Financial Aid Office

Standards of Academic Progress

THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) POLICY EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011. PLEASE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THESE CHANGES INDICATED BELOW THE POLICY SUMMARY.

Why is there a change?

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued new regulations in an effort to ensure program integrity at colleges and universities. These regulations were adopted so that students will make progress toward their degrees. Only those eligible students will be able to receive aid. The criteria used to evaluate progress toward completion of a degree has not changed, you still must:

  • Successfully complete at least 67% of the credits you attempt (enroll) each semester,
  • Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 or higher, and
  • Complete your degree within the maximum credit hour timeframe allowed.

What exactly has changed?

What has changed is the evaluation of criteria so that CSU’s policy complies with the new Federal Regulations. Effective beginning with Fall, 2011 the following changes have taken effect:

New Warning Status: Students who do not meet the cumulative GPA (2.00 CGPA Undergraduates and 3.00 CGPA Graduate) and 67% credit hour completion rate each semester will be placed on financial aid warning. Students who do not meet the minimum requirements their next semester of enrollment, will not be eligible for financial aid.

New Appeal Process: If a student is no longer eligible for student aid, the student may appeal the decision. However, new appeal guidelines are more restrictive than in the past and will require additional documentation (generally from a third party). Appeals that are granted will have clear and limited conditions that will have to be followed to maintain eligibility. Download the forms on the Financial Aid Forms site. 

Not meeting 67% of the credits you attempt: The appeal must be filed and depending on what the reason for not completing 67%, the supporting documents need to be included. These documents will usually come from a third party.
Falling below the minimum GPA: The appeal must be filed along with the supporting documents. In most cases, an academic plan filled out with your Academic Advisory should accompany this appeal.

Not completing your degree within the maximum time frame: Students who have greater than 192 credits are not aid eligible, except for selected programs of study. The hours used to calculate the completion hours are all of the credits transferred to CSU and those courses that you have withdrawn, failed or repeated. Students who change majors or students who are working on a second degree/major do not quality for additional semesters of eligibility.

Returning to good SAP standing: Students who meet the cumulative minimums will return to good standing and be able to receive financial aid provided they remain eligible.

What can be done to prepare for the changes?

Students should become familiar with their SAP status. Students should also be mindful of future course selection and completion of current courses. Meet with an Academic Advisor on a regular basis to ensure you are making progress toward a degree in a timely manner.

Where are the appeal forms located?

Forms are located on the Financial Aid Forms page.  

IMPORTANT NOTE for fall term:
SAP standing will not be evaluated until after fall semester grades are posted. SAP petitions will not be reviewed during the University’s closing between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Students who do fail SAP will be notified via email before the break that their financial aid funding has been suspended.

Policy Summary

In order to receive financial aid, you must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. SAP is different from the University’s definition of academic standing. All Cleveland State students who have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and wish to be considered for federal, state, and institutional financial aid must meet the criteria stated in the policy regardless of whether or not they previously received aid. These requirements apply to part-time as well as full-time students for all semesters of enrollment within an academic year, including those semesters for which no financial aid was granted. Evaluation of SAP is made at the conclusion of each semester by the Financial Aid Office once grades are available in the university system. This review looks at grades received, courses attempted, GPA and pace towards graduation.

Programs governed by these regulations are:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Work Study (FWS)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)
  • All Cleveland State University Grants

The Federal SAP definition has three components:

1. A Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA):

Undergraduate Students: All undergraduate students must: Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.0, and earn a term GPA of not less than 1.0

Graduate Students:All graduate students must: maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0

Law Students:Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 upon the completion of their first spring semester and any semester thereafter including summer.

2. Minimum Credit Hour Completion Percentage:

All students must complete at least 67% of their courses each semester. To calculate, you take the total credit hours you successfully complete and divide it by the number of credit hours you were enrolled. Incompletes, withdrawals and failing grades do not count as successful completion. Example, you enroll 16 credits hours, at the end of the semester you successfully complete 8 credits. 8/16 =50% this does not meet the minimum 67%. If this is your first time, you will be placed on SAP warning, if this is your second time not meeting all the SAP standards you are no longer eligible to receive financial aid.

