Procedure 2.9.1 Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

System Procedures
Chapter 2 - Students

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for Board Policy 2.9


Part 1. Institutional Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies.

Each institution shall develop a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy that shall apply to all students receiving financial aid under federal Title IV financial aid programs or under programs of aid authorized under Minnesota Statutes 136 A.

Each institution's president shall be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of SAP, and shall specify in the institutional policy the department(s) responsible for ensuring that implementation and monitoring occur in compliance with this procedure. Institutions are required to use the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities student data system (currently ISRS) to monitor and record SAP. The system office shall provide necessary training and on-going support to the institutions in their use of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities student data systems.

The SAP policy standards shall be the same as or stricter than the institution's academic standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving financial aid.

The qualitative and quantitative standards contained in the institution's policy shall be cumulative and include all periods of enrollment, whether or not a student received financial aid.

Each institution's policy shall include all components listed in the order shown in Appendix "A" and shall be publicized and made available to financial aid recipients as required by financial aid regulations. At a minimum, all institutions shall provide access to their policy through the financial aid section of their institutional website.

Part 2. Qualitative Measure of Progress (Grade Point Average).

As a qualitative measure of a student's progress, each institution's SAP policy shall define either a "graduated" scale and/or a "flat" scale based on an acceptable cumulative grade point average (GPA).

Subpart A. Undergraduate Students. Students at institutions using a 4.0 A to F grade scale shall have either a minimum 2.0 (C) grade point average by the end of the second year or a grade point average consistent with the institution's requirements for graduation. Monitoring shall begin with the first attempted credit. Institutions may apply a 0.0 GPA standard only to the first five attempted credits, unless this would prevent a student from meeting the standards by the time of her or his completion of the program. Grades of A, B, C, D and F shall be included in the GPA calculation.

If an institution establishes a qualitative standard that allows an undergraduate student to continue past the second year with a GPA below 2.0, it shall document that the GPA it uses is consistent with graduation requirements.

If an institution chooses to use grades that are not listed in this procedure, the institution shall specify in its institutional SAP policy how these grades affect GPA calculation.

Subpart B. Graduate Students. Beginning with the first attempted credit, graduate students at institutions using a 4.0 "A" to "F" grade scale shall have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

See Part 9 for additional information about treatment of grades and credits.

Part 3. Quantitative Measure of Progress (Completion Percentage and Maximum Time Frame).

Subpart A. Required completion percentage. Each institution's policy shall include a quantitative measure consisting of an acceptable percentage of cumulative credits completed. This measure may be a "graduated" scale and/or a "flat" scale. Monitoring shall begin with the first attempted credit. Institutions may apply a "0%" completion percentage standard only to the first five attempted credits, unless this would prevent a student from meeting the standards by the time of her or his completion of the program.

At the end of each evaluation period, the institution shall compare the number of credits the student successfully completed to the number of credits the student attempted to determine whether the student is progressing at a rate that will allow completion of the program within the maximum time frame (see Subpart B, below). Courses for which a student receives a letter grade of A, B, C, D, S and P are included in the calculation of cumulative credit completion percentage as courses successfully completed.

Courses for which a student receives a letter grade of I, N, NC, W, and F shall be treated as credits attempted but not successfully completed. Blank ("Z") grades shall be treated as credits attempted but not successfully completed. Audited courses (AU) are not counted.

Unless the institution has a specific policy indicating treatment of IP (in progress) grades as successful completion, they shall be treated as credits attempted but not completed.

If an institution chooses to use grades that are not listed in this procedure, the institution shall specify in its institutional SAP policy how these grades affect calculation of completion percentage.

Subpart B. Maximum time frame. The policy of an institution shall specify a maximum number of attempted credits (maximum time frame) within which students are expected to complete their programs.

Based on variability of institutional program lengths, institutions may establish either: (a) maximum credit limits (maximum time frames) for each individual program, or (b) a single maximum credit limit (maximum time frame) applicable to all programs. Institutions choosing to require a single maximum credit limit shall choose the lowest individual program limit.

