Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

For purposes of determining student eligibility assistance 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. 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 Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

In order to meet the above requirements Radford University has established and maintains the following Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.  To be eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, all students are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy applies to all students who receive federal, state, and institutional aid, as well as most private education loans.  All coursework attempted, even if aid is not received, is considered when determining a student’s SAP standing.

SAP standards are different for undergraduate and graduate students.  For complete information on the progress standards, see “Satisfactory Progress Standards” below.

Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated on three standards.  A student must meet all three standards to maintain a good SAP standing.  The three academic progress measures are:

·         Minimum Cumulative GPA – the minimum GPA a student must maintain to be eligible

·         Pace of Progress – successful completion of courses attempted

·         Time Frame – the number of hours attempted towards completing a degree program

Beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, the Office of Financial Aid will measure Satisfactory Academic Progress using a new pace of completion standard for undergraduate students.  All financial aid applicants are required to meet all three of these standards to be eligible to receive financial aid in the next academic year.  All standards are defined in the table below.  

Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed at least annually for all students.  For the majority of students SAP will be reviewed at the conclusion of the spring semester before aid is awarded for the next academic year.  See additional information for summer financial aid recipients below.

If a student fails any of the SAP standards, the student’s financial aid eligibility will be suspended.  All federal, state, and institutional aid is subject to the SAP policy.  Private Education loans will not be certified unless a student is meeting the required standards.  The only exception would be if the alternative loan lender does not require a student to meet SAP standards.

Students who do not meet the Standards of Progress for financial aid may appeal their eligibility if extenuating circumstances have occurred; see “Satisfactory Progress Appeal” below.  If students do not appeal they may regain eligibility for financial aid upon meeting all of the standards as outlined below.  A student cannot regain eligibility by paying for classes, sitting out a semester, or taking classes elsewhere.

SPECIAL NOTE:  It is important to note financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards and academic probation and suspension are not related.  An approved SAP appeal does not change a student’s academic standing.  A change to a student’s academic standing does not change a student’s financial aid progress status.  Exceptions made to the University academic policies are not made to the financial aid progress policy.

Students will be sent an electronic notification when they do not meet SAP standards confirming they are ineligible for financial aid until they meet the defined standards.  Students who do not meet the Standards of Progress for financial aid may appeal their eligibility if extenuating circumstances have occurred; see “Satisfactory Progress Appeal” below.  If students do not appeal they may regain eligibility for financial aid upon meeting all of the standards as outlined below.

Summer Financial Aid Recipients

Students who have applied and been awarded summer financial aid who fail the SAP requirements at the conclusion of spring semester will be required to submit a progress appeal for consideration before receiving aid for the summer.  All students who enroll in courses during the summer terms will be re-evaluated for SAP at the conclusion of the summer sessions.  Aid for future semesters will be held until grades are posted and an updated SAP status can be evaluated.

 

Undergraduate Standards Revised for 2021-2022

SAP Measure SAP Requirement Undergraduate Standard
Students must meet a minimum grade point average Qualitative Progress
Students with less than 56 financial aid attempted hours must meet RU's Suspension/Probation policy.
Students with more than 55 financial aid attempted hours must have a 2.0 minimum GPA and meet the Suspension/Probation policy.
Minimum number of hours a student must complete to show progress toward a degree Quantiative Progress Students are required to successfully complete 67% of all financial aid attempted hours.
Number of attempted hours allowed to earn a degree.
Maximum Time Frame

Degree should be earned within 150% of the program requirements as published in the Radford University Catalog.

Cumulative financial aid hours attempted may not exceed 150% of the program requirement.  Cumulative hours includes all attempted hours as defined above.

Graduate Standards

SAP Requirement SAP Measure Graduate Standard
Number of attempted hours allowed to earn a degree.
Maximum Time Frame

Degree should be earned within 150% of the program requirements as published in the Radford University Catalog.

Cumulative financial aid hours attempted may not exceed 150% of the program requirement.  Cumulative hours includes all attempted hours as defined above.

Students must meet a minimum grade point average Qualitative Progress Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on all financial aid attempted hours.
Minimum number of hours a student must complete to show progress toward a degree Quantiative Progress A student must have earned 75% of their cumulative financial aid attempted hours.

Prior to 2021-2022 Undergraduate Standards

SAP Measure SAP Requirement Undergraduate Standard
Maximum Time Frame Degree should be earned within 150% of the program requirements as published in the Radford University Catalog. Cumulative financial aid hours attempted may not exceed 150% of the program requirement.  Cumulative hours includes all attempted hours as defined above.
Qualitative Progress Students must meet a minimum grade point average Students with less than 56 financial aid attempted hours must meet RU's Suspension/Probation policy.
Students with more than 55 financial aid attempted hours must have a 2.0 minimum GPA and meet the Suspension/Probation policy.
Quantiative Progress Minimum number of hours a student must complete to show progress toward a degree Less than 49 cumulative financial aid attempted hours a student must have completed 50% of their hours attempted
Greater than 48 cumulative financial aid attempted hours a student must have completed 75% of their hours attempted

Understanding Financial Aid Attempted & Completed Hours

Definition of Financial Aid Attempted Hours

  • The hours for which the student is registered at the end of schedule adjustment
     
  • The hours taken during time periods which have been eliminated by the university for purposes of academic renewal
     
  • All transfer hours
     
  • All hours are included, even if the student did not receive financial assistance during these time periods
 

 The table below provides information on what is included in the pace of completion calculation.

Grade Count as Attempted Hours
Count as Completed Hours
A, B, C, D (+,-)
Yes
Yes
P Yes Yes
F Yes No
CRH, CRL Yes Yes
NC Yes No
I Yes No
N (audited)
Yes No
W, WD Yes No
Repeats Yes No
T (transfer credit) Yes Yes

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal

A student has a right to appeal their ineligible status as it relates to failing satisfactory academic progress standards.  The appeal should document any relevant circumstances where it can be shown that the unsatisfactory progress was due to unforeseeable or extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control.  Also, it may be shown that such progress is not indicative of the general pattern of grades previously established.  Examples of extenuating circumstances include illness or death in the family.  Financial need, extracurricular activities, working long hours, or lack of motivation is not sufficient criteria on which to base an appeal of the termination of financial aid.

All submitted progress appeal requests must include supporting documentation before their appeal will be reviewed.  The Office of Financial Aid may request additiona paperwork during the review process to support your request. 

Progress Appeal Reason
Required Documentation
Requested Documentation
Medical Concerns (extended illness, hospitilization, etc.)
Physician's diagnosis or discharge paperwork   Follow-up documents from doctor's appointments.
Anxiety, Depression Issues Diagnosis or treatment paperwork
Documents regarding medication changes, etc.
Significant Life Changes

Two letters of support from an authority figure, ie. a supervisor, minister, counselor, etc.

Any legal documentation regarding situation

 
Death of a Family Member
Obituary or Death Certificate
 
Academic Renewal
Documentation that supports academic success at other institutions
 

Students who have changed majors or who are pursuing additional degrees that have resulted in failure to meet the Financial Aid Standards of Progress will be considered only through the appeal process. 

Submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal does not guarantee that a student will be approved.  If the student is unable to return to Satisfactory Academic Progress standards within one academic year the appeal will not be approved.

A Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form is available from the university’s Financial Aid Office website.  Students may download the progress appeal form from the general forms section on our website, www.radford.edu/finaid-forms.

In order for a student to be considered for aid to assist with the payment of tuition and fees, and/or room and board charges for each semester, a completed progress appeal form, as well as a written statement, and supporting documentation should be submitted no later than the following deadlines.  All students submitting documentation after the deadline will need to make alternate payment arrangements for any outstanding bills.

Progress Appeal Priority Deadlines

  • July 15: Progress Appeal application deadline to assist with deferred charges for fall semester
  • November 1: Progress Appeal application deadline for aid consideration for fall semester  
  • December 20: Progress Appeal Application Deadline to assist with deferred charges for spring semester
  • April 1: Progress Appeal application deadline for aid consideration for spring semester

See the financial aid timeline for progress appeal requests as they pertain to summer session attendance.

Appeal Decision Notification

A student, who submits a satisfactory academic progress appeal, will be notified via email to the Radford University email, by the financial aid office about the appeal decision as soon as possible.  The review process does not begin until all documents are submitted.  Once all documents are submitted, review can take up to two weeks to complete.  If the appeal is submitted after the deadlines date provided students are expected to make payment arrangements to confirm classes for the upcoming semester.

Approved Appeal

If the appeal is approved, the student will be required to sign a Financial Aid Progress Plan for one semester.  The progress plan will outline conditions that must be achieved in order for the student to return to meeting the financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards.  The progress plan may be stricter than the normal SAP standards or University academic standards.  Students who sign and accept the progress plan will be required to meet the conditions of the plan in order to be considered for aid for the following semester.  Accepted progress plan conditions supersede all other SAP regulations.  A student cannot have more than five (5) approved plans over the course of their entire time at Radford University.

End of Term Progress Plan Review

Each student with a progress plan will be reviewed at the end of each semester to determine eligibility for the next semester.  There are two possible outcomes from review; successful or unsuccessful.

Successful Progress Plan Completion

Successful outcome 1: A student meets the terms of the plan, but does not meet overall satisfactory academic progress standards; the student will have a new plan written that they must sign and return to receive aid for the next term.

Successful outcome 2: A student meets the terms of the plan and now meets the overall satisfactory academic progress standards; the student will be eligible to receive aid without signing a new progress plan.  

Unsuccessful Progress Plan Completion

If a student does not meet the terms of the plan they will lose financial aid eligibility for at least the next semester.  The student will regain aid eligibility once they meet all the SAP standards.  There are no exceptions provided to students who do not meet their progress plan conditions.

Denied Appeal

Decisions that are made by the Appeal Review Committee are final.   

If the appeal is denied the student may pay their charges out of pocket or make monthly payments using the payment plan.

Regaining Financial Aid Eligiblity

Students who do not meet the Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress may regain eligibility through one of the following methods:

  • Gain approval for a period of probation by submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal to the financial aid office.  If the appeal is granted, the student will have one semester to meet the Standards of Progress.  See above for procedures to submit an appeal.
  • Meet the Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress.  Eligibility is re-evaluated for ineligible students who have submitted a FAFSA each semester.

Special Situation Information

Summer Financial Aid Recipients

Summer classes will be considered in relation to all summer terms.  For example, if a student receives financial aid in Summer I and Summer III and withdraws from the Summer I class before the end of schedule adjustment, the student is considered not to have withdrawn from all summer classes.  Students may be granted a probationary period based on the outcome of an appeal.

Withdrawal from all classes

Students who enroll for a semester, receive financial aid covered by this policy, and withdraw from all classes before the end of schedule adjustment will be ineligible to receive financial aid.  Students who withdraw from all classes after the end of schedule adjustment will be ineligible to receive financial aid based on the quantitative component of progress described above (registered for hours and completed 0 hours).  Summer classes will be considered in relation to all summer terms.  For example, if a student receives financial aid in Summer I and Summer III and withdraws from the Summer I class before the end of schedule adjustment, the student is considered not to have withdrawn from all summer classes.  Students may be granted a probationary period based on the outcome of an appeal. 

Academic Renewal

Students who are readmitted to Radford University under the academic renewal provision are not automatically eligible for financial assistance.  Federal regulations require that all coursework must be considered for financial aid recipients.  To be considered for financial aid, academic renewal students must submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal to the Radford University Financial Aid Office.  

The Appeal will be reviewed and the student will be notified of the results.  The student’s previous coursework will be taken into consideration in determining eligibility for financial aid each semester at RU, even though it may not be considered toward university academic progress.

Military Service Activation

Students called to active duty that results in withdrawal from all classes will be granted Probation upon submission of documents verifying activation.  Students must meet the Financial Aid Standards of Progress at the time of military activation to be granted probation.