Understanding Satisfactory Academic Progress
The Office of Financial Aid is required by federal regulation to monitor student progression toward completion of degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree levels. The Federal Student Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard requires three types of monitoring for students to remain eligible for student financial aid:
- Degree status
- Time-to-degree limits
- Pace completion rate of attempted courses, which is different from ITC criteria determining satisfactory scholarship necessary to maintain degree-seeking status
ITC’s revised Satisfactory Academic Progress standard is effective beginning summer 2014.
Student aid programs impacted by the standard
Federal Work Study, Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, and Federal Graduate PLUS Loan for graduate students, some alternative loans, some outside scholarships and ITC aid programs are impacted.
Types of monitoring
Degree Program, Grade Point Average and Effect of Non-Degree Status Federal regulations require that students have a grade point average of at least a “C” or its equivalent by the end of their second year of enrollment, or have academic standing consistent with the institutions requirements for graduation. At ITC, students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.25 to be considered making satisfactory academic progress. Consequences of failure to meet degree program requirements Students who dropped to non-degree status or who choose to enroll as non-degree students are not eligible for federal student aid. However, credits attempted and credits earned during non-degree enrollment do count toward credit completion rate calculations as well as toward the maximum time limit for degree completion as described in the next two sections. Maximum Time Limit Requirement Students must complete their degree within a maximum time frame measured by attempted credits equal to 150 percent of the number of credits required for their primary degree program. The examples shown in the chart below represent minimum requirements for the degree programs listed, and the corresponding maximum attempted credits allowed for purposes of student financial aid eligibility. If a student’s degree program requires more than the minimum credits shown on the chart, the student’s maximum credits allowed will reflect 150 percent of the actual program credits required.
Sample Chart to Determine Eligibility
|Degree Program||Credits Required||Maximum Attempted Credits|
|Master of Divinity||89 credits||134 credits|
|M.A.C.E.||60 credits||90 credits|
|D. Min||36 credits||54 credits|
Attempted credits include all transfer credits accepted by ITC. Note: Students receiving federal and state financial aid must enroll in courses that count toward their degree programs. Consequences of failure to meet maximum time limit requirement Students will be notified as they reach the end of their maximum credits allowed as shown in the chart above. Students exceeding the maximum time limit for their program are denied further student financial aid at that level. Completion Rate Requirement Federal regulations require that a student complete (earn) a minimum of 67 percent of the credits they attempt in order to remain eligible to receive student financial aid. Attempted credits and credits earned are accumulated at the end of each semester. Attempted credits include:
- All credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the first day of class.
- All credits that a student drops or adds after the add/drop period.
- All credits for courses in which the student enrolled, but subsequently withdrew or failed
- Transfer credits from another school that are accepted by ITC
Earned Credits include:
- All credits completed with grades of ‘D’ or better as well as Satisfactory and Pass grades
- Transfer credits from another school that are accepted by ITC
Thus all ITC students must successfully complete (earn) 67 percent of the total cumulative credits attempted throughout their enrollment at ITC as a condition for continued student aid eligibility.
Number of Credits Earned (divided by) Number of Credits Attempted = Completion Rate Example 1: A student who has attempted a total of 59 credits after two years of enrollment and has completed 40 credits meets the required completion rate of 67% [40 (divided by) 59 = 67%]. This student is meeting the pace progression component of the Student Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard and continues to be eligible for student financial aid as long as the cumulative grade point average is at least a 2.25. Example 2: A student who has attempted a total of 30 credits after one year of enrollment and completed 12 credits in the fall and 6 credits in the spring, for a total of 18 credits, does not meet the minimum 67% completions rate [18 (divided by) 30 = 60%] This student is below the minimum 67% required completion rate and does not meet the Student Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard and risks loss of eligibility to receive student financial aid regardless of his/her grade point average. Consequences of failure to meet the completion rate requirement Students who fail to complete 67% of their cumulative attempted credits risk loss of eligibility for student financial aid. Students who fail to meet the 67 percent completion requirement will be denied student financial aid until their completion rate reaches 67 percent or more of credits attempted. Graduate students do not receive a semester of financial aid warning.
Students who lose student financial aid eligibility by failing to make satisfactory academic progress may appeal loss of their financial aid eligibility if documented extenuating circumstances exist. A written appeal, along with written documented evidence, must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by the required deadline. Approved appeals will result in a student placed on financial aid probationary status and an academic plan. Students will receive financial aid as long as they are meeting requirements of the probation status as specified in the academic plan. The Office of Financial Aid is the final authority on all aspects of the appeals process. All decisions by the Office of Financial Aid are final and cannot be appeal further. Extenuating circumstances include the following:
- Death of a relative
- Injury or serious illness of the student
- Other extenuating circumstances directly affecting academic performance
Academic Plan Under the regulations at 34 CFR 668.34(c)(3)(iii)(B) and 668.34(d)(2)(iii)(B), institutions are required to place students on an academic plan as a condition of their financial aid probationary status. The academic plan is designed to ensure that the student is able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time. In some cases, this could mean that the maximum timeframe would be extended based on the student’s approved appeal. The regulations do not specify what must be included in an academic plan. The academic advisor and the student will meet to develop a plan that ensures that the student is able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time. An academic plan could take the student to program completion, rather than meeting the institution’s SAP standards at a specific point in time. The Office of Financial Aid is the final authority on approval of academic plans.
Appeal: Appeal means a process by which a student who is not meeting ITC’s Federal Student Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard petitions the Office of Student Aid for reconsideration of their eligibility to receive federal student financial aid. Completion Rate: Successfully completed (earned) credits divided by attempted credits. The minimum completion rate to continue receiving student financial aid is 67 percent. Enrollment Status: Classification of student’s enrollment status based on number of credits enrolled for each degree level. Sample Chart to Determine Eligibility
|Enrollment Status||Full-Time||Three-Quarter Time||Half-Time||Less Than Half-Time|
|Graduate||12 credits||9 to 11 credits||6 to 8 credits||1 to 5 credits|
Financial Aid Denial: Financial aid denial is the status assigned to an ITC student who is not meeting all three parts of ITC’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard as described in the Types of Monitoring Section: 1) Enrollment in an eligible degree program, 2) Maximum time limit requirement, and 3) Completion rate requirement. Financial Aid Probation: Financial aid probation is the status assigned to an ITC student who has failed to make satisfactory academic progress, has appealed, had their appeal approved and their eligibility for federal student aid reinstated. Maximum Time frame: For graduate degree programs, 150 percent of the published length of the educational program, as measured in credit hours. Satisfactory Academic Progress: Satisfactory Academic Progress is the status assigned to an ITC student who is meeting all three parts of the ITC Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard as described in the Types of Monitoring Section: 1) Enrollment in an eligible degree program, 2) Maximum time limit requirement, and 3) Completion rate requirement. Provisional Admissions Status: Graduate students admitted in provisional status are not eligible for student financial aid consideration.
- Courses repeated to receive a passing grade are included in the number of attempted credits as well as in the earned credits once successfully passed. Courses repeated to receive a higher grade when required by the degree program are allowed one time only.
- Deferred grades (I) and No Grades (NG) are not included in the credits earned until grades are assigned.
- Course Audit credits (AU) are not included as attempted credits or earned credits.
- Entire academic records are reviewed when considering satisfactory academic progress for all continuing, re-enrolled, reinstated, and transfer students who are applying for financial aid for the first time.
Contact the ITC Office of Financial Aid for more information ITC’s Federal Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard.