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Last updated on Oct 27, 2021

Financial Aid Eligibility

To be eligible for financial aid, a student must be a regular student as defined in 34 CFR 600.2 of the Institutional Eligibility regulations. A regular student is defined as: “A person who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential offered by that institution.” Therefore, students will not be eligible for financial aid for credit hours/course work that will not count towards the completion of that student's degree program requirements.

This is also true for graduate level courses taken while enrolled in an undergraduate program; students are not eligible for financial aid to cover graduate courses if one or more of those graduate courses counted as elective credit towards the student's undergraduate degree program requirements.

Enrollment & Financial Aid

Eligibility for all institutional, federal and state aid program, is based on full-time enrollment. This includes CCA merit- and need-based scholarships.

Full-time enrollment is defined as 12 or more units per semester for undergraduate and 9 or more units for graduate students.

For all graduate programs financial aid awards are calculated based on the standard unit requirements for the particular programs. Students enrolled in less then the standard unit requirement will have their scholarships prorated accordingly. Graduate students are also eligible for institutional aid program consideration for summer enrollment.

The Pell and Cal Grants are prorated based on actual unit load for part-time students. At least half-time enrollment is required for the Cal Grant, as well as for the Stafford and PLUS Loan programs and for most alternative loan programs.

Students who drop from full-time to part-time status during the add/drop period will have their financial aid revised as follows:

  • CCA scholarships, including merit scholarships, will be withdrawn for all undergraduate students.
  • CCA scholarships, including merit scholarships, will be prorated for all graduate students based on their actual enrollment.
  • Federal Pell Grant will be prorated as determined by the federal payment schedule based on enrollment status.
  • Cal Grant will be prorated based on enrollment status.
  • Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans will be reviewed for eligibility based on enrollment status. A student must maintain at least half-time enrollment for loan eligibility.
  • Federal SEOG may be withdrawn.
  • Federal Perkins Loan may be withdrawn.
  • Federal Work-Study may be withdrawn.

Refunds to tuition are credited to the student's account at the time of the schedule change. No refunds will be made to students who are dismissed from the college because of disciplinary infractions.

Withdrawals & Leaves of Absence

Students on financial aid who wish to withdraw or take a leave of absence from CCA will be required to meet with a financial aid counselor.

Students who take a leave of absence in the fall semester and plan to return in spring semester are required to contact the Financial Aid Office prior to the start of the spring semester to reactivate their file.

Financial Aid Return of Title IV Funds

A student who withdraws from CCA will have a financial aid refund calculated based upon the time attended and the date the student withdraws, in accordance with federal regulations.

The Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of Title IV assistance that the student has earned based on the student's date of withdrawal. If the student received more Title IV assistance than the amount earned, the student and/or institution must return the unearned Title IV funds.

Title IV funds will be returned in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford
  • Federal Direct PLUS
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Other Title IV Assistance

CCA will return the lesser of the amount of unearned Title IV aid disbursed or the amount of institutional charges incurred for the payment period or period of enrollment multiplied by the percent of funds unearned by the student.

The student or parent PLUS borrower must return unearned assistance minus the amount returned by the college. The student or parent PLUS borrower must also return or repay the amount of Title IV aid as determined to loan programs according to the terms of the loan and grant programs as an overpayment, subject to repayment arrangements satisfactory to the college or overpayment collection procedures prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education.

These policies pertain to all students, including those who withdraw from the college after the add/drop period and remain liable for all tuition charges and other fees.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal and state regulations governing student financial aid programs require the college to ensure that each student who is receiving financial aid maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward the student's degree.

The SAP check occurs after grades are posted each spring semester. Failure to meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress (see Academic Progress) may disqualify a student from additional federal, state and institutional financial aid.

A student may appeal the non-satisfactory academic progress status and be placed on probation for financial aid purposes.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

To remain eligible for financial aid, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Two consecutive terms with a GPA of 2.0 or better for undergraduates or a GPA of 2.67 or above in both terms for graduate students.
  • Complete 80 percent of attempted credits -- an "attempted credit" is defined as any credit the student remains enrolled in after the add/drop period, including credits the student withdraws from each term
  • Attempt no more than 150 percent of the credits required to complete an academic program.

