Standards of Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients
State Financial Aid Awards
Criteria of Program Pursuit and Satisfactory Academic Progress for Recipients of State Financial Aid Awards
In addition to all other criteria, students must be in “good academic standing” in order to establish eligibility for New York state awards. “Good academic standing” consists of meeting the following state-approved minimum standards of “program pursuit” and “satisfactory academic progress” and is evaluated each term.
These criteria apply only to the establishment of eligibility for state awards. They are not the general University criteria of good academic standing and are not used in determining the academic status of students. Since the University standards are generally higher than these state-approved standards, students may be required to withdraw from the University for academic reasons, even if their academic record is above the minimum state standards.
The requirements that students must “pursue a program of study” and make “satisfactory academic progress” toward the completion of academic requirements will apply to all students receiving their first state awards in the fall of 1981 or thereafter.
Standards of Program Pursuit for State Awards
State regulations define “program pursuit” as receiving a passing or failing grade in a certain percentage of a full-time course load depending on the number of state awards the student has received. The standards are as follows:
- In each semester of study in the first year for which an award is made, the student must receive a passing or failing grade in at least six semester hours (i.e., 50 percent of the minimum full-time load).
- In each term of study in the second year for which an award is made, the student must receive a passing or failing grade in at least nine semester hours (i.e., 75 percent of the minimum full-time load).
- In each term of study in the third and each succeeding year for which an award is made, the student must receive a passing or failing grade in at least 12 semester hours (i.e., 100 percent of the minimum full-time load).
Generally, the state will accept as a passing or failing grade the grades “A” through “F” and any grade that indicates that the student (1) attended the course for the entire semester and (2) completed all the assignments. The grades of “S” (satisfactory) and “P” (passing) are acceptable. The grade of “I” is acceptable only if it automatically changes to a standard passing or failing grade before completion of the next term of studies. The grade of “W” does not constitute a grade that may be used to meet the requirement of program pursuit.
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for State Awards
In addition to the above standards of “program pursuit,” students generally must meet the standards of satisfactory academic progress outlined on the chart below unless they have special circumstances. The progress of students with special circumstances, such as those who have transferred from another institution or who have used their waiver (see explanation in waiver procedures below), is monitored on an adjusted schedule. See description of special circumstances (below).
“C” Average Requirement for State Awards
Students who have received two annual payments of state-funded financial aid must have a cumulative “C” average or its equivalent (2.00 grade point average) in order to continue receiving payment in subsequent semesters. This requirement is in addition to the standard of satisfactory academic progress.
New York state regulations mandate that courses in which the student has already received a passing grade cannot be included in meeting full-time study requirements for state aid. Repeated courses may be counted toward full-time study requirements if a student repeats a failed course, if a student repeats the course for additional credit (i.e. internships or research courses), or when a student has received a grade of C- or lower in a course that is required for the major they have declared.
One-Time Waiver Procedures
The standards of satisfactory academic progress for state student financial aid awards may be waived once as an undergraduate student and once as a graduate student if an institution certifies and maintains documentation that such a waiver is in the best interests of the student. A student must submit a written request for a waiver to the director of student financial services. The granting of a waiver is at the discretion of the institution.
The waiving of standards of good academic progress will require documentation by the student of extraordinary circumstances such as illness or death in the student’s family, serious illness of the student, or academic hardship. Use of the waiver option must be requested and agreed to in writing by the student.
Transfer Student Eligibility
Transfer students (and students readmitted after a period of absence from college) will be subject to procedures slightly different from those applied to students in continuing status. For example, when a student transfers from a TAP-eligible program at one institution to another TAP-eligible program at a second institution, the receiving institution (in this case, St. John Fisher University) must make a determination, based upon an evaluation of the student’s academic and, to the extent possible, financial aid record, that the transfer student is able to benefit from and is admissible to the new program of study. The receiving institution will assign a certain number of transfer credits it is willing to accept from the student’s previous study, and on the basis of this assessment, the student will be placed either at the appropriate point on the chart of satisfactory academic progress (below) that corresponds to the number of transfer credits accepted or at the point that corresponds to the number of payments previously received by the student, whichever is more beneficial to the student.
An applicant for the state financial aid awards covered by these regulations must be enrolled full-time. However, upon presentation of satisfactory medical evidence to substantiate that serious illness or mental or physical disability precludes attendance on a full-time basis, work performed during two or more terms of study may be approved as equivalent to a regular term for scholarship, tuition assistance program, or other benefits.
Loss and Reinstatement of Student Eligibility
The penalty for not meeting state-approved criteria of good academic standing (i.e., criteria of “program pursuit” and “satisfactory academic progress”) is suspension of a student’s New York state financial aid award.
The award will remain suspended until the student is restored to good academic standing by either:
- Pursuing for a period of one semester the program of study in which he or she is enrolled and “making satisfactory progress” toward the completion of his or her program’s academic requirements.
- Establishing in some other way, to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Education, evidence of his or her ability to successfully complete an approved program.
- Be granted a one-time waiver
In general, students who lose their awards must seek reinstatement as noted above.
