Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that each student maintain satisfactory progress in the course of study the student is pursuing in order to receive Federal Title IV financial aid. The concept of satisfactory progress mandates monitoring of both grade point average and the number of credits completed. In complying with this requirement, Cornell College has developed standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress cited in this Catalogue under "Academic Review." Satisfactory academic progress is based on the quality of your academic performance, which is represented by your GPA, and a quantitative review of progress, defined as “Pace”, which is represented by the total number of credits successfully completed toward your degree compared to the total credits you have attempted. Students must meet the following percentages of their attempted credit hours [on a cumulative basis]:

End of Grade Level

Minimum Percentage of Attempted

Credits Successfully Completed

First year

62.5%

Sophomore

81.3%

Junior

87.5%

Pace and gpa are prorated for less than full-time students.

Failure to earn credit for courses due to receiving an F, W, WH, WR, NC, I, or IP are included as attempted hours for determining “Pace” toward graduation for purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress [SAP].

The Academic Standing Committee conducts academic reviews of all students and determines a student’s status based on criteria outlined under “Academic Review.” Some categories of Academic Review have implications for a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. At Cornell, these standards are also applied to state and institutional aid programs.

The Cornell College Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply to all students who wish to establish or maintain financial assistance eligibility. It is the responsibility of all students to be familiar with these standards. The standards apply to each student’s entire academic record at Cornell, whether or not the student received financial assistance for previous terms of enrollment. All federal and state grants, loans, and work-study, and Cornell College grants, are subject to the following Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. The college’s published program length is 31 credits to complete a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Special Studies or Bachelor of Music degree. The time frame to complete your degree is 150% [48 credits].  Cornell College aid is not available beyond eight semesters of full-time attendance.  Specific financial assistance programs may require higher minimum standards for gpa and pace; additionally, an individual Cornell department may require the student to earn more credit hours or maintain a higher grade point average than required by minimum standards.

Financial Aid reviews the decisions of the Academic Standing Subcommittee at the end of each semester to determine if the student should be placed on FINANCIAL AID WARNING, FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION, or FINANCIAL AID PROBATION.

The following policy and procedures will be followed in determining satisfactory academic progress for the purpose of establishing eligibility for financial aid.

  1. At the end of a semester, a student placed on ACADEMIC PROBATION by the Academic Standing Subcommittee (or a student continuing on ACADEMIC PROBATION if placed on that status during the semester) will be placed on FINANCIAL AID WARNING. A student placed on FINANCIAL AID WARNING remains eligible for financial aid in the subsequent semester. The Financial Aid Office will send letters to all students placed on ACADEMIC PROBATION stating that they have also been placed on FINANCIAL AID WARNING. For the purpose of this policy PROBATIONARY SUSPENSION is considered a subcategory of ACADEMIC PROBATION.
  2. At the end of the following semester, a student who has been placed on FINANCIAL AID WARNING at the end of the previous semester (see #1) will be reviewed. If the Academic Standing Subcommittee
    1. removes him/her from ACADEMIC PROBATION, s/he will be removed from FINANCIAL AID WARNING. The Financial Aid Office will send letters to all students removed from ACADEMIC PROBATION stating that they have also been removed from FINANCIAL AID WARNING.
    2. continues him/her on ACADEMIC PROBATION, s/he will be placed on FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION and will be ineligible to receive financial aid in the following semester. S/he can file an appeal to be placed on FINANCIAL AID PROBATION by meeting the following conditions:
      1. The Director of Financial Aid will notify the student that s/he is eligible for FINANCIAL AID PROBATION. The student must then file an appeal with the Director of Financial Aid appealing the loss of  financial aid within three business days of receiving notification from the Director of Financial Aid. The appeal must be written, outline the reason[s] for failure to meet the minimum credit and/or GPA requirements, and explain how the student plans to correct the problem.
      2. If the appeal is approved, the student must develop or continue with an Academic Plan/Learning Contract in consultation with the Coordinator of Academic Support and Advising.

At the end of a third semester, if the student on FINANCIAL AID PROBATION remains on ACADEMIC PROBATION, the student’s financial aid will be rescinded.

A student whose financial aid has been rescinded as a result of the preceding policies and procedures reestablishes eligibility when removed from ACADEMIC PROBATION by the Academic Standing Subcommittee.

A flow chart outlining this process can be found on the Registrar's website. The chart is a tool; the official procedure is contained in this policy.

The calculation of GPA for purposes of Academic Review and subsequent determination of federal financial aid eligibility does not include grades of Incomplete (I), Withdrawal (W), Withdrawal for Health (WH), Registrar’s Withdrawal (WR), or grades for courses that have been transferred to Cornell College

Transfer credits, accepted by Cornell, are counted as both attempted and completed hours for purposes of SAP.

For repeated coursework, the original grade earned remains on the transcript and is not replaced by the subsequent grade.   A repeated course does not gain the student an additional course credit toward graduation, unless the course description indicates that it may be repeated.