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Student Financial Aid SAP Handbook
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Handbook

Washington State University is responsible for monitoring the academic progress of financial aid recipients. Satisfactory Academic Progress Regulations (SAP) exist in both the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC), and in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The universities SAP Policy must be as strict as, or stricter than, the academic regulations that are applied to students who do not receive State or Federal Student Aid funding at the university.

Some students receive State Aid and Federal Aid, while other students receive only State Aid, or only Federal Aid. The financial aid that students are eligible for also differs between academic careers (e.g. Undergraduate, Post-Baccalaureate, or Graduate), and between enrollment levels (e.g. Full-Time, Part-Time). This policy provides the minimum standards and applies to all students whether or not financial aid was received. The university Financial Aid Census Date (10th day) is the point in which students are held accountable for their academic progress of attempted hours.

This handbook is organized into several sections; the primary division is by academic career; the second division is by aid type (State Financial Aid or Federal Financial Aid). In order to use this handbook, first select the appropriate career. Once the appropriate career has been identified, determine if the student is receiving state aid, federal aid, or both, and review the appropriate policies which apply to the selected career.

Undergraduate Students

Chapter 1: Overview

1.1: What is Satisfactory Academic Progress

Please read all of this information carefully. Students are responsible for understanding these requirements and must meet the academic performance standards outlined in this SAP policy handbook as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for financial assistance:

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for student financial aid. Federal and state regulations require the University to establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor progress toward the completion of student degree programs (certificate programs are not eligible for financial aid). Federal and state financial aid regulations require that students make progress toward the completion of their degree. Depending on the type of aid received, this progress is based on the number of attempted credits enrolled and completed, cumulative grade point average, and the length of enrollment.  If these standards are not met, students may receive a warning, or immediate disqualification from financial aid eligibility. Federal regulations require that SAP for all students is monitored at least once a year and that students are notified of any deficiencies that could jeopardize their eligibility for continued financial aid. Washington State regulations require that Washington State University monitors academic progress for each term in which a student received state financial aid. To abide by State regulations, Washington State University is required to monitor academic progress each term for those students receiving state aid.

Washington State University Student Financial Services reviews the SAP policy annually, and implements necessary changes in order to maintain compliance.  Any policy changes will be reflected in an updated version of this handbook, the WSU SFS website, and any printed pieces of information we distribute on this topic. If students have any questions or concerns regarding the requirements as described in this handbook, contact the Office of Student Financial Services at sapappeal@wsu.edu or (509) 335-9711.

1.2: Evaluation Period

Federal Guidelines require that Satisfactory Academic Progress be reviewed for all students receiving financial aid on a yearly basis; Federal Policy also requires that the review coincides with the end of a payment period, and that progress may be reviewed at the end of each payment period (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.9-1.13).  State policy requires that academic progress is reviewed for students receiving state aid, at the end of every academic term (Washington State Need Grant Manual, pgs. 19-20).

Given the federal and state regulations Washington State University has established the following policy:

Federal and Institutional Aid:  SAP will be evaluated for all students receiving financial aid, in order to ensure compliance with the Grade Point Average (GPA), Maximum Time Frame (MTF) and Pace to Degree (PTD) requirements of the federal policy. There will be no SAP “Warning” term; students who fail to meet SAP standards will be disqualified from receiving further financial aid.

State Aid:  SAP will be evaluated for all students receiving State financial aid at the end of each academic term (Fall, Spring, Summer), in order to ensure compliance with the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA), Maximum Time Frame (MTF), and Pace to Degree (PTD) standards of State SAP regulations.

1.3: Notification

Federal Regulations state:  A review of SAP is not complete until both the qualitative and quantita­tive measures have been reviewed. If a satisfactory progress check shows that a student does not have the required GPA or is not maintaining the required pace, s/he becomes ineligible for Federal Student Aid FSA funds unless s/he is placed on financial aid warning (if your school reviews SAP at the end of each payment period) or probation (after a successful appeal), as explained below. Your policy must describe both of these statuses if it allows for them, and it must provide for notification to students of the results of any evaluation that affects their eligibility for FSA funds. (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.10).

Given the federal regulations Washington State University has established the following policy:

Depending on the type of aid eligible, students will be given a notification that will dictate what and/or if anything needs to be done to maintain or regain financial aid eligibility. The notification frequency will also be dependent upon the kind of aid that the student is eligible for. To provide an example, at the end of the spring term for federal aid, if a student fails to meet the SAP standards they will get a disqualification communication sent to their WSU email. If an appeal is requested of a student, s/he will also receive a To-Do checklist item posted on their myWSU portal that will link them to SubmitSFSDocs.wsu.edu for completing the appeal form. However, for state aid student recipients, notifications will be sent at the end of each term not just at the end of spring term as is the case with the federal policy if they fail to meet the SAP standards. State SAP notifications will either be notice of warning or disqualification. All of the notification communications are based on data information from the review run process at the time it is completed thus it is subject to change or correction. If financial aid is released to a student and s/he is ineligible under the rules for SAP, aid will be canceled and the student will be notified through their WSU email.

1.4: Statuses

Meets: Students who are making satisfactory progress, as defined by the SAP policy, will be placed in a “Meets” SAP status. These students are considered to be in good standing and eligible for financial aid.

Disqualification: Students who do not meet the SAP standards as defined in this policy will be placed in a “Disqualified” SAP status. These students are not eligible for aid, but may be eligible to file an appeal to have his/her aid re-instated.

Warning:  Only students who are receiving state financial aid will be placed in a SAP “Warning” status. Students who are receiving state financial aid, and who fail to make satisfactory progress for a single term, will be placed in a SAP “Warning” status for the following term. Students who are in “Warning” will still be eligible to receive state financial aid for the following term; the “Warning” status is for the student’s information only, it is not actionable, and cannot be appealed. Please note: Satisfactory Academic Progress for federal aid is assessed yearly, rather than on a term by term basis; as such, there is no “Warning” status associated with federal financial aid. However, it is possible that Student Financial Services will send a courtesy reminder to students at the end of the term if his/her academic progress is approaching “Disqualification.”

Probation/Academic Plan:  If a student completes an appeal and the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on an academic plan and therefore, placed in a “probation” SAP status. During the probationary period the student is eligible for financial aid. The probationary period can last for one academic term, or for a full academic year; failure to meet the requirements outlined in the academic plan will result in SAP disqualification, regardless of whether or not the student meets all other SAP standards as outlined in this handbook.

Denied:  Students are considered to be denied if s/he has submitted an appeal and the appeal is not approved. As a general rule, if a student has failed to meet the terms of two or more academic plans, s/he is not eligible to file an appeal until s/he is in compliance with the SAP policy by paying for and successfully completing coursework. Only under extreme circumstances that are beyond the student’s control, will an appeal be accepted for review from a student who has failed to meet the terms of two or more academic plans.

Chapter 2: Requirements

2.1: Federal Policy

This section of the chapter (2.1 – 2.1.3) will discuss the Federal regulations for SAP.

2.1.1: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements

Federal Regulation:  “Students enrolled in a program of more than two academic years must have a GPA of at least a “C” or its equivalent or must have an academic standing consistent with your school’s graduation requirements” (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.9).

WSU Policy:  Students must have a GPA of at least a “C” or its equivalent (2.0 cumulative GPA).  A warning status will not be given the first term a student falls below the minimum standard. A disqualification of financial aid funds will occur when a student receives a cumulative GPA below a 2.0 two terms in a row.

2.1.2: Pace to Degree

Federal Regulation:  The federal policy states that institutions must “specify the quantitative standard (pace) at which students must progress through their program to ensure that they will gradu­ate within the maximum timeframe, and each academic progress check must measure this. You calculate the pace at which a student is progressing by dividing the total number of hours the student has successfully completed by the total number he has attempted.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  To maintain eligibility for financial aid, each student must complete at least 67%of his or her attempted courses. This is the minimum completion rate that is required for a student to complete his or her degree within the 150 percent maximum time frame eligibility requirement. To calculate his or her pace to degree (completion rate), a student can divide his or her overall completed credit hours by his or her overall attempted credit hours.

Example:  A student has completed 50 credit hours but has attempted 58; therefore, 50/58=86%. “Completed credits” are defined as: credits hours which are successfully completed with an earned grade of a D- or better.  Course grades with an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D,” “Pass” and “S” are all identified as satisfactory completion.  “Attempted credits” are defined as: all credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the 10th day of classes (financial aid census date).

