Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Federal and University Aid Eligibility – GRADUATE
To define the parameters of meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as it relates to all federal aid eligibility.
This policy applies to all forms of federal aid for graduate students. State aid will be monitored and enforced by the State Board of Education.
Continued eligibility for student financial aid requires the student to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). By federal law and regulations, college policies for measuring SAP must not only consider the grades earned by the student, but also the pace of progress toward a degree. The following standards have been adopted to monitor progress.
NNU’s policy is to review a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress at the completion of each payment period (semester), including at the end of summer term if the student attends the summer term. NNU reviews both qualitative (grade based) and quantitative (time based) standards. This review includes students new to NNU. All students who are not meeting SAP guidelines will be notified of their SAP status within one week after final grades are received. Non-receipt of notification will not change this status.
GRADE POINT (QUALITATIVE) REQUIREMENTS
All graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 except for Graduate Theology students who are required to maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Doctoral students must maintain a 3.5 GPA. The grade point requirement applies to all federal aid.
- Remedial coursework is assessed to determine a student is making academic progress.
- Only the final grade for repeated courses are counted in the student’s cumulative GPA for SAP.
- The GPA from credits transferred to NNU are not calculated in the qualitative progress for this policy.
- NNU cumulative GPA will be considered in determining SAP for transfer and re-admit students after completion of their first semester.
PACE (QUANTITATIVE) REQUIREMENTS
All graduate students must maintain a minimum pace of completing 67% of the attempted credits. Pace is calculated by dividing the total number of hours the student has successfully completed by the total number of credit hours that have been attempted. Only passing grades count as successful completion.
Pace = completed credits/attempted credits. Standard rounding rules will be applied in calculating the 67%, i.e. 66.5% or higher will be considered as meeting this standard.
- Incomplete, in-progress, failing grades and withdrawals are not considered completed courses, but are considered as attempted courses for purposes of the 67% completion requirement.
- All cumulative attempted hours including those for remedial coursework are counted whether or not the student received aid for them or not.
- Repeated courses count as attempted for Quantitative SAP calculation with only the final being counted toward completed.
- Transfer hours accepted by the NNU Registrar, count toward both credits attempted and completed.
The Pace portion of Satisfactory Academic Progress also monitors if the student is on track to graduate within the maximum timeframe for the degree program. The maximum timeframe per federal regulations is 150% of the normal timeframe. A student is ineligible for federal student aid when it becomes mathematically impossible for him to complete his program within 150% of the length of the graduate program.
AID DISBURSEMENT FOR REPEAT COURSES
University and federal aid eligibility for repeat courses follow Federal guidelines. Students can receive aid for repeat courses in which they want to improve a passing grade only once. A passing grade for this purpose means any grade higher than a “F”, regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have passed the course. Students can continue to receive aid for repeat courses which they have previously failed until a passing grade is received.
The Office of Financial Aid verifies each student’s enrollment in the required number of credits for the aid they are receiving before funds are credited to the student’s account.
Warning Status – Student continues to receive financial aid:
The first semester the student does not have the required GPA or is not maintaining the required pace, a student is placed on a warning status. Students in a warning status will continue to receive federal aid for one semester without completing an appeal. The warning status serves as an opportunity for the financial aid office to ensure the student understands the severity and possible consequences of continued SAP issues and to explain whether GPA (Qualitative) or Pace (Quantitative) compliance was violated. A student can have more than one warning period, but not consecutively, up to a maximum of 3 warnings. Also, a student can be on a warning period even if they are not receiving any federal financial aid.
Suspension Status – Student loses financial aid unless they successfully appeal:
Students will move to a financial aid suspension after a warning semester if they continue to not meet one or all of the SAP guidelines. Financial aid suspension is a semester in which the student loses university and federal aid eligibility. The student can regain university and federal aid eligibility once they meet reinstatement requirements noted below.
CHOICES IN SUSPENSION
A student who is ineligible for federal financial aid due to reaching suspension status has the following choices:
1. Submit an appeal that explains the unusual or unforeseen circumstances that attributed to the suspension. See “Appeals Process” section below.
2. Continue to attend Northwest Nazarene University without federal financial aid until they can reach both:
· A cumulative 3.0 GPA (2.5 Grad Theology).
· A 67% cumulative and semester completion rate.
3. Attend another regionally accredited college until they are able to achieve both:
· A cumulative 3.0 GPA.
· A 67% cumulative and semester completion rate. (NNU and other college combined)
Both of these criteria are calculated on all classes ever attempted which generally differs from a registrar’s calculation of these items.
NOTE: Not enrolling in the subsequent semester (at NNU or another college) after a warning or suspension status is determined, does not change this status should the student return.
Students have the option to appeal a financial aid suspension on the basis of unusual or unforeseen circumstances which occurred within the semester which have contributed to the suspension status. Circumstances that warrant an appeal include situations such as major sickness, injury, a death in the family or other life changing event. The appeal must explain why the student failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed to allow the student to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. The maximum number of appeals a student can submit is three.
All appeals must be in writing. The financial aid SAP appeal form is available in the Office of Financial Aid or at financialaid.nnu.edu/forms. Students who are in suspension status and have not submitted an appeal will be denied university and federal financial aid for that semester.
The appeal will be reviewed for acceptance or denial by the SAP Appeals Committee, including the Director of Financial Aid, the Controller, the Student Account Services manager and a Center for Academic Success and Advising (CASA) representative. The Director of CASA will give input to the committee and facilitate documentation requirements, but will not be a voting member, except in the case of a tie vote by the other four members. Submitting an appeal does not guarantee approval and the decision of the SAP Appeals Committee is final.
- Appeal Approved:
If the appeal is approved, a student’s university and federal financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for one semester and the student is considered to be in a probation status. During probation, a student must continue to meet the SAP guidelines in order to retain federal financial aid eligibility. A probation status is for one payment period only.
- Appeal Denied:
If the appeal is denied the student becomes ineligible to receive either institutional or federal financial aid until they are able to achieve both the required cumulative GPA and a 67% cumulative and semester completion rate either from NNU or from another university (NNU and other college combined).
The student is responsible for all semester charges incurred in semesters when university and federal financial aid is denied. During probation, a student must meet the SAP guidelines in order to retain aid eligibility. Failure to meet these guidelines will be cause for suspension.
If a student has a GPA so low that it is mathematically impossible within one semester to pull the cumulative GPA up to a 3.0 (2.5 Grad Theology) with reasonable grade expectations the NNU Appeals Committee has the discretion to reinstate federal financial aid based on an academic plan. The academic plan will be designed by the Director of Financial Aid. The Academic Plan will allow the student to bring their cumulative GPA back to the required standard over more than one semester and will have a defined end date. As long as the student continues to meet the requirements of the individualized academic plan each semester or reaches the required SAP standard cumulative GPA, the student will remain eligible for federal financial aid.