Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid
To qualify for federal financial aid a student must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Federal financial aid includes federal loans, the Pell Grant, and the TEACH Grant.
Military and Uniformed Public Servants can review available accommodations to standard polices that resulted from qualifying service obligations here.
SAP for financial aid is monitored on three standards:
- Qualitative: Cumulative GPA in your level of study (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, etc.)
- Quantitative: Successful pace of completion at a minimum of 50 percent of all credits attempted in your academic transcript level in graduate/doctoral programs, and 67 percent of all credits attempted in the undergraduate level.
- Max time frame: Measured based on calendar years for graduate/doctoral students: 5 years since the start of your degree for graduate, 7 years since the start of your degree for doctoral and M.Div. Measured based on credit hours for undergraduate students: no more than 180 attempted credit hours for bachelor’s, no more than 90 attempted credit hours for associate.
- Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress is not the same as academic progress required for graduation.
- Being declared ineligible for financial aid does not mean you have been academically dismissed from Regent.
- Any appeal of ineligibility is good for only one term. SAP must be reviewed each term. Approval of an appeal will place the student on financial aid probation for the next term of enrollment.
- No private loan funds, federal loans or grants may be paid to your account for a subsequent term until AFTER grades for the probationary period have been reviewed and your status determined to be satisfactory.
- Failure to meet the minimum standards again after an appeal was approved will place a student in ineligible status again.
Limited authority is given to the Student Financial Aid Office to provide approval for continued access to Title IV financial aid when a student fails a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standard. The student’s failure to meet SAP performance requirements must have been due to an extenuating circumstance, and that circumstance must now be mitigated.
Appeals must adhere to each of the requirements outlined in the process below to be eligible for approval. The Student Financial Aid Office cannot override a student’s accurately assessed SAP standing to provide them with continued access to financial aid unless all needed requirements for approval are in place.
Important: It is the student’s responsibility to read all SAP appeal instructions and to submit a satisfactory appeal that meets the criteria below. If a student is unclear about any aspects of the SAP appeal requirements, it is incumbent upon the student to contact the Student Financial Aid Office requesting clarification and guidance prior to submitting the SAP appeal.
Once an appeal is submitted, a final decision will be made based on the information and associated documentation provided within the initial appeal document. Students may submit one SAP appeal per semester. If an appeal is denied, the student may not appeal again for that semester.
SAP Appeal Form:
The example SAP appeal form below contains a fictitious student, circumstances, and documentation. Students are encouraged to review the example as it demonstrates the necessary information and documentation to qualify for approval.
For the purposes of federal student aid, the student’s academic performance is understood to be representative of their overall ability to succeed in that academic program. When a student chooses to submit a SAP appeal they are certifying their belief that they are academically able to meet the performance requirements for their program, and that their failure to do so was the result of an extenuating circumstance outside of their control.
A SAP assessment is based on the student’s cumulative performance in their program; therefore, it is possible that a student may not meet their program’s minimum performance standards for several semesters before their cumulative performance falls below the SAP requirement. When a student makes the case that extenuating circumstances caused them to fail a SAP standard they therefore need to provide evidence of this for each semester where they did not meet SAP minimum performance requirements, even if they retained overall SAP eligibility for that semester.
Please review the Extenuating Circumstances FAQ Sheet for examples of qualifying circumstances and associated documentation.
Extenuating life circumstances can derail a student’s ability to succeed. When pursuing a SAP appeal, the student certifies their belief that they are now in a position of readiness for academic success. A student should not appeal until the circumstances that prevented their prior ability to succeed are no longer obstacles to current or future success. Approval of an appeal relies on the documented evidence provided by the student that their extenuating circumstance will no longer prevent their academic success.
A student must provide valid supporting documentation for each extenuating circumstance listed on the appeal, as well as documentation that the circumstance has been mitigated such that it will no longer prevent their academic success. Documentation must originate from a neutral, professional third party and comply with the Third Party Documentation policy.
Document Verification: The Student Financial Aid Office will, at their discretion, select supporting documentation for authenticity verification. When a document is selected for authenticity verification a request is sent to the original issuing entity to confirm the contents are a true and accurate reflection of the document in their records. Document tampering or falsification of records submitted to obtain access to federal funds will be referred to the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, as required by law.