The “pace to degree” credit hour completion rate will be evaluated at the end of each academic year (spring semester) for all students receiving financial aid. Students will not be placed in a warning SAP status.  If the student drops below the requirement s/he will be disqualified and may file a SAP appeal.

2.1.3: Maximum Timeframe

Federal Regulation:  The federal policy states that for an undergraduate program measured in credit hours, a period no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program is the maximum time frame. (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  A student who fails to complete his or her degree program within 150% of the published length of the program will be disqualified from receiving federal financial aid, regardless of whether or not s/he received federal aid for all periods of enrollment. Students who have not received a degree prior to reaching the 150% Maximum Timeframe credit limit will be placed in a “Disqualified” SAP status, and will have the option to appeal.

Some additional factors to note are:

  • Multiple degrees or multiple majors do not justify exceeding the Maximum Timeframe credit limit. Additionally, the 150% rule will be applied regardless of how many times a student has changed his or her major.
  • All terms of enrollment at WSU, and any credit hours attempted while enrolled at WSU will count towards the Maximum Timeframe credit limit.
  • All transfer credits accepted by WSU will count towards the Maximum Timeframe credit limit.
  • If a student has completed all the requirements for their degree, regardless of whether or not s/he has applied for graduation, s/he will no longer be eligible for financial aid.
  • Terms of enrollment in which no aid is received will count towards the maximum time frame limit. This includes any courses taken at another institution for which no aid was received, as well as summer credits, Running Start credits, Advanced Placement (AP), or IB credits.

If a student in a maximum timeframe deficiency submits an appeal, and the appeal is approved, the academic plan terms will only allow funding for the classes that are required for the student’s degree program based on the student’s academic adviser statement. Students will still be allowed to take additional credits; however, students will not be eligible to receive funding for those credits.

Example:  A student is expected to graduate in the fall term and s/he only has 6 credits that she needs to complete in order to graduate; however, s/he wishes to take 12 credits. The student can take the 12 credits; however, s/he would only be eligible for financial aid funding for the 6 credits that are needed in order to graduate.

2.2: State Policy

This section of the chapter (2.2 – 2.2.3) will discuss the state regulations for SAP.

2.2.1:Grade Point Average(GPA) Requirements

State Regulation:  The institution’s policy must contain a qualitative standard. The qualitative standards used to comply with federal satisfactory progress standards is acceptable (Washington State Need Grant Program Manual, chapter 3).

WSU Policy:  Students must have a GPA of at least a “C” or its equivalent (2.0 cumulative GPA).  The cumulative GPA is evaluated at the end of each term. When a student receives a cumulative GPA that is below a 2.0, the student will be given a warning or will be disqualified from receiving financial aid. Disqualified students will have the option to appeal and if the appeal is approved will be given an academic plan and placed in a “probation” SAP status.

2.2.2: Credit Hour Completion

State Regulation:  The state policy indicates that “to meet minimum satisfactory progress standards, a student must complete at least one-half of the original amount of credits for which the aid was calculated and disbursed”. Students can either be placed in a warning status or denied. (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress)

A “warning status for state aid recipients is triggered when a student completes more than one-half but less than all of the credits for which the aid was calculated and disbursed” and “the student must be placed in a warning status for the following term as it pertains to state aid”, however the school may make aid disbursements to a student who is in warning.

The denial status means “that the student completed less than one-half of the minimum number of credits for which aid was disbursed” and “each institutions policy must deny further disbursements” (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress).

WSU Policy:  To maintain eligibility for financial aid a student must complete the number of credits in which they enroll for the term and it is variable depending upon their status:  half time, three-quarter time or full time). The chart below outlines the number of credits the student needs to complete. For example, a full time student enrolled in 12 credits completes 7 will be placed in a “warning” status, as will a three quarter term student enrolled in 9 credits and completes 7.  If a student completes less than the credits needed to maintain a “meets” status they will be placed on either warning or disqualification status for state funding. Students who are placed in a warning and fail to complete enough credits to put them back into compliance by the end of the second consecutive term will be disqualified. Students who are disqualified may appeal and if the appeal is approved will be given an academic plan and put on probation.

Completed credits are defined as credits that are successfully accomplished with an earned grade of a D- or better.   Thus course grades with an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D,” “Pass” and “S” are all identified as satisfactory completions. While attempted credits includes all courses. Furthermore, attempted credits includes: all credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the census date, all credits that a student drops or adds at any point in the semester after the census date, all credits for which the student enrolled but subsequently failed, not for credit courses, and transfer credits from another school that are accepted by WSU.

State Standards

Credits Attempted Credits Completed
  “Meets” Or

Good Standing

Warning Disqualification
12 or more At least 12 6 – 11 0 – 5
11 11 6 – 10 0 – 5
10 10 5 – 9 0 – 4
9 9 5 – 8 0 – 4
8 8 4 – 7 0 – 3
7 7 4 – 6 0 – 3
6 6 3 – 5 0 – 2
5 5 3 – 4 0 – 2
4 4 2 – 3 0 – 1
3 3 2 0 – 1
2 2 1 0
1 1 n/a 0

 

2.2.3: Maximum Time Frame

State Regulation:  The state policy indicates that all state aid program “recipients must have completed less than 125 percent of the maximum length of their program in order to remain eligible” (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress).

WSU Policy:  The eligibility a student has for state aid ends once a student has attempted 125 percent of the credit hours that are required for their degree. This requirement is evaluated at the end of each term. A warning communication notification is sent when a student falls within 15 credit hours of their maximum attempted units. For students who fall into disqualification, they will receive a disqualification notification and do have the option to appeal.

Some additional factors to note are:

  • Double degrees or majors will not justify exceeding the maximum time frame limit. Additionally, WSU applies the 125% rule regardless of how many times a student has changed their major or how many majors they are pursuing at the time.
  • All terms of enrollment at WSU, as well as any credits taken at another university- including transfer credits count toward the maximum time limit.
  • If a student has completed all the requirements for their degree, regardless of whether they have applied for graduation or not, they will no longer be eligible for financial aid for that degree.
  • Terms of enrollment in which no aid is received will count towards the maximum time frame limit. This includes any courses taken at another institution for which no aid was received, as well as summer credits, Running Start credits, Advanced Placement (AP), or IB credits.

If a student in a maximum time frame deficiency submits an appeal and the appeal is approved per professional judgment, the academic plan terms will only allow funding for the classes that required based on the student’s advisor statement. Students will still be allowed to take the additional credits, however, they will not be eligible for financial aid funding for those credits. For example, a student is expected to graduate in the fall term but they only have 6 credits that they need to complete in order to graduate but wish to take 12 credits. The student can take the 12 credits, but they would only be eligible for financial aid funding for the 6 credits they need in order to graduate.

Chapter 3: Other Policies

3.1: Endorsements and Certificates

Federal Regulation:  “A student enrolled in a correspondence course can only receive FSA funds if the course is part of a program that leads to an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree; if the program leads to a certificate, the student is not eligible for aid for that course” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.20).

WSU Policy:  If a student is only working on an endorsement and/or a certificate they are not eligible for funding.

3.2: Repeat Courses

Federal Regulation:  “A student may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course (normal SAP policy still applies to such cases), and if a student withdraws before completing the course that he or she is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as his or her one allowed retake for that course. However, if a student passed a class once, then is repaid for retaking it, and fails the second time, that failure counts as their paid retake, and the student may not be paid for retaking the class a third time” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13).

3.2.1 Repeating Passed Courses

WSU Policy:  A passed course means any grade higher than an “F” regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have been considered to have passed the course. Financial aid will only fund a previously passed course once. The first repeat is counted in credits attempted and completed. The second or subsequent repeats do not count toward the credit requirement to receive aid but do count as attempted and completed (if successful). If you retake a previously passed course and withdraw from that course or fail that course on the second attempt, funds cannot be used to repeat the course a third time.

3.2.2 Repeating Failed Courses

WSU Policy:  A student may receive aid for courses that they have failed repeatedly until a passing grade is earned.  However, each repeated course counts toward total credits attempted.

3.3 Withdrawals

Federal Regulation:  “If a student withdraws from all Title IV eligible courses in the payment period or period of enrollment and continues to attend only the course(s) that he or she is completing or repeating for which he or she may not receive Title IV aid during that period, the student is a withdrawal for Title IV purposes.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13).

WSU Policy:  If a student withdraws before completing the course that s/he is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as their one allowed retake for that course.  Withdrawals are counted as attempted but not completes.

