Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and Procedures


To be eligible to receive Financial Aid, which includes funds from federal, state and institutional programs, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is required by the U.S. Department of Education to establish minimum standards of SAP to ensure the student is proceeding in a positive manner toward graduation. SAP is calculated each semester and includes all periods of the student's enrollment, including periods in which the student does not receive financial aid funds.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students attending ECSU must be in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress with a minimum grade point average (GPA) and completion rate in accordance with the maximum time frame, as stated below. In addition, effective fall 2013 all returning students with cumulative earned hours from 1-90 and above must maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.80 at the end of Fall 2013 and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 at the end of Spring 2004. Effective Spring 2014, all students will be governed by the following scale:

A. Grade Point Average Requirement (Qualitative)

Students must maintain the following minimum cumulative GPA:

Cumulative Earned Hours Minimum Cumulative GPA
1-29 2.0
30-59 2.0
60-89 2.0
90-190 2.0
2nd Degree & Certificate 2.0
Graduate Students 3.0


If a student's GPA falls below the required minimum cumulative GPA, his or her eligibility to receive financial aid will be jeopardized. A student will be put on financial aid warning for the semester following the term that the student failed to earn the required minimum cumulative GPA. The student has the following semester of attendance to earn the required minimum cumulative GPA. The student may receive financial aid while on financial aid warning. At the end of the warning period, if the required minimum cumulative GPA is met, the student is taken off of financial aid warning. If the required minimum cumulative GPA is not achieved, then the student will be placed on financial aid suspension during the next semester of attendance. The student will not receive financial aid assistance while on financial aid suspension. The total cumulative earned hours consist of hours earned at ECSU and accepted transfer credits. Transfer credits are not included in the computation of the cumulative GPA for financial aid unless the credit was earned while attending other schools as a Transient Student where a student was taking classes at another institution as a degree-seeking ECSU student.

B. Completion Rate (Quantitative)

Students must earn a minimum of 67 percent of the cumulative coursework attempted (excluding transferred hours). Failure to complete this minimum percentage will result in a student being placed on financial aid warning during the next semester of attendance. If the student completes 67 percent of the coursework attempted during the warning semester, then the student will be taken off of financial aid warning. If the student completes less than 67 percent of cumulative coursework attempted during the warning semester, then the student will be placed on financial aid suspension for the next attending semester.

C. Maximum Time Frame

All students must complete their program of study within a maximum time frame of one and-one-half (150 percent) times the length of the program in which they are enrolled. This means that once a student has attempted one-and-one-half times the minimum number of credit hours necessary for completing program requirements, the student will be ineligible to receive financial aid. Attempted hours include all attempted hours at ECSU and all accepted transfer credit. Double majors are expected to complete their program of student within 186 credit hours. If the student qualifies for graduation in a particular major but makes a personal decision to double major, the student is no longer entitled to receive Federal Title IV Aid. Second degree students are required to complete their second degree within the maximum 150% of the hours required for the second degree (maximum of 246 including hours for the first degree). For graduate students, the maximum time frame is 54 attempted hours. If the time limit has been exceeded, aid eligibility ends. The student will be placed on financial aid suspension status.


Grades of IP (in-progress), W (withdrew), WA (withdrew administratively), WP (withdrew passing), WF (withdrew failing), and WD (withdrew from the university) are not included in calculating a student's GPA, but are counted as course work attempted. I (incomplete) and FA (failure due to absenteeism) are counted as an F. All grade changes must be submitted and processed during the first 10 days of classes of the following semester. Any changes after the first 10 days of the following semester will not be included in the SAP calculation.

Transfer Students

Transfer students accepted by ECSU, not previously enrolled at ECSU, will be classified as maintaining SAP for the first semester enrolled. At the end of the first semester, the student's grades will be measured in accordance with the ECSU's SAP requirements. Students who previously attended ECSU, transferred to another school, then returned to ECSU, will have all of their course work reviewed.

Financial Aid Suspension

Once a student is on financial aid suspension, the student must pay for the next attending semester at his or her own expense (alternative loans may be used). All federal, state and institutional funds are removed for the semester(s) the student has to pay. Once the student has enrolled for 6 or more hours and successfully completed the semester maintaining SAP requirements, the student's financial aid will be reinstated to financial aid probation status for the next attending term.

Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension

Students have the right to appeal their suspension of financial aid if they have extenuating circumstances that prevented them from making SAP. Extenuating circumstances are limited to 1) death or serious illness or injury to an immediate family member, 2) extended hospitalization or medical condition of the student, 3) victimization of a violent crime or natural disaster, 4) and work related difficulties, and 5) other unexpected documented situations. Lack of transportation to school, poor class performance, and pursuit of a double or dual major are not extenuating circumstances. The appeal must be specific, typed, and address the student's entire previous academic performance as well as how the circumstances have changed so that the student can meet SAP. The typed appeal must also include an academic plan tht is signed off by the student's academic advisor and be attached to the Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension Form. The form may be obtained from the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships or the Financial Aid section of the ECSU Web site. The appeal form must be submitted one week prior to the start of the semester in which the student plans to attend. Failure to adhere to this time line will result in the student losing the right to appeal the financial aid suspension. The SAP Appeals Committee will meet to review appeals at the beginning of each semester. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will notify the student of the committee's decision via campus email. Decision results will be available on Self-Serve Banner (SSB). The committee's decision is final.


If approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation status for the subsequent semester. While on financial aid probation, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships may require the student to maintain a specified percentage of semester course work, cumulative GPA, and receive tutorial assistance. If any of the prescribed conditions are not met, eligibility will be denied. The student will be awarded based on funds available. Replacement of previously awarded funds is not guaranteed.

A student is expected to know the SAP Policy. Students can review their SAP status on Self-Serve Banner (SSB) after final grades have been processed. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships attempts to notify students when they are on financial aid suspension; however, sometimes students do not receive notification due to circumstances beyond the control of the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. If a student is not notified of the financial aid suspension, that does not excuse a student from the financial aid suspension, nor does it exempt a student from appealing in a timely manner.