Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policies
The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships (OSFAS) has established the following policies and procedures stated to fulfill the requirements expressed in the Higher Education Act (HEA) as revised for the 2011-12 academic year. The Satisfactory Academic Progress policies and procedures of Ohio University are reviewed when changes at the federal or institutional level require review to ensure compliance with Federal Regulations. All Ohio University students applying for Title IV federal and selected other types of assistance must meet the criteria stated hereafter regardless of whether or not they previously received aid.
The academic year is the 365 day period that begins with the first day of the Fall semester and ends with the day before the first day of the following Fall semester. It comprises the Fall, Spring, and Summer Semesters in sequential order, beginning with the Fall semester. Regarding the completion of degree requirements, an academic year for a given student is the completion of two full semesters, normally Fall and Spring.
The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships utilizes summer as a header for financial aid purposes. Therefore, our annual SAP review occurs after spring semester. Payment periods begin and end with term begin and end dates. Disbursement is based on credit hours.
Policy Requirements – The HEA revised section 668 contains updated regulations concerning Satisfactory Academic Progress. Section 668 requires that an institution establish, publish and apply reasonable standards for measuring a student’s ability to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Such standards must meet the following qualifications:
1. Contain standards that are the same as or stricter than the institution’s standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving assistance under a Title IV, HEA program.
2. Include both a qualitative (grade-based) element and a quantitative (time-based) element.
3. Evaluate student progress in both elements annually, at a minimum.
4. Provide specific procedures under which a student may appeal a determination that the student is not making satisfactory progress including documentation of extenuating circumstances.
5. Provide specific procedures for a student to re-establish that he or she is maintaining “satisfactory progress.”
6. Describe the pace at which a student must progress toward a degree to complete degree requirements within the allowed timeframe providing measurement at each evaluation.
7. Describe how GPA and pace of completion are affected by transfer credit.
8. Require that if the student is not making satisfactory academic progress, the student is no longer eligible to receive aid.
9. Notify students of the results of the evaluation at the end of each increment as to whether the student has met the qualitative and quantitative components.
10. Define terms used in discussing the evaluation of satisfactory academic progress including the terms appeal, probation, academic plan, and maximum timeframe.
11. Provide for consistent application of standards to all students within categories of students, e.g., full-time, part-time, undergraduate, and graduate students (excluding doctorate students and medical students), and educational programs established by the institution.
The programs governed by these regulations are:
1. For Undergraduates:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Federal Work-Study (FWS)
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
- Ohio College Opportunity Grant
- All Ohio University grants merit and need-based
2. For Graduates (excludes doctorate and medical students):
- Federal Work-Study (FWS)
- Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS
Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be reviewed annually at the close of spring semester. The determination date for eligibility will occur within seven days of the posting of spring semester grades. Satisfactory Academic Progress standards include three elements:
- maximum time frame within which a degree or certificate must be granted,
- minimum completion percentage, and
- minimum cumulative grade point average.
HEA section 668 requires that Ohio University define various terms related to the evaluation of SAP.
Maximum Timeframe (MTF) – The required length of time it will take a student to complete a degree program or certificate based on the appropriate enrollment status. Federal regulations allow a student to be eligible to receive aid up to 150% of the time that it would normally take to complete a degree. All credit hours in which a student enrolls or transfers to the University are included in the maximum time frame calculation, regardless of the number of degrees a student chooses to obtain. Grades that are considered hours attempted and completed in the calculation of maximum time frame include: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, FS, FN, CR, NR, F I, I, I*, PR, WP, WF, W, P, PS, S, T, TP or TD.
Minimum Completion Percentage (MCP) – The percentage of coursework that a student must earn during enrollment. Ohio University requires students to earn passing grades in 67% of the hours in which they enroll during the evaluation period. Grades that are considered hours earned include: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, CR, P, PS, S, T, TP and TD.
Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average – The minimum GPA a student must have earned at the end of the evaluation period. For undergraduate students, a 2.0 GPA is required. For graduate students, a 3.0 GPA is required.
SAP Appeal – The process by which a student who is not meeting the institution's standards petitions the institution for reconsideration of the student's eligibility. Students are evaluated at the close of spring term annually. At this time, any student not meeting all SAP components will be ineligible for any further financial aid. Students may submit an appeal to be considered for reinstatement on a probationary status of no more than one term to resolve all deficiencies. Students who appeal, but for whom it would be mathematically impossible to resolve all deficiencies in one term, will be placed on an academic plan. Per Federal Regulations, Ohio University can only consider appeals based on the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstance. Appeals must provide documentation of circumstances on which the appeal is based. Appeals must also specify why the student failed to satisfy SAP requirements and what has changed in the student’s situation.