Important Note: Students that officially withdraw from all courses, on or after the 60% point of the semester, will be required to submit a SAP petition to regain financial aid eligibility. Federal regulations do not require schools to return Title IV funds for students actively engaged through 60% of the period. However, you must petition to have your financial aid reinstated for subsequent semesters.

3. Quantitative Progress: Maximum Time to Complete a Degree/Program (MTF)

Students cannot exceed 150% of the number of credit hours required to complete their degree program. All hours attempted toward the completion of a program of study will be counted in the maximum number of allowable hours regardless of whether financial aid was received. Students are not eligible for financial aid if they have exceeded the number of credit hours. Transfer hours are included in the total. Students who earn credits through a consortium/contractual agreement, students who change majors or students working on a second major do not qualify for additional semesters of eligibility.

Students enrolled in special extended credit hour programs; such as Accelerated Nursing, MAPA, Neo-Med, are eligible to appeal SAP for MTF.
Credit hours transferred to Cleveland State University are counted when calculating the 150 percent of maximum credits to earn a degree. To receive aid for an educational program within the maximum hours allowed, transfer students must select an eligible program of study and must submit official transcripts of all previous college course work.

When SAP is calculated, if you have attempted 150 percent of the allowable number of credit hours, or if it would be mathematically impossible for you to complete a program of study within the 150 percent maximum, you will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension regardless of your CGPA, and regardless of whether or not you received financial aid during previous semesters.

If you are placed on Financial Aid Suspension for exceeding the maximum time frame to complete your program of study, you have exhausted financial aid eligibility to complete the program and may not again receive financial aid benefits.

Examples of 150%

  • If you are completing a degree program that requires 128 credits to earn the degree. You must earn your degree before attempting 193 credit hours. i.e.: 128*150%=192
  • If you are completing a degree program that requires 128 credits, and you transferred 130 credits to CSU, your transfer credits count as attempted. Therefore you must successfully complete the degree requirements before reaching 192 attempted credit hours (transfer hours + CSU hours cannot exceed 192 total credit hours).

Financial aid recipients are expected to complete a program of study in the scheduled amount of time. Your progress may be evaluated for only one program at a time. You may not change your program multiple times for the purpose of extending financial aid eligibility.

New transfer and returning students to CSU are encouraged to read carefully the Financial Aid Office Standards of Satisfactory Process Policy, Federal regulations require that you complete your academic program within 150% of the standard timeframe for your program.  At CSU, 128 credits is used as the standard, with 192 attempted credits as the maximum credits for a Bachelor’s degree. All credits are counted, even if you did not receive financial aid and even if the credits do not count towards graduation for your present academic program.

Once you reach the maximum number of attempted credits for your academic program, you are ineligible to receive financial aid.

Important:
Post-Bach program admits: All credits that you earned while at another school(s) and that are accepted as transfer credits at CSU along with all attempted /earned credits at CSU are part of the number of credits needed for your second degree program.  If you transfer in more than 191 credits, federal regulations will not allow CSU to offer you federal aid unless you are admitted into an approved program. An example of an approved program is the accelerated nursing program.

Measuring the Pace of Completion

To avoid exceeding the maximum time frame required to complete a program of study using financial aid, you are expected to maintain a "pace of completion." At the end of each semester, you must have successfully passed a minimum percentage of credit hours from all hours attempted at CSU. You must maintain a cumulative pace of completion that is at least 67 percent of attempted hours at the end of each semester.

Grades of W, X, F and I will be counted as hours attempted but will not be counted as hours successfully passed. Repeated course enrollment will be counted in the completion rate and against the overall maximum time limit required to complete the program of study. Repeated course enrollment will be calculated in the cumulative GPA according to the CSU academic grading policy.

If you do not complete the minimum percentage of credit hours required to maintain a 67 percent pace of completion, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester only. If you do not reach a 67 percent cumulative pace of completion by the end of the warning period, you will fail SAP and be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. You must pay enrollment costs without the benefit of financial aid awards until you meet the minimum required pace of completion again.

