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Student Financial Assistance

Western Kentucky University

Department of Student Financial Assistance

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy: Effective Fall 2016

Please note that significant changes have been made to this policy that take effect beginning Fall 2016. If you have questions about the SAP policy prior to 2016 Fall term please review the prior policy. To access the 2015-2016 SAP Policy please click here.

 

I. INTRODUCTION

Federal and state regulations require that students receiving assistance from financial aid programs be monitored for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  Satisfactory Academic Progress includes qualitative progress (grade-point average) and quantitative progress (GPA hours) toward degree completion. Monitoring is required for students who receive aid from any of the following programs:

  •      Federal Pell Grants
         Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
         Federal and Institutional Work-Study
         Federal Perkins Loans
         Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
         Federal PLUS Loans
         KHEAA College Access Program (CAP)

KEES, Incentive, Alumni, Scholarship and certain Tuition Waiver Programs are not covered by this policy.

The University's Academic Progress policy (administered through the Academic Advising and Retention Center) is separate from the Department of Student Financial Assistance's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.  A student may be placed on probation and/or be required to appeal by both the Academic Advising and Retention Center and the Department of Student Financial Assistance.

 

II. STUDENT ELIGIBILITY

To be admitted officially to the University a student must have a high school diploma, a GED certificate or completed home schooling.  Undergraduates receiving financial aid must be admitted in good standing, degree-seeking and taking courses applicable to their degree program.  Graduate students must be officially admitted to a program of study in good standing and taking courses applicable to their degree program. 

Students admitted to the University on probation are automatically placed on warning with the Department of Student Financial Assistance for financial aid purposes (refer to Section V & VI).

 

III. QUALITATIVE PROGRESS: Grade-Point Average (GPA)


Undergraduates:

Beginning first year students and transfer/readmit students must be admitted to the University in good standing. Continuing students must maintain the minimum cumulative Overall GPA and minimum cumulative WKU GPA as indicated in the table below. Remedial and/or developmental courses (numbered 0-99) are factored into students’ qualitative assessment for federal financial aid purposes.

Undergraduate students must meet the minimum GPA requirements based on however many GPA hours they have accumulated.

 

Total  Overall and WKU GPA Hours

Cumulative Overall & WKU GPA

Undergraduate 1 – 17

1.7

Undergraduate 18 – 33

1.8

Undergraduate 34 – 50

1.9

Undergraduate 51 or greater

2.0

 

Graduate Students:

Students must be admitted or readmitted in good standing and maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative Overall GPA and a minimum 3.0 cumulative WKU GPA.

Qualitative progress is monitored for all recipients at the end of each term.  Failure to meet the grade-point average requirements indicated above will result in a student being placed on warning status for the next semester in which they apply for financial aid (refer to Section VI).

 

IV. QUANITITATIVE PROGRESS: Hours Earned (Pace)

Each term students are awarded financial aid they must earn at least 67% of the number of hours for which they are attempting.  Remedial and/or developmental courses (numbered 0-99) are factored into students’ quantitative assessment for federal financial aid purposes.

Please refer to the below case examples as to how the quantitative component is measured:

 

 

Undergraduates: 

Case Study Example-

John Doe is a sophomore at WKU who has attempted a total of 48 hours (6 hours of which were developmental courses).  John Doe has only earned 30 hours total. Therefore, John Doe has a quantitative completion rate of 62.5%.  The SAP policy requires that students earn at least 67% of their total attempted hours to maintain a good standing for financial aid purposes.

Total hours earned                30

Total attempted hours          48

    = Quantitative (Pace)        =62.5%

 

Graduate Students:      

Case Study Example-

Jane Doe is a graduate student at WKU who has attempted a total of 17 hours.  Jane Doe has only earned 11 hours total. Therefore, Jane Doe has a quantitative completion rate of 64.7%.  The SAP policy requires that students earn at least 67% of their total attempted hours to maintain a good standing for financial aid purposes.

