Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations require institutions to establish reasonable standards to ensure that recipients of Title IV financial aid are making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a degree program. These standards must establish the maximum timeframe for degree completion and include minimum standards for rate of completion (pace) and cumulative GPA.
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) will be evaluated at the end of each semester based on each of the standards outlined below. A student who fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards will lose eligibility for federal financial assistance the following semester (Federal Student Loans, PLUS Loans, and Federal Teach Grant).
SAP Standard Definition
Minimum Cumulative GPA
Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 to remain eligible for federal financial assistance.
The calculation of cumulative GPA will include grades earned from all coursework, including transfer coursework that is accepted toward the student’s educational program.
A student who loses financial aid eligibility based on GPA must receive grades sufficient to increase his or her cumulative GPA to the required 3.00 to regain eligibility. The student will be required to use his or her own financial resources to cover the cost of education until he or she is again meeting satisfactory academic progress standards.
Completion Rate (Pace)
Completion Rate is defined as the pace at which a student must progress through an educational program to ensure completion within the maximum timeframe. This rate is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours attempted.
Students must maintain a completion rate of 67% to remain eligible for federal financial assistance.
A student who loses financial aid eligibility based on rate of completion must attend, and successfully complete, a sufficient number of credit hours to raise his or her completion rate (pace) to the required 67%. The student will be required to use his or her own financial resources to cover the cost of education until he or she is again meeting satisfactory academic progress standards.
The maximum timeframe allowed for completion of a degree program should not exceed 150% of the published length of the program as measured in hours attempted.
- A student pursuing a master's degree must be able to complete his or her program within 52 attempted hours.
If it is determined that a student cannot complete his or her program of study within this timeframe, he or she will become ineligible for federal financial assistance. The student will be required to use his or her own financial resources to cover the cost of education.
Attempted and Completed Hours
Attempted Hours consist of any hours the student is enrolled in at the end of the official add/drop period including those hours that are earned, withdrawn from, audited, repeated, failed, taken as pass/fail or are incomplete. Hours for which the student did not receive financial aid and those waived under an academic renewal policy must be included as attempted hours.
Successful Completion is defined as the absence of failing or incomplete grades and voluntary/involuntary withdrawals.
Transfer Hours that are accepted toward the student’s educational program will count as both attempted and completed hours.
Approaching the Maximum Timeframe
Federal regulations require Missouri Western to ensure that each recipient of federal financial assistance is able to complete degree requirements within 150% of the published length of the program as measured in attempted hours. In compliance with this regulation, Missouri Western will conduct an evaluation of each student's degree progress each semester beginning at 35 attempted credit hours. The Maximum timeframe allowed to complete degree requirements is 52 credit hours.
If it is determined that a student cannot complete his or her program of study within this timeframe, he or she will become ineligible for federal financial assistance.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
A student may submit a written appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee if documentable extenuating circumstances caused the student to fall below satisfactory academic progress standards or exceed the maximum timeframe allowed for degree completion.
Examples of circumstances that may warrant an appeal include:
- Lengthy hospitalization or illness;
- Death of a parent, spouse or child at a critical time during the semester;
- Lengthy illness of a child or spouse; or
- Other mitigating circumstance.
Appeals should include the following documentation:
- A completed Statement in Support of Appeal form found online at forms.missouriwestern.edu/finaid/SAPAppealForm.asp (Form 10);
- A letter of explanation describing how extenuating circumstances resulted in the student’s inability to maintain satisfactory academic progress;
- Sufficient documented evidence that the extenuating circumstance clearly caused the student to fall below the required standards or exceed the maximum timeframe; and
- An explanation of what has changed that will allow the student to maintain satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.
Examples of documentation supporting the extenuating circumstance may include medical documentation; notice of death; accident reports; court documentation; or other relevant documentation.
Appeal deadlines for each term should be posted on the financial aid website. Students may also contact the Financial Aid Office for deadline dates.
The decision of the University Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee is final.
A probationary period may be granted only after a student has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated based on the appeal. Students who are granted a one (1) semester probationary period will be required to adhere to an academic plan that, if followed, will ensure the student will complete his or her degree program within the maximum timeframe.
As a general rule, a student on an academic plan will be required to successfully complete all attempted courses with a grade of C or higher and not withdraw from any course. In addition, the student may be required to enroll in only those courses required for completion of his or her degree program and may not be allowed to change his or her program without approval from the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee. An individual academic plan may also include additional requirements as deemed appropriate by the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee.
A student on financial aid probation may receive Title IV funds for one semester. At that point, the student must meet satisfactory academic progress standards or the requirements of the established individual academic plan to maintain eligibility for federal financial assistance.
Additional Degree Programs and Degree Completion
A student, who is pursuing an additional graduate degree, after completion of the first graduate program, should be able to complete degree requirements within 200% of the published length of the program as measured by the student’s overall attempted hours.
A student who has completed all required coursework for his or her degree program but has not yet received the degree, may not receive further financial aid for that program.
Federal financial aid regulations allow students to repeat any coursework previously taken in the program as long as it is not a result of more than one repetition of a previously passed course, or any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework.
Repeating coursework can affect a student’s satisfactory academic progress status in the following manner:
- The repeated course and the original attempt will be counted in calculation of overall attempted hours; and
- The most recent grade received for the course will be included in the calculation of GPA.
Communication of Satisfactory Academic Progress Status
Although students will be notified in writing, should they fall below satisfactory academic progress standards, it is the student’s responsibility to know his or her academic standing in regard to this policy. Failure to receive notification does not dispute or reverse the termination of a student’s eligibility to receive financial assistance.
Students are responsible for monitoring their status online through GoldLink and for ALL communications sent to their Missouri Western email account. Students who do not elect to receive electronic communication from Missouri Western should contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information.