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SAP Overview

SAP Overview

The following provides a brief overview of the Department of Student Financial Assistance's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy. View the SAP Policy in its entirety.

What is the SAP Policy?

The Department of Education requires schools that administer financial aid to evaluate students’ academic progress for every academic term that students are enrolled. In order to maintain the receipt of financial aid, students must meet certain Qualitative and Quantitative standards. 

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The SAP Policy is applicable to students who receive federal and/or state 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)

Financial aid programs not covered by this policy include KEES, Tuition Incentive Program, Alumni Grant, Scholarships, and certain Tuition Waiver Programs. 

What are the Qualitative Requirements?

Undergraduate students must meet minimum WKU and Overall GPA requirements based on the number of GPA Hours that they have accumulated.

For example, a student who has earned 17 GPA Hours should have at least a 1.7 GPA.

total WKU and overall GPA hours 17 GPA hours or less = at least a 1.7 GPA. 18-33 hours = at least a 1.8 GPA. 34-50 GPA Hours= at least a 1.9 GPA. at least 51 GPA Hours or more = at least a 2.0 GPA

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

What are the Quantitative Requirements?

Often referred to as Pace, this measurement tracks students’ earned credit hours towards degree completion.

Students must earn at least 67% of their Attempted Hours.

calculation formula: total earned hours/total attempted hours = pace

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The Department of Student Financial Assistance monitors the quantitative progress of students at the end of each term. Failure to meet the Pace requirements indicated above will result in a student being placed on warning status for the next semester in which he/she applies for financial aid.

For each term that students receive financial aid, they must earn at least 67% of the number of hours they are attempting (this is referred to as Pace).  Remedial and/or developmental courses (numbered 0-99) also factor into students’ quantitative assessment for federal and/or state financial aid purposes.

Example

Question: Big Red currently has 35 GPA Hours and a WKU/Overall GPA of 1.5. He has 50 Earned Hours and 60 Attempted Hours. Does Big Red meet SAP requirements?    

Answer: Even though Big Red has Earned 83% of his Attempted Hours, he is still not meeting SAP requirements due to his GPA.  

 

What is SAP Warning?

Students who fail to meet their Qualitative and/or Quantitative requirements will be placed on SAP Warning status for the next semester.

Students admitted to WKU on probation are also placed on SAP Warning status with the Department of Student Financial Assistance.

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For Fall, Spring, and Summer terms, students’ Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed at the end of each payment period.

Students enrolled in any term are subject to a SAP review at the end of that term, regardless of whether any Title IV aid (i.e., Federal Pell Grant, Federal Stafford Loans) was received. This may affect a student’s academic progress status in subsequent semesters.

Students who were on warning status for a particular term and completed SAP Warning requirements must meet their Qualitative and Quantitative SAP requirements by the end of the warning period in order to receive aid for future terms.

Students cannot be on SAP Warning for consecutive terms but can have multiple terms of a warning period during their academic career. In other words, students who receive financial aid while on SAP Warning must meet SAP requirements at the conclusion of the academic term or they will become ineligible for financial aid for the subsequent semester.

 

If I am on SAP Warning, what requirements must I complete in order to receive financial aid?

To receive financial aid while on SAP Warning status, the student must complete SAP Counseling on his/her TopNet account.

In addition, within one semester of SAP Warning, the student must bring up his/her overall Qualitative and/or Quantitative progress to meet SAP requirements.

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SAP Counseling is a requirement for students on SAP Warning who would still like to receive Title IV aid. All enrolled students on SAP Warning receive an e-mail notifying them to log in to their TopNet account and complete SAP Counseling.

In TopNet, SAP Counseling is located under the Financial Aid tab in the Financial Aid Status section. SAP Counseling consists of students watching a video that discusses SAP and then taking a survey over the video content.

 

What if I don't meet my SAP requirements in one semester?

If the student does not meet the minimum SAP requirements within one SAP Warning semester, he/she may not be eligible for financial aid.

