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Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Delaware State University Academic Progress Policy conforms to Federal regulations (Sections 668.16(e), 668.32(f) and 668.34) and State regulations that govern financial aid programs and require all financial aid recipients to (1) be in good academic standing and to (2) be making academic progression (pace) towards a degree in a reasonable amount of time before the financial aid office disburses any federal funds for the subsequent semester. 

Definition

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the standard college students must meet to remain eligible for Title IV Federal Student Aid (FSA) as well as some state, institutional, and private financial aid funds.  To remain eligible for federal financial aid money — grants, work-study funds and student loans — college students must meet certain standards in the classroom. In financial aid speak, those standards are called satisfactory academic progress.

When SAP is Reviewed

At Delaware State University, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is monitored at the end of each fall, spring and summer semesters. Students MUST meet both components of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as stated in the criteria below. This requirement is different from a non-Title IV recipient who may enroll in the next summer session or semester without intervention of an appeal.

SAP GPA CRITERIA - Good Academic Standing (Qualitative Component)

The student must earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average that meets the requirements for continuing enrollment and graduation as defined by the university.

  • Undergraduate Students:  2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Graduate students:  3.0 cumulative GPA

Delaware State University’s SAP calculation will include all hours attempted.

Academic progression (Quantitative Component)

Pace of Completion

Students must progress toward their education goal by earning credits at Delaware State University at the minimum rate. Students are evaluated on pace of completion, meaning students must complete 66.67% of the credit hours in which they are enrolled beyond the last day of add/drop. Courses in which students receive an “F”, “W”, “WF”, or “AW” grade do not count as earned hours but will count in the attempted hours as well as repeated courses. Only courses in which students receive grades of “A,” “B,” “C,” or “D” count as earned hours. Audit course work does not count. The formula used to determine the pace of completion consists of taking the credit hours completed and dividing that number by the credit hours attempted. This number must be equal to or exceed 66.67%. Advance standing hours (e.g., transfer and AP) that are accepted for credit are counted in both the hours attempted and hours completed. Incompletes and withdrawals are attempted, but not completed credit hours and will decrease a student’s pace of completion. Redemption and duplicate credits are counted as completed credit hours only once and will also decrease a student’s pace of completion.

Example of Pace of Completion:

Student Attempted 24 credits, but only completed 15 of the 24 credits attempted. To calculate pace of completion, divide the 15 completed credits by the 24 attempted credits and then multiply by 100 to get the pace of completion percentage as shown below:
15 completed credits / 24 attempted credits = .625 X 100 = 62.5% (in this example the student is not meeting the minimum 66.67% requirement.

Maximum Time Frame                                   

Undergraduate students must complete their degree in 150% of the timeframe published in the University Catalog. Graduate students must complete their degree in 100% of the timeframe published in the University Catalog. The maximum timeframe is measured by the average number of credit hours required to complete a degree multiplied by required percent (based on undergraduate or graduate program). This is the maximum number of credit hours a student can attempt and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Advance standing hours applied towards the student’s degree program (e.g., transfer,AP, and pre-requisite) count in the maximum timeframe.

Example of Undergraduate Program: credits needed to fulfill degree requirements= 120

120 x 150% = 180

Maximum credit hours attempted for satisfactory progress = 180

Students may continue to receive financial aid if their total attempted credit hours do not exceed 150% of the credits needed to complete their program of study and if they are within the 150% time frame. In the example provided above the program of study requires 120 credits for completion, a student may attempt 180 credits.

For graduate students, the maximum credit hours are defined based on the length of the program.

Example of Graduate Program:

General Master of Business Administration (MBA) program requires a total of 30 credits needed to fulfill degree requirements, the maximum program credits for the program = 30 credits.

Students who are aware of learning or other disabilities should immediately contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) so that appropriate accommodations can be made. Students with documented disabilities and functional limitations are still held to the same academic expectations as other students. If the student has self-identified with the Office of Student Accessibility Services and is receiving appropriate accommodations, the student should be able to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.


