Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)
In order to continue to receive financial aid, students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Satisfactory Academic Progress is defined as sufficiently moving toward successful completion of degree requirements. A student’s SAP status will be reviewed 3 times a year - at the end of fall term, end of spring term, and after the final summer term. All students who were enrolled on or after the first day of the term will have their Satisfactory Academic Progress calculated at the end of the term.
Federal policies require that SAP be measured 3 ways:
- Cumulative GPA
- Percentage of Credits Earned (Pace)
- Maximum Time Frame
Financial Aid Recipients must maintain satisfactory academic progress in all 3 areas whether or not aid was received in the past. Programs affected include:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Federal Direct Loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized)
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal PLUS Loans
- Federal Graduate PLUS Loans
- Federal Teach Grants
- Federal Graduate Teach Grants
- Federal Work Study (FWS)
For PHEAA State Grant progress requirements, click here.
1.GPA Requirement – By the end of each term, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA:
- Term 1: 1.7
- Term 2: 1.7
- Term 3: 1.7
- Term 4: 2.0
NOTE: Any terms you were enrolled (including summer and any terms enrolled at another institution) will be counted in number of terms of enrollment.
2.PACE Requirement: Complete at least 67% of credits attempted. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, classes from which a student withdrew after the drop/add period, failed classes, and remedial credits. All credits are counted whether or not financial aid was received.
EXAMPLE: If you have attempted 30 credits, and have passed 21 of them, you have passed 70% of your credits. Alternately, if you attempted 30 credits and passed only 18, you have earned only 60% of your credits and would not be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
While the PACE requirement is the minimum completion rate you must earn to be eligible for financial aid, students should take into account that in order to graduate in the normal 4-year time span, undergraduate students should be completing 30 credits per year. Earning less than 30 credits per year will mean taking longer than 4 years to graduate.
3.Maximum Time Frame Requirement: Federal guidelines state a student can attempt no more than 150% of the number of credits needed to graduate. The total number of credits needed to complete an undergraduate program at Shippensburg is 120 credits. Therefore, students may attempt no more than 180 credits (150% of 120) before exceeding the maximum time frame requirement. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, classes from which a student withdrew after the drop/add period, and any failed classes. All credits are counted whether or not financial aid was received.
- GPA Requirement: Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
- PACE Requirement: Complete 67% of credits attempted. (All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, classes from which a student withdrew after the drop/add period, and any failed classes. All credits are counted whether or not financial aid was received.)
- Maximum Time Frame Requirement: Federal guidelines state a student can attempt no more than 150% of the number of credits needed to graduate. Students must complete their degree requirements within 150% of the published length of their academic program. For example, if your degree requires 30 graduate credits you may not attempt more than 45 credits (150% of 30) before exceeding the maximum time frame requirement. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, classes from which a student withdrew after the drop/add period, and any failed classes. All credits are counted whether or not financial aid was received.
Review and Notification for All Students
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed at the end of each semester (fall and spring and after the final summer term). Students (previously in good standing) who have failed to make SAP will first be given a WARNING TERM of aid eligibility. No appeal is needed for a WARNING Term.
Students should work diligently to resolve their SAP deficiency during their WARNING Term. The purpose of a warning term is to allow a student who has failed one or more of the SAP components an opportunity to regain compliance with the SAP requirements for their next term of enrollment. Students who are out of compliance for one or more components of SAP after their Warning Term are ineligible for further financial aid until all deficiencies are remedied, or they submit a successful appeal (see APPEALS below).
All students who fail to meet SAP requirements will be notified by e-mail to their official Shippensburg University e-mail address. This notice can be sent by letter to the student's permanent address if requested in writing by the student.
Due to FERPA regulations, we cannot give this information to anyone but the student including parents. You may view the University's FERPA policy online at http://ship.edu/Registrar/FERPA/. The Authorization to Release Information Form used by the Financial Aid Office does not authorize us to release this information to a parent or any other individual.
