Academic Eligibility for Federal Title IV Programs
Federal regulations require that schools monitor the academic progress of each applicant for financial assistance to ensure they are meeting academic progress standards. At Union College, the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are evaluated annually at the end of each academic year. In order to maintain SAP, all three of the following guidelines must be met.
- At the end of the first academic year, students are expected to have a GPA of at least 1.65. Students must complete each subsequent academic year with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
- Students must complete their program of study at a cumulative pace of 67%. To illustrate, typically students register for/attempt a total of nine credit-bearing courses per academic year. In order to meet Union's pace standard, six of those courses must be successfully completed (6 ÷ 9 = 67%) each year to meet SAP standards.
- Students are expected to complete graduation requirements within a normal time frame, which is specified and found in the description of each program of study at Union College. In certain circumstances, a student may require more than the specified normal time to fulfill graduation requirements. The maximum time frame in which a student must complete the program is 150% of the published length of program measured in credit-bearing classes attempted.
When evaluating pace, please note the following:
- Credits transferred from other institutions and Advanced Placement credits that are accepted towards the student’s educational program are counted when measuring SAP as classes attempted and classes earned.
- Grades of “W” (withdrawn), “WF” (withdrawn with failure), and “I” (incomplete) will be included as classes attempted, but not as classes earned. Please note, students who have received an “I” and, as a result, are not making SAP are responsible for informing the Financial Aid office when they have been assigned a traditional grade letter. These students should request a review of their SAP status at this time. This review is not considered an appeal and may not result in eligibility for federal student aid. For example, if a processing deadline has passed then federal aid cannot be disbursed regardless of SAP status. It is the responsibility of the student in this situation to contact the financial aid office for all processing deadlines.
- For repeated courses, the original and repeated course attempts will both be included in the total number of classes attempted. However, the student will only receive credit for taking the class once. This includes students who have repeated a course because of a prior failure or who are repeating a course they have passed, but have not met a minimum grade requirement. For instance, if a required prerequisite must be completed with a “C-“ and the student previously passed with a “D,” both classes will count as attempted, but the class will only be counted once as earned.
Students who are not meeting the SAP requirements outlined above will lose federal aid eligibility (Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, PELL, SEOG, and federal work study) the following academic year. In order to regain eligibility, students must be meeting SAP requirements by the end of the following year.
Federal regulations permit students to appeal their loss of federal aid and instead be placed on one term of Academic Probation. Academic Probation status allows for reinstatement of federal funds for one payment period only, provided all appeal conditions are met and approved. The bases on which a student may file an appeal include: the death of a relative, an injury to the student, an illness of the student, and other special circumstances beyond the student’s control. The student must complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, include requested documentation to support the request for an appeal, write a letter that explains what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation, and finally, develop a plan of action with an academic advisor that will ensure the student continues to meet SAP. In certain cases, an academic advisor may develop a plan which will enable the student to meet Union’s SAP standards by a specific point in time. In such situations, until the specified point in time is reached, the student’s progress must be evaluated each term to determine whether or not the student is meeting the requirements of the plan. Any student who is not meeting the requirements of the plan will lose their Academic Probation status and, therefore their eligibility for federal funding. The Appeal Form along with supporting documentation will be reviewed by a committee that includes the Director of Financial Aid and an Academic Dean. The student will be informed of the committee’s decision by letter and/or email.
In the event that a student is placed on financial aid academic probation for one term, Union will review progress at the end of each subsequent term for the entire academic year to confirm he/she is making SAP or meeting the requirements specified in the academic plan.