Policy Portal

Administrative Policy: Academic

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility

Policy Number: 3349-AC-252
Effective Date: 05/31/2019
Updated:
Reviewed:
Responsible Department: Office of Financial Aid
Approval Authority: VPAA

A. Purpose

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires that NEOMED establish a reasonable Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for determining whether an otherwise eligible student is making satisfactory progress in his or her educational program and eligible for Federal Student Aid Title IV (Title IV) funds.  This Policy outlines the standards for and determinants of SAP as outlined by federal regulations regarding Title IV funds; it is not related to the academic guidelines set forth by the Committees on Academic and Professional Progress (CAPP).

B. Scope

This policy applies to students of all Colleges.  This policy applies to determining student’s eligibility for Title IV funds and Institutional Funds.  Students who do not receive Title IV and/or Institutional Funds are still evaluated for SAP to determine eligibility for possible future requests of Title IV funds.

C. Definitions

  1. “Appeal” is a process by which a student who is not meeting SAP standards and is on Financial Aid Ineligible status, petitions the school for reconsideration of his or her eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds.
  2. “Federal Student Aid Title IV” or “Title IV” includes funding from the Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education. Title IV funds available to NEOMED students include loans from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, the Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans (Graduate PLUS).
  3. “Institutional Funds” includes all funding from the NEOMED Foundation, NEOMED Operating Budget, and NEOMED Business Arrangements. Institutional Funds available to NEOMED students includes scholarships, grants, need-based loans, and forgivable loans.
  4. “Maximum Timeframe” is the SAP Standard that determines the maximum time a student can receive Title IV and Institutional Funds to complete a program of study. Maximum Timeframe, in conjunction with pace of progression, ensures the student completes the program within the program within the Maximum Timeframe.  NEOMEDs defined Maximum Timeframe is (one hundred fifty) 150 percent of the published length of the program.  The published length of the program is the number of credit hours required for completion.
  5. “Qualitative Measure” – is the SAP standard to assess the quality of academic work using standards measurable against a norm. This measurement is cumulative grades. The calculation is College specific.  The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) does not round when calculating.
  6. “Quantitative Measure” – is the SAP standard to measure progress toward program completion. The pace of progression is required to make sure a student completes within Maximum Timeframe.  This measurement is cumulative.  The calculation is cumulative credit hours completed (successfully passed) divided by cumulative hours attempted.  NEOMED’s standard is an overall cumulative completion pace of 67%.  OFA does not round when calculating percentages.
  7. “Satisfactory Academic Progress” or “SAP” is the measurement of both quantitative (time-based) and qualitative (grade-based) standards a student must meet in order to maintain eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds. There are three separate SAP standards; Maximum Timeframe, Quantitative (pace of progression), and Qualitative (grade-based).
  8. “Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Evaluation Point” is the official evaluation at the end of each payment period.
  9. “Second Academic Year” is defined as the student being enrolled at NEOMED for four semesters (payment periods), regardless of a student’s enrollment status (full time, half time, or less than half time).

