Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal Programs

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): Federal regulations require Missouri State University-West Plains to establish a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy to ensure all students receiving federal aid (Federal Pell Grant/SEOG-grant/Federal Work Study/Stafford student loans/PLUS Parent loans) are making reasonable progress towards completing their degree. Students who fail to make progress toward the completion of their education will be suspended from receiving financial aid.  Several factors can affect your financial aid eligibility. SAP has three components-Pace, GPA and maximum timeframe requirement. The academic records of all aid recipients are reviewed at the end of each semester in which the student is enrolled to determine compliance. Regulations require that a student’s entire academic history be considered, even if the student has never received financial aid. State and non-federal programs and scholarships may have different standards of satisfactory academic progress.

Pace: Pace is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours completed by the cumulative number of credit hours attempted. Students must maintain a pace equal to 67% of their cumulative credit hours attempted.

Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement: Financial aid recipients must have a cumulative GPA high enough to prevent them being placed on Scholastic Probation. All students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.00 or higher.

Maximum Timeframe Requirement: Students may only receive aid until they reach the maximum hour limit, which is 150% of the hours required for their program of study. The typical Associate degree requires 65 credit hours, the limit for maximum attempted hours would be 97 credit hours required for their program of study. Students who have completed all the courses required for their degree or certificate but have not yet received the degree or certificate are not eligible for financial aid for that program. The maximum timeframe is not increased for changes to a student’s major.

Withdrawals, Repeats, and Incomplete Grades:  Courses dropped after the change of schedule period, withdrawal classes, repeat classes and incomplete (‘I’) grades will count toward attempted hours.  'F' grades, 'I' grades, courses dropped after the change of schedule period and withdrawal classes do not count as completed hours. Grade changes for ‘I’ grades will be reevaluated the next time SAP is processed. On rare occasions if an ‘I’ grade is changed and the next SAP has not yet been processed, and if brought to our attention, eligibility can be reevaluated prior to the next scheduled SAP evaluation.

Note:  When a student retakes coursework, previously failed coursework counts toward a student's federal financial aid enrollment status. Previously passed coursework that is repeated may be counted only once more toward a student's federal financial aid enrollment status.  Criteria for other grants and scholarships may vary.  Upon review, financial aid award amounts may require adjustment.

Remedial Coursework: Remedial courses will be included in the GPA and Pace calculation. If remedial coursework is the result of meeting the Maximum Timeframe Requirement, then it will be reviewed case by case. If required per the academic plan, remedial coursework would be considered as required for the current degree.

Transfer Hours: Transfer credits that do not apply to the current degree will NOT be considered when calculating satisfactory academic progress. Any transfer credits that do apply to the current degree will be included when calculating pace, overall GPA and maximum timeframe.

Academic Renewal: Any consideration allowed for academic renewal will not be applicable when reviewing academic progress for financial aid eligibility. This includes overall GPA requirements and academic pace.

Academic Suspension: Students under academic suspension are not eligible to receive financial aid and are not eligible to appeal until they have been reinstated to the University. Reinstatement to the University does not guarantee financial aid eligibility or appeal approval.

Financial Aid Warning Period: A financial aid warning period will be granted for students, who, upon first review, do not meet pace or GPA requirements. The financial aid warning period will extend through the end of the semester for which it is granted. If students are not in compliance with the pace and the required grade point average at the end of their financial aid warning period, financial aid eligibility will be terminated.

A financial aid warning period is not granted to students who do not meet maximum timeframe requirements. Financial aid eligibility for students exceeding 150% of the credits required for the major in which they are currently enrolled in will be immediately terminated.

Automatic Termination of Aid: Failure to meet special requirements of academic progress imposed by the Financial Aid Committee, default on a federally funded student loan or failure to repay a grant overpayment will result in automatic termination of aid eligibility.

Reestablishing Aid Eligibility: A student must meet the SAP standards or the requirements of the established individual academic plan to maintain eligibility in order to have financial aid reinstated.

Appeal Procedure: If academic deficiencies are the result of extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal to the Financial Aid Appeal Committee in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Extenuating circumstances include but are not limited to injury or illness, death of a relative or other special circumstances. Appropriate documentation of the circumstance must be provided.
  • Complete the appeal form and supply all supporting documentation. The appeal form template* is available on the office of student financial aid website.
  • Appeals must be accompanied by an academic plan that has been reviewed and signed by both you and your academic advisor throughout the completion of your current degree. Be advised that if this exception is approved, this will be the academic plan that will be used to determine your aid eligibility and you will be expected to stay on this plan until you have completed your degree or have met all Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria. The academic plan template* is available on the office of student financial aid website. This template will be the only accepted degree plan format.
  • The appeal form must include a statement as to why the student did not meet SAP and an explanation of what corrective measures have been taken to ensure satisfactory academic progress in the future.
  • Students who have reached the maximum timeframe because they are seeking a second degree need to indicate on the appeal form, how they will benefit from this additional degree.
  • Students who are appealing a change to their current degree plan must explain what has happened to make the change necessary and how they plan to make academic progress.
  • Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed.
  • If it is your second or subsequent appeal, you will also have to meet with the Financial Aid Committee. The office of financial aid will contact you to schedule an appointment.