SAP Probation – A status assigned to a student who fails to satisfy SAP requirements, who has successfully appealed and had eligibility for aid reinstated. Reinstatement of aid during this probationary period may be no longer than one term. Additional periods of probation are determined by performance during previously approved probationary periods.
Academic Plan – Students may be placed on an academic plan upon submission of a successful appeal. If it is mathematically impossible for a student to resolve all deficiencies during on term of attendance and the student’s reason for appeal is appropriate according to federal regulations, the student may be placed on an academic plan with the end goal being to resolve all deficiencies. An academic plan varies in length and is determined by the SAP committee. It does not have to equate to the exact number of terms it would take a student to resolve all deficiencies. Students granted aid eligibility through an academic plan may receive aid for up to one year before conducting a review of the student’s performance. If the student is meeting the criteria identified in the SAP appeal approval at the annual review, the student’s academic plan may be extended.
Reinstatement – The act of removing all SAP deficiencies reinstating aid eligibility. Reinstatement is defined as removing all deficiencies acquired during all period of enrollment or caused by transfer credits. Reinstatement is not a status granted in regard to an appeal.
The following provide detailed information regarding the evaluation of the three components required in the review of SAP.
Maximum Time Frame (MTF)
Maximum Time Frame is defined as the required length of time it will take a student to complete a degree program or certificate based on the appropriate enrollment status. For purposes of maximum time frame, a degree “program” is defined to be the level of degree, i.e. undergraduate, associate or graduate. Ohio University’s associate degree in nursing requires more hours than other associate degrees for completion. Federal regulations allow a student to be eligible to receive aid up to 150% of the time that it would normally take to complete a degree. Again, maximum time frame is calculated for aid applicants regardless of whether or not they previously received aid. All credit hours in which a student enrolls or transfers to the University are included in the maximum time frame calculation, regardless of the number of degrees a student chooses to obtain. All undergraduate hours are considered when determining the maximum time frame calculation for either a baccalaureate or associate’s degree. All graduate hours are considered when determining the maximum time frame calculation for a graduate student. Proper withdrawal from classes prior to the 14th day of enrollment will not affect maximum time frame.
As an example, for an undergraduate, 150% of the credit hours that it would normally take to complete a Baccalaureate Degree requiring 120 credit hours is 180 credit hours. This is determined by multiplying 120 credit hours by 150%. In this example, the student may remain eligible through 180 hours of enrollment. If the 180 hour maximum time frame limit is exceeded while pursuing an undergraduate degree, and the student has not yet exceeded 210 credit hours, the student may submit an appeal form to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for consideration of his/her eligibility to receive federal and selected other types of aid if the student is eligible to appeal. Appeals will not be considered if a student has exceeded 210 credit hours.
For undergraduate students pursuing an associate’s degree requiring 60 credit hours, the MTF is 90 credit hours. This is determined by multiplying 60 credit hours by 150%. In this example, the student may remain eligible through 90 hours of enrollment. If the 90 credit hour maximum time frame limit is exceeded while the student pursues an undergraduate degree, and the student has not yet exceeded 105 credit hours, the student may submit an appeal form to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for consideration of his/her eligibility to receive federal and selected other types of aid if the student is eligible to appeal. Appeals will not be considered if a student has exceeded 105 credit hours.
For undergraduate students pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing, the MTF is 111 credit hours. This is determined by multiplying 74 credit hours (the requirement for degree completion) by 150%. For an undergraduate student seeking a two-year nursing degree, the student may remain eligible through 111 hours of enrollment. If the 111 credit hour maximum time frame limit is exceeded while the student pursues an undergraduate degree, and the student has not yet exceeded 130 credit hours, the student may submit an appeal form to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for consideration of his/her eligibility to receive federal and selected other types of aid if the student is eligible to appeal. Appeals will not be considered if a student has exceeded 130 credit hours.
Undergraduate students who have earned a Bachelor’s Degree and are seeking another undergraduate degree or teacher’s certification are eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study. The student pursuing a second degree or teacher’s certification may continue to receive aid if they have not exceeded the 180 hour maximum time frame limit while completing their first degree.