Academic Forgiveness and Financial Aid Eligibility for All Students
Being granted Academic Forgiveness does not apply to the review of your academic progress in determining eligibility for federal financial aid. All applicable coursework and grades earned will be included in the calculation of your cumulative GPA, and attempted and earned credits for the PACE and Timeframe SAP review.
If you are not meeting all the SAP requirements and determined to be ineligible for federal aid you may be eligible to appeal the loss of your financial aid. Please review the Appeals Procedure and Regaining Eligibility sections below.
Grade Changes and SAP Review for All Students
An evaluation of your academic progress will be made if any of your grades are changed. If the grade change causes you to fail any of the components of SAP you may lose eligibility for financial aid. Conversely, if the grade change resolves your SAP deficiency you may regain eligibility for financial aid.
If your current SAP status is PASS and the grade change causes you to fail one of the SAP components, your SAP status will be immediately be updated to WARN. If your current SAP status is WARN and the grade change causes you to fail one of the SAP components, your SAP status will be immediately updated to a failed SAP status (GPA, CR and/or TF) and you will lose eligibility for future federal financial aid until you are back in compliance with SAP or make a successful appeal for the loss of your financial aid.
If your current SAP status is WARN or a failed SAP status (GPA, CR and/or TF) and your grade change resolves your SAP deficiency your SAP status will be updated to PASS. You will regain eligibility for financial aid at the time your SAP status is updated.
Treatment of Special Grades for SAP Review
I (Incomplete) and Q (Deferred grade) are temporary grades and do not count as earned credits or influence the grade point average in the semester in which the course work has been taken. However temporary grades will count toward total attempted credits and may affect a student’s eligibility for aid. Once the 'I' or ‘Q’ grade has been resolved and a passing grade has been earned, the credits and the grade will then be counted toward satisfying attempted grades that are completed, and the grade point average requirements.
W (Withdrawal): ‘W’ grades do not count as earned credits or influence the grade point average. However, these credits will count as attempted and may affect a student's eligibility for aid.
S (Satisfactory) and U (Unsatisfactory) – ‘S’ and ‘U’ grades will count as attempted credits; only ‘S’ grades will count as completed credits; no credits will be earned if ‘U’ grade is assigned. Neither an ‘S’ nor a ‘U’ grade will be used in determining the cumulative grade point average.
Other types of grades: P (Pass), T (Credit by Exam), R (Repeated - Graduate students only) and TR (Transfer Credit). Credits earned with grades of ‘P’, ‘T’ or ‘TR’ will be counted in your earned and attempted credits but will not affect the student’s grade point average. N (Audit) grades do not earn credits, and do not affect attempted credits or the grade point average.
Once you have completed all the academic requirements for your program of study you are no longer eligible for federal student aid funds for that program.
Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid for All Students
- The student may resolve GPA and/or PACE (credits earned) deficiencies by taking courses on their own (no federal aid). When you have successfully completed coursework that resolves your SAP deficiency please notify the Financial Aid Office. You may complete and return the SAP Deficiency Form or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cumulative GPA can only be improved by taking courses at Shippensburg University.
- PACE deficiency may be made up with credits earned at Shippensburg or another approved university (see your academic advisor).
- It is the student's responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office once grades have been transferred from another institution. We cannot adjust financial aid awards until the credits appear on your transcript at Shippensburg. You will need to contact the Dean of your particular school to have your grades reviewed and entered onto your Shippensburg transcript.
- If extenuating circumstances exist, the student may file an appeal, and if the appeal is granted, may have federal funding reinstated.
Appeal Procedures for All Students
Federal regulations allow for students to appeal their loss of financial aid if there were circumstances which prevented satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Such circumstances are considered to be significant life experiences and can be verified by documentation from a third party.
Examples of reasons to appeal are student illness or injury, serious illness or death of a family member (parent, grandparent or brother/sister), exceeded timeframe (attempted > 150% of the published credits required for your degree).
PLEASE NOTE: An appeal to have Financial Aid reinstated is separate from appealing to be academically reinstated if you are dismissed from the university
To appeal the loss of aid students must submit the following:
- The Financial Aid Appeal Form that can be downloaded from the "Financial Aid Forms" tab on the Financial Aid homepage.