New SAP Status Rules: Warnings and Suspensions

 

  • If you are placed on “warning” because your SAP status does not meet requirements, you must bring your SAP status up to the required standards during your next semester of enrollment. Your financial aid funds will not be affected during the “warning” period while you work to improve your SAP. However, if you do not improve your SAP status by the end of that semester, you will be placed on “suspension.”
  • If you are placed on “warning,” you should visit your academic Advising Center at your college and meet with an advisor, who can talk to you about what you need to do in order to meet all the SAP requirements.
  • Under the new regulations, if you are placed on “suspension” and you enroll in any classes at CSU, you must pay your own tuition, fees and costs until you meet the required SAP and your financial aid “suspension” is removed.
  • You can avoid financial aid “suspension” by successfully completing 67 percent of all attempted credit hours by maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA or better, and graduating without the maximum allowed time frame.

Financial Aid Suspension, Appeal and Reinstatement Procedures

The Cleveland State University Financial Aid Office will review academic records at the end of each semester and determine each student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress status. If you fail to meet the SAP minimum standards, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester. If you fail to attain the minimum standards of progress by the end of the warning period, you will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

The Appeal Process:

The SAP Appeal and Academic Plan forms can be downloaded on the Financial Aid Forms page.

Students in violation of the SAP Policy may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office. Effective beginning the 2011-2012 academic year; students who receive an approval decision can be approved for only one semester. At the end of that semester, the student must either be in compliance with the SAP policies or meet these standards during the approved semester:

Students in violation of the GPA and/or Percentage Completion standards:

  • Complete the semester with earning a minimum 2.00 semester GPA
  • Complete (with a passing grade) a minimum of 67% of all courses attempted during that semester
  • Register only for those courses identified by an academic advisor that are required for graduation

Students who fail to meet these standards will not be permitted to receive federal financial aid for future semesters until they are in compliance with all the SAP standards. Neither paying for classes out-of-pocket nor sitting out for an enrollment period is sufficient for students to re-establish eligibility for federal aid. Any semester you do not enroll does not count towards SAP; however, your suspension period will roll over to the next semester of enrollment.

Students who are on Financial Aid Suspension and who do not appeal or their appeal is denied.
You cannot petition a denied appeal, the committee’s decision is final. Students will have to pay out of pocket for all of your school costs, including tuition and books, without the benefit of financial aid awards, until you meet the minimum SAP standards again. At that time your financial aid eligibility will be determined for future semester(s) of enrollment.

If you are placed on suspension, your progress will continue to be reviewed at the end of each semester of enrollment. Your eligibility will automatically be reinstated for the next term of enrollment upon successful completion of a term of enrollment in which you meet the required SAP standards. No appeal for reinstatement is required. The Financial Aid Office will notify you when you have met the requirements for reinstatement.

Important Note: If you are placed on Financial Aid Suspension for exceeding the maximum time frame to complete your program of study, you have permanently exhausted financial aid eligibility to complete the program and may not again receive financial aid benefits. Unless you are enrolled in one of the special extended credit hour programs noted in the policy.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Frequently Asked Questions

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Effective July, 2011 colleges and universities updated their SAP policies to comply with federal regulations. To be eligible to receive financial aid, you must be making progress toward a degree. Making financial aid academic progress means you must:

  • Successfully complete at least 67% of the credits you attempt (enroll) each semester,
  • Maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.0 or higher, and
  • Complete your degree within the maximum credit hour timeframe allowed.

When will CSU evaluate my SAP standing?
At the end of each semester after grades are posted, CSU will review each students’ academic history. CSU will notify affected students via their CSU email account. Students who fail to meet SAP requirements due to extenuating circumstances may appeal to the Financial Aid Office.

How many credit hours must I be enrolled in for SAP eligibility?
The Financial Aid Office does not require a student enroll in a minimum number of credits each semester. Some Federal Student Aid programs have a required credit hour minimum to receive funds. When enrolling, students should consider their personal situations including employment, family responsibilities, academic standing or course difficulty because unsuccessfully completed courses will adversely affect your SAP standing.

What programs are subject to the SAP policy?
All federal, state and university grant and loan programs are subject to this policy. University scholarships may have additional requirement and standards that be adhered to for renewal.

