Western Kentucky University

Student Financial Assistance

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy


Significant changes to this policy effective 07/01/11 for the 2011-12 academic year


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 (hours earned) 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 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 probation 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 higher education (HiEd) GPA and minimum cumulative WKU GPA as indicated in the table below.

Total HiEd or WKU
Quality Hours
Cumulative GPA
WKU GPA
1 – 17 1.7
18 – 33 1.8
34 – 50 1.9
51 or greater 2.0

 

Graduate Students:

Students must be admitted or readmitted in good standing and maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative HiEd GPA and a minimum 3.0 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)

Each term students are awarded financial aid they must earn at least 75% of the number of hours for which they were awarded aid as indicated in the tables below. 

 

Undergraduates: 

 Financial Aid
Award Status
 Minimum hours that must be
earned during an academic year
Full-Time 9
Three-Quarter Time 6.75
Half-Time 4.5
Less than Half-Time Based on enrollment


Graduate Students:

Financial Aid
Award Status

Minimum hours that must be
earned during an academic year  
Half-Time 6.75
Less than Half-Time N/A

 

 Students who were awarded financial aid that drop below half-time enrollment status are denied aid for the next subsequent term until eligibility is regained or student has been approved on an appeal (refer to Section VII & VIII).

Students pursuing an Associates Degree must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 90 quality (attempted) hours.  Students pursuing a Bachelors Degree must complete graduation requirements by the time they have reached 180 quality (attempted) hours.  All quality (attempted) hours for which grades are received are counted, regardless if Title IV aid was received for those hours.

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).

 

V. 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 which they apply for assistance.  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:

  • Students must complete a SAP counseling session at http://www.wku.edu/financialaid/sapoc.htm 
  • Students must meet with an academic advisor to develop an Academic Plan
    • Undergraduate students attending main campus or south campus should visit http://www.wku.edu/advising/academic_plan.php for group session advising times through the Academic Advising and Retention Center. Please contact AARC at 270-745-5065 if you have questions.
    • Undergraduate students attending a regional campus should contact their advisor at the regional campus
    • Graduate students should contact their advisor on the main campus

VI. WARNING STATUS

Students that are placed on warning status for a particular term and have completed SAP Counseling and established an Academic Plan must meet the following requirements to continue to receive assistance beyond the warning period:

Satisfactory Academic Achievement (GPA):  Must earn a minimum 2.0 undergraduate, 3.0 graduate grade-point average for the semester
Satisfactory Academic Progress (Hours Earned):  Must earn 100% of the credit hours for which aid was awarded for the semester
Academic Plan:  Must adhere to the established Academic Plan

Students that do not meet these requirements 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).

Students that are placed on warning status and continue to earn the minimum semester grade-point average and hours earned requirements while also adhering to the Academic Plan, will remain on warning status until their cumulative grade-point average is a minimum of 2.0 undergraduate, 3.0 graduate AND their total hours earned is at least 75% of total hours attempted.  Once these requirements are met, the student will be removed from warning status for the next subsequent term.

 

VII. 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 earn at least 6 credit hours at their own expense AND meet the minimum qualitative and quantitative requirements listed below before aid can be reinstated.  Such students should complete a SAP Clearance Form once the conditions have been met to be re-considered for eligibility. 

Qualitative Requirements:  See table below:

Total HiEd or WKUQuality Hours Cumulative GPA
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 overall GPA hours must be at least 75% of their overall hours attempted.

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).

 

VIII. APPEAL PROCEDURES

Eligibility to Appeal:

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

  1. If a student withdrew (officially or unofficially) after receiving federal aid (and was not already on a warning/probation status), they are eligible to submit an appeal for the term in which aid is being sought.
  2. 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) they are eligible to submit an appeal for the term in which aid is being sought.
  3. 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) they are eligible to submit an appeal for the term in which aid is being sought.  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.

Students are limited to 2 SAP appeals per academic career level (i.e. Undergraduate, Graduate).


