Financial Aid Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress

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UWest is required by law to establish both qualitative and quantitative standards for satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree and these standards must be applied to all federal and state financial aid recipients, regardless of program or enrollment status. Aid programs covered by these standards are Federal Pell and FSEOG grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Loan programs (Direct, PLUS, Grad PLUS), as well as some state aid programs. These academic standards apply for all periods of enrollment, including terms when no aid was received.

The university’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy, described in full in the Academic Progress and Policy section of the university catalog, applies to all students. Students receiving federal and state financial aid must also meet the guidelines outlined in the FA SAP policy described here. The Financial Aid Office, in consultation with the Registrar, reviews all aid recipients at the end of each payment period, i.e. fall, spring, and summer semester, for compliance with the following standards used to measure satisfactory academic progress: Qualitative Progress, Pace of Progression, and Maximum Time to Degree.  Students who do not meet either of these standards will receive a written SAP Notification Letter from the Financial Aid Office before the beginning of the subsequent semester.


Qualitative Progress Standard (Cumulative GPA)

Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA; graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students who fall below these requirements will not be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress. The cumulative GPA is based on units earned at UWest and does not include grades for courses transferred from other institutions.


Quantitative Standard (Pace of Progression)

A student receiving aid must successfully complete a minimum 67% of units attempted. Pace of progression is calculated by dividing cumulative units earned by cumulative units attempted. Courses must be degree applicable and consistent with the student’s enrollment and funding status. For example, if undergraduate student Joe Smith has enrolled in a total of 36 degree applicable units when reviewed at the close of the fall semester, Joe must have earned a minimum of 24 units to have achieved a 67% pace of progression. If Joe has earned fewer than 24 units, Joe has failed to meet this standard and is not making satisfactory academic progress.


Maximum Timeframe Standard

A student may enroll in no more than 150 percent of the units required for award of the degree, and is no longer eligible to receive financial aid after this maximum is reached. For example, Joe Smith must complete 120 units to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Joe Smith’s financial aid eligibility will be suspended as soon as he reaches 180 cumulative attempted units (150% of 120), whether or not Joe has completed his degree. The 150% maximum timeframe applies to both undergraduate and graduate students.


Criteria used when progress is reviewed
Payment Period

Each fall, spring, and summer semester is a payment period.


Attempted/Earned Units

Attempted units include all earned and unearned units as well as transfer credit. Grades of F, I, NP, and W are included in attempted units.

Earned units include all courses for which a student receives credit, including required pre-collegiate courses and transfer credit. Grades of F, I, NP, and W are not included in earned units.


Course Withdrawals

Courses from which the student withdraws after the official add/drop deadline are included in cumulative units attempted but are not included in units earned. This includes courses dropped when a student starts but does not complete a term, whether they have withdrawn or taken leave of absence.


Repeated Courses and Pace of Progression

All units attempted in repeated courses are included in cumulative units attempted. However a repeated course only be applied to earned units if specified as “repeat for credit” in the catalog.


Repeated Courses and Cumulative GPA

Undergraduate GPA: Only the highest grade awarded is calculated in the cumulative GPA.

Graduate GPA: All grades earned, including repeated courses, are calculated in the cumulative GPA.


Incomplete Courses and Pace of Progression

Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade are included in the cumulative units attempted. These units are not counted as earned units until and unless a passing grade is assigned.


Transfer Credit

Pace of Progression/Maximum Timeframe: All transfer units accepted towards a student’s UWest degree are included in the review of the pace of progression and maximum timeframe standards.

Cumulative GPA: Grades for courses completed at other institutions are not included in the calculation of the UWest GPA.


Financial Aid Warning

Students who do not meet the standards of the Financial Aid SAP policy at the end of any payment period are automatically placed on financial aid warning for the following payment period in attendance. Students placed on financial aid warning are eligible to receive Title IV financial aid during a warning period of one payment period without appeal or other action.


SAP Appeal for Reinstatement of Federal Aid

Students who do not return to good standing at the end of the warning period are no longer eligible to receive Title IV and other financial aid. Students who lose their eligibility have the right to file a SAP appeal for reconsideration of their eligibility for aid.

Students who choose to appeal for a reinstatement of federal aid must submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office. The appeal must describe the circumstances that affected the student’s academic performance, must be submitted within 30 days of notification of failure to maintain SAP, and must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documents. No appeal will be considered until the student has an approved academic plan on file with the Registrar‘s Office.

Acceptable justification for appeal includes, but is not limited to, personal or family accident, illness or injury of the student, death of a close family member, or other extenuating and unavoidable circumstances beyond the student’s control. Ongoing, chronic medical problems do not meet the definition of “extenuating circumstances.” If the condition existed at the time aid was offered, it should have been taken into consideration when the student planned his or her classes and credit load.

Factors considered in reviewing an appeal include, but are not limited to, the student’s entire academic history, level of borrowing in relation to units completed; class standing; number of semesters of aid; previous deficiencies and appeals; and extenuating and unavoidable circumstances.


Financial Aid Probation and Termination

Students who successfully appeal are placed on financial aid probation for one payment period. Students who fail to meet SAP standards at the end of the probation period become ineligible to receive further financial aid.

A student’s financial aid will be terminated for any of the following reasons:

Cumulative GPA lower than the required minimum standard for two consecutive semesters;
Failure to complete 67 percent of cumulative units attempted for two consecutive semesters;
Cumulative units attempted at or above 150 percent of the units normally required for award of the degree.


Reestablishing Financial Aid Eligibility

Students whose financial aid is terminated due to lack of academic progress may reestablish their eligibility by meeting SAP standards again. To reestablish financial aid eligibility:

Cumulative GPA: Raise the GPA

Students must raise their cumulative GPA to the minimum required for their level of enrollment. To raise their cumulative GPA students must complete courses at UWest. Coursework transferred from other institutions is not included in the calculation of UWest GPA. Undergraduates may hasten this process by repeating courses in which they earned a grade of C minus or below.

Pace of Progression: How to Correct a Credit Deficiency

Students correct credit deficiencies by completing additional degree applicable courses at UWest or through the transfer of degree applicable coursework from other accredited colleges. Transfer credit must be approved in advance.