3.4 Not For Credit Courses

Federal Regulation:  “A student can receive aid for a limited amount of remedial coursework that is included as part of a regular program. As long as the student qualifies for aid for remedial courses, you must include the remedial courses in the student’s enrollment status. Some schools give no credit or reduced credit for remedial classes. To determine enrollment status, credit hours for the remedial class should be the same as for the comparable full-credit class” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.14).

WSU Policy:  Not-for-credit courses will count toward the minimum credit course totals completed for SAP. No more than three remedial courses can be taken in one academic year. Not-for-credit and remedial courses that do not count towards the student’s degree will still be considered when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress.

3.5 Satisfactory Course Completion

Federal Regulation:  School Determined. (FSA Handbook, Chapter 1, 1-10)

WSU Policy:  Course Grades that are defined as being satisfactory in terms of completion are: “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “Pass”, and “S” , while unsatisfactory in terms of completion are: “F”, “W”, “X”, “I”, “Z” and “U”  Unsatisfactory or incomplete courses do not meet satisfactory academic progress and are counted towards a student’s total attempted courses but are  not considered completed courses.

3.6 Audited Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  No university credit will be allowed for auditing courses, nor may students apply for or take special examinations for university credit in courses that they have audited. Students may not take challenge examinations in courses they have audited.  Thus, audited courses do not count toward the release of a student’s financial aid or in the calculation of completed credit hours for SAP purposes.

3.7 Transfer Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  Any transfer credits that are accepted by WSU are counted in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

3.8 Running Start/College in the High School Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  These courses are treated as transfer courses and are included in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

3.9 Consortium Credits

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  Consortium credits are counted toward the credit attempted and completion requirement as well as in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

3.10 AP/CLEP/IB Credits

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  AP/ CLEP/ IB credits that are obtained thought testing and that are creditable and transferrable are treated as transfer credits and are counted in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

Chapter 4: Re-Establishing Eligibility-Appeal Process

4.1 Overview

Federal Regulations:  “All schools may use the financial aid probation as part of their satisfactory progress policy. When a student loses FSA eligibility because he failed to make satisfactory progress, if the school permits appeals, he may appeal that result on the basis of: his injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. His appeal must explain why he failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in his situation that will allow him to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation”. “If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, you may place him on probation without an academic plan. You must review the student’s progress at the end of that one payment period, as probation status is for one payment period only. If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one payment period to meet progress standards, you may place him on probation and develop an academic plan for the student. You must review the student’s progress at the end of one payment period as is required of a student on probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan. Your school determines the process and documentation required for an appeal. It may decide to require more extensive information on an initial appeal and some type of an update statement on a subsequent appeal. The regulations do not specify what must be included in an academic plan. The school and the student must develop a plan that ensures that the student is able to meet the school’s satisfactory progress standards by a specific time, though an academic plan could instead take the student to successful program completion. Students must also appeal to change their plan. They must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they will be able to make academic progress.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13).

State Regulations indicate:  “The Financial Aid Administrator may, on a case-by-case basis, reinstate a student into satisfactory academic progress in response to that student’s extenuating circumstances. The Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) may choose to exercise professional judgment without a specific request to do so from the student. For example, the Financial Aid Administrator may decide to grant a student continued access to state aid if failure in one term is countered by an extensive history of prior success. The student’s file must include documentation related to the professional judgment decision.” “Each institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy shall state which conditions a denied status student must meet before being reinstated. For example, the student may have to attend school without state financial aid for a specific period of time or may have to show proof that credits have been made up within a designated time period” (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress).

WSU Policy:  You must meet the academic performance standards outlined in the SAP policy as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for financial assistance. If you are in a disqualification you may submit an appeal. Approval of the appeal is not guaranteed and the student is held responsible for any debt that is incurred while on financial aid disqualification. If the appeal is approved, the student will be issued a satisfactory academic progress academic plan. The student will then need to sign their plan and upon doing so s/he SAP status will be “probationary” s for the length that is stated in the plan. Financial aid eligibility is then reinstated for the timeframe that the appeal has been approved.

4.2 Appeal Process and Instructions

In order to submit an appeal, the student will need to finalize their enrollment before an appeal review can and will be done. Additionally, a student will need to explain in detail their circumstance(s) and resolution(s) that will allow them to make satisfactory academic progress by the next term review.

4.2.1 Circumstances and Resolution

Circumstances:  The student’s appeal must explain why they failed to make academic progress. Thus, the request on the appeal form asks for an explanation of what led to the academic deficiencies.

Resolutions:  The student’s appeal must also explain what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make progress at the next evaluation. Thus, the request on the appeal form asks for an explanation of the steps they plan to take to resolve the issues and how their situation has changed to allow them to satisfy the requirements as set forth by the university’s SAP standards.

4.2.2 Supporting Documentation

Not only does the appeal need to contain an explanation of circumstances and resolution but it could need supporting documentation. Please note that providing documentation does not guarantee appeal approval.

If the reason for the appeal is due to a medical condition, a student may be asked to supply a letter from their health care provider stating whether the student is well enough to return to their academic program.  If the reason for a student’s deficiency is due to exceeding the maximum time frame limit, the student will need their academic advisor to submit an advising note or other supporting documentation such as a letter that will confirm the student’s graduation date as well as the courses and credit hours required to graduate.  If a student is seeking degrees for two majors, documentation must come from both degree program advisors.  If the appeal is approved, then the student will only receive aid funding for one degree program based on the earliest expected graduation date. (Submitting this documentation does not guarantee that they will be approved.) If this letter is not provided with the appeal, the SAP committee will request it.

4.2.3 Submitting a SAP Appeal

  • The appeal process is completed entirely online through SubmitSFSDocs.wsu.edu.
  • The appeal must be submitted no later than the 30th day of term for which the student is enrolled. The appeal request will be canceled off a student’s myWSU To-Do list after the deadline has passed. If a student wishes to still appeal after the deadline, s/he must contact the SAP Committee at sapappeal@wsu.edu or a financial aid advisor to have the request re-initiated. If approved to re-submit, the student will have to explain in detail why their appeal is late; why s/he missed the original appeal deadline. Summer appeals have a submission deadline no later than four weeks after the end of summer term.
  • Appeals will not be reviewed until all requested information has been received.
  • The SAP Committee will notify students by WSU email if any additional information is required.

4.2.4 Review

  • The SAP Committee will review a student’s appeal for reinstatement of aid.
  • The committee will review each student’s individual situation, assessing their current and previous academic performance, as well as any documentation submitted to determine whether there is significant justification to warrant an exception to the existing SAP Policy for the student’s individual circumstance.
  • It is important to remember that the appeal process is a request for an exception to the SAP policy. Not all circumstances will warrant an exception to the SAP policy.

4.2.5 Appeal Approval

  • If a student’s appeal is approved, s/he will be sent an academic plan stating the conditions s/he must meet to retain eligibility. This will be sent to their WSU email. The student must then agree to the terms of the plan on wsu.edu.
  • A student’s financial aid will be held (not post to the student’s WSU Student Account) until the electronically signed academic plan has been returned.
  • Signed academic plans received after the end of the academic term in which they were written are not valid.
  • For the situation where a student is eligible for financial aid at the beginning of the term has not had all their aid disbursed but then becomes academically deficient at the end of the term:
    • This student would need to file a SAP appeal in order to receive future financial aid consideration. If the student files an appeal and it is approved, the student will be eligible to receive any of the financial aid not disbursed in the prior term (as long as it is within the same academic year).

4.2.6 Appeal Denial

  • If a student’s appeal is not approved, s/he will not receive financial aid funding for the academic term applicable.

Chapter 5: Considerations

  • If a student has completed the online SAP appeal process and is denied financial aid funding, yet the student believes he/she has extenuating circumstances that were not addressed in the original appeal, the student may submit additional and/or new documentation detailing these circumstances to sapappeal@wsu.edu for committee review. However, the subsequent submission does not guarantee approval of the original appeal.
  • Rerunning the SAP process: If a student has had a grade change or a late grade submitted and h/she wishes to have their SAP recalculated, the student will need to send an email to sapappeal@wsu.edu regarding the grade the change and ask that it be reviewed. In this situation, the student’s SAP status will be updated.
  • Intersessions: Students choosing to take intersession classes will have those courses tied to either fall or summer depending upon which intersession they are attending. Once the grade(s) for the intersession courses have been posted, the SAP statuses for these students will be recalculated.
  • Study Abroad: Students enrolled in study abroad courses they will have their SAP status either excluded when student SAP statuses are evaluated or a waiver will be manually added to the student’s account.  However, once grades are updated the SAP process will recalculate. Students will then be notified if they met satisfactory academic progress and if an appeal needs to be submitted by them for aid consideration.
  • CO-OP:  Students enrolled in CO-OP courses will have their SAP status excluded when the SAP process is run. However, once grades are updated the SAP process will be evaluated ran and students will then be notified if an appeal is needed.

