Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations require that schools monitor the academic progress of each applicant for federal financial assistance. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has established the following policy for evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of financial aid recipients. This policy also extends to state and institutional financial aid programs.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the measurement of a student’s academic progress toward their degree. SAP evaluates three components to determine eligibility for financial aid: qualitative measure (cumulative grade point average), quantitative measure (percentage of coursework completed) and maximum time-frame allowed for degree completion.
The review of a student’s SAP status is based on the entire academic record, even if the student did not receive financial aid for previous semesters of enrollment. In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must satisfy all components.
Undergraduate students must meet the following SAP criteria:
- Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
- Minimum completion rate of 67%
- Maximum time frame of 150% of defined academic length for bachelor’s degree and undergraduate certificate programs
Graduate students must meet the following SAP criteria:
- Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
- Minimum completion rate of 67%
- Maximum time frame of 150% of defined program length for master’s degree and graduate certificate programs
Attempted credits include successfully completed courses (i.e. grades of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-,C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, S), non-passing grades (i.e. grade of F), Incomplete (i.e. grade of I), withdrawn courses (i.e. grade of W), transfer credits and repeated courses. Audited and remedial coursework are not included in attempted credits or GPA.
Earned credits include successfully completed courses (i.e. grades of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-,C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, S) and transfer credits. Audited and remedial coursework not included.
Completion rate is calculated by total earned credits divided by total attempted credits.
Maximum time frame allowed is calculated by multiplying the published program length by 150 percent. Example: published program length of 120 credits X 150% = 180 credits maximum time frame allowed to complete degree requirements.
Evaluations and Notifications
Financial Aid Services evaluates SAP annually at the end of each spring term for undergraduates and graduates, or upon re-enrollment into the university. Students enrolled in a certificate program are evaluated at the end of each term. SAP is also reviewed at the end of each probationary period, if applicable to student. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress to continue to receive financial aid in a subsequent payment period, including summer term. Financial aid applicants not meeting SAP standards will be deemed ineligible to receive financial aid and will be sent written notification to their permanent address recorded in the university’s system.
Financial Aid Termination
Students who do not meet the university SAP standards are not eligible to receive financial aid. SAP status applies to financial aid eligibility and does not impact registration or academic standing.
Students who do not meet the minimum SAP requirements for continuance of financial aid have the right to appeal when special circumstances exist. Conditions when a student may appeal include death of a relative, injury or illness of the student or other extenuating circumstances.
To appeal, a student must:
- Complete SAP Appeal Form. Student statement must include why student failed to meet SAP and what has changed to allow student to meet SAP at the end of next evaluation.
- Complete SAP Academic Plan. Student must meet with Dean, Associate Dean, or Assistant Dean from their college or if enrolled in ASU, LAR, or CCB and have fewer than 45 earned credits, student should meet with the Academic Advising Center to develop an Academic Plan. Both student and Dean's Office/Academic Advising Center representative must sign the Academic Plan.
- Submit completed SAP Appeal, Academic Plan and supporting documentation to the University Enrollment Center for Financial Aid Services review.
- Forms must be submitted prior to the last day of add/drop for the semester in which aid is desired.
- Appeal forms submitted for a specific term will not be granted for that term if the student has stopped attending that term or the student withdraws from all courses or the University while waiting for an appeal decision during that term.
- An appeal submitted to Financial Aid Services does not guarantee reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.
- All appeals are reviewed by representatives of Financial Aid Services.
- Approved appeals will result in the student being placed on Financial Aid Probation (see financial aid probation section).
- SAP approval notification will be sent to the student’s UMD email account.
- Denied appeals will result in the student being ineligible for financial aid. The student may enroll in coursework but will be responsible for payment of their university bill. SAP denial notification will be sent to the student’s University email account. Students may wish to explore private education loans at www.umassd.edu/financialaid/loanopportunities/loans-private.
Financial Aid Probation
A student who fails to meet SAP but who has successfully appealed with Financial Aid Services will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester. During the Financial Aid Probation period, the student is considered eligible for financial aid. At the end of the probation period, Financial Aid Services will evaluate the student’s academic record.
Re-establishing Financial Aid Eligibility
A student may regain financial aid eligibility by successfully meeting the University’s SAP policy requirements or successfully meeting the requirements of their established Academic Plan.
All information is subject to change based on changes to federal law, regulation, or University policy and procedure. If changes are made, students must abide by the new policy.
Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy
These regulations govern the return of Title IV (Federal financial aid) funds disbursed for a student who completely withdraws from a term, payment period, or period of enrollment.
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth adheres to Federal policy regarding Return of Title IV (Federal financial aid) funds.
Return of funds policies are fair and equitable and applied uniformly. UMass Dartmouth will use the forms and software developed by the U.S. Department of Education in determining the refund due to the Title IV and other financial aid programs and in determining any repayment due from the student. UMass Dartmouth will also use formulae developed by OSFA in determining return of Massachusetts state financial assistance.
Withdrawal information is obtained from the Registrar's Office in line with UMD withdrawal policies. Date of withdrawal is recorded on the University administrative computer system. The date of withdrawal used to calculate the last date of attendance will be the effective date of withdrawal noted in the University computer records.
Students who withdraw during the add/drop period will undergo a Return of Title IV funds calculation even though no institutional charges may have been assessed. Their official date of withdrawal will be noted on the administrative computer system and will be used in the refund calculation process, as follows: 1.) An otherwise eligible student who began attendance at UMass Dartmouth and was disbursed or could have been disbursed Title IV grant or loan funds prior to a withdrawal has earned a portion of those Title IV funds and must undergo a return of Title IV fund calculation; or 2.) If the student began attendance but was not and could not have been disbursed Title IV grant or loan funds, the student is not considered to have been a Title IV recipient and a return of Title IV funds calculation is not required.