D. Policy Statement

  1. Standards – The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) determines a student’s eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds, as directed by the Department of Education.  Standards for SAP have been established by OFA and are used in the determination of a student’s eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds.  There are three standards that OFA will check at each formal SAP evaluation point at the end of each payment period: Maximum Timeframe, Quantitative Measure (pace of progression), and Qualitative measure (grade-based). Students enrolled in a program of more than two academic years must have a specific qualitative review at the end of the second academic year.
    1. College of Graduate Studies (COGS) Students
      1. Standard One – Maximum Timeframe: A COGS student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds when the cumulative number of attempted credit hours is less than (one hundred fifty) 150 percent of the published length of education program.  A COGS student is failing to meet SAP when the cumulative number of attempted credit hours is equal to or greater than (one hundred and fifty) 150 percent of the published length of educational program.  A COGS Student is failing to make SAP at the evaluation point where indicated they will exceed Maximum Timeframe, not just at the point when they reach the Maximum Timeframe.
      2. Standard Two – Quantitative Measure (Pace of Progression): A COGS student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative completion pace of sixty-seven (67) percent or greater.  A COGS student is failing to make SAP with an overall cumulative completion pace equal to or less than sixty-six (66) percent.
      3. Standard Three – Qualitative Measure (grade-based): A COGS student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.  A COGS student is failing to make SAP if their overall cumulative GPA is less than 3.0. For programs greater than two years, OFA will check the Qualitative Measure at the end of the Second Academic Year.  A COGS student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.  A COGS student is failing to make SAP if their overall cumulative GPA is less than 3.0.
    2. College of Medicine (COM) Students
      1. Standard One – Maximum Timeframe: A COM student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds when the cumulative number of attempted credit hours is less than one hundred fifty (150) percent of the published length of education program.  A COM student is failing to make SAP when the cumulative number of attempted credit hours is equal to or greater than (one hundred and fifty) 150 percent of the published length of educational program.  A COM Student is failing to make SAP at the evaluation point where indicated they will exceed Maximum Timeframe, not just at the point when they reach the Maximum Timeframe.
      2. Standard Two – Quantitative Measure (Pace of Progression): A COM student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative completion pace of sixty-seven (67) percent or greater.  A COM student is failing to make SAP with an overall cumulative completion pace equal to or less than sixty-six (66) percent.
      3. Standard Three – Qualitative Measure (grade-based): A COM student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative passing rate of sixty-seven (67) percent.  A COM student is failing to make SAP if their overall cumulative passing rate is less than sixty-six (66) percent.  The calculation is cumulative credit hours passed divided by cumulative hours attempted. OFA will check the qualitative measure at the end of the Second Academic Year as part of the specific qualitative review.  A COM student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative passing rate of sixty-seven (67) percent.  A COM student is failing to make SAP if their overall cumulative passing rate is less than sixty-six (66) percent.
    3. College of Pharmacy (COP) Students
      1. Standard One – Maximum Timeframe: A COP student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds when the cumulative number of attempted credit hours is less than one hundred fifty (150) percent of the published length of education program.  A COP student is failing to make SAP when the cumulative number of attempted credit hours is equal to or greater than one hundred and fifty (150) percent of the published length of educational program.  A COP Student is failing to make SAP at the evaluation point where indicated they will exceed Maximum Timeframe, not just at the point when they reach the Maximum Timeframe.
      2. Standard Two – Quantitative Measure (Pace of Progression): A COP student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative completion pace of sixty-seven (67) percent or greater.  A COP student is failing to make SAP with an overall cumulative completion pace equal to or less than sixty-six (66) percent.
      3. Standard Three – Qualitative Measure (grade-based): A COP student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative passing rate of sixty-seven (67) percent.  A COP student is failing to make SAP if their overall cumulative passing rate is less than sixty-six (66) percent.  The calculation is cumulative credit hours passed (grade P for Passing or H for Honors) divided by cumulative hours attempted. OFA will check the qualitative measure at the end of the Second Academic Year as part of the specific qualitative review.  A COP student will remain eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds with an overall cumulative passing rate of sixty-seven (67) percent.  A COP student is failing to make SAP if their overall cumulative passing rate is less than sixty-six (66) percent.
  2. Determinants of Academic Progress: Upon completion of each payment period, the determination of whether or not a student is considered to be making satisfactory progress will be identified by OFA.
    1. SAP Statuses
      1. Financial Aid SAP Met: This status is assigned to a student who is meeting all Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
      2. Financial Aid Warning: A status assigned to a student who is failing to make Satisfactory Academic Progress and is provided with a warning period.  OFA reinstates eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds for one payment period and will do so without a student appeal.  This status is only for students who were making Satisfactory Academic Progress in the prior payment period for which they were enrolled or who were in the first payment period of their program. OFA permits multiple warning periods during an academic career, but the warning periods cannot be consecutive.  OFA will notify a student when he or she is placed on Financial Aid Warning status.
      3. Financial Aid Ineligible: A status assigned to a student who is failing to make Satisfactory Academic Progress for two consecutive payment periods. Students lose their Title IV and Institutional fund eligibility unless they successfully appeal and are place on Financial Aid Probation. OFA will notify a student when he or she is placed on Financial Aid Ineligible status.
