Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Background

For purposes of determining financial aid eligibility under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, an institution must establish reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP). On October 29, 2010, the Secretary of Education published final rules aimed at improving the integrity of programs authorized under Title IV of the HEA, as amended.

Effective July 1, 2011, institutions must comply with the published regulations that impact SAP. The Office of Enrollment Management has revised its satisfactory academic progress policy to comply with the new regulations.

Introduction

Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV financial aid programs to have a SAP policy. Title IV financial aid programs include: Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH), Subsidized Stafford Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, PLUS Loan, Perkins Loan, and Work-Study. The requirements of this policy apply to all students as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid.

Minimum Standards

Qualitative Measure of Progress

To remain eligible for federal grants, loans, and work study, students must meet the standards indicated below at the end of each semester or term. The qualitative requirement sets a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for the degree level at which a student is classified. Note: This is the GPA used to determine one’s status and includes grades from courses taken at all other schools that are accepted by LSU. This does not include college coursework taken while in high school or advanced placement credit. To remain in compliance, a student must maintain the following cumulative GPA after each period of assessment: 

Minimum Cumulative GPA
Undergraduate Students 2.0
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Students 2.0
Graduate Students 3.0
Law/Veterinary Medicine Students 2.0
 

Quantitative Measure of Progress

To remain eligible for federal grants, loans, and work study, students must meet the standards indicated below at the end of each semester or term. The standards to establish and maintain eligibility for Title IV assistance are more stringent than the University’s academic standards for continuous enrollment. At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum timeframe. Failure to meet the minimum cumulative standards may result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.

The quantitative requirement contains the following two components:

Pace of Progression/Completion Rate

The credit hour completion rate reflects the pace at which students must progress to ensure that they are able to complete their degree program within the maximum timeframe. The pace of progression is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. All students regardless of classification must earn 75 percent of all hours attempted. This is a cumulative calculation and includes credits attempted at all schools before and while attending LSU. This does note include advanced placement credit.

Maximum Timeframe

The maximum timeframe for students to complete their degree cannot exceed 133 percent of the published length of the academic program. Hours are counted starting with the semester the student entered school, even those semesters in which he/she did not receive financial aid. The maximum timeframes are listed below:

 

Maximum Timeframe
Bachelor's Degree 160 Attempted Hours
Architecture Degree 215 Attempted Hours
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 24 Hours
Master's Degree 40 Attempted Hours
PhD 7 years from start of program
DVM Degree 236 Attempted Hours
J.D./C.L. 125 Attempted Hours

Evaluation and Notification of Eligibility

The minimum progress standards will be checked after each semester (fall, spring, and summer) or term (see "LSU Online Terms" below) of enrollment. At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum timeframe. At the time of each evaluation, a student who has not achieved the required GPA, or who is not successfully completing his or her educational program at the required pace, is no longer eligible to receive assistance under the Title IV programs unless the student is placed on financial aid warning or the student has appealed and has been placed on financial aid probation.

Using the qualitative and quantitative measures of progress, a student may be placed in one of the following SAP statuses:

Passing

A status assigned to a student who is eligible for financial aid and is meeting the minimum standards.

Warning

A status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP at an institution that evaluates SAP at the end of each payment period and is assigned without an appeal or other action by the student. The student may continue to receive Title IV aid for one payment period. To be removed from ‘Warning’, the student must attain the required cumulative GPA and credit completion rate by the end of his/her ‘Warning’ period.

Suspension

A status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP after one payment period of aid while in ‘Warning’ status or a student who fails to make SAP while in ‘Probation’ status or fails to meet the conditions outlined in the Academic Plan while in “Reestablish’ status. Note: Students in ‘Suspension’ status are NOT eligible for financial aid. To be removed from ‘Suspension’ status, an appeal for reinstatement must be approved or the student must meet the minimum SAP standards at the end of the next semester. For more information, please refer to the “Appeals” and/or “Regaining Eligibility” section of this policy.

Probation

A status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and an appeal is approved with a one semester academic plan. At the end of the one semester on “Probation,” the student must meet the terms and conditions outlined in the SAP standards.

Reestablish Max Time

A status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and an appeal is approved with an academic plan. Students who have a ‘Reestablish Max Time’ status will be required to fulfill specific terms and conditions outlined in the academic plan.

Reestablish Grade/Pace

A status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and an appeal is approved with an academic plan. Students who have a ‘Reestablish Grade/Pace’ status will be required to fulfill specific terms and conditions outlined in the academic plan.

Ineligible

A status assigned to a student who fails to make SAP and an appeal is denied. Students who have an ‘Ineligible’ status are not eligible for aid during the next semester in which the student is enrolled.

Exceeded Maximum Timeframe

A status assigned to a student who has exceeded the 133% maximum timeframe of his/her degree requirements. Students in this status are NOT eligible for financial aid and will be required to personally pay for any additional semesters necessary. Students who have exceeded the maximum timeframe may request for a brief extension of their financial aid by completing a financial aid appeal. For more information, refer to the “Appeals” section of this policy.

