Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Federal regulations require that all student financial aid recipients progress at a reasonable rate or "make satisfactory progress" toward achieving a degree. The standard applies to all terms regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid. The student's cumulative grade point average and credits earned in relations to those attempted and the length of the academic program measure academic progress. SAP evaluation for undergraduate and graduate students occurs at the conclusion of each term, which is at the end of the spring semester.
Undergraduate and graduate students who receive financial aid at Alcorn State University must conform to the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) set by the University and outlined here. These standards encourage students to successfully complete their educational goals in a timely manner. It is important to remember that this SAP policy is administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid and is separate from the Academic Standards administered by the Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost for Academic Affairs.
Requirements of the SAP Policy
The following components are measured to determine whether the student is meeting SAP standards: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Maximum Timeframe.
Qualitative Standard (Grade Point Average):
The qualitative component measures the quality of the student’s SAP by conducting a review of the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). To meet the qualitative requirement, the student must have a minimum cumulative and overall GPA of at least a 2.0 (undergraduate) or 3.0 (graduate). Credits accepted from other schools that may be applied to a degree are counted in the calculation of the student’s GPA and therefore are included in the qualitative measure.
(Specific federal, state, and institutional scholarships and grants may require a higher GPA for continued eligibility. This is a separate and distinct factor in renewing or continuing eligibility for these specific financial aid funds. The GPA for specific scholarships and grants supersedes the GPA requirements referenced above. Information about the terms and conditions of specific student aid programs that have GPA requirements are provided to the student at the time the award is offered).
Quantitative Standards (Calculating Pace or Completion Ratio):
The quantitative component measures the pace at which the student must progress through his or her program of study to ensure completion (within the maximum timeframe permitted and provides for the measurement of the student’s progress) at the end of each evaluation. Pace or completion ratio is calculated by determining the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed divided by the number of cumulative credit hours the student has attempted. Credits accepted from other schools that may be applied to a degree are counted in the calculation as both attempted and completed hours. To meet the quantitative requirement, the student’s completion ratio must be 67% or higher (undergraduate and graduate students).
Maximum Time Frame Measure:
Students are no longer eligible to receive federal student aid once the total hours attempted (this includes transfer hours) exceeds 186 hours or as determined by the academic progression plan of study. Upon completion of a first Bachelors Degree, students may be allowed up to 60 additional credit hours to complete a second Bachelors Degree.
Graduate students pursuing a Masters Degree can receive financial assistance for up to 63 credit hours. Students will be limited to 95 credit hours when pursuing a second Masters degree. Graduate students must also adhere to the Quantitative and Qualitative measures. Once a student earns a second Masters degree, he/she shall be eligible to receive financial assistance only toward a Specialist Degree (39 hours). We mirror the academic standard process for graduate students. *Hours revised effective for fall 2009 semester.
In addition to the three measures referenced above to determine a student’s SAP, a student who is placed on Academic Suspension is considered ineligible for financial aid.
Withdrawals - Students who receive financial assistance and withdraw from the university (officially or unofficially) will adhere to the quantitative and qualitative measures listed above.
Incompletes - An incomplete does not mean that the student has successfully completed the course. Incompletes will be treated as failing grades until removed. An incomplete will be treated as hours attempted.
Audit Courses - Courses taken for audit do not meet degree requirements and are not eligible to meet enrollment requirements to receive aid. Change of classes to audit will be treated as a withdrawal and subject to any changes of enrollment status policies.
Developmental Courses - Students advised to enroll in developmental courses will be considered enrolled in regular classes to a limit of three (3) hours for Developmental Mathematics, three(3) hours for Developmental English, three (3) hours for Developmental Studies Lab, and three (3) hours for Developmental Reading.
Repeats - Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative GPA. However, for financial aid purposes, repeated courses count as additional hours attempted and may affect your financial aid award.
Change of Major – A change of major can have an adverse affect on your Satisfactory Academic Progression. The credits the student earns at Alcorn State University under all majors will be included in the calculation of qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame measures.
Financial Aid Probation
Financial Aid Probation status is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and who has successfully appealed and has had eligibility for financial aid reinstated. A student who is placed on financial aid probation may receive financial aid for one subsequent semester/term. A student on Financial Aid Probation may be required to meet certain terms and conditions while on financial aid probation, such as taking a reduced course load or taking specific courses. A student assigned a Financial Aid Probation status will be placed on a Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progression Plan of Study. At the conclusion of the SAP Academic Probation semester/term, the student must either meet the SAP standards or fulfill the requirements specified in the Academic Progression Plan and Program of Study.
Financial Aid Suspension
Financial Aid Suspension status is assigned to a student who fails to make SAP, does not fulfill the requirements set forth in his or her Academic Plan of Study and Program of Study when placed on Financial Aid Probation. A student can reestablish SAP eligibility by choosing one of the following options:
Self-Pay – SAP Suspension does not prevent a student from registering for classes. However, payment is the responsibility of the student and must be made as required by university policy.
Private Assistance – Students on SAP Suspension receive private assistance, in the form of scholarship or private loan, per the conditions of the individual donor or lender.
Appeal – See the Appeal Process below.
If a student fails one or more of the three measures an appeal may be filed. A student may file an appeal by completing your (1) Satisfactory Academic Progression Appeal for Eligibility Application (2) Why Am I Appealing Questions and Statements (3) Program of Study, and (4) Transcript. Appeals for reinstatement should be submitted by the deadline specified on the Satisfactory Academic Progression Appeal for Eligibility Application. All requests will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee within ten (10) calendar days of the deadline. Click on the link to apply (2013-2014 SAP Appeal Application).
Financial Aid Committee and Decision:
Students will be sent official notification of the Financial Aid Committee decision. The decision of the Financial Aid Committee is final. If the appeal is approved, the student is placed on Financial Aid Probation and the student’s financial aid eligibility is reinstated for one subsequent semester/term. During the Financial Aid Probation period, the student may be required to fulfill certain conditions for financial aid reinstatement.
At the conclusion of the semester/term, if the student meets the standards of SAP, the Financial Aid Probation status will be removed. If not, the student’s academic performance for the semester/term will be evaluated against the student’s Financial Academic Progression Plan and Program of Study. If the student meets the requirements of the Academic Progression Plan and Program of Study, the student will be assigned Financial Aid Probation for a subsequent semester/term.
If the student fails to meet SAP standards or the requirements set forth in the Academic Progression Plan and Program of Study, the student will be deemed ineligible for financial aid.
Policy Effective: Fall 2012
Revised: July 1, 2012