Total hours earned                     11

Total attempted hours              17

    = Quantitative (Pace)            =64.7%

 

Quantitative progress is monitored for all recipients at the end of each term.  Failure to meet the hours earned requirements indicated above will result in a student being placed on warning status for the next semester in which they apply for financial aid (refer to Section VI).

 

Maximum Time Frame (Excessive Hours):
Students are required to complete their degree requirements within 150% of their particular published degree program length. Failure to complete the student's graduation requirements prior to meeting the excessive hours limit may result in the student becoming ineligible for the next semester in which they apply for financial aid (refer to Section VI).

 

Attempted Hours > (MTF = Program Required Hours X 150%)

 

 

Type of Program Published Program Length 150% Rule Calculation

Maximum Timeframe; once exceeded, student ineligible for financial aid

Associate's Degree 60 credit hours 60 required credits multiplied by 150% rule 90 attempted credit hours
Bachelor's Degree 120 credit hours 120 required credits multiplied by 150% rule 180 attempted credit hours
Master's Degree Varies per program of study    
Doctoral Degree Varies per program of study    

UG Certificate ONLY (Financial Aid Eligibile)

Student's pursuing Certificate Programs ONLY are eligible to receive TIV for a maximum of one academic year    
GR Certificate ONLY (Financial Aid Eligible) Student's pursuing Certificate programs ONLY are eligible to receive TIV for a maximum of one academic year    

 

Students pursuing an Associate’s Degree must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 90 total attempted hours.  Students pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 180 attempted hours. Students pursuing any graduate degree (Master’s or Doctoral) must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 150% of their program’s published length (this will vary based on every program, please refer to your specific program to check your programs length); Students pursuing an Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate Program ONLY are eligible to receive federal financial aid for a maximum of one academic year (please refer to CERTIFICATE CHART to access a list of financial aid approvable certificate programs). All attempted hours for which the student demonstrates enrollment after the 100% drop/add period are counted including transfer credits, credit hours earned towards a prior degree completion, credit hours earned while dually enrolled in two separate programs concurrently, and those credit hours earned for a changed major, regardless if Title IV aid was received for those hours.

Quantitative progress is monitored for all recipients at the end of each term. 

 

V. FREQUENCY OF SAP REVIEW PROCESS

Students will be subject to a review of their satisfactory academic progress standing at the end of each payment period.  This is inclusive to Fall terms, Spring terms and Summer terms. Students who take Winter term (J-term) courses will be subject to their next SAP review at the end of the subsequent Spring term; for federal financial aid awarding purposes, students are not awarded aid for Winter term, but can use their Spring aid to help cover their Winter term cost if eligible.  Student’s enrolled in any term are subject to a SAP review at the end of that term regardless of if any TIV aid was received, therefore, this could have an impact a student’s subsequent semesters academic progress status.

 

VI. FAILURE TO MEET SAP REQUIREMENTS

Students who fail to meet either the grade-point average or hours earned components of the SAP policy are placed on warning status for the next subsequent semester.  In addition, students admitted to the University on probation are likewise placed on warning status with the Department of Student Financial Assistance.

In order to receive aid on a warning status the following criteria must be met:

  • SAP Counseling- completed on the student’s TopNet account.

 

VII. WARNING STATUS

Students that are placed on warning status for a particular term and have completed SAP warning requirements must be meeting overall cumulative and institutional qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements by the end of the warning period in order to receive aid for future terms. Students cannot be placed on financial aid warning for consecutive terms, however, students can have multiple terms of a warning period during their academic career.

Satisfactory Academic Achievement (GPA): 

Undergraduate students must meet the minimum GPA requirements based on however many GPA hours they have accumulated.

Total Overall & WKU GPA Hours Cumulative Overall & WKU GPA
Undergraduate 1-17 1.7
Undergraduate 18-33 1.8
Undergraduate 34-50 1.9
Undergraduate 51 or greater 2.0
Graduate 1+ 3.0

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress (Hours Earned or Pace):  Each term students are awarded financial aid they must earn at least 67% of the number of hours for which they are attempting.  Remedial and/or developmental course (numbered 0-99) hours are factored into a students’ quantitative assessment for federal financial aid purposes.