For graduates (excluding medical and doctorate students):
As an example, for a graduate, 150% of the time that it would normally take to complete a Master’s Degree requiring 60 credit hours is 90 credit hours. This is determined by the average number of hours required to earn a Master's Degree. In this example, graduate students may remain eligible for aid through the first 90 hours of enrollment. If the 90 hours maximum time frame limit is exceeded while pursuing a second graduate degree, and the student has not yet exceeded 105 credit hours, the student may submit an appeal form to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for consideration of his/her eligibility to receive federal student aid.
Graduate students who have earned a Master’s Degree and are seeking another graduate degree or teacher’s certification are eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loans. The student pursuing a second degree or teacher’s certification may continue to receive aid if they have not exceeded the 90 hours maximum time frame limit while completing their first degree.
Students will receive annual notices of their pace of progression toward the degree in which they were most recently enrolled. This pace will display the number of hours being counted toward their maximum time frame and an explanation of the maximum timeframe permitted for their degree completion.
Minimum Completion Percentage (MCP)
The Minimum Completion Percentage component requires student aid applicants and recipients to earn, at least, 67% of their hours attempted during each semester of attendance. For example, a student who is enrolled in 12 credit hours for any given semester must earn grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, CR, P, PS, S, T, TP and/or TD, in at least eight credit hours. A student enrolled in 16 credit hours, must earn grades in 11 credit hours. A student enrolled in seven credit hours, must earn grades in five credit hours.
Proper Withdrawal from classes during the add/drop period will not affect minimum completion percentage. At the close of each year, the completion percentages from each semester are added together. Students with a completion percentage less than 67% for the year are ineligible to receive federal and other forms of aid.
Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
Students must satisfy the qualitative portion of Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations by maintaining the minimum cumulative grade point average accepted by Ohio University as described below. The award year begins with summer semester and ends with spring semester.
For undergraduates, first-year students must earn a minimum of a 1.75 cumulative grade point average by the end of the first award year. Undergraduate students must earn a minimum of a 2.00 cumulative grade point average by the end of all subsequent award years to be eligible for aid. For graduates (excluding medical and doctorate students), students must maintain at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average by the end of each award year to be eligible for aid. Proper withdrawal from classes during the add/drop period will not affect the cumulative grade point average. Incomplete courses do not earn credit or influence the grade point in the semester in which the course is incomplete; however, they are counted once they are completed.
Unearned or Repeated Coursework
Proper Withdrawal from classes prior to the 14th day of enrollment will not affect minimum completion percentage. At the close of each year, the completion percentages from each quarter are added together. Students with a completion percentage less than 67% for the year are ineligible to receive federal and other forms of aid.
Students who withdraw from a course after the end of the add/drop period (2nd Friday of the semester) will negatively impact their completion percentage. There is no effect on GPA. Withdrawn courses occurring after the end of the add/drop period are counted in the maximum timeframe calculation.
Students who receive an incomplete grade (I) will negatively impact their completion percentage until such a time that the incomplete changes to a graded course. There is no effect on GPA. If a student’s SAP status is positively impacted by a mid-year grade change, the student must contact our office for a manual review. Incomplete courses are counted in the maximum timeframe calculation.
Repeated course are individually counted when calculating completion percentage. For example, if a student takes Math 1000 twice and it is a five credit hour course, 10 credit hours will be counted as attempted; thus, impacting the maximum timeframe calculation. If the student fails the course the first time and receives a C the second time, five credit hours are counted as earned. Repeated courses do positively impact GPA as the highest grade received is only counted in the GPA calculation.
Remedial coursework is included when determining the minimum completion percentage and maximum timeframe, but is not included in the GPA.
Hours transferred from another school are counted as attempted and earned hours when determining minimum completion percentage. This positively impacts completion percentage, but could negatively impact maximum timeframe
At a minimum, all students enrolled during any term of the academic year are sent two email reminders regarding SAP policies at Ohio University. Additionally, all students who are ineligible or on a timeframe warning status will be notified of the results of the annual SAP review.
SAP Timeframe Warning – This email provides SAP standing and the imminent maximum timeframe limit. Undergraduates receive a timeframe warning if their calculated MTF is 150 to 179, undergraduates seeking a two-year degree receive a timeframe warning if their calculated MTF is 61 to 89, undergraduates seeking a two year nursing degree receive a timeframe warning if their calculated MTF is 75 to 110, and graduates receive a timeframe warning if their calculated MTF is 61 to 89. Additionally, students are only placed on a timeframe warning if they do not have a MCP or GPA deficiency. Students on a timeframe warning are eligible to receive all forms of aid for which they qualify during the subsequent award year.
