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Weekly Reporting – Part 5

This is another “big picture” topic — appeals.

There are times that life interferes with going to school. Family, emergencies, work, lack of work, illness… the list is endless. You really want to continue your education but outside events have conspired against you.

Now you find yourself in a muddle.

There are really three kinds of muddles: financial, academic and Financial Aid. One at a time.

Financial Muddles

What generally has happened is that, in the end, you owe the college money. A little or a lot, it doesn’t make much of a difference to us. Before you can do anything, you need to make arrangements to pay what you owe.

If you get letters and phone calls from the college, talk to us. Don’t ignore the folk from the Business Office because, if you do, we have no recourse but to send the debt to a collection agency. At that point it’s not pretty.

I’m not promising everything will be simple. Depends on how much you owe, what you circumstances are and what kind of personal financial situation you are in. But if you don’t talk to the folk in the Business Office, we can’t explore options.

Remember, if you owe the college money then you can’t register, get transcripts or get report cards. Everything is on hold until you get that settled.

Academic Muddles

In order to graduate, you have to earn at least a 2.0 grade point average. To keep you on that track, when you earn less than a 2.0 GPA you will be placed on academic probation. You do poorly enough for a couple of semesters, we will even limit the number of credit hours you can take.

If you have a single bad semester where your semester GPA is under 2.0 but your overall GPA is above 2.0, you’ll get a warning from us but that’s about it. It’s when that overall GPA falls under 2.0 that we start to put a fence around what you can take.

Therefore, if you’ve worked hard but something else has affected your grades, you will get a letter* from the Academic Standards committee about the opportunity to submit an appeal. They want to know what went wrong, how you’ve resolved that and what you plan to do about it in the next semester. Documentation of some sort helps but doesn’t need to be extensive. So if you had a medical problem during the semester, evidence of doctor visits or a hospital stay is useful in presenting your case.

On the other hand, if you have not resolved the problem and it will linger through the next semester, you better have a bullet-proof plan to show how you will cope. The committee isn’t going to let you put yourself even further behind if your problem still exists.

Financial Aid Muddle

The State and Federal Financial Aid funds also have rules about number of credit hours completed and grade point average. These are separate rules from Academic Probation but pretty much follow the 2.0 GPA rule of thumb.

There is a completely separate appeal process if you are told you will lose your Financial Aid. They will ask you pretty much the same questions (what went wrong, how did you fix it, what are your plans) that the Academic Appeal folk will ask but you have to address the financial side of the story.

The dates for appeals for losing your Financial Aid is, again, in the letter* you will be sent. You have to present your case as directed in the letter to the Financial Aid office.

Either or Both – Academic and Financial Aid

While I’ve given you the 2.0 GPA rule of thumb, the Academic and Financial Aid rules are completely separate. You can be in trouble with one without being in trouble with the other. On the other hand, do poorly for a couple of semesters and you will be in trouble with both.

*Letter

This is US Postal Service hard-copy, on physical paper, letter. This means the college really, really needs to know where you live and how to get mail to you. And you need to open ALL the mail we send to you.

The Appeal process is unforgiving. The Academic and Financial Aid committees have a firm deadline and if you miss it, well, they won’t give you a second chance. Not that they are heartless but if you can’t contact us, ask questions, get help, you will repeat whatever put you in that position in the first place and you will be in an even more difficult position. We’re protecting you from yourself, in many ways. If you’re in that position, you won’t appreciate it at the time….  Rant at us but then go away, deal with your life and come back when you’re able to be a serious student.

We’ll wait for you to be ready!

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