Keeping Your Aid

These are guidelines to follow to maintain your financial aid eligibility at Chattanooga State. 

What should I expect when I accept financial aid?
  • a student accepts the responsibility for meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policies every semester. 
  • a student must be enrolled in a program (associate degree, certificate, or Tennessee College of Applied Technology certificate diploma) that is approved by the Department of Education.

The Financial Aid Office reviews the students' academic progress at the end of each semester to ensure the student is making reasonable progress toward completing their stated educational goals in order to receive funds. A student failing to meet SAP standards the first semester will be placed on probation (warning) status. A student in probation (warning) is still eligible to receive aid, however, failure to meet SAP standards in the next semester will result in the student being placed in a suspended status and not eligible to receive aid. Students in a suspended status must attend at their own expense. Suspended students have the right to submit an appeal the following semester (refer to the appeal procedures under the SAP Standard link for procedures for submitting an appeal).


  1. Student attends in the fall semester and fails to meet SAP standards = student will be placed on probation (warning) at the end of fall
  2. Student may attend spring semester in a probationary(warning status) and receive aid
  3. Student attends in the spring semester and fails to meet SAP standards = student will be suspended at the end of spring
  4. Student must submit an appeal and it be approved to receive financial aid the next semester. 
  5. If the appeal is denied, the student must pay out of pocket until they are meeting the SAP standards. *this may take more than one semester* 
What is a cause for an award adjustment?
  • You fail to begin your classes at the start of the term.
  • You withdraw completely from the college.
  • Your enrolled hours change - you drop below full-time or below half- time or you STOP attending your classes.
  • You received additional financial aid, including scholarships, veterans benefits, etc.
  • Your tuition rate changes (out-of-state to in-state)
Am I notified of my eligibility to continue receiving financial aid?

Students are responsible for checking their Academic Progress on their "TigerWeb" account at the end of each semester. The Academic Progress is posted under the Financial Aid Status. The Financial Aid Office will update each student's Academic Progress as it relates to their financial aid after grades are posted at the end of each semester.

What is the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) appeal process?
  • In accordance with the policies set forth by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, the Financial Aid Office will review all Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) appeals with regards to changing enrollment status after census date, requesting a leave of absence, grade change, or one-time regain. *Those with a low GPA at the benchmark are unable to submit appeal. They must raise their GPA by the next benchmark to receive their scholarship.*
  • The Institutional Review Panel (IRP) at Chattanooga State will place an appeal in the student's TigerWeb account if they have extenuating circumstances for their loss of the Lottery Scholarship.
  • If the IRP denies an appeal, a student must then submit a copy of the denial as well as any additional documentation to TSAC for a ruling within 45 days of when the student was notified of the decision rendered by the IRP. Appeals made to the TSAC Appeals Panel should be mailed to the following address:

Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation

c/o Lottery Scholarship Award Appeals Panel

Suite 1510, Parkway Towers

404 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN 37243-0820

What is the SAP status?

In compliance with federal guidelines, the Financial Aid Office reviews the academic progress of all financial aid recipients at the end of each semester. If a student's academic performance does not meet all three SAP standards, the Financial Aid Office moves the student's eligibility to either a warning or suspended status.

  • Good: student meets all the required standards to receive financial aid.
  • Financial Aid Warning: The first time a student does not comply with Chattanooga State's SAP standards, the Financial Aid Office moves the student to financial aid warning. While placed on financial aid warning, a student may access financial aid for one more semester, but he/she must meet all three SAP standards by the end of the semester to remain eligible for subsequent financial aid.
  • Approaching 150% (Warning): undergraduate student approaching the maximum number of attempted hours (90 credit hours). The student remains eligible for aid while in a warning status.
  • Financial Aid Suspension: If a student, who is on financial aid warning, does not comply with Chattanooga State's SAP standards the following semester, the Financial Aid Office moves the student to financial aid suspension. When on financial aid suspension, the student is not eligible to receive financial aid. If the student wants to continue attending Chattanooga State, he/she will be responsible for paying tuition and fees at his/her own expense. A suspended student may request to recover his/her financial aid eligibility through a formal appeal process stated above.
  • Appeal Approval: students attending as a result of an appeal approval will receive a specific appeal code explaining the conditions that must be met to be eligible for future aid. Failure to meet the appeal conditions will result in suspension the following semester.
  • Appeal Denial: students must attend at their own expense. 
  • A student in a probationary or suspended status other than maximum time limit may re-establish eligibility by attending at their own expense and meeting all required standards.
What are the three SAP standards?

All Financial Aid recipients are provided a link to the satisfactory academic progress guidelines on their TigerWeb self-service account. Standards are published on this website.