Students will receive written notification of the financial aid committee’s decision. The decision of that committee is final. Students whose appeals are approved will be awarded aid conditionally based on their academic plan.  If approved, financial aid will only be awarded for classes for the current degree.  If it will take longer than one semester to regain SAP eligibility, the academic plan will be reviewed at the end of the current semester.  If the conditions of the approval are met, the student will be notified that they are on continuing financial aid probation.  This will continue until the student meets either all SAP criteria or the completion of the degree.  If the student does not meet the conditions of the approval, they will receive a financial aid suspension letter.

If the committee denies a student’s appeal they will receive a letter with instructions about how to regain eligibility. A student whose appeal is denied can regain eligibility by meeting all SAP criteria or after the successful completion of a semester, they may go through the appeal process again. 

The Office of Financial Aid administers the appeal procedure. Forms and information regarding the procedure are maintained on the website of that office.

State Programs

Access Missouri Student Assistance Program/Missouri Bright Flight Scholarship: Must enroll in at least 12 credit hours and maintain 12 credit hours during the semester with at least a cumulative 2.5 GPA. Audit hours do not count.

A+ Program: A+ eligible students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits in fall and spring semesters (and complete at least 12 hours) or be enrolled in at least 6 hours in the summer (and complete at least 6 hours). If you do not complete the REQUIRED amount of hours, you will not be eligible for A+ the following semester. For initial students the cumulative GPA requirement is a 2.0 at the end of the fall semester. An initial student would need to have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 by the end of the spring term. The required GPA for a renewal student is a cumulative 2.5. The cumulative GPA consist of all previously taken coursework including high school dual credit. Both initial and renewal students must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. A+ students' grades and hours are monitored at the conclusion of each semester. If eligibility is lost for one semester, it may be regained by removing the deficiency the following semester. Student eligibility expires with the earliest of the following: 48 months after high school graduation, upon receipt of an associate degree from any institution or upon completion of 105 percent of the student's current program of study.

Note: A+ may not pay for dropped or withdrawn classes. If you drop or withdraw from a class during the semester, your A+ award may be reduced. You will be responsible for any resulting balance. Also, A+ does not cover repeated classes. If you have used A+ funds and plan to drop or withdraw from any classes or have questions about repeat classes, please contact our office.

Please Read

Repeat Coursework: When a student retakes coursework, previously failed coursework counts toward a student's federal financial aid enrollment status. Previously passed coursework that is repeated may be counted only once more toward a student's federal financial aid enrollment status. Criteria for other grants and scholarships may vary. Upon review, financial aid award amounts may require adjustment.

Dropping/Adding Classes: Each semester has a financial aid Freeze Date. At the beginning of a semester, your aid (Pell and SEOG) is paid based on your enrollment status (full-time, ¾-time, ½-time or less than ½-time). During the change of schedule period, you may increase or decrease your credit hours. If your enrollment status changed during that period, your aid will be readjusted. Example: If you are paid full time Pell then drop to ¾ or ½ enrollment, your Pell will be recalculated and may cause you to have to repay Pell. If enrollment increases, your Pell could also increase. After the change of schedule period (Pell Freeze Date), your aid will not be adjusted. Students taking block courses must be registered for those classes prior to the end of the change of schedule period. Loans require minimum enrollment of at least six credit hours. Scholarships – check the scholarship enrollment criteria.

Official or Unofficial Withdrawal from all Classes (Federal Refund Policy): If you withdraw from all classes during a semester by official or unofficial means, you may have to repay some of your federal student aid.

  • Through the 60 percent point in a semester, a pro-rata schedule is used to determine how much Student Financial Aid (SFA) funds you have earned. Any unearned portion would have to be returned to the SFA Program. The school would return a portion of SFA funds used to pay institutional charges and the student would repay a portion of SFA funds that were disbursed to them to be used for other educational expense. If you owe money, our office will notify you of the amount owed and where to make the payment.
  • After the 60 percent point in a semester, the percentage is 100 percent. No repayment is required.

To qualify for federal financial aid, you must attend/participate in class. Attendance in an online class environment is defined by action taken in the course, not by logging into the system. Class attendance will be verified before financial aid funds are disbursed.

Approved by Administrative Council January 26, 2021

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