In no case shall the maximum time frame exceed 150 percent of the published credit length of the program.

Maximum time frames for graduate students, students pursuing double majors, students enrolled in consecutive programs, or for students with previous degree may be based on specific curricular requirements.

If an institution chooses to use grades that are not listed in this procedure, the institution shall specify in its institutional SAP policy how these grades affect maximum timeframe monitoring.

See Part 9 for additional information about treatment of grades and credits.

Part 4. Evaluation period.

The SAP policy of an institution shall divide the educational program, including summer terms into equal increments, or evaluation periods that shall not be greater than one academic term.

Programs less than one year in length shall be evaluated at the midpoint of the program.

Each institution shall establish a deadline, following the end of a term, for submission of grades by faculty, in order to ensure the completion of satisfactory academic progress reviews prior to the 10th day of the subsequent academic term.

Non-standard sessions shall be evaluated with the term or evaluation period in which they are transcripted.

Part 5. Failure to Meet Standards.

Subpart A. Financial aid warning.

  1. Warning status. If at the end of the evaluation period a student has not met either the institution's grade point average standard or required completion percentage standard, the institution shall allow that student to retain his or her financial aid eligibility under a warning status for one evaluation period,
  2. Reinstatement of students on warning status. If at the end of the warning period a student who has been on warning status has met both the institution's cumulative grade point average and completion percentage status, the institution shall end the student's warning status.

Subpart B. Financial aid suspension of students on warning status. If at the end of the warning period a student who has been on warning status has not met both the institution's cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards, the institution shall suspend the student immediately upon completion of the evaluation.

Subpart C. Financial aid suspension of students for other reasons.

  1. Suspension for maximum time frame failure. If at the end of the evaluation period a student has failed to meet the institution's standard for measurement of maximum time frame, the institution shall suspend the student from financial aid eligibility immediately upon completion of the evaluation.
  2. Suspension for extraordinary circumstances. Institutions may immediately suspend students from financial aid eligibility in the event of extraordinary circumstances, including but not limited to previously suspended and (reinstated) students whose academic performance falls below acceptable standards during a subsequent term of enrollment; students who register for courses, receive financial aid and do not attend any classes; and students whose attendance patterns appear to abuse the receipt of financial aid.
  3. Suspension for inability to meet program requirements within the maximum time frame. If at the end of any evaluation period the institution determines that it is not possible for a student to raise her or his GPA or course completion percentage to meet the institution's standards before the student would reach the end of the program for which he or she is receiving financial aid, the institution shall suspend the student from financial aid eligibility immediately upon completion of the evaluation.
Part 6. Appeals and Probation.

Subpart A. Appeals. Institutional policies shall include a provision to permit students to appeal their financial aid suspension status based on unusual or extenuating circumstances. The institutional policy shall clearly define what types of unusual or extenuating circumstances may be considered, including but not limited to death of a relative, illness, hospitalization, or injury of the student.

The student shall submit, as part of the appeal, information as requested regarding why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and what has changed in the student's situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the end of the next evaluation period.

An appeal may be approved only if the institution:

  1. Has determined that the student should be able to meet SAP standards at the end of the next evaluation period; or
  2. Develops an academic plan with the student that, if followed, shall ensure that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time. If the academic plan includes term standards of GPA and percent of completion, they shall be higher than the institution's cumulative standards.

The initial consideration of appeals shall be undertaken by the Director of Financial Aid or a designee. Each institution shall establish a secondary appeals process to consider appeals of adverse decisions. Results of all appeals shall be communicated to students in writing. Notification of approved appeals shall include the standards that the student is expected to meet or the academic plan that the student is expected to complete in order to retain financial aid eligibility at the end of the next evaluation period.