Plan Not Met Exceed Time

A status assigned to a student who was placed on an academic plan due to exceeding maximum timeframe and did not satisfy the academic plan requirements.

Plan Not Met Grade/Pace

A status assigned to a student who was placed on an academic plan due to grade or pace and did not satisfy the academic plan requirements.

Appeals

If extenuating circumstances prevented a student from meeting the requirements, a SAP Appeal may be filed. The appeal must be submitted with accompanying documentation and a completed academic plan by the deadline date given. All supporting documents will be retained in the student’s financial aid file.

The following are examples of circumstances under which a student would be permitted to submit an appeal: death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. A student’s appeal must explain the circumstances that prevented him/her from making SAP and the reasons for the basis of this appeal. The student must address the following:

  1. what the problem was;
  2. when did the problem occur;
  3. how long did the problem last;
  4. how did this affect his/her ability to complete coursework; and
  5. the steps taken to ensure that the minimum standards will be met at the next evaluation.

If a student cannot meet the minimum cumulative standards within one period of enrollment, an appeal may NOT be approved without the submission of a completed academic plan. The academic plan must demonstrate how the student will meet the SAP standards by a specific point in time. If the student deviates from the academic plan, financial aid eligibility will be suspended.

In order to be eligible for financial aid for a semester or term in which financial aid has been suspended, an appeal must be approved prior to or during that semester or term. To ensure that an appeal is reviewed, students must submit their appeal no later than two weeks prior to the end of the semester or term. Appeals will NOT be considered for a semester or term that has already ended. It is the responsibility of the student to pay all outstanding balances on his/her account while waiting for an appeal decision. Regardless of the appeal decision, students are responsible for any late fees incurred.

Note: Financial aid appeals are not the same as academic appeals.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS APPEAL FORM

Regaining Eligibility

If an appeal is denied or is not submitted, in order to regain financial aid eligibility, the student must meet the minimum SAP standards when SAP is evaluated at the end of the next semester or term in which the student is enrolled.

Terms & Definitions

Multiple Degrees

Hours attempted that are classified as general education requirements and are completed as part of the requirements for the first Bachelor’s degree count as attempted in the maximum timeframe when multiple Bachelor’s degrees are pursued. The student will be allowed a maximum timeframe of 133% of the minimum hours to complete the Bachelor’s degree minus the hours completed as general education courses. Students pursuing multiple Master’s degrees will be allowed an additional 133% of the published length of the academic program.

Hours Attempted

Hours attempted include all hours pursued in the student’s career and are counted in the maximum timeframe whether or not financial aid was received. Attempted hours also include the following: withdrawals, incompletes, failing grades, repeated coursework, and transfer credits accepted by the University. This does NOT include college coursework taken while in high school or advanced placement credit.

Repeated Coursework

Students are allowed to repeat a previously passed course and have it count toward enrollment for financial aid eligibility only once.

Grade Exclusion

The previous grade received in the repeated course will be excluded from your Grade Point Average (GPA) for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) due to the Grade Exclusion Policy.

Dropped or Withdrawn Courses

Drops and/or withdrawals do not affect a student’s cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both pace and maximum timeframe.

Incomplete Grades

At the time of evaluation (the end of each period of enrollment), incompletes (grade of “I”) do not influence a student’s cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both pace and maximum timeframe. For financial aid purposes, incomplete (“I”) grades equal “F” until removed according to University regulations.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits and credits taken while cross-enrolled that are accepted by Louisiana State University count toward a student’s cumulative GPA and attempted and earned credit hours, therefore, impacting the maximum timeframe and a student’s pace/completion rate. This includes college coursework taken while in high school. It does NOT include advanced placement credit.

Change of Major or Pursuing Multiple Majors

Credits earned under all majors will be included in the calculation of attempted, earned, and maximum timeframe credits, as well as the GPA calculation.

Grades, Hours Earned, and Grade Point Average

Students will receive a grade for each course at the end of the semester. Passing grades are: A, B, C, D, and P. Grades that are not passing are: F, I, U, NC, and W. See the Louisiana State University Catalog for a more detailed description of the grading system and an explanation of how a grade point average is computed.

“Not for Degree Credit” Courses and Audited Coursework

Students may not receive financial aid for continuing education courses, audited courses, or any other courses that are not part of their curriculum.

Academic Bankruptcy

All attempted hours will be included in determining a student’s financial aid eligibility. However, coursework included in an academic bankruptcy does NOT count in earned hours. This means that the completion rate of a student with academic bankruptcy may be adversely affected.

LSU Online Terms

Term 1

Modules in Term 1 Module Start and End Dates
Module 1 (1D) July-August
Module 2 (1L) September-October

 

Term 2

Modules in Term 2 Module Start and End Dates
Module 3 (1P) October-December
Module 4 (2D) January-February

 

Term 3

Modules in Term 3 Module Start and End Dates
Module 5 (2L) March-April
Module 6 (3D) May-June