Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Policy and Procedures

 

All students receiving Federal Title IV financial aid, state aid, or ECSU institutional aid must adhere to the University’s published policy on satisfactory academic progress. The Higher Education Act as amended by Congress mandates that higher education institutions establish minimum standards of “satisfactory academic progress” for students receiving financial aid. The standards used to judge academic progress include all periods of enrollment, even periods in which the student did not receive federal student aid funds.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS

Federal and state regulations require that students at Elizabeth City State University maintain a certain level of academic performance in order to be eligible for financial aid. This is known as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

All students who wish to qualify for financial aid must meet three standards known as SAP.  These standards include:

  1. Earn a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0
  2. Successfully meet completion rate of completing at least 67% of all attempted credit hours
  3. Completion of a degree or program of study within a maximum time frame of 150%

All prior coursework, attempted and earned, is reviewed in the determination of SAP.  Students who have been re-admitted or transfer students are still subject to SAP standards for all attempted coursework at ECSU. 

All students receiving Federal Title IV financial aid, state aid, or ECSU institutional aid must adhere to the University’s published policy on satisfactory academic progress. The Higher Education Act as amended by Congress mandates that higher education institutions establish minimum standards of “satisfactory academic progress” for students receiving financial aid. The standards used to judge academic progress include all periods of enrollment, even periods in which the student did not receive federal student aid funds.

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will measure a student’s academic performance at the end of every term, including summer. Students who fail to meet one or more of the SAP standards at the time their academic progress is reviewed will be given a Financial Aid Warning with one additional semester to meet the standard.  Students will be allowed to receive financial aid during this Financial Aid Warning period.  Those who do not meet the standard after the warning period are not eligible for financial aid.  Ineligible students may appeal the decision.

Eligibility to receive aid may be reestablished by remedying all deficiencies.  Procedures for reestablishing financial aid eligibility are described in this policy statement (see How to Reestablish Eligibility).

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS REQUIREMENTS

I. MINIMUM CUMULATIVE GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA)

In order to receive federal financial aid or other need-based aid, a student’s cumulative GPA must meet the minimum requirement as defined below:

  • Undergraduate Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0.
  • Graduate Students must meet the GPA requirements determined and monitored by the Graduate School.

II. MINIMUM CREDIT HOUR COMPLETION RATE (ALSO KNOWN AS PACE)

All students must earn a minimum of 67% of the credit hours that they have attempted.

Example A:

The student below has earned 73 credits at ECSU, transferred in 47 credits, and has attempted a total of 123 credit hours.  Divide 120 (earned credit hours) by 123 (attempted credit hours).  This student’s credit hour completion rate is 98%.

 

 
Attempted Hours
 
Passed Hours
 
 
Earned Hours
 
 
GPA Hours
 
 
Quality Points
 
GPA
ECSU:

76.000

73.000

73.000

73.000

283.000

3.877

Transfer:

47.000

47.000

47.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

Degree:

123.000

120.000

120.000

73.000

73.000

3.877

 

Example B:

The student has attempted a total of 48 credit hours during his entire attendance at ECSU.  In order to meet the minimum credit hour completion rate requirement and be eligible for financial aid for future semesters, the student must have earned 32 of those credit hours (48 x 0.67 = 32).  In this case, the student has only earned 24 credit hours and is NOT meeting the minimum credit hour completion rate (24 divided by 48 = 50%).  This student is not eligible for financial aid.

 

 
Attempted Hours
 
Passed Hours
 
 
Earned Hours
 
 
GPA Hours
 
 
Quality Points
 
GPA
ECSU:

48.000

24.000

24.000

24.000

60.000

2.500

Transfer:

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

Degree:

48.000

24.000

24.000

24.000

60.000

2.500

 

Earned/Unearned hours

Earned Hours are comprised of the following grades: A, B, C, D, P 

Unearned Hours are comprised of the following grades:  F, I, IF, IP, W, WA, WD

Graduate students who earn IP grades for dissertation/thesis research credits will be evaluated on a case by case basis separate from the initial SAP review process.

 

Withdrawals (W)

Courses for which a student has withdrawn and a grade of “W” is posted on their transcript are counted as attempted but not earned credit hours.

 

Course Repeats

If a student repeats a course, both the original and the repeated courses will count toward the earned and attempted credit hours.  Students may only receive federal financial aid for one repeat of a course that has been successfully completed with a grade of “D” or higher.

 

Incomplete Grades (I)

Courses for which a student earns a grade of Incomplete (I) are counted as attempted but not earned credit hours.  Once a grade is received, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid by submitting an appeal.

Remedial or English As a Second Language Coursework:

Remedial and ESL coursework are treated the same as other course work for financial aid purposes. Both the attempted and earned hours count in the calculation of completion ratio and maximum allotted hours. 

 

III. MAXIMUM CREDIT HOURS

To remain eligible for financial aid at ECSU, students must complete their degree program requirements within 150 percent of the published length of their degree program.  All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received.  

