Earned Amount of Title IV Aid Earned Amount of Title IV Aid to Return
Days Attended / Total Days in the Enrollment Period = % Completed Total Disbursed Aid x % Completed = Earned Aid Total Disbursed Aid - Earned Aid = Amount to be Returned
  • If the percentage completed is higher than 60%, the student has earned all the Title IV funds for the period.
  • If a student who received financial aid never attends, all disbursed funds will be returned.


Return of Unearned Title IV Aid (34CFR 668.22)

Federal regulations require schools to perform calculations within 30 days from the date the school determines a student’s withdrawal and to return the funds within 45 days of the calculation.

If a student does not pay the balance owed to the institution within 45 days of the date of notification, the balance will be forwarded to the State of Colorado Collections Agency and the student’s records will be placed on financial hold. In addition, any grant funds owed to the government will be transferred and reported as an “overpayment” to the U.S. Department of Education.

Aid programs subject to the repayment calculation will be returned in this order

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  • Subsidized Direct Loans
  • Federal Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

 Notification will be sent by mail to the address on file at the institution.


Post Withdrawal Disbursement (34 CFR 668.22(a) (3) & (4))

Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded.  When a student drops or withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of the Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned and for which the student is otherwise eligible he or she is eligible to receive a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of the earned aid that was not previously received.

Disbursing Title IV aid earned

All post-withdrawal disbursements are applied to the student account first for balances owed to the institution.  Any resulting credit balance on the student’s account must be disbursed as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after the calculation of R2T4.  34 C.F.R 668.22 (a)(5) and (6); 34 C.F.R 668.164 (h) and (j).

  • Grant funds must be disbursed within 45 days.
  • Loan funds must be offered to the student within 30 days, allowing the student at least 14 days to respond for a total of 45 days.

The College will notify the student in writing of any Title IV grant or loan repayment.  The letter will inform the student of the dollar amount owed, the program, the method for repaying the funds and to whom, and the consequences of failing to repay the funds.

Notification will be sent by mail to the address on file at the institution.

Academic Requirements for Outside Scholarships

Students receiving certain scholarships such as Honors Scholarships and Foundation Scholarships may have other academic requirements to maintain their eligibility. Please refer to documentation on your scholarship, the awarding institution or the Financial Aid Office for additional information.

Student Records

Students and parents should be aware that all records and conversations between students, parents, and financial aid staff are confidential and that no public announcements shall be made of amounts awarded to individual students. Students who receive Federal Title IV Financial Aid (Federal Grants and Federal Direct Loans) are considered withdrawn if they do not successfully complete at least one credit hour in each of their periods of enrollment for the term. A student’s period of enrollment is defined by the start and end dates of all courses for which they are registered. Receiving grades of F, W, U, U/D, U/F or Incomplete is not considered successfully completing. Financial Aid recipients who withdraw or stop attending any module (or part of a term) within their period of enrollment may be reported to the Clearinghouse as withdrawn and may be responsible for repayment of their financial aid. Students should check with their Financial Aid Office prior to dropping or withdrawing from courses. In addition, students who are registered for courses that do not span the length of the regular term, may have financial aid adjustments if they drop or withdraw from any credit hours. If further information concerning satisfactory academic progress is desired, contact the Office of Financial Aid at (970) 824-1125 or 1-800-562-1105 ext. 1125.

About CNCC

Colorado Northwestern is one college in two Colorado communities. Depending on what you want to study, CNCC has the perfect surroundings and facilities to meet your needs. Founded in 1962 as “Rangely College,” CNCC now serves nearly 1,600 students on two campuses, two service centers and online. Our two campuses are located in Craig and Rangely and are 90 miles apart in the mountains and canyons of Northwestern Colorado.