Subpart B. Probationary status. A student who has successfully appealed shall be placed on financial aid probation for one evaluation period. If at the end of the next evaluation period, a student on financial aid probation status

  1. Has met the institution's cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards, the student shall be returned to good standing.
  2. Has not met the institution's cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards but has met the conditions specified in his/her academic plan, the student shall retain his/her financial aid eligibility under a probationary status for a subsequent evaluation period.
  3. Has not met the institution's cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards and has also not met the conditions specified in his/her academic plan, the student shall be re-suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.


Part 7. Notification of Status and Appeal Results.

Subpart A. Status. Institutions shall notify a student in writing any time the student is placed in a warning, suspension or probation status.

  1. Notification of warning - An institution shall notify a student in writing any time the student is placed in a warning status, and shall inform the student of the conditions of that warning status.
  2. Notification of suspension - An institution shall notify a student in writing any time a student is placed in a suspension status, and shall inform the student of their right to appeal the suspension.
  3. Notification of probation - An institution shall notify a student in writing any time a student is placed in a probationary status, and shall include the standards the student is expected to meet or the academic plan the student is expected to complete in order to retain financial aid eligibility at the end of the next evaluation period.

Subpart B. Appeals. An institution shall notify a student in writing of the results of all appeals.

Notification of approved appeals shall include the standards that the student is expected to meet or the academic plan that the student is expected to complete in order to retain financial aid eligibility at the end of the next evaluation period.

Notification of denied appeals shall describe the reason(s) for the denial and the institution's process for appealing that denial.

Part 8. Reinstatement. Institutional policies shall describe the process students shall follow to have their financial aid eligibility reinstated. Neither paying for their own classes nor sitting out a period of time is sufficient in and of itself to re-establish a student's financial aid eligibility.

Students whose financial aid eligibility has been suspended may regain their eligibility only through the institution's appeal process or when they are again meeting the institution's financial aid satisfactory academic progress grade point average and completion percentage standards.

Part 9. Treatment of Grades and Credits.

Subpart A. Treatment of grades. Each SAP policy shall state how the institution treats course withdrawals, incomplete grades, repeated courses, and noncredit remedial, enrichment, and ESL course work in the determination of satisfactory progress.

Grades of A, B, C, D and F shall be included in the GPA calculation.

Courses for which a student receives a letter grade of A, B, C, D, S and P are included in the calculation of cumulative credit completion percentage as courses successfully completed.

Courses for which a student receives a letter grade of I, N, NC, W, and F shall be treated as credits attempted but not successfully completed. Blank ("Z") grades shall be treated as credits attempted but not successfully completed. Audited courses (AU) are not counted.

Unless the institution has a specific policy indicating treatment of IP (in progress) grades as successful completion, they shall be treated as credits attempted but not completed.

If an institution chooses to use grades that are not listed in this procedure, the institution shall specify in its institutional SAP policy how these grades affect GPA calculation, completion percentage, and maximum time-frame monitoring.

Subpart B. Academic Amnesty. Credits for which students have been granted academic amnesty ("academic forgiveness," "fresh start," etc.) shall be recorded and retained in the Student Data System in such a way that they will be included in both the grade point average and completion percentage measurement of financial aid satisfactory academic progress.

Subpart C. Audited Courses. Audited courses shall not be funded by financial aid and are not included in any financial aid satisfactory academic progress measurements

Subpart D. Consortium Credits. Credits for which financial aid is received under a consortium agreement shall be recorded in the Student Data System to be included in cumulative GPA, completion percentage, and maximum time-frame calculations.

Subpart E. Remedial/Developmental Credits. Remedial/developmental credits shall be included in the qualitative and completion percentage measurement of satisfactory academic progress. Up to 30 remedial/developmental credits shall be excluded from maximum time-frame calculation.

Subpart F. Repeated Courses. Institutional policies shall include a statement of the institution's treatment of repeated courses in the cumulative GPA and completion percentage calculation for financial aid satisfactory academic progress, including the number of times a course may be repeated and the total number of course repetitions allowed. This shall conform to the institution's academic policy on repeated courses except that a student shall not be permitted to receive financial aid for more than one repetition of a previously passed course.

