Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility
Federal regulations require institutions participating in Title IV student financial aid programs to establish standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for recipients of financial aid. In general, these SAP standards also apply to financial aid programs authorized and funded by the State of Georgia, as well as Brenau’s own institutional aid programs.
The purpose of SAP is to measure a student’s progress toward completion of the specific educational program in which he or she is enrolled. The policy is used to determine if an enrolled financial aid recipient is making satisfactory academic progress, regardless of whether or not financial aid was applied for or received during the term or enrollment period under review. The SAP policy is consistently applied to all students, ensuring both the quality of academic work and the completion of a program within the maximum time frame. A student’s academic performance will be evaluated at the end of each semester (fall, spring, and summer) if the student is enrolled in a traditional term-based program. For students enrolled in non-term cohort programs, academic performance will be evaluated at the end of each established full-time enrollment period.
The SAP policy will measure both qualitative and quantitative standards, as students must meet both standards to remain eligible for aid.
Qualitative Standard. This standard measures grade point average (GPA).
-Brenau requires an undergraduate student to maintain a cumulative institutional grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better to remain eligible for financial aid. This GPA is calculated on all courses taken for academic credit at Brenau University as well as those accepted for transfer from other eligible postsecondary institutions. In addition, federal regulations stipulate that at the end of the second academic year of enrollment, a federal student aid recipient must have at least a “C” (or 2.0) average, or an academic standing that will allow the student to meet the requirements for graduating from his/her academic program.
Note: The minimum undergraduate GPA requirement referred to above does not apply to the renewal of academic scholarships, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, or other grant or scholarship programs that require a higher GPA for renewal or continuation of eligibility.
-A graduate student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. This GPA is calculated on all courses taken for academic credit at Brenau University as well as those accepted for transfer from other eligible postsecondary institutions. In addition, a graduate student may earn no grades below a C. Even when a student’s term or enrollment period GPA is 3.0 or higher, if any grades below a C were earned in that term or enrollment period, the student is not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.
Quantitative Standard. This standard establishes the rate at which a student must progress to ensure completion of his/her degree program within the allowable maximum time frame.
–Rate of Progress. A student receiving financial aid must demonstrate measurable progress toward the completion of his/her degree program by maintaining a minimum overall completion rate of 67 percent. This applies to both full-time and part-time financial aid recipients. The rate of progress is calculated using the following formula:
Hours Successfully Completed or Earned ÷ Hours Attempted
Attempted hours are those credit hours that remain on a student’s transcript after the last date on which classes can be totally eliminated from a student’s registration as published by the Brenau Registrar. Earned hours represent successfully completed courses in which grades of A, B, C, D or P are awarded, as long as credit is earned. Withdrawals (W), incompletes (I) and failed courses (F or WF) are considered attempted hours but not earned hours.
The following points should be noted with regard to the rate-of-progress calculations:
- If a course with an incomplete grade (I) impacts a student’s satisfactory academic progress standing, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid when a final grade has been earned.
- Audited courses are considered neither attempted nor earned hours.
- Credits transferred to Brenau University, including those taken as a transient student while enrolled at Brenau, are included in attempted hours and earned hours, and are subject to the maximum time frame standards below.
- Repeated courses, for which a passing grade was previously received, are included in attempted hours and GPA calculations, but are not included in earned hours.
–Maximum Time Frame. Federal student aid regulations stipulate that an undergraduate student must complete his or her academic program within 150 percent of the published program length. The measurement is cumulative and includes all periods with or without federal student aid. Frequent withdrawals from individual courses or from school, changes of major, and failed or repeated courses could jeopardize financial aid eligibility. A student who has completed sufficient hours and courses to complete his or her degree program is no longer eligible for financial aid even if there is some other obstacle, such as required GPA, that is preventing graduation. Graduate students are not subject to the 150 percent limitation; however, maximum time frame is based on the length of the educational program.
Important Note: A recipient of federal student aid may not enroll in courses generally not required for his/her specific educational program. This includes enrolling in unneeded courses for the sole purpose of attaining a higher cumulative GPA or to simply maintain a specific enrollment status (i.e. half-time to establish federal loan eligibility or full-time to maintain eligibility for health insurance). However, a student is allowed to repeat a course that was previously passed in order to obtain a higher grade, but can receive financial aid to repeat
that course only one time. The intent of this repeat policy is to allow a student to try to earn a higher grade and an improved GPA when, on the advice of the student’s academic advisor, the student needs to take that action to gain admission into a specific Brenau major. Students will not be allowed to repeat previously passed courses for the sole purpose of obtaining a desired financial aid package or disbursement.
SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) EVALUATION PROCESS
The financial aid recipient’s academic performance records maintained by the Registrar’s office will be reviewed at the end of each semester or non-term enrollment period to determine if the student is maintaining the standards established in the SAP policy. A student who fails to meet the SAP standards, qualitative and/or quantitative, will be assigned one of the following SAP statuses, and will be notified in writing.
–Financial Aid Warning is the status assigned to a student who has not achieved the required GPA and/or has not met the rate of progress standards of the SAP policy. A student on financial aid warning is eligible for financial aid for one additional semester or non-term enrollment period. No appeal is necessary. However, it is recommended that during the Financial Aid Warning term, the student meet with his or her academic advisor, and take the following preventive measures to avoid the loss of Title IV eligibility:
- Identify the obstacle(s) encountered during the last semester or enrollment period;
- Develop and commit to workable and achievable solutions for overcoming the obstacles identified.
–Financial Aid Suspension is the status assigned to a student who, after one semester or enrollment period on financial aid warning, still has a deficient GPA and/or has not met the rate of progress standards. Financial aid warning status also applies to a student who has exceeded the 150% time frame for completing his/her degree program. A student on financial aid suspension will be notified of his/her ineligibility for future financial aid, as well as how to submit an appeal. (Appeal process outlined below).
–Financial Aid Probation is the status assigned to a student who failed to make satisfactory academic progress, but submitted a qualifying appeal, and had eligibility for financial aid reinstated. A student placed on financial aid probation is eligible for financial aid for one semester or enrollment period in which he/she must fully meet the requirements of Brenau’s satisfactory academic progress policy.
-In the event it will be mathematically impossible for a student who submitted a qualifying SAP appeal to meet SAP standards in one semester or enrollment period, he/she may be placed on an Academic Plandesigned to ensure SAP compliance by a specific point in time. In this scenario, the status of Financial Aid Probation will continue as long as the student is meeting the specific components of the plan and is progressing satisfactorily in the timeframe allotted. Failure to meet any prescribed academic benchmarks will result in final suspension of aid eligibility with no further right of appeal.
If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a student from making SAP for two semesters or enrollment periods, resulting in a status of Financial Aid Suspension, it is possible to appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for a review of those circumstances as they relate to the student’s academic standing. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form and a typewritten explanation of the extenuating circumstance(s) must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid within two weeks of being notified of the Financial Aid Suspension status.
In addition to the SAP Appeal Form, a written financial aid appeal MUST include these two components:
- The extenuating circumstances that resulted in the student’s failure to make SAP. Acceptable circumstances on which a student could base an appeal are those that could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the semester or enrollment period, and that were completely beyond the students’ control. They could include serious injury, illness (physical or mental) of the student or an immediate family member, death of an immediate family member, or other extenuating circumstances. Appeals should include a detailed description of the applicable circumstances, along with related documentation (i.e., statement from physician or other healthcare provider, report from law enforcement or social services agency, copy of death certificate, etc.) that supports those circumstances.
- The positive changes that have occurred that will ensure the student can achieve SAP by the next evaluation. The student must include information regarding extenuating circumstances that will no longer exist or be an issue, as well as any additional measures that will be taken to ensure he/she will make SAP during the probationary semester or enrollment period, if granted.
The Director of Financial Aid, or another designated senior member of the Financial Aid Office will review each written appeal, along with relevant academic history. The student will be notified via his/her Brenau email account of the appeal decision. A student whose appeal is approved may receive financial aid for one probationary semester or enrollment period, after which another SAP review will be conducted. A student who fails to meet the academic requirements outlined in the Financial Aid Probation email notification will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension for a second and final time, after which there is no option for appeal.
Restoring Financial Aid Eligibility. A student whose appeal is not granted, or a student who cannot document qualifying extenuating circumstances, can only regain eligibility by meeting the requirements of Brenau’s SAP policy as stated above. Taking courses at the student’s expense (without financial aid), sitting out a semester, or successfully completing courses at another institution does not automatically restore financial aid eligibility. When a student has resolved the academic deficiencies that resulted in the termination of eligibility, he or she should contact the Office of Financial Aid and request a new SAP evaluation.