Treatment of Specific Courses

Developmental and supplemental university instruction courses are used to establish eligibility for financial aid based on full-time or part-time enrollment only. Credits are assigned to developmental and supplemental courses, but these credits do not count toward degree requirements or Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of developmental and supplemental courses as long as the courses are required as a result of placement testing, the student is in an eligible program of study and SAP requirements continue to be met.

When counting developmental credits for SAP, if a student received a “U” (unsatisfactory) grade, the credits count as attempted but not earned. However, in the Registrar’s system the “U” grade is not counted as attempted or earned. 

Incomplete courses will count toward the calculation of credit hours attempted. Once incomplete courses are completed and a passing grade is received, the credits will then be applied to the student’s completion rate.

Repeated courses are taken to improve a student’s grade point average, and the course counts only once toward degree requirements. Consequently, when a student repeats a course(s), this will count toward time enrolled without a corresponding incremental increase in credit accumulation. SAP counts repeat credits as attempted but not earned; however, the Registrar’s system does not count repeated grades as attempted or earned.

Transfer credits are counted as attempted credits and are used to determine credits earned in the program of study.                                                                      

Withdrawal grades (W) are counted as attempted credit(s) but not earned in determining SAP.

Procedures

Each Title IV Federal Student Aid (FSA) recipient’s record will be evaluated at the end of each semester to determine if the student is meeting the standards described above. If the student has reached the maximum number of credits or completed all degree requirements without earning a degree, the student must be excluded from further participation in federal financial aid programs. In addition, if the student has reached or exceeded 150% (UG) or 100% (GR) in total attempted credit hours for their degree program without earning a degree, the student must be excluded from further participation in federal financial aid programs.  

*NOTE: Federal regulations require that these standards apply to all students, even to first-time aid applicants who have previously enrolled at Delaware State University, or to those who have not been formally placed on probation.

Students initially deemed not to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress will be notified through their DSU email. Students identified as not meeting SAP requirements are initially placed in a “Warning” status in which they remain eligible to receive Title IV funding for the following semester in which they enroll. Students receiving a “Warning” status email  are not required to complete any necessary action.  If a student is identified as not meeting SAP requirements at the end of the “Warning” status semester, the student is then placed in a “Unsatisfactory” category and the student loses financial aid eligibility until an appeal is submitted and approved or the student opts to attend without receiving Federal or institutional financial aid while completing courses to meet SAP cumulative requirements and regain their SAP standing. The mere passage of time will not ordinarily restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.

Appeal Process

Students have the right to appeal a decision of ineligibility to continue to receive financial assistance. Appeals must be filed prior to the published deadline in order to be considered. The appeal may NOT be based upon need for the assistance OR lack of knowledge that the assistance was in jeopardy. An appeal must be based upon some extenuating circumstance which prevented a student from passing most of their courses, or which necessitated withdrawing from classes. The situation/condition must have taken place within the semester(s) the student did not meet satisfactory academic progress. Examples of possible situations include documented serious illness, severe injury or death of an immediate family member or family crisis.

Appeal Form

Note:  Students may only submit an appeal two (2) times within their academic program timeframe. All appeals after will be automatically denied, with the exception of special extenuating circumstances.

Exceeding Maximum Program Credits and Maximum Time Frame Appeals Process

Appeals for exceeding maximum program credits and/or the maximum time frame requirement must be submitted in writing using the Exceeding Maximum Program Credits Appeal Form, based on the conditions stated above. This appeal must include the following:

  • A typed statement from the student explaining his or her program circumstances (i.e., program of studies he or she has pursued/completed, change in major, prerequisite courses or pursuing second degree) as well as include the courses needed to complete the program
  • Degree Audit/Program evaluation — indicating courses remaining by semester needed to complete the program

NOTE: Undergraduate students can obtain a “degree audit/program evaluation” via MyDESU Degree Works. Graduate students can obtain a degree audit/program evaluation from the Office of Graduate, Adult and Extended Studies. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student of the appeal decision. All appeal decisions are final. 

Status Definitions

Financial Aid “Warning”

If this is the first documented time that the student has experienced academic difficulty the student will receive a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) “Warning” email, which is a status assigned to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress. These students will be notified that their SAP will be reviewed again at the end of the semester and that further action may be taken if there is not significant improvement during the current semester. Students will be eligible to receive federal aid during the “warning” semester. 