Post Baccalaureate Students

Chapter 6: Overview

6.1 What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Please read all of this information carefully. Students are responsible for understanding these requirements and must meet the academic performance standards outlined in this SAP policy handbook as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for financial assistance:

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for student financial aid. Federal and state regulations require the University to establish, publish and apply standards to monitor progress toward the completion of student degree programs (certificate programs are not eligible for financial aid). Federal and state financial aid regulations require that students make progress toward the completion of their degree. Depending on the type of aid received, this progress is based on the number of attempted credits enrolled and completed, cumulative grade point average, as well as the length of enrollment.  If these standards are not met, students could be placed on either financial aid warning or disqualification. Post-Baccalaureate students are not eligible to receive state aid; thus, any regulation reference forthcoming is in regards to the federal regulations.

Washington State University Student Financial Services (SFS) reviews the SAP policy annually, and implements necessary changes in order to maintain compliance.  Any policy changes will be reflected in an updated version of this handbook, the WSU SFS website and any printed pieces of information we distribute on this topic. If students have any questions or concerns regarding the requirements as described in this handbook, contact the Office of Student Financial Services at sapappeal@wsu.edu or (509) 335-9711.

6.2 Evaluation Period

Federal Guidelines require that Satisfactory Academic Progress be reviewed for all students receiving financial aid on a yearly basis; Federal Policy also requires that the review coincides with the end of a payment period, and that progress may be reviewed at the end of each payment period (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.9-1.13).

Given the federal regulations Washington State University has established the following policy:

Federal and Institutional Aid:  SAP will be evaluated for all students receiving financial aid, in order to ensure compliance with the Grade Point Average (GPA), Maximum Time Frame (MTF) and Pace to Degree (PTD) requirements of the federal policy. There will be no SAP “Warning” term; students who fail to meet SAP requirements will be disqualified from receiving further financial aid.

6.3 Notification

Federal Regulations state that:  A review of SAP is not complete until both the qualitative and quantita­tive measures have been reviewed. If a satisfactory progress check shows that a student does not have the required GPA or is not maintaining the required pace, she becomes ineligible for FSA funds unless she is placed on financial aid warning (if your school reviews SAP at the end of each payment period) or probation (after a successful appeal), as explained below. Your policy must describe both of these statuses if it allows for them, and it must provide for notification to students of the results of any evaluation that affects their eligibility for FSA funds (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

Given the federal regulations Washington State University has established the following policy:

Depending on the type of aid eligible, students will be given a notification that will dictate what and/or if anything needs to be done to maintain or regain financial aid eligibility. The notification frequency will also be dependent upon the kind of aid that the student is eligible for. To provide an example, at the end of the spring term for federal aid, if a student fails to meet the SAP standards they will get a disqualification communication sent to their WSU email. If an appeal is requested of a student, s/he will also receive a To-Do checklist item posted on their myWSU portal that will link them to SubmitSFSDocs.wsu.edu for instructions and how to complete the appeal form online.  All of SAP notification communications are based on data information from the evaluation process at the time it is completed thus it is subject to change or correction. If financial aid is released to a student and the student is ineligible for aid based on the SAP regulations, aid will be canceled and the student will be notified through their WSU email.

6.4 Student SAP Statuses

Meets:  Students are considered to be in a good SAP standing or “meets” if they have met all of the SAP requirements defined in this policy.

Disqualification:  Students are considered disqualified when they do not meet the defined standards in this policy. A student in this status may have the option to appeal to for aid reinstatement.

Warning:  Federal aid satisfactory academic progress requirements are checked annually; therefore, a warning status is not an option offered students under federal guidelines. Nevertheless, it is possible that Student Financial Services will send a courtesy communication at the end of the term to notify the student of their academic progress and its possible trend toward disqualification.

Probation /Academic Plan:  If a student completes an appeal and the appeal is approved, a student is given a SAP academic plan and therefore placed on probation. During the probationary period the student is eligible for financial aid. The probation can be for one academic year or for the term; failure to meet the requirements outlined in the academic plan will result in a future SAP disqualification. The academic plan outcome overrides all SAP statuses.

Denied:  Students are considered to be denied if they have submitted an appeal and the appeal is not approved. As a general rule, if a student has failed two or more academic plans the student is not eligible to file an appeal until h/she is in compliance with the SAP policy by paying for and successfully completing coursework. Only under extreme circumstances beyond a student’s control will an appeal be accepted for review in this situation.

Chapter 7: Requirements

7.1 Federal

This section of the chapter (7.1 – 7.1.3) will discuss the Federal regulations for SAP.

7.1.1 Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements

Federal Regulation:  “Students enrolled in a program of more than two academic years must have a GPA of at least a “C” or its equivalent or must have an academic standing consistent with your school’s graduation requirements” (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.9).

WSU Policy:  Students must have a GPA of at least a “C” or its equivalent (2.0 cumulative GPA).  A warning status will not be given the first term a student falls below the minimum standard. A disqualification of financial aid funds will occur when a student receives a cumulative GPA below a 2.0 two terms in a row.

7.1.2 Pace to Degree/Credit Hour Completion

Federal Regulation:  The federal policy states that institutions must “specify the quantitative standard (pace) at which students must progress through their program to ensure that they will gradu­ate within the maximum timeframe, and each academic progress check must measure this. You calculate the pace at which a student is progressing by dividing the total number of hours the student has successfully completed by the total number he has attempted.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  To maintain eligibility for financial aid, each student must complete at least 67% of his or her attempted courses. This is the minimum completion rate that is required for a student to complete his or her degree within the 150 percent maximum time frame eligibility requirement. To calculate his or her pace to degree (completion rate), a student can divide his or her overall completed credit hours by his or her overall attempted credit hours.

Example:  A student has completed 50 credit hours but has attempted 58; therefore, 50/58=86%. “Completed credits” are defined as:  credits hours which are successfully completed with an earned grade of a D- or better.  Course grades with an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D,” “Pass” and “S” are all identified as satisfactory completion.  “Attempted credits” are defined as:  all credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the 10th day of classes (Financial Aid Census Date).

The “pace to degree” credit hour completion rate will be evaluated at the end of each academic year (spring semester) for all students receiving financial aid. Students will not be placed in a warning SAP status.  If a student drops below the pace to degree requirement, s/he will be disqualified for financial aid and then has the option of filing a SAP appeal for aid consideration.

7.1.3 Maximum time Frame (MTF)

Federal Regulation:  The federal policy states that for an undergraduate program measured in credit hours, a period no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program is the maximum time frame. (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.10)

WSU Policy:  A student who fails to complete his or her degree program within 150% of the published length of the program will be disqualified from receiving federal financial aid, regardless of whether or not s/he received federal aid for all periods of enrollment. Students who have not received a degree prior to reaching the 150% Maximum Timeframe credit limit will be placed in a “Disqualified” SAP status, and will have the option to appeal.

Some additional factors to note are:

  • Multiple degrees or multiple majors do not justify exceeding the Maximum Timeframe credit limit. Additionally, the 150% rule will be applied regardless of how many times a student has changed his or her major.
  • All terms of enrollment at WSU, and any credit hours attempted while enrolled at WSU will count towards the Maximum Timeframe credit limit.
  • All transfer credits accepted by WSU will count towards the Maximum Timeframe credit limit.
  • If a student has completed all the requirements for their degree, regardless of whether or not s/he has applied for graduation, s/he will no longer be eligible for financial aid.
  • Terms of enrollment in which no aid is received will count towards the maximum time frame limit. This includes any courses taken at another institution for which no aid was received, as well as summer credits, Running Start credits, Advanced Placement (AP), or IB credits.

If a student in a maximum timeframe deficiency submits an appeal, and the appeal is approved, the academic plan terms will only allow funding for the classes that are required for the student’s degree program based on the student’s academic advisor statement. Students will still be allowed to take additional credits; however, students will not be eligible to receive funding for those credits.

