Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal and state regulations require that schools establish and monitor the academic progress of students enrolled in a program of study that leads to a degree.

In a financial aid context, failure to make satisfactory academic progress in the courses taken at Elmhurst College can result in a loss of eligibility for federal, state and institutional financial assistance. Elmhurst College reviews the academic progress of financial aid recipients at the end of each term (Fall, Spring and Summer). All enrollment terms, including summer, must be considered in the determination of SAP, as well as enrolled terms for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements have three components. Students must comply with all three components to remain eligible for aid. SAP policies and measures must be adhered to regardless of any changes to majors, minors, or pursuit of a second major or minor.

  • Credits earned at a previous institution and transferred to Elmhurst College are calculated in all three SAP components.
  • Remedial coursework is not provided at Elmhurst College, therefore there is nothing to be counted and calculated in the SAP formulas.

Components of Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations require that a student maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale in order to remain eligible for financial aid. Grades of A, B, C, D or F (including +/-) are calculated into the cumulative GPA. Grades of W – withdrawal, NP – no-pass, AU – audit or I – incomplete are not included in the calculation of the grade-point average.

  • Incompletes must be resolved prior to graduation. When the incomplete course is completed and receives a grade, the course grade will retain the “I” and the “new” earned grade will be added (I/X). Once the grade is posted, the student’s GPA will be re-calculated.
  • Students can repeat a course in which they receive a grade of C-, D+, D, F, P or NP no more than two times. Students may not repeat a course in which they received a grade of C or better. When a course is repeated, the earlier grade of the course is not included in the GPA. However, the earlier grade remains on the student’s permanent record and will appear on all transcripts.

If a student drops below a cumulative GPA of 2.0, they will be placed on a financial aid warning. While on a financial aid warning, the student will continue to receive their financial aid, but will need a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better and complete 67% of their attempted coursework each semester in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations also contains a quantitative component, meaning that students are required to make steady progress toward their degree by completing at least two-thirds (67%) of all their attempted credit hours. For example, if a student attempts 4 credits (16 credit hours) per semester, they would be expected to satisfactorily complete at least 2.68 of these credits (10.72 credit hours) in order to comply with the minimum quantitative standards. This standard does not apply to graduate programs.

All credit-bearing courses are calculated into “credits attempted” for financial aid purposes. Audit courses and no-credit courses are not evaluated in the review of the student’s satisfactory academic progress. Grades of A, B, C, D and P are calculated into “credits successfully completed.” Courses with grades of W-withdrawal, NP-no-pass or I-incomplete are not included in the calculation.

If a student does not successfully complete at least 67% of all credit hours attempted, they will be placed on a financial aid warning. While on a financial aid warning, they will continue to receive their financial aid, but will need to complete 67% of their attempted cumulative coursework each semester with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations also contain a maximum time frame component, which specifies that the number of credit hours for which a student may receive federal financial aid may not exceed 150% of the credit hours required for graduation. For example, to earn a bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 32 earned credits (128 earned credit hours) so the maximum time frame would be 48 credits (198 credit hours).

  • Withdrawals: Grades of “W” are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
  • Audited courses: Students do not earn any academic credits for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of “attempted or earned credits.”
  • Pass/Fail courses: These credits do count within the total of attempted and earned hours.
  • Transfer credits accepted for the student’s academic program or degree are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree or program.
  • Double majors and/or minors: Students who receive permission to pursue a double major/minor will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 48 credits.
  • Change of majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 48 credits.

Monitoring Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • SAP is monitored at the end of fall, spring and summer terms
  • Students who meet all SAP requirements are considered to be in Good Financial Standing
  • Students who do not meet SAP requirements jeopardize their eligibility for financial aid and are placed in one of the following statuses:
    • Financial Aid Warning, or
    • Financial Aid Suspension

Financial Aid Warning

A student is considered to be on a financial aid warning when they fail to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Cumulative GPA below the 2.0 minimum requirement; and/or
  • Cumulative course completion rate below the 67% minimum requirement, and/or
  • Close to exceeding the 150% time frame limit

Once a student is on a financial aid warning, they must complete at least 67% of attempted courses each semester with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better in order to remain eligible for financial aid. When they are in a warning status they will retain their financial aid for one semester only. If they do not meet the minimum overall progress requirements (2.0 cumulative GPA, and 67% completion rate of hours attempted), after the completion of the Warning semester, their financial aid will be suspended.