- A letter of appeal, typed and no longer than one page, that explains 1) why the student failed to make satisfactory progress and 2) what has changed in the student's situation that will allow him or her to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. For guidance on how to write a successful SAP appeal click here.
- Written documentation of your individual situation from a third party NOT related to the student. Please note, if your situation involves an injury or illness, we must receive a letter from the doctor's office, on their letterhead, corroborating your claim. Copies of prescriptions or doctor's chart notes will not be accepted.
Students who have their appeals granted and have been evaluated by the Appeals Committee as being able to regain compliance with all components of SAP within the next term of enrollment will be placed on PROBATION and will receive aid for one additional term only. This one term of aid will be called the student’s "Probation Term." (Aid awards may show a full year of aid, but the second term will NOT be disbursed until the student is reviewed.) All Students on financial aid probation will have their SAP reviewed after their probation term to determine if they are in compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.
Students who have their appeals granted but have been evaluated by the Appeals Committee to be ineligible to regain compliance with all components of SAP within the next term of enrollment will be required to submit an Academic Plan. Students who are required to submit an Academic Plan will be sent an email with a link to the Academic Plan form. The academic plan (to be developed with your academic advisor or Associate Academic Dean) must bring you back in to compliance with the SAP policy and must specify your academic performance requirements (credits earned and term GPA) for each term of enrollment covered by the plan. The Financial Aid Office must approve all academic plans before a student's aid is reinstated. Students on PROBATION with an academic plan MUST meet the terms of their Academic Plan each term or the student will lose eligibility for any additional federal aid.
Students on probation who fail to regain compliance with all components of SAP after their probation term or students on probation with an academic plan who fail to meet the minimum requirements for each term of their plan are ineligible for further financial aid and all remaining aid will be cancelled. Subsequent appeals of the same nature or for the same reason are not permitted. Once you fail to regain compliance after your probation term or fail to meet the terms of your academic plan and lose financial aid eligibility, the only way to regain eligibility for financial aid is to meet the SAP minimum requirements.
If you are experiencing academic difficulties we strongly encourage you to seek tutoring assistance. This service is offered free of charge through the Learning Center which is located in the Student Success Center right inside the front doors of Mowrey Hall. For an appointment please contact their office at (717) 477-1420.
PHEAA State Grant Academic Progress for Undergraduate Students
A review of a student's academic progress for the PA state grant will be made once a year after the spring semester. In order to be eligible for subsequent state grant awards, a student who was enrolled full-time (12+ credits per term) must earn at least 24 new credits each year. Students who were enrolled part-time (6 to 11 credits per term) must earn 12 new credits each year.
If you previously took a course and earned a 'D' or better grade, the credits earned the 2nd time you take the class will not count as new. If you are retaking a course which you failed previously, or received a "W" for withdrawing from the class, these credits will be counted as new credits for the PA state grant progress requirement.
Students can earn credits in the summer to meet the credits needed for academic progress for the following year. When you have successfully completed coursework that resolves your credit deficiency please notify the Financial Aid Office. You may complete and return the SAP Deficiency Form or e-mail email@example.com. Please review the following examples:
- Student registers for 12 credits in the fall semester but only passes 9 credits. Student then registers for and earns 15 credits during the spring term. The student is still maintaining academic progress for the PHEAA Grant (9 + 15 = 24).
- Student earns 9 credits in the fall, 9 credits in the spring and registers for and earns 6 credits in the summer. Student is eligible for PHEAA the following year.
- Student earns 12 credits in the fall but 3 of those credits are for a course the student took before and passed by earning a “D.” The student earns 12 credits in the spring for a total of 24 credits. The student is NOT making progress under PHEAA guidelines since 3 of the 24 credits are for a course already passed once.
Students are only eligible to receive a PHEAA State Grant for a maximum of 8 full-time semesters. Please contact the financial aid office at (717) 477-1131 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this progress requirement.
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