Example:  A student is expected to graduate in the fall term and s/he only has 6 credits that she needs to complete in order to graduate however s/he wishes to take 12 credits. The student can take the 12 credits; however, s/he would only be eligible for financial aid funding for the 6 credits that are needed in order to graduate.

7.2 State

At this time, Post-Baccalaureate students are not eligible for State financial aid and therefore are not held accountable to the state regulations.

Chapter 8: Other Policies

8.1 Endorsements and Certificates

Federal Regulation:  “A student enrolled in a correspondence course can only receive FSA funds if the course is part of a program that leads to an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree; if the program leads to a certificate, the student is not eligible for aid for that course” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.20).

WSU Policy:  If a student is only working on an endorsement and/or a certificate they are not eligible for financial aid funding.

8.2 Repeat Courses

Federal Regulation:  “A student may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course (normal SAP policy still applies to such cases), and if a student withdraws before completing the course that he or she is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as his or her one allowed retake for that course. However, if a student passed a class once, then is repaid for retaking it, and fails the second time, that failure counts as their paid retake, and the student may not be paid for retaking the class a third time” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13).

8.2.1 Repeating Passed Courses

WSU Policy:  A passed course means any grade higher than an “F” regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have passed the course. Financial aid will only fund a previously passed course once. The first repeat is counted in credits attempted and completed. The second or subsequent repeats do not count toward the credit requirement to receive aid but do count as attempted and completed (if successful). If you retake a previously passed course and withdraw from that course or fail that course on the second attempt, funds cannot be used to repeat the course a third time.

8.2.2 Repeating Failed Courses

WSU Policy:  A student may receive aid for courses that s/he failed repeatedly until a passing grade is earned.  Each repeat however counts as credits attempted.

8.3 Withdrawals

Federal Regulation:  “If a student withdraws from all Title IV eligible courses in the payment period or period of enrollment and continues to attend only the course(s) that he or she is completing or repeating for which he or she may not receive Title IV aid during that period, the student is a withdrawal for Title IV purposes” (FSA Handbook, Chapter 1, 1-13).

WSU Policy:  If a student withdraws before completing the course that s/he is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as their one allowed retake for that course.  Withdrawals are counted as “attempted” credits but not as completed credits.

8.4 Not For Credit Courses

Federal Regulation:  “A student can receive aid for a limited amount of remedial coursework that is included as part of a regular academic program. As long as the student qualifies for aid for remedial courses, you must include the remedial courses in the student’s enrollment status. Some schools give no credit or reduced credit for remedial classes. To determine enrollment status, credit hours for the remedial class should be the same as for the comparable full-credit class” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.14).

WSU Policy:  Not-for-credit courses will count toward the minimum credit course completed for SAP. No more than three remedial courses can be taken by the student in one academic year. Not-for-credit and remedial courses that do not count towards the student’s degree will still be considered when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress.

8.5 Satisfactory Course Completion

Federal Regulation:  School Determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  Course Grades that are defined as being satisfactory in terms of completion are: “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “Pass”, and “S” , while unsatisfactory in terms of completion are: “F”, “W”, “X”, “I”, “Z” and “U”  Unsatisfactory or incomplete courses do not meet satisfactory academic progress and are counted towards a student’s total attempted courses but are  not considered completed courses.

8.6 Audited Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10)

WSU Policy:  No university credit will be allowed for auditing courses, nor may students apply for or take special examinations for university credit in courses that they have audited. Students may not take challenge examinations in courses they have audited.  Thus, audited courses do not count toward the release of a student’s financial aid or in the calculation of completed credit hours for SAP purposes.

8.7 Transfer Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  Any transfer credits that are accepted by WSU are counted in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

8.8 Running Start/College in the High School Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10)

WSU Policy:  These courses are treated as transfer courses and are included in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

8.9 Consortium Credits

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10)

WSU Policy: Consortium credits are counted toward the credit attempted and completion requirement as well as in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

8.10 AP/CLEP/IB Credits

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, Chapter 1, 1-10).

WSU Policy:  AP/ CLEP/ IB credits that are obtained thought testing and that are creditable and transferable are treated as transfer credits and are counted in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

Chapter 9: Re-Establishing Eligibility-Appeal Process

9.1 Overview

Federal Regulations:  “All schools may use the financial aid probation as part of their satisfactory progress policy. When a student loses FSA eligibility because he failed to make satisfactory progress, if the school permits appeals, he may appeal that result on the basis of: his injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. His appeal must explain why he failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in his situation that will allow him to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation”. “If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, you may place him on probation without an academic plan. You must review the student’s progress at the end of that one payment period, as probation status is for one payment period only. If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one payment period to meet progress standards, you may place him on probation and develop an academic plan for the student. You must review the student’s progress at the end of one payment period as is required of a student on probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan. Your school determines the process and documentation required for an appeal. It may decide to require more extensive information on an initial appeal and some type of an update statement on a subsequent appeal. The regulations do not specify what must be included in an academic plan. The school and the student must develop a plan that ensures that the student is able to meet the school’s satisfactory progress standards by a specific time, though an academic plan could instead take the student to successful program completion. Students must also appeal to change their plan. They must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they will be able to make academic progress.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13)

WSU Policy:  A student must meet the academic performance standards outlined in the SAP policy as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for financial assistance. If a student is in a disqualification SAP status, the student may submit an appeal for consideration. Appeal approval is not guaranteed and the student is held responsible for any debt that is incurred while on financial aid disqualification.  If the appeal is approved, the student will be issued an academic plan. The student will then need to sign their plan and upon doing so h/she will be assigned a probationary SAP status as stated in the plan. Aid eligibility is then reinstated for the timeframe that the appeal is approved for.

9.2 Appeal Process and Instructions

In order to submit an appeal, the student will need to finalize their enrollment before an appeal review can and will be done. Additionally, a student will need to explain in detail their circumstance(s) and resolution(s) that will allow them to make satisfactory academic progress by the next term review.

9.2.1 Circumstances and Resolutions

Circumstance(s):  The student’s appeal must explain why they failed to make academic progress. Thus, the request on the appeal form asks for an explanation of what led to the academic deficiencies.

Resolution(s):  The students appeal must also explain what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make progress at the next evaluation. Thus, the request on the appeal form asks for an explanation of the steps they plan to take to resolve the issues and how their situation has changed to allow them to satisfy the requirements as set forth by the university’s SAP standards.

9.2.2 Supporting Documentation

Not only does the appeal need to contain an explanation of circumstances and resolution but it could need supporting documentation. Please note that by providing documentation it does not guarantee approval of the appeal.

If the reason for the appeal is due to a medical condition, a student may be asked to supply a letter from their health care provider stating whether or not the student is well enough to return to their academic program.  If the reason for a student’s deficiency is due to exceeding the maximum time frame limit we will need the student to have their academic advisor submit an advising note or other supporting documentation such as a letter that will confirm the student’s graduation date as well as the courses and credit hours required to graduate.  If a student is seeking two majors, documentation must come from both advisors as if the appeal is approved the student can only be funded for the degree they can graduate with the earliest.  (Submitting this documentation does not guarantee that they will be approved.) If this letter is not provided with the appeal, the SAP committee will request it.

9.2.3 Submitting an Appeal

  • The appeal process is completed entirely online through submisfsdocs.wsu.edu.
  • The appeal must be submitted no later than the 30th day of term for which the student is enrolled. The appeal request will be canceled off a student’s to-do list after the deadline. If a student wishes to still appeal they must contact the sap committee at sapappeal@wsu.edu or a financial aid counselor to have the request re-initiated. If approved to re-submit the student will have to explain in their appeal why they missed the deadline Appeals for summer have a deadline to be submitted no later than four weeks from the end of summer term.
  • Appeals will not be reviewed until all requested information has been received.
  • The SAP Committee will notify students by WSU email if any additional information is required.

9.2.4 Review

  • The SAP Committee will review a student’s appeal for reinstatement of aid.
  • The committee will review each student’s individual situation, assessing their current and previous academic performance, as well as any documentation submitted to determine whether there is significant justification to warrant an exception to the existing SAP Policy for the student’s individual circumstance.
  • It is important to remember that the appeal process is a request for an exception to the SAP policy. Not all circumstances will warrant an exception to the SAP policy.

