Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Title IV For Graduate Students

Arcadia University is required by federal regulation to monitor your progress toward completion of your degree.  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is reviewed at the end of each academic year (typically in June), once spring grades have posted.  In order to receive Title IV (federal) funds (includes Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Graduate PLUS Loans and TEACH Grants), for the next semester or academic year, students must maintain the minimum standards:

  • Quantitative Standard: Successfully complete (no F grades) 50% of all attempted credits for prior academic year*
  • Quantitative Standard: 2.7 cumulative GPA**

*Withdrawals/Dropped courses, transfer credits, Pass/Fail courses and remedial courses are counted as attempted credits. Credits from the preceding summer can count toward this percentage, provided they did not count toward progress for the prior academic year.

**Individual programs may have higher or lower GPA standards.  Above SAP guidelines apply to renewal of Title IV financial aid only.

Maximum Hours to Earn Degree: To quantify academic progress, a school must set a maximum time frame in which a student is expected to complete a program. For a graduate program, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published or standard length of the program (assuming consecutive semester enrollment) measured in credit hours attempted.

For example, if a master’s degree program requires completion of 30 credits, the maximum time frame for students in these programs is 45 attempted credits (30 x 1.5=45). Students whose specific academic programs require more than 30 credits for a degree will have a higher limit. 

Earned Credits: Credits earned toward degree completion. This includes transfer credits. It does not include courses assigned a W or U, or audited courses. *

Attempted Credits: Includes all transfer, remedial, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Arcadia-registered credits, including Pass/Fail courses and courses from which a student enrolled but subsequently withdrew.  Does not include audited (non-credit) courses.

Measurement of Academic Progress

Academic Progress measurement includes all semesters and is usually measured at the end of the spring semester. Students beginning their program in the spring semester will be evaluated based on their academic performance during their first spring semester and at the end of each subsequent spring semester. Also, the satisfactory progress standards are cumulative and will include all semesters of the student’s enrollment, even those for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Failures and withdrawals do count as “attempted credits”, not “earned credits”. Incompletes are not counted toward credits completed until after the course work is successfully completed and a grade is posted by the Registrar’s Office. Repeat courses will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress.

Academic Progress Appeal Process

Students who fail to meet either the quantitative or qualitative standard will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office after information on academic progress becomes available at the end of the academic year (typically late May/early June). Students who fail to meet either the quantitative or qualitative standard will not be eligible for Title IV (federal) financial aid until all requirements have been met. This academic progress determination will supersede any financial aid package for the upcoming year which may have been offered to the student at that point. Under no circumstances will Title IV financial aid be awarded retroactively to the semester(s) in which the requirements were not met.

Students who fail to meet these requirements have the opportunity to make up the hours and grade point requirements needed during the Summer sessions (at their own expense). Once the Summer course work is posted by the Registrar’s Office, the student will be considered for financial aid for the next semester if the requirements are met. It is the student's responsibility to ensure official transcripts reflecting the grades and credits completed have been properly submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Additionally, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office once this has occurred so his/her eligibility can be re-reviewed.  

If a student feels that there were extenuating circumstances which prevented him/her from making satisfactory academic progress (i.e. the death of a relative, a serious personal illness/injury, or other extenuating circumstance), and can demonstrate that the illness/injury or extenuating circumstance had a direct impact on his/her academic performance, he/she will be notified accordingly and may submit the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeal Form  to the Executive Director of Federal Aid Programs.  Information submitted by way of an Academic Progress Appeal will remain confidential. If the Financial Aid Academic Progress Appeals Committee feels that there are mitigating circumstances that had a direct bearing on the student’s academic performance, then the student can receive Title IV (Federal financial aid) during a probationary period for one semester. If a student fails to meet both standards of academic progress for Title IV aid purposes at the end of the probationary period (semester), then the student becomes ineligible for Title IV aid until he/she meets the appropriate progress standard(s).

Please note: The mere passage of time will not automatically restore Title IV aid eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory progress.

Also, students who have been academically dismissed from the university but who are subsequently given permission to re-enroll are not automatically eligible to continue to receive Title IV aid.  Academic department/program/advisor decisions and Graduate Office re-admission and degree candidacy decisions are completely separate from Title IV financial aid determinations.

Important Academic Progress Reminders

  • As expressed in years: The maximum time frame for which a student receives Title IV aid toward his/her graduate program cannot exceed 150% of the published or standard length of the program (assuming consecutive semester enrollment) measured in credit hours attempted.
  • Withdrawals: Grades of W are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
  • Audited Courses: Students do not earn any academic credits for audited courses. They do not count in the calculation of "attempted credits."
  • Pass/Fail Courses: These credits do count in the calculation of “attempted credits” and “earned credits.”
  • Change in Majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 150% of the required credits for their specific graduate program.
  • Attempted credits are those hours for which students were still officially registered at the conclusion of each semester's Add/Drop period. Withdrawals are counted as “attempted credits” when reviewing student’s satisfactory academic progress.
  • A grade of "U" counts as a failing grade in GPA calculations