The student may have to pay out-of-pocket until successfully meeting the SAP requirements.

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As previously mentioned, students on SAP Warning who have received Title IV aid must raise their Qualitative and Quantitative progress to meet SAP standards within the semester that financial aid reinstatement occurred.

Students who do not meet overall SAP standards while on warning status are ineligible for financial aid for any subsequent semester(s) until they meet the criteria for reinstatement of aid (which means reaching their SAP standards by paying out-of-pocket) or have gained approval based on SAP Appeal. Students can take courses at WKU or visiting institutions in order to reinstate their financial aid eligibility.  However, ONLY courses taken at WKU will calculate into student’s WKU/Institutional GPA Qualitative standards. 

Students can access the online interactive WKU GPA calculator at https://www.wku.edu/bep/gpacalculator.php to determine how many credit hours they will need to complete and what grades they will need to earn in those classes to ensure that they meet the minimum Qualitative and Quantitative SAP requirements by the end of their warning period.

Students who meet these requirements are not on warning status for the subsequent term and are now in a good standing for federal/state financial aid purposes.

Example

Question: Due to his qualitative progress, Big Red is on SAP Warning for Fall 2017. He currently has 53 GPA Hours and a cumulative WKU/Overall GPA of 1.6

He completes SAP Counseling and has his aid reinstated for Fall 2017.

At the end of the term, he has earned all of his attempted hours for Fall 2017 and his final grades bring his cumulative WKU/Overall GPA up to 1.9. Is Big Red eligible for financial aid for Spring 2018?

Answer: No. In order to be taken off SAP Warning, Big Red must have have a cumulative WKU/Overall GPA of at least a 2.0 at the end of Fall 2017. Therefore, he will have to pay out-of-pocket until he raises WKU/Overall GPA to meet the SAP requirements.

 

What is the Maximum Time Frame?

For financial aid purposes, students need to complete their degree requirements within a specific time frame. This maximum period is 150% of their published degree program length.

Failure to complete the degree requirements before reaching the maximum time frame may result in the student becoming ineligible for financial aid.

Example

 type of program: bachelor's degree. Program length 120 hours. 150% rule = 120 credit hours x 150%. max time frame = 180 attempted credit hours

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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 GRADUATE/DOCTORAL PROGRAM CHART for information about your specific program and to check its published length).

Students ONLY pursuing an Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate Program 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.

The following chart displays additional information about Maximum Time Frame:

    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 Graduate/Doctoral Program Chart      Doctoral Degree Graduate/Doctoral Program Chart     UG Certificate ONLY (Financial Aid Eligible) Students pursuing Certificate Programs ONLY are eligible to receive Title IV aid for a maximum of one academic year      GR Certificate ONLY (Financial Aid Eligible) Students pursuing Certificate programs ONLY are eligible to receive Title IV aid for a maximum of one academic year      
View the GRADUATE/DOCTORAL PROGRAM CHART mentioned above

 

What is SAP Appeal?

Students who have reached their Maximum Time Frame may be eligible to submit a SAP Appeal.

In addition, students who were ineligible for financial aid due to unsatisfactory academic progress (failure to meet requirements of warning status) and who have documentable extenuating circumstances may be eligible to appeal.

If approved, the student might be able to have aid reinstated for one semester.

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Students are welcome to contact the Executive Board Committee if they feel an unjust appeal decision has occurred.

The earlier a student submits a SAP Appeal, 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 that the appeal is not processed prior to a pending due date or the appeal is denied.

 

When can a student complete an SAP Appeal?

Only certain conditions allow a student to appeal:

  1. Excessive Hours: If a student has reached Maximum Time Frame without completing a degree and/or certificate, he/she can submit an appeal for the term in which seeking aid.

  1. Extenuating Circumstances: If a student was on warning status, 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), he/she is eligible to submit an appeal for the term in which he/she is seeking aid. Students pursuing this option must provide supporting documentation, which should be able to be verified for authenticity.