Students that do not meet overall SAP standards while on warning status are ineligible for aid for any subsequent semester until they meet the criteria for reinstatement of aid (refer to Section VII), or have gained approval based on an appeal (refer to Section VIII).

 

Access the online interactive WKU GPA calculator at https://www.wku.edu/bep/gpacalculator.php to determine how many credit hours you will need to complete and what grades will need to be earned in those hours to ensure that you will be meeting the minimum qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements by the end of your warning period.

If these requirements are met, the student will be removed from warning status for the next subsequent term and placed in a good standing for federal financial aid purposes.

 

VIII. REINSTATEMENT OF AID

Students who are deemed ineligible for financial aid due to unsatisfactory academic progress (failure to meet requirements of warning/probation status) must meet the minimum qualitative and quantitative requirements listed below before aid can be reinstated. Courses can be earned in efforts to reinstate eligibility at WKU or visiting institutions.  However, ONLY course work taken at WKU will calculate into the student’s WKU/Institutional GPA qualitative standards.  Student’s failing to meet the WKU SAP Policy due to their overall WKU/Institutional GPA, cannot reestablish their eligibility by taking classes elsewhere.  To improve their overall WKU/Institutional GPA, classes MUST be taken at WKU unless granted permission from the WKU Registrar’s Office.  Students MUST meet all SAP qualitative and quantitative requirements to reinstate federal aid funding at WKU.  Once the student has meet all SAP qualitative and quantitative requirements, then the student will be notified via Toppermail following the next SAP review process.

 

Qualitative Requirements:  See table below:

Total Overall & WKU GPA Hours Cumulative Overall & WKU GPA
Undergraduate 1-17 1.7
Undergraduate 18-33 1.8
Undergraduate 34-50 1.9
Undergraduate 51 or greater 2.0
Graduate 1+ 3.0

 

Quantitative Requirements:  Student's must earn at least 67% of their total attempted hours.  

Students who are deemed ineligible for financial aid due to unsatisfactory academic progress (failure to meet requirements of warning status) and  also have documentable extenuating circumstances may be eligible to appeal (refer to Section VIII).

What SAP requirement am I not meeting? Not meeting Overall WKU GPA Not meeting Overall Cumulative GPA Not meeting Pace
Where can I take classes in efforts of rehabilitating my SAP standing? Must take classes at WKU to rehabilitate Overall WKU GPA unless granted permission from the WKU Registrar's Office to take classes elsewhere Can take approvable transferrable classes at WKU or Visiting School to rehabilitate Overall Cumulative GPA Can take approvable transferrable classes at WKU or Visiting School to rehabilitate Pace

IX. APPEAL PROCEDURES

Eligibility to Appeal:

Only certain conditions allow a student to appeal.  Listed below are such conditions:

  • Excessive Hours: If a student has earned excessive hours without completing a degree and/or certificate (Students pursuing an Associate’s Degree must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 90 total attempted hours. Students pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 180 attempted hours. Students pursuing any graduate degree (Master’s or Doctoral) must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 150% of their program’s published length (this will vary based on every program, please refer to your specific program to check your programs length); they are eligible to submit an appeal for the term in which aid is being sought.

 

  • Extenuating Circumstances: If a student was on a warning status and did not meet the terms of that status and has documentable extenuating circumstances (i.e. illness, death of immediate family member, divorce, other      unusual circumstances) they are eligible to submit an appeal for the term      in which aid is being sought.  Students pursuing this option must      provide supporting documentation and such documentation should be able to      be verified for authenticity. If a student was on a warning status and did      not meet the terms of that status and does not have extenuating circumstances,      they are not eligible to appeal and therefore not eligible for aid until      the conditions for reinstatement of aid (refer to Section VII) are met.