Federal regulations require all colleges and universities monitor the academic progress of financial aid recipients to ensure they are advancing at an acceptable pace while maintaining an acceptable grade point average. Specifically, students must demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward the completion of their degrees in order to continue receiving federal and state financial aid funds. Chattanooga State's Financial Aid Office determines eligibility by measuring academic performance against three SAP standards.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is comprised of three standards:

  1. Cumulative GPA - A student must earn the minimum cumulative combined GPA below for the total number of semester credit hours attempted:
    Cumulative GPA
    Attempted Hours Required Quality GPA
    0.0 - 12.0 1.00
    12.1 - 24.0 1.25
    24.1 - 36.0 1.50
    36.1 - 48.0 1.75
    48.1 - Above 2.00

    (Total hours attempted include collegiate hours)

  2. Completion Rate - students MUST maintain an overall passing rate of 67%.  Students will no longer be measured on the passing rate of an individual semester.  Overall includes ALL courses attempted regardless of the year attempted.  The following grades are not considered passing: F (failing); W (withdrawal from course); I (incomplete status); and AU (audited course for noncredit).  Refer to examples below:
    • Student A: Student attempted 12 hours in the fall semester. At the end of the fall semester the student earned a B in all 12 hours, however, the student’s cumulative passing rate is 50% because the student attended 3 years earlier and failed 6 hours and withdrew from 6 hours. Even though the student was successful in the one semester, the student’s total success rate was 12 out of 24 hours. The student would be suspended. 
    • Student B: A first-time student attempted 9 hours in the fall semester earning a C in one class (3 hrs) and withdrawing from the other 2 classes (6 hours). At the end of fall semester the student is in warning status for failing to earn a 67% cumulative passing rate (3 / 9 = 33%). The student attends in the spring earning a B in 2 classes (6 hours). At the end of spring semester the student is suspended because his/her cumulative passing rate remains below 67% (9 hours passed / 15 total attempted = 60%).
  3. Time Limitation - students must complete their education within a maximum timeframe. Students may receive financial aid for attempted credit hours; however, the number of attempted credit hours cannot exceed 150% of the credit hours necessary to complete the program. For example, most associate degree programs require students to complete 60 credit hours of study; therefore, students can use financial aid funds to pay tuition and fees for 90 attempted credit hours. Calculations for maximum timeframe will incorporate credit hours transferred from another institution. 

Appeals for students exceeding 180 attempted hours for a General Transfer degree will not be considered.

What are the SAP standards for Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)?

Qualitative Standards

  • The student must receive an "S" (satisfactory) in programs which are graded by student progress.
  • Students enrolled in programs where letter grades are given must receive passing grades (No I's, D's, F's, or W's).
  • A grade of "U" (unsatisfactory), "W" (complete withdrawal), or "F" (failing) will cause the student to be ineligible.

Quantitative Standards

  • Students must complete 91% of the scheduled hours each payment period to remain eligible for subsequent payments.
  • Excused absences in excess of the allowed 9%, and any unexcused absences must be completed before the student will be eligible to receive aid in future payment periods.
  • Failure to complete 91% of the scheduled clock hours in any payment period will cause the student to become ineligible.
  • Payment will not be made for the next payment period until the deficit hours from the previous payment period are completed. Payment will be pro-rated based on the hours remaining in the payment period after deficit hours are completed.

Time Frame

The maximum time frame for a Tennessee College of Applied Technology student to receive financial aid is the number of hours required for a certificate. A student will never receive Federal Financial Aid for hours past their program length.

Example: 1290 clock hours x 1 = 1290 clock hours.


Appeals are not allowed for vocational students. If a student has failed to meet SAP standards, eligibility can be re-established by paying out of pocket for one payment period and making satisfactory academic progress at the next SAP evaluation.

What is the appeal process?
  • Students suspended due to their failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress standards will not receive financial aid for the next semester. 
  • Students must submit an appeal and provide appropriate supporting documentation, including an educational plan signed by an advisor. Students must provide documentation of extenuating circumstances beyond their control that significantly contributed to their academic performance. Examples would include death of an immediate family member, an extended medical illness and/or a disability. All documentation is subject to verification by a college official.
  • If the appeal is denied, the student must pay out of pocket until they have met the SAP standards for GPA and Completion Rate. 
  • A student whose financial aid is reinstated as the result of an appeal must meet all appeal conditions established in order to continue financial aid eligibility. Students are one the appeal terms every semester until they bring their overall SAP status into GOOD standing. Students failing to meet the conditions of an appeal every semester will be suspended again.
  • Student's are able to submit a second appeal but must know the chances of it being approved are minimal. Exceptions to this policy are limited to documented medical circumstances or personal hardship beyond a student's control that prohibited the student from attending classes.
  • Chattanooga State reserves the right to deny or cancel a student's financial aid in the event of extraordinary circumstances that may not be covered in the current policy.
  • Appeals are not allowed for vocational students. If a student has failed to meet SAP standards, eligibility can be re-established by paying out of pocket for one payment period and making satisfactory academic progress at the next SAP evaluation.

Appeal Committee

The SAP Appeal Committee reviews appeal requests and is the final approving authority on all decisions as it relates to SAP appeals. 

Appeal Timeline

Appeals must be submitted by the priority dates listed below. Students must anticipate a minimum of 5 to 6 weeks for the appeals committee to review the appeal and make a decision on their request. Failure to provide required supporting documentation will delay the appeal process. Students will not be granted more than three appeals during their matriculation at Chattanooga State.

Priority Dates for Submitting Appeals:

  • Requesting aid for fall: July 15 
  • Requesting aid for spring: December 1
  • Requesting aid for summer: April 1

Students pending an appeal decision at the beginning of a semester are responsible for securing their classes via payment to the Bursar Office. No student class schedule will be held due to pending appeal decision.

What are the SAP appeal exceptions?
  • Chattanooga State reserves the right to deny or cancel a student's financial aid in the event of extraordinary circumstances that may not be covered in the current policy.
  • The college guarantees prompt notification of ineligibility and explanation of the appeal process if a student is denied financial aid under this exception.