Satisfactory Academic Progress

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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Background

Fresno Pacific University is required by federal law to establish specific standards for measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). As part of the university standards for continued enrollment (see above), a student must meet the requirements of the SAP policy below to be eligible to receive federal, state and need-based institutional financial aid assistance. Scholarships and other awards may require students to meet higher standards. Veterans Affairs students have additional requirements. SAP will be reviewed at the end of each semester for all active students, based on the criteria outlined below. It is the student’s responsibility to monitor his or her academic progress through Sunbird Central and to be aware of the requirements of his or her program and SAP standards.

Overview of SAP Standards

FPU students are expected to make reasonable and timely academic progress toward their declared program objective (degree, credential or certificate) each semester. Reasonable progress is measured by the following standards:

Standard 1: The GPA Standard

Meet the minimum FPU cumulative and term grade point average required for their program.

Standard 2: The Pace Standard

Satisfactorily complete at least 66.67 percent of cumulative credit hours attempted.

Standard 3: The Maximum Time Frame

Complete a degree/certificate program within the maximum time frame based on total units attempted compared to the units required in the program.

Details of how each standard is measured are found below. However, it is important to understand that a student’s entire academic history must be considered in these standards regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid for that coursework.

Standard 1: The GPA Standard

Standard 1 is a qualitative measure of progress as measured by the student’s cumulative and term FPU grade point average (GPA). FPU academic policies determine how the GPA is calculated, including which grades count in the GPA calculation and the effect of course repeats on GPA. Each student can see his/her current FPU cumulative GPA on the unofficial transcript in Sunbird Central. To meet Standard 1, students must meet the minimum cumulative and term FPU GPA requirement each semester as listed below:

Academic LevelMinimum CUMULATIVE and TERM FPU GPA
Baccalaureate2.0
Seminary2.5
GRAD3.0

Standard 2: The Pace Standard

Standard 2 is a quantitative measure which attempts to calculate the pace at which a student is progressing toward program completion. Pace is measured by the cumulative percentage of courses attempted that are successfully completed for credit. There are two steps in performing this calculation.

Step 1

Not all credits posted to the student’s academic record are a good indication of the pace at which they are completing their program. As a result, the various types of post-baccalaureate credit are evaluated based on the following:

Types of Courses and Credit That Are Included in this Calculation:

  1. All FPU courses not exempted below
  2. All transfer credits that have been officially accepted to complete program requirements
  3. Repeated coursework

Types of Courses and Credit That Are Not Included in this Calculation:

  1. Audited coursework
  2. Courses dropped with no attendance or last day of attendance in the first week.
  3. In progress and incomplete courses

Step 2

Based on the courses that are included above, pace is then calculated by dividing the total number of credits successfully completed (passed with units earned) by the total number of credits actually attempted.

Total Credits Earned/Completed = all coursework where credit is earned with a grade of CR, A and B (including plusses and minuses). C also counts for some seminary courses.

Total Credits Attempted = total credits earned/completed plus all coursework with a grade of W, C, F, I, NR and NC

To meet Standard 2, students must satisfactorily complete at least 66.67 percent of all cumulative and term credits attempted as calculated above.

Standard 3: The Maximum Time Frame

Standard 3 includes two quantitative measures to determine if the student is completing the academic program within a reasonable amount of time and with a limited, reasonable number of units attempted.

The 150 Percent Rule

This rule quantifies the number of units attempted vs. the number of units completed successfully. Students may not continue to receive financial aid once they have exceeded this standard. It is important to emphasize that once the maximum time frame is exceeded the student is considered ineligible for further financial aid and must complete their program without the benefit of these financial assistance programs. There are two steps in performing this calculation.

Step 1

First, the maximum units allowed for the academic program must be determined. This is calculated by multiplying the minimum units required for the academic program by 150 percent to determine the maximum number of units a student can attempt and still receive financial aid. For example, students in a 40-unit master’s degree program may attempt up to 60 units. For students that are officially pursuing multiple goals, e.g., a financial aid eligible credential or certificate concurrently with a master’s program, the minimum units required of each program will be added together and then multiplied by 150 percent.

Step 2

The total number of units attempted by students in their post-baccalaureate academic career is calculated and compared to the maximum allowed in Step 1. As not all credit posted to the students’ academic record can count toward the degree program requirements, the following exclusions/adjustments are made:

Transfer credits that have been officially accepted to complete program requirements will count.

Units which apply solely to a program that was dropped will be excluded.

To meet Standard 3, students must have attempted less than 150 percent of units required for the academic program as calculated above.

How Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards Are Monitored

Satisfactory academic progress is monitored at the end of each academic term (fall, spring and summer). Students who fully meet all three standards above are considered in good standing for SAP. Students who are not meeting the standards will be notified via FPU email of the results and the impact on their financial aid and academic eligibility. Students who have exceeded the maximum time frame (Standard 3) are immediately ineligible to receive additional financial aid. Students may appeal this ineligible status (see Appeal Guidelines below).

Warning Status

Students who are not meeting Standard 1 (GPA) or Standard 2 (Pace) are first placed on financial aid warning if they were in good status the prior term. A student on warning status will continue to receive financial aid for one term despite a determination that the student is not making satisfactory academic progress.