Financial Aid Suspension

A student is considered to be in financial aid suspension when they fail to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Cumulative GPA below the 2.0 minimum requirement and they did not meet the terms of their financial aid Warning; and/or
  • Cumulative course completion rate below the 67% minimum requirement and they did not meet the terms of their financial aid Warning; and/or
  • Exceeded the 150% time frame limits.

If a student has been suspended, they would not be eligible for federal or state financial aid. If they successfully appeal their suspension, their financial aid eligibility will be reinstated on a probationary status for one semester. If an academic plan has been designed and followed, they would have three continuous semesters to regain edibility.

Right to Appeal

If eligibility for financial aid has been suspended, a student may appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for reinstatement based upon extraordinary circumstances. These circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness or injury
  • Death of a close relative
  • Other extenuating circumstances that result in undue hardship

The appeal must be in writing and must be submitted along with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and all relevant documentation within three weeks of receiving notice of suspension. The Appeal should be addressed to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and include the following:

  • The specific reason(s), events or circumstances that prevented meeting the academic progress requirements
  • A specific corrective action plan to improve academic success

Appeals are reviewed within two weeks. A letter with the outcome of the appeal will be sent within 21 days of the submission of the appeal, provided that all necessary documentation is submitted.

If the appeal is a request to receive financial aid for classes beyond the maximum number of attempted hours allowed, a degree audit must be performed by the Office of Registration and Records. The results of the degree audit and the exact listing of all remaining courses needed to complete the degree must be included with the appeal documentation.

If an appeal is approved, financial aid will be reinstated on a probationary basis for one more semester. In addition, the Financial Aid Appeals Committee may develop an academic plan to help the student progress towards their degree completion successfully. This academic plan will clearly list various academic resources available at the College. If the academic plan standards are met, the probationary period may be extended for another two semesters if needed.

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review academic records at the end of each probationary semester to determine if a student has achieved the minimum SAP requirements (cumulative 2.0 GPA and 67% attempted credit completion rate) and/or complied with the academic plan outlined in the reinstatement letter. Once a student has been reinstated under an academic plan and is making progress under that plan, the student is considered to be eligible to receive their federal and state financial aid.

  • When a student fails to meet the SAP standard or the conditions outlined in an academic plan during a probationary semester, neither financial aid eligibly nor the ability to submit a subsequent appeal for the future semesters is available.
  • If a student’s financial aid has been terminated per federal policy, but the student has remained in good academic standing with the College, they may still be eligible to continue to attend Elmhurst College at their own expense.
  • A student who improves their academic standing and meets the satisfactory academic progress requirements, may have their financial aid eligibility reinstated for the subsequent academic terms.
  • Students who are considering attending another institution and transferring credits back to Elmhurst to re-establish eligibility, should discuss this option with the Office of Advising prior to making this decision.
  • Students who are no longer eligible for financial aid due to exceeding the maximum time frame do not have this option.
  • Readmitted students are required to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements. If they are returning to Elmhurst College after an absence, and their former coursework would indicate that they are below the minimum progress requirements, they will need to appeal for reinstatement for their student aid eligibility by submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form explaining:
  • A revised academic objective and anticipated graduation date
  • Specific corrective action plans made as part of the readmission process
  • Appeals are reviewed within two weeks. A letter with the outcome of the appeal will be sent within 21 days of the appeal submission, provided that all necessary documentation is submitted.
  • If a student is pursuing a second degree, they are no longer eligible for federal or state grants, but may pursue federal student loans. If so, this new program of study is subject to the above-mentioned satisfactory academic progress standards.
  • Financial Aid is available to assist students in obtaining a degree. A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not have a degree is not eligible for further additional federal funds for that program.

Please note:

The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy pertains only to the requirements for continued eligibility for financial aid. A separate review for academic standing is performed by the Academic Standings Committee. The Academic Standing policies are located in the Regulations and Services section of the Elmhurst College Catalog.

Definitions

You are considered to be on a financial aid warning when you fail to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You are below the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement; and/or
  • You are below the 67% minimum course completion rate, and/or
  • You are close to exceeding the 150% time frame limit

Once you are on a financial aid warning, you must complete at least 67% of attempted courses each semester with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better in order to remain eligible for financial aid. When you are in a warning status you will retain your financial aid for one semester only. If you do not meet the minimum overall progress requirements (2.0 cumulative GPA, and 67% completion rate of hours attempted), after the completion of the Warning semester, your financial aid will be suspended.

You are considered to be in financial aid suspension when you fail to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You are below the 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement and you did not meet the terms of your financial aid Warning; and/or
  • You are below the 67% minimum course completion rate and you did not meet the terms of your financial aid Warning; and/or
  • You have exceeded the 150% time frame limits.

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