Satisfactory Academic Progress

Lawrence University is required by federal regulation (34 CFR 668.34) to apply qualitative and quantitative standards in measuring academic progress for financial aid purposes. These standards apply to all students who receive institutional, state and federal Title IV funds administered by the university. Federal Title IV programs include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Work Study, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

The standards identified in this policy parallel, but are distinct from the University’s Academic Action Guidelines as defined by the faculty for the purpose of monitoring student academic progress and determining eligibility to continue to enroll in any of the University’s academic programs.  For the purposes of federal and state financial aid programs, student academic records will be reviewed annually after the end of spring term using the standards defined below in order to determine whether the satisfactory academic progress required for continued eligibility has been met.

I. Maintain a Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

Federal regulations require that students have a GPA of at least 2.000 or its equivalent by the end of their second year of enrollment, or have academic standing consistent with Lawrence University’s requirements for graduation.  At Lawrence University, students who are eligible to enroll for courses as determined by the Faculty Subcommittee on Administration based on the University’s Academic Action Guidelines are considered to be meeting this requirement.

Note: The Academic Actions Guidelines policy does describe the GPA needed at each evaluation period by student category, but also goes well beyond a simple GPA standard.  To receive financial aid a student must be in attendance and this policy drives eligibility to enroll.  Students can be required to withdraw with a degree GPA greater than 2.000.

II. Maximum Time Frame Requirement

Federal regulations require that students complete their academic program and receive their degree within 150% of the published length of their degree program.   The maximum length of a degree program is measured by attempted units and can be no more than 150% of the earned units required to complete the program and receive a degree.  Attempted units include all courses taken at Lawrence or in affiliated off-campus programs, and degree credit awarded for examinations (AP, IB, A-Level, other), and all degree credit transferred from other institutions.

A student is no longer eligible to receive federal or state financial aid once he/she has attempted more than 150% of the credits required to complete the degree for which the student is currently enrolled.

The chart below represents the minimum requirements for the degree program listed, and the corresponding maximum attempted units allowed for purposes of federal and state financial aid eligibility. If a student’s degree program requires more than the minimum units shown in the chart, the student’s maximum units allowed will reflect 150% of the actual program units required.  

Degree Prorgram: Required Units (Maximum Allowable Attempted Units)

Bachelor of Arts: 216 (324)

Bachelor of Music: 216 (324)

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music: 270 (405)

At the point it is determined that students are unable to complete their program within the required maximum time frame, they will receive notification that they are no longer eligible to receive federal or state financial aid. In addition, students who have completed their academic program requirements but have not conferred (taken) a degree will be notified they are ineligible for federal or state financial aid.

III. PACE of Progression

In order to complete program requirements within the maximum time allowed by law a student must progress through the program at a certain pace.  Pace is measured by dividing degree units (units successfully completed) by units attempted (all Lawrence work, all exam credit awarded, and all credit transferred from other institutions).  Lawrence recognizes that many students will have a period of adjustment to college work.  As in the long-standing Academic Action Guidelines, the rules governing progress are slightly more lenient for students in their first year of college.

To meet the ‘pace of progress’ standard and retain eligibility for (federal/Title IV) financial aid a student must:

• Successfully complete no less than 50% of the units attempted during the first academic year.

• Successfully complete no less than 67% of the cumulative units attempted during subsequent academic years.

The following definitions will be used when determining a student’s pace of academic progress:

• Degree credit awarded for examinations (such as AP, IB, and A-Level) and transferred from other institutions will count as both attempted and earned units.

• Credit for Lawrence classes in which a student receives a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- and S will be counted as both attempted and earned units

• Credit for Lawrence classes in which a student receives a grade of F, U, WF, WP*, WF*, will be counted only as attempted units since no credit is earned.

• Credit for Lawrence classes in which a student receives a grade of I, IP, or NR will not be included in the assessment of pace of academic progress in either attempted or earned units as these grades indicate extension of academic sessions, multi-term classes, pending administrative determinations, or unreported work from affiliated off-campus programs.  When final grades are posted (A-F, S-U, or W any), this work will be incorporated into the “pace of progress” calculations

• Lawrence’s repeat policy does not allow credit for the same work twice.  Credit for repeated courses (grade followed by #) will count in attempted units only.

• In a ‘normal’ first academic year, a student will attempt 54 units of work.  Students who have attempted more than 54 units by the annual review at the end of their first year of attendance at Lawrence will be evaluated using the “67%” standard listed above.

IV. Financial Aid Academic Progress Review and Outcomes

At the end of the academic year the records of all students receiving federal or state financial aid will be reviewed against the academic progress rules contained in this policy.  Students whose records do not meet the requirements will be ineligible to receive federal or state funds for future academic sessions and will be notified by email at their Lawrence University e-mail accounts.

Students who lose their access to federal and state financial aid have two options for re-establishing their eligibility for these programs:  pursue education without access to these aid funds in order to improve academic record or appeal the decision to terminate eligibility.

A. Attendance With Out Benefit of Federal and State Funding

A student who remains eligible to register under the University’s Academic Action Guidelines or through action taken by the Faculty Subcommittee on Administration, such as readmission to the University, may choose to attend without benefit of federal and state financial aid.  At such time as the student’s academic record meets the requirements for academic progress defined in this policy, the student may ask for a review and reinstatement of their eligibility for funds.

B.  Appeal of Decision to Terminate Eligibility for Federal and State Financial Aid

• A student may appeal the decision to terminate eligibility.  The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the notice of termination.  Incomplete appeals or appeals received after 30 days will not be reviewed.  The appeal must meet the following requirements:

• It must be filed within 30 days of termination of eligibility

• It must be based on extenuating circumstances.  These include, but are not limited to: personal injury or illness, family difficulties, interpersonal problems, death of student's relative.

• It may not be based on the need for financial assistance or lack of knowledge that financial assistance was in jeopardy.

• It must include a frank discussion of the reasons why the student failed to meet the academic progress requirements.

• It must explain what has changed that will allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the end of the next term and specifically how that will be accomplished.

• If the student cannot regain satisfactory academic progress by the end of the next term, the appeal must include an academic plan that is deemed reasonable by the Associate Dean of Academic Success, or designee, and will ensure the student will meet the academic progress guidelines at a particular point in the future as identified in the plan.  The student should consult her/his academic advisor while drafting the academic plan.

The Office of Financial Aid will make the final determination on the appeal and will notify the student by email at the student’s Lawrence University email account.

C. Approved Appeals and Follow-Up Academic Progress Reviews

If the appeal is approved the student will be placed on financial aid probation for the next academic term and eligibility for federal and state funding will be reinstated for that term.  An academic progress review will be conducted at the end of the next term to determine continued eligibility for financial aid funds:

• If an academic plan was NOT submitted as part of the appeal, the student must meet the academic progress standards at the end of the following term or lose eligibility for federal and state funds.

• If an academic plan was submitted as part of the appeal AND the student makes satisfactory progress according to the plan, the financial aid probation status will be extended another term, the student will remain eligible for federal and state financial aid, and another academic progress review will occur when the next term concludes.

Note: A student who has lost eligibility may not automatically regain it by sitting out (not attending) for a semester.