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Financial Aid: Standards of Academic Progress

It is each individual student’s responsibility to read and adhere to the Standards of Academic Progress Policy.  The policy is in place because the Higher Education Act of 1965 was amended with Program Integrity regulations passed on October 29, 2010 that mandates institutions of higher education to establish a standard of satisfactory academic progress for a student who receives any financial aid.  A student’s entire academic history at all schools attended including transferrable hours is reviewed at the end of the first semester and each semester thereafter whether or not Title IV funded aid was received to ensure compliance with the policy.

What this means to you is that in order to remain eligible to receive financial aid you must meet the standards specified for acceptable academic performance and satisfactory progress toward the completion of your program of study.  The progress standards are established within the framework of federal regulations and specifically for the purpose of determining the eligibility of students to receive financial aid under Title IV and State aid programs.  These programs include Federal PELL Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, Georgia’s HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship and Federal Direct Loan Programs.

The University will complete a review of compliance with this policy for all students at the end of the first semester and each semester thereafter.

SAP Status

A student’s SAP status will be evaluated at the completion of each semester of enrollment.   At each evaluation period, one of the following SAP statuses will be assigned:

In some cases, a student must complete the requirements of an Academic Plan developed with their Academic Advisor, which will be monitored by the Office of Financial Aid. Student is eligible to continue receiving financial aid based on the performance and terms of the Academic Plan.  The student’s continued eligibility beyond the PROBATION semester will be determined at the conclusion of each semester. Failure to meet any part of the Academic Plan will result in the appeal being rescinded and the immediate loss of financial aid eligibility.

Standard of Academic Progress Requirements

1. Academic Performance: 
Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GAP).
Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA).

The cumulative GPA is derived from all hours accepted by and earned at Armstrong, including transfer work from other institutions whether or not the hours apply toward your degree.

2. Progress Toward Degree Completion:  All students must make significant progress toward completion of degree requirement in order to receive aid.  A mandated minimum completion rate of 67% is the standard for acceptable progress toward degree completion.  When computing this percentage the numbers are not rounded up or down.  The formula for this calculation is as follows:

cumulative number of hours successfully earned / cumulative hours attempted  = % completed

Grades of W, WF, WH, V (audit), F, U, I and NR are not considered successful course completion.  In addition, all attempts of repeated courses and non-credit coursework are included in the cumulative attempted number.

3.  Credit Hour Limit:  A maximum number of attempted hours in which to complete a degree is established.  Students who exceed this limit will lose their eligibility to receive financial aid.  That maximum number of attempted hours is based on 150% of the average degree program requirements.

Learning support classes will be counted as attempted hours for these purposes. 
Exceptions for second degree seekers will be considered upon receipt of a written Standards of Academic Progress Appeal Form.

Appeal for Reinstatement of Financial Aid

If your academic progress was reviewed at the end of the semester and you lost your eligibility for financial aid, you can regain financial aid in two possible ways;

1) By continuing to work toward a degree without financial aid, successfully accomplishing all the Standard of Academic Progress requirements and providing written notice of that by filing an appeals form with the Office of Financial Aid

2) By filing an appeal of the loss of eligibility for financial aid that identifies mitigating circumstances.

Mitigating circumstances are defined as unanticipated and unavoidable events or situations beyond a student’s control that prevented him or her from successfully completing courses or meeting the terms of a prior appeal. Examples of mitigating circumstances could include (but are not limited to) serious accident or illness of the student, serious illness or death of immediate family member (parents, grandparents, siblings, spouse, children), unexpected financial obligations, etc. Examples of unacceptable mitigating circumstances include (but are not limited to) withdrawal to avoid a failing grade, too many courses attempted, voluntary change of major, limited number of tests/assignments, disagreement with instructor, voluntary change in work hours, and incarceration.

If you choose to file an appeal you must do so through the formal Appeal Form.  In your appeal you need to clearly explain WHY you failed to meet the progress requirements and WHAT corrective measures you have undertaken to improve your future performance.  Written and signed documentation of any mitigating circumstances that impacted your performance must be included with the appeal form.

A Standards of Academic Progress Committee will review your appeal and supporting documentation and either approve or deny your appeal.  Approvals will only be granted for one semester, so if you are deemed unable to achieve the progress standard in one semester, the Committee cannot approve the appeal.  Approval of all appeals is determined on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed. You will be notified in writing of the Committee’s decision through a document called the Standards of Academic Progress Agreement which you must sign and return to the Office of Financial Aid. On a case by case basis, the Committee may offer an academic plan to students exhibiting extreme, documentable, mitigating circumstance.

You will remain ineligible for financial aid until fully compliant with the Standards of Academic Progress Policy. You may appeal a maximum of three (3) times during your academic career at Armstrong.

Terms and Conditions of Award

It is especially important that you understand the conditions of your awards and your responsibility as a financial aid recipient.  Our policies are explained fully in the Armstrong Catalog.  You are required to take course work that applies toward your declared degree objective at Armstrong.  All aid will be calculated based on your degree program.  Be sure you read and understand the conditions of your award.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 912-344-3266.