The following are reasons that are NOT considered extenuating circumstances and will NOT merit an approved appeal for federal financial aid purposes:

  • Need for financial aid or lack of knowledge that your aid was in jeopardy
  • Unfair/incorrect grade for class or improper advising
  • Childcare or daycare problems
  • Transportation issues
  • Problems with web based or On Demand classes
  • Work related issues
Circumstance Statement/Acceptable Documentation
Your own illness, injury, hospitalization or disability
  • Personal statement of how illness, injury, hospitalization or disability affected your ability to perform well academically.

Written documentation from a healthcare provider on letterhead detailing:

  • Approximate date of onset and duration of the illness, injury or disability
  • The healthcare provider's release to return to school
  • Any additional details the healthcare provider feels necessary for the Student Financial Assistance Office to know in consideration of the appeal, with your permission
Illness, accident or injury, hospitalization or disability of a significant person in your life such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent
  • Personal statement of how the illness, injury , hospitalization or disability of the person of significance affected your ability to perform well academically
  • Provide documentation (i.e., physician's statement, police report or documentation from a third party professional) relating to the individual from who you provided care or support
Death of a family member or significant person in your life such as a parent, sibling, grandparent or lifelong friend
  •  Personal statement of how the death of your loved one affected your ability to perform well academically
  • Provide an original copy of the death certificate, obituary or complete funeral program identifying you as a family member. All documentation received will be verified for authenticity
Your own divorce or legal separation or the divorce or legal separation of your parent(s)
  •  Personal statement of how situation affected your ability to perform well academically
  • Provide an attorney's letter on letterhead, petition for dissolution of marriage or copy of divorce decree
 Victimization of a violent crime or natural disaster
  •  Personal statement of how situation affected your ability to perform well academically
  • Provide a written statement on letterhead from a professional involved in the situation and/or other documentation such as police reports, insurance claims, etc.
 Maximum Time Frame (excessive hours) exceeded
  •  Written explanation detailing reason that you have excessive hours and why you have yet to complete your degree
    • Are you excessive hours due to changing majors or transfer credits
    • Are you excessive hours due to pursuing a second degree program or working on a dual degree program
 Other unforeseen circumstances beyond your control
  •  Appeal letter must clearly state how the situation was unforeseen and out of your control. Provide supporting documentation that verifies the circumstances described in the appeal letter

 

Students are limited to 2 Approved SAP Appeals due to extenuating
circumstances per academic career level (i.e. Undergraduate, Graduate). There is NO limit to amount of Approved SAP Appeals that a student can obtain based strictly on changing of major.

Appeal Process:

If a student has earned excessive hours without completing a degree (pursuing an Associate's Degree and attempted 90 or more hours; pursuing a Bachelor's Degree and attempted 180 or more hours; Students pursuing any graduate degree (Master’s or Doctoral) must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 150% of their program’s published length (this will vary based on every program, please refer to your program to check programs length) and are submitting an appeal, they must do the following:

  • A review of the student’s iCap audit, Second Degree Program form, or Program of Study Form will be conducted by a SAP Counselor
  • Submit an Appeal Form to the Department of Student Financial Assistance

If a student was on a warning status and did not meet the terms of that status and has documentable extenuating circumstances (i.e. illness, death of immediate family member, divorce, other unusual circumstances) and are submitting an appeal, they must do the following:

  • Meet with a financial aid SAP Counselor to develop an Academic Plan by the established Academic Plan deadline date within each term (this deadline date falls approximately at the end of the 7th week of classes)
    • Undergraduate and Graduate students attending main campus or the Commonwealth campus should email fa.sap@wku.edu or call the Financial Aid Office at 270-745-2755 to schedule an appointment
    • Undergraduate students attending a regional campus should email fa.sap@wku.edu  or call the Financial Aid Office at 270-745-2755 to schedule a telephone conference appointment if necessary       
  • Submit an Appeal Form to the Department of Student Financial Assistance 
  • Submit supporting documentation of the extenuating circumstances (please refer to Appeal chart in section above). Students must provide supporting documentation and such documentation should be able to be verified for authenticity

                                                                                                        
Appeals are reviewed by the Department of Student Financial Assistance and/or the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  Students are welcome to contact the Executive Board Committee if they feel an unjust appeal decision was made. 