During the warning semester, the student is expected to improve his/her academic standing and degree progress, to meet standards of SAP at the end of the semester. If the student fails to meet SAP cumulative requirements at the end of the semester, he/she will be lose financial aid eligibility beginning the following semester. The student must submit a SAP Appeal to request financial aid consideration. Students are only allowed one “warning” status per academic year. 

Appeal “Approval”


Appeals can only be approved if the SAP Committee determines that extenuating circumstances occurred and documentation was provided. Students whose appeals are approved are placed in either a “Probation” or “Academic Plan” category and will remain eligible for financial aid; however, some requirements and restrictions will apply.

Financial Aid “Probation” / Appeal (Approved) with a “Financial Aid Academic Support” Contract

Probation status is assigned to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress and who successfully appeals. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated for one semester/payment period and the student will be required to agree to specific conditions stipulated in a Financial Aid “Academic Support” contract in order to regain financial aid eligibility.  If a student on financial aid probation meets the SAP cumulative requirements by the end of the “probation” term, he/she will be eligible for aid in the subsequent semester.  Students placed on probation shall be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes for that semester.  If a student on financial aid probation fails to meet he SAP cumulative requirements at the end of the “probation” term, he/she will lose financial aid eligibility for the subsequent semester(s) until an appeal is submitted and approved or the student opts to attend without receiving Federal or institutional financial aid while completing courses to meet SAP cumulative requirements and regain their SAP standing.

Appeal (Approved) with “Academic Success Plan” Conditions

Appeals can also be approved with a student being placed on an “Academic Success Plan” in which the student is required to agree to follow an academic plan and sign a in order to regain financial aid eligibility.  An academic success plan, when followed, will ensure that the student will meet SAP standards by a specific time.

Students placed on an “Academic Success” plan will continue to receive aid on a conditional per semester basis.  Students will be required to meet with their academic advisor to develop an academic success plan as well as a financial aid representative to review and sign the Financial Aid “Academic Support” contract before financial aid eligibility is reinstated. Students who fail the satisfactory progress check after the end of the probationary semester/payment period, may only continue to receive aid if it is determine that they are meeting the requirements of their academic plan. If it is determine that a student is not meeting the requirements of their academic plan the student will lose financial aid eligibility. Students who fail to meet the conditions outlined in their individual academic plan(s) during their conditional semester(s) will not be able to submit a subsequent appeal.  

Review of Academic Success Plan will be as follows:

  1. A report of all students on an academic success plan at the end of each semester is provided to the Office of Student Success.
  2. SAP will be calculated on all students (including those on an academic success plan) at the end of each term.
  3. Advisors from the Office of Student Success will review students on an academic success plan to determine if each student met the requirements of their plan or not.
  4. The Office of Student Success then provides the Office of Financial Aid with an updated list indicating which students met the requirements of the academic success plan and which students did not.
  5. The Office of Financial Aid then updates each students record to reflect students appropriate status and sends email notification to the students.  

Note:  Students identified as meeting SAP requirements will not be required to go through an evaluation even if they were previously on an academic success plan.

Appeal “Denied”  

The “denied” decision is usually rendered when the SAP Committee has deemed that the student did not provide an extenuating circumstance, the student’s extenuating circumstance is undocumented, or the extenuating circumstance is outside of the timeframe in which the student showed poor academic performance. The student is ineligible to receive federal and state funding in subsequent semesters. The student must seek alternative means to pay their bill while completing courses to meet SAP cumulative requirements and regain their SAP standing.

Regaining Eligibility

A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs for reasons of academic progress can regain that eligibility by opting to attend without receiving Federal or institutional financial aid and seeking alternative means to pay their bill while completing courses to meet SAP cumulative requirements and regain their SAP standing. The mere passage of time will not ordinarily restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.

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 participate in federal and state aid programs. Admissions/academic decisions are independent of funding decisions.

Notifications

A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs for reasons of academic progress are notified via university email indicating the following:

  • They have not met Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements
  • Which requirements they failed to meet
  • Instructions in regard to how to appeal
  • Appeal guidelines
  • Appeal deadline