Undergraduate Example:

If an Undergraduate degree program requires 120 semester credit hours to complete, then a student is eligible for financial aid during the first 180 attempted credit hours as an Undergraduate. 

(120 x 150% = 180 maximum attempted credit hours for financial aid eligibility).

Graduate Students

Graduate students must complete their degree within the maximum time frame as determined and monitored by the Graduate School.

Second Degree-Seeking Students

All attempted hours from a prior degree will not count towards the second degree, unless they are needed for that degree. A student pursuing a second undergraduate degree is eligible to receive financial aid for a maximum of 150% of the hours required for the second degree (maximum of 228 hours including hours for first degree). 

Students Changing Majors after their Sophomore Year:

All attempted hours from courses related to a prior major may not count towards a change in major, unless they are needed for the new academic program. A student who changes their major after their sophomore year in college is eligible to receive financial aid for a maximum of 150% of the hours required for the new academic program (maximum of 228 hours including hours for first major). 

Mid-Year Transfer Students:

When a student transfers to the University, all of their transfer credit hours are counted towards the pace component of SAP as attempted and earned hours.  Transfer grades are excluded from the GPA component.  The GPA starts at 0.00 as a new transfer.

IV. DEFINITIONS

Financial Aid Warning

A student will be placed on financial aid warning for one semester when the student does not meet all three SAP standards at the end of a semester, including summer sessions.  Students with a status of financial aid warning may receive financial aid and enroll in courses.

A student on financial aid warning must meet all three SAP standards at the end of the next semester of attendance to be in good financial aid standing.  Failure to do so will result in financial aid suspension. 

Financial Aid Suspension

A student is placed on financial aid suspension when the student does not meet all three SAP standards for two consecutive semesters of attendance, including summer sessions.  The second consecutive semester is the Financial Aid Warning period.  A student on financial aid suspension may NOT receive financial aid.

A student on financial aid suspension must meet all three SAP standards at the end of the suspension period (one term) to return to good financial aid standing. 

Financial Aid Probation

A student who does not meet all three SAP standards at the end of their Financial Aid Warning period are placed on financial aid suspension, as indicated above. 

Students who successfully appeal their financial aid suspension are placed on financial aid probation for one semester.  The submission of an academic plan may allow for additional probationary semesters if it indicates a mathematical possibility of returning to good SAP standing during that time.   

HOW TO RE-ESTABLISH ELIGIBILITY 

There are two ways a student can re-establish their eligibility for financial aid:

  1. A student must bring his/her GPA and/or completion rate up to the minimum standards, as stated above, to regain financial aid eligibility. At the end of the term after meeting SAP standards, the student will regain financial aid eligibility. A student should consult with a Financial Aid Counselor to ensure aid eligibility is reinstated for the next period of enrollment.
  2. Transfer credit accepted by ECSU that applies to the student’s program can affect completion rate. If transfer credit is accepted by ECSU the student should request a review of their satisfactory academic progress to determine if eligibility has changed.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS APPEALS

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form

 2019-2020 SAP Appeal Deadlines

Fall 2019

Spring 2020

Summer 2020

August 6

January 7

May 12

 

If a student has experienced special circumstances (limited to personal illness or injury, family member illness or injury, death of an immediate family member, job related issues, victim of a crime, and other) during the most recent evaluation period that s/he did not meet standards of academic progress, an appeal to request reinstatement of financial aid eligibility can be submitted.  A completed appeal form and supporting documentation is required before the appeal will be reviewed.  Acceptable supporting documentation is outlined on the Financial Aid Appeal Form.  

In some situations, an academic plan may be required.  If the appeal request is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for a minimum of one semester.

  • One Semester Probation – The student is eligible for financial aid, and is expected to improve and meet minimum standards by the next evaluation period to maintain eligibility.
  • SAP Academic Plan – A student who cannot meet the minimum standards by the next evaluation period is placed on a SAP academic plan developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisor. The academic plan is designed to allow the student to meet minimum standards within a fixed number of evaluation periods (generally two semesters). Progress is checked each semester and evaluated based on the terms of the plan.  If the student fails to meet the requirements of the plan, they will become ineligible for financial aid.  If a student meets the minimum SAP standards while on an academic plan their financial aid status is updated to eligible at their next checkpoint.

If the appeal request is not granted, the student will remain ineligible for financial aid until they meet all minimum standards.

Students may not submit an appeal for two consecutive review periods (this includes probationary periods). Undergraduate students in a four year program may submit a maximum of two appeals for the duration of their program; graduate students may submit a maximum of one.

Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed.  If additional information is required, an email will be sent to the student’s ECSU email account as well as a message posted on the Self- Service Banner System.  After 30 days of being incomplete, the appeal will be denied.

Once all required documentation is submitted, students will be notified electronically of the outcome of their appeal.  Appeal decisions will be updated on the Self-Service Banner system.

Deadlines:

Appeals must be submitted by the end of the drop/add period for the semester in which the student is attempting to regain their financial aid eligibility.  If the appeal is denied, the student will be responsible for paying that semester’s tuition and fees out of pocket or with a private education loan (if eligible).