The second bullet above provides a way for students who have lost their awards and who either are transferring to another institution or who wish to return to college after an absence of at least a year to achieve good standing and thus to regain their awards. For such students, the detailed record of a student’s readmission to the institution, or admission to another institution, will be accepted as evidence of his or her ability to successfully complete an approved program.
Waivers that are approved will receive a one-time waiver from NYS to receive NYS grants and scholarships that semester. Once a one-time waiver is used the student is not eligible to receive another waiver if they fall below academic standards for NYS scholarships and grants. If a waiver is denied, students will not receive NYS scholarships and grants until they meet the standards defined by the state for satisfactory academic progress.
If you have a question concerning these regulations, please contact the director of student financial services.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for New York State Aid
Before being certified for this payment of state aid, a student must have accrued at least this many semester credit hours. This applies to non-remedial students in a baccalaureate program, receiving their first NYS award in 2010-11 and after.
|Semester||Credit Hours||Minimum GPA|
Before being certified for this payment of state aid, a student must have accrued at least this many semester credit hours. This applies to ADA part-time students in a baccalaureate program, receiving their first NYS award in 2010-11 and after.
|Semester||Credit Hours||Minimum GPA|
Note: The 2011-12 enacted NYS budget mandates the following standards of progress, enacted in 2006-07, shall be used for non-remedial students who first receive state aid in 2007-08 through 2009-10 and for students who meet the definition of “remedial student” (HEOP) in 2010-11 and thereafter. The enacted budget defines remedial for purposes of SAP.
Effective 2006-07 for HEOP students.
|Semester||Credit Hours||Minimum GPA|
*Education law requires that no undergraduate student shall be eligible for more than four academic years (eight semesters) of state awards or five academic years if the program of study normally requires five years. Students in the Higher Education Opportunity Program are permitted five years (ten semesters) of eligibility.
The following minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress apply to all federally funded and University-funded assistance:
For purposes of determining satisfactory academic progress, the time frame for completion of an undergraduate program cannot exceed 150 percent of the published program length for a full-time student; that is, for a 120-credit-hour (four-year) program, the maximum time frame is set to 180 attempted hours. This method does not consider the length of time each student spends in the program, so that the same maximum number of attempted hours is used for all students regardless of full-time or part-time enrollment status. All credit hours attempted, whether or not they are completed or passed, are counted toward the maximum time-frame limit.
A student who exceeds the 150 percent time-frame limit is ineligible for all types of federal programs (Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, University Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants [SEOG], Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, Direct Student Loans [subsidized and unsubsidized], Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students [PLUS], TEACH Grants and University-funded financial aid).
In addition to the above standards, all full-time students must earn twenty (20) credit hours during each academic year and must have at least the following cumulative grade point average (GPA):
|Semester Hours Earned
|Cumulative Grade Point
Average at or Above
Students placed on warning or probation status, as defined in this bulletin, can continue to receive financial aid provided they are maintaining the academic standards outlined above.
Policy stipulates that you are not eligible to receive your financial aid until you are in compliance with academic requirements. However, you have the right to appeal this policy if you feel that unusual mitigating circumstances were a factor in your academic performance (i.e., an injury, illness, death of a relative etc.). All appeals must be submitted in writing to the director of student financial Services, stating the mitigating circumstance, supporting documentation, and a plan for academic success. Students will be notified of the appeal decision.
Students will be placed on a probation status upon approved appeal. If after the probation period of one semester of receiving federal and University funds it is seen that a student will not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for the year, they will not receive an additional payment of financial aid. Students will be notified of this decision.
All appeals must be received and reviewed prior to the end of the payment period that the appeal is being submitted for.
If an appeal is denied, students will not continue to receive federal and/or University funded assistance. Eligibility may be reinstated by successfully completing coursework that improves a student’s cumulative GPA and/or overall credits earned without receiving the assistance of federal and/or University funds. The Office of Student Financial Services should be informed of the student’s intention to do so, and supplied with a transcript of grades after the completion of courses. Remember that only courses taken at St. John Fisher University will affect a student’s GPA. Repeat courses which have been previously passed will not be counted. Students who lose eligibility for financial aid as a result of an insufficient GPA and/or number of credit hours at the end of an academic year can make up the deficiency by attending summer school at their own expense. Only courses taken at St. John Fisher University will affect a student’s GPA.
Recent federal regulations change the way enrollment status is determined for students who are repeating coursework in which they previously received a letter grade of D- or higher. Fisher may pay a student one time for retaking previously-passed coursework. To determine a student’s enrollment status (full-time vs. part-time), Fisher cannot include more than one repetition of a previously passed course.
Note: Repeated courses that a student has passed will not count toward this requirement.
Course incompletes will delay satisfactory academic progress evaluation until the incomplete has been updated to an A-F or S/U grade. No federal or Fisher aid will be awarded or paid during this timeframe.
Part-Time Matriculated Students
A student taking at least six credit hours but fewer than 12 credit hours during the semester is defined as part-time. All part-time students must maintain a GPA comparable to that required of a full-time student with the same number of credit hours accumulated toward a degree (see above chart).