      4. Financial Aid Probation: A status assigned to a student who is failing to make Satisfactory Academic Progress and who successfully appeals.  OFA reinstates eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds for one payment period.  Upon successful approval of appeal, OFA will notify a student when he or she is placed on Financial Aid Probation status.  A student may be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one payment period per appeal.  It is possible that a student could be placed on probation more than once in his or her academic career.  Further details found in the Appeal Process section (3).
    2. Course Grades
      1. “DD” or DW” – Dropped before add/drop period: A grade of “DD” or “DW” will not be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress.
      2. “F/P” or “F/S” – Pass After Remediation: A grade of “F/P” or “F/S” will be included twice in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for the Qualitative Measure (grade-based) Standard.  A grade of “F/P” or “F/S” will count once as an “F” and once as a “P” or “S”. A grade of “F/P” or “F/S” will be included once in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for the Maximum Time Frame and Quantitative (pace of progression) Standards.
      3. “I” – Incomplete: A grade of “I” will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for all three standards.  A grade of “I” will be considered as an attempted course.  A grade of “I” will not be considered as a passed or completed course.
      4. “IP” – In-Progress: A grade of “IP” will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for all three standards.  A grade of “IP” will be considered as an attempted course.  A grade of “IP” will not be considered as a passed or completed course.
      5. “NG” – No Grade: A grade of “NG” will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for all three standards.  A grade of “NG” will be considered as an attempted course.  A grade of “NG” will not be considered as a passed or completed course.
      6. “W” – Withdrawal after add/drop period: A grade of “W” will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for all three standards. A grade of “W” will be considered as an attempted course.  A grade of “W” will not be considered as a passed or completed course.
    3. Other Key Determinants
      1. Repeat Coursework: Repeated courses are treated in the same manner as first attempted courses and will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for all three standards.       
      2. Transfer of credit from other institutions: Transfer credit accepted toward completion of student’s program, including hours earned from another school under a consortium agreement which are considered transfer credit, will be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for the Maximum Timeframe and Quantitative (pace of progression) Standards.  Accepted transfer credits will be considered as both hours attempted, and hours completed.  Transfer credit accepted toward completion of student’s program will not be included in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress Qualitative (grade-based) Standard.
      3. Academic Amnesty: Course grades removed or changed as a result of an institutional academic amnesty policy, will still be included in the determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for all three standards.
    4. Appeal Process
      1. A process by which a student who is placed on Financial Aid Ineligible Status petitions for reconsideration of eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds. A student may petition by submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form (SAP Appeal Form) to the OFA.  The SAP Appeal Form is available on the OFA website.
        1. The appeal must include the following:
          1. Why the student failed to make Satisfactory Progress;
          2. What changed in the student’s situation that will allow him/her to make Satisfactory Progress at the next evaluation; and,
          3. Any special or mitigating circumstances that the student believes should be considered.
        2. Once successfully submitted to the OFA, the Director of OFA will review the SAP Appeal Form. The Director of Financial Aid will notify the student of the outcome of the petition within 30 calendar days of the submittal date.
        3. Students can submit a SAP Appeal Form at any time, however in order to regain eligibility in a given payment period, the SAP Appeal Form must be successfully submitted 45 calendar days prior to the end of the payment period.
          1. If a SAP Appeal is approved and a student is placed on Financial Aid Probation (with or without an Academic Plan), they are eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds back to the beginning of the payment period in which the appeal was approved.
        4. The Director of Financial Aid reviews appeals to determine if the student is eligible for Financial Aid Probation. In order to place the student on Financial Aid Probation:
          1. Student must appeal, and have it approved by the OFA; and
          2. Student is expected (mathematically possible) to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in the next payment period; or
          3. Student must be successfully following an academic plan designed to ensure student will be able to meet SAP by a specific point in time.
        5. The Director of Financial Aid can submit the appeal to the University Scholarship and Award Committee for a decision if the Director is unable to reach a decision and deems that the committees review is necessary.
        6. Outcomes
          1. Financial Aid Probation – No Academic Plan: If the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal is approved and the Director of Financial Aid expects the student (mathematically possible) to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in the next payment period, the student will be placed in Financial Aid Probation status and will regain eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds for one payment period.
          2. Financial Aid Probation – Academic Plan: If the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal is approved, however the Director of Financial Aid does not expect (or it is not mathematically possible) for the student to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in the next payment period, the Director of Financial Aid develops an Academic Plan designed to ensure the student will be able to meet SAP by a specific point in time.  If a date cannot be confirmed, then the Director of Financial Aid will use some kind of defined end-point such as anticipated graduation date or after the third payment period following Financial Aid Probation.  In some cases, this could mean that the Maximum Timeframe Standard would be extended based on the student’s approved appeal.  A student can continue to receive Title IV and Institutional Funds if they meet the academic plan criteria or meet all SAP Standards.
          3. Financial Aid Ineligible: If the SAP Appeal is not approved, the student will continue to be in Financial Aid Ineligible status and not be eligible for Title IV and Institutional Funds.  A student can regain eligibility for Title IV and Institutional Funds once they meet all SAP Standards.

