Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

For purposes of determining student eligibility for Federal Student Aid (Title IV of the Higher Education Act), Sacred Heart University establishes, publishes, and applies Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards that meet all federal requirements. To be eligible to receive federal financial aid, a student is required to maintain satisfactory academic progress in his or her course of study according to these published standards. The Office of Student Financial Assistance is responsible for ensuring that all students who receive financial aid meet these standards. 

It is important to note that Financial Aid SAP (FA SAP) standards are separate from, and in addition to, the Academic Standards policy as published in the Sacred Heart University Catalog. FA SAP standards exist to ensure federal student aid recipients are progressing towards academic program completion. To determine student compliance with this policy, FA SAP reviews are conducted at the end of each semester for which the student is enrolled. The assessment includes a determination as to whether the student has met the cumulative qualitative and quantitative standards set forth in the FA SAP Policy. These standards ensure students are making satisfactory academic progress toward degree completion.

Sections included in this policy are:

A printed copy of this FA SAP policy will be provided upon request.

FA SAP Standards

Federal regulations require that Sacred Heart University’s Financial Aid SAP policy contain reasonable standards for measuring whether an otherwise eligible financial aid student is maintaining satisfactory academic progress in their educational program. The Department of Education considers an institution’s standards to be reasonable if the standards are as strict as or stricter than the University’s satisfactory Academic Standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving assistance under a Title IV.  All students must meet the following FA SAP standards:

  • Qualitative Standard:Sacred Heart University measures a student’s progression toward degree completion using a fixed grade point standard on a 4.0 GPA scale. To be eligible to receive federal, state, and institutional financial assistance, a student is required to maintain the minimum cumulative GPA associated with their level of study:  

    • Undergraduate: students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00.
    • Graduate:  students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.
  • Quantitative Standard: Sacred Heart University measures a student’s progression toward degree completion based on a quantitative scale that consists of a completion rate, or pace, as well as a maximum timeframe in which a student must complete his or her degree.
    • Pace: To be eligible to receive federal, state, and institutional financial assistance, students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 66.67% of all attempted credits (Minimum Pace = 66.67%).  All periods of the student’s enrollment count when assessing pace, even periods in which the student did not receive federal student aid funds.

Pace = Cumulative Number of Credits Successfully Completed
     Cumulative Number of Credits Attempted
    • Maximum Timeframe: students must complete their academic programs within 150% of the published length of the program. For example, an undergraduate student obtaining a bachelor’s degree (120 earned credits) must complete the degree requirements within 150% of the time limit (180 attempted credits). A student becomes ineligible for federal financial aid when it becomes mathematically impossible for the student to complete the program within 150% of the published length. This maximum timeframe standard is applicable to federal aid eligibility and not to institutional grant funds. University policy limits the maximum number of terms for which a student may receive institutional grant assistance based on their enrollment status and the number of transfer credits accepted by the University. 

Definitions

Credits Successfully Completed: includes all courses for which students receive a passing grade of D- or better; transfer credits are included. 

Credits Attempted: includes all courses for which students receive a passing grade of D- or better, pass, incomplete, “W”, “F”,“I”, “IX”, or “NG”; all transfer credits that are counted towards the degree are included. All credits attempted must be counted toward the maximum timeframe and pace calculation.

Incompletes: all courses for which students receive a provisional designation of “incomplete” must be counted toward the maximum timeframe and included in the calculation of pace.

Withdrawals: all courses for which students receive a “W” on the permanent record must be counted toward the maximum timeframe and included in the calculation of Pace. 

Remedial Courses (non-credit): not counted toward the maximum timeframe and not included in the calculation of Pace since they are not offered nor accepted at the University.

English as a Second Language (ESL): not counted toward the maximum timeframe and not included in the calculation of Pace since they are not offered nor accepted at the University.

Repeated Courses: all repeated courses must be counted toward the maximum timeframe and included in the calculation of pace. Repeated courses for which a student receives additional credit are counted both in the cumulative number of successfully completed and attempted credits. Repeated courses for which a student does not receive additional credit are not counted in the cumulative number of successfully completed credits but are counted in the cumulative number of attempted credits.

Transfer Credits: all pre-matriculation (including AP credits) and post-matriculation transfer credits must be counted toward the maximum timeframe and included in the calculation of pace. Transfer credits are counted in both the cumulative number of successfully completed and attempted credits.

Second Majors: students who elect to declare a second major must complete all degree requirements within the maximum timeframe; credits applicable to second majors are included in the calculation of pace.

Additional Degrees: students who pursue a second undergraduate degree at the University are only eligible to receive Federal Direct Loans; all credits applicable to the second degree are counted toward the maximum timeframe and included in the calculation of pace.

