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Financial Aid Policies

HEA Sec. 484(c), 34 CFR 668.16(e), 34CFR 668.32(f), 34 CFR 668.34
Revised for COVID-19 Exceptions and Flexibilities – March 2022


Federal and state regulations require that students receiving financial aid be enrolled as a regular student in a financial aid eligible program. An eligible program is one that leads to an associate or bachelor's degree, a one- to two-year program leading to a vocational certificate, or a specialized program that meets federal criteria. Continued eligibility requires meeting the criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  It is the responsibility of all financial aid recipients to understand the terms and conditions of the Napa Valley College (NVC) Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy in order to maintain their eligibility to receive aid. "Making SAP" means meeting all the standards and requirements of this policy.


Three standards are used for the assessment of Satisfactory Academic Progress. These standards are reviewed at the end of each semester and are subject to change.

Standard #1:  Qualitative GPA

Students are required to maintain a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA. The GPA will include all aided and unaided terms at NVC.  

Standard #2:  Quantitative Pace

Minimum PACE at NVC is 67% of all cumulative units attempted.  PACE is the rate at which a student completes requirements for their educational goal and is calculated by dividing the number of cumulative units completed by the number of cumulative units attempted.  Remedial and ESL units do count when calculating Pace for SAP.

To measure whether students are progressing on pace for completion of their course of study within the maximum time frame, NVC evaluates the pace rate of financial aid students at the end of each term. At each term's end, students are expected to have completed at least 67% of all units attempted. Classes with grades of A, B, C, D, P (Pass), and CR (Credit) are considered to have been completed. Classes with grades of W, F, I, NP (No Pass), NC (No Credit), and RD (Report Delayed) are not considered completed.

All units on a student's transcript count as attempted units, whether they were completed with a "W", "P/NP", and "C/NC", were retaken for a better grade, or eliminated from the GPA calculation through the Academic Renewal policy. Note: transfer of credit from schools previously attended will count as both units attempted and units completed.

Standard #3:  Quantitative Timeframe

The maximum TIMEFRAME at NVC is 150% of published length of the student's declared program. TIMEFRAME is used to determine the maximum number of units for which a student may receive financial aid for their educational goal. Timeframe includes transfer units and all aided and unaided terms of attendance.

All financial aid students are expected to complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program. Students enrolled in 60‐unit AA/AS, 4‐year transfer, or vocational programs are expected to complete their programs by the time they attempt 90 units. Students enrolled in vocational programs of less than 60 units are allowed a maximum time frame (attempted units) that is 150% of their program's length.

For clock hour programs, the maximum timeframe must be no longer than 150% of the cumulative clock hours required for completion of the program, as expressed in calendar time. Example: For a program that is 40 weeks in length, requires 1200 clock hours and meets 30 clock hours per week, the maximum is 150% of 40 weeks, or 60 weeks.


SAP will be evaluated at the end of each semester.  The number of units a student attempts and completes will be used to calculate SAP status. Clock hour programs are evaluated at the end of each payment period.


SATISFACTORY is the status assigned to a student in good standing who is making SAP and is not subject to disqualification.


WARNING is the status assigned to a satisfactory student who fails to make SAP. A student on WARNING status may continue to receive aid for one semester only. WARNING status does not require an appeal or other student action. In addition, students who have never applied for financial aid will be placed on Warning if their cumulative GPA is below 2.0 and/or if their cumulative PACE rate is below 67% at the time they enter the Financial Aid program.

At the end of the WARNING semester, a student is required to meet SAP standards. Students who have failed to make SAP will be notified by email from the Financial Aid Office about their loss of eligibility, and with instructions about an appeal process.


PROBATION is a status assigned to a student who was disqualified for failure to make SAP, who has successfully appealed, and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.

PROBATION status will be granted for one semester only after the student has appealed and has had eligibility reinstated based on approval of the appeal. Probation and reinstatement of aid are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will not be granted automatically.

According to federal regulations, if it has been determined that a student cannot mathematically finish their program of study with the required cumulative GPA and PACE within the allotted timeframe, the student will be considered ineligible for financial aid and Probation will not be granted.


Students placed on DISQUALIFICATION status are not eligible to receive financial aid. Students may be subject to DISQUALIFICATION based on any of the following:

  • Failure to meet SAP standards while on WARNING status.
  • Being placed on NVC Dismissal status.
  • Exceeding Timeframe.
  • Completion of a Bachelor's degree or higher (at any school, foreign or domestic).
  • Completion of an Associate's degree or vocational certificate.
  • Failure to meet the terms and conditions of an approved appeal or academic plan.
  • Exceeding the 600% FTE Federal Pell Grant limit (Timeframe equivalent of 144 units attempted).
  • Other criteria as stated in the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy or required by law.


Students who are DISQUALIFIED from financial aid may re-establish financial aid eligibility by meeting all SAP standards.  Students who failed to make SAP, but have not yet exceeded timeframe may re-establish financial aid eligibility by meeting all of the following requirements:

  • Without benefit of aid (other than a fee waiver or COVID-19 Emergency Grant), students on Financial Aid Disqualification must:
    • enroll in at least 6.0 units for a semester, and
    • complete 100% of units attempted for the semester, and
    • achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 or better, and
    • achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and
    • achieve a minimum 67% PACE.
  • Students who complete a semester on DISQUALIFICATION must have their academic progress reviewed before financial aid eligibility is determined for the following semester.
  • If eligibility is re-established, students must submit a written request for reinstatement of their financial aid awards.
  • Under certain circumstances, students who are DISQUALIFIED from financial aid may submit a Financial Aid Appeal.