At the end of the next enrolled term, students on warning must meet all three standards to be deemed eligible for continued assistance. Students who remedy their deficiency and are fully meeting the SAP standards will be considered in good standing for SAP again.

Disqualified Status

Students who are on warning status at the end of the term and who do not remedy their deficiency at the end of the term are disqualified. Students may appeal his/her financial disqualified status (see Appeal Guidelines below).

Probation Status

A student whose appeal is approved will be defined as on probation and may receive aid for one additional term. If determined, based on the appeal, that the student should be able to meet SAP standards by the end of the subsequent semester, they will be placed on probation without an academic plan. The students progress will be monitored at the end of the semester, as probation status is only good for one semester. If it is determined, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one semester to meet progress standards, they will be placed on probation and an action plan will be developed. The status must be reviewed at the end of the semester, to determine if they are meeting the requirements of the academic plan. At the end of the next enrolled term, students on probation must meet all three standards to be deemed eligible for continued assistance and be in good standing for registration. Students who fail to meet the three standards, but meet all the terms of their academic contract, may continue on probation for the length of their academic contract. Students who fail to fully satisfy their academic plan will be disqualified.

Impact on the Disbursement of Financial Aid

Financial aid regulations do not allow for the disbursement of any financial assistance for future semesters until it can be ensured that the student will be eligible to receive the financial aid under these SAP standards. As a result, a hold will be placed on the future disbursement of financial aid for those students who are at risk of becoming ineligible. This includes:

  1. Students who are on warning.
  2. Students who are on probation.
  3. Students who are being monitored based on an approved academic plan.
  4. Students who are approaching the Maximum Time- Frame Standard.

Once grades are posted and SAP standards can be monitored, the hold will be released for those deemed eligible. The hold will not be released for those deemed disqualified until an appeal is approved.

Request to Have Satisfactory Academic Progress Recalculated

If adjustments have been made to the student’s academic record after their SAP status has been calculated, students may request that their SAP status be reviewed again. This may be necessary when:

  • Grades for the term were posted after SAP was calculated
  • Grade changes occur, including the resolution of an incomplete
  • Transfer credit has been posted
  • An academic objective has changed

Appeal Guidelines

You will need to submit a SAP appeal with the required documentation for your appeal to be considered. Please review the form and submit the documentation appropriate to your reason for appealing. It is also important that you meet with your academic advisor prior to submitting your appeal. In some cases, you will be required to have an academic plan created for you in EdPlan by your advisor for your appeal to be considered. In any case it is good practice to check in frequently with your academic advisor to be sure you are on track to graduate.

If your GPA/PACE appeal is approved, it will either be:

  • Probation: If your appeal is approved for 1 term it will be defined as On Probation and you may receive aid for one term. After that term, you must be meeting the SAP policy in order to receive future terms of aid. If you fail to meet SAP policy after 1 term on probation, you will become aid ineligible until you meet the SAP policy.
  • Academic plan: If it will take you more than 1 term to meet SAP standards in one probationary term you may submit an appeal that includes an Academic Plan approved by your advisor. You may be approved for aid based on the terms of the Academic Plan but you will be required to meet the terms of your plan as outlined in the SAP appeal letter you will receive from the financial aid advisor reviewing your appeal.

For a Maximum Timeframe Appeal we will need to know the total number of remaining credits you must take to achieve your first Bachelor's degree, and those courses must be included in an Academic Plan from your advisor as part of your appeal. We cannot consider coursework needed to earn a minor or double major for a Maximum Timeframe extension. If additional credits are granted, you will be ineligible for financial aid once those credits have been attempted, regardless of the grade earned. Appealing more than once for additional credits requires extenuating circumstances, and a great deal of documentation for consideration.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Fresno Pacific University is required to establish standards for measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students to be eligible for Title IV aid in accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress. A student must meet the requirements of the SAP policy to be eligible for federal, state and institutional financial aid assistance at Fresno Pacific. The information below will provide you with a general overview of the policy. For complete Satisfactory Academic Policy details, please review our complete SAP Policy above.

SAP has 3 components you must meet in order to retain your eligibility for financial aid. You are held to this standard regardless of whether you have received financial aid in the past. The 3 categories are:

  1. Grade Point Average (Qualitative): You must meet the Fresno Pacific University minimum GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate/post baccalaureate, 2.5 for all Seminary programs, and 3.0 for all Graduate Programs in order to retain your eligibility. This is based on your Fresno Pacific GPA, not your overall GPA. If you have questions about your GPA, please call your Academic Advisor.
  2. Completion Rate/PACE (Quantitative): You must complete at least 66.67% of all attempted coursework (including courses from the community college). Your pace is your earned units/total attempted units. For example, 67 earned units/120 attempted units = 55.8%.
  3. Maximum Timeframe: You have 150% of the published units it takes to receive your degree to complete it and remain eligible for financial aid. For example, a Bachelor's Degree requires 120 units to complete, which means you would have a total of 180 units to complete your degree before you are no longer eligible to receive financial aid.