Undergraduate GPA Requirement

Undergraduate students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 by the end the sophomore year. In order to assure that a student has a cumulative GPA of a 2.0 by the end of the sophomore year, the following cumulative GPA is required during the student's first and second years:

0-29 credits completed (1.6 cumulative GPA required)

30-59 credits completed (1.8 cumulative GPA required)

60+ credits completed (2.0 cumulative GPA required)

Maximum Time Frame for Receiving Aid

A student has a limited time frame to complete all degree requirements and remain eligible for financial aid. As defined by federal regulations, the maximum time frame is 150 percent of the published program length for degree completion.

The maximum number of credits a student can attempt in order to complete their program and remain eligible for financial aid.

BA (requires 120 credits) 120 x 150 percent = 180 max attempted credits
BArch (requires 165 credits) 165 x 150 percent = 247 max attempted credits
MFA (requires 60 credits) 60 x 150 percent = 90 max attempted credits

Dual degree and MArch graduate students with varying credits for program completion will have their eligibility determined based on their specific degree requirements.

BA/BFA to BArch

Students who change from the BA or BFA program to the BArch program, or vice versa, will have their maximum time frame for aid eligibility adjusted accordingly.

Students who change majors within a BA/BFA degree program will be required to complete their degree requirements within the time frame defined above to remain eligible for financial aid.


While receiving an extension in a course or courses has no adverse effect on a student's overall GPA, note the courses a student receives an extension in count as attempted credits.

These attempted credits will be included in determining whether a student is making Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid purposes.

The Financial Aid Office may review the student's academic progress upon completion of the class to determine eligibility for future financial aid on a case-by-case basis.

Course Withdrawal

While withdrawing from courses has no adverse effect on a student's overall GPA, note courses a student withdraws from after the add/drop period count as attempted credits.

These attempted credits will be included in determining whether a student is making Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid purposes.

Appeal Process

Students who are not making SAP are considered ineligible to receive financial aid. Students may appeal for reconsideration of eligibility for financial aid.

Failure to maintain the minimum GPA or failure to complete 80 percent of credits attempted for establishing Satisfactory Academic Progress may be due to circumstances beyond the student's control.

If such mitigating circumstances can be documented for the specific term(s) when the progress standards were not met, the student may submit a completed SAP Appeal form with all required documentation.

An appeal must be based on significant mitigating circumstances that seriously affected the student’s academic performance.

Examples of possible mitigating circumstances are:

  • Extenuating medical circumstances
  • Extenuating personal circumstances
  • Death in the immediate family

To appeal for reconsideration due to significant mitigating circumstances, students must submit the following:

  • SAP Appeal Form
  • A detailed letter explaining the circumstances that caused failure to meet the minimum academic requirements for financial aid
  • Supporting documentation of the circumstances cited, e.g. medical documentation
  • An academic plan approved by your academic advisor demonstrating how you will achieve satisfactory academic progress

Students who have attempted more than 150 percent of the required credits for program completion may also appeal for reconsideration. To appeal due to excessive credits attempted, students must submit the following:

  • SAP Appeal Form
  • A detailed letter explaining the reason for excessive credits attempted
  • An academic plan approved by your academic advisor demonstrating how you will achieve program completion

To submit a SAP appeal, you will need to create a request of “Financial Aid - Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal” through your CCA Workday account by following instructions listed on this page.

The Financial Aid SAP Appeal Committee will review the appeals. The committee’s decision will be based on the individual circumstances as detailed on the form, letter of explanation, supporting documentation, and approved academic plan.

If an appeal is approved, students must comply with the academic plan specified on the appeal in order to remain eligible for financial aid in future terms.

Submission of the SAP appeal does not guarantee approval. Students are responsible for payment of their tuition and any late fees they may incur regardless of the appeal process.