Scholarship renewal

Merit scholarships are renewable annually as long as you maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Fine arts scholarships are also renewable annually as long as you maintain SAP and follow the specific expectations of your fine art scholarship

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that each student maintains satisfactory progress in the course of study the student is pursuing in order to receive Federal Title IV financial aid. Students receiving financial assistance are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) during their enrollment at Cornell. 

The SAP policy is used for determining federal, state, and institutional financial aid eligibility. Academic policies that relate to probation and dismissal from Cornell College may differ.

SAP standards apply to a student’s entire degree program including terms for which financial aid was not applied or for which enrollment was less than full-time. SAP for financial aid recipients is measured at the end of each semester of the academic year for which a student is enrolled. The specific criteria of SAP and the consequences to the student if progress is not achieved, is outlined in the SAP Policy listed below. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid with questions regarding the intent or the interpretation of these standards.

SAP standards

Cornell College has developed standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress cited in the academic catalogue. 

Your academic standing can impact your eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid.  So, it is imperative you understand and familiarize yourself with the SAP standards.

 Satisfactory academic progress is based on the quality of your academic performance, which is represented by the following factors:

  • Your GPA, a qualitative review of your progress.
  • Your PACE: a quantitative review of progress which is represented by the total number of credits successfully completed toward your degree compared to the total credits you have attempted.

The Cornell College Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply to all students who wish to establish or maintain financial assistance eligibility. It is your responsibility to understand the standards. The standards apply to your entire academic record at Cornell, whether or not you received financial assistance for previous terms of enrollment. All federal and state grants, loans, work-study, and Cornell College scholarships and grants, are subject to the following Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Required GPA (Qualitative Measure)

At the end of each semester you must have a 2.00 cumulative GPA.  If you do not have a 2.00 cumulative GPA you are granted one warning semester in which to raise your GPA to the required 2.00 level. 

Required Pace (Quantitative Measure)
In addition to maintaining the GPA specified above, you must be progressing toward completion of a degree program within a specified time frame. In order to meet these minimum requirements for SAP, you must meet the following percentages with your attempted credit hours [on a cumulative basis]:

Minimum percentage of attempted credits successfully completed

  • First-year: 62.5%
  • Sophomore year: 67%
  • Junior year:  67%
  • Senior year and all future years:  70%

Pace and GPA calculations

Pace and GPA are prorated for students that are less than full-time. The college does use standard rounding rules when calculating percentages for Pace.  For example, 66.5% would be rounded up to 67%.

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

As allowed in the CARES Act, Cornell will exclude attempted credits a student was not able to complete as a result of COVID-19 from the PACE calculation.

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), No Credit (NC), Unsatisfactory(U) 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.

Maximum timeframe—150% Rule

The college’s published program length is 31 credits to complete a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Special Studies, or Bachelor of Music degree. The time frame to complete your degree is 150% [47 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.

SAP policies and procedures

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.

Financial Aid Warning
At the end of a semester, a student placed on Academic Probation by the Academic Standing Committee who has a cumulative GPA below a 2.0 or is not meeting the PACE requirement for their grade level, 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 these students stating that they have been placed on Financial Aid Warning.

  1. At the end of the following semester, a student who has been placed on Financial Aid Warning at the end of the previous semester s/he will be reviewed.
    1. If the student's cumulative GPA is above a 2.0 and/or they are meeting the required PACE s/he will be removed from Financial Aid Warning. The Financial Aid Office will send letters to these students stating that they been removed from Financial Aid Warning.
    2. If the student still does not have a cumulative GPA above a 2.0 or is not meeting the required PACE for their grade level,  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:

Financial Aid Suspension
If a student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension a Student must appeal in writing, noting extenuating circumstances, such as the death of a family member or an illness or injury to the student if applicable. 

Requirements of the Appeal:

  1. All appeals MUST include information regarding why the student failed to make SAP, and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP after the next academic term of enrollment.
  2. The appeal MUST include an academic plan established with the Academic Support and Advising Office. The plan MUST demonstrate how the student will progress both GPA and cumulative credits to get back on track in seeking his/her degree.  This academic plan must include details for each term/semester from the time of the appeal until the student will meet SAP or graduate with their intended degree program.  The student must be able to demonstrate that it is reasonably likely to get back on track towards successful program completion while staying within the 150% rule. 

The Academic Support and Advising Office will review the student’s appeal and academic plan and notify the Financial Aid Office of its completion.  An appeal committee will review the student’s request and notify the student of their decision in writing within one calendar week of receipt of the appeal. 

If a student is granted an appeal, they will remain on SAP warning and the Academic Support and Advising Office will monitor the student’s academic plan. The SAP warning will be in effect until either the student's cumulative GPA is at or above a 2.0 and/or the student is meeting the PACE requirements or the student does not achieve the semester goals set forth in their academic plan, which may result in suspension.

Financial Aid Suspension
If the student does not meet the semester goals of the academic plan, he/she will again have all financial assistance suspended for the following academic term.

Students will have the option to submit an appeal and recreate an academic plan, if appropriate at that time. The same requirements for the appeal, as described above, must be met.  If a student does not submit an appeal, or their appeal is not approved, they will not be eligible to receive financial assistance the following academic term.

 Re-establishing eligibility
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 Committee.  A student who has lost financial assistance eligibility can regain eligibility by making up deficiencies while not receiving aid.  It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Planning and Assistance to request aid reinstatement when this has been accomplished.

Students that have left the college may re-establish financial assistance eligibility after spending one semester or more away from Cornell while attaining credits somewhere else that are transferrable toward the completion of their degree at Cornell with at least a 2.5 GPA.