9.2.5 Appeal Approval

  • If a student’s appeal is approved, s/he will be sent an academic plan stating the conditions they must meet to retain eligibility. This will be sent to their WSU email.
  • A student’s financial aid will be held until the signed academic plan is returned.
  • Academic plans received after the end of the term in which they were written are no longer valid.
  • When a student who was eligible for financial aid at the beginning of the term and has not had all aid disbursed and they become deficient at the end of the term:
    • This student has to file a SAP appeal in order to receive any future financial aid. If the student files an appeal and it is approved, the student will be eligible to receive any of the financial aid that had not disbursed in the prior term (as long as it is within the same academic year).

9.2.6 Appeal Denial

  • If a student’s appeal is not approved they will not receive financial aid funding.

Chapter 10: Considerations

  • If a student has completed the online SAP appeal process and is denied financial aid funding, yet the student believes he/she has extenuating circumstances that were not addressed in the original appeal, the student may submit additional and/or new documentation detailing these circumstances to sapappeal@wsu.edu for committee review. However, the subsequent submission does not guarantee approval of the original appeal
  • Rerunning the SAP process: If a student has had a grade change or a late grade submitted and they wish to have their SAP recalculated, they will need to send an email to sapappeal@wsu.edu and the change will be reviewed and the student’s SAP status updated.  Unless the SAP committee asks for it specifically, the student does not need to have their instructor submit a reason for the change.
  • Intersessions: Students choosing to take intersession classes will have those courses tied to either fall or summer depending upon which intersession they are attending. Once the grade(s) for the intersession courses have been posted, the SAP statuses for these students will be recalculated.
  • Study Abroad: Students enrolled in study abroad courses will have their SAP status either excluded when the SAP process is run or else a waiver will be put on in a manually process. However once grades are updated the SAP process will be run and the students will be notified if an appeal is needed.
  • CO-OP: Students enrolled in CO-OP courses will have their SAP status excluded when the SAP process is ran. However, once grades are updated the SAP process will be run and students will then be notified if an appeal is needed.

Graduate/Professional Students

Chapter 11: Overview

11.1 What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Please read all of this information carefully. Students are responsible for understanding these requirements and must meet the academic performance standards outlined in this SAP policy handbook as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for financial assistance:

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for student financial aid. Federal and state regulations require the University to establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor progress toward the completion of student degree programs (certificate programs are not eligible for financial aid). Federal and state financial aid regulations require that students make progress toward the completion of their degree. Depending on the type of aid received, this progress is based on the number of attempted credits enrolled and completed, cumulative grade point average, and the length of enrollment.  If these standards are not met, students may receive a warning, or immediate disqualification from financial aid eligibility. Federal regulations require that SAP for all students is monitored at least once a year and that students are notified of any deficiencies that could jeopardize their eligibility for continued financial aid. Washington State regulations require that Washington State University monitors academic progress for each term in which a student received state financial aid. To abide by State regulations, Washington State University is required to monitor academic progress each term for those students receiving state aid.

Washington State University Student Financial Services reviews the SAP policy annually, and implements necessary changes in order to maintain compliance.  Any policy changes will be reflected in an updated version of this handbook, the WSU SFS website and any printed pieces of information we distribute on this topic. If students have any questions or concerns regarding the requirements as described in this handbook, contact the Office of Student Financial Services at sapappeal@wsu.edu or (509) 335-9711.

11.2 Evaluation Period

Federal Guidelines require that Satisfactory Academic Progress be reviewed for all students receiving financial aid on a yearly basis; Federal Policy also requires that the review coincides with the end of a payment period, and that progress may be reviewed at the end of each payment period (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.9-1.13).  State policy requires that academic progress is reviewed for students receiving state aid, at the end of every academic term (Washington State Need Grant Manual, pgs. 19-20).

Given the federal and state regulations Washington State University has established the following policy:

Federal and Institutional Aid:  SAP will be evaluated for all students receiving financial aid, in order to ensure compliance with the Grade Point Average (GPA), Maximum Time Frame (MTF) and Pace to Degree (PTD) requirements of the federal policy. There will be no SAP “Warning” term, students who fail to meet SAP standards will be disqualified from receiving further financial aid.

State Aid:  SAP will be evaluated for all students receiving State financial aid, at the end of each academic term (Fall, Spring, Summer), in order to ensure compliance with the Grade Point Average (GPA), Maximum Time Frame (MTF), and Pace to Degree (PTD) standards of State SAP regulations.

11.3 Notification

Federal Regulations state:  A review of SAP is not complete until both the qualitative and quantita­tive measures have been reviewed. If a satisfactory progress check shows that a student does not have the required GPA or is not maintaining the required pace, s/he becomes ineligible for FSA funds unless s/he is placed on financial aid warning (if your school reviews SAP at the end of each payment period) or probation (after a successful appeal), as explained below. Your policy must describe both of these statuses if it allows for them, and it must provide for notification to students of the results of any evaluation that affects their eligibility for FSA funds. (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.10).

Given the federal regulations Washington State University has established the following policy:

Depending on the type of aid eligible, students will be given a notification that will dictate what and/or if anything needs to be done to maintain or regain financial aid eligibility. The notification frequency will also be dependent upon the kind of aid that the student is eligible for. To provide an example, at the end of the spring term for federal aid, if a student fails to meet the SAP standards they will get a disqualification communication sent to their WSU email. If an appeal is requested of a student, they will also receive a to-do checklist item posted on their myWSU portal that will link them to submitsfsdocs.com for completing the appeal form. However, for state aid notifications will be sent to students at the end of each term not just at the end of spring like federal if they fail to meet the SAP standards. State SAP notifications will either be notice of warning or disqualification. All of the notification communications are based on data information from the run process at the time it is completed thus it is subject to change or correction. If financial aid is released to a student and they are ineligible under the rules for SAP, aid will be cancelled and they will be notified through their WSU email.

11.4 Statuses

Meets:  Students are considered to be in a good standing or “meets” if they have met all of the SAP requirements defined in this policy.

Disqualification:  Students are considered to be disqualified when they do not meet the defined standards in this policy. A student in this status may have the option to appeal to have their aid reinstated.

Warning:  A warning status is only assigned to students regarding their State Aid eligibility. Students who are in this status are still eligible to receive financial aid but need to make improvements in their academic progress in order to avoid losing eligibility in the future. The warning status cannot be appealed as it is informational.   Please note however, federal aid satisfactory academic progress requirements are checked annually therefore a warning status is not associated. Nevertheless, it is possible that Student Financial Services will send a courtesy communication at the end of the term to notify the student of their progress and its possible trend toward disqualification.

Probation / Academic Plan:  If a student completes an appeal and the appeal is approved, a student is put on an academic plan and therefore placed on probation. During the probationary period the student is eligible for financial aid. The probation can be for one academic year or for the term; failure to meet the requirements outlined in the academic plan will result in a disqualification. The academic plan overrides all SAP status.

Denied:  Students are considered to be denied if they have submitted an appeal and the appeal is not approved. As a general rule, if a student has failed two or more academic plans s/he are not eligible to file an appeal until they are in compliance with the SAP policy by paying for and successfully completing coursework. Only under extreme circumstances beyond the student’s control will an appeal be accepted for review from a student in this situation.

Chapter 12: Requirements

12.1 Federal Policy

This section of the chapter (12.1 – 12.1.3) will discuss the Federal regulations for SAP.

12.1.1 Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements

Federal Regulation:  “Students enrolled in a program of more than two academic years must have a GPA of at least a “C” or its equivalent or must have an academic standing consistent with your school’s graduation requirements” (FSA Handbook, pg. 1.9).

WSU Policy: For graduate and professional students the SAP policy follows the policy upheld from the graduate school:  “Students must earn at least a 3.00 GPA for ALL coursework. All program courses with grades less than a 3.0 must be repeated. Any graduate student who fails to maintain a 3.00 cumulative will be dropped. They may be permitted to re-enroll if the chair makes a special recommendation in concurrence with the Dean of the Graduate School” (Graduate Catalog). A warning status will not be given and the disqualification of financial aid funds will occur when a student achieves a cumulative GPA below a 3.0 at the end of the spring term. Those students that fall below this minimum requirement will have the option to appeal and if the appeal is approved then the student will be given an academic plan and therefore put on SAP probation.

12.1.2 Pace to Degree/Credit Hour Completion

Federal Regulation:  The federal policy states that institutions must “specify the quantitative standard (pace) at which students must progress through their program to ensure that they will graduate within the maximum timeframe, and each academic progress check must measure this. You calculate the pace at which a student is progressing by dividing the total number of hours the student has successfully completed by the total number he has attempted.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  To maintain eligibility for financial aid, each student must complete at least 67% of their attempted courses. This is the minimum completion rate that is required for a student to complete their degree within the 150 percent maximum time frame eligibility requirement. To calculate the pace to degree (completion rate), a student can divide their overall completed credit hours by their overall attempted credit hours.