FA SAP Review Process

The Office of Student Financial Assistance will review a student’s academic progress at the end of each semester and will evaluate student progress based on the qualitative and quantitative standards outlined earlier.  Students who are not in good standing will receive a notice from financial aid concerning their status.  Financial Aid’s SAP Review will result in a student being placed on one of the following statuses:

Good Financial Aid Standing: A student who has met the FA SAP qualitative and quantitative standards listed above is making satisfactory academic progress toward degree completion. This student is in good financial aid standing with the University and is eligible to receive assistance under federal Title IV, state, and institutional financial aid programs during the next semester of enrollment provided the student remains in good academic standing with the University and meets all other program requirements.

Financial Aid WarningIf, for the first time, a student has not met all SAP qualitative and quantitative standards listed above, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next enrolled term. A student on Financial Aid Warning may continue to receive assistance under federal Title IV, state, and institutional financial aid programs for a one-semester warning period provided the student remains in good academic standing with the University and meets all other program requirements. The Financial Aid Warning status will be assigned automatically without an appeal or other action required by the student. A student must meet satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of the Financial Aid Warning period to remain eligible to receive financial aid. A student who has returned to good financial aid standing, but, at a later date, does not meet FA SAP standards, can be placed on a second term of Financial Aid Warning.

Financial Aid Suspension: A student who fails to meet FA SAP qualitative and quantitative standards by the end of the warning period will be suspended from financial aid.  Under Financial Aid Suspension, a student will no longer be eligible to receive assistance under federal Title IV, state, and institutional financial aid programs. The student has the option to appeal this status for Financial Aid Probation. Students without an approved FA SAP Appeal must repair deficiencies and meet satisfactory academic progress standards to regain eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid.

FA SAP Appeals

As stated above, students on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal to have their eligibility reinstated for one term of Financial Aid Probation if mitigating circumstances prevented them from meeting the requirements.  Such circumstances would include:

  1. the death of a relative;
  2. an injury of the student;
  3. an illness of the student; or
  4. other special circumstances.

Students who wish to appeal Financial Ad Suspension must adhere to the following procedure:

  1. Complete the FA SAP Appeal (also accessible via SHUAwards) with required student statements and documentation.
  2. Meet with a designated Financial Aid Counselor. Contact Associate Director Desiree Brinn-Rodriguez at brinn-rodriguezd@sacredheart.edu or 203-365-7686.
  3. Submit completed FA SAP Appeal to the Office of Student Financial Assistance PRIOR to the start of the semester for which you are seeking financial aid.

Note: Submitting the FA SAP Appeal DOES NOT guarantee approval or reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.

During the FA SAP Appeal Review, the Office of Financial Assistance will carefully evaluate the student’s unique circumstances, federal Title IV requirements, and Sacred Heart University policy. Notification will be sent to the student as to the outcome of the appeal review. FA SAP Appeal Reviews will result in one of the following outcomes:

Not Approved: Students will remain on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible to receive financial aid until all FA SAP deficiencies have been repaired.

Approved for Financial Aid ProbationA student who has an approved FA SAP appeal will be granted a one-term probation period. Students on Financial Aid Probation are eligible to receive assistance under federal Title IV, state, and institutional financial aid programs during the next semester of enrollment. If a student fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of this probation period, the student will be again placed on Financial Aid Suspension. If placed on Financial Aid Suspension again, the student has the option to appeal with an approved Academic Plan. 

Approved for Financial Aid Probation with FA SAP Academic PlanStudents who are unable to repair their FA SAP deficiencies within one term of enrollment must develop an Academic Plan with their academic advisor to ensure that they will meet the FA SAP standards by a specific point in time. Students should submit the FA SAP Academic Plan along with their FA SAP Appeal. The Academic Plan may require students to fulfill specific terms and conditions, such as taking a reduced course load or enrolling in specific courses. Students on an approved FA SAP Academic Plan are eligible to receive financial aid during the next semester of enrollment and each subsequent term of enrollment, provided they meet the requirements outlined in the FA SAP Academic Plan. If a student fails to meet the requirements of the FA SAP Academic Plan and if the student is still not meeting FA SAP standards at the time of review, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension again.

Regaining Eligibility

Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Suspension may re-establish their eligibility to receive federal, state, and institutional financial assistance by one of the two paths described below:

  1. Successfully appeal Financial Aid Suspension for an approved term of Financial Aid Probation or for Financial Aid Probation under an approved FA SAP Academic Plan.

  2. Achieve minimum FA SAP quantitative and qualitative standards by completing courses without receiving financial assistance. To enroll, all students must meet Academic Standards as outlined in the University Catalog.