Appeal Process:

If a student withdrew (officially or unofficially) after receiving federal aid (and was not already on a warning/probation status), and are submitting an appeal, they must do the following:

  • Complete a SAP counseling session at http://www.wku.edu/finaid/sapoc.htm 
  • Meet with an academic advisor to develop an Academic Plan
    • Undergraduate students attending main campus or south campus should schedule an individual academic plan appointment with the Academic Advising and Retention Center (call 270-745-5065 to schedule an appointment).  Please visit http://www.wku.edu/advising/academic_plan.php if you have questions.
    • Undergraduate students attending a regional campus should contact their advisor at the regional campus.
    • Graduate students should contact their advisor on the main campus.
  • Submit an Appeal Form to the Department of Student Financial Assistance

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) and are submitting an appeal, they must do the following:

  • Complete a SAP counseling session at http://www.wku.edu/finaid/sapoc.htm
  • Provide a copy of their iCAP (degree audit) and a copy of their current term enrollment to the Department of Student Financial Assistance 
  • 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) and are submitting an appeal, they must do the following:

  • Complete a SAP counseling session at http://www.wku.edu/finaid/sapoc.htm 
  • Meet with an academic advisor to develop an Academic Plan
    • Undergraduate students attending classes on main campus or south campus should schedule an individual academic plan appointment with the Academic Advising and Retention Center (call 270-745-5065 to schedule an appointment).  Please visit http://www.wku.edu/advising/academic_plan.php if you have questions.
    • Undergraduate students attending a regional campus should contact their advisor at the regional campus
    • Graduate students should contact their advisor on the main campus
  • Submit an Appeal Form to the Department of Student Financial Assistance 
  • Submit supporting documentation of the extenuating circumstances (such as medical reports, legal documents, etc.).

Submitted appeal forms will not be reviewed until the SAP counseling session, Academic Plan and/or other supporting documentation have been received.  Additionally, if a student owes a balance to the University for a previous term and/or has a University hold (i.e. financial, judicial), the Appeal Form will not be reviewed until such debt/hold is resolved.
 
Appeals are reviewed by the Department of Student Financial Assistance and/or the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  The decision of the Committee is final. 

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.  To make satisfactory academic progress, the following requirements must be met:

Satisfactory Academic Achievement (GPA):  Must earn a minimum 2.0 undergraduate, 3.0 graduate grade-point average for the semester
Satisfactory Academic Progress (Hours Earned):  Must earn 100% of the credit hours for which aid was awarded for the semester
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 continue to earn the minimum semester grade-point average and hours earned requirements, will remain on probation until their cumulative grade-point average is a minimum of 2.0 undergraduate, 3.0 graduate AND their total hours earned is at least 75% of total hours attempted.  Once these requirements are met, the student will be removed from the approved appeal probationary status for the next subsequent term.

Students whose approved appeal is for excessive hours may only take courses that are reflected on their iCAP Report (degree audit).  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 VII).  


Multiple Appeals:

Students that were on an approved appeal and did not meet the term requirements are not eligible to re-appeal for subsequent terms until they have met the requirements indicated under the Reinstatement of Aid section (Section VII).     

Students are limited to 2 SAP appeals per academic career level (i.e. Undergraduate, Graduate).

 

IX. COURSES FOR WHICH NO CREDIT IS EARNED/REPEATED

  1. Audits, Incompletes, and grades of 'W' or 'F' do not count as hours earned.
  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.  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. 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.
  4. Courses numbered 0-99 (continuing education and special purposes 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.

X. FAILURE TO PASS ANY COURSES FOR A TERM

Students that fail to pass any courses for a term (due to non-attendance) in which federal financial assistance was received, will automatically be denied assistance for the next subsequent term.  Such students are eligible to appeal (refer to VII), assuming they are not already on warning/probation status for the term in which all failing grades were received.

A return of funds to financial aid programs may be required as a result of receiving all failing grades.  In these instances, students are not eligible to appeal until all financial obligations to the University have been resolved.

Students that have an incomplete grade and all other grades of failing, will be treated as a student that has failed all courses for purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Such students are eligible to appeal, assuming they are not already on warning/probation status for the term in which incomplete and failing grades were received.  If documentation is received to validate that the student is in the process of completing the incomplete grade, he/she will not be subject to a return of funds that could result in owing an obligation to the University.  If documentation is not received regarding the incomplete course, then the student is subject to a return of funds calculation and must resolve any remaining balance to the University as a result before an academic appeal can be submitted for a subsequent term.  

 

XI. 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.

 

XII. 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. 

 

XIII. 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.

 

 Last Modified 7/22/13