A SAP appeal should only be submitted to the Student Financial Aid Office when it is fully complete (with associated documentation) and ready for committee review. Students should treat this appeal process with the same care with which they would undertake a final assignment for one of their university courses. Students will need to set aside time to carefully prepare their appeal prior to submitting it for review. A student is allowed to submit only one SAP appeal per semester.
Students remain ineligible to receive financial aid assistance or deferment of payment until the SAP appeal process concludes and the Student Financial Aid Office reviews the appeal decision. Students must plan to pay all tuition, fees, and other educational expenses prior to appeal approval. Payment extensions cannot typically be granted for SAP appeals that are pending review by the Student Financial Aid Office.
Financial Aid Officers have a burden of care in representing the student, the school, and the Title IV aid program when utilizing authority to extend aid eligibility to students who have not met the SAP academic performance requirements. It is both our legal and ethical obligation to grant exceptions only when truly appropriate. Approval is therefore based on the following:
- Clearly documented evidence of extenuating circumstances outside the student’s control
- Clearly documented evidence that the circumstance directly caused the student to fail the SAP performance requirements
- Clearly documented evidence that the student is now in a place of readiness to be academically successful
We are prohibited both by law and our faith from “rubber stamping” student SAP appeals, which is the practice of unscrupulously approving appeals in order to receive revenue from students on financial aid (who are often taking on loan debt or are using an aid program with lifetime limits in place). Not only must extenuating circumstances have existed, but the evidence must also lead us to a confident belief that the student is positioned to succeed academically in our school going forward if an appeal is granted. If, based on the evidence provided, we cannot reasonably conclude this to be true, it is our legal and ethical obligation to refrain from overriding the student’s accurately assessed SAP standing.
Note: Student Financial Aid reserves final authority in SAP appeal decisions. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on financial aid probation.
This form must be returned to the Student Financial Aid Office. It can be scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 757.352.4118, or mailed to Student Financial Aid Office, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach VA 23464.
Important: Carefully read this document in full and review your appeal for completeness prior to submission. Include all documentation relevant to your appeal in the email, fax, or mailed letter (avoid multiple submissions).
A student must be in an admitted/enrolled status as a regular student in a degree program and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree in order to be considered for participation in financial aid programs (federal and/or private) administered through Regent’s Student Financial Aid Office. Making satisfactory academic progress, for these purposes, means that a student must maintain a minimum prescribed cumulative grade point average (GPA) defined by the school, as well as proceed through the program at a pace leading to completion in a specified time frame.
SAP Notification: Satisfactory progress is measured at the end of each academic semester. Students who fail to meet SAP standards after the semester review will be notified by letter and/or email. The Student Financial Aid Office sends printed and/or digital communication to students corresponding directly to their SAP status (i.e., Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Ineligibility). Students who submit an appeal will be notified after appeal review with a letter detailing the appeal decision.
A student achieving at least the minimums specified below will be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.
- Minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.0 for B.A./B.S. and A.A.
- Minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.0 for J.D., and LL.M.
- Minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.5 for M.DIV., M.T.S., M.A. in Practical Theology and M.S. in Cybersecurity
- Minimum Cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all other programs in the student’s current academic program transcript level
Successful pace of completion* of 50 percent of all credits attempted at a particular transcript level of graduate and/or professional programs of study (e.g., general graduate, law, M.Div., etc.), and 67 percent of all credits attempted at the undergraduate programs transcript level:
“Successful completion” is defined as credits finished with grades other than an F, I, IP, W, WF, WX, FX, NP, NG or AU at the time grades are posted for the term being reviewed and/or when the satisfactory academic progress review for the prior term is made. All standard letter grades are factored into the cumulative GPA calculation, except for Pass/No Pass courses (P/NP grades). Dropped courses are not weighed into the GPA calculation, however, they will impact completion rate. All students are highly encouraged to review the Course Withdrawal & Enrollment Adjustments page to understand the holistic ramifications of dropping courses before finalizing their decision to do so.
For students enrolled in a master’s, or the juris doctorate program, the student has been enrolled for no more than five calendar years from the beginning of the semester in which the program was initially begun, including periods of non-enrollment.
For students enrolled in doctoral and M.Div. programs, the student has been enrolled for no more than seven calendar years from the beginning of the semester in which the program was initially begun, including periods of non-enrollment.
