Overview of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
SAP standards are based on federal student aid regulations and apply to federal and state financial aid. SAP standards are cumulative and include all periods of enrollment, whether or not the student received financial aid.
Federal Title IV programs include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct and PLUS Loan program, Federal Work Study, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
The financial aid SAP standards differ from the University’s Academic Standing Policy 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.
There are three aspects to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Students must meet each of the components to maintain eligibility for financial aid. For the purposes of federal and state financial aid programs, student academic records are reviewed annually after the end of spring term using the standards defined below to determine whether the satisfactory academic progress required for continued financial aid eligibility has been met.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
SAP policy requires that students maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 to remain eligible for federal and state financial aid.
Pace of Progression
In order to complete program requirements within the maximum time allowed by federal financial aid regulations, a student must progress through the program at a certain pace. Satisfactory Academic Progress standards require students make steady progress toward completion of their degree program by successfully completing at least 67% of all attempted courses. The Pace measurement is the percentage of successful course completion and is determined by dividing the number of units successfully earned (called degree units or completed units) by the number of units attempted (including all Lawrence work, all exam credit awarded, and all credit transferred from other institutions).
Definitions used when determining a student’s pace of academic progress:
- 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, and any withdrawal (W, WP, or 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), this work will be incorporated into the “pace of progress” calculations at the next SAP assessment period.
- Degree credit include all courses taken at Lawrence or in affiliated off-campus programs, degree credit awarded for examinations (AP, IB, A-Level, other), and all degree credit transferred from other institutions will count as both attempted and earned units.
- Lawrence’s repeat policy does not allow credit for the same course work more than once. Credit for repeated courses (grade followed by #) will count in attempted units only.
Maximum Time Frame for Timely Program Completion
Students must 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.
A student is no longer eligible to receive federal or state financial aid once they have attempted more than 150% of the credits required to complete the degree for which the student is currently enrolled. If it is determined that a student will be 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 as of the point when it is no longer possible to complete their program within the maximum allowed time frame.
Definition used related to the Maximum Time Frame:
- Attempted units include all courses taken at Lawrence or in affiliated off-campus programs, degree credit awarded for examinations (AP, IB, A-Level, other), and all degree credit transferred from other institutions.
This chart shows the minimum requirements for the degree program listed and the corresponding maximum attempted units allowed for 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 Program||Minimum Units Required||Maximum Attempted Units Allowed for Financial Aid Eligibility|
|Bachelor of Arts||216 completed units||324 attempted units|
|Bachelor of Music||216 completed units||324 attempted units|
|Bachelor of Musical Arts||216 completed units||324 attempted units|
|Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music Double Degree||270 completed units||405 attempted units|
Satisfactory Academic Progress Review and Outcomes
At the end of spring term each year the records of all students are reviewed to evaluate whether students are meeting requirements contained in this policy. Students whose records do not meet the SAP requirements are ineligible to receive federal or state funds for future academic sessions and are notified by email at their Lawrence University e-mail accounts.
Students who lose their eligibility to federal and state financial aid have two options for re-establishing their eligibility for these programs:
- Pursue education without access to these funds in order to improve academic record or
- Appeal the eligibility decision
A student who does not meet SAP requirements but who does remain eligible to register under the University’s Academic Standing Policy 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 SAP review and reinstatement of their eligibility for federal and/or state financial aid funds.
A student who does not meet SAP requirements is able to request that their eligibility be temporarily reinstated in light of their circumstances and steps taken to resolve the academic challenges they faced. Students requesting this appeal are encouraged to work with their academic advisor(s) and resources available through the Center for Academic Success or other assistance so this appeal to be an opportunity to assess their academic performance and identify new approaches to lead to more successful academic outcomes. More information about the SAP Appeal process is included below.
A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may not automatically regain it by sitting out (not attending) for a term or period of time. If a student not meeting SAP requirements takes time off from Lawrence, they will need to submit a SAP appeal upon their return to Lawrence University or attend without benefit of federal or state financial aid programs until they are meeting SAP standards again.
Appealing Financial Aid Eligibility Suspension
While the Financial Aid office is required to review and enforce the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy in compliance with federal student aid regulations, at Lawrence we aim for this process to be an opportunity for students to work with their academic advisor(s) and support resources to assess the challenges they have faced and consider new strategies for academic success. We encourage students notified that they are not meeting SAP requirements to work with their advisor(s) regarding their situation and while drafting their SAP appeal.
A student may appeal the determination that they are ineligible to receive federal and/or state financial aid. When a student is notified that they have been determined to be ineligible to receive federal or state financial aid, they will be also be provided with information about how to submit an appeal. The appeal must meet the following requirements:
- The appeal must be based on unusual or extenuating circumstances including but not limited to: personal injury or illness, family difficulties, interpersonal challenges, death of a relative.
- The appeal may NOT be based on the need for financial assistance or lack of knowledge that financial assistance was in jeopardy.
- The appeal must include a frank discussion of the reasons why the student failed to meet the academic progress requirements.
- The appeal 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.
- The appeal must be filed by the deadline stated in the Financial Aid Office’s email regarding ineligibility. Appeals received after the deadline may not be reviewed.
Appeals of Satisfactory Academic Progress determinations are reviewed by the Financial Aid office who makes the final determination on the appeal and will notify the student by email at the student’s Lawrence University email account.
Approved Appeals and Follow-Up Academic Progress Reviews
When a SAP appeal is approved, the student receives a Satisfactory Academic Progress Contract to sign and return to the Financial Aid Office. The Contract provides information about the minimum requirements for upcoming term(s) in order to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. In some cases, the SAP Contract will outline academic requirements for the upcoming term and in some cases the Contract will include academic performance requirements over multiple terms.
Once the signed Contract form is returned to the Financial Aid office, federal and/or state financial aid will be reinstated to the student’s account on a probationary basis. This student is considered to be on financial aid probation according to federal student aid guidelines.
The student’s SAP status will be reviewed after the following term to determine if they have met the minimum requirements outlined in their SAP Contract in order to continue to receive federal and/or state student aid.
- If the student’s SAP Contract was for one term, the student must meet all SAP standards at the end of the following term or lose eligibility for federal and state funds.
- If the student’s SAP Contract outlined multiple terms to meet SAP requirements, at the end of the following term their academic progress will be assessed to see that the student made satisfactory progress according to the plan in the Contract. If the student meets the requirements set out for the term, 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.