The earlier an appeal is submitted the sooner eligibility for financial assistance can be determined.  A student submitting an appeal should be prepared to make any tuition and fee payments required for that term in the event the appeal is not processed prior to any pending due date or in the event the appeal is denied.

It is the responsibility of the student who submits an appeal to determine that all other financial aid application materials are complete.  If an appeal is approved and application materials incomplete, a further delay in the awarding process will result.

If a student has been academically dismissed from the University, an appeal for federal financial assistance cannot be processed until the student is allowed re-admittance to the University as determined by the Academic Advising and Retention Center.

Approved Appeals:

Students are notified through email if an appeal has been approved.  Once approved, the student is required to make satisfactory academic progress for the term in which the appeal was submitted and approved.  Students on an approved appeal will be required to adhere to the Academic Plan established. Students that do not adhere to the conditions established in the Academic Plan will not be eligible for federal financial aid for future terms.

Academic Plan:  Must have adhered to established Academic Plan.


Students receiving financial assistance based on an approved appeal (probation status) for a particular term that do not make satisfactory academic progress for that term cannot submit a new appeal until they have met requirements for Reinstatement of Aid (refer to Section VII). 

Students that are on an approved appeal and are meeting the minimum conditions established in their Academic Plan agreement will remain on probation for consecutive terms until their cumulative Overall and WKU GPA is a minimum of 2.0 undergraduate, 3.0 graduate (or within the appropriate graduate GPA scale) AND their total hours earned is at least 67% of total attempted hours.  Once these requirements are met, the student will be removed from the approved appeal probationary status for the next subsequent term and should transition into a good standing for federal financial aid purposes.

Students whose approved appeal is for excessive hours may only take courses that are reflected on their iCap Report (degree audit), Second Degree Program Form or Program of Study Form.  Taking courses not part of an approved degree program will result in revocation of approved appeal status and loss of financial aid eligibility at WKU.

 

 

Denied Appeals:

Students are notified through email if an appeal has been denied.  If an appeal for financial assistance is denied and the student enrolls in courses for that term, he/she is responsible for all tuition and fees for that term.

Students whose academic appeals are denied must meet the requirements for Reinstatement of Aid (refer to Section VIII).  


Multiple Appeals:

Students that were on an approved appeal and did not meet the Academic Plan term requirements or do not meet overall qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements are not eligible to re-appeal for subsequent terms (unless new extenuating circumstances merit another approved appeal) until they have met the requirements indicated under the Reinstatement of Aid section (Section VIII).    

Students are limited to 2 Approved SAP Appeals due to extenuating
circumstances per academic career level (i.e. Undergraduate, Graduate).

 

X. COURSES FOR WHICH NO CREDIT IS EARNED/REPEATED

  1. Audits, Incompletes, and grades of 'W' or 'F', or FN’s (failure due to non-attendance) do not count as hours earned; therefore, could affect the student’s quantitative component.
  2. A student must complete all assignments for an Incomplete (X) or an In Progress (IP) course and have a passing grade for that course posted on their academic transcript before credit may be included in the number of hours earned for that term, however, those ‘X’ or ‘IP’ credit hours will be calculated into the student’s total attempted hours. The Student Financial Assistance Office can use professional judgment after the initial SAP review to re-evaluate a student’s SAP status if a grade is now submitted for a prior ‘X’, ‘IP’, grade change update or if a late grade is posted at the student’s request. A grade of NR (no report) or ER (no report for just one student) indicates a grade has not been posted by an instructor.  Students on warning/ probation must also have official grades for these courses reflected on their academic transcript before they can be included in the number of hours earned for that term.
  3. Nonpunitive grades such as NG (no grade) indicates that no grade will be assigned for that particular course. Nonpunitive grades will not be calculated into a student’s qualitative or quantitative SAP review.
  4. A student can receive aid for a repeated course until the course is passed (credit received).  If a student chooses to repeat a previously passed course (for a better grade), federal aid can be paid for only one repetition of the passed course.
  5. Courses numbered 0-99 (continuing education and special purposes courses, typically known as remedial or developmental courses) do not count in the total hours and quality points required for graduation.  If such courses are recommended for a student's program of study, the courses will be considered as part of the hours earned for financial aid purposes.  Students receiving financial aid may not take more than 30 hours of courses numbered 0-99.