A submission of a SAP Appeal (even based on the circumstances listed above) does NOT automatically guarantee an approval.

The following reasons 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

Learn more about circumstances for submitting an SAP Appeal and the acceptable documentation needed below:

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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.
  • Documentation (i.e., physician's statement, police report or documentation from a third party professional) relating to the individual for whom 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.
  • 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.
  • Attorney's statement 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.
  • 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 clearly stating how the situation was unforeseen and out of your control.
  • Supporting documentation that verifies the circumstances described in the appeal letter.

 

A submission of a SAP Appeal (even based on the circumstances listed above) does NOT automatically guarantee an approval.

What happens after I submit my SAP Appeal?

SAP Appeals may receive an approval or denial. Students receive a notification through email about the outcome of their SAP Appeal.

If approved, the student has to meet the requirements of his/her Academic Plan to maintain financial aid eligibility.

If denied, the student will not be eligible for financial aid. Additionally, if the student receives a denied SAP Appeal for the academic term in which seeking financial assistance, and the student enrolls in courses for that academic term, he/she is responsible for all tuition and fees for that term.

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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 but application materials are incomplete, the awarding process will be delayed.

Federal/state financial aid will not be processed for a student who has been academically dismissed from the University until the student gains re-admittance to the University as determined by the Academic Advising and Retention Center.

 

What is an Academic Plan?

Based on the student’s current academic statistic, this plan is developed to help the student better meet SAP policy conditions.

If the student has an approved SAP Appeal, he/she must adhere to the conditions outlined in the Academic Plan.

If the student does not adhere to these conditions, he/she will not be eligible for federal financial aid for future terms.  

What are the requirements of the Academic Plan?

The requirements of your Academic Plan may depend on your reason for submitting a SAP Appeal. For example:

Maximum Time Frame: If you submitted an appeal due to Excessive Hours, your Academic Plan is associated with your degree program.

  • A financial aid counselor must internally evaluate your degree audit order (i.e., iCAP audit) to ensure you are only receiving Title IV funds for classes that are required to complete your degree.
  • In order to maintain your financial eligibility, you typically need to earn 100% of the hours for which you received financial aid, as well as earn at least either a 2.0 GPA (Undergraduate Students) or 3.0 GPA (Graduate Students)—depending on your academic degree—for the term in which your aid is reinstated.

Extenuating Circumstances: If you submitted an appeal due to extenuating circumstances, your Academic Plan is associated with your Qualitative and/or Quantitative SAP requirements.

  • You must schedule an Academic Plan session on your TopNet account.
  • Then meet with a financial aid counselor to complete an Academic Plan and discuss your SAP requirements. 
  • During this session, you will discuss the requirements to retain your financial aid.

If you have questions about your Academic Plan, contact our office at fa.sap@wku.edu or (270) 745-2755.

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Academic Plans are for students with an approved SAP Appeal.

An Academic Plan for Excessive Hours Appeal consists of a financial aid counselor conducting a review of the student’s ICAP audit, Second Degree Program form, or Program of Study Form.

An Academic Plan for an Extenuating Circumstances Appeal consists of a student meeting with a financial aid counselor.

Once students receive an e-mail notification about the approval of their SAP Appeal due to extenuating circumstances, they must schedule an Academic Plan by logging into TopNet, selecting the Financial Aid tab, scrolling to the bottom of the webpage, and selecting Academic Plan Appointment Scheduler 

 

How many approved appeals can I have?

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

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Students who were on an approved SAP Appeal and did not meet the Academic Plan term requirements are not eligible to re-appeal for subsequent terms (unless new extenuating circumstances merit another approved appeal). Instead, to regain financial aid eligibility, students may have to pay out-of-pocket until successfully meeting SAP standards.

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

There is NO limit to the number of Approved SAP Appeals a student can obtain based strictly on changing of major (refer to Maximum Time Frame).

 

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 Last Modified 7/6/17