Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Satisfactory Academic Progress                      

Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

(New policy effective Fall Semester 2014)

In accordance with federal regulations, all recipients of federal financial aid must maintain a satisfactory rate of progress toward the completion of a degree (i.e. pace) and must be in good standing based on a cumulative grade point average (GPA), regardless of whether financial aid was received previously. Progress will be measured at the end of each semester attended (fall, spring and summer semesters).

The following definitions apply to this policy:

  • Financial Aid Programs: All federal programs, VA State grant programs, scholarship programs offered through the University, outside programs offered from other states and private organizations, federal work-study and institutional student employment and private education loans.
  • Earned and Attempted Credit hours: Satisfactory Academic Progress uses credit hours to measure both the Pace and Maximum Timeframe requirements. It is important to understand the difference between the two types of credit hours. Credit hours “earned” are courses in which the student receives a letter grade of “D” or “PA” in a Pass/Fail course. “Attempted” credits are all courses in which the student enrolls and remains enrolled in after the add/drop period of each semester even if the student withdraws later or fails the course at the end.
  • Pace requirement:   Both undergraduate and graduate students must earn at least 70% (no rounding up) of the credits attempted each semester. A full-time student who attempts 15 credits in a semester must successfully complete 10.5 credits to maintain their pace requirement (15 credits x .7 = 10.5 credits).
  • Maximum time frame: The maximum period in which students may receive financial aid based on the degree program in which they are enrolled. Students have a period of 150% of the credits required to complete the program to remain eligible.

o   Bachelor degree program that requires 120 credits to graduate will have a total  of 180 attempted credits allowed.

o   Graduate degree program that requires 30 credits to graduate will have a total of 45 attempted credits allowed.

There are limited appeals or extensions of the 150% maximum time frame rule. Students may continue to receive limited federal financial aid assistance and will also be able to apply for private loan funding or participate in a tuition payment plan for their educational expenses.

  • Cumulative Grade Point Average: The grade point average calculated at UMW from all credits taken. Coursework transferred from other institutions are included in the total number of credits attempted and completed but are not factored into the cumulative GPA.

o   The minimum cumulative GPA requirement is 1.8 for each semester of attendance at UMW for a student who has earned less than 30 credits.

o   The minimum cumulative GPA is 1.9 for students who have earned 31 – 59 credits.

o   The minimum cumulative GPA is 2.0 for students who have earned 60 or more credits.

o   There are UMW scholarship programs which require a higher cumulative GPA and a student must meet the requirement to retain those program awards. 

Review Process 

Frequency

Satisfactory Academic Progress will be evaluated at the end of each enrollment term (fall, spring and summer) regardless of whether the student received financial aid in that enrollment period. Students not meeting SAP requirements will be notified by letter and also have an email message sent to their UMW email account.

Financial Aid Warning

When a student fails to meet SAP requirements, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for their next enrollment period. A student remains eligible for their financial aid during the warning period. A student is only eligible for one warning period and will be notified of their placement into a warning status. A student may not be placed in a warning status if they were not meeting SAP requirements in the prior enrollment period or were enrolled in their first term at UMW.

During this term, the student is expected to regain their satisfactory academic progress through successful completion of their credits or recalculation of their GPA. Students placed into a warning period will be strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Academic and Career Services or their Faculty Advisor for further assistance. Please refer to the Academic Success Section of this policy for further information about the ways this Office or Faculty Advisor can assist students. Failure to meet the minimum SAP requirements after the warning period will result in suspension of the student’s financial aid. 

Financial Aid Suspension

Suspension of financial aid eligibility occurs the semester immediately following the “warning” period. Under suspension a student is not eligible for federal and state financial aid. In addition, students will lose their eligibility for UMW scholarship or grant aid.   Students have two options to reestablish their federal and state financial aid eligibility.

These options are:

  • Pay for the next semester or session on your own and have the SAP status reevaluated after completion of the semester, or
  • Submit an Appeal of SAP requirements, as outline in the SAP notification letter.

Maximum Time Frame suspension

Any student who has exceeded the Maximum Time Frame requirements for the appropriate degree program will be placed on a Maximum Time Suspension. Students in this group will be required to appeal and provide the Office of Financial Aid with an academic plan that has been approved by their Faculty Advisor. The academic plan must be followed as prescribed and will be reviewed at the end of each semester until graduation from UMW. Students will not be permitted to receive institutional grants or scholarship unless approved through the Office of Financial Aid in conjunction with the institutional scholarship or grant provider’s approval. In most cases, aid will be limited to federal financial aid only.

Notification

Letters explaining the SAP status along with instructions on the appeal process will be mailed to the student’s permanent home address on file with UMW. It is recommended that students keep their permanent home address up to date with the Registrar’s Office. Email notifications to the student UMW email account will only contain a notice that you should refer to the letter for your status and instructions. UMW will also notify the Student Success Coordinators & Faculty Advisors that a student has been suspended for financial aid eligibility.