Eligibility to enroll for classes does not mean that Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements have been met.

How am I notified?

Satisfactory Academic Progress is monitored at the end of each term and students will receive an email to their FPU email address regarding their status for the upcoming term. Students meeting the GPA and PACE components of the SAP policy are considered to be in good standing and retain their aid eligibility (except as noted below).

You will be placed on financial aid warning if you were meeting the requirements in the prior term but are now not meeting the GPA or PACE measures of this policy. If you are on financial aid warning, you may continue to receive financial aid for one term. If you fail to meet the SAP standards by the end of your warning term you will be placed in an ineligible status. If you have an ineligible status you will be sent notification that future financial aid disbursements will be terminated. Students in the following status at any time will become ineligible for financial aid:

  • Exceeded maximum time frame for degree.

You may submit an appeal for review of your circumstances to reinstate your financial aid eligibility.

How can I appeal?

You will need to submit a SAP appeal with the required documentation for your appeal to be considered. Please review the form and submit the documentation appropriate to your reason for appealing. It is also important that you meet with your academic advisor prior to submitting your appeal. In some cases, you will be required to have an academic plan created for you in EdPlan by your advisor for your appeal to be considered. In any case it is good practice to check in frequently with your academic advisor to be sure you are on track to graduate.

If your GPA/PACE appeal is approved, it will either be:

  • Probation: If your appeal is approved for 1 term it will be defined as On Probation and you may receive aid for one term. After that term, you must be meeting the SAP policy in order to receive future terms of aid. If you fail to meet SAP policy after 1 term on probation, you will become aid ineligible until such time as you meet the SAP policy.
  • Academic plan: If it will take you more than 1 term to meet SAP standards in one probationary term you may submit an appeal that includes an Academic Plan approved by your advisor. You may be approved for aid based on the terms of the Academic Plan but you will be required to meet the terms of your plan as outlined in the SAP appeal letter you will receive from the financial aid advisor reviewing your appeal.

For a Maximum Timeframe Appeal we will need to know the total number of remaining credits you must take to achieve your first Bachelor's degree, and those courses must be included in an Academic Plan from your advisor as part of your appeal. We cannot consider coursework needed to earn a minor or double major for a Maximum Timeframe extension. If additional credits are granted, you will be ineligible for financial aid once those credits have been attempted, regardless of the grade earned. Appealing more than once for additional credits requires extenuating circumstances, and a great deal of documentation for consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid Eligibility & SAP

What is SAP?

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federally required evaluation of a student's progress towards completion of their degree. The evaluation includes the following three components:

  1. Students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative/term FPU GPA of 2.0 for undergraduates, 2.5 for seminary students, and 3.0 for graduates.
  2. Successfully complete at least 66.67% of their attempted coursework.
  3. Complete their degree within 150% of the published units.
How do I know whether I have met the SAP standards?

A notification will be sent to your FPU email account notifying you if you have been selected as not meeting the minimum SAP standards.

How often will I be evaluated for SAP?

Students are evaluated at the end of each term to determine whether or not they meet the SAP standards. Evaluation begins once grades have been posted to transcripts and continues throughout the student's time at FPU. Should you feel that your progress now brings you above the minimum standards, please request a reevaluation from our office.

What do I need to do if I receive a SAP warning email notification?

At the end of every term we will evaluate your progress. The first term in which you do not meet SAP performance criteria you will receive a warning and aid will apply for the next term. This notification is a warning only, but should cause you to reevaluate your current academic performance and seek assistance through your academic advisor and other campus resources. Carefully review the SAP standards and your coursework for the next term to determine what plan of action may be needed to improve your GPA, course completion rate, or to graduate within the 150% standard. Do not hesitate to use the many resources available to you on campus, including the Academic Support Center and the FPU On-Site Counseling Program.

If selected as not meeting the SAP standards, what action(s) do I need to take?

The next step is to complete an appeal and submit it to our office. Please make sure that you have included all necessary information. An incomplete appeal can delay review and subsequently delay the availability of financial aid awards.

How will I know the result of my appeal?

Once review of an appeal is complete, you will be notified of the decision through your FPU email account.

What do I need to do after my appeal is approved?

If your appeal is approved, please check Sunbird Central for the overall status of your Financial Aid to see if you have any unsatisfied student requirements for this aid year.

What do I need to do after my appeal is denied?

If your appeal is denied, you are ineligible to receive financial aid until you have reestablished your eligibility. You should refer to your denial letter for additional information and explanation.

Are there deadlines for submitting an appeal?

Appeals should be submitted by the deadline listed in the SAP status email notification. Appeals received after the deadline may not be reviewed before the next term of attendance; therefore, we recommend submitting a complete appeal as soon as possible.

What happens if I do not appeal?

For those that do not wish to submit an appeal, financial aid will not be awarded until eligibility has been reestablished. The only way to do this without submitting an appeal is to bring your GPA and/or PACE of completion rate to the minimum standards of a 2.0 FPU GPA as an undergraduate, 2.5 as a seminary student, or 3.0 as a graduate and at least a 66.67% PACE. Students that have exceeded their maximum time frame must file an appeal.