All Appeal Decisions Are Final And Incontestable

  • A student who has lost eligibility due to failure to make SAP or by exceeding Timeframe may file a Financial Aid Appeal.  Submission of an appeal does NOT GUARANTEE the reinstatement of financial aid.  Click here for the Financial Aid Appeal.
    • Circumstances related to an outbreak of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, the illness of a student or family member, compliance with a quarantine period, or the general disruption resulting from such an outbreak, qualify as extenuating circumstances for the Financial Aid Appeal process.
    • Students should be prepared to pay for their books and other school-related expenses pending the outcome of their appeal.
  • Financial Aid Appeal
    • If approved, students must strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of their appeal approval letter and contract.
    • Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the appeal will result in termination of the appeal and immediate disqualification from further financial aid.



  • Class repeats may be included when determining the student's enrollment for Financial Aid as long as the repeat is NOT a result of:
    • More than one repeat of a previously passed course, or
    • Any repeat of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework required to be taken simultaneously, or
  • Repeated coursework may not be eligible for federal aid, if:
    • A student repeats a previously passed course (grade of "D" or better) more than once.
    • A student who has received a passing grade in a course two times, cannot have that class count toward financial aid if enrolled in for a third time;
    • A student repeats a previously passed course due to failing other related coursework, and
    • A student repeats a previously passed course only for the reason of obtaining financial aid.


Students may receive aid for no more than 30 units of remedial coursework.


Students enrolled in ESL courses may receive financial aid as long as they are in a financial aid eligible program and meet all other eligibility criteria. 


The following criteria applies to students who are identified with Admissions & Records as having dropped due to COVID-19 related reasons. Applicable for SAP assessments made March 13, 2020, through the end of the payment period that includes the last date that the national emergency is in effect.  

  • Napa Valley College implemented a COVID-19 Excused Withdrawal (EW) grade and a COVID-19 drop reason code to identify students who withdrew from classes due to COVID-19 related reasons.
    • Classes dropped with an "EW" grade are automatically excluded from attempted credits when the SAP calculation is run each semester.
    • Classes dropped with a COVID-19 drop status (but not an "EW" grade) are manually reviewed and excluded from attempted credits after the SAP calculation is run each semester.
  • On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a COVID-19 pandemic national emergency, resulting in the temporary caseation of operations and interruption of instruction at Napa Valley College.  Due to that interruption, all Spring 2020 students were determined to have been affected by COVID-19 and given an "EW" grade if they dropped a course during the affected period.  Affected drops that did not qualify for an "EW" grade (due to registration rules) were reviewed and excluded manually after the semester SAP Calculation was run.
  • Beginning Summer 2020, students who drop for COVID-19 related reasons must submit a petition to Admissions & Records requesting an Excused Withdrawal (EW) for a COVID-19 releated circumstance.  If the petition is approved:
    • An EW grade is entered if the student dropped for COVID-19 related reasons during the timeframe allowed to drop a class with a "W" grade.
    • A COVID-19 drop status code is entered if the student dropped outside the timeframe allowed to drop a class with a "W" grade.
  • Students affected by COVID-19 circumstances who fail to meet the FA SAP criteria and lose financial aid eligibility may submit a Financial Aid Appeal.  See section 14.4 Appeal Process for more information.

COVID-19 Related Guidance Links

Academic Progress-Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy Rvsd for COVID-19 Exceptions and Flexibilities

There is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. In general, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of your program. This is called your "maximum eligibility period".  Click the box above for more information.

Learn more

If you reduce units after receiving a federal or state grant payment for a semester, you may be required to repay all or part of the amount you received.  Click the box above for more information on whether you will be required to repay your financial aid.

Consumer Information: Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

Consumer Information In accordance with the Requirements of 34 CFR 668.22

Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

The law specifies how your school must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.

Though your aid is posted to your account at the start of each period, you earn the funds as you complete the period.  If you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment (your school can define these for you and tell you which one applies), the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or you. 

The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, your school must get your permission before it can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. Your school may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission (some schools ask for this when you enroll), you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.

There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any Direct Loan funds that you would have received had you remained enrolled past the 30th day.

If you receive (or your school or parent receive on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, your school must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
  2. the entire amount of excess funds.
    The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.

If your school is not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. You must make arrangements with your school or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that your school may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Your school may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. If you don’t already know your school’s refund policy, you should ask your school for a copy. Your school can also provide you with the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from school.

If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at

You are required to pay for your classes at the time of registration.  Pay To Stay provides you with a 14-day grace period to pay your tuition and fees before you are dropped for non-payment.

If you are a CA resident or eligible AB540 student with a California College Promise Grant (formerly BOGFW) award, only your enrollment fees will be waived. You must still pay for all other class related fees (lab fees, materials fees, etc.) within the grace period or you will be dropped for failure to pay all required course-related fees.

Students who are enrolled full-time and have received a NVC Promise approval email for the current academic year are not required to pay covered fees.  See NVC Promise program website for a list of covered fees.  

Learn more