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Financial Aid: Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Students receiving financial assistance under the federally supported Title IV Programs must comply with the following set of standards to be eligible for such assistance.  Such standards are referred to as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and are measured on a per-term basis. SAP is an assessment of your cumulative academic record at Western Connecticut State University. This policy is separate and apart from other academic policies at the university.

There are three components measured and weighed in determining SAP to ensure successful completion of a degree within a timeframe consistent with federal regulations. 

Students applying for financial aid must maintain status as a matriculated graduate or undergraduate.  Matriculated students will be evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress based upon qualitative and quantitative standards, as well as a Maximum Timeframe standard.

Students who enroll in the Fresh Start program will only have the credits retained and new GPA as calculated by Fresh Start, included in the determination of their SAP status for the re-entry term.

Financial Aid Programs Affected by Satisfactory Academic Progress

SAP is required for all Title IV funds, state, university, and some alternative loan programs including, but not exclusive to the following:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal College Work-Study
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program
  • Federal Direct Loan Program
  • Subsidized Student Loans
  • Unsubsidized Student Loans
  • Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Alternative/Private Loan Programs
    -Contact individual lenders to find effects of SAP on borrowing
  • CT Governor’s Scholarship
  • CT GEAR UP Scholarship/ Gear Up II Scholarship
  • Connecticut State University Grant
  • State scholarship and grant programs

How is SAP Determined?

Qualitative Measure
Grade Point Average (GPA) is the standard used to qualitatively measure Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Students must meet and maintain the cumulative GPAs listed below:

Credits Earned

Minimum Cumulative GPA Required

Undergraduate: 0-29 credits

1.7

Undergraduate: 30+ credits

2.0

Graduate

3.0

Quantitative Measure
Pace:  Matriculated undergraduate and graduate students must successfully complete two thirds (67%) of all cumulative credits attempted.  For a summary of how attempted credits are classified for SAP purposes, see the table below:

Counted as attempted Credits

Not counted as attempted Credits

Courses with grades A-F earned

Remedial Courses

Withdrawals- W, WF, WFP

Audited Courses

Repeated Courses

Courses never attended

Incompletes- INC, NG

Dropped Courses

Transferred Credits

Non-transferred credits

Pass/Fail Courses- P, FP

Exams (i.e. CLEP)

Courses taken as a non-matriculated student

 

Fresh Start Courses with grades > C-

 

Courses assigned RM/RP

 

No Grade (NG)

 

For clarification on abbreviations, view WCSU’s  grading system .

Below is an example demonstrating how Pace is calculated for SAP purposes:


Previous Transfer Credits

Attempted Fall 2013

Attempted Spring 2014

Total

30

12

15

57

  • The student has attempted a total of 57 credits across both semesters, and including transfer credits.  In order to find out how many credits the student must have completed in order to meet the Pace standard, multiply:

The student must complete and pass 38.19 credits to be in compliance with the Pace requirement of SAP.

Maximum Timeframe 

Undergraduate and graduate students may receive financial aid for attempted credits in their program of study that do not exceed 150% of the published credits needed to complete said program.

  • Example:  if a Bachelor’s degree takes a minimum of 120 credits to complete, multiply as follows to find 150%:

 

Therefore, a student in a Bachelor’s degree program may attempt up to 180 credits before s/he is considered noncompliant with the Maximum Timeframe standard.
This 150% credit rule is also applicable to students who have changed majors, or who seek a dual or second degree.

When is SAP calculated?

All financial aid recipients will be reviewed for Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each payment period, and once grades are posted.  Courses taken during the Winter and Spring Break intersessions will be included in the SAP calculations at the end of the Spring semester payment period. 

The Student Financial Services Office will review each file in accordance with the qualitative, quantitative, and Maximum Timeframe measures described.

If all SAP standards are met, the student will be assigned a status of “SAPOK”, and will retain financial aid eligibility for the next term. 

IF calculations determine the student is not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress…

If a student fails to meet one or more of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, an SAP Warning notification corresponding to the unmet standard(s) will be sent to the student via WestConn email.  At any time, students may also check their SAP status on their Westconnduit account

When a SAP Warning is administered, the student will still be eligible to receive financial aid for the immediate following term, known as the SAP Warning term.  If, at the end of the SAP Warning term the student is meeting the previously unmet standard(s), then the SAP Warning status is lifted, and the student will maintain financial aid eligibility for the following term.

Students who fail to meet the SAP standard during the SAP Warning term will be ineligible for financial aid in the subsequent term or until such time as they again meet the requirements of SAP.
It is possible for a student to be placed on multiple consecutive SAP Warning terms if the SAP Warnings are issued for failing to meet two different standards.

  • Example: A student does not meet the Pace requirement for Fall semester, and is given a Pace Warning for Spring semester.  At the end of Spring semester she is meeting the Pace requirement, but is not meeting the GPA requirement. The student will then receive a GPA Warning for the following Fall semester, and will still be eligible for financial aid.

Students who do not meet the Speed/Maximum Timeframe standard of SAP will not be granted a Warning term.  These students will automatically lose financial aid eligibility, but may file an appeal to have their aid reinstated.

Regaining Eligibility

Apart from successfully appealing, or enrolling in an academic plan, students who are disqualified due to low GPA or low credit hour completion will regain financial eligibility once they achieve the required GPA or credit completion as long as they have not completed more than 150% of their program requirements.  Undergraduate students who are disqualified due to exceeding the 150% of the required units for their program will regain eligibility after they become a Master’s or Doctoral student after their Bachelor’s degree is posted.

…THEN the student may opt to undergo the Appeal Process

If, after one SAP Warning term, the student does not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria, s/he may submit an appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.  Appeals may be based on death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances.  SAP appeals must be written using the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form, and submitted with supporting documentation and a written explanation of what has changed that will allow the student to complete SAP during the next academic term.  This form should be submitted to the SAP Appeal Committee, C/O Enrollment Services, Old Main 206.
If the appeal is approved by the committee, the student’s aid eligibility will be reinstated.  Should an appeal be denied, financial aid will be cancelled for the next term.

Appeal Outcomes and Academic Plan

If a student appeals successfully, financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for the following term.  By the end of term, the student must be meeting the previously unmet SAP standard in order for financial aid to continue to be reinstated for future terms. Students who fail to meet the standard will be ineligible for financial aid in the subsequent term or until such time as they again meet the requirements of SAP.

Some appeal approvals may be based upon a student’s enrollment/completion of an Academic Plan as developed by the SAP Appeal Committee.  The Academic Plan will outline specific academic conditions that must be met in order to maintain financial aid eligibility.

 

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