Example:  A student has completed 50 credit hours but has attempted 58; therefore, 50/58=86%. “Completed credits” are defined as: credits hours which are successfully completed with an earned grade of a D- or better.  Course grades with an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D,” “Pass” and “S” are all identified as satisfactory completion.  “Attempted credits” are defined as: all credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the 10th day of classes (financial aid census date).

The “pace to degree” credit hour completion rate will be evaluated at the end of each academic year (spring semester) for all students receiving financial aid. Students will not be placed in a warning SAP status.  If the student drops below the requirement s/he will be disqualified and may file a SAP appeal.

12.1.3 Maximum Time Frame

Federal Regulation:  From the FSA Handbook, the federal policy states “For a graduate program [the maximum time frame is], a period the school defines that is based on the length of the program” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.9).

WSU Policy:  Graduate and professional students are expected to compete their degree program within a maximum time frame that cannot exceed 150% of the average amount of credits that are needed for a student to complete their degree program.  This means that students in masters’ programs have on average a maximum time frame limit of 72 attempted credit hours while doctoral students the average time frame varies widely depending on the academic program.  For students who fall into disqualification, they will receive a disqualification notification and do have the option to appeal if requesting for additional semesters.  For professional students the average time frame varies widely depending on the specific academic program. For example, the amounts of credits range in BUSN from 44-72 depending on the specific program. The maximum time frame limit calculation is based on all terms of enrollment as either a masters, doctoral, or professional degree student whether or not aid was received in each term, including summer credit hours.

If a student in a maximum time frame deficiency submits an appeal and the appeal is approved per professional judgment, the academic plan terms will only allow funding for the classes that required based on the student’s advisor statement. Students will still be allowed to take the additional credits, however will not be eligible for funding for those credits. For example, a student is expected to graduate in the fall term but they only have 6 credits that they need to complete in order to graduate but wish to take 12 credits. Thus, the student can take the 12 credits, however they would only be eligible for financial aid funding for the 6 credits they need in order to graduate.

12.2 State Policy

This section of the chapter (12.2 – 12.2.3) will discuss the Federal regulations for SAP.

12.2.1 Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements

State Regulation:  The state policy indicates that the institutions policy must contain a qualitative standard and the qualitative standards (grade-based) used to comply with federal satisfactory progress standards is acceptable (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress).

WSU Policy:  For graduate and professional students the SAP policy follows the policy upheld from the graduate school: “Students must earn at least a 3.00 GPA for ALL coursework. All program courses with grades less than a 3.0 must be repeated. Any graduate student who fails to maintain a 3.00 cumulative will be dropped. They may be permitted to re-enroll if the chair makes a special recommendation in concurrence with the Dean of the Graduate School” (Graduate Catalog).

12.2.2 Credit Hour Completion

State Regulation:  The state policy indicates that “to meet minimum satisfactory progress standards, a student must complete at least one-half of the original amount of credits for which the aid was calculated and disbursed”. Students can either be placed in a warning status or denied. (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress)

A “warning status for state aid recipients is triggered when a student completes more than one-half but less than all of the credits for which the aid was calculated and disbursed” and “the student must be placed in a warning status for the following term as it pertains to state aid”, however the school may make aid disbursements to a student who is in warning.

The denial status means “that the student completed less than one-half of the minimum number of credits for which aid was disbursed” and “each institutions policy must deny further disbursements” (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress).

WSU Policy:  To maintain eligibility for financial aid a student must complete the number of credits in which s/he enrolls for the term and it is variable depending upon their status:  half time, three-quarter time or full time. The chart below outlines the number of credits that need to be completed. For example, a full time student enrolled in 10 credits completes 7 credits will be placed in a “warning” status, as will a three quarter term student enrolled in 9 credits and completes 7.  If a student completes less than the credits needed to maintain a “meets” status they will be placed on either warning or disqualification status for state funding. Students who are placed in a warning and fail to complete enough credits to put them back into compliance by the end of the second consecutive term will be disqualified. Students who are disqualified may appeal for one additional term and if the appeal is approved will be given an academic plan and put on probation.

Completed credits are defined as credits that are successfully accomplished with an earned grade of a D- or better.   Thus course grades with an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D,” “Pass” and “S” are all identified as satisfactory completion. While attempted credits includes all courses. Furthermore, attempted credits includes: all credits for courses in which a student is formally enrolled as of the first day of class, all credits that a student drops or adds at any point in the semester, all credits for which the student enrolled but subsequently failed, not for credit courses, and transfer credits from another school that are accepted by WSU.

State Standards

Enrollment Status Credits Completed
  “Meets” Or

Good Standing

Warning Disqualification
Full Time At least 10 5 – 9 0 – 4
Three Quarter Time 9 5 – 8 0 – 4
Three Quarter Time 8 4 – 7 0 – 3
Half Time 7 4 – 6 0 – 3
Half Time 6 3 – 5 0 – 2
Half Time 5 3 – 4 0 – 2

 

Please note the chart above is applicable to most programs; however, it is possible there may be variance depending on the academic program.  For example, the Online Masters Business Program (OMBA BUSN) half time status is three credits. Please check with the Graduate School with questions surrounding a program’s half time status.

12.2.3 Maximum Time Frame

State Regulation:  The state policy indicates that all state aid program “recipients must have completed less than 125 percent of the maximum length of their program in order to remain eligible” (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress).

WSU Policy:  The eligibility a student has for state aid ends once a student has attempted 125 % of the credit hours that are required for their degree. This requirement is evaluated at the end of each term.  A warning communication notification is sent when a student falls within 15 credit hours of their maximum attempted units. For students who fall into disqualification, they will receive a disqualification notification and do have the option to appeal if requesting for additional semesters.

If a student in a maximum time frame disqualification submits an appeal and the appeal is approved per professional judgment, the academic plan terms will only allow funding for the required classes based on the student’s adviser statement. Students will still be allowed to take the additional credits; however, they will not be eligible for funding for those credits. For example, a student is expected to graduate in the fall term but they only have 6 credits that they need to complete in order to graduate but wish to take 12 credits. Thus, the student can take the 12 credits, however, the student would only be eligible for financial aid funding for the six credits s/he needs in order to graduate.

Chapter 13: Other Policies

13.1 Endorsements and Certificates

Federal Regulation:  “A student enrolled in a correspondence course can only receive FSA funds if the course is part of a program that leads to an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree; if the program leads to a certificate, the student is not eligible for aid for that course” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.20).

WSU Policy:  If a student is only working on an endorsement and/or a certificate they are not eligible for funding.

13.2 Repeat Courses

Federal Regulation:  “A student may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course (normal SAP policy still applies to such cases), and if a student withdraws before completing the course that he or she is being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as his or her one allowed retake for that course. However, if a student passed a class once, then is repaid for retaking it, and fails the second time, that failure counts as their paid retake, and the student may not be paid for retaking the class a third time” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13).

13.2.1 Repeating Passed Courses

WSU Policy:  A passed course means any grade higher than an “F” regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have been considered to have passed the course. Repeating a previously passed course can only be repeated once. The first repeat is counted in credits attempted and completed. The second or subsequent repeats do not count toward the credit requirement to receive aid but do count as attempted and completed (if successful). If you retake a previously passed course and withdraw from that course or fail that course on the second attempt, funds cannot be used to repeat the course a third time.

13.2.3 Repeating Failed Courses

WSU Policy: A student may receive aid for courses that they have failed repeatedly until a passing grade is earned.  Each repeat however counts as credits attempted.

13.3 Withdrawals

Federal Regulation:   “If a student withdraws from all Title IV eligible courses in the payment period or period of enrollment and continues to attend only the course(s) that he or she is completing or repeating for which he or she may not receive Title IV aid during that period, the student is a withdrawal for Title IV purposes” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13).

WSU Policy:  If a student withdraws before completing the course that they are being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as their one allowed retake for that course.  Withdrawals are counted as attempted but not completed.

13.4 Not For Credit Courses

Federal Regulation:  “A student can receive aid for a limited amount of remedial coursework that is included as part of a regular program. As long as the student qualifies for aid for remedial courses, you must include the remedial courses in the student’s enrollment status. Some schools give no credit or reduced credit for remedial classes. To determine enrollment status, credit hours for the remedial class should be the same as for the comparable full-credit class” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.14).