Treatment of Special Grades 

Incomplete Grades

Courses for which a student receives a grade of “I” are included in the number of attempted credits but don’t count as earned credits for SAP calculations. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Office of Financial Aid of all grade changes once complete. A review of satisfactory academic progress can’t be conducted until the incomplete grade is changed therefore the student will be considered ineligible for financial aid.

  • Audited Courses

Courses in this category do not count as credits attempted or earned.

  • Repeating Courses

All repeated courses affect financial aid SAP calculations. Regardless of whether the student received financial aid or not, all repeated coursework must be counted as attempted credits. The grade earned in the repeated course is the grade that determines the student’s cumulative grade point average. No additional credits will be considered as earned credits for repeated courses for which credits were earned previously. Before registering to repeat a course, a student should verify that he or she is eligible to do so according to Academic Policy. Only courses repeated at UMW can improve the student’s cumulative grade point average.

  • Withdrawals

Courses for which a student receives a grade of “W” or “WA” are included in the number of attempted credits but do not count as earned credits for SAP determination.

  • Remedial Courses

The university does not have ESL (English as a second language), CLEP or Remedial coursework.

  • Transfer Credits

Credits are included in both attempted and completed but the grade doesn’t transfer to UMW and therefore is not used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA. 

Appeal Process

Students are permitted to appeal their financial aid suspension; however, the right to appeal must be based on extraordinary, personal circumstances that contributed to student’s inability to meet the SAP requirements. Acceptable circumstances include:

  • The death of an immediate family member or close relative (i.e. mother, father, grandparent, sibling or immediate family such as a related aunt or uncle)
  • A serious injury or illness of the student which required medical intervention
  • Significant, unanticipated family obligations due to medical issue or illness
  • A catastrophic loss due to fire, flood or natural disaster that affects the student’s academic attendance or performance 

The appeal of a financial aid suspension is a separate process from an appeal of academic suspension. The two processes are not related and approval of an academic suspension does not automatically remove the suspension from financial aid. 

SAP Appeal Form

Students who wish to appeal must complete and submit a SAP Appeal form together with all required documents within 15 days of the notification that they have been placed on suspension. The SAP Appeal form is available on the UMW Financial Aid website at www.umw.edu/financialaid in the “Forms” section. Required documentation is outlined on the Appeal form.

SAP Appeals should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid either by mail, fax or in person to:

Lee Hall – Second floor
University of Mary Washington
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Fax: 540-654-1858

SAP Appeal Deadlines

  • Fall semester appeals must be received by January 9th
  • Spring semester appeals must be received by June 1st
  • Summer semesters appeals must be received by August 1st

Appeals received after these dates will not be considered except in documented instances where the student was unable to obtain their supporting documentation prior to the deadline. 

SAP Appeal Notification

The student will be notified by letter to the student’s permanent home address regarding the results of the appeal with a corresponding notification to their UMW email that the letter has been mailed.

If the Appeal is approved: Aid is continued for one term

The student should carefully review the SAP appeal notification which will outline the unique, individualized SAP requirements that the student must meet in order to maintain eligibility for federal and state financial aid. It is possible that the student will still lose their eligibility for UMW scholarships or grants depending on the requirements of those programs. The student is strongly encouraged to work with an Academic Student Success Counselor during the term to ensure compliance with their academic requirements or, if required, their academic plan.

If the Appeal is denied: Aid is immediately suspended until eligibility is re-established

The decision is final for the term of enrollment specified in the letter. A student may still be able to re-establish eligibility on their own, for future enrollment periods, by completing sufficient credit hours or by improving their cumulative GPA. The student may appeal no more than two terms at UMW. Requests for multiple appeals must be for different circumstances.

Financial Aid Probation

This status is assigned to the student who has successfully appealed their financial aid suspension and had their eligibility for aid reinstated. The reinstatement under probation may not be for more than one term of enrollment.

If a student fails to meet the minimum SAP requirements at the end of their probation period, the student is placed back into financial aid suspension. The student is not permitted to appeal this suspension unless there is a new and different circumstance that meets the definition of the acceptable circumstances discussed earlier in the policy. Any new approved appeal will only be approved for one term of enrollment and the student would be placed back into financial aid probation.

Under no circumstances will more than two probation periods be approved for any student. It is expected that a student regain and maintain their satisfactory academic progress at UMW.

Plan for Academic Success

Students placed on Financial Aid Warning, Probation or Suspension are strongly encouraged to schedule an academic advisement appointment with the Office of Academic and Career Services or with their Faculty Advisor. Through advisement, students will work to create academic plans and become connected to campus resources that support academic success. Resources at UMW to help students succeed academically include:

  • The Tutoring Center
  • The Writing Center
  • The Speaking Center
  • Academic Success Workshops
  • The Office of Disability Resources
  • Counseling and Psychological Services

Each of these resources are available to help identify learning issues, provide training for improving academic skills and developing academic plans that assist our students in regaining good academic standing.