What does "attempted" and "successfully completed" (earned) credit hours mean?
Attempted credits are courses that you register for and are enrolled in after the last date to drop a class without receiving a “W” grade. Grades received may include A, B, C, D, F, S, U, I, X, T, NC. Successfully completed classes are when you receive a passing grade of A, B, C, D, S. Students can view their attempted hours, earned and cumulative GPA on your unofficial transcript in CampusNet.

How does dropping or withdrawing from a class during a semester affect SAP?
The student must pass at least 67% of their semester’s classes. A grade of “W” does not count as passing. Therefore, dropping or withdrawing from one or all of your classes will adversely affect your completion rate - - the 67% measurement. Students should speak to an academic advisor and Campus411 All-in-1 before withdrawing from any or all classes.

What happens if I do not complete 67% of my attempted credits and/or fall below a 2.0 cumulative GPA?
If this is your first semester of not meeting the SAP standards, you are automatically placed on financial aid “WARNING”. During the warning semester, you may continue to receive financial aid. If this is your second semester of not meeting SAP, you are placed on financial aid “SUSPENSION” and no longer eligible to receive financial aid.

How do I get my financial aid back if I fail SAP?
You must pay for all of your charges with your own resources. At the end of that semester of enrollment, if you meet all the components of SAP: successfully complete 67% of what you attempt and earn a minimum 2.0 GPA, your financial aid eligibility will be restored.

Is there a minimum credit hour enrollment required during a self-pay semester?
Yes, a student must enroll in at least 1 (one) three or more credit hour class which is not graded on an S/U basis. The course must contribute to your degree requirements thus keeping you on pace for timely degree completion. You must also meet all other SAP criteria.

How does CSU define the Maximum Timeframe component of the SAP policy?
Students must complete their degree timely and cannot exceed 150% of the number of total credit hours needed for the Bachelor’s Degree. At CSU, the maximum number of attempted credit hours is 192 credits. The 192 credit hour include ALL transfer credit hours regardless of whether or not the transfer credit applies towards your degree. Those students completing a Graduate Degree cannot exceed 150% of the number of total credit hours needed for their degree program.

Does my SAP status transfer to another college?
Although standards are universal, policy standings do not transfer from one school to another. Students who failed SAP at CSU may receive aid at another school provided they meet all eligibility requirements at that school. Classes completed at another school, do not change the SAP standing at CSU. Students who attend another school upon readmission to CSU may re-appeal their SAP standing.

Does my credit hours transferring from another college effect SAP?
Yes, Federal regulations require that you complete your academic program within 150% of the standard timeframe for your program.  At CSU, 128 credits is used as the standard, with 192 attempted credits as the maximum credits for a Bachelor’s degree. All credits are counted, even if you did not receive financial aid and even if the credits do not count towards graduation for your present academic program.
Once you reach the maximum number of attempted credits for your academic program, you are ineligible to receive financial aid.

Important:
Post-Bach program admits: All credits that you earned while at another school(s) and that are accepted as transfer credits at CSU along with all attempted /earned credits at CSU are part of the number of credits needed for your second degree program.  If you transfer in more than 191 credits, federal regulations will not allow CSU to offer you federal aid unless you are admitted into an approved program. An example of an approved program is the accelerated nursing program.

How do I appeal my SAP status?
Students who failed SAP may complete the SAP petition form and provide an Academic Plan, a personal statement, include documentation of extenuating circumstances that prevented you from being successful. The committee will review your statement, academic history and your ability to meet standards in the future. Forms can be found on the Financial Aid Forms page.
Here are just a few examples of what is not considered extenuating circumstances:

  • Applying for an additional major
  • Changed your mind about your current plan of study
  • You feel that you were misadvised about a course selection
  • Did not like the course content or the instructor
  • You were not aware of the SAP policy guidelines

What happens if my SAP petition is approved?
Students who are granted an appeal will be on financial aid probation. You can receive aid for that one semester. You must meet SAP standards at the end of that term to be permitted to continue receiving financial aid.

What options do I have if I decide not to appeal or if my appeal is denied?
Students remain ineligible for financial aid at CSU until they meet the SAP standards. Students may enroll at CSU and self-pay. Remember a solid academic performance may render you eligible again for financial aid.