WSU Policy:  Not-for-credit courses will count toward minimum credit course completed for SAP. Not-for-credit and remedial courses that do not count towards the student’s degree will still be considered when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress. No more than three remedial courses can be taken in one academic year.

13.5 Satisfactory Course Completion

Federal Regulation:  School Determined. (FSA Handbook, Chapter 1, 1-10)

WSU Policy:  Course Grades that are satisfactory completion are: “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “Pass”, and “S” , while unsatisfactory completion is: “F”, “W”, “X”, “I”, “Z” and “U”. Unsatisfactory or incomplete courses are not considered as satisfactory academic progress and therefore are counted as attempted but not completed courses.

13.6 Audited Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  No university credit will be allowed for auditing courses, nor may students apply for or take special examinations for university credit in courses that they have audited. Students may not take challenge examinations in courses they have audited.  Thus, audited courses do not count toward the release of a student’s financial aid or in the calculation of completed credit hours for SAP purposes.

13.7 Transfer Courses

Federal Regulation:  School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy:  Any transfer credits that are accepted by WSU are counted in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

13.8 Running Start/College in the High School Courses

Federal Regulation: School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy: These courses are treated as transfer courses and are included in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

13.9 Consortium Credits

Federal Regulation: School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy: Consortium credits are counted toward the credit attempted and completion requirement as well as in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

13.10 AP/CLEP/IB Credits

Federal Regulation: School determined. (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.10).

WSU Policy: AP/ CLEP/ IB credits that are obtained thought testing and that are creditable and transferrable are treated as transfer credits and are counted in the total maximum time frame (MTF) Satisfactory Academic Progress credit hour calculation.

Chapter 14: Re-Establishing Eligibility-Appeal Process

14.1 Overview

Federal Regulations:  “All schools may use the financial aid probation as part of their satisfactory progress policy. When a student loses FSA eligibility because he failed to make satisfactory progress, if the school permits appeals, he may appeal that result on the basis of: his injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. His appeal must explain why he failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in his situation that will allow him to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation”. “If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, you may place him on probation without an academic plan. You must review the student’s progress at the end of that one payment period, as probation status is for one payment period only. If you determine, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one payment period to meet progress standards, you may place him on probation and develop an academic plan for the student. You must review the student’s progress at the end of one payment period as is required of a student on probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan. Your school determines the process and documentation required for an appeal. It may decide to require more extensive information on an initial appeal and some type of an update statement on a subsequent appeal. The regulations do not specify what must be included in an academic plan. The school and the student must develop a plan that ensures that the student is able to meet the school’s satisfactory progress standards by a specific time, though an academic plan could instead take the student to successful program completion. Students must also appeal to change their plan. They must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they will be able to make academic progress.” (FSA Handbook, pgs. 1.13)

State Regulations indicate:  “The Financial Aid Administrator may, on a case-by-case basis, reinstate a student into satisfactory academic progress in response to that student’s extenuating circumstances. The FAA may choose to exercise professional judgment without a specific request to do so from the student. For example, the Financial Aid Administrator may decide to grant a student continued access to state aid if failure in one term is countered by an extensive history of prior success. The student’s file must include documentation related to the professional judgment decision.” “Each institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy shall state which conditions a denied status student must meet before being reinstated. For example, the student may have to attend school without state financial aid for a specific period of time or may have to show proof that credits have been made up within a designated time period” (State Need Grant Program Manual, Chapter 3 Satisfactory Academic Progress)

WSU Policy:  The student must meet the academic performance standards outlined in the SAP policy as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for financial assistance. If the student is in a disqualification the student may submit an appeal. Approval of the appeal is not guaranteed and the student is held responsible for any debt that is incurred while on financial aid disqualification.  If the appeal is approved the student will be issued an academic plan. The student will then need to sign their plan and upon doing so they will be put into a probationary status for the length that is stated in the plan. Aid eligibility is then reinstated for the timeframe that the appeal is approved for.

14.2 Appeal Process and Instructions

In order to submit an appeal, the student will need to have their enrollment finalized as a review will not be done. Additionally students will need to explain their circumstances and resolution that will allow them to make progress by the next review.

14.2.1 Circumstances and Resolutions

Circumstances:  The students appeal must explain why they failed to make progress. Thus, the request on the appeal form asks for an explanation of what led to the academic deficiencies.

Resolutions:  The students appeal must also explain what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make progress at the next evaluation. Thus, the request on the appeal form asks for an explanation of the steps they plan to take to resolve the issues and how their situation has changed to allow them to satisfy the requirements as set forth by the university’s SAP standards.

14.2.2 Supporting Documentation

Not only does the appeal need to contain an explanation of circumstances and resolution but it could need supporting documentation. Please note that by providing documentation it does not guarantee approval of the appeal.

If the reason for the appeal is due to a medical condition, a student may be asked to supply a letter from their health care provider stating whether or not the student is well enough to return to their academic program.  If the reason for a student’s deficiency is due to exceeding the maximum time frame limit we will need the student to have their academic advisor submit an advising note or other supporting documentation such as a letter that will confirm the student’s graduation date as well as the courses and credit hours required to graduate.  If a student is seeking two majors, documentation must come from both advisors as if the appeal is approved the student can only be funded for the degree they can graduate with the earliest. (Submitting this documentation does not guarantee that they will be approved.) If this letter is not provided with the appeal, the SAP committee will request it.

14.2.3 Submitting an Appeal

  • The appeal process is completed entirely online through submisfsdocs.wsu.edu.
  • The appeal must be submitted no later than the 30th day of term for which the student is enrolled. The appeal request will be canceled off a student’s to-do list after the deadline. If a student wishes to still appeal they must contact the sap committee at sapappeal@wsu.edu or a financial aid counselor to have the request re-initiated. If approved to re-submit the student will have to explain in their appeal why they missed the deadline Appeals for summer have a deadline to be submitted no later than four weeks from the end of summer term.
  • Appeals will not be reviewed until all requested information has been received.
  • The SAP Committee will notify students by WSU email if any additional information is required.

14.2.4 Review

  • The SAP Committee will review a student’s appeal for reinstatement of aid.
  • The committee will review each student’s individual situation, assessing their current and previous academic performance, as well as any documentation submitted to determine whether there is significant justification to warrant an exception to the existing SAP Policy for the student’s individual circumstance.
  • It is important to remember that the appeal process is a request for an exception to the SAP policy. Not all circumstances will warrant an exception to the SAP policy.

14.2.5 Appeal Approval

  • If a student’s appeal is approved, they will be sent an academic plan stating the conditions they must meet to retain eligibility. This will be sent to their WSU email.
  • A student’s financial aid will be held until the signed academic plan is returned.
  • Academic plans received after the end of the term in which they were written are no longer valid.
  • When a student who was eligible for financial aid at the beginning of the term and has not had all aid disbursed and they become deficient at the end of the term:
    • This student has to file a SAP appeal in order to receive any future financial aid. If the student files an appeal and it is approved, the student will be eligible to receive any of the financial aid that had not disbursed in the prior term (as long as it is within the same academic year).

14.2.6 Appeal Denial

  • If a student’s appeal is not approved they will not receive financial aid funding.

Chapter 15: Considerations

  • If a student has completed the online appeal process and it is denied, yet they feel that they have extenuating circumstances that were not addressed in the original written appeal, they may submit documentation detailing these circumstances to sapappeal@wsu.edu. This is not a guarantee approval of their appeal.
  • Rerunning the SAP process: If a student has had a grade change or a late grade submitted and they wish to have their SAP recalculated, they will need to send an email to sapappeal@wsu.edu and the change will be reviewed and their SAP status updated.  Unless the SAP committee asks for it specifically, the student does not need to have their instructor submit a reason for the change.
  • Intersessions: Students choosing to take intersession classes will have those courses tied to either fall or summer depending upon which intersession they are attending. Once the grade(s) for the intersession courses have been posted, the SAP statuses for these students will be recalculated.
  • Study Abroad: Students enrolled in study abroad courses will have their SAP status either excluded when the SAP process is run or else a waiver will be put on in a manually process. However once grades are updated the SAP process will be run and the students will be notified if an appeal is needed.
  • CO-OP:  Students enrolled in CO-OP courses will have their SAP status excluded when the SAP process is run. However, once grades are updated the SAP process will be run and students will then be notified if an appeal is needed.

Last Updated: June 6, 2017

Washington State University