 

XI. FAILURE TO PASS ANY COURSES FOR A TERM

A return of funds to financial aid programs may be required as a result of receiving all FN grades (failure due to non-attendance) or combination of FN’s and Withdraw grades. 

If a student fails all courses due to FN’s (failure due to non-attendance) in a term but still meets overall minimum qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements, then the student could remain in a good standing or possibly transition to a financial aid warning status for the subsequent term and could be subject to a return of Title IV funds.

 

XII. WITHDRAW BELOW HALF-TIME ENROLLMENT AFTER RECEIVING TITLE IV FUNDS

Students who drop below half-time enrollment after receiving federal financial aid for a particular term but are still meeting overall minimum qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements after the next SAP review process, could remain in a good standing or possibly transition to a financial aid warning status for the subsequent term.  However, the student should not be subject to a return of Title IV funds as long as the student passes or earns F(s) in their remaining credit hours during the specific term they withdrew below half-time.  Students may also be contacted by their federal student loan servicer (if applicable) if repayment of prior loan(s) is required.

  WKU Full-time Enrollment WKU Three-quarter-time Enrollment WKU Half-time Enrollment
Undergraduate 12 credit hours per Fall/Spring 9 credit hours per Fall/Spring 6 credit hours per Fall/Spring
Graduate 9 credit hours per Fall/Spring 6.75 credit hours per Fall/Spring 4.5 credit hours per Fall/Spring

 

XIII. TOTAL WITHDRAW (0 CREDIT HOURS) AFTER RECEIVING TIV FUNDS

Students who drop all courses (0 credit hours) after receiving federal financial aid for a particular term but are still meeting overall minimum qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements after the next SAP review process, could remain in a good standing; however, students who are not meeting all overall qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements will transition to a financial aid warning status for the subsequent term.  Students who totally withdraw will also be subject to a return of Title IV funds. Students may also be contacted by their federal student loan servicer (if applicable) if repayment of prior loan(s) is required.

For additional information regarding the Return to Title IV Policy, please visit http://wku.edu/financialaid/titleiv.php .

 

XIV. ACADEMIC RENEWAL                                                        

A student's entire academic record is considered when deciding if Satisfactory Academic Progress is being made.  Students who have completed academic renewal (refer to WKU Undergraduate Catalog) are still subject to the qualitative and quantitative standards of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.  The WKU Student Financial Assistance’s SAP Policy requires a complete review all academic history when determining a student’s SAP standing, regardless of if a student has had a semester or multiple semester’s worth of academic work bankrupted or excluded.  

 

XV. TRANSFER CREDIT

Transfer credit is considered as part of the cumulative grade-point average and overall hours for those courses that are recognizable as transfer credit by the University.  Likewise these are included in the cumulative grade-point average and overall hours for purposes of evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress. 

 

XVI. CONCLUSION

It is the student's responsibility to maintain the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  Students should be familiar with their academic records.  Academic records are available to the student from their TopNet account and an official copy can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.  Students should work closely with their academic advisor to plan their degree program and to develop strategies for timely degree completion.  Students planning to complete their degree at WKU should contact either their advisor or the Academic Advising and Retention Center before registering for courses at another college or university.

Any student who does not meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid and who plans to enroll for a particular term must be prepared to pay all tuition and fees for that term. 

The SAP policy is available to students in the office of the Department of Student Financial Assistance, 317 Potter Hall and on-line at  http://www.wku.edu/finaid/sap.htm.

Please contact the Department of Student Financial Assistance if you have questions regarding financial aid policies and procedures.

 

                                                                      

 

Rev. 16-April-25

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 Last Modified 6/28/16