For students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program the time frame cannot exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program, which is measured in attempted credit hours, based upon the number of credits offered at Regent for the program. Therefore, the maximum duration of financial aid eligibility for students in this program is 180 attempted credit hours at Regent counted from the term/period the student originally begins the program. Therefore, the maximum duration of financial aid eligibility for students in this program is 180 attempted credit hours at Regent counted from the term/period the student originally begins the program. Effective Spring 2023 and beyond, the six-year calendar time limit is eliminated for undergraduate programs.
In the event that a student fails to meet any of the above criteria at the end of an academic semester/term, the student will be placed on “SAP Warning” for the immediately following period of enrollment. That is, a student in this category may receive financial aid for the next term of enrollment, but must meet the above stated minimums by the end of that time period.
Important: The SAP Warning semester is considered to have been used when the student has attempted credit hours for the semester. Students are encouraged to use their SAP Warning period strategically and wait to use it if they are not immediately able to be academically successful. Before using the SAP Warning period, students should contact Academic Advising to create an adjusted enrollment plan.
The second time that a student fails to meet one or more of the requirements, the student will no longer be making satisfactory progress for financial aid purposes. As a result, he or she will be ineligible for financial aid offered through the Student Financial Aid Office, including federal and private loans, scholarships, etc., for the following academic term in which the student may enroll.
Exception: The Department of Education prohibits institutions from extending a SAP Warning period for failure to meet maximum time in program requirements. Therefore students at their program time limit must submit a SAP Appeal for continued aid eligibility.
Academic Standing vs. SAP Warning: SAP is not the same as academic standing. A student who has an academic petition approved that affects their academic standing (such as a grade change, academic probation or readmission) is not guaranteed an equivalent modification to their SAP standing. A student whose petition for academic probation was approved must still complete the full SAP appeal process as outlined in this packet. Their appeal will be reviewed with the same strictness as any other appeal.
If a SAP ineligible student experienced extenuating circumstances that directly impacted their ability to meet SAP program requirements the student may submit a SAP Appeal. Please see the SAP Appeal Process section of this page for more information.
To reestablish satisfactory progress after being terminated from aid eligibility, a student must improve his or her academic standing to meet the designated standards.
When a course is repeated, the last grade points and credit hours earned replace the previous grade points and credit hours in computing the grade point average. Please refer to the university catalog for the method in which repeated courses in the School of Law are calculated.
A student granted a grade of In Progress (IP) or Incomplete (I) in a course will receive their SAP assessment at the regularly scheduled interval. Assessments will not be delayed as a result of approval for a course extension. Incomplete and in progress grades negatively impact a student’s completion rate for SAP assessment purposes.
Courses that transfer students took at previous institutions prior to attending Regent are counted as both attempted and successfully completed credits for financial aid purposes. The grades from the courses are not considered in the GPA calculation per the university’s academic policy.
Students studying under approved consortium agreements will receive their SAP assessment once grades from courses taken at Regent University are available. Consortium credit hours will be considered in the next regularly scheduled SAP assessment according to the transfer policy once they have been evaluated.
Periods of Non-Enrollment
Periods of non-enrollment in a particular degree program have no effect on a student’s SAP upon reentering for these purposes, except that the maximum five- to seven-year time limit still applies (as described in “Minimum Requirements” above). Any exceptions to the time limit due to periods of non-enrollment must be appealed to the Financial Aid office. See Appeal Procedures above.
Joint Degrees and Multiple Degree Programs
A joint degree student or student enrolling in multiple degree programs at different academic transcript levels (e.g., law and business, or a Master of Divinity degree program and a Master of Counseling degree program, etc.) will be evaluated for SAP based upon each transcript level. Failure to meet the standards on either academic transcript level will classify the student as not making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.
Students having academic records in multiple programs at the same transcript level will be evaluated based upon all grades at that level, regardless of current enrollment status in any of the programs. It is vital that students monitor their classification in each academic program to ensure accurate representation of their intended degree plans, especially as it relates to satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.
The maximum time limits as defined under “Minimum Requirements” above are still applicable to students in joint degree and/or concurrent multiple degree programs.
NOTE: The SAP policies are for financial aid purposes. They are required to ensure that recipients of federal student aid and other aid administered by the Student Financial Aid Office are meeting qualitative and quantitative progress toward their degree as required by program regulations and policies. A particular scholarship, grant, etc., offered through your school might have different individual award eligibility requirements unique to that award.