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of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-,C+, C, C-, D+, D, P, S), non-passing grades (i.e. grade of F), Incomplete (i.e. grade of I), withdrawn courses (i.e. grade of W), transfer credits and repeated courses.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.