Subpart G. Transfer Credits. Transfer credits accepted by the institution and applied to the student's program requirements shall be counted as credits attempted and completed for calculation of cumulative completion percentage. Grades associated with these credits shall not be used in calculating cumulative GPA.

Transfer credits accepted by the institution and applied by the institution toward a student's general education, program, or degree requirements shall apply toward the maximum time-frame calculation.

Subpart H. Withdrawals. Credits for which a grade of "W" is received are considered attempted credits but not successfully completed credits for the purpose of monitoring satisfactory academic progress. Thus, a "W" does not impact GPA but does negatively impact the cumulative completion percentage.


Appendix A: Order of Required Elements and Definitions

Required Elements
  1. Qualitative Measure

    A. Undergraduate Students
    B. Graduate Students

  2. Quantitative Measure

    A. Required Completion Percentage
    B. Maximum Time Frame

  3. Evaluation Period
  4. Failure to Meet Standards

    A. Financial Aid Warning

    1. Warning status
    2. Reinstatement of students on warning status

    B. Financial Aid Suspension of Students on Warning Status
    C. Financial Aid Suspension of Students for Other Reasons
    1. Suspension for maximum timeframe failure
    2. Suspension for extraordinary circumstances
    3. Suspension for inability to meet program requirements within the maximum timeframe
  5. Appeals and Probation

    A. Appeals
    B. Probationary Status

  6. Notification of Status and Appeal Results

    A. Status

    1. Notification of warning
    2. Notification of suspension
    3. Notification of probation
    B. Appeals
  7. Reinstatement
  8. Treatment of Grades and Credits

    Treatment of Grades
    B. Academic Amnesty
    C. Audited Courses
    D. Consortium Credits
    E. Remedial Credits
    F. Repeated Courses
    G. Transfer Credits
    H. Withdraws

Definitions:

Academic Plan - a student who successfully appeals for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility may be required by an institution to complete, during a probationary period, specific requirements contained in an academic plan developed for that student by the institution.

Evaluation Period - Institutions shall measure Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each academic term or at the mid-point of programs less than one year in length.

Financial Aid Suspension of Students on Warning Status - A student on financial aid suspension status is not eligible to receive financial aid. Students whose financial aid eligibility has been suspended may regain his or her eligibility only through the institution's appeal process or when they are again meeting the institution's financial aid satisfactory academic progress cumulative grade point average and completion percentage standards.

Maximum Time Frame - the maximum number of cumulative attempted credits within which a student must complete his or her academic program.

Probation Status - a status under which a student who has successfully appealed a suspension shall regain his or her financial aid eligibility for one evaluation period, after which he or she must either have met the institution's cumulative GPA and Completion Percentage standards, or have successfully completed the requirements of an academic plan developed for that student by the institution.

Qualitative Measure - the Grade Point Average (GPA) a student must maintain in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

Quantitative Measure - the "Pace" at which a student must progress through his or her program in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

Required Completion Percentage - the percentage of cumulative attempted credits that a student must successfully complete in order to retain financial aid eligibility.

Warning Status - a status under which a student shall continue to retain her or his financial aid eligibility for one-evaluation period despite a determination that she or he has not met either an institution's grade point average standards, or completion percentage standard or both.

Related Documents:

  • Policy 2.9 Academic Standing and Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

Procedure History:

Date of Adoption: 04/23/04,
Date of Implementation: 04/23/04,

Date & Subject of Revisions:

1/25/12 - The Chancellor amends all current system procedures effective February 15, 2012, to change the term "Office of the Chancellor" to "system office" or similar term reflecting the grammatical context of the sentence.

11/15/11 - Effective December 1, 2011 - amended Part 5, Subpart C2, to remove a provision that is not supported within ISRS.

03/28/11 - Effective December 1, 2011 - amendment due to new federal regulations that require institutional SAP policies to follow a process of warning, suspension, appeal and probation, also require changes in notifications, treatment of transfer credits, and description of standards.

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