Students can authorize any of the three options listed above or all three options (a), (b) and C listed above when completing the Title IV Authorization Form as part of their Financial Aid application.  Authorization is given by submitting a written document or by completing and submitting an online form through their secure Banner Self-Service account.  Students can change their election at any time by contacting the Accounting Department or by emailing acctg@neomed.edu.

    1. Remaining Balances After Disbursement – When financial aid disbursements do not cover the total cost of the program, students are responsible for paying the balance owed to the University.  For students not enrolled in a student tuition payment plan, the following apply:
      1. Payments are due no later than ten (10) calendar days after the due date listed on the bill.
      2. Balances that are left unpaid ten (10) calendar days beyond the due date and not enrolled in an installment plan will be assessed a $50 non-refundable late fee.
      3. Failure to make timely payment may result in the placement of a hold on the account by the Accounting Office which may prevent registration for the next term, access to grades in Banner Self-Service, possible deregistration from coursework and the ability to receive future Financial Aid disbursements.
      4. Payments to students’ tuition accounts in excess of the balance due for tuition and fees will result in a credit balance.
  1. Credit Balance Refund – In accordance with Federal Regulations, the Accounting Department will issue a refund to students who have a credit balance in their student tuition accounts that are related either to Financial Aid or the overpayment of funds from private sources.
    1. Timing of Credit Balance Refunds – Refunds will be issued within fourteen (14) business days of effected credit balances.
    2. Methods for Refunding Credit Balances
      1. Direct Deposit – Students may complete an online Direct Deposit Authorization form.  This authorization allows for the electronic transfer of funds to a personal checking or savings account.  It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that the account number and the bank routing number are updated and accurate.  Inaccurate information will cause a delay in refund issuance and may subject students to additional invalid account/re-issuance charges.
      2. Paper Check Issuance – Paper checks will be issued to students who do not have a Direct Deposit Authorization form on file with the Accounting Department.  Checks will be mailed to students at the local address on file in Banner Self-Service.  If no local address is listed, checks will be mailed to the permanent address on file in Banner.
      3. Return to Issuer/Lender – If a credit balance refund was affected by the awarding of funds from an external source (e.g., non-university scholarship or third-party payer), the credit balance may be returned to the issuer/lender, if so specified.
    3. Returning/Applying Credit Balance Refunds – Students can apply any or all portions of a credit balance refund to reduce their principal loan balance.  This can be done by:
      1. Returning the original University-issued refund check in order to apply the entire (100%) credit balance refund amount to their student tuition account; or,
      2. Issuing a personal check for an amount less than the full credit balance refund check received from the University; and,
      3. Completing an Authorization form directing the Office of Financial Aid to apply the credit balance refund amount to an outstanding principal balance.  Students have one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days from the date of refund disbursements to return loan funds to the lender for application toward an outstanding principal balance and forgiveness of interest charges on the applied amount.
    4. Uncashed Title IV Credit Balance Refund Checks – Students will be given two hundred (200) calendar days from the date of issuance to cash refund checks that resulted from Title IV disbursements.  If these refund checks are left uncashed, the University is required by Federal regulations to return the credit balance refund to the Department of Education within two hundred and forty (240) calendar days of the date the credit balance was disbursed to their student tuition account.

CONTACT

Lisa Noland
Administrative Specialist
Phone: 330.325.6354
Email: lnoland@neomed.edu

Office of General Counsel

Northeast Ohio Medical University