Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

For Undergraduate Students

Arcadia University is required by federal regulation to monitor your progress toward completion of your degree.  You can only receive federal financial aid for courses required for completion of your degree.  You cannot receive federal aid for a timeframe greater than 150% of the standard required time it typically takes to complete the degree (i.e., for a four-year bachelor’s degree, this maximum timeframe would be 12 semesters as a full-time student). Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is measured at the end of each academic year for financial aid to be renewed the following semester/academic year. SAP standards for financial aid may vary from general University Academic Progress Standards.

SAP guidelines vary depending upon the type of aid:

  • Arcadia Grants & Scholarships:  Successful completion of 24 credits for each academic year as a full-time student (12 credits/year for part-time students) and maintaining a 2.0 cumulative GPA as an upperclassman; a 1.75 cumulative GPA as a freshman.
  • PA State Grants:  Successful completion of 24 credits for every two semester of full-time PA State Grant aid received (12 credits/year for part-time students).
  • Federal Financial Aid (Pell Grants, Federal Direct Stafford Loans, SEOG Grants, Perkins Loans, Federal Work Study and TEACH Grants).

Title IV Satisfactory Academic Progress

Arcadia University is required by federal regulation to monitor your progression toward completion of your degree. Student’s SAP for renewal of Title IV financial aid (Pell Grants, SEOG Grants, Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Work Study and TEACH Grants) occurs at the end of each academic year and must be completed before the Financial Aid Office disburses any Title IV (federal) funds for the subsequent semester or year.

The Arcadia University Title IV SAP Policy for Undergraduates is as follows:

Quantitative Standard

Successful completion of 70% of all attempted credits for prior academic year.

Example: If a student attempts 34 credits total in an academic year, he/she must minimally successfully complete (no F grades) 24 credits for that given academic year. 

Qualitative Standard

  • Less than 27 credits toward graduation: 1.75 cumulative GPA
  • 27 and above cumulative credits toward graduation: 2.0 cumulative GPA

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 an undergraduate program, the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured in credit hours attempted.

The majority of Arcadia undergraduate programs require 128 credit hours for graduation. The maximum time frame for students in these programs is 192 attempted credits (128 x 1.5=192). Students whose specific academic programs require more than 128 credits for a degree will have a higher limit. Adult degree-completion students must complete 120 credits in most cases and therefore have a maximum time frame of 180 attempted credits.

Earned Credits:  Credits earned toward degree completion. This includes transfer credits, advanced standing and advanced placement credits and repeat courses. 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 (courses for which a student is registered for at the conclusion of the formal drop/add period do count toward attempted credits). Does not include audited (non-credit) courses. Repeat courses count in attempted and earned credits. 

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.

When Minimum Standards of Academic Progress are Not Achieved

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 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). Keep in mind, credits completed at another college/university are not counted toward one’s Arcadia GPA. 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. Note: If the courses are taken outside of Arcadia, an Approval for Non-Arcadia course form (available at, under Forms), must be submitted prior to enrolling in the course.  


Academic Progress Appeal Process

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 Standing Committee decisions and Registrar re-admission decisions are completely separate from Title IV financial aid determinations.

The CARES Act provides additional temporary flexibilities to institutions regarding the calculation of SAP. An institution of higher education may, as a result of a qualifying emergency, exclude from the quantitative component of the calculation any attempted credits that were not completed by a student.

Important Academic Progress Reminders

  • As expressed in years: students are normally expected to complete an undergraduate degree by the end of 4 years of full-time study. Therefore, students will forfeit their eligibility to participate in Title IV (federal) financial aid programs after 6 years of full time enrollment (4 x 150% = 6).
  • Credits successfully completed from the preceding or following summer can count toward the quantitative standard measurement.
  • 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.”
  • Transfer credits accepted for the student's academic degree or certificate program are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree or certificate. More information on the Transfer Credit Policy. Transfer credits are not counted toward the Arcadia cumulative GPA.
  • Double Majors and/or Minors: Students who are pursuing a double major or minor will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 192 attempted hours.
  • Change in Majors: Students who change their majors will normally be expected to complete all degree requirements before reaching 192 attempted hours.
  • 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.

* Note: a grade of "U" counts as a failing grade in GPA calculations