The last date of attendance for students who complete a University withdrawal form will be the date submitted or the date of the last documented academically related activity, whichever is earlier. Students who leave without completing an official withdrawal form or for whom an official withdrawal form is not completed will have their last date of attendance be the date of the last documented academically related activity.
Students who withdraw before 60% of the term is completed will have their Federal financial aid eligibility calculated in direct proportion to the length of the enrollment. The percentage of time the student remained enrolled is the percentage of disbursable aid for that period that the student earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point earns all aid for the period.
The responsibility to repay unearned aid is shared by UMass Dartmouth and the student in proportion to the aid each is assumed to possess. UMass Dartmouth's share is the lesser of the total amount of unearned aid or institutional charges multiplied by the percentage of aid that was unearned. The student's share is the difference between the total unearned amount and the institution's share.
The return of Title IV funds will be in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Perkins Loan
- PLUS Loan
- Pell Grant
Other Title IV Programs
After the student's share is fully allocated among the Title IV programs, any amount owed to a grant program is reduced by half.
Return of Federal (Title IV) funds calculation is performed independently of institutional costs incurred for the period of enrollment.
UMass Dartmouth will return its share of unearned Title IV funds no later than 45 days after determination of withdrawal.
The student may be entitled to a post-withdrawal disbursement of Federal financial aid if the return of funds calculation indicates that the student earned more aid than was disbursed prior to withdrawal. Post-withdrawal disbursements will be credited first toward unpaid institutional charges. Any portion of a post-withdrawal disbursement that exceeds unpaid institutional charges will be offered as a disbursement to the student. Students must accept this disbursement within 14 days of the offer. If a response is not received or if the offer is declined, these excess funds will be returned to the appropriate Title IV program.
Non-Title IV Funds
UMass Dartmouth will calculate return of non-Title IV funds in accordance with the appropriate institutional and state refund policy. Refunds (after Title IV aid has been included in the formula) will be made to programs in the following order: state, institutional, private.
UMass Dartmouth follows policy guidelines developed by the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) in governing return of state funds. Categorical waivers will be retained up to the amount of tuition charged.
Other state funds will be returned in the order specified by OSFA in line with policy guidance.
Institutional funds will be returned on a case-by-case basis upon appropriate administrator review of financial assistance awarded and balance due.
Each year the federal government and/or UMass Dartmouth Financial Aid Services randomly selects financial aid recipients for verification. The verification process requires that we review the information reported on the FAFSA and check for accuracy against documentation you provide to our office.
The U.S. Department of Education is moving towards a more individualized verification process where only certain elements of verification are performed on particular students. This means that UMass Dartmouth may not require the same documentation from each student.
If you are selected for verification, you will be asked to submit a verification worksheet (available on our website under Forms) and may also need to provide copies of Federal Tax Return Transcripts (see the IRS Data Retrieval Tool section below).
You should not submit tax return or other verification data unless it is requested by Financial Aid Services.
How will I be notified?
Newly admitted students will be notified by mail via a missing information letter. In addition, required items may be viewed on your To Do list via www.umassd.edu/undergraduate/ Select Check Admissions Status from the left menu. Log in, then select View Financial Aid.
Current students will be notified through your UMD email account. In addition, you will see your required verification items under your “To Do” list in COIN.
How does using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool ease verification requirements?
In most cases, if you or your parents (if a dependent student) have utilized the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing your 2013-14 FAFSA, we will no longer require a copy of your Federal Tax Return Transcript. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool helps streamline the FAFSA by allowing online FAFSA filers to pull specific tax return data directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. The retrieval tool will save you time and increase the accuracy of your FAFSA information.
If at the time you filed your initial FAFSA, you or your parents (if dependent student) had not yet filed a Federal Tax Return, you should update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool once your tax return has been filed with the IRS.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used until you and/or your parents have filed taxes.
- Electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site in 2-3 weeks after the return has been filed.
- Data from paper tax returns will be available in 6-8 weeks.
You are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:
- You did not file a federal tax return for 2012.
- You filed an amended federal tax return for 2012.
- Your marital status changed after December 31, 2012.
- Your 2012 federal tax return filing status is "married filing separately".
- You filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
- You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number.
- You applied for a 2012 Federal IRS Tax Filing Extension.
- Your home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return.
For more information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please visit www.fafsa.ed.gov
What are the deadlines?
Verification documents must be submitted as soon after notification as possible or at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester. In addition:
- If a student is a Pell Grant recipient, the verification process must be completed by September 26, 2014, or 120 days after the last day of the student’s enrollment, whichever is earlier.
- If a student is a Direct Loan applicant, the verification process must be completed ten business days prior to the last day of the student’s enrollment.
There are negative consequences resulting from failure to complete verification within specified deadlines. Our goal is to help you to avoid these consequences. Verification regulations require the following:
- Verification may result in FAFSA corrections that change your award amounts and the amount you owe.
- Estimated financial aid awards may be removed if verification is not completed within specified deadlines.
- Financial aid funds will not be applied as payment to your student account or disbursed to you until the verification process is completed.
What happens after all verification material has been submitted?
Depending on the time of year, a financial aid award notice may be sent to prospective students pending verification. Financial Aid Services has the right after reviewing verification information to change or cancel an award based on the information provided. If verification results in changes to an applicant's financial aid eligibility, a revised award notice will be mailed to the permanent address and/or sent to the student's UMass Dartmouth email address.
Please keep in mind that due to heavy volume in the summer and early fall, there may be a delay in the review of verification materials submitted.
What happens if the school suspects fraud?
Individuals who have purposely misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain financial aid funds will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General.