Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

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When students receive federal or state financial aid, federal guidelines require that they make real and measurable progress toward their degree in order to continue to receive federal aid.  This requirement is called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Overview of Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

There are three parts to the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement:

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA)
  2. Cumulative (Overall) progress
  3. Maximum Time Frame

Students must comply with all three to remain eligible for aid, as explained in the following:

1. Grade Point Average (GPA)

The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations require that students maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) in order to remain eligible for financial aid. The chart below outlines the GPA required for undergraduate and graduate students based on the number of credits attempted.

For Undergraduate:

Financial aid chart for undergraduates

For Graduate:

Financial aid chart for graduates

If a student drops below the acceptable cumulative GPA that signifies progress, he/she will be placed on financial aid probation. While on financial aid probation, the student will continue to receive his/her financial aid but will need to complete all attempted coursework each quarter with grades of “C’” or better in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

2. Quantitative Standards - Cumulative (Overall) Progress

The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations also contain a quantitative component, meaning that students are required to make steady progress toward their degree by completing at least two-thirds (67%) of all their attempted credit hours.   For example, if a student attempts 16 hours per term during the academic year (48 cumulative attempted hours), he/she would be expected to satisfactorily complete at least 32 of these hours in order to comply with the minimum quantitative standards.

If the student does not successfully complete at least two-thirds of all credit hours attempted, he/she will be placed on financial aid probation status.  While on financial aid probation, the student will continue to receive his/her financial aid but will need to complete all his/her attempted coursework each quarter with grades of “C’” or better in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

3. Maximum Time Frame

The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations also contain a maximum timeframe component. Undergraduate students are expected to complete their degree programs within the defined maximum program completion time, which should not exceed 1 ½ times the normal time frame. Graduate students are expected to complete their degree programs within the defined maximum program completion time, which should not exceed 2 times the normal time frame.

Gratz College defines the normal time frame as the length of time it would take an average student to complete the total program credits listed in the Academic Bulletin.

SAP Policy Definitions 

Financial Aid Probation

Students are considered to be on financial aid probation when they fail to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The student is below the acceptable progress cumulative GPA requirement; and/or
  • The student is below the 67% minimum course completion rate; and/or
  • The student is close to exceeding the maximum time frame limit

Once students are on financial aid probation, they must complete ALL courses attempted each quarter with grades of “C” or better in order to remain eligible for financial aid.  Probation status continues until they once again meet the overall progress requirements. However, if they do not complete ALL courses attempted during the probationary quarter with grades of “C” or better, their aid is suspended.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students are considered to be in financial aid suspension when they fail to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements for one or more the following reasons:

  • The student is below the acceptable progress cumulative GPA requirement and did not meet the terms of his/her financial aid probation; and/or
  • The student is below the 67% minimum course completion rate and did not meet the terms of his/her financial aid probation; and/or
  • The student has exceeded time frame limits.

Attempted Credit Hours and Successfully Completed Credit Hours

All credit-bearing courses are calculated into “hours attempted” for financial aid purposes. Courses with passing grades (A", "B", C or "D") are considered to be hours successfully completed. Courses with Grades of "F", "W", or “I” are not considered as hours successfully completed.   Note that repeated courses are counted in the “hours attempted” calculation for financial aid purposes.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid 

If any student is suspended from receiving financial aid and subsequently returns to meeting the satisfactory academic progress requirements, he/she may have his/her financial aid eligibility reinstated for the subsequent academic term.

Similarly, if the student has been suspended from receiving financial aid and successfully appeals the suspension, his/her financial aid eligibility will be reinstated on a probationary status for the subsequent term.

Appeal Procedures

If a student is suspended from financial aid because of failure to meet the minimum SAP requirements and feels that severe or unusual circumstances have kept him/her from making progress toward his/her degree, the student may submit a written appeal letter.

The formal appeal letter should include all of the following:

  • Description of the specific reason(s), events or circumstances preventing the student from meeting the academic progress requirements.
  • A specific plan/corrective action plan to improve the student's academic progress.
  • Documentation that the student has met with his/her academic advisor to discuss the plan of action; such documentation must include the advisor's signature.  

Appeals should be directed to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee. Appeals are reviewed within one week of receipt.  Students will receive an email with the outcome of the committee's deliberations within one week of submission of the appeal, provided that all necessary documentation is submitted.

Special Considerations For Students Who Withdraw or Fail To Complete Any Courses In a Term

The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to suspend students who completely withdraw or fail to complete any courses in a term – i.e, students who fail to demonstrate any measurable progress within a given term.  If a student withdraws completely or fails to complete all of his/her courses in a term, he/she may be suspended and asked to appeal.  The appeal letter should include all of the following:

  • Description of the specific reason(s), events or circumstances preventing the student from meeting the academic progress requirements.
  • A specific plan/corrective action plan to improve the student's academic progress.
  • Documentation that the student has met with his/her academic advisor to discuss the plan of action; such documentation must include the advisor's signature. 

Appeals should be directed to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee. Appeals are reviewed within one week of receipt. Students will receive an email with the outcome of the committee's deliberations within one week of submission of the appeal, provided that all necessary documentation is submitted.