SAP Ineligible – This letter is sent to students who have failed to meet, at least, one component of SAP. Students found to be deficient in GPA, MCP, and/or MTF after the annual review are considered ineligible for all forms of financial aid during the subsequent award year. Aid can only be reinstated through a successful, documented appeal or by resolving all deficiencies.
SAP Appeal Procedures
Federal regulations do not require that a school allow students an opportunity to appeal an unsatisfactory status. Ohio University has chosen to exercise the ability to use professional judgment and entertain appeals for reinstatement of aid for no more than one term of probation. Students for whom it would be mathematically impossible to resolve all deficiencies during one term may be placed on an academic plan, which gives much more flexibility in financial aid reinstatement. However, per federal regulations, only appeals documenting specific circumstances will be considered for approval. The Assistant Director overseeing SAP will review the content of the appeal. Only appeals that document the following reasons will be considered:
- Serious physical or mental illness of the student
- Serious physical or mental illness of the student’s immediate family member
- Death of the student’s immediate family member
- Other extreme circumstances
If the appeal is not submitted for one of these reasons, it will automatically be denied by the Assistant Director and will not be heard by the SAP Appeal Committee. If the appeal is submitted based on an approved circumstance, but does not provide documentation of said circumstance(s), the Assistant Director will contact the student and request the documentation. If the appeal is complete and all necessary documentation is provided, the Assistant Director will prepare to present the appeal to the SAP Appeal Committee.
Students may only submit one appeal per academic career. For example, students may appeal once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate. Exceptions may be made for students who have not attended Ohio University for, at least, three full academic years.
There is no secondary or director appeal process. If an appeal is denied, students can only be reinstated for aid eligibility if they satisfy all deficiencies. If an appeal is approved and the student does not fulfill the conditions of his or her probation or academic plan, the student will not be eligible for aid for any future semesters during their academic career unless the student satisfies all deficiencies. Successfully attending 12 credit hours at your own expense no longer qualifies a student to regain aid eligibility. Certain extreme situations will be vetted through a student’s regional campus SAP advisor or the Associate Director of Operations on the Athens campus. If feasible, a petition may be made to the director only when a student has failed to perform well during the period of probation due to specific, extreme circumstances. No petition to the director will be considered on the basis of a denied appeal decided by the SAP Appeal Committee.
The SAP Appeal Committee is an assigned group of three financial aid administrators who serve as an impartial “jury” hearing SAP appeals. This committee determines probationary aid eligibility of students. The committee also reviews NCAA Appeals and makes recommendations to the Director regarding what action to take (see section entitled “NCAA Appeals”). The Assistant Director serves as the committee chair. He or she is responsible for designating a time and place that is convenient with the other SAP Appeal Committee members to hear appeals. The other two seats on the SAP committee are filled on a rotating basis semester by semester.
At the SAP Appeal Committee meeting, the chairperson provides the demographic and applicable academic information as well as the student’s SAP standing. The committee also reviews the student’s grades during the most recent enrollment period. The chairperson also reads the appeal information and provides the student’s documentation. He or she then reads the advisor/advocate section of the appeal.
The committee determines the action that will be taken and the Assistant Director updates the PeopleSoft system. Either the appeal will be denied and the student will remain ineligible or the appeal will be approved reinstating aid eligibility for no more than one term or placing the student on an academic plan. In cases of denial, there is no further action or secondary appeal process. The committee’s decision of a denial stands.
SAP Probation – In cases where the appeal is approved, the student may only be permitted one term of aid. During this term, the student is considered to be on SAP Probation. Future terms of probation will be determined based on the student’s performance during each probationary term. Unless otherwise specified, students must maintain the minimum GPA required for the academic career for the term and must complete, at least, 67% of courses attempted to be extended for the subsequent semester. Students on SAP Probation for timeframe will be reviewed to determine if the academic plan is currently being followed and future enrollment is following this plan.
At the end of each term, all students on SAP Probation will be reviewed to determine whether or not the student maintained the minimum GPA and MCP and/or the MTF academic plan is being followed. If a student fails to meet these criteria, the student loses aid eligibility. It will not be reinstated unless the student satisfies all SAP deficiencies at the end of the evaluation period. Notification of the term probation review will be sent to students.
At the SAP annual review, students who were on probation or an academic plan during their most recent term of attendance will be reviewed for an additional probationary term or continuation of the academic plan in the next academic year. A student may be reinstated for federal and selected other types of financial assistance by successfully satisfying all deficiencies. Students who regain eligibility by resolving all deficiencies will be identified during the annual SAP review. After eligibility has been established, any award will depend upon the availability of funds and other aid eligibility criteria.